Lydia, my dear,
I have had the most awful time keeping your secret. If I do not reveal your whereabouts with Mr. Wickham, my papa threatens to cut off my pin money and send me packing to live with my Aunt Beatrice – who, I am sure, you will hardly recall, for she is so dreadfully dull and boring! However, I am hardened in my resolve to help you, and my lips remain sealed.
Mr. Bennet and Mr. Gardiner have been beating down the doors in Brighton, searching for any clues that might lead them to you. My papa says Mr. Wickham should be horsewhipped for having abducted you, and placed your family in such an untenable situation. He declares that none of your sisters will ever make advantageous marriages now. And I must admit, this situation has all the earmarks of a most spectacular SCANDAL.
To be sure, your Mr.Wickham is ever so handsome and dashing. Still, I shall always wonder how you found the courage to run off with him. (La, what a silly observation. You are the MOST adventuresome person of my acquaintance.) Pray, do tell me, how is it that you are living in ? Did you not whisper to me at the ball that you and Mr. Wickham were ELOPING to Gretna Green? What happened to change your mind? And, oh, Lydia, how did you ever manage to get married in England? Are you not too young? Did you LIE? Oh, this is all too delicious to keep inside, but I shall. Do not worry.
Well, I must end this letter in haste. Soames promised to post my missive, but in order to catch the Royal Coach he must leave within the half hour. You can trust that his lips are sealed, for he owes me a favor for helping his sister find employment as a lady's maid. He also promised to deliver any letter of yours addressed to me! So, do hurry and write.
Your loyal, admiring, and most anxious friend, Lucy
My Dearest Lucy,
I cannot thank you enough for keeping my secret - I always knew you were a true confidante!
As for beating down doors, I cannot believe a word of it. My father has never shown the slightest interest in me in my life - why should he start now? But, if it is as you say, I am glad I am holed up in Candlewick Street with my darling George, from whom I shall never be separated and where my papa cannot reach me. I daresay he is a little vexed and needs to cool down before I see him, so George's idea to stay here a bit longer seems a good one.
My friend, I needed no courage to run away with my angel, the man of my dreams, the love of my life! We were and are in love and have been since we were thrown together in Brighton - to be honest, there were others vying for my affections but George captured my heart completely. As perfect a couple you could never imagine. I never believed I could feel this way and to have my love returned a hundredfold - well, I do not exaggerate when I say that Mr Wickham is in a passion for me - indeed, there is little time for anything but love! La! You would laugh to see us!
It was our greatest wish to go to Gretna, but at the last, we were forced to come to - there are some very wicked people in the world - gambling vagabonds tricked my Georgie out of his funds. It does not matter, we still have my winnings from the Brighton Races and a little of my allowance, though this morning I could not but help treat myself to a bonnet from the shops. Such a divine confection of ribbon and lace you never did see. And when he can, Mr Wickham has promised to take me to the theatre at Drury Lane, Astley's to see the horses and Bond Street for a few trifles, so you see dear Lucy, it has all turned out for the best.
As for a wedding, I have to tell you our plans are for the present postponed. I am sure we will be wed soon but I am so happy I do not care when that will be. My wish is to be married from home in Longbourn Church where all my friends can see me, but whenever I broach the subject of leaving our love nest, George pretends he does not hear me! Wickham is so funny, he does not want to share me with anyone else, the darling man!
I must go, George is impatient for my attendance upon him. La! Lucy, his insatiable appetite for my company is quite exhausting! Can Charlotte Collins know of such bliss?
Gentle Readers, Lydia (Jane Odiwe) and her silly young friend Lucy (Ms. Place) have been exchanging letters during this crucial time in Lydia's life. They have vowed to keep corresponding No Matter What Happens! If you are anxious to learn more about Lydia, click here to go to Lydia Bennet's Journal. Click here to read the other letters. Image of Regency Miss painted by Jane Odiwe.