• Kay Andrews-Kuhn

Lockdown with Lydia

Which Bennett sister are you? We may aspire to be saintly Jane or spunky Lizzie but secretly, don't we all wish to be a bit more like giddy, don't-give-a-f***, bad-gal Lydia? Just me, then.

Ennui and Isolation: Lockdown with Lydia Bennett


Keep out or else (that means you, Kitty!!!!)

Tuesday? Wednesday? Tuesday 10.00am.

Urgh. This lockdown is SO unfair. Stuck in the house with four sisters! Bored. Bored. BORED. Mary is playing some dreary music and Jane and Lizzie said they won’t dance, even if I beg Mary to play a polka or something jolly. I’m not speaking to Kitty because she wore my favourite green shawl and tore a hole in it. It’s not even mine, really. I borrowed it from Maria Lucas but it made her look sallow so I’m sure she’d want me to keep it. Anyway, I can’t give it back now, can I, thanks to Kitty? Her punishment is to sit at the piano with Mary and turn the pages.

Mama had a letter from Aunt Phillips who says she saw some officers in Meryton picking up essential supplies. The Assembly Rooms are closed and we have no way of meeting them, not for months, Mama says. No balls. No cards. No suppers. I might as well be dead. I will lose my bloom and be an old maid before I’m even sixteen.

Mama hasn’t left her room since the letter. Her nerves are on fire, she says. I know how she feels. MARY! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLAY SOMETHING ELSE, WILL YOU? Papa is in his study. He says he is self-isolating and we mustn’t disturb him but I saw Lizzie go in with the mail just now and I can hear them laughing through the door.

Mary is singing like a wounded crow. I’ve had enough. I’m going for a walk– we’re allowed out once a day as far as the lane. Just imagine: a handsome officer might ride past and sweep me off in his carriage. That would show them.

(Later that day)

Papa read to us from his letter at dinner. A distant relative of Papa’s has requested to join our bubble; a single gentleman will be staying with our family during lockdown. What larks! I thought. Someone new and a single gentleman! I bet Jane and Lizzie will change their mind about dancing when we have a gentleman to partner us. Kitty will have to mend my green shawl. I suppose I had better forgive her as we will have lots to talk about tonight!

I missed what Papa was saying next as I was thinking how well that shawl goes with my eyes, which are every bit as fine as Lizzie’s, Mama says, and I know how to use them, which Mama always says I get from her. I remembered how she always winks when she says it and I wink back and then we both laugh. I winked at Mama across the dinner table but she looked flustered and didn’t see me.

“Who did you say was coming to stay, Papa?” I asked.

“Pay attention you silly girl” replied Papa. “His name is Mr Collins”.