Scene 1: Mr. Collins' second proposal
Mr. Collins was left alone in the drawing room of Lucas Lodge with Charlotte due to Lady Lucas's careful deliberation. He looked at her with repulsive grin and Charlotte shuddered.
She didn't want to marry this thing, this creature but as her mother explained last night, it was an extremely fortunate alliance to make. Charlotte did not fool herself, she was twenty seven years old, one of the plainest women in Hertfordshire and any marriage proposal, even if it was from Mr. Collins, was welcome. On the other hand if it had been someone like Mr. Darcy . He was so tall and so elegant, he was handsome, passionate, so unlike this blundering badger.
"My dear Miss Lucas, you are not listening," Mr. Collins said with a slight hint of annoyance in his voice.
She looked at him and he continued, "I think you know what I am about to offer. I am but a humble clergyman, one whom Lady Catherine refers to as a "dull humourous creature" That is high praise indeed from such a beneficial patron. Indeed humourous! I often pride myself on my wit and she thinks it is amusing."
Charlotte stood up and walked over to the window, looking desperately out it. She simply didn't want to marry Mr. Collins. When he walked, he was embarrassing, when he spoke he was laughed at, and when he made any motion at all, he disgusted her. She wanted someone to interrupt her, some one to come in and say, "It is all right Charlotte, You don't have to marry this idiot, your parents shan't hate you if you stay an old maid." No-one came.
He cleared his throat, "I know it is customary for young ladies to pretend to be modest and refuse, but my dear Miss Lucas, you are so old and mature that you do not need to participate in such foolishness as that.....Why what ever is the matter?"
Charlotte's face had had become exceedingly red. Old? Mature? Because I am twenty seven he expects me to forget that I am a woman? Does he expect me to have GOUT or something of the sort? How dare he.
He looked at her and then smiled, "You are surprised, my dear Miss Lucas. But then that is one of your many, many charms. In all serious my dear Miss Lucas, I want to marry you. I need a wife. As Lady Catherine herself condescended to say, 'You need a wife Mr. Collins, a clergyman of your age and fortune not to be married is ridiculous.' I informed her of my plans to come into Hertfordshire and seek a wife. And now after my cousin Elizabeth refused me, I have chosen you to have the honour of being my partner."
She was horrified. She wanted to smack him very hard indeed. An honour, pshaw! An evil perhaps. Oh why did she have to be the eldest? And why was she always second best to Elizabeth? Elizabeth was witty, charming, sweet and had a good figure where as she was "only Charlotte."
Her mama had gloated last night saying, "Ha! A daughter married before Mrs. Bennet! She only has a daughter who was preferred by Mr. Bingley, where as I have a daughter married! I wonder how much longer Mr. Bennet shall live. He is fifty three and does suffer from chills so I should guess ten years. In ten years my daughter shall be mistress of Longbourn!" Charlotte was shocked then by the cruelty of her words but now such a hideous proposal! This was embarrassing amazing and ridiculous all at once.
Get it over quickly, she told herself. She took a deep breath and then said, "Yes Mr. Collins, I accept."
He smiled repugnantly again. Leaning over to kiss her, he closed his eyes and Charlotte quickly supplemented her lips for a cushion. He didn't notice.
She then called her family in and while they and Mr. Collins rejoiced in the sitting room, she lay up in her bedroom sobbing uncontrollably.
Scene 1: Darcy's and Elizabeth's First Kiss
Elizabeth and Darcy decided to take another long walk, this time to Netherfield where they had planned to meet Jane and Charles for dinner. It was two days after their engagement had been announced to the whole family, and already Elizabeth was tired of her mother's persistent raptures and Lady Lucas' envious looks and audible remarks of "at least my Charlotte married for love and not money."
This didn't annoy Fitzwilliam as much, because he had spent lots of time in society since he had been "of age" and had endured prattles of gold digging dowagers before. He tried to console Elizabeth with promises and thoughts of Pemberley and their future life together.
Jane had revealed, blushing last night, that Charles had kissed her many times, but as of yet, the height of Darcy's passion was a kiss on the cheek when he said good-bye to her yesterday.
Does he find me undesirable? she wondered, Am I too plain? Am I lacking passion? She clutched his hand tighter, and he looked down and smiled irresistibly.
They set off at ten and walked at a moderate pace, talking about all sorts of things.
"What do you think Georgiana would like to wear for the wedding?" she asked. His sister had agreed to become a bridesmaid and, as Kitty had already chosen her dress, Lizzy didn't know what Georgiana's preference would be.
"I have no idea. Blue perhaps. Should you not be concentrating more on your own dress?" he asked.
"No, I have left that to mama and Aunt Gardiner. She is traveling to London in two days to prepare. Would you mind terribly if I went with her?"
"Well, I would miss you. Perhaps I could accompany you?"
"Yes, that would be wonderful."
They came to a stile. He crossed it first and then held out his hand to help her. She reached out to hold it, stumbled on her skirt and fell into his arms.
"Oh what a blunderpuss I am!" she exclaimed.
He laughed and set her on the ground. She brushed the dirt which had accumulated on her dress and then sighed, exasperated.
"What's wrong?" he asked concerned.
"Nothing, everything. Mama, Lydia, Lady Lucas, the wedding plans, you---"
"Me?" he questioned.
"Yes you," she replied frustrated, "You say you love me, you talk to me as if you love me, you look at me as if you love me, yet you don't kiss me or embrace me. Am I undesirable?"
"No, of course not. You are the most beautiful woman I have ever met. I didn't want to take liberties with you because I have a fear of acting like George Wickham. I do love you, Elizabeth," he said looking into her eyes. His look overpowered her and she blushed and looked down to the ground.
He reached out and pulled her towards him. She glanced up and smiled nervously. He leaned down hesitantly and kissed her gently. His arms encircled her waist and she slowly wrapped her arms around his neck. He began kissing her more fervently, and she was lost in a whirl of pleasurable emotions.
When they ceased, she smiled up at him, and he took her arm again.
They walked toward Netherfield and Elizabeth said,
"I remember walking here when Jane was ill and I first encountered you. How embarrassed I was that day."
"And how much I wanted to take you in my arms and do this," he said, embracing her passionately again.
"You should inform me when you plan to do that," she said archly when he broke off, "For it is not gentlemanly to surprise a lady who is unprepared."
He laughed and shook his head.
"Really Elizabeth, what shall I do with you?"
"Marry me, and keep me out of harms way?" she supplied.
"I should be happy to oblige," he smiled and they continued on to Netherfield where they were shown to the parlour. Jane was inspecting the furniture and she welcomed them warmly.
"My word, Lizzy. You are quite out of breath. Was the walk tiring?"
Elizabeth smiled and looked at Darcy who was talking to Charles.
"No, it was........interesting.
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