The Cajun Cheesehead Chronicles
Mr. Darcy’s P&P POV (the abridged version)
Greetings, folks. Jack Caldwell here. This is Part 2 of my little work-in-process. For Part 1, go here.
Remember, comments are required.
Chapter 7 –
Bingley’s quest to make himself the most agreeable man in the county continues, and he, Hurst, and I are to dine with Colonel Forster and the other officers of the militia. I understand that the ladies have invited Miss Bennet to dine with them. Probably to size up her dowry. Hateful women.
Well, that was an agreeable dinner—not. I fairly despise mutton. The way Forster was raving about it, you would think it was the finest lamb prepared by French cooks. Gad! I’m for my chair in Bingley’s barely adequate library and a glass of port to dry off from this cold rain—
WTF? Miss Bennet rode here—on a horse—in the rain? No surprise that she fell ill. What was Mr. Bennet thinking? A blind simpleton could tell it was to rain today! Is he trying to kill off his daughter?
This whole county is crazy. I wish I was back at Pemberley.
Extraordinary thing. Miss Elizabeth walked up from Longbourn before breakfast. Three miles across country in the mud to minister to her ill sister. I cannot see how such a trifling cold could justify her coming so far alone, but I must admire her affectionate behavior towards Miss Bennet. As well as how the exercise added brilliancy to her complexion. She impresses me more and more.
Just as I thought, Miss Bennet’s illness has worsened. I trust the apothecary knows his business. Miss Elizabeth will stay—as she should. If only Georgiana had such a sister, Ramsgate would never have happened.
Chapter 8 –
Gad! Miss Bingley going on again about Miss Elizabeth. Of course, I would not want to see Georgiana traipsing about the countryside in the mud on a mission of mercy. That is what a carriage is for, you know. Now she asks if my admiration of Elizabeth’s eyes has been diminished.
“Not at all—they were brightened by the exercise.” *Sigh* No joy, she keeps talking. Now it is about the Bennet family’s situation, particularly their relations in trade.
“If they had uncles enough to fill all Cheapside,” cried Bingley, “it would not make them one jot less agreeable.”
Oh, Charles, do not be a fool. You are trying to escape your roots in trade, remember? Mr. Bennet might be a landowner, but you have twice his income, very likely more. What sort of man is Mr. Bennet, anyway? No carriage for either of his daughters? It shows a lack of feeling, I am sure. Almost as much as Caroline and Louisa, indulging their mirth at the expense of their dear friend Miss Bennet’s vulgar relations. I shall go to the billiards room.
Evening coffee and the interrogation of Miss Elizabeth continues. I do not know what is more troubling—Bingley’s good-natured but embarrassing gallantry towards our visitor, Miss Bingley’s ill-bred and embarrassing attacks against her, or the presence of the lady herself. For the life of me, I cannot make her out. She accepts Charles’ foolishness and deflects Caroline’s barbs with equal aplomb, but there is a marked gleam in her eye. Is she amused or teasing?
Now Caroline is trying to capture my attention. Again. Her cloying compliments to me and Georgiana are as tiresome as they are obvious. Stop it, woman!
Bingley: “It is amazing to me how young ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished as they all are.”
I must set him straight. “Your list of the common extent of accomplishments has too much truth. The word is applied to many a woman who deserves it no otherwise than by netting a purse or covering a screen. But I am very far from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in general. I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are really accomplished.”
Miss Elizabeth: “Then you must comprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman.”
“Yes, I do comprehend a great deal in it.”
Caroline elaborates to excess about what she believes are the extent of an accomplished lady’s talents. It is just a coincidence that it coincides with hers. Not. Showing off is not attractive, woman.
“All this she must possess, and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.” I say this with an eye on Miss Elizabeth’s book. Heh, heh.
Miss Elizabeth: “I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.”
Are you serious? Oh, right. You could not have been much in Town. “Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this?”
“I never saw such a woman. I never saw such capacity and taste and application and elegance, as you describe united.”
Strange. I thought Miss Elizabeth understood me. Is she playing some game, or is she that modest?
As soon as Miss Elizabeth left for Miss Bennet’s side, Caroline started up again. “Eliza Bennet is one of those young ladies who seek to recommend themselves to the other sex by undervaluing their own; and with many men, I dare say, it succeeds. But, in my opinion, it is a paltry device, a very mean art.”
Is this not the pot calling the kettle black! “Undoubtedly there is meanness in all the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable.”
Good, that shut her mouth.
Miss Elizabeth returns to say her sister is worse. Bingley is distressed. Certainly the apothecary should be sent for in the morning should there be no improvement, but there is no need for a London physician, Caroline! Your phony concern sickens me.
Yes, Miss Elizabeth agrees with me. What a sensible woman.
TO BE CONTINUED…
It takes a real man to write historical fiction, so let me tell you a story.