The 26th of November
The 24th of November
As Mama says, my poor nerves! I can not decide upon which gown I wish to wear and I so want everything to be perfect. I have taken quite a fancy to a certain young man in the regiment. We have had many endearing conversations and I feel very much at ease whenever he is near.
When the invitation for the ball arrived, it launched Mama off into a tizzy. She has planned and strategized for Jane as to how she can attain Mr. Bingley's affections. She decided what Jane would wear and how she would fix her hair. Jane decided that she would ready herself as early as possible to please Mama. She has determined that if she is prepared ahead of time, she can in all likelihood change upon Mama's whim.
Mama owned that invitation did include Mr. Collins. I tried to be impertinent but only succeeded in allowing him to secure the first two dances. Hopefully, the agony would end when the first two dances do.
The 25th of November
Mary does not anticipate attending the ball as much as the rest of us do. Her chosen favorite appears not to be taken with her. Apparently, to Mary's chagrin, he has some sort of design on me although I assure you it has not been encouraged. I have oft tried to advise Mary on how to carry herself and how to converse with other people, but to no avail. Her singleness will attest to that fact.
The 26th of November
Sarah was weaving small sprigs of baby's breath into my hair when I heard Mama approaching. I tensed up at the thoughts of her spouting her sage advice in my direction, but she only came to see how I was progressing. She did compliment me though on my appearance, however, Jane will always be the loveliest.
The door burst open and Lydia came rushing through. She had come to ask my opinion about the gown she had chosen to wear. Although, I knew that she really did not desire my opinion, she merely wanted me to side with her against Kitty.
After the disagreement with Lydia, Kitty left for downstairs to sit and wait for the rest of the family. She could not stay angry with Lydia for long and upon Mr. Collins arrival into the sitting room, was soon bounding back upstairs.
Papa, who had grown weary of Mama's nerves and took himself downstairs to the library. There he would wait until summoned to the carriage. I could never understand what love stood between him and Mama, but I am sure that at one time it was a great one. Papa is very persevering and he tolerates Mama very well.
We all wait patiently for Mama, who hinders Jane from coming downstairs for some last minute change. Jane's sweet face soon appears at the top of the stairs and she starts down them with Mama on her heels.
Lydia and Kitty stand arm in arm and whisper silly thoughts of officers in regimentals to each other. Secretly, they both hope to outdo the other tonight. I wish I could be assured of their behaving in a proper manner.
Mr. Collins stood nearby. He tried to converse with Papa, who does encourage his ridiculous babblings by paying heed to them. But tonight, Papa was in no mood and quickly changed the subject. He drew Mr. Collins' attention to me by complimenting me on my attire. Mr. Collins walked over and stood close to me. My only escape lay in the arrival of Jane.
Lydia, Jane, Kitty and myself were crammed into one carriage while Mama, Mary, Papa and Mr. Collins were in another. We were grateful to be together and Mary was not put out to ride with Mr. Collins. It is obvious that she cares for him. For my sake, I wish he returned her sentiments.
Much activity was around the Netherfield House. You could see it from a good distance away. The closer we drew the more excited we became. Lydia and Kitty chattered on endlessly. Jane smiled nervously.
The coach came to a jerking halt. The footman opened the door and extended his hand inside. Of course, Lydia is the first out. She is so forward to be so young. Jane and I wait and allowed Kitty to follow. The footman helps me next and Mr. Collins assists Jane. She and I start up the steps.
The music can be heard from outside. I glance upward and see Mr. Darcy for a moment. I cannot believe that he would lowerate himself to attend the ball with such a class of people but I guess even Mr. Darcy needs some sort of diverson.
Hand in hand, Jane and I arrive at the top step. We slowly make our way in. The servant takes our cloaks and we proceed to the receiving line which contained all but Mr. Darcy. I shook hands with each one. Caroline and Mrs. Hurst are very beautiful. Their gowns are of the finest material. They do not, however, appear to be accepting any pleasure from this ball. I think they are only tolerating it for their brother's sake.
Jane and Mr. Bingley, seeing that I was alone, escort me in. Soon, I am face to face with Captain Denny who does allow that my friend will not be in attendance tonight, hinting that Mr. Darcy was the cause. Lydia and Kitty come and accoust the Captain and I am again left to myself. I did not know what to do. I dressed with such care. I wanted to go home. Then I spy Charlotte across the room and make my way over to her. At least, I will have someone to talk to even if I do not dance.
I barely begin to speak to Charlotte when Mr. Collins arrives. He bows and smiles profusely at the both of us. The music begins and so does the misery as Mr. Collins gives way for me to join him on the dance floor. I complete all of the dance movements in almost a nonchalant manner, not participating mentally in the dance, only wanting it to be over. Even if it was to be my only one. I make my turn in one of the sets and notice Mr. Darcy watching and being very amused at my partner's obvious mistakes. Why does he do that? I wish he would not.
Fortunately for me, I did have the opportunity of dancing again, and to my discovery, not that I did doubt it, Wickham is thought well of by the officers. Great conversation was to be had with several at the ball. Charlotte and I participated in many discussions. Mr. Darcy did then approach and apply for my hand and I, being caught off guard, did accept. I could not think of an excuse. Charlotte thinks I should consider this a compliment. I am unsure.
A look of surprise came over many of the inhabitant's faces at the picture of Mr. Darcy and myself. I stand across from him in silence. He does not avoid my gaze and looks at me just as steadfastly as I look at him. I want to ask him why he does stares at me so. Does he wish to intimidate me?
The music commenced and he took my hand. He looked into my eyes as we passed each other. To not be fond of dancing, I must admit that Mr. Darcy is an excellent dancer though his partner leaves something to be desired. I am sure that he does excell from the many society gatherings he attends.
I could go on no longer in silence. I am sure that it pained him to speak but my sarcastic nature would not let him go so easily. I made a trival comment about the dance, he answered and we were back to where we started.
Determination then set in. I will force him to speak. Again I remarked about the lack of conversation on his part, so I would speak for him He does finally respond. The less he speaks the more obstinate I became. His silence gives the impression of self importance.
I compare our dispositions as unsocial and taciturn, but I do not think he agreed. He did inquire as to if we did walk into Meryton often, to which I answered that we did. I could not help but add that we had just met new acquaintance, meaning Wickham.
Everything that Wickham had said suddenly appeared in Mr. Darcy's face. I was at a loss for words and almost wished I had not ventured so far. But Mr. Darcy did not let it pass without a reply. I, of course, felt compelled to defend Wickham's honor in his absence. Mr. Darcy made no answer to my rebuttal and seemed to want to change the subject.
To Mr. Darcy's relief, Sir William interupted us to compliment our dancing. He did allude to talk of an imminent marriage between Mr. Bingley and Jane to which I tried to assure Sir William that nothing of that nature did exist between the two. It was apparent that this information did not please Mr. Darcy.
We attempted to continue the dance but found it exceedingly hard to find a subject to settle on. I queried Mr. Darcy on several topics only for him to wonder why such interest. I replied that I was interested in making out his character but had heard such different versions as to confuse me.
He desired that I not attemped to sketch his character as what I had already heard would probably prejudice me against him. I ventured that I may never have another opportunity and to that he replied, "I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours."
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