After the Meryton Assembly dance, Elizabeth (nickname Lizzie, if you'll remember) and her sister Jane scurry up to their shared bedroom and hunker down for some serious-time pillow talk. Jane isn't a big share-your-feelings kinda gal, but she spills the beans with Lizzie:
I really like Mr. Bingley.
Yeah? says Lizzie.
Yeah. He's nice, he's polite, he has good manners....he's nice...
I couldn't believe he asked me to dance TWICE!!
Really?! You couldn't believe that he would ask the prettiest girl in the room to dance with him?
Well, you have my approval. You've liked stupider people.
It's true! You like EVERYONE. Remember that guy who stole our spot in line after we had waited 3 hours to see Les Mis??
He was so cold, he needed to get inside...
And the girl who claimed that your ladybug science fair project was actually hers?
That was fifth grade, she didn't know any better...
And the guy who punched you in the face to take your restaurant reservation??
He didn't mean it...
And the WORST part, exclaims Elizabeth, is that you truly believe that all of those people genuinely meant the best in that moment, and that every person is good and wholesome and honest.
While Elizabeth tears her hair out over her sister's unreasonably good nature, we'll swing over to the boys' sleepover at Netherfield Park.
Can you believe how many gorgeous women were at that dance?? exclaims Bingley.
Nope, retorts Darcy.
I mean, GORGEOUS! That red head, the two blondes, even the brunette wasn't half-bad.
But that Bennet girl, ohhhhhhhh man, Jane....Jane Jane Jane....
What was her name again?
*cue soundtrack to "Maria" from West Side Story* JAAAAAAAAAAANE! I'VE JUST MET A GIRL NAMED JAAAAAAAAAAAANE, AND SUDDENLY I'VE FOUND, HOW WONDERFUL A SOUND--
Come on man, are you going to sit there and tell me not a single one of the women in that room caught your eye? Not a single one lifted you up on love's light wings and made you see the world as if for the first time? Not a single one made you believe that love is tangible and real and possible and true? Didn't you think any of them were at least...pretty?
Yours was. But she smiled too much.
Thus commenced more hair tearing on Bingley's part, which only lasted a short while before he was lifted away by "love's light wings" again and soon forgot the sulking Mr. Darcy...
And Darcy sat, and Darcy brooded, and Darcy couldn't quite shake the image of a particular pair of piercing brown eyes from his head...
To be continued next week!
Before we dive in any further, we are about to meet a bunch of new characters, so I drew you a little map to keep track :)
Okay so, Mr. Bingley returns Mr. Bennet's visit (that was a thing in those days, if someone visited you at your house, you were expected to have dinner with them at theirs), and there's all this stuff about the Bennet girls watching from the window, but not actually meeting him, and they hear Mr. Bingley is bringing a bunch of girls to the dance but they turn out to be his sisters, blah, blah, blah, but basically we just want to get to the juicy part, which is the
MERYTON ASSEMBLY (a community dance):
Mr. Bingley arrives at the dance with two of his sisters, his sister's husband, and Mr. Darcy.
Everyone likes Bingley.
His sisters and the husband are alright.
And Mr. Darcy is a douche.
The reason for his doucheness comes primarily from an incident with Lizzie. Lizzie is chilling on the side of the room, taking a break from the dancing, when she overhears Darcy talking to Bingley.
Bingley is like, Dude, come dance! These chicks are crazy hot!
And Darcy is all, I certainly shall not.
But...! But...! and Bingley *gestures wildly to all of the incredibly gorgeous women in the room.*
You're dancing with the only pretty girl in the room, says Darcy, with a nod to Jane.
(Lizzie does a silent whoop! whoop! for Jane)
I know, says Bingley, but hey, what about her sister? She seems awesome! Don't look now, but she's sitting behind you.
Darcy looks behind him. He catches Lizzie's eye. Turns back to Bingley.
Meh, she's alright, but not hot enough to tempt me, says Darcy.
Thus, Lizzie does not feel particularly warm and fuzzy toward Mr. Darcy.
Word of Warning For Young Men Entering Small Towns: Don't say anything you wouldn't be comfortable seeing as a headline in the paper the next day.
Within minutes, the entire room knows the story. And the name of 'Darcy' is immediately attached to 'PROUD.'
To be continued next week!! Comment below if there's a particular scene you want to make sure gets paraphrased (some stuff I leave out because, well, I'm paraphrasing :)
Mr. Bennet had already visited Mr. Bingley. But toying with his wife was way too much fun to let her know right away.
While Lizzie was trimming a hat one afternoon, Mr. Bennet casually said, I hope Mr. Bingley will like it.
How would we know? said Mrs. Bennet, Since you won't visit him!
Maybe Mrs. Long will introduce him? offered Lizzie.
Pssshhh. She's just trying to get him for her two nieces. She is selfish, hypocritical and I have no opinion of her.
A silence fell on the group. Kitty began to cough.
STOP COUGHING KITTY!! Have some compassion for my nerves, said Mrs. Bennet.
It's not like I enjoy coughing, said Kitty.
When is the next ball? interrupted Mr. Bennet.
Two weeks tomorrow, answered Lizzie.
NOOOOO! said Mrs. Bennet, Then Mrs. Long can't introduce us because she will be out of town until the day before and she won't have time to meet him herself and so she can't introduce us and none of you will get married and we will have to live in the streets and beg for food and life will be OVER.
Why don't you introduce Mr. Bingley to her? Mr. Bennet suggested.
Mrs. Bennet turned very slowly toward her husband with clenched teeth. How could I do that, Mr. Bennet? she said quite slowly, When SOMEONE won't visit him, SOMEONE won't introduce us, and SOMEONE has made it utterly impossible me to MEET HIM MYSELF?!?
I suppose you're right, said Mr. Bennet, Knowing someone for two weeks is hardly enough time to feel comfortable introducing them to someone else. What do you think, Mary?
Mary looked a bit like a goldfish, mouth open and dumbstruck, in that moment.
While Mary is adjusting her ideas, let's talk about Bingley, continued Mr. Bennet.
I'm sick of Mr. Bingley.
Really?! exclaimed Mr. Bennet, I wish you'd said that before I visited him. Well, oh well, we can't escape knowing him now...
All hell broke loose in the Bennet household. Mrs. Bennet was all, Yeah, I totally knew you'd visited him, Mary pretended not to care, Kitty was like OMG, Jane and Lizzie wanted to know if he was going to the ball, and Lydia was like, So is he HOTTTTT???
Mr. Bennet said: Kitty, you may now cough as much as you like.
To be continued next week! Click "Recommend" on the right to receive updates when a new post is put up.
Caitlin Lushington is the Co-Artistic Director of the Enso Theatre Ensemble, a teacher, director, and actress. Sometimes she works too hard, sometimes she forgets things, and she strives to put the car keys back in the same place every time. She drinks tea every morning from her TARDIS mug and "Mr. Tea" diffuser. She loves the morning and wishes she had a photographic memory, so she could remember the names of every person she meets.