Lydia Bennet’s Story: Untamed and Unabashed
Jane Austen enchanted us with Elizabeth and Jane’s story in Pride and Prejudice,
Now Lydia Bennet shocks and intrigues us in Untamed and Unabashed.
Elizabeth Bennet told her story in Pride and Prejudice. Now Lydia Bennet tells her side of her whirlwind marriage to Lieutenant Wickham and what happens afterwards. As the youngest of five daughters with a pittance of a dowry and no hope for a good marriage, it appears her life is doomed from the start. But Lydia refuses to accept such a possibility. She learns how to set herself apart from her sisters and gain the attention of young men. She hones charm and flirtation to an art. Willing to take risks, she manages to acquire a substantial dowry and marries her beloved Wickham. Yet, her life remains on the brink until she gains the patronage of a wealthy Duke trapped in a loveless marriage.
“Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy and fearless.”
—quote by Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The moment Lydia saw Wickham’s friend Robert, she froze in horror. He was a middle-aged, potbellied man, wearing a suit two seasons out of fashion. Worse yet, his scraggly beard seemed to have captured much of what he had eaten for lunch.
Carmella gave her a cold smile. “There she is now. Isn’t she lovely Mr. Hanson?”
His eyes swept over her with clear contempt. “She’ll do.”
Oh no, I won’t! Lydia pressed her hand to her beating heart. “You must forgive me, Mr. Hanson, but I am unwell.” She turned and hurried upstairs.
“Here now!” Carmella screeched and ran after her. She snared Lydia’s arm, turning her around. “You can’t back out now, miss.”
Lydia shook off her grip. “You are not the master of me, Mrs. Younge. If you think so highly of the man downstairs, then you go out with him. I find him ill-dressed, uncouth, and repulsive. I would not be seen in his company for all the tea in china.”
“Good night, Mrs. Younge.” Lydia entered her room and slammed the door behind her, locking it to ensure their privacy.
Wickham looked up from the desk. His eyes rounded in puzzlement. “Is my friend late?”
He looked so sincerely surprised at her return, she now suspected he had never met his ‘friend’. Now certain Mrs. Younge had procured the vile man, she said, “Perhaps he was down there and I missed him. Describe him to me?”
Wickham closed his book and rose from the desk. “Lydia, what is wrong?”
She bared her teeth in the facsimile of a smile. “We are about to have our first fight, I believe.”
“Because I cannot recall what Mr. Hanson looks like?”
Upon walking to the window, she stared out at the street below. Still too angry to speak, she remained silent. In this matter she wished to be decidedly clear with Wickham. She could never allow this to happen again. Never!
When twenty minutes passed, she sensed Wickham grew more nervous with her silence. She refused to face him, but she could hear him pacing with heightened breathing. Finally, he evidently could bear it no more.
“Lydia, I don’t recall his manner. Was he truly so repulsive?”
“It makes no difference if you can describe him or not. If you can, then you set me up with a lowborn, disgusting old man you knew would repulse me beyond endurance. If you cannot, then Mrs. Younge chose this man to humiliate me, and you supported her in this connivance. Either way leaves me outraged.”
Wickham came behind her and placed his hands around her waist. She turned and kneed him in his groin, sending him to the floor.
Tags: story excerpt