What???@!! Mr. Bingley is BACK??? I’M SHOCKED, I TELL YOU, SHOCKED.
Yes, that’s right. Mr. Bingley comes back to Longbourne, alone, in excellent good humor (so….regular Bingley). He sits with the whole Bennet family for over an hour! Like talking to them and stuff! Take notes, F. Darcy.
At Mrs. Bennet’s invitation, he comes the next day as well, so early that none of the girls or their mother have had time to get dressed. Mrs. Bennet flies into Jane and Elizabeth’s room in a state of disarray, curlers still in, face mask still on.
Mrs. B: Mr. Bingley is here! Oh my goodness oh dear ah
Jane and Lizzy: (half asleep) Ngh?
Mrs. B: SARAH!!! Sarah, do Jane’s hair! Immediately! DON’T worry about Lizzy’s, for heaven’s sakes--
Mrs. Bennet tries throughout the entire visit to get Jane and Mr. Bingley alone together. Eventually, true to their type, Mr. Bennet goes to the library, Mary goes to practice the piano somewhere, which just leaves Elizabeth, Kitty, and Mrs. B. Instead of acting normal and suggesting that Elizabeth and Kitty go for a walk or something, Mrs. Bennet sits their and winks at them surreptitiously for goodness knows how long. Elizabeth ignores her out of sheer exasperation, but Kitty goes so far as to say “What is the matter, mama? Why do you keep winking at me?”
Mrs. B: I’M NOT…winking….though now that you mention it, Kitty, dear? Did you leave your knitting in the fireplace? I thought I saw--
Kitty: What!! Oh no! (Runs out of the room)
Jane [Mouthing wildly at Elizabeth] Don’t leave me!
Mrs. B: Lizzy? May I SPEAK with you? NOW?
Elizabeth: I…fine. [Leaves]
But despite all this, Bingley STILL doesn’t propose to Jane! What is taking this guy so long? Does he not realize that he’s driving this entire family crazy with anticipation? But he agrees to come by the next morning to go shooting with Mr. B, and afterwards, comes back again for dinner. Mrs. B, more successfully this time, strives to get everyone out of the room. Elizabeth goes off to write a letter, later walking in on Jane and Bingley engaged in “earnest conversations” that breaks off as soon as Elizabeth enters the room. Awkward. Bingley says something to Jane again before quitting the room, and Jane embraces Elizabeth immediately, saying that she was “the happiest creature in the world! ‘Tis too much! By far too much. I do not deserve it. Oh! Why is not everybody as happy!”
What a relief! Elizabeth is overjoyed, for a number of reasons—at Jane’s happiness, at Caroline’s scheming coming to naught, the quick and easy resolution of two years’ romantic tension. Jane leaves to inform her mother of the happy occasion, and Bingley shortly afterwards returns to the room, having spoken with Mr. Bennet. Bingley finds Elizabeth alone, and offers her the sincere affections and good wishes of a brother. Believing himself to be the happiest creature in the world, and monologues in full about Jane’s perfections, leaving Elizabeth quite in agreement with him and of the opinion that he and her sister will be very happy together, perfectly suited in disposition and attitude as they are.
Jane, in her happiness, looks more beautiful than ever. Everyone, in fact, is overcome with happiness, even Mr. Bennet, though he hides it better than others. Mrs. Bennet is in delight over her good fortune—two out of five! Done!—and talks for what I’m sure is hours about how she knew it all along, it could have never been otherwise, it was meant to be, I knew she could not be so beautiful for nothing, etc.
From this point on, Bingley visits, if possible, even more. He visits practically every day, unless he has an engagement elsewhere. On each occasion Mrs. Bennet finds out who on earth could be keeping him away and makes a voodoo doll of said person, and stabs them repeatedly with a small needle. When Jane is able to find some time alone with Elizabeth, she informs her of the detestable circumstances surrounding London. Apparently Bingley was totally ignorant of Jane being in town at all, Caroline having craftily kept it from him.
Jane: How extra of her! What a…fake!
Elizabeth: I HAVE NEVER BEEN MORE PROUD OF YOU EVER.
Elizabeth does not mention Mr. Darcy’s interference, her own feelings on the matter being complicated, besides which she didn’t want Jane to feel ill towards him after everything he had done for them.
Jane: Oh, Lizzy. If only I could see you as happy! If only there was such a man for you!
Elizabeth: I don’t think I can ever be as happy as you, but perhaps, “if I have very good luck, I may meet with another Mr. Collins in time”.
In the morning, about a week after the engagement, Bingley & the Bennets (good name for a band) are hanging out at Longbourne when they hear the approach of a carriage. Not expecting any visitors, they are understandably at a loss as to who it could be. Jane and Bingley escape to the shrubbery for a walk (or to go make out, but obviously Austen doesn’t say this), while the rest stay to welcome their guest, whoever it may be. Suddenly, the wind begins to howl, the house creaks, the windows rattle, and the door is thrown open in a gust of wind as LADY CATHERINE DE BOURGH enters the Bennet household.
Austen: Dun dun DUNNNN!
Mrs. B, Kitty, Mary, Mr. B: Who is this person?
Lady Catherine barely nods to Elizabeth in acknowledgment of her presence; she might as well be entering her own home. She goes and sits down without a word while Elizabeth explains to her mother just who the heck this is.
Mrs. B: Lady Catherine!! Oh my goodness me well, this is just, what an unexpected--
Lady Catherine: Is that thing your mother?
Lady Catherine [pointing to Kitty]: And this is…one of its…progeny?
Elizabeth: That is one of my sisters, yes.
Mrs. B: My youngest daughter, my lady, excepting of course LYDIA, whom I don’t suppose you know has just recently been married to--
Lady Catherine: Your yard is quite small. And your windows, facing this way, the sun will be right in your eyes as it sets.
Mrs. B: We never use this room and never have.
Lady Catherine: Miss Bennet, there seemed to me a spot of grass in your yard that is not entirely disgusting to me. Would you mind very much going to examine it with me?
As they walk along outside, Elizabeth waits for Lady Catherine to speak, having no desire to initiate conversation with someone behaving so rudely. She does not have to wait long.
Lady Catherine: Naturally you understand why I have come and are only refraining from apologizing because you are paralyzed with guilt.
Elizabeth: I have literally no clue why you are here.
Lady Catherine: Do not mess with me, young lady. You will find such evasion ineffectual with someone as sincere and frank as myself. I have been told that not only was your own sister to be advantageously married, but that you, yourself, were to be married to my nephew Mr. Darcy. Thinking it an excellent joke if nonetheless in very poor taste, I came down at once to make sure you knew that it was never going to happen ever.
Elizabeth: If you thought it was a joke, I wonder you thought I might take it half as seriously.
Lady Catherine: To make sure that such a rumor was universally contradicted!
Elizabeth: Well, quite frankly, your coming here will have almost the exact opposite effect. If, indeed, such a report exists.
Lady Catherine: Knowing as I do of the behavior of your family, I know it has been industrially circulated by yourselves.
Elizabeth: It really really hasn’t.
Lady Catherine: Can you honestly say there is no foundation for it?
Lady Catherine: I’m going to make this perfectly simple. Has my nephew made you an offer of marriage?
Elizabeth: “Your ladyship has declared it to be impossible”.
Lady Catherine: You could have seduced him with your arts and manipulations.
Elizabeth: My WHAT?
Lady Catherine: Look. I’ll make this perfectly simple. Mr. Darcy is engaged to my daughter so you could never marry him anyway. So there.
Elizabeth: So what’s the problem?
Lady Catherine: The engagement is not a…formal one. It was decided upon by his mother and myself in their infancy. And now you HAVE SEDUCED HIM AND RUINED EVERYTHING.
Elizabeth: Okay, I didn’t do that. And even if I had, the culmination of the engagement depends upon him. If he wishes to marry his cousin, he may do so, and if he wishes to marry me, he may do so. And if I wish to accept him, I may do so as well!
Lady Catherine: If you do this, you will be the most despicable creature on earth, and our family shall never acknowledge your existence.
Elizabeth: A hard life, to be sure. I shall be so sad living in my big mansion with my handsome husband with no in-laws to talk to. Oh how sad.
Lady Catherine: A young woman with no connections, fortune, or family of any degree, to be connected with a gentleman of such high standing—it is not to be endured. Tell me once and for all, are you engaged to him?
Lady Catherine: Ah. And can you promise me that you will never enter into such an engagement.
Elizabeth: Uh, no.
Lady Catherine: Iiiii BEG YOUR PARDON. And what of your sister? To be united to the son of my nephew’s steward in a patched up marriage and the expense of your father and uncle? Is such a girl to be my nephew’s sister? “ARE THE SHADES OF PEMBERLY TO BE THUS POLLUTED”?
Elizabeth: Well, now you can have nothing further to say, having insulted me in every way possible. I think you should probably leave. [MIC DROP]
Lady Catherine: This—this—this! This is not over! Depend on it, Miss Bennet, I will carry my point. “I take no leave of you, Miss Bennet. I send no compliments to your mother. You deserve no such attention. I am most seriously displeased”. [Off she goes].
NEXT WEEK: Will Lady Catherine stand in the way of Darcy and Liz??
This week's chapters were written by Helena Fisher-Welsh, who is playing Elizabeth Bennet in our production of "Pride & Prejudice: An Adaptation."
Mr. and Mrs. Wickham visit Longbourne. They are received about as well as you would expect from a family waiting to hear whether their youngest member has been raped and left destitute, or wedded to an absolute nightmare.
Mrs. Wickham (Lydia) seems to be totally unaware of the awkwardness of the situation. And amazingly, so does Mrs. Bennet, who, just 24 hours earlier, was complaining of "tremblings and spasms all over me" and was convinced that Mr. Bennet was going to have to fight Mr. Wickham and be killed.
While they're there, Lydia lets slip that Mr. Darcy was at her wedding.
Elizabeth writes to her Aunt Gardiner ASAP and gets the deets, which are:
1. Darcy found Lydia & Wickham.
2. Darcy forced them to marry.
3. Darcy paid off Wickham's debts.
4. Darcy paid Wickham to marry Lydia.
And Elizabeth is Flabbergasted, Stunned, Grateful, But Why? For me? Could he have done it for me?
If you're thinking that it seems weird that a girl should go all goo goo eyed for a man who just forced her sister to marry a douchebag, remember this: If Lydia doesn't marry Wickham, the scandal lives on, the family reputation is ruined, none of the Bennet girls are deemed eligible to marry, so when Mr. Bennet dies they have no money and all of them will likely be forced into prostitution to survive.
Puts it in perspective, eh?
So, Lydia & Wickham are married and the family is saved (literally). Thanks to Mr. Darcy.
But let's leave that heap of gross undone laundry for a sec and talk about some unmarried people. Namely:
Two Bachelors: Mr. Darcy & Mr. Bingley
Two Bachelorettes: Elizabeth & Jane
Darcy's still got work to do. He did, after all, separate Jane from Bingley and ruin all of her chances with him. Or did he?
Well, yes, he did. But after patching up the Wickhams, he grabs Bingley and lays it all out:
Dude, I was wrong about Jane.
She likes you.
Bingley promptly socks Darcy in the mouth. And all is forgiven.
The two bachelors show up at the Bennets house soon after. They have a very awkward dinner with the Bennet family--Mrs. Bennet is Over-The-Top Hostess-of-the-Year, Jane has no idea what to think or say or do or feel and Elizabeth keeps trying to talk to Darcy but is continually thwarted by the aforementioned Hostess of the Year.
There are a few of these visits. The ice melts a little....but will it melt enough?*
*Alright, horrible button to the end of this chapter. Do forgive the metaphor. :)
This week's chapters were written by the director of "Pride & Prejudice: An Adaptation" Caitlin Lushington.
NEXT WEEK: Will they or won't they? Is Jangley a thing? And a rumor emerges...
What was different this month? What was the same?
The same this month was that I struggled with keeping my ensos daily.
I didn't follow my June goal of writing out a stream-of-consciousness thought rant before watching TV.
I did find a couple of moments of mindfulness when going up or down stairs. Mostly, though, mindfulness came when I was in transition--driving the car, walking to my next thing that I had to do, getting ready to rehearse--and I needed a couple of breaths to center myself.
So I think that's good.
This month was HUGELY packed. All the ensos you see below were very spur of the moment--except for maybe the rainbow one. That one I made after the Orlando shooting. Everything else I made in rehearsal, at work or while filming something for Enso Theatre.
I think that's good too. Creating an enso may not be a daily routine yet, but it's certainly an integrated part of my life, which means that when I need it most--that space--I can pretty easily find it.
Breathe. Love. Create. Repeat.
Follow us on Instagram to see what or who all these ensos are dedicated to! (it might be YOU!)
What is #Enso4You? On January 1st of 2016 I set out to create an Enso-a-day for one year. Each Enso is meant to thank a person, place or thing that has inspired me. Every month I check in on this blog to assess the difference this practice is making in my day to day life.
An Enso is a symbol created on an exhale of breath which represents a moment when the mind is free, to let the body create.
The #enso4you's are posted on Instagram, Twitter, and more rarely, Facebook.
CREATE YOUR OWN #ENSO4YOU JOURNEY:
If you would like to make one Enso, or even join me on this wild journey, here are the guidelines I'm following:
1. The Enso can be made out of anything, but it must be made out of things I already own.
2. I will post and update once a month on www.ensotheatre.com/blog.
3. The update will answer the questions: What did you notice before, during and after each Enso was created? What was different? What was the same?
Sometimes I use a Sumi-e Board to paint my ensos. All you need is water and a paintbrush, and as soon as you paint your enso, it starts to evaporate and you can paint again. The cheapest one I found is $15, you can get it online here.
Leave a comment and/or a picture if you make an enso! I'd love to chat with you about your experience.
As always, THANK YOU, for being on the path with me.
To give us a (very) brief respite from all the crazy shenanigans of chapters 46-48, Jane opens this chapter with a nice bout of walking. I’ve (Helena Fisher-Welsh, AKA Elizabeth Bennet) talked before about how walking is kinda one of the only things women of this era are allowed to do without needing the permission of some man or another, but to re-encapsulate: Walking is the Jane Austen version of Candy Crush. You know, the thing you do when you need to both clear your mind AND let out a little frustration at the same time. Unfortunately for Elizabeth and Jane, the opening sentence is barely over before their walk is interrupted by a hasty looking housekeeper, asking if they have heard any news from London.
Elizabeth expresses that she doesn’t know why they should, when the housekeeper tells them that a letter has arrived from their uncle for their father. What follows is something akin to what a bunch of nerds (myself included) like to call “Scooby-Dooby Doors”, with Jane and Lizzy running about the house and looking in various rooms for the father, only to run in to the butler, who tells them that their father is…..walking!! Outside! Where they just were. So, it’s not exactly like the Scooby-Doo Doors phenomenon. Jane Austen comedy is not quite the same as Hanna-Barbera comedy. However, Austen does mention that Jane, being not quite so used to running as Elizabeth, starts lagging behind as soon as they catch sight of their father, lungs probably on fire from running all about the entire house. She’s also probably limping a little. Having been in Jane’s position quite frequently myself, I find this moment self-deprecatingly funny, with also a dash of schadenfreude because I’ve never had to do that much running in the outfits they wore back then. Can you imagine? Hahahahaha.
Elizabeth: (in between breaths) DAD, OH MY GOD. HAVE YOU. HEARD ANYTHING?
Mr. Bennet: Well, I’ve definitely heard something. Though what exactly I have heard is anyone’s guess.
He gives Lizzy the letter from their uncle to read aloud. Lizzy reads, and the reader discovers that
1. Mr. Gardiner has found Lydia and Wickham in London (Yay!)
2. They are not married (Boo!)
3. Nor does it appear they have any intention to be (BOOOO!)
4. They will be married if Mr. Bennet agrees to a one hundred pound allowance per year for Lydia, as well as her equal share of five thousand pounds (that would go to all the Bennet daughters anyway) after Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are deceased (Wow! Mr. Wickham is a money-grubbing asshole and....probably doesn’t like Lydia all that much? That’s…kinda sad?)
5. Mr. Gardiner has agreed to all these conditions (siiiiiiigh)
6. Mr. Wickham is not as poorly off as he lead everyone to believe! Which means Lydia will have some money from him as well as the money from the Bennet household (Wow!!! What a money-grubbing asshole!)
7. Mr. Gardiner is willing to arrange these things in Mr. Bennet’s place if he gives him permission to do so (That’s nice).
Elizabeth: Have you answered the letter yet?
Mr. Bennet: Well, no, I--
Elizabeth: Well, do it! Oh my god, what does anyone around here wait so much for!!?!
Jane: Dad, really, I’ll do it if you’re not willing--
Mr. Bennet: I’ll do it, I’ll do it! Jeez, give me a second!
Elizabeth: I suppose we have to comply with Wickham’s requests.
Mr. Bennet: We should consider ourselves lucky that he’s not asking more.
Elizabeth: Ugh. Worst in-law ever.
Mr. Bennet: I’m more concerned with how much your uncle paid him. Wickham wouldn’t have agreed to so small a sum otherwise! [With extreme sarcasm] “Wickham’s a fool if he takes her for a farthing less than ten thousand pounds. I should be sorry to think so ill of him, in the very beginning of our relationship.”
Awesome! Mr. Bennet is now potentially indebted to Mr. Gardiner (family though he may be) to the tune of ten thousand pounds. For reference, that’s roughly £339,600 today, or $450,700. Not to play the Millennial card here, but I could pay off my student loans about 17 times with that money.
Lizzy and Jane are of two minds on the situation as regards Lydia, Lizzy thinking that if Lydia is not grateful for what her aunt and uncle have done for her “she will never deserve to be happy” (cold), while Jane thinks they should just forgive and forget (ah, typical Jane). Then they realize that their mother, who has been inhaling so many smelling salts during the past few weeks she’s become a grain of smelling salt, doesn’t know about these turn of events! They take their uncle’s letter up to her to read, and discover that Mary and Kitty are also there, and they can satisfy three birds with one reading. Upon hearing the news, Mrs. Bennet seesaws from abject misery to loud, exuberant joy, not caring at whit of the circumstances that resulted in Lydia getting married in face of the actual fact of marriage. She starts talking in excess about the wedding clothes, and instructs Lizzy to ask her father how many of them he will be granting Lydia for this marvelous occasion. If it wasn’t apparent to the reader before, it’s pretty easy now to see where Lydia gets her tactlessness and short-sightedness from.
Anyway, Mrs. Bennet then leaves to essentially brag to all of her family members and neighbors and possibly also to any random person she meets on the street that her youngest daughter is to be married to a [handsome] money-grubbing asshole. Elizabeth, meanwhile, becomes “sick of this folly” and goes to hide in her room (I, too, have done this, usually during Halloween parties). Lizzy reasons with herself that although things didn’t exactly turn out great, they turned out a lot better than expected. The Bennet family should be relieved that Lydia hasn’t been abandoned by Wickham to live out the rest of her life as a fallen woman, and I say that with all due seriousness. As annoying as Lydia is, she’s pretty young still and can be excused for not fully comprehending the fate Wickham could have led her to.
Right away, Austen lays out for us the introverted Mr. Bennet’s true feelings on the matter. He always wished he had set aside an annual sum for his wife and daughters instead of spending it all, and now he wishes it more than ever. Had he done so, Lydia might not be so indebted to Mr. Gardiner, as well as not as willing to marry someone with as dubious a financial situation as Mr. Wickham. He didn’t save the money because, naturally, they were going to have a son, as only sons are born while daughters spring from the ground like little oppressed daffodils. Having a son would take care of that pesky entail problem the readers are now well acquainted with, but instead of literally one son, the Bennet’s had….well, you know. Austen then goes on to add that the Bennet’s would probably be broke had not Mr. Bennet’s economy tempered the lack of it in his wife. Because of all of the above, Mr. Bennet is more than happy to agree to Mr. Gardiner’s proposal. He wants as little to do with the business as possible. He responds to Mr. Gardiner’s letter but is too pissed at Lydia to communicate anything to her.
So, whether from bad news traveling quickly or from Mrs. Bennet telling everyone save God, the whole household and soon the whole neighborhood knows about Wickham and Lydia, for better or for worse. The gossips of Longbourne kinda wanted something more dramatic to happen, like Lydia being kept in Wickham’s attic à la Mrs. _____ in some book called J_ne Eyr__ (redacted for spoilers. And I recognize this is an anachronism). As it is, they’re mildly satisfied with the likelihood that she’s married a philandering cad and will be miserable because of that instead. Justice! (?)
Mrs. Bennet begins once again to eat dinner downstairs after TWO WEEKS of either a) not eating at all, b) eating her smelling salts, or c) having her food brought to her in bed by a servant who probably had to stay and watch her moan and cry into her Harrico of Mutton. The Brand New Mrs. Bennet talks non-stop throughout dinner of the various silks and carriages and fineries Lydia shall have, as well as the house they will live in, hilariously imagining which one would be perfect for Lydia if only the current occupants would…leave it. Somehow. Like if only they would die. Mr. Bennet says that they’re welcome to whatever house they wish, as long as they never come here.Ouch.
Mrs. Bennet: [LOUD, DRAWN OUT GASP]
They start to argue about that, and it soon becomes and even BIGGER argument when Mrs. Bennet discovers that her husband will not be advancing any money for Lydia’s new wedding garments. Any. At all. Mrs. Bennet opines that a wedding without wedding clothes is scarcely a wedding at all (Mrs. Bennet has never been to Vegas), and shows more outrage about Lydia’s lack of dresses than the fact that Lydia ran away with a MGA (money grubbing asshole).
Lizzy is starting to have capital-R Regrets about letting Mr. Darcy know about Lydia, as had she held off until leaving Pemberley the affair could have been kept in the family—now that he knows, he probably thinks even less of her and her family than she did before (oh, Lizzy). Though she doesn’t think Mr. Darcy will tell everybody or, in fact, anybody who doesn’t need to know (like, god forbid, Caroline), now that he knows Lizzy is to be connected with Mr. Wickham as part of the family, there is no way he would ever align himself with her. (LIZZY….) Just, no way. (Lizzy!!!!) The irony of her never being more willing to marry him, when he would now be so little willing to ask her, is not lost on Elizabeth. She then meditates on how perfect her and Darcy would be as a couple, while two centuries of readers hum their agreement in the background. The temper and disposition of one would temper that of the other. She reasons, not unfoundedly, that she and Darcy would make a much better couple than Lydia and Wickham will, their marriage being based on nothing more than really, realllly powerful infatuation. Which is fine(ish) for our modern world in which quickie divorces are easily(ish) obtained, but…..not so great for anybody who decides to marry on this basis on England, in 1812.
Mr. Gardiner writes to Mr. Bennet again, informing him that Mr. Wickham has decided to quit the militia. Mr. Gardiner thought it would be the best for everyone, and “advised” (threatened, I hope) him to do so. Mr. Wickham will go into “the regulars” (the regular army, as opposed to the volunteer based and temporarily active militia). Before they leave for the North, however, where Wickham is to be stationed, Lydia wants to visit Longbourne and her family.
Most of the Bennet’s are thrilled at Lydia and Wickham being sent as far away as possible, but Mrs. Bennet lets out another loud, drawn-out gasp, her dream of Wickham and Lydia living in a house within shouting distance shattered to a billion pieces. As for Lydia and Wickham visiting Longbourne, Lizzy and Jane manage to convince her father that it would be irrational to not let them come by even once. It is so agreed upon, even though Wickham is the last person in the world she wants to see.
NEXT WEEK: Mr. & Mrs. Wickham Come To Visit and Mr. Darcy...wow, really? HE did that?? For HER???
This week's chapters were written by Helena Fisher-Welsh, who is playing Elizabeth Bennet in our upcoming production!
Watch our recent video interview with her here: