The Darcys are throwing a ball. The Bennet parents are off at the Wickham’s for the birth of Lydia’s first child. This reminds me of Lydia’s plan to extract money from her richer sisters. We spent the better part of two pages dwelling on that and nothing, so far, has come from it. I wonder if it will even be brought up again, and if it is, if we’ll even remember that it was “foreshadowed”.
Then Elizabeth and Darcy have sex in Darcy’s bath. Almost interrupted by Darcy’s manservant, Goodwin.
Goodwin is a loyal and discrete gentleman’s gentleman. The narrator tells us this while relating the story of Darcy’s childhood for the fourth time.
Elizabeth gets dressed and Darcy comes and tells her she’s beautiful. He gives her a box, and inside is a diamond choker. Very large and shiny and expensive. She’s ecstatic. And so they have sex. Again. And then:
“Pray, do not bathe. Do not cleanse yourself.”
She nodded. He still held her close, his breath hot against her ear.
“Every time I look upon you tonight, I want not only to know my seed is in you,” his lips grazed her hair as he whispered, “I want to know you feel it running down your legs.”
It’s nearly impossible to put my reaction to that down into words, but I’ll give it a shot:
What. The. Fuck???
Okay. Setting aside the fact that they’re about to go host a frikkin’ ball, Darcy honestly wants his wife to walk around with semen dripping down her legs? In front of all his relatives, friends, and high-society acquaintances? Not only is that disgusting, don’t you think that might just be a little uncomfortable? You’re making your wife do something that’s degrading to her and will probably make her feel self-conscious, uncomfortable, and not at ease for the next four or five hours. And why? Because…he gets off on it? Or something?
My theory that Darcy is abusive is gaining credence by the page.
Elizabeth agrees to this, of course, and immediately starts thinking about what a sticky business dancing will be. And then on to the next scene where they’re greeting their guests and she feels it running down her legs. Totally an image that Jane Austen would be proud of, Berdoll. Totally.
They dance. Then Elizabeth and Jane are joined by a group of married women and they gossip about sexually explicit things. And then a bit later she overhears a couple of young women talking about what a wonderfully handsome chap Darcy is, and how impressive his blade is. So later that night, after Darcy has fallen asleep, she wonders if he’s nailed any of them.
They wake up. Darcy munches Elizabeth’s rug. Afterwards, she asks him where he learned to do that. His long silence makes her realize that he has, in fact, been with other women. For certain. So she tears up and then stalks out of the room. Darcy angsts for a couple of pages and finally goes and finds Elizabeth in her bath and explains that he wasn’t trying to deceive her or hide things, and he would have told her everything if he’d thought it would have been better that way. So Elizabeth forgives him and he hops into her bath with her. Hooray! I love problems that come up and can be instantly forgiven!
Elizabeth then tries to get Darcy to tell her how many women he’s been with. Understandably, he doesn’t want to answer. And Berdoll again tries to show off how clever and fancy her writing is:
He knew well he was again entering territoire dangereux
What, exactly, was accomplished by using the French instead of the English? Well, nothing at all. Except for violating several of Mark Twain’s rules of writing, namely being: employ a simple, straightforward style. She’s writing an English novel for English readers. Throwing in random French words in a sad attempt to make her writing appear fancy/Austenlike/educated instead makes her look like a shitty writer.
Finally Darcy admits that he visited a brothel. Elizabeth tries to get more from him but fails. She thinks for a bit and realizes that it must be in London, and she’ll get more information later.
Juliette Clisson (the French girl) flees to England, where she puts her bounteous charms to good use as a high-class whore. In fact…she was the main whore that Darcy always visited! Holy crap, it’s all coming together now! Nobody is in the novel unless they have either had sex with or wanted to have sex with one of the main characters!
She thinks about how Darcy was different from most of the rest of the guys. Just…different. In a way that intrigued her. Yes. Darcy is Speshul. Even whores are intrigued and beguiled by him.
Then one day he stopped coming and she found out he had gotten married and shrugged and said c’est la vie.
…Okay, so what was the point of her elaborate backstory and introduction? Did we really need all that for someone who…hasn’t impacted the plot at all? I suppose Juliette might actually turn out to be a character. Maybe Elizabeth is going to track her down when they go to London and talk about Darcy’s sexual exploits.
Jane and Bingley are staying at Pemberley for a bit. So as soon as Elizabeth gets a chance she and Jane head off and lie down on her bed to talk about things. They spend awhile skirting the main issue they want to talk about (the horizontal tango) before finally Jane brings it up. Elizabeth is astonished to learn that Jane doesn’t really enjoy sex. At all. Apparently, Bingley A) isn’t that great in the sack, and B) doesn’t last that long. Plus, he doesn’t cuddle afterwards. He just goes back to “his” bed. Elizabeth is aghast. She attempts to convince Jane to talk to Bingley and tell him to give her one now and again. Jane refuses and says she could never criticize Bingley and she’s quite happy as she is and then the conversation turns to the weather.
I have just given up any hope that any subplot in this book will *not* be about sex.
Later that night, Elizabeth explains the problem to Darcy. He is more than a little horrified that this conversation is even happening. He then points out that if Jane considers herself happy, there isn’t really a problem. Elizabeth then suggests that Darcy bring the subject up to Bingley:
“I believe you should not have to come right out with it. You could wait until an opportune time. Whilst breeding the mares, perhaps. Then with all due nonchalance…”
Out of every possible time and location for bringing up this subject, while watching horses mate is down at the very bottom. Darcy is of a similar opinion. He tells her that he can only ensure the happiness of one woman. So they have sex.
We then skip over to Jane’s POV. She trusts Elizabeth, and since Elizabeth said something is not right in the state of conjugal felicity, something must not be right. So she thinks back to her wedding night.
Jane gets everything situated just right and then waits for Bingley to come in. He does at last, snuffs out the candles, and lays down beside her. They lay there in the total darkness for awhile until finally Jane reaches over and puts her hand on his chest. This apparently breaks the tension so Bingley kisses her for a bit and then asks permission to lift her dress and so he thrusts about and never actually gets inside and that’s about it. Bingley’s happy because dry-humping (or is it wet-humping?) is enough to get him off and Jane assumes that’s what sex is all about and life moves on.
…that was a very exciting chapter. A potential problem was raised, people argued, and then everyone more or less decided that they would just live with it. At the end of every single chapter in this book I get the feeling that nothing whatsoever has changed and the status quo has remained exactly the same. That’s probably because that’s exactly what is happening.
A short while after the Bingleys leave, Elizabeth’s parents arrive, having traveled from the Wickham’s, where Lydia gave birth to a kid. We don’t learn anything about it except that it has a lot of hair on its head. No name, no gender. Evidently it’s not that important.
Elizabeth starts to worry because her mother demanded to have a room situated on the same floor as Darcy’s bedroom, because she didn’t want to climb too many stairs. Elizabeth is worried that her parents might hear them in the throes of passion. So…they’re quiet. Well. That was easily solved.
Then, one day, while engaging in fluid exchange, Elizabeth mentions that men get a pretty good view of what’s going on while women don’t. Well, that depends on what position you’re using. Darcy thinks about this and goes and fetches a mirror which he leans against the side of the bed. I have absolutely no idea how this mirror is supposed to help things in any way. Set like that, she wouldn’t be able to see a thing. But of course she can:
Looking at the enormous reflection of her own feminus denudata
I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean. Googling does not help. I’ll assume it means naughty bits. And wow, that was an exciting chapter.