We started out on February 11th with Mr. Darcy leaving Hunsford parish completely dejected after Elizabeth's refusal of his proposal. He soon finds his depressed self entwined in a surprising affair with a woman that we know very little about.
Elizabeth has read his letter and is so stricken that she has an emotional breakdown and lands in a comma for a few days. As she recovers, she finds herself with plenty of free time to sit and dwell on her situation and realizes that she has just turned down her last shot out of poverty.
Mr. Collins has no idea what to do about Elizabeth and confides in his most esteemed patroness. He asks for her advice.
Lady Catherine, after hearing Mr. Collins plea for help, has it in her head that Elizabeth must have thrown herself at Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy, being the intelligent man that he is, has flatly refused her and made a hasty retreat in order to escape a sticky situation. She does believe however, that it is still possible that Miss Elizabeth Bennet may use her arts and wiles on Mr. Darcy somehow or other and decides to get rid of Elizabeth.
Elizabeth, convinced that she has been wrong about everything that she ever knew to be fact, has decided to take Mr. Collins advice and listen with open ears. She believes that she will be a burden to her family and agrees to move to France for a year (on Lady Catherine's dime) and study music. When she returns, maybe she will be good enough to teach a young lady to play and earn her keep.
To read the only slightly condensed version from the beginning, click these links:
Monday February 11th, 2013
Monday February 18th, 2013
Thursday February 21st, 2013
Monday February 25th, 2013
Monday March 4th, 2013
Monday March 11th, 2013
Now that you are up to date, I leave you with today's snippet.
Jane numbly entered the study and sat in front of her father’s desk.
“Jane, I cannot make heads or tails of this. Use your serene spirit and tell me how fortuitous a situation this is, for I cannot see it on my own.”
Mr Bennet had never been one to practice perfect organization. His desk had been in disarray for as long as Jane could remember, but Mr. Bennet always seemed to know where things were and demanded that no one tidy up around him. Today, he seemed just as lost looking at his pile of letters as the rest of the family always did. He scattered papers around absently, looking in any direction but Jane’s. Elizabeth was the only other person capable of reading Jane’s emotions. To the outside world, Jane wore a mask of passivity, but to Elizabeth and their father, Jane’s eyes were the window to her soul.
“Papa, I know that it is none of my business but, may I ask the content of your letter?”
“Letter? You mean letters! I have four of them here. One is from that pompous Mr. Collins. I couldn't read much past the first paragraph. He seemed to indicate that he has handed our dear Elizabeth over to your Uncle Gardener. Gardener writes to inform me of Elizabeth’s safe arrival at Gracechurch Street, her new lady’s maid and the fine new modiste that he wishes he could afford for his wife. Then he mentions that to have a benefactress such as Lady Catherine De Bourgh, one must learn a fine balancing act and if anyone can learn it Lizzy can. If that were not confusing enough, the next letter in the pile was from Lady Catherine herself. Just two lines, ‘Miss Elizabeth Bennet will henceforth be my charge. If she studies hard and practices continually, she may one day earn her keep.’ Lastly there was Elizabeth’s letter. That was the most confusing of them all. What do you think it said?”
“I cannot say for certain Papa, but I may have an idea, for I have received a letter of my own.”
At long last, Mr. Bennet looked into the face of his eldest child. Her normally pleasant, contented face had a pale, sober cast about it which confirmed the truth which Mr. Bennet had been desperately trying to avoid. Her deep blue eyes pooled with the painful reality.
Elizabeth had gone.