ExceedinglyJane.com by Ed S.
The "After Pride and Prejudice" Series
Part 2 -- Mister Bennet comes to Pemberley
The only thing worse than living with females for two decades is
travelling with them in a carriage for two days.
A typical day on the distaff side comprises eight hours of gossip, eight
hours of drivel, and eight hours of mindless chatter.
No insightful remarks or cogent observations are anywhere to be found,
only ballgowns and pelerines and red coats.
Thank goodness I have a heavy door on my library.
There's been no one at home to exchange a lucid word with for months
now, or to challenge me at backgammon or chess.
I actually look forward now to visiting Lucas Lodge these days,
where I can have the pleasure of listening to Sir William regale
me with those thrilling stories of his great-great-great-uncle's time in
the Upper House with George Two or of his own fearless campaigns against
My god, I miss Lizzy dreadfully.
What will I do at Pemberley when my one bottle of brandy runs out?
Leave it to women to use up every inch of space in a carriage with their
bows and bonnets and petticoats.
Mr. Darcy will be the only source of male companionship for me in all of
Derbyshire, but he'll probably be with Lizzy the entire time.
I'll be at my wit's end without friend or drink to console me.
Maybe I can befriend Darcy's butler or his sommelier.
Too bad Bingley wasn't able to join me on the trip.
He's acquired quite a taste for fine French brandy since I've known him
-- he's a good pupil.
What a high time we'd have had on the trip to Pemberley, just the two of us
alone in a carriage with our tobacco and our songs and a few good
bottles. The carriage springs would've been in shambles by the time we
reached Derbyshire, and when we reached Pemberley's doorstep they'd have
to haul our lifeless bodies out of the carriage with a grappling hook.
But Jane would probably have wanted Bingley all to herself on the ride
up. My sweet little Jane, who used to sit on my lap and pull on my
beard till it hurt. Even my wife used to like that beard.
I'd wave it in front of Jane's nose and she'd screw up her face and try
to pull my whiskers off.
And then Lizzy would get up on the other knee and start pulling.
Lizzy would always have to sit on my left knee for some reason, I
suppose because my left knee gave her a better grip, what with her being
How will I survive without my little Lizzy?
For years I've been dreading the day when Lizzy would find some handsome
ruffian to run off with,
some scoundrel who would promise her an exciting life beyond the
confines of Hertfordshire,
some highway robber who would steal away my only source of joy.
This Darcy fellow seems like a good
sort -- and thankfully rich -- but not exactly the type who can keep
Lizzy's mind stimulated or make her spirits soar for very long.
Too dour and stiff a fellow for my taste.
Even after the wedding he could barely speak a word to me or look me in
But Lizzy seems happy with him -- and I hope she remains so.
I'd hate to see her get tired of him within the first two years of her
marriage, which seems to be the usual duration of marital bliss
according to my observation. But by that time she'll probably be kept
well occupied with a couple of children.
Not all girls I hope.
A grandson would be fine. Fine, indeed. Or two grandsons, one on
each knee. I could teach them how to catch a fish, how to tie a knot,
and how to skip a rock on a lake.
Lizzy was the only one who ever wanted to learn those skills.
And I certainly hope Pemberley has some lakes. Nice large lakes, well
stocked with fish.
I didn't have time to pack my rods or lures, but in any case there was
no room in the carriage.
Maybe I can purchase some tackle in that town near Pemberley.
I can't visualize Mr. Darcy holding a fishing rod or hooking a worm or
handling a gun, or even tying his own cravat for that matter.
His sons will need a knowledgable grandfather at their side, someone to
teach them how to be boys.
Perhaps if I ensconce myself in some room at Pemberley, a room near the
brandy cabinet, then I can just stay put and await the arrival of my
grandsons. Squatter's rights, as they say.
Well, the driver says we'll be at Pemberley within the hour.
Then I'll have some silence finally. And my little Lizzy.
I wonder of I'll ever get a chance to be alone with her.
Perhaps after dinner we can retire to her husband's library -- her
library now -- and have a game of backgammon or parcheesi -- if her
mother will leave her be.
But my wife will probably be deep in deliberation with Lady Catherine.
Lizzy had warned me some time ago about this Lady Catherine de Bourgh,
but I don't think she ever envisioned the Great Lady getting along so
well with her mother.
I certainly can't explain it.
As far as I'm concerned, it does Lady Catherine no credit whatsoever
that she actually enjoys my wife's company.
During the first four hours of this carriage ride they went on and on
about the old courtship customs and mating rituals of the '70's and
'80's. I can hardly believe that I ever participated in those quaint
old practices. Times have certainly changed.
I was quite surprised that my wife was able to remember as far back as
'85, the time when we visited the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens and got lost
in the Looking-Glass Palace. My word, to think of the scandalous way we
took advantage of the privacy that the Palace gave us -- and with my
wife's mother just a few yards away. And I'm even more surprised that
my wife revealed it to Lady Catherine so freely. Of course, Lady
Catherine seems to have had her own share of fun and frolic with her
late husband in those early days.
And I had completely forgotten about that secluded bench on the south
end of Vauxhall, in the corner that was always deserted after ten
o'clock when the fireworks started. Whenever I hum Handel's "Music for
the Royal Fireworks" to myself, certain regions of my body begin to
reminisce. Oh, thank the lord for allowing us the folly of youth. I
wish Mary would learn to play some Handel.
I've been feigning a nap ever since we left Leicester, and so Lady
Catherine and my wife have been speaking quite openly with one another
and with no regard for my poor nerves. Thank goodness our girls
are in the other carriage and couldn't hear what their mother is
revealing about our earlier life together.
Well, we're almost at Pemberley and I'll finally get to stretch my legs
as soon as my wife finishes explaining to Lady Catherine how our
daughters got their names. A safe and dull subject.
Come to think of it, that could actually be a rather dangerous subject,
but I don't expect my wife to remember the colourful nicknames she liked
to apply to certain unmentionable apparatuses of anatomy. I'm glad
Lizzy never found out where the expression "my Little Lizzy" really came
from. My wife coined the term "Lizard" for my... well, not even my wife
would reveal that detail to Lady Catherine.
What?! What's that she's telling Lady Catherine? She does
"My god, Mrs. Bennet! Have you no shame?!"