Jane Bennet in January: In the Shrubbery — 29 Comments

  1. It’s funny to imagine Charles slinking off when he recognizes Lady C coming up the drive. She must have been REALLY unpleasant for someone as good-natured as him to want to escape! I’m also amused that both he and Jane kind of have things wrong — that Jane doesn’t think Lizzy could love Darcy, and Charles thinks that Darcy couldn’t stand up to his aunt. Thank you!

    • Very glad you liked it, Kathy. Misunderstandings were Jane Austen’s delight, in plotting, so it’s fun to continue them.

  2. Lady Catherine’s reputation follows wherever she goes. Calling her a lady is hardly befitting the old bag. Her behavior is more like that of a gutter snipe. Jane and Bingley should have come to her defence, after all, they were eavesdropping. Jane’s not knowing her sister’s feelings for Darcy seems impossible. They share everything. Cannot wait for the next scene.

    • Thanks for commenting, Carol. Jane and Bingley did not come to Lizzy’s defense, but it wasn’t out of cowardice, it was out of delicacy, not to embarrass her, or interfere in something she had kept secret. Remember, Lizzy did NOT tell Jane her changing feelings for Darcy. Jane only knew Lizzy had rejected him, and when Lizzy told Jane they were engaged, Jane was in shock. “Engaged to Mr. Darcy, that cannot be! Have you not always hated him?” she cried, or words to that effect.

    • Jane and Bingley were acting by their code of honor – they removed themselves, as soon as they found they could overhear the conversation. And they must have known, better than we do, that Lizzy could take care of herself. 🙂 It does seem strange to us that Jane wouldn’t know Lizzy’s feelings for Mr. Darcy, but remember Lizzy never told her that her feelings had changed since she rejected him. And when she announced her engagement to Jane, Jane simply could not believe it was true for a moment! She asked, incredulously, if Lizzy hadn’t always hated him, and Lizzy told her never to remember that again! Lizzy didn’t want to talk about Mr. Darcy to Jane because she knew Mr. Darcy had kept the news that Jane was in London, from Bingley, and Lizzy felt delicate about mentioning Bingley to her. I know, I wouldn’t have behaved that way, either – but that was then, this is now!

  3. It seems that Jane is as bad at knowing Elizabeth’s feelings as she is at showing her own!! And how can Bingley think that Darcy always obeys his Aunt?!! It’s just a good job that Lady C had to have her say to Darcy or we might not have had our happy ending. Thanks for this scene Diana.

    • True, Glynis, Jane is a little too reticent about emotional matters, don’t you think? But times were different, and I do think Darcy, if not “obeying” Lady Catherine, did politely defer to her, as to an older relation – except where he knew she was dead wrong and it affected him. As when he married Lizzy despite her fury! And yes, Lizzy wittily acknowledges that she and Darcy owe their “good understanding,” and marriage to Lady Catherine, which is ironic because she “loves to be of use.” Thanks for your comment!

  4. Very well done! I appreciate seeing the way Bingley thinks – for example, his concern for the state of the post horses. Now they will be driven to London, with “Lady” Catherine undoubtedly screeching at the poor driver to hurry all the way. She obviously did not get any discipline as a child.

  5. That was funny but then we are all flies on the wall in knowing what has occurred elsewhere. Elizabeth was always good at hiding things, even from her dear Jane. Thanks for this episode.

    • Thanks, Sheila, glad you enjoyed! It is odd, such extreme reticence between two such very loving sisters? But those were different days. Maybe we all tell each other too much!

  6. Aaah, but Jane and Bingley are wrong this time. Jane should remember her sister’s temperament to resist “any attempt to intimidate her.” Elizabeth is contrary enough and Darcy besotted enough that Lady Catherine really has no chance whatsoever. I almost feel sorry for her…but not really. 😉

    Thanks for a lovely vignette!!

    Susanne 🙂

    • Good points, Susanne! Jane SHOULD realize that her contrary sister is perfectly equal to Lady C. Quite amazing for a girl of 21, isn’t she? By the way, I still haven’t received your address, so I can send you the Jane Austen Day BOok that you won. Please send it to me at, if you’d still like to have the book. Thanks.

    • Ohhhh noooo! (Slaps forehead) Thanks for a good lesson, Opisica. A writer should always remember logistics, and what month it is! However (thinking quickly), what if we say that it’s Jane in January because we’re writing about Jane Bennet in January, but we can set our scenes in other months in her life. Does that satisfy? 🙂 You sure are right, though about those golden willow trees… Still, we can remember that Jane Austen Herself made a blooper or two like that, as when her brother wrote to her saying something like, “What about those fruit trees of yours, Jane, that bloomed in September?” (Not looking up exact quote, but you get the gist.)

  7. Hmm, now that you are retired, you might have time to write the next scene – what do Jane and Bingley do with their knowledge of Lady Catherine’s visit to Lizzy? Please whet our thirst for more of this story!

  8. Poor Charles to have had the inopportunity of having met Lady C before. Someone as nice as he would not want the confrontation. I can see her Treating those poor horses so. I like how she is described as someone who always gets her way, well, she won’t this time. I am so happy about that. Lizzy definitely has a lot of fortitude to stand up to her and keep her sits about her. Love how you brought this scene about.

    • Thanks, Deborah, I’m tickled that you liked it! Yes, isn’t it almost painful to think of someone as sweet as Bingley being treated scornfully by Lady C.? Can’t believe that woman.

  9. This is a wonderful imaging of the conversation alluded to in P&P. It makes perfect sense that later Jane would be surprised when Lizzy tells her she loves Darcy.

    • Oh, yes. Jane’s surprise is delicious, and Jane Austen knew what she was doing! Glad you enjoyed this version of the events.

  10. Now that was definitely telling where Bingley is concerned running off to the shrubbery to avoid being drawn in to any dealings with Lady Catherine. I would love to see the scene where he was present with Darcy! Oh to have a story about Lady Catherine’s childhood would definitely be appreciated! I’m wondering if we will come away with some sympathy for her?

    • I too am fascinated by Lady Catherine’s early life, Carole, and wrote a bit about it in the volume of Scenes Jane Austen Never Wrote. This is a subject I mean to write more about. Thanks for commenting!

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