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Archive for November, 2008

Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Friday, November 20th, 1801

The weather has been foul all day and we have not been able to move outdoors. Rebecca, our sweet maid, helped Kitty and I make a mask of egg whites and fuller’s earth for our complexions. Lord! how we laughed when it dried to a paste and then cracked, because we neither could look at the other without giggling. Mama’s bottle of Gowland’s lotion is half used and now hidden behind the wig stand on her dressing table but our skins are glowing and radiant!

Saturday, November 21st, 1801

It is still raining and despite our pleas, mama has forbidden us to go to Meryton today. She has suggested that we may catch a cold or worse and then infect Jane who is still in a delicate state. Moreover, she declared that she is not prepared to miss the ball to stay in and nurse invalids who are silly enough to go tramping through mud and dirt in pursuit of mere trifles such as shoe roses and velvet hairbands.
We haven’t had a glimpse of an officer for days now – I am sure they will think we have forgotten all about them and our promises to visit. How I wish I could write but I know nothing gets past Hill and she will only tell my mother and then we will be for it!! Besides, I am not sure I would wish Mr Wickham, Mr Denny or anyone else of our acquaintance to see the gargantuan boil that has sprouted on my chin during the night. Kitty professed that it must be lanced and chased me round the parlour with a hot needle for a full ten minutes this afternoon, until mama pronounced that we would be denied dancing and balls for a month together and be left behind on Tuesday with cold cuts and cold fires, if we did not desist and consider her nerves.

Lydia Bennet

Gowland’s lotion was a preparation for the complexion that acted as a chemical peel. A recipe follows:

The formula sanctioned by the medical profession is to take of Jordan almonds (blanched), 1 ounce; bitter almonds, 2 to 3 drachms; distilled water, 1/2 pint; form them into an emulsion. To the strained emulsion, with agitation, gradually add of bichloride of mercury (in coarse powder), 15 grains previously dissolved in distilled water, 1/2 pint. After which further add enough water to make the whole measure exactly 1 pint. Then put it in bottles. This is used as a cosmetic by wetting the skin with it, and gently wiping off with a dry cloth. It is also employed as a wash for obstinate eruptions and minor glandular swellings and indurations.

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Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Friday, November 20th, 1801

The weather has been foul all day and we have not been able to move outdoors. Rebecca, our sweet maid, helped Kitty and I make a mask of egg whites and fuller’s earth for our complexions. Lord! how we laughed when it dried to a paste and then cracked, because we neither could look at the other without giggling. Mama’s bottle of Gowland’s lotion is half used and now hidden behind the wig stand on her dressing table but our skins are glowing and radiant!

Saturday, November 21st, 1801

It is still raining and despite our pleas, mama has forbidden us to go to Meryton today. She has suggested that we may catch a cold or worse and then infect Jane who is still in a delicate state. Moreover, she declared that she is not prepared to miss the ball to stay in and nurse invalids who are silly enough to go tramping through mud and dirt in pursuit of mere trifles such as shoe roses and velvet hairbands.
We haven’t had a glimpse of an officer for days now – I am sure they will think we have forgotten all about them and our promises to visit. How I wish I could write but I know nothing gets past Hill and she will only tell my mother and then we will be for it!! Besides, I am not sure I would wish Mr Wickham, Mr Denny or anyone else of our acquaintance to see the gargantuan boil that has sprouted on my chin during the night. Kitty professed that it must be lanced and chased me round the parlour with a hot needle for a full ten minutes this afternoon, until mama pronounced that we would be denied dancing and balls for a month together and be left behind on Tuesday with cold cuts and cold fires, if we did not desist and consider her nerves.

Lydia Bennet

Gowland’s lotion was a preparation for the complexion that acted as a chemical peel. A recipe follows:

The formula sanctioned by the medical profession is to take of Jordan almonds (blanched), 1 ounce; bitter almonds, 2 to 3 drachms; distilled water, 1/2 pint; form them into an emulsion. To the strained emulsion, with agitation, gradually add of bichloride of mercury (in coarse powder), 15 grains previously dissolved in distilled water, 1/2 pint. After which further add enough water to make the whole measure exactly 1 pint. Then put it in bottles. This is used as a cosmetic by wetting the skin with it, and gently wiping off with a dry cloth. It is also employed as a wash for obstinate eruptions and minor glandular swellings and indurations.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

“But it is,” returned she; “for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.”

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

“Do not you want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impatiently.

“You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”

This was invitation enough.

“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”

“What is his name?”

“Bingley.”

“Is he married or single?”

“Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!”

“How so? how can it affect them?”

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.”

Perhaps this is the most famous opening for a novel in the English language. Isn’t it clever? Jane Austen sets the scene immediately, showing Mrs Bennet’s ardent desire to have her girls married, whilst simultaneously depicting the Bennets’ relationship and displaying their characters in a marvellously comic way. Mrs Bennet’s impatience with her husband and Mr Bennet’s teasing of his wife is shown in a wonderful exchange where he ignores her for the most part only to exasperate Mrs Bennet into abusing him for being tiresome. The illustration is by Charles Brock-I love the way Mr Bennet is sitting with his back to his wife, his nose in a newspaper. Her agitation is expressed in her attitude; she is clearly trying to gain his attention!

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families that he is considered as the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

“But it is,” returned she; “for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it.”

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

“Do not you want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impatiently.

“You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”

This was invitation enough.

“Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.”

“What is his name?”

“Bingley.”

“Is he married or single?”

“Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!”

“How so? how can it affect them?”

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.”

Perhaps this is the most famous opening for a novel in the English language. Isn’t it clever? Jane Austen sets the scene immediately, showing Mrs Bennet’s ardent desire to have her girls married, whilst simultaneously depicting the Bennets’ relationship and displaying their characters in a marvellously comic way. Mrs Bennet’s impatience with her husband and Mr Bennet’s teasing of his wife is shown in a wonderful exchange where he ignores her for the most part only to exasperate Mrs Bennet into abusing him for being tiresome. The illustration is by Charles Brock-I love the way Mr Bennet is sitting with his back to his wife, his nose in a newspaper. Her agitation is expressed in her attitude; she is clearly trying to gain his attention!

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Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Thursday, November 19th,1801
The ball at Netherfield is set for Tuesday evening! I declare that I am the happiest girl in Hertfordshire – the prospect of dancing with all my favourite beaux is so thrilling that I do not know how I will ever sleep again.

Mama declared that the ball must be in Jane’s honour – she was so pleased that Mr Bingley had flattered her so much by bringing the invitation himself, although he had the misfortune of having his horrid sisters attending him.

Catherine and I must go into Meryton tomorrow to look in the shops and perchance pick a partner or two whilst out shopping!
I am happy for Jane, she is very excited at the thought of dancing with Mr Bingley all evening. Lizzy seemed unusually quiet and thoughtful this morning, but she cheered up considerably at the news of the ball. I think perhaps she was hoping to steal Mr Wickham’s attention the whole night, but unfortunately, her plans have gone awry. Cousin Collins promptly asked Lizzy for the opportunity of soliciting the first two dances, much to her alarm. I can hardly believe this stroke of good fortune – it will fall on me to have to open the ball with the dashing Mr Wickham!

Lydia Bennet

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Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Thursday, November 19th,1801
The ball at Netherfield is set for Tuesday evening! I declare that I am the happiest girl in Hertfordshire – the prospect of dancing with all my favourite beaux is so thrilling that I do not know how I will ever sleep again.

Mama declared that the ball must be in Jane’s honour – she was so pleased that Mr Bingley had flattered her so much by bringing the invitation himself, although he had the misfortune of having his horrid sisters attending him.

Catherine and I must go into Meryton tomorrow to look in the shops and perchance pick a partner or two whilst out shopping!
I am happy for Jane, she is very excited at the thought of dancing with Mr Bingley all evening. Lizzy seemed unusually quiet and thoughtful this morning, but she cheered up considerably at the news of the ball. I think perhaps she was hoping to steal Mr Wickham’s attention the whole night, but unfortunately, her plans have gone awry. Cousin Collins promptly asked Lizzy for the opportunity of soliciting the first two dances, much to her alarm. I can hardly believe this stroke of good fortune – it will fall on me to have to open the ball with the dashing Mr Wickham!

Lydia Bennet

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Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Wednesday, November 18th, 1801

Being the youngest of five daughters has nothing to recommend it, especially when one is suffered to endure the intimate proximity of one’s cousin in the close confines of a carriage. Jane, Lizzy and Catherine were handed in, crushing themselves together, so as to make it impossible to admit anybody else, and so I was compelled to sit between my sister Mary and Mr Collins, who talked at me without pause for breath all the way to Meryton.

However, this sad start was soon forgotten as on entering my Aunt Philips’s abode she immediately announced that Mr Wickham was in the house. As the gentlemen were not yet finished dining, we had to listen to Collins prattle on about Lady Catherine de Bourgh on whose Rosings estate our illustrious cousin has his living. We have heard it all before and I declare I am quite sick of him, I wish he would go back to Hunsford by the earliest poste chaise! I will never understand why my mother is being so tolerant and civil toward him. Surely she can see he has nothing to recommend him but a draughty old Kentish parsonage that I am sure none of us could possibly give a fig about. If he mentions the number of windows or the size of the chimneypieces at Rosings Park once more, I declare I shall gag Mr Collins with his clerical neckerchief!

I declare I love my aunt best of all my relatives, for she dedicated herself to his entertainment forthwith and endured his company and conversation all evening. At last the gentlemen presented themselves and we all fell under Wickham’s spell. It is clear that Lizzy admires him very much and managed to sit herself in the place where he would most likely have to seat himself – next to the only empty chair in the room!

“Miss Lydia, do you attend the Assembly Balls in Meryton with your sisters?” Mr Wickham asked as soon as my sister would allow, turning in his chair to give me his sole attention.

“I have only lately been frequenting them,” I replied, “but have enjoyed it all very much. Do you dance, Mr Wickham?”

“Lydia!” cried Lizzy, piping up before he had a chance to answer, “That is not a question that a lady asks a gentleman.”

“Please, Miss Bennet, there is no harm done,” he answered with great feeling. “As a matter of fact, dancing is one of my favourite occupations and if I may be so bold I should like to make a request. It would be my honour if the sisters who grace the room on either side of me should save a dance with me at their soonest convenience.”

How my heart fluttered at the thought. Lizzy then took every opportunity to turn the conversation round but she must have bored poor Wickham to death because I am sure I heard her mention Mr Darcy more than once. That will certainly frighten a beau away, talking of other men.

We had such a lively game of lottery tickets and I reclaimed all the fish I lost before supper and won many more with the benefit of having supped on hot white soup and almond cheesecake – such a lovely evening, marred only by my insufferable cousin Collins mercilessly droning on all the way home, apologising profusely about everything, except the fact that he was crumpling my poplin pelisse with his posterior!

Lydia Bennet

Illustrations: Mr Collins bowing before his patron, Lady Catherine de Burgh, A photograph of mother-of-pearl gaming fish of the type Lydia would have played with and used for betting in card games – from Donay Games

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