The events in this vignette fall just before Chapter 28 in These Dreams. Lydia and Georgiana are becoming close, as each girl tries to find ways to cheer the other. They have found a common bond in the disappointments of their young lives, but Elizabeth, the thread which first brought them together, is still emotionally distant.
There are quite a few sibling and sibling-like relationships running through this book. I enjoyed the relationship between Lydia and Georgiana for several reasons. The first was that Lydia is such a marvelous plot device! She will say things that no one else will say, and she brings an earthy freshness to the other characters just by her tart observations. She has absolutely no class-- not until the influences of Georgiana and Elizabeth begin to permeate her shaken senses-- and no fear, save for her own future.
Another thing I love about these two is that they are such opposites. They grow from each others’ example, and it is entertaining to watch how easily they come to terms with the elephant in the room: George Wickham. He played dirty by both of them, and they form a decided sisterly bond over the matter. As their friendship strengthens, they almost embark upon the girlhood that both had been denied; playing instruments, learning new crafts, planning picnics and comforting one another.
Elizabeth, through no fault or intent of anyone’s, becomes something of the outsider. Unlike the younger girls, her grief knows no balm, and she is tormented by night and day with her dreams and visions of the man she believes lost to her. Additionally, she is weighed down with the duties and responsibilities that the other two are yet unprepared to shoulder. In this short vignette, Georgiana and Lydia do a little speculating about the cause of Elizabeth’s low spirits.
|Eleanor Tomlinson as Georgiana Darcy|
Lydia Wickham tilted her head, and there was a careful, hooded look to her expression, which betrayed her lack of enthusiasm for Georgiana’s talents. She blinked once, twice, and then nodded slowly. “It shows promise!”
Georgiana sighed and dropped the abused bit of millinery. “Oh, I shall never get the knack of it!”
“No, I think you quite have it! I particularly like that bit of holly there. How nicely it sets off the dried lavender! Perhaps if we tried a white ribbon instead of yellow….”
“No,” Georgiana sighed, “I must give it up as futile. I shall never master your trick of making over bonnets.” She braced her hands behind herself on Lydia’s bed, and leaned back in defeat.
“Well, it is a sight better than the last one. You did not rip it this time, and just look at your flowers! They all still have their blossoms.”
Georgiana looked up with a smile. “That is true! I cannot understand why I do so poorly at this. It is not as if I have no practice with flowers, nor with colours and palettes.”
“Well,” Lydia sniffed in mock superiority and drew her swollen figure up in the new gown Georgiana had just given her, “not everyone can be as graceful or as talented as I.”
Georgiana threw her head back in a surprised laugh. “Dear Lydia, there are a great many things at which you excel, not the least of which is your way of forming saucy retorts!”
|Jenna Coleman as Lydia Bennet (BBC Death Comes to Pemberley)|
Lydia sighed and dropped to the bed beside her friend. “At least I am able to make you laugh. I cannot remember the last time I succeeded with Lizzy.”
Georgiana’s face sobered. “I only met her briefly last summer, but I thought her quite a merry girl then. From what you and Richard have told me, it sounds as if she used to be so. She has not been quite herself, has she?”
“Hah! She feels to me more like a disapproving elder brother than the sister I have always known. Do you know that she used to climb trees, or that she once snuck into each of our rooms while we slept and switched about all of our underclothes, just to tease us? How Mama fretted about that! We were almost late for services that Sunday. And do not let me start on about the way she plays cards! She is altogether impossible to read, always laughing and alluding to cards she does not even have in her hand. Even Papa cannot best her when she is in high spirits.”
Georgiana frowned. “What do you suppose troubles her? Is she unhappy here? I was so glad she agreed to come, but I would not wish to keep her against her inclinations.”
“Oh, you needn’t worry on that score. She is no more miserable here than she was at Longbourn. She has been like this since last fall, do you see.”
“But why? I had at first thought Elizabeth one of the happiest people I had ever known.”
“She was, I suppose. I daresay I laughed a great deal more, and so did Kitty, but Lizzy nearly always had a smile upon her face.” Lydia glanced over her shoulder toward the door, then leaned confidentially close with a finger held to her lips. “I think I know why, but Lizzy will never confess it.”
Georgiana’s brows shot up at the implied secret. “Why?” she whispered.
“Why, she has been disappointed in love. I know it, for she spoke of him once. Sometimes I see her staring off into nothing, looking for all the world like she would reach for some lover, if he were only there, and kiss him senseless.”
Georgiana covered her mouth, scandalised at such a sordid implication. “What was his name? Did he abandon her?”
“Oh, well, she never told me that. She only spoke of general things, you know-- wishing for him to hold her, dreaming of him and hearing his voice-- that sort of thing. She denied it the instant I caught her, but she cannot fool me. Someone broke her heart, and it must have happened last summer while I was in Brighton.”
Georgiana lifted her shoulders. “But who?”
Lydia surveyed her friend with a significant expression. “Well, it had to be either John Lucas back home-- that flabby boy-man-- or someone she met on her tour to Derbyshire.”
Georgiana’s eyes widened. “You cannot mean… oh! You do not suppose that she and my brother--!”
“Why not? Lizzy used to declare all the time how stoutly she disliked him, and do you know, I never heard her take the trouble to denounce any other man. She always did enjoy a good banter, and I suppose Mr Darcy gave it to her.”
“She disliked him?” Georgiana’s brow furrowed. “Now I am even more confused! I thought you just suspected her of being in love with him!”
“Do you not see? They challenged one another. Lizzy never could do things the easy way, and I can think of no tougher nut to crack than Mr Darcy.”
“I never saw a thing of her dislike, nor his, either. In fact…” the space between her eyes pinched in thought. “He smiled at her a great deal. I noted it at the time because he was working so hard not to smile at Miss Bingley.”
“There, do you see! I think they carried on a liason of sorts, right beneath your nose.”
“Fitzwilliam would never! My brother was a gentleman.”
The corner of Lydia’s mouth turned up wryly. “They are all ‘gentlemen,’ until they are not. But I would not distress you, so let us speak no more of it just now.”
Georgiana’s eyes were beginning to brim with tears. “I miss him so! And poor Elizabeth! If she really did love him, and he is gone… and now she has had to come here! I cannot think what torment it must be for her. Is there nothing we can do?”
“Short of a miracle?” Lydia snorted and rubbed a hand over her belly. “Not likely. Lizzy is too stubborn to change her mood just because we try to make her laugh. She will hold on to her melancholy until she is good and done with it.”
“But I feel we must try! What comfort you both have brought me, and he was my brother, after all. I lost someone I had known my whole life, while she could not have… that is to say, surely she will forget her grief if we but try harder. What if we were to plan a lovely picnic? Do you think she would like that?”
“You will not pry her away from the account books,” Lydia warned. “But I suppose we might try. Oh!” Lydia brightened and rubbed her stomach once more. “I must show her my new wardrobe! Surely that will make her smile.”
Lydia rose and brushed a hand down the flowing new gown, which fitted her far more comfortably than her old one. Georgiana rose to stand beside her with a proud, yet wistful smile. “It suits you.”
“Yes, but it is missing something.” Lydia tilted her head to the side, then with a wicked smile, she sashayed to the bed to retrieve the hapless bonnet. “There!” She crowned her brown curls with the lopsided thing, tossing her chin up so that her eyes could be seen beneath it. “What do you think?”
Georgiana pursed her lips. “I think… if anything can make Elizabeth laugh, you have found it.”
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About the book
An abandoned bride ~ A missing man ~ And a dream that refuses to die...
Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty, and Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught at the centre of a decades-old international feud. Taken far from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear, only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.
Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley, and Colonel Fitwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared, Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy's death widens and questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past. An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.
Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn- alone and under mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might have been. Believing Darcy lost forever, she closes her heart against both pain and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.
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About the Author
Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.
Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, a N&S inspired novel. Both immediately became best selling books. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write three other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.
Nicole was recently invited to join Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston, her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.
Buy Links for Nicole’s other books