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P&P Missing Scenes – Taking Tea with Mrs. Darcy by Maria Grace — 23 Comments

  1. Lovely.

    Maria grace, you always deliver such heartfelt prose.
    This is a fitting story just before Mother’s Day .

    Not only does she have Darcy to support her with this new life style, she has 2 wise women , mrs Reynolds and her late mother law.
    Definitely one of my favorites !

    • Thank you Carol. I really pondered over what this scene needed. The idea about Mrs. Darcy’s commonplace book hit me while I was out running on afternoon and it just felt right.

  2. You express those feelings so well. My husband’s father died when Dale was only 10, so I never met him. But, I could see from all the stories I heard of him that he was very similar to his son. And, I saw a lot of myself in Dale’s mother. So, I understand those feelings of wanting to know the deceased parent. How lucky for Elizabeth that you have created a common place book for Mrs. Darcy that she can read over tea. Lovely chapter! Thank you!

  3. How absolutely sweet. The insecurities Elizabeth feels (only an intelligent person would feel insecure) and the confidence Mrs. Reynolds has for her. How well she reads Elizabeth and knows her already. The perfect beginning to her role as Mrs. Darcy, getting to know her husband and the estate through the former Mrs. Darcy’s eyes and, more importantly, getting to know her husband’s mother. Great chapter to read over coffee this morning.

  4. I really enjoyed a look at Elizabeth where she isn’t quite as sure of herself, and the interraction with Mrs. Reynolds was just delightful. What a valuable ally to have: one who will ease her into her responsibilities, and who will be guide and mentor. I think whenever we read about the Bennet girls and their marriages, we think only of the romances and happy endings, and forget that the real story was just beginning. It would have been a huge adjustment going from a smaller, less prosperous estate, to a large one that could have been the size of a small town, not to mention the houses in town. Imagine having to direct two households and two sets of servants. Mrs. Reynolds would have been invaluable to a nervous young bride, and with these two characters, there would have been mutual respect, and shared laughter. What a fascinating look at the life of Pemberley. Those grand ladies did not have the leisure time that we think they did!

    • You’re so right, Mari. As I’ve researched the role of an estate’s mistress, writers have likened managing a home like Pemberley to being the CEO of a small company. There was a tremendous amount of work that went into it, even with servants to assist. In smaller houses, like Longbourn, wives and daughters worked along side the servants because there was so much work to be done. Their husbands did the same outside. Only the very wealthiest were privileged enough to live the kind of life of ease and luxury we associate with estate owners.

      While women were not formally educated the way men were, mothers did train their daughters in running a household. For someone like Elizabeth, moving into a place as large and complex as Pemberley would have been very daunting indeed, no matter how well Mrs. Bennet trained her.

      Thanks, Mari!

  5. How absolutely precious. We just put a book into the library on the role of the mistress in the American South. The view is much the same as that of Mrs. Darcy – jewels, dresses and a handsome husband all to hand. But the southern mistress + Elizabeth work as hard supervising the household and keeping everything up to date without the modern conveniences that we have. I had a great-aunt we visited in the 60s, she had just a cold-water tap in the house, a propane gas stove and a fireplace to heat her house and an outhouse. She always told us to be sure and close the door, as the cows would eat the toilet paper!

    • LOL! I never thought about cows and toilet paper! I’ll have to remember that!

      Thanks, Hollis! I think it is easy to forget just how much work it is to keep a house running with you factor out modern conveniences like washing machines, irons, vacuums, dishwashers and refrigerators. With all of those I feel like I can barely keep up as it is. Without them, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t’ manage.

  6. I love this! One of my favorite scenes from Rebecca is when the second Mrs. de Winter comes across the first’s day book and sees just how beautifully all was managed by her predecessor, and therefore, just how inadequate she really is. I always wondered at her husband letting her think that all the time, but without that conceit, of course, there is no book.

    How much nicer to find Elizabeth being able to use Mrs. Darcy’s commonplace book as a map to guide her on her way to becoming mistress of Pemberley! Well done!

  7. This was a delightful vignette–I absolutely adored seeing Mrs. Reynolds and Elizabeth start building their relationship.

    And that commonplace book! I teach online classes to homeschoolers through Brave Writer, and we ask students to keep commonplace books. I’ve kept one for years (now in my second volume), but mine is focused on quotations and Scripture verses; I never would have thought to put gardening lore and recipes in it, too. And I can’t sketch worth beans.

    How I would love to join Elizabeth and “have tea with Mrs. Darcy” this gray morning…. 🙂

    Thank you for writing this lovely piece–it’s delightful in every way!

    Warmly,
    Susanne, sipping tea as she reads and writes this…. 😀

  8. What a lovely thought – that Elizabeth might get to know Darcy’s mother through a journal left behind! And Mrs. Reynolds is just the way I pictured her. Nice segment!

  9. What a lovely piece for Mother’s Day. I had never heard of a commonplace book. Sounds very much like a journal to me but I don’t usually think of sketches in journals…but then I don’t draw or sketch. I do keep recipes but in a box for such.

    I have l always esteemed Mrs. Reynolds. She seems to be a sort of substitute mother in that Darcy lost his so young. And she is wise in her words and advice.

    Thank you.

    • A commonplace book was similar to a journal, but usually had a theme, or was a collection of things someone wanted to remember. Accomplished young ladies were usually taught to draw, so it felt natural that sketches might find their way into this one.

      Thanks, Sheila!

  10. Maria, this piece is simply superb! Your work often reaches my heart, and it certainly did this time as well. What a lovely vision of Elizabeth & Lady Anne ‘commiserating’ together. Simply lovely. Many thanks.

  11. What a treasure for Elizabeth to have! It would be a fun story just to focus on the two Mrs Darcys and shift back and forth between the two showing us what life was like when Darcy was a boy and life now with Lizzy and how the two mistresses handle situations.

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