Skep's Place


Chapter 8: Much Ado About Popsicle Sticks

After Elizabeth reports that Jane isn't feeling better yet, the Bingley sisters are all, "Woe! How terrible! Thoughts and prayers! ...So anyway," effectively putting them back on Elizabeth's shit list. At least Mr. Bingley's concern seems genuine.

After dinner, once Elizabeth is out of the room, the Bingley sisters dunk on her, saying how uncouth it was for her to walk all that way in the mud like some country bumpkin, isn't that right Mr. Darcy

Mr. Darcy agrees with Miss Bingley's assertion that he would not want to see his own sister behave like that; but when she teases him that this must have lowered his opinion of Elizabeth's pretty eyes, he says, nah, the exercise made them look a little brighter, actually. Silenced on that front, Miss Bingley and her sister switch topics to dunking on Mr. and Mrs. Bennet instead (Mr. Bingley stays out of it, as he doesn't have a bad word to say).

Elizabeth returns to them after Jane falls asleep that night. The group is playing cards, but Elizabeth says that she's not in the mood; she'd rather read instead. This is, of course, very distasteful to the Bingley sisters; but Mr. Bingley brings in all of his books for Elizabeth to choose from (which isn't many, and Mr. Bingley humble-brags about not being the reading type).

Miss Bingley wonders aloud that Mr. Bingley didn't inherit all of their father's books, and notes that Mr. Darcy maintains—and constantly adds to—a large library at his estate.

Eventually Elizabeth puts the book aside and gets sucked into watching the card game. Conversation turns to Mr. Darcy's sister, and Miss Bingley compliments how accomplished she is for her age, particularly noting her piano skills.

Mr. Bingley says, man, it's crazy how every woman I hear about is so accomplished; y'all do all sorts of arts like painting and macramé and gluing popsicle sticks together. I've never known a woman who can't do a little bit of everything.

Mr. Darcy, however, says all that shit is, like, baseline for a woman; he doesn't know more than a handful of women who could actually be considered "accomplished". Miss Bingley rattles off what she believes is the proper criteria, saying that a woman must sing and dance and draw and know which bands Eric Clapton played with; and on top of that, she must act like a proper lady.

Elizabeth's like, damn, I'm surprised you consider anybody accomplished with a list like that.

Mr. Darcy says, you think women aren't capable of meeting these standards?

Elizabeth replies, well I certainly haven't met a single woman who is simultaneously skilled and tasteful and ladylike like that. This just about throws the Bingley sisters into conniptions, and Elizabeth takes the opportunity to turn in for the evening.

After she leaves the room, Miss Bingley remarks that Elizabeth must be the type to downplay her own gender to appeal to men; she considers this a pretty ugly way to behave.

Mr. Darcy says, anything a woman does to try to impress a guy is ugly in its own way. But trying to be sneaky and underhanded in her pursuit is the ugliest of all.

This effectively shuts up Miss Bingley.

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