This week in "Building Stories With Word Elf", we were introduced to The Magical World of Fan and Caitlin's invisible friend, The Word Elf.
The Magical World of FAN (Fantastical Areas of INvention) is a place where you can be anyone, do anything, and go anywhere. We talked about the four rules we have to follow in order to travel to Fan, which are:
1. Have fun
2. Be Nice
3. Try something new
Each day of class, students meet on the Launch Pad to talk about what they remember from the last class and to review the rules. Then, we PUSH ALL THE BUTTONS and launch into the Magical World of Fan!
We spent the first day creating the Magical World of Fan using the "Yes...and" game. In this game, one student comes up with something he/she thinks is in Fan, such as "A house!" The next student says "YES! and..." and he/she adds something else. As the students added these things, they would stand up to become them, themselves.
Then suddenly, a gust of wind blew us in the direction of one of the arrows on the floor, and we noticed a mysterious yellow note on the wall. We found three in total. Each had a single word on it, and students took turns tracing the words on the notes. When we put them in order, the notes said "Give a gift!" This note from Word Elf reminded Caitlin of a game she knew by the same name, and so we played!
In "Give a Gift", one student picks up an imaginary gift, being sure to show us the size and weight of the present. He/she presents it to the other student, who opens it and declares what's inside. Thank you's and your welcome's are exchanged, and then we switch.
After playing these games, I asked the students if we ever run out of ideas. One student claimed that yes, sometimes he ran out of ideas. I asked him, "So when you run out of an idea, what happens next?" And he said, "I get a new idea." Exactly!
At our second class, we started to talk more about who we thought Word Elf was. Thursdays are special days because Word Elf leaves us a Word of the Week, and everyone was pretty stoked for that. But before we could get there, we launched into FAN and immediately were blown in four directions to find four more mysterious yellow notes. When we traced the words and put them together, they said "What Are You Doing?" This, of course, reminded Caitlin of a game she knew, by the same name.
In "What Are You Doing?", one student begins an activity, any activity at all, such as brushing teeth. Another student asks, "What are you doing?" and the first student has to name an activity DIFFERENT from their current one. Once that activity is named, the second student starts doing that activity. Another student comes to ask "What are you doing?" and the game continues.
When the game was over, we discovered four tape lines on the floor, and when we fit the four notes into the lines, the shape that was created was an arrow. When we followed the arrow, we were lead to a mysterious package, and inside....was our Word of the Week! Students sat at the table with markers to complete their Word of the Week activity.
Each week, students will receive a Word of the Week and a Story of the Week (on the back). The story gets a new chapter each week, and by the end of class, students will have a complete story, which they have read carefully and circled their "Word of the Week" in each one.
Next week we will review some games from this week, continuing to explore the themes of "Ideas are Gifts" and "We never run out of ideas!" We will also start talking about the structure of stories, ie, beginnings, middles and ends, and learn to identify the beginning, middle and end of a story. And of course, we will get a new Word of the Week. :)
See you in class!
Caitlin & The Word Elf
On this blog, you can follow your students' progression through our Fall 2016 "Building Stories With Word Elf" class! Each week Caitlin will post a little about what we did in class, and what's coming up in the following week. Feel free to comment with any questions, or email Caitlin directly at email@example.com.
Thank you! We are so excited to have your students in our class!
Learning becomes the Most. Exciting. Thing. EVER! in this innovative class for 5 and 6-year-olds. Over ten weeks, students will explore a variety of storytelling forms with instructor Caitlin Lushington and her invisible friend, The Word Elf. Students will embrace the concept of "Yes, and...!" in sharing and creating their story ideas. Caitlin’s good friend, the Word Elf (an invisible Elf that LOVES words!) will bring each student a new word/concept each week related to the theater, storytelling and ensemble-building. At the end of the class,students will present a showcase of the stories they've created and the games/exercises they've learned to family and friends.
Here are just a few of the awesome story forms we’ll be exploring:
~Movement & Tableaus
~Guided Imaginative Play
~and so much more!
You can follow your students’ progress through our online blog using the “Word Elf” category. Updated weekly.
INSTRUCTOR: Caitlin Lushington (and her invisible friend, The Word Elf!)
October 3rd* - December 8th
Tuesdays & Thursdays
$200 (that’s $10/class!)**
*The first 15 minutes of our first day of class, parents are invited to a brief informational welcome meeting.
**We never refuse a student on the basis of financial need. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Word Elf Financial Help" to inquire about financial assistance and payment plans.
THE MAGICAL WORLD OF FAN
The Word Elf is from an incredible place filled with adventures called The Magical World of FAN (Fantastical Areas of Invention). In this magical world you can be anyone and do anything. The only rules are:
1. Have fun!
2. Be nice!
3. Try something new!
4. YES! AND....
Caitlin and the Word Elf have been on all sorts of adventures together in the Magical World of Fan. She is recording some of them and will be releasing a new one each month. Here is our first demo episode:
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
Caitlin Lushington is a teacher, director, actress and master fort-builder. She has been creating classes for children since she was 9 and has worked with a wide variety of ages, from toddlers to college students. Recent teaching opportunities have been with Enso Theatre Ensemble, NorthWest Children’s Theatre, Oregon Conservatory of Performing Arts and Castro Valley Dramatic Arts Academy. Caitlin has also been a professional nanny for the last four years and has steadily learned how to blend lesson plans into fort-building days with her kids. Teaching is what gets Caitlin up in the morning and she is eager to create a well-rounded program with Enso. She is a firm believer in taking time to breathe, and the motto, "One day at a time."
There's a lot of mushy speech in this section where Liz is all, "So how did YOU fall in love with ME?" and Darcy's all "But how did YOU fall in love with ME?" and it's wonderful but exhausting and you get the idea.
Mr. Bennet lets Mr. Collins know promptly that Elizabeth and Darcy are engaged, and he advises him to start sucking up to Darcy, not Lady C---because, news alert, Darcy has WAY more money than Lady C.
And the rest of them? Well:
And that, as they say, is the end of that.
THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone that has followed this thing to its conclusion!!
Send us a comment or a like if you'd be interested in a paraphrased version of our next full-length adaptation, ROMEO AND JULIET.
So...where exactly did Lady Catherine get the idea that Liz and Darcy were a thing?
Not that they're a thing. Yet. Maybe. Hopefully. But probably not. Right?
And then Dad Bennet calls Lizzie in and congrats her on schmoozing with the big D.
How does HE know??
Collins wrote to Mr. Bennet saying "Hey! Congrats on Jane's engagement and I'm slightly worried about Lizzie's engagement to the big D--Lady Catherine came over for tea this afternoon and smashed all of the tea cups in the house. Seemed like maybe she was mad about something, and all she kept saying was "Elizabeth!! RAWR!!! Darcy!! RAWR!!!" I eventually figured it out....sooooo maybe can you not have your daughter marry Mr. Darcy, so that I can keep my dishes in tact?"
Mr. Bennet thinks this is the funniest sh** he has ever read. Elizabeth does not know what to feel. So what does she do? YOU GUESSED IT:
And actually she ends up going on a walk with Bingley and Jane and Darcy. And when both Elizabeth and Darcy about to vomit from the cuteness eminating from the general direction of Jangley, they take a different path and find themselves alone.
DARCY: My aunt.
DARCY: I'm so so sorry.
LIZZIE: After what you've done for Jane, for Lydia, for all of us, I can forgive the occasional impropriety of your familial relations. Because mine are completely proper in every way, of course.
DARCY: Of course....You know, it was for you. (breath) If you still feel the way you did last April, say so. My feelings have not changed.
LIZZIE: You could say, potentially, that things have changed.
LIZZIE: YOU'RE AMAZING AND I ADORE EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU EVEN THE PARTS THAT DRIVE ME TOTALLY INSANE AND I WANT TO SPEND THE REST OF OUR LIVES HEADBUTTING WITH EACH OTHER AND BEING STUBBORN AND STUPID FOREVER TOGETHER.
Or something like that.
Lizzie finds out that Lady Catherine is actually responsible for Darcy giving it one more go. On her way back home, she reached out to Darcy and told him how her conversation with Elizabeth had gone, hoping to convince him that Lizzie is a total wild animal. And she did convince him of that, but not in a bad way, and her story also hinted to Darcy that Lizzie might actually like him.
So now the only thing that's left is to tell the Bennets, and get Mr. Bennet's blessing for the marriage. This is not as easy as it might sound
On the one hand, Mrs. Bennet could hate it because she hates Mr. Darcy. On the other hand she could love it because Darcy is rich.
Darcy talks to Mr. Bennet. Mr. Bennet talks to Elizabeth.
"I mean, he's rich, certainly. But will you be happy, Lizzie?"
"Yeah, I think so, Dad. I'm in love with him."
Needless to say Mr. Bennet is knocked off his rocker. He can see she means it.
"Then I heartily give my consent."
And it's only then that Elizabeth reveals to him the full extent of what Darcy has done for the family. Mr. B is knocked off his rocker and rolling on the floor. (not literally)
The Dad-half settled, Lizzie now works on her mother.
"AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH MY LIZZIE MARRIED OMG OMG OMG OMG YOU WILL BE SO RICH! SO MANY CARRIAGES! GAHAAAAAAAAAAA I'M SO HAPPY MY LIZZIE, MY LIZZIE MARRIED TO MR. DARCY!!!!"
Nothing to worry about there.
This week's chapters were written by Caitlin Lushington.
NEXT WEEK: We wrap it all up.
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:
After reading through her letters and having a SUPER embarrassing encounter with Darcy, Lizzie was exhausted. Following countless cups of tea to help her to gather her thoughts (and her nerves) she was finally able to broach the subject of The Scandalous Elopement with her aunt and uncle.
“With the facts of the situation being what they are,” Uncle Gardiner “I have to agree with Jane on this one. Lydia isn’t alone in this world. I can’t imagine that Wickham would elope with her to take advantage of her when he knows that Lydia has family and friends to look after her. I am inclined to hope for the best—that they are in love and plan to marry.”
While a tiny part of Lizzie’s mind was screaming “YOU’RE A MORON, UNCLE! WICKHAM IS BAD NEWS: JUST ASK DARCY!” the fact was, she much preferred her uncle’s optimism, and as much as she doubted Wickham’s intentions were honorable, it made her a little happier to briefly imagine the possibility that they were. Even so, the situation was mind-boggling. Especially the suggestion that they had gone to Scotland, of all places! What is even IN Scotland? Haggis? Thistles? Do they even have tea there? Lizzie shuddered. Imagine a world without tea. How barbaric.
“To my mind, it seems most logical that they’ve hidden themselves away in London. They can’t have much money between the two of them, and it would be easier to get married cheaply in London than it would in Scotland.”
“Even so, Uncle, I still don’t see why their wedding has to be in secret! I have heard it said that Wickham cannot afford to marry a woman without money, and Lydia has nothing to offer him in that regard.”
Uncle Gardiner frowned. “Do you think so little of Lydia that she would live with him on any terms other than marriage?”
“I don’t know. Lydia is a young, impulsive romantic, and for the past year the only thing she has been doing is partying and flirting. Who knows what warped logic she has at this point!”
Thinking about Lydia’s naivety and the consequences this stupid decision would have on her youngest sister’s life made Lizzie’s blood boil. Lizzie began to blame herself. She knew that Lydia couldn’t be trusted alone with a camp full of soldiers. She should have pushed her father more to keep Lydia at home. She also knew the horrible deeds Wickham had been accused of by Mr. Darcy; she should have made her family aware of Wickham’s true character rather than keeping that knowledge to herself. True, when Lydia left for Brighton, Lizzie had no idea that Wickham and Lydia might be fond of one another, but as an older sister, was it not her duty to look after her younger siblings and keep them out of danger? Surely Lydia wouldn’t be so fooling as to run off with Wickham if she knew of his history… or would she?
This chaotic whirlwind of guilt and anger occupied Lizzie’s mind for most of the trip back to Longbourne. Thankfully Jane was ready and waiting to meet Lizzie and update her on all of the goings on.
“Papa has arrived safely into town, but has nothing significant to report. Mama, as you may have guessed, is a hot mess, poor dear.”
Jane’s comment was accentuated by a harsh wail from the direction of their mother’s bedroom.
Further questioning of Jane revealed that there was no news, although Jane remained hopeful that the situation would all turn out for the best. Thankfully out of the goodness of his heart, Uncle Gardiner offered to assist as best he could in the search.
After WAY too much waiting, news arrived at last, in the form of Lydia’s farewell letter, which Colonel Forester had sent along to Uncle Gardiner:
My Dear Harriet,
What up? Lolz. You’re probably wondering where I am, right? Well, here’s the dealio (I’m letting you know first because you are my BFF): I am going to Gretna Green with the only man that I love (and if you don’t know who I mean, I will be totes ashamed of you!). I am redonkulously happy!
Also, don’t tell my family because I want to imagine the look on their faces when I write to them and sign my name: Lydia Wickham. It will be such a scream!! I can hardly write for laughing! Also, do tell Sally to mend the tear in my dress – she knows the one I mean—and let Pratt know that I’m sorry I had to break my promise to dance with him tonight, but that I’ll catch him at the next ball!
Upon reading the letter, Mrs. Bennet, understandably, had a fit of hysterics and the Bennett household flew into an uproar once more.
Mr. Bennett had always been a man of few words: a quality which the Bennett family usually did not mind, but in light of the Lydia drama, it proved infuriating.
The more that Wickham was scrutinized, the more moneylenders Mr. Bennett and Mr. Gardiner discovered. The two men came to the inevitable conclusion that Wickham was a wicked man indeed. In spite of all of this chaos, they seemed to be making little progress in locating Lydia and Wickham.
Just when you thought the situation couldn’t become more stressful for the Bennett family, they received a mortifying letter from Mr. Collins intended for Mr. Bennett:
Because we are family I felt the need to send my condolences for the current trial you are enduring. You have my deepest sympathy during this trying time.
Indeed, your daughter’s death would be a blessing in comparison to this. It is even more to be lamented because, my dear Charlotte inform me, his licentiousness of behavior in your daughter comes from a faulty degree of indulgence of yourself and Mrs. Bennett. In spite of this, you are grievously to be pitied, and Mrs. Collins, Lady Catherine, and her daughter agree with me that this injurious act of your daughter will harm the fortunes of your other daughters as well.
This consideration does lead me to reflect with augmented satisfaction on certain events of last November, for had it been otherwise, I might have been involved in all of your sorrow and disgrace. Let me advise you, dear sir, to console yourself as much as possible and cut all connections with your child and leave her to suffer the consequences of her actions.
This, of course, did not go over well in the Bennett household, and Mrs. Bennett, who had already worried herself sick over the possibility of Mr. Bennett being killed in an imaginary duel with Wickham was beside herself.
At long last, Mr. Bennett returned home, feeling sufficiently guilty and wearied by fruitless searching.
“You were right to warn me, Lizzie. Your advice showed greatness of mind… if only I had listened!”
“Do not blame yourself, Papa. There was no way for us to know that this would happen!”
“I might as well lock myself away in my room, like you dear Mother is doing. Add a little elegance to our misfortunate by giving as much trouble as I can until Kitty decides to run away.”
Kitty sniffed indignantly, “I am not going to run away Papa. If I were to go to Brighton I would behave much better than Lydia!”
Incensed, Mr. Bennett lost his shit. “YOU go to Brighton? Not going to happen. I have learned my lesson, Kitty. No officer is to ever enter my house again or even to pass through the village. Balls are a no-go unless you stand up with one of your sisters, and you are not allowed outdoors unless you have proven that you have spent ten minutes of every day in a rational matter.”
Understandably, Kitty burst into tears.
“There, there, Kitty. Do not make yourself unhappy. If you’re a good girl for the next ten years I’ll reconsider my position.”
This week's chapters were written by Miss Lydia Bennet herself, Kylie Rose.
NEXT WEEK: How To Marry Off Your Insane Psycho Youngest Daughter--just add Darcy!
*Sigh* Let’s get this over with.
The only reason I’m doing this is because we need someone sensible and impartial to talk this over with you, so of course it falls to me, Mary. With Elizabeth occupied with Darcy, Jane starstruck by Bingley, and god knows what Kitty and Lydia are up to, I had to step in.
Important gossip that I-know-but-don’t-care-about: Darcy proposed and was refused by Lizzie, because he was a jerk - or so she thought. Whereas in reality, he was just trying to be a good friend and look out for the people he cared about blah blah blah. So now Lizzie is falling in love with this man that she barely knows (I get it, she hasn’t realized it yet, but come on, it’s obvious).
Now that we’re all caught up, Lizzie (it’s just all about her isn’t it?) was in a sour mood so our Aunt and Uncle (the Gardiners) took her for a road trip. In their high spirits they decided to pay a visit to Pemberley (You know, the place where Lizzie’s non-existant ex lives? Great plan, guys).
Luckily Mr. Darcy seemed to be out for the moment, so Liz was free to drool over statues, paintings and busts of him. All the while the-best-wingman-ever AKA the housekeeper is talking Darcy waay up. All about how kind-hearted he is and how handsome--of course Liz agrees (if you’re in to that whole brooding man-who-quietly-nurses-injured-deer-back-to-life-in-his-spare-time kind of guy). And to top it off, Darcy's a sweet older brother. How much cuter can you get?
Really if Darcy wanted to win Elizabeth over, he should have just invited her for a visit of his estates and let his housekeeper talk to her. That’s how any sensible man would go about it.
After they’re done inspecting all of the paintings inside they go to see the gardens--I mean why not? You’re with the GARDINers after all (sorry not sorry). They’ve been told Mr. Darcy is out but when they go to see the grounds, suddenly he rounds a corner and there is an instant look and blush shared between Darcy and Liz (Ew I sound like Kitty). Annnd that’s when it gets a bit awkward. I mean, suddenly seeing the person who you proposed to and was venomously refused by is not the best surprise for either party. Especially since they’re both in love with each other.
God, it’s such a headache to think about, why do people fall in love anyway? Such a waste of time.
Anyway, after some of the most painfully awkward moments of their lives, Darcy makes his hasty exit. Honestly, she ran the risk of seeing him when she decided to GO TO HIS HOUSE, think things through Lizzie-COME ON!
They continue to look at the grounds but really Liz just wants to go home, it’s been a weird day. Mr. Gardiner, however, is preoccupied by fish (??!!) and they make slow progress back to the carriage. Suddenly, Mr. Darcy appears again and they make the awkward introductions that they missed the last time--Aunt and Uncle, meet The Man I Rejected But Now Realize How Totally Awesome His House Is. Darcy proceeds to walk them back to the house and is surprisingly civil, going out of his way to invite Mr. Gardiner fishing.
Lizzie is lost in thoughts of ‘he loves me, he loves me not’ (Barf) and doesn’t contribute to the conversation much. They end up walking next to each other and she explains that she had no idea he would be here today (wow everything about this is painfully awkward). The conversation turns to him, and he asks if he can introduce her to Miss Georgiana Darcy, I mean how can you refuse? While they had been talking, they made it to the carriage and have to wait AGAIN (in yet another awkward silence) for Mr. and Ms. Gardiner to catch up.
Once they're in the carriage, Mrs. Gardiner grills Lizzie about why she thought Mr. Darcy was disagreeable in the slightest, seeing as he has shown perfect composure and politeness. I don’t think Lizzie admitted anything, just sat quietly and let them decide their own minds about him.
Well then, there you have it. It’s sickening how much Lizzie’s life resembles a romance novel, isn’t it? I believe that’s all the awkwardness I can handle for today.
Have fun, be sensible, goodbye.
CHAPTERS 44, 45, 46
Well I’m back, by popular demand. Not really, but I can pretend can’t I? Kitty is sulking, Lidia is unfortunately flirting, Lizzie is *too* busy being the main character, and Jane is staring dreamily at our ginger cat, so it’s up to me to update you. I was also informed I needed to “Jazz it up” (Kitty’s words, not mine) so here it goes.
We last left off with Lizzie having one of the most awkward days imaginable and now I’m here for round 2. Let’s see if we can beat it, Shall we?
In our right corner we have our five time champion Lizzie Bennet, what with (1) refusing a man, then (2) showing up unannounced at his house to drool at statues of him, then (3) SURPRISE seeing him at his own house and (4) being caught mid drool, and then (5) the multiple stiff silences exchanged between the two.
Aaand in our left corner we have the original tall - dark - and - handsome himself misssttteerr Darcy! Those brooding looks gave away no feeling before he proposed to the woman of his dreams--while also insulting her family and admitting to keeping her sister from happiness--and guess what? got rejected! His heart still longs for her but will she ever love him back?? Here we go.
(Is this ‘Jazzy’ enough for you?)
Alright, so Darcy has asked to introduce Elizabeth to his younger sister Georgiana. Lizzy said yes and that they should come the day after she gets back from Pemberley--BUT they arrive sooner than intended (AWK point = 1 Darcy). Lizzy comes to like Georgiana--even though she’s pretty shy. Soon Bingley joins them and she also determines that he is still at least a tiny bit in love with Jane (Very good, very good). And I mean at this point it’s pretty obvious that Darcy is in love with Elizabeth, the Gardiners see it right away and when Darcy invited her to dine with them the following night they are *quite* supportive. The next day Lizzie and Ms. Gardiner go to visit Georgiana and run into Bingley's sisters (AWK point = 1 Lizzie). Who, might I add, are very insensitive to common decencies, they tried to talk about Wickham in front of Georgiana--You know the guy shE ALMOST RAN AWAY AND ELOPED WITH.
Whoa. Sorry, that just seems super rude, even if you only wanted to take a jab at Elizabeth. And she continues to try throughout the night! Miss Bingley brings up later to Darcy how he used to not favor her looks but boy does she get shot down. With a cold look and a quick comment of she is ‘one of *the* most handsome women I know’ pretty much silenced her after that. (Hehe, take that!) (~Calm down Mary~) (Why can’t I get enough of this stuff?)
OK, so with the Bingley lady’s pity party over, Lizzie heads back to the Inn but life can’t be normal, can it? Let me set this up as a joke: Lizzie walks into an Inn and finds two letters one detailing her sister eloping with a man she once fancied (AWK point = 1 Lizzie) and also knows to be a disgusting human being and one saying there has been no words since they ran away. Hilarious. Being the sensible girl she is, she goes to get our aunt and uncle’s help only to run into the man of the hour Darcy. She tells him everything (Because they’re close now, right?) and in the classic Darcy/Lizzie response they both blame themselves for other people’s misfortunes (I ship it). Lizzie packs her things, apologizing profusely for ruining her dinner date with Miss Darcy (I mean Georgiana, I’m not that sassy).
So update: Kitty is sulking, Lidia is god knows where, Lizzie is still *too* busy being the main character, and Jane is...well--nevermind. It’s still up to me but I really need a break. I can’t deal with all these other people’s problems! It’s ridiculous! My nerves are shot!
O.h. g.o.d. I sound like my mother.
This week's chapters were written by our very own Katie McFarland, who will be playing Mary Bennet in our upcoming production.
NEXT WEEK: The search for Lydia & Wickham continues as public opinion turns against Wicked Wickham.