There’s going to be a foxhunt so Elizabeth goes out riding with Darcy instructing her and then later she sneaks out and tries to get her old horse to jump but she falls off and then Colonel Fitzwilliam gives her riding lessons. Yay!
There’s a fox-hunt. Mid-way through it, Darcy and Elizabeth head off to find a quiet grove and have sex. While they’re gone, Mr. Collins (who was manipulated into going on the fox-hunt by Lady Millhouse, who’s very sharp-tongued) falls off his horse and lands directly on the fox and squishes it flat. No, really. He actually managed to fall off his horse exactly on top of a fox. I swear I’m not making this up.
Remember how John Christie got hired here? Well, Berdoll decides to go and tell that story again but from his point of view. From this, we learn…that he thinks Pemberley is big. And fancy. I love authors who randomly jump around in the timeline and give us lots of extraneous information about side-characters that doesn’t affect the plot. Regardless of how important John Christie might turn out to be, this chapter did not change a thing. We learned nothing new about him. A skilled author might have used the opportunity to give us some insights into John’s character, or reveal some information about Darcy and Elizabeth, as viewed from a poor peasant (Darcy’s tall, and Elizabeth’s pretty. The extent of his thoughts). Instead, it serves as nothing but filler.
The winter passes. Two days before her birthday, Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam leave on a two-day trip. When they return, Elizabeth tackles him (Darcy) and they have sex. Then he takes her down to the stables and shows her a beautiful horse. Elizabeth is delighted. Then they hear a commotion: one of the footmen is beating one of the coach-horses. Darcy runs over, grabs the whip away, and whacks the man with it. It’s Tom Reed, of course. Darcy tells him to get off his property and to never come back. Reed glances at Elizabeth, and then leaves.
Elizabeth decides to name her horse Boots. Both Darcy and Fitzwilliam assume it’s because the horse has two stockinged feet. But…it’s NOT! *dramatic chord* Because that night before they engage in conjugal felicity, Elizabeth asks Darcy to put his riding boots on. They engage in conjugal felicity, with great ardour.
Afterwards, they stand at the balcony door looking out at the moonlight, and suddenly notice that the stable is on fire [!] Oh no! Darcy charges out and, mindless of his own safety, rescues almost all of the horses, the final one being Boots, who was tied inside her stall. Colonel Fitzwilliam has to hold Elizabeth to keep her from running in after Darcy. Everyone assumes that Tom Reed is the arsonist. However, the next day when the sheriff looks for him, they can’t find any trace of him.
That night, Colonel Fitzwilliam lies in bed thinking:
The single thing that unsettled him was more of a sensation than a conscious thought. And that wonderment was how it had felt when, clad but in her night-gown, he had held Elizabeth to him.
Further confirmation of Elizabeth’s Sue-ness. Even Darcy’s cousin is in love with her. Because she’s Just. That. Speshul.
158 pages in. 1/3rd of the way. I still don’t know what the plot is.
Berdoll goes back and tells us the story of Darcy getting rid of Reed again, but this time from John Christie’s POV. Shortly afterward, Reed tells John that his mother told him that Mr. Darcy was his father.
File that one under “obvious and poorly conceived foreshadowing*
Elizabeth likes standing in the gallery at Pemberley. Berdoll likes using big words.
Excepting for Darcy and his father, who favored each other both in swarthiness and in stature, no two shared a duality. That is, of course, if one discounted the predisposition to adiposity, vibrissa, and wattles.
Adiposity: Adjective. fatty; consisting of, resembling, or relating to fat.
Vibrissa: Nostril hairs
Wattles: Noun. a fleshy lobe or appendage hanging down from the throat or chin of certain birds, as the domestic chicken or turkey
Authors who don’t use a thesaurus to make themselves look smart: Priceless.
Darcy strolls in followed by a group of servants and starts having them rearrange portraits. He tells Elizabeth that he’s making way for a new portrait: hers. We then segue into a three-page backstory of the man who painted the portraits of Darcy’s parents, but who isn’t alive anymore, so he won’t be painting Elizabeth.
A chap named Robert Morland comes to paint Elizabeth’s portrait. We get several pages of backstory about how he tries to seduce the wives at the homes of his patrons, but he doesn’t bother with this because Darcy remains in the room during the portrait. He has heard of Elizabeth’s beauty (because the new Mrs. Darcy is just so gorgeous, so breathtaking, that news of her has spread all throughout England). As Morland travels there, he hopes against hope that it wasn’t underestimated. Finally he arrives, and stares at Elizabeth, slightly disappointed and yet fascinated. He’s seen many people that are more beautiful than her. But yet…there is just SOMETHING about her. He can’t keep his eyes off of her. And yet another Sue trait.
So he paints her. He’s slightly annoyed that every afternoon Darcy stops him and escorts his wife upstairs for a “rest” and they come down an hour later, rather flushed. But before he’s even done he knows that it’s going to be a Masterpiece. He’ll take it with him to an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art and everyone will fall down and kiss his feet. Finally he finishes and unveils it before them all. The servants wipe away tears. Georgiana gushes. Elizabeth says he flatters her. Darcy doesn’t say much, but everyone can tell he thinks it’s pretty much the greatest thing since the Mona Lisa, and probably better.
Darcy, unfortunately, doesn’t want the portrait to be exhibited. He doesn’t want people gawking at his wife. So he tells Morland no. A long argument ensues and finally Morland leaves, vowing never to paint again, utterly heartbroken. Because Elizabeth’s painting is Just. That. Speshul.
Georgiana has channeled her feelings about Wickham into writing – specifically poetry. She doesn’t let anyone read it, though. But finally she shows some to Elizabeth, who thinks it’s wonderful. She talks Georgiana into sending them off to a publisher, behind Darcy’s back, since he would disapprove. Georgiana’s poetry is so awesome that it’s accepted at once and the publishers want to meet to sign papers, pay them, etc. Elizabeth manages to talk Darcy into agreeing to everything. And so our three Sues set off for London.
They eat dinner with the Bingleys. Jane is pregnant. Bingley is interested in boxing. Afterwards, Darcy and Elizabeth have sex.
The boxer Bingley wagered on is knocked out with one punch and a tooth flies out and lands in Bingley’s hat. Later, Bingley takes off his hat and sends a bloody tooth flying down Jane’s cleavage. No, seriously.
Elizabeth hears about Harcourt House (the high-class whorehouse). So she manages to get Darcy to agree to go out looking at different shops, and they end up passing by that very joint. A very beautiful woman is walking past. Darcy touches his hat. Indicating that he knows the woman. I’m not sure why he’s doing this. Tipping your cap to a whore that you used to fuck while out walking around with your wife is not exactly…gentlemanly behavior. Yes, it might be “dishonest” to ignore said woman and pretend you didn’t know her, but I think that would be preferable to shoving it in your wife’s face.
Elizabeth feels jealous. Enormously slow. Within a paragraph, though, she decides that she’d be happier living her entire life without having seen that woman. So that night, after having sex, she tells Darcy she wants to go home.