Hi readers! I was very excited to welcome author Nicole Clarkston to Austenesque Reviews to celebrate and chat about her new release These Dreams. But sadly, it looks like Nicole is unable to make it today due to a tragic coffee shortage in her house. However, the good news is that one of the characters from her new story is available to take her place in our interview! And so, please help me welcome Mrs. Lydia Wickham to Austenesque Reviews.
Meredith: Hello, Mrs. Wickham, it is so lovely to meet you. Thank you so much for agreeing to this tête-à-tête!
Lydia: Oh, laws, I would not have missed it! This creme pastry is simply divine!
Meredith: I believe my first order of business is to congratulate you on your recent marriage and ask how married life is treating you?
Lydia: (Swallows her pastry before answering.) Well, it was a good deal better before I was married, if you must know. It seems my husband has slipped his leash, but he did leave me a charming remembrance of himself. (Pats her belly.)
Meredith: (Stunned for a minute, searches for a polite response). I am so sorry to hear that, um…perhaps he will return soon? I imagine you may be staying with family at the moment. How are all your relations?
Lydia: Oh, Jane is married, so Mama is happy and Papa is bored. I’ve no use for Kitty or Mary, for all they do is snigger at me behind my back. Lizzy says they simply do not know what to say, but I think she is trying to spare my feelings. Lizzy, now, she is a tangle! I do not know whether I should say she is well or not. I was listening at the door yesterday when Papa told her that John Lucas wanted to marry her, but Mama caught me before I could hear Lizzy’s answer, and try as I might, she would not tell me what was said later.
I hope she does not marry him, for I never saw anyone so uninteresting. I think Lizzy would do very well with an officer, do not you? All that travel and adventure would suit her well. Why, I think when George comes back for me– for you know he must, naturally– I shall demand to see France. Of course, first I must punish him by making him replace all my new wedding clothes he ran off with, and no doubt sold. Have you by chance the name of any fashionable and very expensive dressmakers?
Meredith: (looks down at her ‘Half Agony, Half Hope’ t-shirt and dark jeans) Er…um, no. Sorry, Mrs. Wickham, I am afraid I would not be able to offer any recommendations for fashionable dressmakers. Perhaps that may be something Miss Bingley could help you with? Do you know if Lizzy has any objections to a match with John Lucas? I have yet to make his acquaintance, so I am afraid I do not know much about him.
Lydia: (Snorts) Lizzy objects to everything these days. I cannot imagine her enduring that mooncalf long enough to suffer through an engagement dinner. She would die of boredom! No, If you ask me, she is in love with someone else, and he has broken her heart. Is that a raspberry preserve?
Meredith: Yes…please, help yourself. Shall I warm up your tea a little? (adds more tea to Mrs. Wickham’s cup). I am sorry to hear that Elizabeth has a broken heart, is there no hope then? Do you know who that man might have been?
Lydia: Oh, who is to say? You know Lizzy. The men always admire her, but they are never good enough for her. She needs a man who will set her in her place, that’s what. Someone high and mighty, whose opinion of himself is a little too lofty. That would give her challenge enough, do not you think? I know she once fancied my husband— now that would have been something! Lizzy would have found a way to make my Wickham miserable for deserting her. I have wondered if it was he who broke her heart by marrying me, but I do not think so. I think it must have been someone worthy of breaking her heart over, else she would not still be acting such an old goose.
Meredith: How is she acting? How long ago was this?
Lydia: (Swallowing the last bite) She is a sour old hen, that is what, and has been since September, but she is nice to me. In fact, I daresay we have never before gotten on so famously. She lent me her new bonnet, do you like it? And in return, I let her borrow my new pelisse. It no longer fits me at the moment anyway, but it is brand new and very fine. It was among my wedding clothes, and a good thing that I was wearing it instead of leaving it in the trunks the day George… (pauses, scowls, and gulps down the remainder of her tea)… What I mean is, there was a very generous gentleman who took prodigious pains on my behalf, but that pelisse and this ridiculous bauble on my finger is all I have left of that. It is really quite a pity, for I think now that the fellow was not half so odious as I always believed him to be. Oh! You should have seen Lizzy’s face, when I confessed it all to her. It was whiter than I have ever seen it! I think perhaps she could use a tonic of some sort, for the only other cure I can think of for what ails her… well, that is impossible, I am afraid.
Meredith: What is impossible?
Lydia: Why, Mr Darcy, of course. May I have a bit more tea? (fills cup) Now that is very nice. You must have had to pay a very dear import tax on this! My uncle could probably set you up with a better price, you know.
Meredith: What was this about Mr Darcy?
Lydia: Is it not obvious? Why, they used to provoke one another all the time, and now that he turned out to be not such a bad sort, she must feel rather guilty for abusing him. Lizzy is not one to bear a grudge, you know, and she is always quick to apologise. In fact, if she saw the truth of someone she had once misjudged, I daresay she would… (stops, sets down tea cup, and covers her mouth with both hands) Oh! I see it now!
Meredith: See what? What would she do?
Lydia: (Turns red) Ummm… nevermind. The poor fellow is dead, and I’ll not allow anyone to speak ill of Lizzy. (Stirs tea with a pout)
Meredith: (Remorsefully) Oh…um…I’m so sorry. (Searching for something to say)… How about we pause with those sorts of questions and topics and talk about you a little more?
Shall we begin?
Who is one of the most important and influential people in your life?
Lydia: The ones who are not in it, as it would happen. Papa scarcely gave a second’s notice of me—though Lizzy claims otherwise. Perhaps she was simply better equipped to understand him, and I suppose Papa cared something for me, after all, but we never got on that well.
The other would be my wastrel of a husband. Two weeks with him, and my life shall never be the same. How is that for efficiency? He can out-cad the caddiest in the shortest time of anyone.
Meredith: What talent do you wish you could possess?
Lydia: Well, as I said, Lizzy always got on with Papa while I did not. I wish I understood the knack she has for making men respect her. I declare, if you print that and she reads it, I shall deny the whole thing!
Meredith: Describe your perfect day.
Lydia: A dozen men, all vying to dance with me in a ball that lasts from noon to midnight!
Meredith: If you found ten pounds in your reticule, what would you go spend it on?
Lydia: It would be Lizzy’s reticule, not mine. In the old days, I should have bought a new bonnet, or possibly a gown if I could get a fine enough bargain. Now? Hmmm. I think I should go to the races and see if I can hunt out that wretched gamester I married.
Meredith: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
Lydia: Australia, after my worthless husband has been found. Perhaps the crown will send him off to the penal colony! I will go to see with my own eyes that he is miserable, then I shall set sail for anywhere, so long as the captain of the ship is agreeable.
Meredith: What is something no one knows about you?
Lydia: (Leans forward conspiratorially) I had relations with my husband before we were married. (Frowns) I see that did not come as a surprise to you. Very well, let me think. I have few secrets, you know, because I believe anything worth interest is also worth sharing.
I suppose that no one knows that I envy my elder sister. I know I am quite as clever as she, but she is more rational and disciplined. I think I shall never become so, because I’ve no notion of how to begin. I shall remain the ignorant sister, but I make up for it by being the merriest.
Meredith: Well said, Mrs. Wickham. I appreciate your candid responses. Thank you for taking some tea with me, I very much enjoyed our visit. I wish you all the best with …er… umm…your future endeavors. Please give my regards to Ms. Clarkston!
*A big, big thank you to Nicole for doing this fun interview with me. I loved chatting with her Lydia – who sounds like such a spitfire – and I cannot wait to see more of what becomes of her! Where did Wickham go….?
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~ These Dreams Blog Tour ~
Thank you to Janet Taylor and Nicole Clarkston for making this blog tour possible! Click the image above to check out the rest of the tour!