Chapter Six – What Lengths Love Knows
Berdoll spends a lengthy paragraph talking about how amazing Darcy thinks Elizabeth is in virtually every way, and her recent pregnancy has only improved her physical beauty. Considering the many, many descriptions we received of how huge Elizabeth got, I’m guessing he’s a fan of stretch marks.
It’s hot, and Darcy reaches for Elizabeth one night, because she always has cool skin. But she’s gone. He looks to the balcony and sees her, so he goes out and stands behind her. They explore each other’s bodies for a few minutes, and then Elizabeth begins to stroke his manhood. Darcy starts moaning loudly. And then Elizabeth pokes him and says that she can’t sleep while he makes noises. Yes, it was all a dream.
Darcy is appropriately embarrassed and immediately thinks back to the old wives’ tale about how if you frighten a nursing mother, she’ll go off her milk. Considering how often Elizabeth has been intimately familiar with Darcy’s penis, and how many, many sleepless nights both of them have had, I don’t see Darcy’s leap of logic here. But Darcy resolves to be good. He only gives Elizabeth closed-mouth kisses, and each night he lies on the very edge of the bed, picturing one of the extremely old maids sitting between them holding the two babies. I’m really not buying this, Berdoll. It sounds very romantic and all that – Darcy is so thoroughly in love and lust with Elizabeth that it’s physically difficult to keep himself from ravishing her – but having personally passed through male adolescence myself, a stage of constant horniness, it is not that hard to abstain. Does it suck? Yes, it does. But it’s not heroin withdrawals, which is what Darcy appears to be experiencing.
…sitting in his dressing-chamber waiting for Goodwin to ready him for his morning shave, it was of particular mortification to realise how tempted he was to resort to that activity particular to pubescent boys to relieve the palpable pain in his loins (page 28).
First, why doesn’t he? I am honestly curious. Take a few minutes and rub one out. Yeah, yeah, in this time there were certain stigmas against masturbation. And there were also stigmas against visiting prostitutes, and Darcy didn’t seem to have any problem with that.
Second, how has Pride and Prejudice come to this? Not that this is Pride and Prejudice, but even as a weak fan fiction, where exactly does an author say to themselves ‘You know, for this next chapter of my Pride and Prejudice continuation, I’m going to have Darcy sit there and think about how he wants to masturbate because he’s not currently able to have sex with Elizabeth?’
Darcy continues to be miserable. He spends his days half-aroused and has to keep hiding behind furniture to conceal his erections. I’m not making this up.
Darcy thinks back to when Elizabeth had her stillbirth and how worried he had been and how he’d resolved then to never let her come to harm. Which is why he’s so worried about her right now. I think that if you were really, honestly and truly worried about someone, having sex would not be the main thing on your mind.
Mrs. Bennet sends Elizabeth letters demanding that she employ a wet-nurse, citing…lots of things:
It was a proven fact that a woman could not possibly carry out her marital duty with a baby at her breast and if she could, excitement of a carnal nature spoilt a nursing mother’s milk. Elizabeth may have birthed a Pemberley heir, but Mrs. Bennet knew having merely one was insufficient. Statistics were exceedingly unfavourable. It was far too likely that a baby would not live to see his first birthday (page 31).
I have no idea whether these were actual period beliefs, but I’ll assume that they are, since it seems reasonable, plus I don’t really have a bone to pick with it. Instead, I’m wondering how Mrs. Bennet knows this. Longbourn and Pemberley aren’t particularly close to each other. Darcy’s servants are all pretty tight-lipped. How, precisely, does she know Elizabeth’s chosen methods of child-raising, considering that Elizabeth isn’t the type to tell her?
Not to mention that Elizabeth does employ a wet-nurse, more part-time than anything, since she has a couple of hungry twins and doesn’t produce enough milk to take care of them both. So….I don’t even see the point of all this. I guess the point was that Elizabeth ignores all the letters, because she’s strong-willed.
Elizabeth is worried about her looks. Because of the aforementioned stretch-marks. She feels very self-conscious. Then she begins thinking back to the first attempt at sex after the birth, and then about what kind of lover Darcy is. We get a paragraph of adjectives describing Darcy, and the thought of his glorious naked body excites her so much that Elizabeth has to begin fanning herself. Again, not making any of this up.
The next few pages are entirely about how hot Darcy is and how fun sex is. Highlights:
The sight of his broad back, sinewy limbs, and firm buttocks had been a voluptuous thrill that she never tired of viewing. Initially she had suffered a mild attack of panic when he turned about and sauntered back to the bed – torn whether to shut her eyes and continue the subterfuge of sleep or enjoy the pleasure of observing the more fascinating vision he presented as he walked towards her. (The first occasion upon which she had done so had been a small mortification in that it was probable that her gaze was not once cast upon his countenance.) (page 34).
But for her, the apex of it was not her own ultimate pleasure. Rather, it was the Elysian moment of his. To feel the rush of his seed as it washed through her was ultimate bliss (page 35).
Curious, I consulted an acquaintance of mine who is of the female persuasion, both of the physical possibilities of actually feeling semen being ejaculated into one’s body, and whether that sensation, if it could actually be felt, was even close to the female orgasm. She immediately called bullshit on both claims.
Hannah Moorhouse, Mrs. Darcy’s lady-maid, is very loyal and keeps secrets. She also has the hots for Goodwin, who is Darcy’s manservant. And she also happens to know that while Darcy was away, Goodwin was apt to take a swig or six from a flask of brandy, and, in fact, put him to bed once in a stupor.
Berdoll talks about what happened in Pride and Prejudice without giving us any additional insights or observations. I think anyone who would read this book has probably already read Pride and Prejudice. She then talks about the birth, in the last book, making it the second time the story of what happened in the first book has been told in this book.
Lady Catherine’s daughter is going to inherit her estate when she dies.
Elizabeth’s mare is pregnant. Fitzwilliam’s horse jumped a fence and…did the deed. This infuriates Darcy, because he wanted Elizabeth’s mare to be impregnated by his own stallion. I’m sure Berdoll is trying to make some crafty and subtle point about Elizabeth’s mare being impregnated by Fitzwilliam’s stallion instead of Darcy’s, which is great because who doesn’t like analogies involving horse sex?
Darcy continues to think about how difficult it is to abstain from inserting his virile torch of love into Mrs. Darcy’s feminus pudendum.
This is the second chapter with that name. What gives?
Smeads, the devious steward of the Darcy’s London house, is rather ecstatic when Mrs. Reynolds, the current housemistress of Pemberley, and his mother, dies. Which happened in the last book. Anyway, he wants to be in charge of Pemberley, so he goes there and resolves to finagle his way into being head steward.
I have no idea why this chapter was called Mr. Darcy’s Dilemma.
Sixty pages into this book and no semblance of a plot thus far.