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06 January 2014


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I'm finished. I spend yesterday (sunday) reading and dozing because here in the midwest there was nothing else to do but hunker down.

I enjoyed it. I will try not to delve too deeply but my thoughts this AM:
- I enjoyed the "other" side of Pride & Prejudice. For instance, Mr. Darcy isn't mentioned until more than halfway through, and in that it isn't much of a mention. Yeah, servants wouldn't be in on the gossip between Jane & Elizabeth.
- That first scene of laundry day is a killer. Egads, and to think that laundry day came once a week. And after toiling so hard, you have to appear grateful for your cold head cheese?? What was the suicide rate in those days, because wouldn't you just want to shove your head in the nappie bucket instead of eating souse again after all that work all day? I need to do laundry today and I will count my blessings as I fill my front-loader and add my Tide and press my button.
- I was happy to see this work was like P&P in the relationship between Mr/Mrs B. The Kiera Knightly movie, for all it's lovely landscape shots, irritated me because of the lovey relationship between the Bennets. No! In the book, he can't tolerate her and holds her up to Lizzy as a "eh, be careful or you'll make a mistake like that" example. Which is horrible and delicious at the same time.
- Mrs Hill really is a savior of a character. From her loving of the girls (Sarah and Polly) to her caring for Mr Hill (despite their odd relationship, no spoilers) etc. The world must be full of women like her who soldier on because it's what you do.
- I enjoyed how Whickam was portrayed as more debauched than in P&P. 'Nuff said for now.

I had more, but I'll end there. Thanks for letting me!


I haven't read the book, but I had thought that (on general principles) getting the lady's cast-off clothes was a standard perk for housekeepers. They might wear a few things, but really they would sell most of them. A yellow silk dress would be quite valuable. It was a bit of money on the side. But I guess it's not played that way in the story?


Dangermom, it's not played that way in the story (Longbourn and Meryton are both rather small and I would think a maid would have a hard time selling the castoffs, unless the Scotchman - the traveling peddler - would take them.) Plus I would think Mrs. B, the way she's written here, would take affront at her housekeeper not enjoying her largesse. There is another scene where Sarah is given her pick of castoffs, and later Jane remarks how she never wears it, and Sarah says she's saving it for best. But to me, it again highlighted the impracticality of it all and how out of touch the girls are with the actual work Sarah and Mrs. Hill have to do.

Ooh, I remembered I wanted to mention, I loved how Lady Catherine dB was in this one!


Adding to what MelissaM said: Yes! I do think that was a real perk at the time -- and Mrs. Hill mentions enjoying such gifts in the past -- but in this scene, the gift-giving was anything but thoughtful or helpful or even wanted, really.

Oh! And there's a description in an earlier chapter about Sarah wearing one of Mary's castoffs, and about how the cut (in the arms, especially) is all wrong for anyone who does labor more physical than lifting an embroidery hoop or playing the pianoforte.


I've found in my readings of P&P that I've shifted from feeling sympathy with Mr. Bennett to way more sympathy for Mrs. Bennett, whom I found silly and unbearable when I was younger. But now that I have a better understanding of what life was like for women at that time period, how terrifying it would have been to have five daughters and nowhere to live with them if/when your husband dies before you've married enough of them off.


@Sprite: Yes! I think that sometimes, Mrs. Bennet is so grating in so many ways that we forget that her concerns are TOTALLY VALID. Like, they aren't just these silly, inconsequential issues! It's money and being responsible for five children with no real plan for the future, not to mention what'll happen to her after the girls are grown and/or Mr. Bennet dies. Like you said, terrifying.

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