Gentle Reader, Jane Odiwe (Lydia) and Ms. Place (Lucy) have been writing to each other. In their last exchange, Lucy promised to keep Lydia's whereabouts with Wickham a secret no matter how much her father pressed her to tell the truth. He even threatened to send her to live with his stodgy spinster sister, Beatrice.
My dearest Lydia, or do you prefer Mrs. Wickham?
You will never guess what has happened. My Aunt Bea refused to take me in, saying the responsibility of caring for a 17-year-old niece would fray her nerves beyond imagining, and that although she loves her brother dearly there are only so many sacrifices one should be asked to make. So Papa, still determined to teach me a lesson for being steadfastly closemouthed as to your direction, consulted with Sir William, who suggested that Mrs. Collins would need a companion during her lying in! I am therefore, writing to you from Mrs. Collins’ sitting room. Though it is cozy, one’s concentration is CONSTANTLY interrupted by Mr. Collins, who keeps rushing about the place looking for Mrs. Collins to consult her about something or other, or to call her over to show her a wondrous new development in his garden. When I first heard news of her marriage I confess I quite envied Miss Charlotte Lucas, but I find I do not envy Mrs. Collins at all! As to her lying in, if Mrs. Collins is with child, then I am a bluestocking. Thus I must conclude that my papa means for me to stay in this quiet backwater for an ETERNITY, if not longer! Had it not been for our twice weekly visits to Rosings and Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s condescension, for she has graciously allowed me the use of her pianoforte, I declare I would go MAD from boredom! But this is neither here nor there, for this letter is meant to be all about YOU!
So you and your Mr. Wickham are truly married, and you are visiting your family at Longbourn! Congratulations on your wedding, my dear friend. Oh, I knew if anyone could pull herself out of trouble it would be YOU. Are your family very mad? I understand Colonel Forster is apoplectic with fury, calling you an irresponsible and ungrateful girl, and Mr. Wickham such names as cannot be repeated. But I digress. Pray, what is it like to be called Mrs. Wickham, and to sit at table ahead of your elder sister? Are you wearing a matron’s cap? Oh, Lydia, I declare that would be the one change I would hate above all, for everyone tells me my best feature is my thick, shiny hair. Oh, dear, how I do go on and prattle.
I am most anxious to know: -What is it like to be constantly with the one you LOVE? Were you nervous on your wedding night? Was it ALL bad? Do tell me EVERYTHING. Or as much as you are willing. Oh, and you need not fear directing your letters to me here. Though Mama sent Mrs. Collins a quite detailed list of things I am forbidden to engage in, there is no mention that your letters should be barred. This means we may write to each other as often as we like. Now that is irony. (A concept of which, my papa says, I haven’t a notion.) Hah!
Your loving friend, Lucy
My Dear Lucy,
I write to you from Longbourn as the happiest creature that ever lived! As a new bride in the parish with everyone from the rector to the butcher attending on me is a dream realised! Between you and me, every maid as far as Meryton is green with envy at my new situation, (no one else has a hope of gaining such a handsome husband,) not excepting my sisters. You would think they should be vastly happy to be reunited with their little sister again, but sadly, the only time they have shown any interest in my marriage to darling Georgie, is when I happened to let slip that Mr Darcy was at my wedding. Lizzy's jaw hit the floor - I cannot begin to wonder why she is so interested in HIM! That man has brought me nothing but trouble, he alone is responsible for making my Aunt and Uncle Gardiner turn against me. I ask you, was it my fault if Mr Wickham fell in such a passion for me, persuading me to run away with him? That said, I felt it just as much, I assure you - we could not wait!
My wedding was not quite the lavish affair I had wished for and Mr Wickham would tease me - he looked so solemn and pale as the statues in the graveyard, I began to think he'd changed his mind. However, I am inclined to imagine that he was just feeling a little nervous at seeing my Papa again - I have to tell you I was not thrilled at the prospect myself, though we need not have worried, Mr Bennet has a temper on occasion but he has never thrashed me, nor is he yet the type to fight Mr W. Indeed, we have scarcely seen him since we returned - my father sits in his library all day with a book in one hand and a glass of something noxious in the other!
Well, I am painting a bleak picture, but you may imagine how ecstatic Mama was to receive us and everyone downstairs in the kitchen has made such a fuss, wanting to hear about it all and see my ring. I daresay my sisters are a little piqued that I have beaten them to the altar - I feel so sorry for them - I have not noticed it before but there is something about them that quite sets them apart as spinsters. Jane and Lizzy have made it crystal clear that they are not at all happy with having me take their place. What can I do? I am a married woman and must take precedence. Being wed has one disadvantage, mark you, though I am not bending to convention. I have not taken to wearing a cap after the first time I tried donning one. I declare I never shall, for Georgie made such a joke about me looking an old fright that I thought it best to leave it off. After all, he does love to see my abundant locks!
As for nerves on my wedding night, what can I tell you, Lucy? I do not think you will be shocked when I say that my only worry was whether we should have such fun once all was legal and above board, if you take my meaning! La! Lucy, you never saw such a lovestruck pair-
I am delighted to send my fond adieus and sign my name,
Stay tuned for the next installment of Lucy's letters to Lydia, eager readers! Meanwhile, you may read their other letters here, or enjoy Lydia's escapades in her journal.