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They Played Together As Boys - Chapter 2-3

January 31, 2015 10:18PM

Authors note: Thank you for all the lovely comments last week! They really put a smile on my face. grinning smiley Onwards and upwards eh? tongue sticking out smiley

Chapter 2.

What Mr Bennet had neglected to mention to Lizzy was the impeding arrival of a guest – his distant cousin Mr Collins. He did so the following morning.

“I hope, my dear,” said Mr Bennet to his wife, “That you have ordered a good dinner today. We have reason to expect an addition to our family party.”

“Mr Bingley!” she exclaimed. “Why Jane you sly thing! You never dropped a word.”

“Mama, it is not-” Jane chimed, catching the amused glance of Lizzy from across the table.

“And there is not a bit of fish to be got! Lydia my love, ring the bell for Hill, I shall have to speak to her this moment.”

“It is not Mr Bingley,” Mr Bennet interjected, “It is a gentleman I have not met in the whole course of my life.”

This roused a general astonishment; and he had the overall pleasure of being eagerly harassed by his wife and five daughters at once. After amusing himself for some time on their curiosity, he then explained.

“About a month ago, I received this letter; and thinking it required some delicacy, answered a fortnight ago. It is from my cousin Mr Collins, who, when I am dead, may turn you out of the house as soon as he wishes!”

“Do not mention that dreadful man!” she fluttered, “To think, that your own estate should be entailed away from your own poor daughters!”

Jane and Lizzy tried to explain to her the nature of an entail. They had often attempted to do so before, but it was a subject on which Mrs Bennet was beyond the reach of reason and she continued to react to the injustice of having the estate settled away from a family of five daughters.

She did not have much for notion for the thought that the Earl, not wishing to see Thomas's family homeless, would have provided for them. Her mind was more disagreeably engaged with the thought that she could be turned out of her own home.

Mr Bennet, realising the futility of such an endeavour, attempted to restore the peace by way of Mr Collins letter, where, he pointed out, the disagreement between the two families had given Mr Collins much unease and now wishing to heal the breach, offered an olive branch and a fervent wish to make amends to his amiable daughters.

Mrs Bennet had no thought to discourage him.


His arrival was all that was expected. Lizzy declared him an oddity – he was a peculiar mix of deference and humility, and as sensible as they thought he would be. His admiration was profound, everything form his amiable cousins to the dining-room and furniture were all examined and admired. His adulation would have gone some way to warm Mrs Bennet's heart, but for the supposition that it was being viewed as quite his own.

Mr Bennet, who had allowed himself sometime to observe, introduced the subject in which he expected Mr Collins to be most eloquent – the fortune of his patroness, Lady Catherine De Bourgh. He did not disappoint. His ridiculousness was paramount and his attempts at flattery absurd.

“It is happy for you,” Mr Bennet noted, “That you possess the fortune of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment or, are they the result of previous study?”

“The arise mainly from what is passing at the time,” Mr Collins replied. “But I do like to amuse myself by writing down such little elegant comments for the ladies that I may impart on occasion.”

Mr Bennet's expectations were fully acknowledged. Mr Collins was as ridiculous as he had hoped. He had listened to him with great pleasure and apart from the occasional glance at Lizzy, who had spent much of the course behind her napkin, required little more. He had a great inclination to write a letter to James tomorrow, highlighting the ridiculousness of his cousin. He was sure James would be excessively diverted that he always thought of toads when Mr Collins was near and that somehow, it would not have surprised him in the least to find him trying to eat flies at the dinner table.


Mr Collins plans to heal the breach were made in deference to his noble patroness. Her suggestion was that he were to marry, and, in atonement for his inheriting Longbourne, he sought reconciliation by marrying one of its daughters.

His plan had not varied on seeing them. Reports of their beauty and amiability had not been idle. Miss Bennet's serene countenance adhered to his notions of what was due to seniority and by the first night she had been established as his preferred choice.

This choice was altered the next morning. A tête-à-tête with Mrs Bennet after breakfast, as all bar Mr Bennet were in the garden, produced from her, in a complaisant and encouraging manner, a caution against the very Bennet sister he had designs on. She had felt it necessary to hint that her eldest may very soon be engaged but, by way of motivation, knew not of any prior attachment with her younger daughters.

It took but a moment for Mr Collins to change from Jane to Lizzy.

Their tête-à-tête was soon interrupted by Kitty and Lydia who expressed a wish to go into Meryton.

“Would you care for a little exercise Mr Collins?” Mrs Bennet queried.

“Indeed I would, Mrs Bennet” he replied, certain he would bear the walk if accompanied by his lady of choice.

It was by misfortune then, that Jane and Lizzy's walk came upon them that moment.

“Cousin Elizabeth!” cried he, bumbling forth, “Would you do me the honour of walking with me into town?” He smiled in what he thought was a pleasing manner.

Lizzy could only look towards her elder sister with a look of discontent.

It was of luck then, that the walk into Meryton was not long. The attentions of the youngest Miss Bennets' was soon lost on arrival, whose eyes were immediately wandering up and down the street in the quest for officers. Their attention was soon caught by a young man, whom they had never seen before, and of the most gentleman like appearance, walking with an officer over the way. The very officer was Mr Denny - whose return from London Lydia especially had come to enquire.

“Whose that with him?” inquired Kitty.

“Oh, I don't know.”

“He's frightful handsome,” Kitty responded.

“He might be if he were in regimentals. I think a man looks nothing without regimentals.”

Lydia's adulation was profound, and she soon beckoned Denny over.

“What a fine joke. We thought you were still in town!”

“There was nothing amusing enough to keep us there”, Denny replied. “Allow me to introduce my good friend, George Wickham.”

He pointed to each of the ladies in turn as he introduced them, as Mr Wickham doffed his hat and made an elaborate bow.

“This is our cousin, Mr Collins”

“Will you be staying long, Mr Wickham?” Lizzy inquired.

Mr Wickham was happy to say indeed, he was. He had taken a commission in Colonel Forster's regiment and would be there the whole winter. The girls could not be more pleased with the addition of the handsome stranger.

The party were still standing, and very agreeably engaged, when the sound of horses soon drew their notice. The gentlemen in question, Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley, on distinguishing the ladies of the party soon came towards them. Mr Bingley's chief object was the eldest Miss Bennet, and he was very soon agreeably occupied. He was, he said, on his way to Longbourne to enquire after her. Mr Darcy corroborated this with a bow, and determined not to keep his eyes fixed on Elizabeth, were soon arrested by the sight of the stranger.

It was impossible for Lizzy not to notice their interaction and curious as to the nature of it, could only be astonished at the effect of it. Both changed colour; one looked white, the other red. After a moment, Mr Wickham touched his hat, a greeting cut directly by Mr Darcy as he rode on.

It was impossible to know what had happened. What could be the meaning of it?

Chapter 3.

The following night brought a card party at their Aunt Philips's, their mothers sister. Invitations had also been extended to Mr Wickham and Mr Collins, whom she had met the previous day.

Although Mr Collins was well received, he did himself no favours. His comparison of the apartment to a small, inconsequential room at Rosings, did not go down well with his hostess until it was explained to her the nature of the compliment. He was soon obliged to sit down for a game of whist, and spent much of that time apologising for being inattentive.

Mr Wickham on the other hand, with the appearance of goodness and pleasant countenance to match, was soon accosted by the youngest Miss Bennets' and the young Maria Lucas. The arrival of Jane at their party soon put a limit to their flirtations; with Mr Wickham soon taking this as an opportunity to step away from the group and take a seat with Lizzy.

Although curious as to the nature of the relationship between himself and Mr Darcy, she was somewhat mollified when he introduced the subject himself. He soon enquired whether the Netherfield party had been in the area long, and, in particular, if Mr Darcy had been of the duration.

“About a month, I believe”, she answered. Eager for the answers she so craved, she made some magnanimous comment about his estate in Derbyshire.

“Oh, there is no-one to know about it more than I” he revealed. “I've known Mr Darcy all my life. We grew up together as children.”

Lizzy could not have been more surprised. “But-”

Mr Wickham quite rightly assumed that she had noticed their cold manner of greeting. His inquiry into whether she had known Mr Darcy long, led him to understand that she was as warmly acquainted with him as she wished to be, and she found him to be a very disagreeable sort of man. “He is not at all liked in Hertfordshire”, she continued. “Everybody is disgusted with his pride. He will not be favourably be spoken of by anyone.”

“Is he intending to stay long in the neighbourhood?” Mr Wickham asked her, at the next available opportunity.

“I do not know – I have never heard it spoken of. But I do hope that your plans will not be affected by his staying in the neighbourhood”

“It is not me to be driven away by Mr Darcy. If he wishes to avoid seeing me then he must go. We are not on friendly terms, I admit, but I have only one reason to avoid him Miss Bennet – he has done me great wrong.”

Lizzy's curiosity was piqued, but the delicacy of the subject did not allow her to enquire further.

“His father, Miss Bennet, the late Mr Darcy, was my godfather and one the greatest men I have ever known. My father was his steward, and, when my own father died, old Mr Darcy provided for me; cared for me; even loved me. His intention for me was to enter the church – and it was my dearest wish to do so – but when his father died, and the living fell vacant, the son flatly refused to honour his fathers wishes and the living for which I was intended went elsewhere.”

“Good heavens!” cried Lizzy, “I had not thought Mr Darcy as bad as this! To so disregard his father's will – he ought to be publically disgraced!” After a few moments reflections she noted, “I do remember his boasting one day, at Netherfield, of the implacability of his resentments, that he might even vouch for his resentful temper.”

“His temper I cannot vouch for, but he is guardian to his sister, and he is often citied as the most attentive and best of brothers.”

“What sort of a girl is Miss Darcy?” she asked.

“I would hate to speak ill of a Darcy – but she is very much like her brother. Very proud. I devoted hours to her amusement as a child and I believe she was extremely fond of me. She was like a sister to me. But it was a friendship soon put a stop to by her brother, and her other guardian, no doubt for some mischievous reason of their own.”


It did not take long for Lizzy to relate the conversation to Jane. Despite Lizzy's resoluteness, Jane was not convinced, especially after so short an acquaintance, and questioned whether he should be believed so unreservedly.

Lizzy had no doubts. “He gave everything without ceremony Jane! There were names. Facts. There can be no doubt.”

“I believe there is. Consider Lizzy, how could it be that his most intimate friends are deceived by him?”

“I could more readily believe that your Mr Bingley had been taken advantage of than Mr Wickham inventing such a history!”

“Oh Lizzy, do be careful”, Jane pleaded, “You're in very grave danger of being blinded by a slight.”

“I assure you I am not. My opinion of Mr Darcy is based entirely on his behaviour!”

Jane was not convinced.

But realising that this was a subject where Lizzy's obstinacy could get the better of her, pointed out that they still had to send a letter to their Aunt. Lizzy, understanding that Jane was trying to change the subject, gladly pulled two chairs up to the writing table and sat down. The letter was thus:

Longbourne Estate, Hertfordshire
November 1813

Aunt Margaret,

We hope this letter finds you well. Be rest assured that everyone is in the best of health and send their warmest regards to yourself, Uncle and Grandmama.

Father has relayed your invitation to join you in London, which we accept with pleasure. We are very much looking forward to coming, and anticipate what you have planned for us!

You may be unaware that Netherfield Park has been let at last. The inhabitants have planned a ball for the 26th of this month, of which we will attend before preparing for our trips to London and Yorkshire. We therefore plan on leaving on the 5th December if this is suitable for you.

We look forward to your speedy reply,

Your loving nieces,
Jane and Lizzy

Sealing the letter, they rang the bell for the letter to be taken to the post and went to join the rest of the family in the parlour.

They Played Together As Boys - Chapter 2-3

NatCRJanuary 31, 2015 10:18PM

Re: They Played Together As Boys - Chapter 2-3

ShannaGFebruary 02, 2015 04:20PM


Maria VFebruary 01, 2015 12:16PM

Re: Confused

LisaFebruary 01, 2015 11:22PM

Re: Confused

Maria VFebruary 02, 2015 08:18AM

question regarding family line

MomoeFebruary 02, 2015 03:46PM


NatCRFebruary 02, 2015 07:10PM

Re: apologies...

MissGouldingSeptember 28, 2018 06:03PM

Confusement? :-)

TashaFebruary 03, 2015 01:18AM

Re: They Played Together As Boys - Chapter 2-3

terrycgFebruary 01, 2015 06:09AM


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