Author's Note: A little excerpt about what it was probably like to get the Bennet family together for dinner, eight years before meeting Mr. Darcy.
Elizabeth sat silently in the small parlor, reading a book on Roman mythology, while her sister Jane mended a broken ribbon on her bonnet. Jane was two years her elder, and had the temperament of a middle-aged woman. She was quiet and polite, seldom spoke out of turn, and was the most congenial person that Eliza had ever beheld.
Eliza on the other hand, was totally aimed at pleasing herself and exploring the new angles of the world she had never seen. She had rarely left town further than Meryton, and chose books to fulfill the missing pieces. She had just learned to behave, when told, at thirteen, and still had her moments of complete immaturity. Her mother declared to her that she would never let her out into society until she learned to mind her manners. Right now, they were hoping that by the time she was three and twenty, it might be safe.
Just above them on the second floor, little Lydia was taking her paints and decorating the walls of the nursery with random streaks and smudges. She knew that paint was meant for paper, but she considered the larger and whiter wall canvas to be much more appealing. She was short and plump and seven years old, and she was the most spoiled child that any one could meet. Mrs. Bennet granted anything that she wanted, within reason; and she was basically disowned by her father as his last major mistake in life.
Kitty was standing up against the wall in the nursery and gossiping about how ill Charlotte Lucas had looked the night before when they had dined at Lucas Lodge. "She looks so old! My Lord, one would say she is almost thirty, but Mama says she is barely nineteen. Should not she be married by now?" Kitty spoke knowing that Lydia neither understood nor cared about anything she had to say. Lydia just continued to enhance of the hues of her surrounding with bright reds and blues.
"I am almost nine...should not I be allowed into society yet? I dare say I would act more pleasing than Jane and she only has one more year until Mama agreed to let her come out." Kitty continued to whine.
"Kitty,...hand me the green! I want to make the grass!" Lydia yelled suddenly, and Kitty immediately appeased.
"What are you drawing? You are going to be in a heap of trouble when Mama or Hill sees this!" Kitty laughed.
"It's Longbourn! Cannot you tell?" Lydia stepped back from her creation, and examined it.
"It does not look like anything." Kitty observed.
"You do not know what art is. You have no taste!" Lydia argued back in defense of her picture, which now spanned the entire width of the room.
Down the hall was the small music room, where Mary sat alone, pondering over an aria that she had bought in town. She preferred to be alone. It suited her more than socializing with the same people all day long. Kitty and Lydia were too silly, and Eliza and Jane were too close to one another to let in a third party. She had taught herself German, Italian, Latin and French; all before she was ten years old, and she was immensely more proud of herself than any one in her family was of her.
Mrs. Bennet came into the parlor to write a letter to her brother-in-law; and seeing both her eldest daughters there, decided to complain about everything that came to mind.
"Oh my dear Jane! It is so depressing that we do not have a seamstress to do those alterations on her bonnet. If only I had a son, we would all be so very wealthy, and those bloody Lucas' would have nothing on us."
"But the Lucas' have not a son either, Mama" Eliza interjected.
"And since when did you know everything Miss Lizzy?! Since when did you know all there was to know in this world? Oh you wear upon my poor nerves! First your father and then you. I do not what I will do!" she bellowed.
"She was just speaking the facts Mama." Jane offered in Eliza's defense.
"Facts...Smacts! This is the little she-devil that had me running all over Meryton, she was six! Always getting lost! Getting caught up with rich little boys, and making us look foolish! She will be my ruin Jane...Look! Already my stomach is being over-come by all kinds of jigglings and flatterings. I told you she would kill me off Jane, and she is already fulfilling her evil prophecy!" Mrs. Bennet cried.
The two youngest Bennets came rushing into the parlor. "Mama! Look what Lydia did to my new frock! It is all green!" Kitty cried showing her back that was smudged with green paint.
"I did not! She leaned up against the wall!" Lydia contradicted.
"If you didn't have that slime all over it, it could not have happened." Kitty argued back.
"Do not call it slime!" Lydia cried.
"Girls...Girls!! What is all this ruckus? Kitty how has your frock gotten all green?! You are such a daft girl! You're not getting another one. You are just going to have to wear it until you can buy your own!" Mrs. Bennet spoke plainly.
"But Mama! It was Lydia's fault! She painted the walls of the nursery!" Kitty screamed, just as a distant cry rang through the house. Obviously Hill had discovered Lydia's masterpiece upstairs as well.
"Well, if Lydia wanted to paint, Kitty, she has perfect right! It's not right to be jealous of her talent." her mother explained.
"Jealous!? She has ruined the nursery, and my dress!"
"Well, you shouldn't be in there anyway Kitty. You're nine bloody years old! And there's a end to it!" Mrs. Bennet raised her voice.
"Arghh!" Kitty grunted and stormed out.
"Dinnertime! Dinner!" the cook shouted from the dining room. Everybody froze.
"I'm so hungry!" Lydia said, shoving her sister out of the way, and running towards the dining room.
"Ow!" Kitty yelled, as she tried to pass her sister in the race for the table.
"Mrs. Bennet, I cannot get anything done in that room, if you do not keep these savages under control!" Mr. Bennet yelled, as he came out of his study and was almost trampled by his two youngest daughters. "Great Scot!" he cried dodging them.
Eliza and Jane both got up and walked into the dining room in the civilized manner. They chose to sit towards the end of the table, because their parents were fighting, and Lydia and Kitty were pulling each other's hair. Mary was nowhere to be found.
"Where's Mary?" Eliza exclaimed.
"Oh who knows? She's such a singular person. It's not like anyone likes her! Oh don't look at me like that Lizzy! You think the same as I, and you know it." Lydia exclaimed.
"Shut up and eat...all of you!" Mr. Bennet screamed and all was silent, and staff began to pass out the meal.
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