(please read the following as David Attenborough:)
Planet Netherfield is a place like nowhere else on earth. Only here can you find a rare mixing of upper and lower class species, each determined to do whatever they must to survive.
We zero in on a particular part of the jungle, where we will see a unique glimpse into the gossip ritual that precedes the hunt. Here, we are looking at two female Bingley Cats discussing the qualities of an Elizabeth Tiger (or Liz Tiger, for short):
“She's so proud, impertinent, terrible manners, nothing to talk about, horrible taste, not particularly pretty, and her family!! Good lord, how will they marry off five daughters with a mother like that? The only thing she has going for her is she is a good walker! (Here it looks as though the female Bingley cats are laughing!) Did you see her paws? Six inches deep in mud!!”
A male Bingley Cat seems to be defending the Liz Tiger: "Guuuuuysss, why you gotta be so mean?"
And the Darcy Bird makes a squawk! "I liked her eyes."
Fascinating. The comment from the Darcy Bird has confused the female Bingley Cats. Awkward silence settles over the jungle. But look! See there!
Into this scene of growing tension returns the Liz Tiger, having no idea what is already underway. The Caroline Bingley Cat eyes her competition, and begins to make her move on her prey (the Darcy Bird).
She must be careful. She cannot make any sudden movement that would alert her prey as to her intentions. Slowly she circles him. To avoid detection, she begins a mating dance, a series of questions aimed at Darcy Bird's younger sister, Georgiana. Let's watch as she approaches him:
"How tall is Georgiana now?.....I wish I could see Georgiana!.....How wonderful she is!"
The prey has not yet taken the bait, but the predator is not finished yet.
"She has such good manners, and so pretty!.....She is so accomplished for her age!......Is she still playing piano?"
Someone snaps at the bait, but alas, it is not the prey she was hoping for: the male Bingley Cat chimes in: "I think all ladies are accomplished."
The Caroline Cat turns on him, but she cannot destroy him without ruining the favor of her prey. “All of them, Charles?” she spits through clenched fangs.
"Yeah!" he replies.
But it works! Somehow the interference of the brother has stirred the prey toward the bait. The Darcy Bird offers: "I don't know more than six ladies that truly deserve the term ‘accomplished.’"
The Caroline Cat licks her lips.
But alas! The Liz Tiger interferes: “Then you must have a prolific understanding of the term ‘accomplished woman’,” the Liz Tiger says, stealing the Darcy Bird's attention.
“I do” says the Darcy Bird.
Now the Caroline Cat must win back the attention of the Darcy Bird, or all is lost. In a last, desperate measure to snag her prey, the Caroline Cat announces that “Yes, no one can really be called accomplished unless they can sing, draw, dance, speak several languages and have a certain je ne sais quoi in their walk.”
Oh! And this is truly extraordinary, a rare moment when we witness the Caroline Cat mince around her prey: yes, there she goes, mince, mince, mince. But will it work?
“And of course, she must read all the time,” says the Darcy Bird.
Caroline Cat looks where the Darcy Bird is looking--at Liz Tiger, who is….oh no….reading a book.
All is lost. The Caroline Cat slinks back into the shadows. And, interestingly enough, the Liz Tiger does not go for the kill, but instead, she too leaves the battlefield. And what's this? A hungry look on the face of the Darcy Bird...well, I say.
This has been another episode of David Attenborough’s “Planet Netherfield.” Tune in next week for our next exploration of the mysterious creatures of Planet Netherfield!
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.
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