Liveblogging Jane Austen: Part Three

Since I only managed to get through the first three episodes of the classic Firth/Erle miniseries yesterday evening before going to bed, we decided to begin the episodes at this point.

9:26PM:  The voiceovers at the beginning of the fourth episode are classic, where the two of them torture each other with the voices of their awkward and unpleasant interactions.  Lady Catherine is, of course, someone who must be fobbed off.  Mr. Darcy has a letter to write, and we know such things cannot be hurried but also cannot be long delayed.  This is a very great letter, I must admit, as someone who has written some very pointed letters in my time [1].

9:31PM:  What is it about fifteen/sixteen year olds and elopement in Jane Austen’s writing?  It is indeed a difficult age, whether one is dealing with Lydia Bennet or Julia Bertram.  “Had he succeeded, his revenge would have been complete indeed.”

9:33PM:  Eat, eat more–Charlotte Collins is rather Jewish motherish here.  Elizabeth is definitely up to something shady, until she “accidentally” runs into Mr. Darcy give his letters.  At least Elizabeth does him the honor of reading the letter; some of us can’t even get that fair of a hearing.  That is not to mean that the letter, insofar as it deals with Jane, is all that charitable, at least at initial reading.

9:39PM:  “Your father may spare you if your mother can.  Daughters are never of consequence to a father.”  Spoken with experience, Lady Catherine?  Of course Elizabeth’s uncle has a manservant.  Why wouldn’t he?  Lady Catherine’s “right way to pack a trunk” sounds like the “right way to fold a towel” that some families have.  At Elizabeth’s departure, even Mr. Collins is gracious in dealing with others, although his statement that he and Charlotte were designed for each other is more than a little bit cringey.

9:43PM:  Something that is Lydiaish–treating others with borrowed money.  “There were two or three uglier at the shop.”  Sadly, Lydia is right that Elizabeth has the same thoughts concerning Mary King.  I don’t see why they were so harsh on her–being red-headed and freckled is certainly not a bad thing as far as attractiveness goes.  It is remarkable just how silly the younger Bennet girls are.  I would be distressed to have children that silly myself.

9:52PM:  Mr. Bennet is pretty silly himself, not willing to exert himself to resist the wildness of Lydia.  Elizabeth definitely did prophesy pretty well concerning the reputation and disgrace resulting from Lydia’s behavior.  On the other hand, Mr. Bennet’s prophecies did not work out well.  Mr. and Mrs. Foster are a terrible sort of couple.  He looks like he could be her grandfather.  I wonder if it was intentionally made to be that cringey.

9:56PM:  The amusing concersation between Mr. Wickham and Elizabeth is full of intrigue.  None of the other conversations have quite the same piquant sense as that one.  Seeing the little Gardiner children, though, is very lovely, and the humorous situation of seeing Elizabeth enjoying the peak district is definitely very worthwhile.

10:00PM:  Things 10,000 pounds a year can get you–your own fencing instructor who loses on purpose.  Score!  The bravery of Lizzie in the peaks is not quite as reckless as that of Louisa Musgrove in Persuasion.  “I should feel awkward to visit the place.”  Well, it could have been your own home, so of course one would feel awkward.  It is interesting that Elizabeth and the Gardiners talk with the servants, which is something quite unusual in most adaptations of Jane Austen’s writings.  And so on to Pemberly we go.

10:05PM: And of course the cat has decided to get in the way of my liveblogging. Pemberly is a wonderful house, though, no doubt about it. If only the internet connection was more reliable. Listening to the servant talk about Mr. Darcy is quite entertaining, and it is clear that the party found similar enjoyment in the conversation. Time for Mr. Dary to enjoy his swim after an invigorating horseback ride back from London to his estate. Not everyone would swim in a lily-pad infested pond right after a ride. Fan service, for the win.

10:10PM: Awkward meet cute in 3…2…1…Elizabeth is first to recognize Mr. Darcy, but the recognition is soon mutual. It’s a great conversation even if an unusual one. Small talk is really difficult with Mr. Darcy, who is not much of a conversationalist. Elizabeth is, of course, rather shocked by the interaction. The second conversation is vastly better, and more gracious. Darcy serves as a guide to the grounds, and even offers Mr. Gardiner the chance to fish in his waters, a privilege not granted very easily.

10:14PM: The conversation that leads to the invitation of Elizabeth to get to know Miss Georgeanna Darcy is a gracious one. If Darcy is an awkward man, and indeed he is, he is certainly someone who is eager to make a good impression and that counts for a lot. Certainly the Gardiners are clever enough to realize that something else is going on, and that’s a good place to end the episode.

10:21PM:  Okay, I restarted my computer to get the internet connection working again and it appears to be working for the moment.  It’s time for the next episode to begin.

10:23PM:  The interaction between Elizabeth and Georgianna is very sweet, and it is nice to see them get along so well.  Mr. Bingley is very friendly and gracious as usual.  It’s a shame to think that he and his family made their wealth in slavery.  Miss Darcy does a great job of inviting Elizabeth and her family, and on insisting that Elizabeth play and sing, something that he views almost worshipfully.

10:28PM:  Miss Bingley nearly causes a deeply uncomfortable moment but Elizabeth finesses it well, showing her good breeding.  I have always been struck by just how important it is that people handle the improvisations of life and deal with the awkwardness of people who wish to put them on the wrong foot.  And then Caroline insults her afterward, only to find that Darcy compliments her in ways that make Caroline feel a bit more irritated.

10:32PM:  More letters, only these ones, from Jane Bennet, cause problems in that they reveal Lydia eloping with the perfidious Wickham.  Of course, Darcy manages to hear the whole thing, and the cut scenes do a good job at portraying the panic of the Longbourn party while the words of the letter hit Elizabeth.

10:40PM:  The Gardiners and Elizabeth chat about the problem.  “The temptation is not worth the risk.”  A man would have to be pretty blockheaded to elope with Lydia.  Speaking of bad matches, a woman would have to be pretty blockheaded to marry Mr. Hurst, a man who cannot bother to stay awake during Miss Darcy’s charming piano performance.  “If only Mr. Bennet had taken us all to London…”  Mrs. Bennet’s performance here is a fine example of catastrophizing.

10:46PM:  The conversation of women’s virtue and reputation is a pretty chilling one, courtesy of Mary, while Jane, Mrs. Gardiner, and Elizabeth try to talk sense into both Mary and Kitty.  The conversation between Jane and Elizabeth is more to the point, as Elizabeth does a good job at encouraging her sister, at least until realizing that more things have been ruined than merely Lydia’s reputation alone.

10:54PM:  Mr. Collins has come and the catastrophizing continues.  It is amazing that the people around a situation just pile on a disaster.  Mrs. Philips’ information about Mr. Wickham is all too dreadful about debauches, seductions, and gaming debts.

11:00PM:  “Mrs. Younge,” I imagine Mr. Darcy’s sight was not a pleasant one for that keeper of a flophouse, while the Bennets languish unhappily.  Mr. Bennet’s tirade against Kitty is deeply humorous, except for Kitty.  And when the financial arrangements come in, Mr. Bennet has some great lines, although it’s a shame that they don’t mention that Wickham is a fool if he takes Lydia for less than 10,000 pounds.  And that’s the end of the episode.  Time for the last one.

11:13PM:  Frustrating tasks:  trying to reason with Mrs. Bennet.  Ah, and now we get to the 10,000 pounds line.  Lydia cuts a fine figure going off in white (!) to her wedding.  It looks more like a gallows execution than a wedding.  Mr. Wickham’s debts should be longer than a page or two, though.  I guess Meryton is a small village, though.  One cannot be in debt to thousands of people in a small English country town.

11:20PM:  And now for the awkward arrival of the Wickhams in Longbourn after their marriage.  I wonder if Lydia is trying to get slapped by one of her relatives.  “I don’t think we like your way of getting husbands.”  Oh snap!  Lydia’s bragging about her husband is a bit tiresome, and she is really clueless about revealing Darcy’s presence at her wedding.  Of course, Elizabeth immediately writes a letter about it, and Mrs. Gardiner replies at considerable length and detail.

11:31PM:  Well, Lydia didn’t stay long, thankfully, before she and Wickham were off, and right after that Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy return to Longbourn.  Jane and Elizabeth have a few conversations and Jane appears to resent Elizabeth’s spirited nature in this case.  Seeing Darcy give his blessing to Bingley is quite entertaining, not that Bingley needs it, after all.  And all of that hurry getting ready in the morning for an awkward and quiet conversation where at least a couple of the people involved have some ulterior motives.

11:38PM:  And Jane is engaged.  Mrs. Bennet’s skills at this sort of thing are remarkably scary.  Mrs. Bennet’s raptures that Jane could not be so beautiful for nothing are pretty funny.  Jane and Elizabeth have a sweet conversation, though.  And then we’re right to the great scene with Lady De Burgh.  The pacing is pretty ambitious, no wasted moments, even with the silence within the scenes.  The confrontation is a worthwhile one, and Elizabeth’s behavior is pretty pointed.  And then we move right to Mr. Bennet’s teasing her about Mr. Darcy.

11:52PM:  And now we have a lovely and charming conversation between Darcy and Elizabeth.  If only we could all find courtship in the way that Lizzy and Darcy do.  And of course at this moment the cat decides he wants to rest on my shoulder *sigh*.

11:59PM:  That wedding sermon and the visuals for the double wedding of Jane and Lizzy is great.  Unhappiest people at the wedding:  Caroline Bingley looks like she is at a funeral, and Mary and Kitty are surprising unhappy as well.  And that’s a wrap :D.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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2 Responses to Liveblogging Jane Austen: Part Three

  1. Pingback: Liveblogging Jane Austen: Part Four | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Liveblogging Jane Austen: Part Five | Edge Induced Cohesion

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