12th November 1811. Pa steps over the line. I make a Vow.

First, a solemn moment where I share with you a solemn vow. And this is because I’ve had it, yes had it, with my Pa. A line in the sand has been drawn, and I’ve stepped over it, or he has, well anyway we’re not on the same side in any sense of the words. And yes, I know, I’ve just vowed revenge on my family’s nemesis, Miss Blingley, and her ugly sister/sidekick, but in Real Life, nemesises don’t come nicely spaced out but sometimes in lumps, like breakouts on teenage complexions (ask Kitty).  This is the final straw that the camel clutched at, if you’ll forgive a literate illusion. We are at breakfast at Longbourn, Kitty and I discussing the officers, where we are likeliest to run into them accidentally on purpose, who’s fitter than who, you know the drill. Ma is listening fondly, occasionally mentioning Bingley, Netherfield, four grand a year, as far as she’s concerned it’s a done deal, he’s her son in law.

‘Oh, Lydia’ goes Kitty, ‘if Lizzy and Jane find husbands, it’ll be our turn to get the next wealthy gentlemen to move into Netherfield! Just think of the carriages, the gloves, the jewels...’

I’m like, ‘And the endless responsibilities! You poor moo, thou knowest naught. Four grand a year is not enough, nor is ten grand a year like what Arsey’s got, to compensate for being lady of those manors. Think of it, stuck out in the sticks, running a huge household, being polite to grisly old relics for miles around, squeezing out babies like blackheads every few months, eeuuwww! And nobody sees your carriages and jewels, the husband goes up to town and you get left behind vegetating in the country, no thanks!’

Kitty’s like, ‘Well you can just give him an heir and a spare, then do that thing you thought of , you know... pay the doctor to say any more babies will kill  you.’

‘Oh yes, and what if you’re like Ma, having girl after girl? Hello! No, I want money, but I want fun, and travel, and adventure, not responsibilities like big estates. Ma can bust her gusset over Bing’s bling, but give me the regimentals of an ensign any day of the week. Now Captain Carter for example...’

At this point Pa suddenly raised his head from his book and totally unprovoked, launches a blistering attack on us, his very daughters.

You will hardly credit this verbal abuse but he goes, ‘You must be two of the silliest girls in the country, I have suspected it for some time, but I am now convinced.’

Bastard! Kitty was like, totally crushed. The urge to unleash vengeance upon him with some sort of blunt implement was strong, but I resisted. Instead, knowing perfect indifference would rile him more, I pretended he hadn’t spoken, and just carried on about Captain Carter.

 ‘I’m sooo hoping to see him today, I’ve heard he’s going to London tomorrow for a while, and he’s so fine!’

Pa looked amazed at my supreme scornful ignoring of him! Way to show him how insignificant he is, a man who, may I remind you, can’t even put a permanent roof over his family’s heads.

Ma came charging to the rescue in a spirited defence of us her little chicks. Bless her!

She was all, ‘What, thinking your own children silly! They are all very clever.’

Hm, a bit optimistic in the cases of Kitty, Mary, and Jane, but full marks for motherly supportiveness.

She went on, nailing her like, colours to the mast of marital revolution, ‘I remember the time I liked a red coat myself, and so I do still at my heart!’

This clearly an attack on his masculinity and general unexcitingness. Way to go, Ma! I squeezed her poor old mitt and included her in the general chat about where Captain Carter and Col Forster might be found during the day, would it be Miss Watson’s or Clarke’s Library? It’d take a scarlet coat to get me in there.

Pa humphed and buried his head in his probably dodgy book about French women or Greek men or some such. One of them has a pic of a woman getting jiggy with a swan. I ask you! But despite talking away normally, I was cursing my situation, being under the power of Pa, and I resolved to a), get out from under his iron fist asap, and c), get my revenge, in some way, at some time, oh, yes, sooner or later old man, it’ll be payback time!

Many would be daunted by having multiple enemies, but I can handle it, never fear. Bring it on, bring it all on!


11th November 1811. Darcy admires Lizzy’s ‘eyes’. Yeah, right.

Anyhoo Charls insists, maybe she’s so besotted she thinks Lizzy rocks, or is it to show up her lack of finesse and accomplishments to Darcy and his mob? Either way, Liz belts out a couple of numbers, no harm no foul, before Mary elbows her way in and starts torturing us with interminable concertos (that means, small concerts but these went on for like, years). The party’s bombing now, and worse, Darcy and co start looking for their hats and gloves, so I save the day, as ever, by getting Mary to play some dance tunes and a bunch of us start dancing with the officers, I making sure to dance with Captain P just to keep Carter on his well-polished toes. I also make sure to keep swooping by Darcy, so I’m right there to hear him squishing Sir Wills, who’s burbling about dancing being a refinement of polished societies, by remarking ‘every savage can dance.’ Well they can all breathe as well, it’s not going to stop any of us doing that, honestly how stuck up can he be! I have a bit of a qualm, maybe he’s not nice enough for my sister, clueless and old though she be, but then I see Sir W, not the sharpest knife in the box, trying to get Darcy to dance with Liz! When he’s just said he despises it! Aha, thinks I, Sir W is trying to put him off Liz, by pointing out that yet again she’s got an empty dance card, to give his own brood of freakos a better chance of grabbing the readies. But get this, Darcy actually asks her, and Liz tells him to take a hike!

‘I have not the least intention of dancing, I didn’t move this way to beg for a partner,’ and she turns away with a smile.

She didn’t see Darcy’s face, honestly, he looked like he’d been stuffed and mounted like my uncle’s prize salmon. Result! I drag my partner over to Lizzy, and give her a sisterly hug in passing, to her surprise. What a put down! Or ‘set down’ as Ma would say. I bet that man has never been turned down in his life. It’ll do him the world of good, and it’ll do Liz the world of good too, in his eyes. And of course I was right, as ever, as the vilest Blingley sister, our arch enemy, trips over to Darcy all smarmy.

‘I know what you’re thinking,’ she goes. Men hate that, they don’t know themselves what they are thinking and this only confuses them, she knows nothing of the gender methinketh. ‘You are thinking how insupportable it would be to pass many evenings in this manner. I’m quite of your opinion, I was never more annoyed!’

I’m like, well why did you come then you daft bint? She then goes on to accuse us of, wait for it, insipidity, noise, nothingness, and self-importance! Right, this means war! Any doubts I had about getting D and L together, are gone. I vow then and there that any effort, any resulting marital misery for all involved, will be worth it, just to see her sour lemon-sucking gob when she hears they are engaged.

This beehatch is going down! Oh, it’s so ON!

And like the gods are cheering me on in my good and unselfish works, Darcy himself gives her a right verbal slap in the chops. ‘Actually I’m meditating on the very great pleasure a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow,’ he goes.

Eyes, eh! I’d say his own eyes were mostly looking further south of my sister if you get my drift. Anyhoo, Miss B’s face lights up, thinking he means her, as if!

She asks who, all faux coy, and he goes for the killer punch – ‘Miss Elizabeth Bennet’. YES!

I suddenly realise I’ve shouted it aloud, and have to spend the next five minutes fighting off my partner who’d just asked me a rather impertinent question... but it gets Captain Carter rushing over to cut in, and I only manage to hear one bit of her response, which is ‘You’ll have a charming mother in law, she’ll always be at Pemberley with you.’

Another huge tactical error, a rookie mistake! She’s reminding him of our family, our poverty, yadda yadda, well there’s no hiding that, and he’s so minted he doesn’t need dosh, but she’s also reminded him of Ma, one of our best assets! Ok she’s a bit nervy these days, but she still looks good for her age, and they do say a young man looks at his girl’s mother to see what she’ll be like some years down the line. I’m so full of triumph and excitement, I have to go outside for some fresh air, and Captain Carter kisses my hand and then, oh then, the side of my neck... ooohhh, it feels good, he smells good, and I don’t care that we’re not engaged, to hell with all that carp!

All in all a damn fine night’s work I’d say!


10th November 1811. Darcy talks balls with Lizzy.

Well last night at the Lucas’ do, I got the chance to see how things are shaping with the fab four. I was looking particularly well, with my hair artfully curled and tumbling about my headdress like a very goddess, all that dunking my head in camomile tea is paying off I think, it deffo looks lighter. I was wearing eau de nil, which brings out the green in my aquamarine eyes to perfection. Captain Carter addressed me as ‘o nymph’, which I think is a compliment, though I had a moment’s doubt it meant something not altogether nice. Then he said I was an enchantress, and danced like a fairy on the sea foam, and other suchlike. While we were dancing, I pretended someone had stood on my foot, so I could lift my dress just a little to check my shoe for ‘damage’, giving just a teeny flash of ankle, and then I engineered he got a follow-up flash of cleavage as I straightened up, he just about went into cardiac arrest with lustful admiration. Which is the best kind, IMO. So I was having a great time, and Kitty was rotating happily with some drummer boy I’d drummed up for her, but I had enough mind-power to notice Darcy, not dancing as per, standing like a longcase clock against the wall, possibly fearing further chocolate attack. He was staring at Lizzy, almost like he was annoyed with her, as she danced about and joked as ever, all hyperactive like she’d got fleas in her shift or something. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed him watching her. Charlotte did, and Sir Will Lucas, and even, wonder of wonders, Lizzy herself! So you can see how obvs it was.

So Lizzy handles this with her signature subtlety, by loudly asking Charls, why Mr Darcy was listening in to her convos, and generally scoping her out? (Not in those words, natch.) Charlotte immediately dares Lizzy to ask D himself, knowing full well she’ll take the bait. Idea being to put D off her, but with the result I’d say with my uncanny knowledge of human behaviour, hem hem, the exact opposite.

True to form, Liz asks Darcy, ‘Did you not think I expressed myself well just now, teasing Col Forster to give us a ball at Meryton?’

 I’m thinking, another ball, yay! Good for you Lizzy. Sometimes she’s not so dumb.

He replies, ‘With great energy, but it’s a subject which always makes a lady energetic.’

Bit sneery you see? We already all know what he thinks of dancing, and soon we knew more. But his eyes were fixed on her, like hungrily, and Charlotte tried another tack. She starts bullying Lizzy, amidst flattery, to sing and play a few songs, and we all know Lizzy’s talent is fairly minimal – I mean, your ears don’t bleed or anything, and most of the right notes get their chance, but it’s not something you’d buy tickets for.

Liz is like, ‘Oh no, you’re a strange kind of a friend! Not before those who must be in the habit of hearing the very best performers!’
Yeah Liz, if you only knew how strange!

8th November 1811. Charlotte's laydee-love dilemma.

 I tell Kitty about overhearing Lizzy and her Sapphire mate Charlotte talking about Jane and Bingley. Lizzy was saying that Jane was ‘in a way to being very much in love’ (yay!) and that it was a good thing no-one would guess, as Jane didn’t show her feelings much.

 Charlotte was like, ‘if she conceals her affection from him, though, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him! A woman had better show more affection than she feels!’

I couldn’t help thinking some of what she said was about her own pash for Lizzy, poor loser.

 Lizzy was like, ‘If I were determined to get a rich husband, or any husband, I’d do that, but Jane is not acting by design, she wants to be sure of her feelings and him before she lets on’.

Charlotte was like, ‘Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. It’s better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.’

I thought, bitter, much? But then even though it wasn’t useful or important, I found myself doing a bit of like, profiling of Charlie. Pretty poor prospect for her really, being how she is. She’s supposed to get married, if you’re not into guys, that’d be a pretty awful prospect. As well as Pa’s porn, I’ve seen the cows and the poultry mating on the farm, eeeuuuwww! and as for childbirth! Mrs Long’s sister died last month after three days screaming in agony while something the size of a small house tried to force its way out of her innards... no wonder Charlotte wears brown and scrapes her hair back! But if she doesn’t get married that’s like an epic fail for a girl, you end up as a burden on your relatives and mocked by all and sundry. Some choice! Especially if you don’t fancy men. Where’s she going to find lady-love out here in the sticks? What are the chances of another similarly inclined, as Lizzy would put it if she had any idea such a thing as Sapphireism existed. (All the time she’s spent in Pa’s library, she’s never noticed anything really interesting.) Either way, the whole marriage thing sucks big time for her, well all of us laydeez, really. But we soldier on... or I’d like to, geddit?!

Lizzy was just laughing though, all those brains Pa goes on about and her emotional IQ is like, zero. ‘Oh Charlotte,’ she goes, ‘you make me laugh! You know it is not sound, you’d never act that way yourself!’

So you see, as I told Kitty, Lizzy and Jane are hopeless romantics, and hopeless in all sorts of other ways too, and things are looking up!

6th November 1811. I invent 'profiling' & profile Lizzy

I have invented a technique I call ‘profiling’. We all get taught to make profiles, those silhouettes cut out of black paper, and it’s a good way to flirt, they say, making a profile of a young man. Yeah, right, how hot is sitting still while somebody makes your nose look huge by cutting up paper! What matters is what’s inside the profile, you have to get into their heads you see, that’s what I call profiling, I was trying to explain it to Kitty.

‘But how can Lizzy ensnare Darcy, Lydia, she doesn’t even like him!’ goes Kitty, genius of this parish.

‘D’oh! That’s exactly how, Kitty my poor innocent, look at his profile!’

‘Ah yes that straight nose, noble chin, like, good hair, and even cheekbones to die for...’

‘No, no, you fool. Inside his head! Think of the life Darcy has led. Think what it must be like to be a man, a young man, with pots of dosh.’

Kitty was like wrinkling her forehead with the mental effort. I spell it out for her.

‘Listen, all his life, he’s been the ultimate eligible bachelor. Since he hit puberty, every older female has been pimping her daughters, trying to catch him as a son-in-law. Every girl has been angling to get her hooks into him. Every single minute of every social occasion, they are lining up to compliment him, curtsey to him, smiling and grovelling, showing off their accomplishments and ankles, and the fact that he’s handsome is neither here nor there for most of them. His money alone would make most women hand him their daughters on a plate, even if he was ancient, fat and riddled with diseases. Men like the chase, the hunt, a challenge, but he’s been chased for years and he’s bored, bored stiff.’

‘Stiff!’ yells Kitty and we can’t stop giggling for a while but I pull myself together eventually.

‘This is serious Kits. Now think, or at least try to. What is special about Lizzy, and Jane too, in fact?’

‘Erm...’She gave up.

‘Neither of them gives a flying frock about getting married for the sake of it, even though we are cursed with that entail. They won’t marry a man unless they are in lurve, and he’s in lurve with them. They are hopeless romantics. Even money, yes even money, won’t tempt them. How many pretty girls d’you think Darcy meets who are wired that way? Zilch! Nada!’

‘Who are they?’ asks Kitty, poor dimboid. I refused to be sidetracked when in full flow of like, forensic brilliance.

‘Now, he’s met our clueless Lizzy, and therein lies her most powerful tool.’

‘Tool!’ shrieked Kitty. We couldn’t help corpsing again, but I established calm after a mere fifteen minutes.

‘Lizzy doesn’t simper or grovel or behave all missish, she runs and larks about and behaves like a lad, though with a rack, she makes jokes, she laughs, and she’s feisty. And he insulted her, so she doesn’t like him! The more she doesn’t like him, the more he’ll be likely to like her! And anything we can do to help this along, we’ll do.’

‘I can see a problem with that,’ goes Kitty, ‘what if he ends up liking her enough to marry her but she still doesn’t like him?’

‘I shall think of something when the time comes, fear not. ATM, it’s all about the not liking. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.’

4th November 1811. My New Crush. Phwoooaarrr!

Well now the regiment is installed in the area, and my lovely uncle has visited all the officers, bless him, so they all then visit my aunt, who makes them very welcome, and Kitty and myself make damn sure we are sitting there in our best bonnets having a glorious flirt-fest for like, hours every day. Oh joy, at last something to live for! Colonel Forster, though of course way too old for moi, is a handsome man in his regimentals, and a total darling, making sure his boys (didn’t somebody famous say, a thing of beauty is a boy forever?) get some home comforts in the hospitable drawing rooms of Meryton by introducing them into local society, ie my Aunt Philips, who as Ma’s sister shares her good looks (or the remains of them), and her drop dead gorgeous nieces, well me anyway. Nowadays Meryton’s a man-magnet, it’s mint! We are asked to non-stop dances and teas and dinners and all kinds of amusements. Col Forster has also got pally with Bingley and Darcy and all the oldies, even Ma and Pa, the Lucases, the Longs, so they all have to repay any hospitality with more of the same, it’s like, an oldies’ rule. For once a rule that works! It gives me a chance to regularly clock the hottie that is Captain Carter.

Tall, slim, strong, omigod he fills out his dress uniform a treat, and dances a dream. I think I’m in lurve... I find I breathe faster when he’s in the room, and the effect said breathing has on my cleavage and hence on Captain Carter’s breathing, is nothing short of magical, hence I’ve given nature a hand by wearing tighter corsetry. Overdid it a bit, and fainted, right into his arms, phwooaarr! Swoon, thud! His warm brown eyes gazed right into mine, as he gently raised me and assisted me to the sopha, I can’t bear the thought the officers won’t be here for ever. Why can’t ordinary men wear scarlet?

So as you can imagine, my multi-tasking abilities have been stretched to breaking point, almost, since all these social events have also been chances for Jane and Bingley, and Lizzy and Darcy, to get together. I’ve managed to keep an eye on them in between gazing into the divine features of Captain Carter, you see I don’t always think of myself whatever anybody says. And what I’ve seen, has been pretty promising I have to say. Our Jane is hot for Bingley, though she’d no doubt call it ‘respectful esteem’ or something similarly dull. Her body language is full on, as is his, he has to hold his gloves in front of his breeches in a very marked manner when they’ve been dancing together. Of course Darcy is a very different kettle of water to Bingley, but by an amazing piece of luck, Lizzy is just the girl to get him, and nobody sees it but me! At first, all Arsey D could do was sneer at us all, and her in particular, he kept looking her over like he was looking for faults. I heard through Fanny’s bro, the Netherfield footman you remember, that the sisters are always picking Lizzy to bits, beehatches, and Darcy basically agreed with them at first. Clearly the Bingley sister who isn’t married (and you should see the oxygen thief the older married one is lumbered with!) is plotting to get into Darcy’s pantaloons herself. She little knows who she is really up against...

30th October 1811. The Soaps.

Just to explain the above reference to my soaps for those few of you who don’t understand. One of my many army general-type skills is my use of manpower. (Not that kind, well not yet, but give me half a chance, heh heh). The servants. A pretty much untapped resource, underestimated by everyone but moi. They are treated as practically invisible, like food appears on the table by magic, but I alone in this family treat them as human beings. Exactly the way I treat my sisters, and if I had any, brothers. Thus I have created a network of informants and helpers, as all the servants know each other from Hall to House, and by getting down with the servos, I can get them to do all sorts of extra stuff for me, like our Hill and her compadres do extra sewing for my accessories, trimming my bonnets, curling my hair, finishing my dreary napkin hemming and such when the boredom gets too much for me. And of course all the goss gets passed along and I get my ears on it before it hits the rest of the family. Result! I reward my army of assistants by passing on my or Kitty’s worn out clothes, shoes, and any odds and ends I no longer need or which are, like, so over in fashion terms, or that I pick up in Ma’s room or my sisters’. Servants, I’ve noticed, seem to be about the house at all hours for some reason, so they don’t get much chance to go shopping. So they are grateful for my gifts as well they might be. And I can keep up with events before they happen. Eg Fanny, our underhousemaid, has a bro who’s footman at Netherfield, so I’m like, connected there. This may be useful now that Blingley's installed...

Oh yes, soaps. So, one of the things I like to do, is keep up with the serialised stories which get printed and sold in Meryton, or sent from London by other rellies or other bloggers on the Net. However being dead busy, I get Hill to read them for me, and then give me a sinp sinop synp the deets while I’m working on my complexion or whatevs. It gives her a chance to read them too of course, so while she’s up to her armpits in soapsuds washing up in the scullery, she tells me each episode and I sit by the range all cosy, to listen and drink hot choc and do my nails. That’s why I call them my soap stories, or soaps for short.

My fave is ‘Hollyoaks Hall’, all about real McFitties and bitchy girls and stuff. Gotta love it! Hill does a great job of it, I tell her, maybe one day they’ll write a soap about her and her family, they could call it ‘The Hills’! (Like that’ll ever happen!) Being a servant sucks, but hey, they’ve got me to make life more interesting. And by all accounts they get up to all sorts in the Servants’ Hall, so their social life is way better than most of my sisters’ and their dweebie friends' tedious tea-drinkings.