Should Elizabeth Bennet Have “Despised” George Wickham?

Pic of Wickham

Posted on March 2, 2015 by Regina Jeffers • 0 Comments

By Regina Jeffers

Recently, I was writing a scene for an upcoming Austen release, and in it, I attempted to explain Elizabeth Bennet’s lack of “hatred” for George Wickham. Even after having read “Pride and Prejudice” well over 50 times during my lifetime, I found myself sadly lacking in this endeavour for I held no idea what Elizabeth really thought of Mr. Wickham. Certainly, Pride and Prejudice is told from Elizabeth’s point of view, and we are quite inundated with the alteration of her feelings for Mr. Darcy, but what of Mr. Wickham? I went searching for proof within the novel itself, and for better or worse, this is what I discovered.

First, it is a given that without Mr. Wickham’s deceptions, our favorite couple might not have discovered each other. However, let us revisit the scene where Elizabeth takes Mr. Wickham’s acquaintance:

But the attention of every lady was soon caught by a young man, whom they had never seen before, of most gentlemanlike appearance, walking with an officer on the other side of the way. The officer was the very Mr. Denny, concerning whose return from London Lydia came to inquire, and he bowed as they passed. All were struck with the stranger’s air, all wondered who he could be; and Kitty and Lydia, determined if possible to find out, led the way across the street, under pretence of wanting something in an opposite shop, and fortunately had just gained the pavement when the two gentlemen, turning back, had reached the same spot. Mr. Denny addressed them directly, and entreated permission to introduce his friend, Mr. Wickham, who had returned with him the day before from town, and he was happy to say had accepted a commission in their corps. This was exactly as it should be; for the young man wanted only regimentals to make him completely charming. His appearance was greatly in his favour; he had all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and very pleasing address.

Then there is the scene where Wickham studies Darcy’s reaction to encountering him with Elizabeth upon the streets of Meryton.

The introduction was followed up on his side by a happy readiness of conversation — a readiness at the same time perfectly correct and unassuming; and the whole party were still standing and talking together very agreeably, when the sound of horses drew their notice, and Darcy and Bingley were seen riding down the street. On distinguishing the ladies of the group the two gentlemen came directly towards them, and began the usual civilities. Bingley was the principal spokesman, and Miss Bennet the principal object. He was then, he said, on his way to Longbourn on purpose to inquire after her. Mr. Darcy corroborated it with a bow, and was beginning to determine not to fix his eyes on Elizabeth, when they were suddenly arrested by the sight of the stranger, and Elizabeth, happening to see the countenance of both as they looked at each other, was all astonishment at the effect of the meeting. Both changed colour; one looked white, the other red. Mr. Wickham, after a few moments, touched his hat — a salutation which Mr. Darcy just deigned to return. What could be the meaning of it? — It was impossible to imagine; it was impossible not to long to know.

Elizabeth’s account of the incident is quite exquisite, but what was she thinking of Darcy at that moment? Of Wickham? And more importantly, did Wickham possess the wherewithal to note Darcy’s attention to Elizabeth? Likely, Wickham knows Darcy better than many of Darcy’s acquaintances, except perhaps Colonel Fitzwilliam. In hindsight, we all realize Wickham is a master manipulator, especially of Darcy.

I do not know about you, but I have often wondered if Wickham’s appearance in Meryton was coincidental. Perhaps, Wickham and Mr. Denny held an acquaintance in London. Mayhap, in passing, Denny mentioned dining with Mr. Bingley and Darcy and the other officers. “My brother and the gentleman are to dine with the officers.” – from Caroline Bingley.

Valentine’s Day—Bah Humbug!

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Since we have just celebrated the holiday, allow me to explain why Valentine’s Day has lost some of its appeal for me. In spite of the fact that I dearly love chocolate, Russell Stover being my preference, 275X230I am at the age that I can no longer pretend that calories and sugar don’t count if consumed on a holiday. My doctor has been telling me that for years—though, just between you and me, I believe she’s opposed to anything that makes me happy, like not exercising.

Since I can’t indulge in my favorite heart-shaped box of chocolates,  the other customary gifts usually chosen by our significant others are flowers, perfume and jewelry. My allergies preclude having cut flowers in the house, so that eliminates the roses I adore, along with perfume or anything scented, such as candles. As for jewelry, I rarely wear the pieces I already have, choosing instead to wear only my wedding ring and earrings. Earrings are something that my son knows I will wear, so he’s been giving me those for years and I have a great collection. This leaves very little for my husband to choose from on gift giving occasions.

Still, being a dutiful husband, every year he covers his bases on holidays, especially Valentine’s Day, by asking me if there’s anything in particular that I would like. And every year my reply is the same: “Just get me a card, and write something mushy in it.” Making certain to remember to take me out to dinner to celebrate, my plea for no gifts actually worked until last year.

Walking into the house with his hand behind his back and a silly grin on his face, I instantly knew he was up to something. He presented me with a card, which I opened and read right away. The verse was lovely, but not as lovely as the note that he had written below it. Then, beaming as though he had just purchased a Lamborghini, he handed me what was behind his back—something he was certain would make me smile. It was a stuffed dog!

350X261.When I was young, my siblings and I longed for a pet. Our parents, however, were not in favor of getting us one, most likely because they knew they’d ultimately be left to care for it. Consequently, every Christmas I asked for a stuffed animal and, in my vivid imagination, those toys took the place of the pets I was not allowed to have. Needless to say, I have since made up for the lack of pets during my childhood.

Even so, I never outgrew my love of stuffed animals and years later when Beanie Babies became so popular, collecting them was all the excuse I needed to fill a large barrister bookcase. A similar one holds another collection of life-size cats made by the same company and other assorted animals. My Valentine dog joined the menagerie.

As an author of Austen inspired fiction, I have often thought that if the celebration of Valentine’s Day was as influenced by advertising during the Regency era as it is today, it would be amusing to write. I can imagine writing a scene where Darcy must create a card for Elizabeth, complete with original poetry, or rush to a confectionery shop to buy chocolates, all because he forgot it was Valentine’s Day. Bingley might see the huge heart-shaped box of candy that Darcy bought for Elizabeth and rush out to purchase an even larger one for Jane. It’s such fun to imagine the competition between the men in an effort to impress their ladies. I bet even Wickham could come up with a fitting Valentine present if the acquisition of a young lady’s fortune hung in the balance.

As it is, I’ve written only one story that references the holiday and that’s a modern short story hidden somewhere on my computer. I did, however, write a conversation in my latest novel, Darcy and Elizabeth – A Most Unlikely Couple, that I think would be fitting for Valentine’s Day.

~~~~* * *~~~~~* * *~~~~~

Oh, Will,” was all she managed to say before their lips met.

 William ended the kiss, whispering, “I need to retrieve something from my bedroom. Do not move.”

 “I do not think I shall be going anywhere, the way I am dressed,” Elizabeth teased, holding the sheet back.

 By then William was donning his robe and glanced to her display. Sucking in his breath, he said, “If you keep that up, I shall never leave this room again.”

 Despite what he said, he did hurry from the room and in only seconds returned with a mysterious smile on his face and a hand hidden behind his back.

 Elizabeth smiled mischievously. “Just what are you hiding, Mr. Darcy?”

 “Close your eyes and you will learn soon enough.” She did as asked and felt the bed settle as he sat back down on it. “Now you may open them.”

 Elizabeth sat speechless, blinking steadily at an exquisite, gold wedding band. It was wide enough that words had been engraved on it and a diamond had been sunk into the space between each word.

 He chuckled. “Have you nothing to say?”

 “I . . . it is so beautiful that words fail me.”

 “Read the inscription.”

 As she read the words aloud, her eyes filled with tears and her voice choked. “First . . . Last . . . Only . . . Always.”

 “I wanted my feelings toward you inscribed on your ring for the entire world to see. You are my one and only love, now and forever.”

 ~~~~* * *~~~~~* * *~~~~~

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Since this post was written before Valentine’s Day, I have no way of knowing what I’ll get from my Mr. Darcy this year—perhaps just a card with a personal note. If so, I’ll cherish it, for whether it’s a sentimental card or a silly stuffed animal, nothing can take the place of someone expressing how much you mean to them.

I hope that someone in your life thought of the perfect way to make you smile.

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P.S.  Darcy and Elizabeth – A Most Unlikely Couple was published in November and I hope to make you smile by giving away two copies, your choice of kindle e-book or paperback. Just leave a comment on this same blog on Austen Authors site and tell me that you want to be included in the drawing. Giveaway closes midnight Saturday (CST).

Second Group of Winners of Our Launch Giveaway

balloons-different-coloursAusten Authors is proud to announce a new group of winners for our Launch Giveaway. If your name is below, please contact Regina Jeffers at [email protected] to claim your prize. Do not fret if you do not see your name below for we still have 30+ prizes left to award. 

 

 

 

Georgiana Darcy's Diary book coverPemberley_to_Waterloo iconChiara will receive an eBook Bundle of Anna Elliot’s  Georgiana Darcy/Pemberley to Waterloo.

royal bennet iconWendy Roberts will receive an eBook copy of Melanie Schertz’s A Royal Bennet 

 

 

 

 

calendar 2015-2Anne will receive a beautiful Longbourn to Pemberley 2015 calendar, created by Janet Taylor and donated by Regina Jeffers. 

 

OneThreadPulled Oaks iconColleen Lane will receive an eBook copy of Diana J. Oaks’ One Thread Pulled.

 

 

P&P dollsLynn Bischoff will receive a Pride and Prejudice Paper Dolls book, donated by Brenda Webb.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2015 from the Austen Authors

Victorian Valentine1
Your heart is a music-box, dearest!
With exquisite tunes at command,
Of melody sweetest and clearest,
If tried by a delicate hand;
But its workmanship, love, is so fine,
At a single rude touch it would break;
Then, oh! be the magic key mine,
Its fairy-like whispers to wake.
And there’s one little tune it can play,
That I fancy all others above,-
You learned it of Cupid one day,-
It begins with and ends with “I love!”
“I love!”
My heart echoes to it “I love!”
~ Frances Sargent Osgood
truly thine

Tell me, O people, tell me!
Who among you would not wake from the sleep of life
if love were to brush your spirit with its fingertips?
Who among you would not cross the seas, traverse deserts,
go over mountains and valleys to reach the woman whom his spirit has chosen?
What youth would not follow his heart to the ends of the earth
to breathe the sweetness of his lover’s breath, feel the soft touch of her hands,
delight in the melody of her voice?  ~Kahlil Gibran

 

Valentine funniesI arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright.
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Has led me-who knows how? –
To thy chamber-window, sweet!

O, lift me from the grass!
I die, I faint, I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast:
Oh! press it close to thine again,
Where it will break at last!
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear
That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear;

No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sunflower turns on her god, when he sets,
The same look which she turned when he rose.
~ Thomas Moore
Valentine heart trio

 

Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine! ~Thomas Hood
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies. ~Aristotle
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The First of the Winners from Our Launch Party!

balloons-different-coloursToday, we are pleased to announce the first five winners from our fabulous launch giveaway. (Do not fret if your name is not on the list below. We still have 35 more prizes to award by the end of February.) If your name is below, please contact Regina Jeffers at [email protected] to claim your prize. In the email, please include your name and mailing address. 

 

calendar 2015-2First, congratulations go out to Joan Rye who won a copy of Janet Taylor’s 2015 Pemberley to Longbourn Calendar donated by Regina Jeffers. A second calendar, also donated by Regina Jeffers, will go out to Gabriella Sin.

 

 

 

Gentlemans Impert Daughter iconlettersfromtheheart iconAna MR will receive an eBook copy of Rose Fairbanks‘ The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter, as well as one of Letters from the Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heyer RegencyEmmaTennantLou Ann LaJeunesse will receive a copy of Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, donated by Sharon Lathan, while Mary Ann Nagy will receive a copy of Emma Tennant’s Pemberley, or Pride and Prejudice Continued, also donated by Sharon Lathan. 

 

 

Winners!

ANNOUNCING: Pre-Launch Giveaway Winners

ANNOUNCING: Pre-Launch Giveaway Winners

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The following FOUR lucky ladies are our Pre-Launch Giveaway Winners  ~  Yeah!

Winners please contact Regina Jeffers ([email protected]) with your contact information. Include your name and mailing address in the email. 

 

Wilson duo

Kim Wilson signed book duo, donated by Sharon Lathan, to
VALERIE MARTIN WOHLSCHLEGEL

 

 

 

Calendar duo prize2

 

 

“Pemberley” calendar and “Pride and Prejudice” 2005 DVD, donated by Sharon Lathan, to
AMY CAMPBELL

 

 

Clueless prize1

 

 

“Clueless” DVD and What Would Jane Do? Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen, donated by Regina Jeffers, to
DESIREE BOETTCHER

 

 

Calendar duo prize1

 

 

“Pride and Prejudice” calendar by Janet Taylor and “Pride and Prejudice” 2005 DVD, donated by Regina Jeffers, to
CRINDALYN LYSTER