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Posts Tagged ‘Colonel Forster’s engagement’

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.

Saturday, March 13th, 1802

To my surprise as I entered Emma’s sweet parlour, there sat the very Miss Harringtons that Mr Wickham had made reference to in our recent discourse. They are Harriet’s distant cousins on her mother’s side of the family and I am pleased to report that they seem jolly girls, if a little plain and dowdy. After the formality of the initial introductions, our subject for conversation turned naturally towards those with whom we have most in common.

“It has been so dull since your sister left, Miss Fitzalan,” I remarked, “Kitty and I have not bothered to venture out so much. Everything is so tedious at this time of year, the cold, the wind, the dirty walks, even the officers have failed to inspire our notice, despite all the efforts of your very own sweet Colonel. Mr Wickham who is a great favourite has lately been completely taken over by Mary King, so we have not even been able to enjoy his society. We enjoyed such a round of parties and balls in December and, I daresay, the seasonal celebrations have taken their toll. But now you are come and we have been so starved of like minds with which to have a lark, that you are a sight to behold!”

“Miss Bennet, I am heartily glad to have made your acquaintance at last. I have heard of nothing else from Isabella but of you and your sisters for the past two months, and you are truly a dear friend, I hope to us both,” Harriet replied. “I am sorry that your sisters are otherwise engaged, I long to meet them all. I cannot tell you how fortunate I am to be here at last. I could not let Isabella forgo invitations to Meryton and Bath and, as it has worked out, I could not have wished for a better outcome. I am thrilled that Isabella has found herself a husband.”

“If only we could go to Bath, Penelope,” sighed the elder Miss Harrington, “I’m sure we would have a better chance at getting ourselves wed. I think husbands grow on trees in that place. Last winter my cousin Sophia caught herself a fine one after just one week’s visit and he was by no means the first who applied for her hand!”

“I think we can safely conjecture that anyone of us here might have caught the notice of an impoverished handsome Lord, for that was what he was,” laughed Penelope, “if we had Sophia’s fortune. She had the money and he had the title, so it suited them both. I am not convinced that any trips to Bath, Brighton or Cheltenham would have any benefits for our health, our wealth or our chances of matrimony, I daresay we would come back poorer than we went. Unless a young man is going to be smitten by my looks and charm, I would say that my chances of embracing the married state are nought. What say you, Miss Bennet?”

“I have always supposed that my face would be my fortune, I have nothing else to offer in the way of riches except my natural allurements and, I own that life as a spinster without the prospect of marriage has never been a consideration. I have read of many cases where love is the motive and even Kings have been smitten with ordinary girls, quite out of their sphere.” I said. “Besides, we have an example of true love right under our very noses,” I persisted, “Miss Fitzalan and Colonel Forster, a love match made in heaven.”

Harriet blushed. “Well, I hope whilst I am here that I may find husbands for you all,” she said. “And I do hope that you are going to help and advise me on the best places to go for wedding clothes, as Henry and I will be married here by special license in April. There is not much time and I do not know where to start, although Isabella has made a suggestion that a trip to St Albans may be the very thing to put me out of my misery.”

“I have been there occasionally with mama and papa,” I said, “and the shops are magnificent. There are mantua makers and warehouses full of imported cloths, fine India muslins, local silk and all manner of straw bonnets and headpieces. It is but twelve miles away from here along good roads. There are forty coaches a day and it would make a lovely day trip. ’tis a pity you could not have come sooner, I have been to the fair at Michaelmas and witnessed all the gaiety of the country for many miles around, exhibitions and shows of the wonderful and marvellous, including Mr Richardson’s travelling theatre and performers.”

“How delightful!” Harriet exclaimed. “A trip to St Alban’s will exceed my expectations I am sure and you must all accompany me. Henry can come too, lest we be attacked by robbers and we will take the coach. Emma, you will of course be our chaperone, won’t you? What do you say to our little adventure? What a handsome scheme!”

The Misses Harrington clapped in their excitement. There were nods and exclamations of approval all round.
Harriet has suggested a date of the 22nd March, se’ennight following the Assembly Ball. I must speak to mama about some allowance for my pocket. I knew life would be more fun with Harriet in town!

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.

Saturday, November 14th 1801

What a delightful day we have spent and what news I have to tell. If I were not sworn to secrecy, I might burst with the delicious knowledge of it all. We set forth into Meryton as soon as ever we could and found our friends in tremendous good spirits. As we approached the steps of Mrs Nicolson’s elegant lodgings, Colonel Forster emerged from the door, followed closely by Isabella, who was wishing him farewell. He clasped Isabella’s hand in his, raised it to his lips, bowed and set off jauntily down the High Street, declaring that he would call again tomorrow.

Once inside, I quite forgot myself and begged to know what had caused such animation in the manner of Colonel Forster.
“I have a younger sister Harriet,” Isabella began, “who was at school with Colonel Forster’s sister, Jane. Harriet has often been in the habit of staying with the Forster’s at their house in Bath. During the summer, Colonel Forster was inclined to spend a lot of his time accompanying his sister and mine to all kinds of amusements in and around Bath. They live in Sydney Place you know, opposite the celebrated gardens and this is the best part, for it has turned out to be the scene of their romance!”

“Colonel Forster and your sister Harriet?” Kitty and I cried in unison together.
Isabella nodded. “The gardens are very romantic and the musical concerts are second to none. There is nothing like music for stirring the senses and there are many dark corners where a maid might be begged for a kiss! Besides, I have seen Henry’s name written so many times in my sister’s letters these last months that I was not at all surprised. I think I knew she was in love before she did.”

“And is there anything else to tell?” I asked, eager for more of this sweet tale.

“Well, they have written to each other everyday since the Colonel came to Meryton and two days ago Henry proposed to my sister by letter and she accepted him by return of post. They hope to be married in the spring.”

“How I long to meet your sister, what a romantic story, fancy the Colonel being in love!” I cried.

We are so excited at the thought of a wedding and a new bride in Meryton!

Lydia Bennet

Illustrations: Temple by Jane Odiwe, Photograph of a bridge in Sydney Gardens, Bath, An old print showing a Regency proposal

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