Chapter 4. What Young Women Shouldn't Do

Authors' note: I hope you all like this chapter :)


Patience ran through the trees, her unbound hair streaming out behind her as she laughing ran from the man chasing her. He was a young man, only two years older than his companion whom he determined to catch up with.

"You will not catch me!" she called laughingly over her shoulder, as she dodged through the thick trees, skipping lightly over foliage and fallen leaves.

"Perhaps I don't have to," came his reply.

Confused, Patience stopped and turned back, her bouncy yellow curls swirling about her face. She couldn't see him. "Sampson, my love?" she called tentatively as she scanned the trees. His only reply was a low chuckle, and she suddenly laughed aloud as well, "The idea, my love, was for you to chase me, not the other way around!" When she got no reply, she sighed teasingly, "But if you insist, then I shall have to come find you. Here I come!" she announced, working her way back and checking behind the thick trunks to see if she could find his hiding spot.

"Sampson, you must tell me if I am close or not."

"My dear, you are entirely too far away," his voice called from the left.

Grinning, Patience walked to the left, slowly as to not make much noise and alert him to the fact that she was about to find him. She wanted to surprise him! She checked every tree she passed but after walking for a good few meters and not seeing him, she stopped and contemplated. "Am I closer to - " her question was cut off by her startled shriek as she felt hands wrap around her waist from behind, but then she relaxed into his hold as she recognised his familiar scent.

His head lowered to whisper, "Very close indeed." He smiled against her ear.

She shivered, "Mmm, I don't think you're playing this game very fairly."

"I told you I didn't have to catch you... In fact, you all but ran into my arms." He was nudging her ear with his nose and making a very low humming sound that she found distracting. She turned in his arms to smile up at him. He gazed back.

"Some might call you manipulating." she grinned.

He laughed from place deep within his chest, "If I am, then you were only too ready to be manipulated."

Her reply was to sigh contentedly and rest her head on his chest while he held her. He nestled his cheek against her head and they stayed like that for a time. Then she said, "I wish Mama would be easier to manipulate." Sampson immediately tensed.

"Your mother..." he kissed her hair tenderly, "I don't think your mother will ever be reconciled to the fact that you love me, and I you."

She started to cry quietly as she whispered, "It's not fair. It shouldn't be this way."

"But it is this way." he said softly, "I am but a farmers' eldest son, albeit educated, who lives as a tenant and works on your family's estate. And you... you are a beautiful heiress."

"When I am owner of all our properties, I shall marry you and there will be no one to stop me!" she declared vehemently through her tears. She raised her head to look up at him with wide eyes. Sampson felt his heart breaking, "You will wait for me... won't you?"

"Yes, my love." He whispered as he bent to kiss her forehead to avoid her eyes, "I will wait." But Sampson knew a secret. Sampson knew that Patience was destined for someone else and he had to hide it, because she didn't know. He wanted to steal her away, but he never did. He loved her too much and she deserved so much more than he could give her. But he was selfish, so he kept coming to these secret, forbidden meetings, because he couldn't stay away. Oh, how he loved her!

"Sampson?" she asked.


"I was already tiring when you stopped to hide. You would have caught me eventually." No. Patience had already been caught, been ensnared, but by another man. Patience would never be his. He would never have her as his own. She was promised to someone else. And his heart ached, but he said;

"I know, my love."

"Lizzy!" Elizabeth looked up, startled at the call of her name. She quickly put down her pen and shoved the story into her writing desk. She wrote stories only occasionally, and usually just short, silly romantic stories for her younger sisters, who loved the little anecdotes and foolish characters who fell in love at the drop of a parasol. Sometimes she wrote about little creatures in the forest and how they talked to each other. Her young cousins loved these ones, and when they visited, Lizzy read them to them before they fell asleep. But she had been working on this story lately; a tale of two lovers forever kept apart. Patience was a wealthy gentleman's daughter and Sampson was only a lowly servant, but somehow they loved each other.

Elizabeth didn't tell anyone about this story; it was a secret, and certainly too scandalous for any other eyes to read. Jane knew of it, of course. But even she hadn't read it, because she valued the fact that her sister wanted her privacy. Privacy, in the Bennet family, was valued when it was to be had, for in a house with three nosey women, not much was able to be kept private. Jane never shared anyone else's secret, of course, and Mary usually cared not to know a secret, but the two youngest Miss Bennets' and their mother didn't need any excuse for knowing another's business. The walls were too thin and the rooms too small for anything to stay a secret for long. So Lizzy cherished her secret story, which she worked on when she wasn't needed in the rest of the house. Besides, it was not considered a proper or decent occupation, for a young woman to write novels at all, no matter how innocent.

Despite society's condemnations against it, she sometimes took some parchment, a book, an inkwell and pen out on her walk, where once she had found a comfortable log, she would sit and write with no disruption but for the birds and their song. It was a finer music to her ears than any tune that could be found in a ballroom, and sounded completely new each day.

"Lizzy!?" Her name was called again by the urgent and shrill voice of her mother.

Elizabeth sighed and stood up. Her mother had no idea about her writing, and most likely had no wish to know either. Trifling novels didn't concern the fearsome Mrs Bennet. Lydia and Kitty suspected something though; they asked her ceaselessly what she was writing and when she told them that it was just a trifling story about two woodland creatures, they had sceptical looks on their faces, but soon turned away in disinterest. The youngest Bennet girls were now too old for stories about mice and badgers. Elizabeth consoled herself by saying she wasn't lying; she did indeed write about two woodland creatures; two very much in love creatures who met often in a wood. She just decided not to tell them that these woodland creatures she wrote about were actually very human. If they found out the true nature of her story; no peace would be had until they had read every last line. The thought of it made her stomach queasy.

"Yes Mama?" Elizabeth enquired, just as her mother burst into the room, "What is the matter?"

"What is the matter!? What is the matter! Oh insolent child, you know very well, what the matter is! They are to be here and you are not even dressed yet!" her mother all but squealed, bustling into the room to grab Lizzy by her shoulders and stand her by her looking-glass, "See child! You cannot meet the colonel looking like that! Put on that lovely white dress with the lavender trimming; he will be sure to notice you in that."

Elizabeth hated that dress. The lavender suited her very ill and made her skin look greyish, but the dress had a neck-line that was the most daring of all her dresses and was thusly the reasoning behind Mrs Bennet's motives. "Mama, you know I detest that dress. And besides, I wore it only yesterday, when you said they were to come." It was four days since the night of the Lucases dinner party and Mrs Bennet had been sure for three of those that the gentlemen would soon be calling. She had made Lizzy wear the horrid dress all of yesterday, and as it was, the gentlemen did not come. But Mrs Bennet seemed on the point of raptures in her sureness that today they would come.

Mrs Bennet was perturbed, "Yes, well, it was very rude of them not to call yesterday," Lizzy tried to keep from laughing but didn't succeed in hiding the smile. Her mother noticed. "Lizzy! There is nothing at all amusing about this! You simply must attract that colonel's attention today and then keep it! He certainly seemed to like you well enough at the dinner party four days ago, and I haven't a clue why he hasn't called sooner! If you will not wear the lavender one, then you must at least wear the green dress."

"Yes Mama, I will wear the green one." Mrs Bennet nodded once in satisfaction and then turned and swept out of the room. Lizzy shook her head in bemusement as she reached for the specified dress and prepared to put it on. 'The green dress', as Mrs Bennet called it, was actually mostly white, but it had a lovely shade of green on the trimmings that reminded Elizabeth of spring-time woodland leaves, and some green swirling embroidery at the bodice and sleeves that looked very well stitched. Jane, and even their mother, had said that the dress suited her very well, the green shade making her pale skin appear even whiter.

The family maid came to help Lizzy soon enough, for between the five daughters, there was only one. Usually Lizzy was the last or very nearly last to receive attention from Betty, for she managed quite well with only Jane's help, but today, it appeared Elizabeth was to be the first to be helped into a dress. Mrs Bennet was not taking the visit from the gentlemen very lightly at all.

The gentlemen... Lizzy sighed quietly. Betty gave her a sympathetic look but continued to tug at the stays tightening the corset. Lizzy didn't know what to make of the attention from the gentlemen. The strange singling out by Mr Darcy for a dance, the easy, interesting conversations with the colonel. And then Wickham. It was all so confusing and yet clear at the same time. She didn't know why Mr Darcy had asked her to dance, but perhaps he had wished to intimidate her and impress his opinions on herself, which, she admitted to herself, didn't seem likely, since he didn't speak enough for that. He did seem to argue and disagree a lot when he did speak though. But what she did know was simple: that man felt nothing but disapproval towards her.

As for the other two gentlemen, Mr Wickham may very well like her, but marrying her was not a possibility. She was too poor for his tastes. And the colonel... well, Lizzy didn't quite know. She liked colonel Fitzwilliam a great deal and thought that he might like her too. He, like her mother had said, was who she should try to impress.

The idea of trying to purposely impress anyone didn't appeal very much to her. If the colonel liked her, then maybe a match between them could be a possibility. However, if he only saw her as a pleasant diversion with interesting manners, but not good enough to marry, Lizzy would be quite content with that too. Marriage was not something that immediately concerned her. She would marry when or if she fell in love, and not before then. She was sure the colonel would remain a kind and friendly man, even if an understanding between them was not prudent.

"I'm finished here now, Miss." Betty announced a few minutes later. Elizabeth thanked the maid and discovered that Betty had also finished putting her hair up. The maid nodded, curtsied and hurried out to see to the rest of the girls. Elizabeth looked at herself in the looking-glass. She grinned suddenly, thinking Well, if he doesn't like me in this dress, then he probably never shall. And with that amusing thought, she skipped down the stairs to break her fast.

At the table where meals were eaten, Jane sat there and smiled at Lizzy as she entered. "Did you have a good sleep, Lizzy?" she asked.

"I did, thank you." The younger sister replied. Jane smiled again and nodded contentedly. When Jane asked if you were feeling well, or if you slept well, or if you liked something, she really did want to know your answer and actually cared about your reply. "And you, Jane?" Elizabeth continued in a conspiratal whisper, "Did you dream of Mr Bingley last night?" she asked teasingly.

"Lizzy!" Jane's face suffused with colour as her sister grinned. She tried to hide her mortification by dabbing her lips with a handkerchief, though it did little to mask her blushing complexing.

Elizabeth merely smiled and sat beside her charmingly innocent sister, "Perhaps he will visit again today?" she mused.

"Yes, perhaps." Jane answered shyly.

They ate in silence for a while, both glad for the temporary peace. The younger girls were still upstairs getting changed, but they would be down to create a fuss soon enough. The thought of the three visiting gentlemen having to deal with her sisters in a room together was really quite worrying, but Lizzy repressed her anxiety.

"Do you think Mama is right when she says that the gentlemen will call today?" she asked Jane.

The older sister nodded, "Mama is quite certain. She says Mr Bennet got a letter from one of them saying they were to visit today."


"Lizzy? Are you well?" Jane asked, frowning slightly in concern.

"Yes, Jane I'm very well." Elizabeth assured her sister, "But Mama is so certain that the colonel... well, I'm worried what she'll say to him. You know how Mama is, Jane."

"Yes." Jane mused, "I suppose that is reason to be worried. I do so hope she will not say anything too untoward. Or Lydia or Kitty for that matter. It would not do for us to embarrass ourselves."

Elizabeth got no chance at all to reply to that, for suddenly Lydia dashed down the stairs complaining about why Lizzy had gotten Betty first, followed by Kitty and they immediately started filling their plates with food and chattering about everything and nothing. Mary came down the stairs at a more sedate pace and took only an apple before sitting at the pianoforte to practice.

The morning passed in its usual fashion. Kitty and Lydia passed the hours squealing and complaining or giggling about officers. Mary spent her time at the pianoforte. Jane found some embroidery she needed to complete. Mrs Bennet fretted, completely overwhelmed at the thought of three extremely wealthy and unmarried gentlemen in her home, and wouldn't stop exclaiming, "Oh! A viscount! A colonel! Mr Darcy!" Lizzy always found this last exclamation especially amusing, for Mrs Bennet said it as though he were a king, despite only saying that gentleman's name. Mr Bennet woke and almost immediately went to his study, for he was seemingly unable to be in the same room as his wife when she was in such a state. And Elizabeth went out for her morning walk, although usually she went out before breakfast. The mists had already lifted and the birds created the perfect jaunty song for her rambling walk. She found herself quite content and ready to face the day by the time her walk was at an end.


"They're here!" Kitty exclaimed suddenly as she peered out a window, "All three of them!"

In a sudden flurry of chaotic excitement, ribbons were thrown across to room to be caught clumsily in reaching hands and shut up in a desk cavity, pillows were spread out and girls yelled at each other, until finally Mrs Bennet managed to get all her girls to sit down. Jane and Elizabeth were the only ones who managed to avoid being hit by a cushion, and the only two who retained a visage of calmness, despite Lizzy's inner turmoil. Mr Bennet entered the room quietly and stood behind the settee.

The gentlemen were announced by Hill, their housekeeper, and they entered. The Bennet ladies managed to look suitably calm and presentable.

"It's lovely to see you all today!" Mrs Bennet announced.

"Thank you." The colonel answered for them all with a charming smile.

"Please sit down." Mr Bennet intoned, gesturing at the chairs. The colonel took the one closest to Elizabeth, Mr Darcy declined sitting and went to stand by a window; the same one that Kitty had looked out of to spy on them as they approached. The viscount approached Mr Bennet and they began talking of politics. Lizzy watched them for a while and discovered that Mr Bennet actually appeared to genuinely enjoy the viscount's conversation. Her father also seemed happy that he could talk to a man of sense and knowledge, instead of making meaningless comments about the weather.

"Miss Elizabeth." The colonel suddenly addressed her. She looked at him with a smile, so he continued, "I remember from a few days ago at the dinner party that you mentioned an enjoyment in reading. Pray tell, what do you read?"

Lizzy consciously noticed that Mrs Bennet was directing a conversation with the other unoccupied people of the room.

Lydia, Mary and Kitty were all apparently having a conversation with their mother, who also tried to engage Jane in conversation too. It was immediately obvious that her mother was doing all she could to have Lizzy and the colonel conversing alone, like Mr Bingley and Jane often did together. Lizzy attempted to ignore the unpleasant feeling that welled in her breast at this thought, and replied, "I read many things. I enjoyed 'Robinson Crusoe' by Daniel Defoe. The Mysteries of Udolpho was... interesting. It irritated me, perhaps a little. I think my younger sisters would have enjoyed it more. 'Gulliver's Travels' was more entertaining, though rather fantastical. I also read poems and tragedies but perhaps I find books that those that are non-fiction to be more practical for me to read." She hesitated a moment, then continued, "But the book that will always be my favourite, is, I think, the works of the apostles."

"The good book!" The colonel exclaimed in amazement, "Have you read all of its entirety then?"

Again, Lizzy hesitated, wondering if she had made a mistake of telling him, "I have read a good many parts of it, at least."

After all, Lizzy knew there were parts that were strictly not for young, unmarried ladies eyes. It would not do to admit that she had been allowed access to her fathers copy, or that she had in fact, read it from cover to cover, though it did take a rather long time.

"May I ask why this book would be your favourite? I'd imagine that something like the others you mentioned would be more popular among young ladies."

"Indeed, you are correct." she answered, "but I know all the other stories to be false and made up stories of fiction; the Bible, however is real history. It is truly the most fascinating account I have ever read. It also teaches one how to live daily life in a proper and good manner."

"I suppose you also then, enjoy Fordyce?"

"No indeed!" she laughed, "It would be Mary who enjoys the works of Mr Fordyce. I enjoy the bible a great deal, but I admit to finding Fordyces' teachings, especially to young women, quite pretentious and dull, from a man who has never known what it is like to be a young woman." Lizzy was of the opinion that Mr James Fordyce voiced far too many instructions and opinions that were entirely useless, but she could not say this.

"And who then, should have written Mr Fordyce's sermons for him?" he enquired with much amusement.

"Why, a woman of course!" she replied in good taste, her teasing showing through her eyes, "A wise, knowledgeable, older woman - perhaps even Mr Fordyce's wife could have offered insight. At least she might have thought it unnecessary, if she did not disagree entirely, for him to claim that there were," she adopted a deeper tone and serious mien as she quoted "very few, in the style of a Novel, that you can read with safety, and yet fewer that you can read with advantage."*

The colonel laughed gladly, "But you would be predisposed to disagree with his opinion on this, for I know you greatly enjoy a good novel."

"Yes indeed." she agreed, "But I enjoy them because I disagree, not that I disagree because I enjoy them. The difference," she mused with an arched brow, "is that in the former case, I know many novels to be both entertaining and instructive and therefore I enjoy them, thus disagreeing with Mr Fordyce. In the latter case, which is not true, I would have disagreed without reason or thought, merely because I did not wish to give up the past-time, regardless of whether I thought Mr Fordyce to be correct or not."

The colonel chuckled delightedly, "So you are a lady of reason then? A quality both rare, and to be treasured."

This response elicited a blush from Elizabeth, who was not accustomed to such praise. "I believe, Sir, we have gotten quite off topic. We were talking of the differences between Our good Lords' words, and those of Mr Fordyce."

"Ah, yes. So we were. What then, do you believe the major contrasts in content to be?"

"It might perhaps shock you, but I find Mr Fordyce's opinions and writings to contain far too many rules and strictures. He laments on the follies of young ladies far too much to my liking, no matter if I agree."

"Is not the bible full of these 'rules and strictures' also?" he asked with a risen brow and warming smile.

"So it would seem," she acknowledged, "but upon further study, many of the laws are for the good of the people who were commanded to follow them. And many books are not about rules at all; but actually fascinating accounts of how people lived, and how our Lord helped them through particular trials and evils."

"Indeed, and which books then, do you enjoy most?" His unstudied smile and relaxed posture endeared him to Elizabeth and required that she answer with her real opinion.

"Perhaps the books of Ruth and Esther, for both are about women of great faith and courage, but I find the books of the disciples most relevant. My very favourite chapter and verses, however, lie in Corinthians."

"And why is that?" he asked with an amused glance at his cousin. Mr Darcy approached them slowly, his brows lowered as he looked between the two young people.

"Because it talks of love, and what it is... or should be."

"Do you suggest then," Mr Darcy asked as he stopped before them, "that the love that is practiced in this day, is not to the standards of what the Apostle Paul wrote of?"

Elizabeth noted with interest that Mr Darcy must also have read Corinthians and probably at least a few other Bible stories to know who had written it, so she paused before answering as she considered her words carefully. Mr Darcy, she knew, tried to find fault in her reasoning, and she was determined to disappoint him. "I suggest sir, that we often substitute what should be love, and call it charity. But the difference between the meanings of these words is no little matter, and one should not be used for replacing the other. For though being charitable can be an act of love, it is not always so, especially when the lady or gentleman being charitable, does so unwillingly. Likewise, while love can produce a charitable outcome, they are not one in the same and both can occur without the other."

Elizabeth perceived the way his eyes narrowed further, "And by explaining this, you suggest that many today, are being charitable, but not doing so out of love?" he asked, his imposing form towering above the two sitting people. Colonel turned to Elizabeth as he awaited her answer, his eyes sparking with amusement at how serious his cousin sounded.

"Perhaps." Elizabeth smiled, daring him to disagree.

"But do you not think, that for some people, being charitable is the only way they know of showing that they love or care for another?"

"I agree Mr Darcy, but then, I think we should perhaps better define what love means, lest we confuse it for being an emotion. Indeed the apostle almost suggests that love is not necessarily a feeling; but a series of actions. And these actions should be shown towards every man and woman, regardless of station."

"And what of romantic love?" Mr Darcy enquired, voice deepening.

"Romantic love... if I were to be cynical, I would say that such a thing did not exist."

"Not exist!" The colonel exclaimed, while Mr Darcy stared at her quite intensely, "Surely you do not believe such a thing!?"

She laughed, lightening the atmosphere considerably, "Indeed, I do not. I should like to think it exists, despite so many examples pointing to the opposite."

"And what can you mean by this?" The colonel asked, his brow furrowed.

She smiled, "That many marriages are based on position, connections and wealth. Love has little to do with a marriage when these are considerations are taken into account."

"You must consider, Miss Bennet, that while many will marry for the reasons you provide, in time the two may eventually grow to love each other."

"Yes," she agreed, "But I would call that kind of love more along the lines of a familial love, of the two having grown used to each other will eventually be like family, but it is likely, unless there was always the chance of it occurring since the beginning, that the two will not share the romantic love you speak of."

"I wholeheartedly disagree, Miss Bennet."

"Is that perhaps because you hope to marry for the reasons I named and yet still wish for romantic love?" she asked, aware that her enquiry was bordering on impertinent.

"It is because, Miss Bennet," she could hear the disapproval in his tone, "My own parents were an example of the situation you provided, and yet they grew to love each other quite fiercely. I myself would not be averse to following their example, so long as it produced the same happiness in marriage. But in saying so, I would indeed hope that I loved the lady I was to marry before the event occurred."

"Well I should hope so too!" The colonel interjected rather suddenly, "Darcy has all the luck. For while he may marry anywhere he will, I must marry for at least one of the reasons you provided. Such is one of the misfortunes of a younger son." he sighed dramatically, and Elizabeth smiled.

"Alas good sir, you may yet fall in love with a beautiful and wealthy woman of good breeding and fortune, and then your misfortunes will be for naught."

He laughed in agreement good-naturedly, "Yes, I can always hope. And if I am not so lucky, perhaps I will be like Darcy's good father, and fall deeply in love with the woman after I marry her."

Elizabeth smiled, "And even if that does not happen, I think a man would be blessed to respect and be respected by his partner. Felicity in marriage does not necessarily depend on love, I have come to realise." Although Elizabeth was loathe to admit it, an example of this was perhaps her own parents. They were certainly not as in love as another couple might have been, and respect had very little to do with it, yet Lizzy knew her parents to be quite content and certainly not unhappy. They did, of course, have those times of frustration with each other, but all in all, they led happy lives. Mr Bennet stayed enclosed in his study, where he enjoyed many hours of reading, and Mrs Bennet, whose sole purpose in life could have been to find matches for her daughters, was content with gossip and tales of officers.

Lizzy knew her friend Charlotte to agree with the opinion she had just expressed also. Charlotte was a girl who would likely marry for security, rather than love, and though Lizzy did not fancy the idea, neither would she condemn her friend for it. If Charlotte was happier in a marrage of convenience than if she stayed at home under her fathers roof, Lizzy could not begrudge her.

But Elizabeth knew she, herself, could not marry for anything but the deepest love, or else marital felicity would not be possible for her.

"But love must at least provide a greater chance of felicity in marriage." Mr Darcy was still standing above them, but Elizabeth looked determinedly up at him as he spoke.

"I do not disagree, Mr Darcy," she conceded with a smile that was neither affected nor affectionate.

Mr Darcy nodded, seemingly satisfied, and went back to stand by the window, where he stared out resolutely once again.

Elizabeth turned an enquiring eye on the colonel, who chuckled lightly in response. He lowered his voice as he looked slyly at his cousin, "Darcy can be an odd fellow. One minute he claims there is not a worthy young woman in the world, and the next he says he will fall in love with one. I do not see how he can hold both opinions at once."

"Perhaps he meant to say he has not yet met the worthy woman he intends to marry?" she suggested laughingly. Elizabeth wouldn't be surprised if Mr Darcy thought the only worthy woman in the world would be the one he married. Or perhaps he suggested he would fall in love with a woman who was not worthy after all? Foolish, confusing man!

"Yes. I agree." The colonel smiled, but before another topic could be raised, the viscount announced that they unfortunately had to make other calls and must be going. Mrs Bennet tried to persuade them to stay for luncheon, but she could not, and they were soon all standing and taking their leave of the ladies and Mr Bennet.

"Thank you," said colonel Fitzwilliam amiably and with a smile, "For confiding in me your opinions on worthy literature, and delighting me with your conversation."

"And thank you, colonel, for listening to me," she smiled, her dark eyes twinkling in a way that he found very pretty, "You were most attentive and gracious."

He chuckled and bid her good day with the other gentlemen. The viscount bid the room in general adieu, only specifically saying goodbye to Mr Bennet, whom he had enjoyed conversing with. The ladies - Mrs Bennet specifically - were effusive in their appreciation for the call, and Mrs Bennet was heard many times to say, "And you must all surely come again!"

Mr Darcy, however, before bidding the other occupants goodbye, approached her once more as she stood. His manner was grave and his voice deep, as he said, "Goodbye, Miss Elizabeth."


Authors' note: *extract from Sermons to Young Women, by James Fordyce, 1766.

The next chapter is called "..." where things really get interesting!