I'm glad to welcome Mary Simonsen as today's guest on My Jane Austen Book Club. She is here on her blog tour for the launch of A Wife for Mr. Darcy, a new Pride and Prejudice-inspired novel that was released on July 1, 2011 by Sourcebooks. The Publishers have kindly granted all US/Canada readers who will leave their comments +e-mail address here a chance to win a free copy of the book. The giveaway ends on August 1st.
Thank you, Maria Grazia, for hosting me on your blog. It is always a pleasure. You asked me to write about how the three couples (Elizabeth/Darcy, Jane/Bingley, and Lydia/Wickham) interact after their marriages. Jane Austen provides the clues to their future in her final chapter of Pride and Prejudice.
After a year of marriage, Jane and Charles move out of Hertfordshire (and away from the Bennets) and closer to Derbyshire (to be nearer to the Darcys). And that tells us a lot right there. Although Charles is as mellow a fellow as there is in literature, he can only take so much of his in-laws. Despite improvements in Kitty and Mary’s character, there is still the silly Mrs. Bennet to contend with. Because you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, Bingley’s mother-in-law will continue to utter inappropriate comments at the worst possible times and probably talk a great deal about Lydia and George Wickham.
According to Austen, with only thirty miles separating the Bingley and Darcy estates, Jane is so often at Pemberley that Charles hints to Darcy that their host should ask his visitors to go home. I like that. Despite his friendship with Darcy and his affection for Elizabeth, Charles wants time to be alone with his bride. Ditto for the Darcys. I can easily imagine our favorite couple enjoying a lengthy honeymoon. As the years pass, I picture the carriages of the Bingleys and the Darcys wearing ruts in the road between their two estates, and, of course, once the children arrive, the visits will last even longer.
On the other hand, Lydia and her dear Wickham continue to be a problem for the Darcys. Since Georgiana remains at Pemberley after Lizzy and Darcy tie the knot, it is impossible for Elizabeth to have Lydia and Wickham come to visit when Fitzwilliam and Georgiana are there. After all, Wickham tried to lure a fifteen-year old girl into an elopement so that he might have access to her fortune and as a way of retaliating against her brother for his perceived ill treatment. Although Jane Austen has Lydia and Wickham visiting Pemberley when Darcy is not at home, I think the visits would have been few and far between. How can you sit down to supper with someone who is a liar, a seducer, and an unrepentant reprobate? I would imagine that Lydia would have had more success in securing invitations from Jane and Bingley than she would have from the Darcys.
I have five sisters, and we are very close. We visit frequently, and when we do, we seem to get silly very quickly. Because of that, it doesn’t take long before our husbands slip away, usually to watch a ballgame, so that they don’t have to hear our childhood stories for the umpteenth time. I imagine that it would be like that for Jane and Elizabeth. While Darcy and Bingley shoot billiards, their wives will reminisce about their youth at Longbourn and that all important dance at the Meryton assembly when Jane and Bingley fell in love and a tiny flame began to burn inside of Mr. Darcy.
What do you think? Did Lydia and Wickham successfully weasel an invitation to visit Pemberley or the Bingley estate? I would love to hear from you.
Mary Lydon Simonsen