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Archive for the ‘Caroline Bingley’ Category

When writing Mr. Darcy’s Secret, I had a lot of fun with the character of Caroline Bingley. I wondered how she might change if she really fell head over heels for someone, and whether her personality might also be temporarily affected! I decided she might fancy herself capable of all sorts of things if she were to be influenced by cupid’s arrows, and when she becomes part of a new painting and poetry circle led by the enigmatic artist and writer, Lord Henry Dalton, Caroline finds she is willing to embrace a whole new world! I decided to have her completely smitten with all things literary and artistic, and far from snubbing the countryside as she has done formerly, she finds a new passion for wild and romantic landscapes, and a desire to experience a simpler, rustic way of living. The Darcys are staying in the Lake District when Caroline and her sister Louisa are bent on following Lord Dalton along with Lady Catherine de Burgh, and a host of others to sample the delights of poetry and painting against the dramatic backdrop of mountains and water! Here’s an extract from Mr. Darcy’s Secret. I hope you enjoy it!

At the very start of April, as the daffodils danced on the quiet shoreline of Lake Winandermere, an untidy procession of coaches, carriages, tilburies, and phaetons noisily wound their way along the roads from Kendal to their various destinations, some toward the lake itself whilst others travelled on to more remote hideaways.
Caroline Bingley and Louisa Hurst looked out of their carriage window in expectation as they bowled along.
“How soon do you think we shall see him, Louisa?” said Miss Bingley, who could not speak Lord Dalton’s name out loud for fear of raising her blushes higher. Caroline, who had never felt anything remotely like love for anyone in her life before, was completely smitten. Such a change had come over her that she hardly recognised herself. So softened by her notions of amour and romance had she become that even Louisa looked quite handsome today in her eyes, which was saying a lot, because apart from the sibling rivalry that prevented her from ever admitting anything in her sister’s favour, she privately thought that Mrs Hurst was very fortunate to have caught herself a husband with a countenance that she considered would make a turbot appear attractive.
“You gave him our forwarding address, did you not, Caroline? I am sure he will find us if that is his desire,” answered her sister with a look of discontent spreading over her face. In her opinion, there was little chance of Lord Dalton calling often, if at all, but she kept her thoughts to herself. She started to gesticulate through the window. “It all looks rather wild out there. Are you quite sure this is such a good idea? To turn down Lady Catherine’s kind invitation so you can cavort in a cottage is not my idea of fun. What did you mean by it, Caro? Have you gone mad?”
“I confess, I think I am a little mad, dearest Louisa… mad in love, if you please. And, I think when you hear me out, you will see that my reasons for choosing a sweet cot are very sane.”
“There’s nothing sane about wanting to stay in a tiny hovel a peasant wouldn’t thank you for with no servants to light the fires and no cook to wait on us. I do not know how you talked me into staying with you.”
“Oh, Lulu, you know I must have a chaperone, especially one that likes to take herself off for long walks when a certain gentleman comes calling. It is so romantic! I can see it all! Just picture it: a cosy sofa by the fire and Henry on his knees before me. Louisa, this is my chance, you must know that.”
Louisa knew nothing of the sort and privately thought that her sister had as much chance of winning over Lord Dalton as she had of winning the State Lottery, which she never did. The fact that he seemed similarly smitten with one of Lady Catherine’s circle, the unassuming yet beautiful Miss Theodora Winn, was a truth that Caroline refused to acknowledge or admit.
Presently, the carriage stopped, the door opened, and the steps were let down. “You’ll have to get out here,” said the driver of the post chaise. “I can’t get down that track; I’ll never get back again.”
“But how far is Robin Cot from here?” snapped Mrs Hurst who was less than impressed by the coachman’s attitude.
“I can’t say, ma’am, it depends who’s doing the walking,” he answered gruffly, observing their fine kid shoes. “Though by just looking I’d say fifteen minutes if the mud’s baked, twenty-five if not. That’s Robin Cot yonder.”
The sisters followed his pointing finger to the sight of a small dwelling, which could just be seen through a clump of trees on the brow of a hill in the distance. The narrow lane they must walk down was three inches deep in mud. Neither sister was equipped for such a jaunt nor did they relish the prospect of undertaking such a feat. They looked at one another in horror. “But you cannot leave us here,” wailed Caroline, as she watched the driver climb back onto the box.
“Company rules, ma’am,” he shouted, with a dismissive wave as he set off to leave them. “I’ll arrange for your luggage to be brought up to the cottage, but you’ll have to pay extra for a man to carry it all. Goodbye, ladies, I hope you enjoy your stay!”
Sourcebooks 2011 © Jane Odiwe

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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.

Monday, October 19th, 1801

A splendid ball we had tonight – despite a lack of gentlemen Kitty and I jigged all night and were never without a partner, though it has to be said that some of them were hideously ugly and not one of them the sort of handsome beau I have dreamed about.

Mr Bingley, two of his sisters, the husband of the eldest and a very haughty looking gentleman, a Mr Darcy, were in attendance. With the exception of Mr Bingley the others all looked as if they were suffering from a bit of old mousetrap cheese up their noses, so sneering were their expressions. I have decided to like Mr Bingley, he is a cheerful sort of fellow but too simpering for my taste. Jane can have him and after this evening, it seems she may well get him. Bingley danced with her twice, which pleased our mother, especially as he favoured Charlotte Lucas at first – mama’s face was a picture, so vexed was she that the Lucases had got in first.

Lizzy was found wanting a partner on more than one occasion and she was even snubbed by Mr Darcy, the odious man who came with Bingley. To own the truth, Lizzy did not miss much for having been slighted by him, for all his tens of thousands, he really was very proud and strutted about the place, no doubt fancying he owned us all. RUDE MAN INDEED!!!

The Bingley sisters gave all the appearance of elegance and good manners but for all their finery and satin, they were not as handsome as I should have thought from the reports that have been circulating over half of Hertfordshire. Some people, despite their wealth and connections do not know what it is to cut a dash or break a young man’s heart with their unadulterated beauty. To speak plainly, their ill-favoured countenances would sooner frighten farmer Felbrigg’s cows and turn the milk sour, than set the hearts of the local beaux aflutter.

I overheard them talking. “Oh Caroline,” sighed Mrs Hurst, “did you ever see such a dowdy collection?”
Miss Bingley stifled a laugh. “Dear sister, pray tell, to what do you allude? Surely this is not a comment on the modistes of Meryton or the beauty of the local wenches? I, for one, have never seen such finery, such satin, such jewels! Take care dear, or you will be dazzled, nay blinded, by the sparkle of such fine glass. Dear me, I meant to say diamonds, sister. Heaven forgive my slip of the tongue!”

“Quite so,” her sister agreed with a snort. “And as for the men, Caroline, why it will be impossible for you to choose a husband from such an array of eligibility. Indeed, I was introduced to a farmer just now whom I am sure will be just to your taste!”

Both sisters scoffed and laughed with great vulgarity. Mother is quite correct – there is something very vulgar about an excess of pearls at a country dance!

Lydia Bennet

Illustrations: Top, an old print of the King’s Arms Dorchester, Pride and Prejudice illustration by Hugh Thomson, Meryton Assembly by Jane Odiwe

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My dearest Lydia,



La, I meant to write sooner, but the social whirl has me thinking of nothing but dresses and balls and handsome officers! To be sure Brighton is nothing like London at this time of year, but one would never know it for all the parties and dances we have been invited to attend. My mama has had the seamstress make up three new ball dresses, and I am simply dying to show them to you.



Sir William Lucas has written my papa another letter. Is it true? Is Charlotte Lucas to be married? Goodness, but Meryton is a more exciting place to live than I once thought. Please, do tell me what has happened, and if there is a gentleman waiting in the wings for you.

Oh, and do tell – is your sister Jane engaged to Mr Bingley? When are they to be wed?

Your loving friend,


Lucy


Dearest Lucy, 


It seems such an age since you last wrote – I cannot tell you how jealous I am to hear of your new ball gowns – you are very lucky to have a family who spoil you. I’ve told you before – I quite despair of mine; though perhaps if my name were Jane or Lizzy I would enjoy more frippery. 



Anyway, what can I say in reply to your queries? You think Meryton exciting but you do not know the half of it! We have had high drama and laughs to last us six months together – you cannot imagine. My cousin Collins, (the rattling rector I call him, because he never ceases prattling,) came for a visit and made such a song and dance about making eyes at Lizzy to the point of even proposing! Lizzy would not have him, my mother was livid and threatened to disown her, but papa said he would never see my sister again if she did consent to the match. Lord! How Kitty and I laughed, I thought my sides would split.



Then – what do you think happened next? My cousin bumped into Charlotte Lucas in the lane and before Lizzy had drawn breath with the relief of a lucky escape, Collins proposed to Miss Lucas and she accepted him!!!! I could not believe it and thought Sir William was having a joke when he came with the news! Everyone in the village is excessively diverted by the ‘Lovebirds of Longbourn’ as Kitty and I have taken to calling them – I cannot help feeling sorry for Charlotte – you and I will never be so desperate for a husband I am sure!



But – that is not all – my poor sister Jane who had such high hopes of becoming engaged to Mr Bingley has been left high and dry! He has gone to town and if you ask my opinion; that is the end of it. No doubt, his nasty sister Caroline will throw floozies in his path – I am so sorry for Jane – she will end an old maid!



As for myself, there are several young men who are intent on catching my eye – Mr Denny, Mr Pratt and Captain Carter, to name but a few. However, there is one particular officer I am very partial to or would be if my sister Lizzy would let me have my share of conversation and dancing. Mr Wickham is one of the most handsome men you ever saw – Oh! Lucy, he looks so well in scarlet! Kitty and I are just going into Meryton,

Write again soon, not forgetting to tell me of your beau,

Affectionately yours,

Lydia
Thank you once again Ms Place for your entertaining letter from Lucy. We’re having a lot of fun writing these; I hope you are enjoying them. Ms Place can be found at Jane Austen Today by clicking here

Jane

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My dearest Lydia,



La, I meant to write sooner, but the social whirl has me thinking of nothing but dresses and balls and handsome officers! To be sure Brighton is nothing like London at this time of year, but one would never know it for all the parties and dances we have been invited to attend. My mama has had the seamstress make up three new ball dresses, and I am simply dying to show them to you.



Sir William Lucas has written my papa another letter. Is it true? Is Charlotte Lucas to be married? Goodness, but Meryton is a more exciting place to live than I once thought. Please, do tell me what has happened, and if there is a gentleman waiting in the wings for you.

Oh, and do tell – is your sister Jane engaged to Mr Bingley? When are they to be wed?

Your loving friend,


Lucy


Dearest Lucy, 


It seems such an age since you last wrote – I cannot tell you how jealous I am to hear of your new ball gowns – you are very lucky to have a family who spoil you. I’ve told you before – I quite despair of mine; though perhaps if my name were Jane or Lizzy I would enjoy more frippery. 



Anyway, what can I say in reply to your queries? You think Meryton exciting but you do not know the half of it! We have had high drama and laughs to last us six months together – you cannot imagine. My cousin Collins, (the rattling rector I call him, because he never ceases prattling,) came for a visit and made such a song and dance about making eyes at Lizzy to the point of even proposing! Lizzy would not have him, my mother was livid and threatened to disown her, but papa said he would never see my sister again if she did consent to the match. Lord! How Kitty and I laughed, I thought my sides would split.



Then – what do you think happened next? My cousin bumped into Charlotte Lucas in the lane and before Lizzy had drawn breath with the relief of a lucky escape, Collins proposed to Miss Lucas and she accepted him!!!! I could not believe it and thought Sir William was having a joke when he came with the news! Everyone in the village is excessively diverted by the ‘Lovebirds of Longbourn’ as Kitty and I have taken to calling them – I cannot help feeling sorry for Charlotte – you and I will never be so desperate for a husband I am sure!



But – that is not all – my poor sister Jane who had such high hopes of becoming engaged to Mr Bingley has been left high and dry! He has gone to town and if you ask my opinion; that is the end of it. No doubt, his nasty sister Caroline will throw floozies in his path – I am so sorry for Jane – she will end an old maid!



As for myself, there are several young men who are intent on catching my eye – Mr Denny, Mr Pratt and Captain Carter, to name but a few. However, there is one particular officer I am very partial to or would be if my sister Lizzy would let me have my share of conversation and dancing. Mr Wickham is one of the most handsome men you ever saw – Oh! Lucy, he looks so well in scarlet! Kitty and I are just going into Meryton,

Write again soon, not forgetting to tell me of your beau,

Affectionately yours,

Lydia
Thank you once again Ms Place for your entertaining letter from Lucy. We’re having a lot of fun writing these; I hope you are enjoying them. Ms Place can be found at Jane Austen Today by clicking here

Jane

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