In celebration of being back from Atlanta…
As usual, a very rough first draft…
Mrs Henry Bennet, lay prone on the chaise in her sitting room above stairs, fanning herself and complaining about how hot it was. Somewhere in the periphery of her hearing, she could almost swear she heard intermittent wailing and coughing coming from somewhere in the vicinity of her youngest daughter’s bedchamber. In the very next moment, footsteps were heard scampering up to her door. There was a light knock. Granting admission, Mrs. Bennet discovered that it was Mrs Hill.
“Oh Hill, it is so hot in here. Why is it so hot in this house today?
“Shall I open a window, ma’am?”
“Of course I want the windows open; did I not say how hot it was?”
Hill, with the patience of a saint, proceeded to open all the windows. It was not many moments later when Mrs. Bennet began complaining of the cold.
“For heaven sake, not all the windows, Hill! Only one. Can you not feel that wretched draught?”
Hill, not even thinking of batting an eye (for what good was it?) closed all the windows save one.
Another round of whimpering emanated from down the hall.
“And for heavens sake, what is all that wailing about.”
“It is Miss Kitty, ma’am.”
“I know it is Miss Kitty,” she snapped, “what is Kitty going on about, pray?”
“I think she feels poorly, ma’am.”
“Poorly? What on earth could make her so poorly for?”
“She says she has a headache and that it came upon her sudden-like.”
“A headache! More than likely she’s only doing it because she sees fit to vex me. She obviously has no compassion for my nerves.”
“Shall I take her a powder?”
“No you may not take her a powder. If anyone needs a powder, it is I who needs the powder. Besides. You have better things to do then running about after a feigning invalid.”
Years of practive kept Hill from rolling her eyes.
“Begging madam’s pardon, but I didn’t come to you for Miss Kitty’s sake, I came on account of the master, ma’am.”
“Does Mr Bennet need something?”
“Oh, no, ma’am! He was more concerned for your needs that any need of his, He told me to tell you that you needn’t come down if you’d rather not.”
“I would much rather not! The spasm’s in my side are much worse today.”
“Very well, ma’am. I’ll just say that the mistress be indisposed. I’m sure they will all understand.”
To Mrs Bennet, Hill wasn’t making any sense at all. “Hill, all my family knows of my indisposition. There is not need to speak of it to them again.”
“Oh no, ma’am, I didn’t mean the family; I meant the visitors downstairs.”
“Visitors? What visitors are these? Lady Lucas or my sister, I suppose?” Mrs Bennet closed her eyes languidly and fanned herself once again.
There was a long pause. When there seemed to be nothing more forthcoming, Mr. Bennet asked impatiently, “Well, Hill, who is it, then?”
“Lord Whitfield, ma’am. And Colonel Fitzwilliam. And his Lordship’s children; I didn’t catch there names as they came into the hall. Then there is Mr Goulding. And Mr. Bingley.”
Mrs Bennet’s eyes flew open at the very thought of four gentlemen—four single gentleman–now in her house! All her wishes in life were finally coming true!
“For heavens sake, Hill, why do you stand there gawping? Help me on with my gown!”