Part the Eighth: Embarrassed Pigment Enhancement

 
Chapter Forty-Four

Elizabeth remains unconscious for several days afterwards. The doctor wants to leech her or sear her. Darcy turns this down and says that it’s barbaric. Of course it is. Never mind that at that time bloodletting was an extremely common and widely accepted medical practice, and never mind that in all probability, Darcy would assume that leeching her would help her get better. Nope, let’s just let 19th-century characters have 21st-century medical knowledge.

Elizabeth wakes up. She remains in denial and refuses to talk about the baby for awhile. Finally one day she asks whether it was a boy or a girl. Then she cries for awhile. Then she’s okay.

Chapter Forty-Five

Elizabeth’s baby has just been born dead. This traumatic, life-changing, and thoroughly sad event means that it’s time for a chapter of backstory on Hannah, Elizabeth’s maid, and a retelling of past events from Hannah’s point of view where we don’t learn anything interesting. Most of the chapter is about a visit to a dressmaker’s. Seriously. We go from stillborn baby to a lovingly detailed description of fabric.

Chapter Forty-Six

Jane has another kid – a boy, named after his father. Afterwards, the Darcys head home. Darcy pours himself a drink. He’s been abstaining from sex, because he’s afraid if Elizabeth gets pregnant again, it’ll kill her. He’s been considering using the pull-out method, but is afraid that even that won’t work.

Elizabeth comes downstairs and sits in his lap. He finally explains what he’s afraid of. She disagrees with him. So they start having sex on the table, knocking wine-glasses around. The noise makes a servant walk in on them. Darcy orders them out. After they finish, they head upstairs.

The next morning, they wake up and have sex. They lay around for awhile and then have sex again. Then they chill for awhile and have sex again. Then they go to sleep. The next morning they go out riding, half-dressed.

Chapter Forty-Seven

Georgiana has written a novel. Elizabeth and her send it off to a publisher, secretly. And Jane talks to Elizabeth, to share wisdom.

She Knew the Reason Elizabeth Had Lost Her Baby.

For some reason, this entire sentence seems completely out of place with the “style” that the rest of the novel is written in.

“I am told that if you do ‘that’ when you are with child, the baby will see your husband’s…” thereupon stumped for a noun, Jane paused, again instituted the head wag, and continued “your husband’s…and be frightened to be born! That is why your baby would not come out.”

There. She had said it. Scientific fact.

And those last three sentences, for some reason, sound completely out of place with this novel’s “style”. Not that this novel is written particularly well, but I admit that most of it does a pretty good job of having overblown purple prose and thesaurus abuse in virtually every sentence. And consistency is good. If you’re going to invent a nauseating style of writing and pretend it’s like Jane Austen, you might as well write the entire novel in that style without suddenly lapsing and writing things that sound like 21st-century slang.

Not to mention that where the hell did this thing come from? Where would Jane get this knowledge? Obviously she knows next to nothing about sex. Did she hear it from her mother? And if so, why didn’t Mrs. Bennet say the same thing to Elizabeth? For that matter, who the the hell would think that a baby has any choice in being born or not? Babies are just going to commit suicide because they see a penis? And aren’t babies born with their eyes shut? And wouldn’t it be too dark to see anything anyway? I did a quick Google search to find if this was an actual belief, and didn’t find anything that really seems to support it.

Elizabeth wonders if this is true. So she talks to Darcy and he thinks it’s utterly ridiculous. And then he gives a number of examples that he’s heard of that support his belief. So I’m not even sure why this was even brought up.

Elizabeth then becomes Mother Teresa, traveling around the countryside giving soup to poor people and dragging along a doctor to take care of sick people. Georgiana helps her. Darcy isn’t particularly fond of this, so he makes her take footmen along with her. Elizabeth agrees to this because they can help carry the soup. John Christie begins accompanying them. On one of their trips, he mentions being unable to read, and so Georgiana starts teaching him how to read. When Darcy finds out, he’s not happy because this is improper. He tells Georgiana so, which makes her upset.

Elizabeth talks Darcy into letting Georgiana publish her novel.

Later, Elizabeth mentions that John Christie’s mother once worked at Pemberley. Abigail. Darcy twitches and suddenly remembers what Elizabeth said about John Christie looking like he did. There’s another reference to John being swarthy, so apparently Darcy has dark skin. Darcy does the math, and asks Mrs. Reynolds for confirmation. Then he starts to worry.

Chapter Forty-Eight

We get what’s happening to John Christie. He’s grown very tall but he’s still very skinny. Girls are starting to notice him, but when they say something he turns red:

This embarrassed pigment enhancement in his cheeks was unbeknownst to him, for he never looked in a mirror past scraping at his whiskers.

Embarrassed pigment enhancement vs. blush. Ah, Berdoll, you’re a master of the well-turned phrase.

He’s very shy and doesn’t talk to pretty much anyone or really like anyone. With one exception:

And that was an unmitigated infatuation with his employer’s wife.

If this novel was a drinking game, one of the drinks would be every time a character is infatuated with Elizabeth, and you’d never get sober. It’s getting ridiculous. This would be barely understandable if Elizabeth was the most beautiful person to walk the face of the earth, and even then it would be annoying. Take The Princess Bride. Buttercup is the most beautiful person in the world, and there’s only one person who you could honestly say is infatuated with her, and that’s Westley. Humperdinck, her betrothed husband, plans to kill her. Jane Austen herself states that Elizabeth is not particularly gorgeous, and yet, in this novel, John Christie, the painter, Tom Reed, Frank Reed, Goodwin, Col. Fitzwilliam, Wickham, Collins, THE FREAKING PRINCE OF ENGLAND, dozens of sundry unnamed characters who pop up to wonder at how attractive she is and then vanish again, not to mention Darcy himself who thinks that at a rate of two or three times a chapter — all of them think she’s the most beautiful creature ever to walk the earth. What do we call this? We call this a Sue.

One day John goes to saddle Col. Fitzwilliam’s horse for him. The horse gets his leg stuck in a gate and starts to panic. John tries to save him but fails, but just then Col. Fitzwilliam shows up and gets his horse to calm down. He tells John his first thought is for the horse, and he’s very brave, and thanks him. They chat for a little bit. John thinks that Fitzwilliam is awesome and looks very smart and dashing in his uniform. Fitzwilliam asks John if he’d like to look at his sword. John says yes, so Fitzwilliam throws the sword at his head.

With a slithering swoosh, Fitzwilliam drew the sword from its scabbard, then tossed it hilt up in John’s direction. Seeing the glinting metal barreling toward his head

Fitzwilliam’s an officer. Supposedly a good one. Hilt-first or no, throwing a sword at someone’s head is not a good idea, even if you regularly throw sharp things at them and they’re using to catching them. Also, how is the sound of drawing a sword anything like “slithering?” Fortunately (or, conveniently) John catches it.

Later, John thinks back to a conversation he had with Mrs. Hardin, the servant family that he lives with. She was talking about how some rich man wasn’t going to treat his wife right and John shouldn’t spend time on girls who would head off at the first man with gold in his pockets. She doesn’t mention any names, but he’s thinking about it and realizes that she had to be referring to Mr. Darcy, who John doesn’t like very much because he doesn’t let Georgiana spend time hanging around with peasants like him. This means that the wife that he’s mistreating must be Elizabeth Darcy. Oh, horrors!

Chapter Forty-Nine

Darcy angsts about whether John Christie is the fruit of his loom.

Elizabeth angsts about not having a kid. Jane already has three kids. Even Charlotte Collins has had a son, who, at three years old, has no teeth, almost no hair, and has eyes that look in different directions.

Bingley throws a shooting party. Collins is, unfortunately, invited. They head out and some birds explode from the foliage and Collins turns and fires, nearly killing Darcy, hitting the dog, and rendering Darcy temporarily deaf. The Collinses utter many apologies and leave. A short while later a letter from Charlotte arrives, which inquires after Mr. Darcy’s health, comments on the weather, and finally contains the following story (paraphrased):

My husband was quite bewattled about what happened, so I suggested he take some fresh air. He went out to replenish our stores of honey. The bees got underneath his outfit and started to sting him. He ran and leapt into the pond, got upturned, and his suit filled up with water and he drowned. Fortunately, the pond wasn’t that deep, so we were able to find the body and give him a proper burial. Speaking of burials, mourning garb is frightfully expensive, isn’t it?

You affectionate friend, Charlotte

Yeah. Berdoll just killed off Mr. Collins. Nobody, not even his wife, really cares. I’d be more upset about this, because Collins is always good for some comic relief, but honestly I don’t care. I don’t like anyone in this novel.

Elizabeth, Jane, and the Bennets travel to pay their respects to the Widow Collins, along with Lydia, who has discovered from Wickham about Darcy killing three people and saving Elizabeth from being “ravished”. She tells Elizabeth how lucky she is for getting to have Darcy burst in and save her from being raped, and in doing so lets Jane in on the secret as well. Lydia then starts to complain about how all husbands stray and Wickham frequently cheats on her and when he does have sex with her, he can’t even ‘diddle long enough for her to come’. I don’t even have anything really clever to say about that.

Lydia then informs them that even their own father – Mr. Bennet – had an affair. And if they don’t believe her, they can ask their mother.

Yeah. Every plotline in this book is going to be about sex.

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  One Response to “Part the Eighth: Embarrassed Pigment Enhancement”

  1. 49 chapters in is when you’re finally convinced that every story line involves sex? I commend you on your ability to hold out hope for so long. Unless you were just reminding yourself or commenting in disbelief. Who knows. Sex.