Where was I... oh, yes, well our oldest sister is Jane, and she’s the beauty of the family or so we keep hearing, yadda yadda, natural curls, milk and roses skin, blue eyes, yeah yeah. And yes she is pretty, in a like, wholesome milkmaidy slightly chubby sort of way. No style at all poor thing. We’d hate her for all this praise except she’s so nice. Too nice really. Sometimes I want to rip her ringlets out and push her down the stairs.
‘Oh Jane,’ goes Lizzy, ‘you’re so nice, so good, you never speak ill of anyone.’
Hmm, I’m thinking, no wonder she’s got no friends! You know what they say – if you can’t speak well of anybody, come and sit next to me!
As for our sister Mary, a more heart-rending case you can’t imagine. She’s pretty much fugly, so Ma doesn’t rate her, so she spends her time reading and learning stuff in a very in-your-face kind of way. Any idiot can see she’s trying to get Pa to like her, of course the insensitive git just takes the p out of her non-stop for it. So she tries all the harder... my life, it’s awful, I’ve tried, honestly I have, I’ve even offered to do her hair and nails and such, but no, she’s determined to keep plugging away at her chosen road to desperationville. Kitty’s my nearest sister and sidekick, I’m the brains of our outfit and she pretty much just follows my lead really. She’s lucky I’m here as she’s none too bright.
Well as for me, I’ve got looks, modern looks, and style, you either have it or you don’t and I’ve got it in spades. I am the very epitaph of cool. Plus I’m a double D and I know how to use it. Or should it be them?
(In case you don’t know, ‘cool’ means stylish and knowing how to dress. As in, ‘Lydia, you’ll catch your death of cold in that low neckline!’ Me: ‘I’m just pleasantly cool, thanks.’ Also ‘double D’, as in, deliciously décolleté. Do keep up!)
Well anyway, Ma was begging and pleading and wheedling Pa to visit this Netherfield guy. And Pa was refusing. I could tell he was just yanking her chain, she’s so easy to wind up, poor old soul.
She’s like, ‘Mr Bennet, you must visit him, so that we can. I’m thinking of his marrying one of our girls.’
He’s like, ‘Oh, is that why he’s moving here?’ Sarky blighter. He’s got zero respect for Ma, and it shows. Then he’s all, ‘As you are as handsome as any of them, he might like you the best.’
I’m thinking, oh yes, throw the old biddy a bone why don’t you, patronising or what.
She’s like, ‘You take delight in vexing me,’ well give her a coconut, ‘my poor nerves!’
He’s like, ‘I have a high respect for your nerves,’ like hell he does.
Surely it’s as much in his interest as hers that we get married, as that seems to be the only career option the ‘rents understand, and who are Jane and Lizzy gonna meet, out here? They’re practically past their sell-by dates as it is. And till the old sisters get snapped up, it’s a bit difficult for us younger ones, it’s kind of a rule, a stupid one but there you go. Suddenly it dawns on me, maybe Pa really doesn’t give a rat’s behind if we get married or not, after all he’ll be brown bread when we’re all homeless on the street and selling our hair and god knows what else to survive. I’d alert the authorities if I thought they’d listen, but there’s no support except the Workhouse, and death and dishonour are way better than that. You should see the uniforms there! OMG. Not an accessory in the place, hot and cold running lice and all the whippings you can manage, no thanks.
So Kitty’s coughing germs over us all, and Ma’s snapping at her, and she’s sulking, oh it’s all fun and games at Longbourn.
Kitty says to me, ‘Well this bloke Bingley’s way too old like you said, so why should we care, even if he does have four grand a year?’
I’m like, ‘Four grand?’
She’s like, ‘Don’t tell me you’d consider it, it’s gross!.’
I’m like, ‘No, but Jane or Lizzy might do for him, and think of it sis, we can visit them when they’re married, even go to London with them, and you never know, might meet up with some interesting guys, if there are any in existence who aren’t soldiers.’
Soldiers... mmm... I’ve heard there’s a certain Captain, whose regimentals I wouldn’t mind polishing... anyway, we’d at least get a break from this hellhole. Ma’s panicking in case her nemesis Lady Lucas gets the bloke for one of her brood of losers, course it turns out Pa did visit him after all, managed to shoehorn a fifteen minute call into his packed schedule of erm, reading. So it’s all about the upcoming ball, where this bloke will be on show like a prize pooch.
Pa scuttles back to the library, and Ma’s all ‘What an excellent father you have girls!’ yeah right. ‘Lydia my love,’ she goes, ‘I dare say Mr Bingley will dance with you at the ball, though you are the youngest.’
I’m like, whoop-de-do. ‘Well I might be the youngest but I’m the biggest.’
She’s like ‘Oh yes you are the tallest my love.’
It wasn’t my height I was referring to, if you know what I’m saying. This ball is the highlight of the social scene here, sad or what. Rumour has it Blingley, as I like to call this loaded incomer, (Ma going on about all the gold and jewels he’ll be able to drape over whichever Bennet bags him), is bringing some friends, hopefully younger brothers, to the ball. Fresh meat!