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Five Things Lydia Bennet Never Told Her Sisters

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1. That Mrs. Forster had really no notion of inviting Lydia to Brighton until persuaded by her friend that a true senior officer's wife must have a companion, and that to arrive otherwise was to risk the scorn of the more established ladies of the town. And while Lydia knew her family would be most dreadfully bereft by her absence, it was surely the only way she could repay dear Harriet for her kindness these last three months.

2. That she had written of her departure to Gretna Green knowing it was, if not exactly an untruth, at least an unlikelihood. But it seemed the sort of thing someone in a novel would write, and in truth Lydia did not much care where Wickham took her. She knew only that he was leaving, and that he was willing to fancy himself enough in love with her to take her with him.

That she was in love with him she did not doubt, but nor did she spend a great deal of time contemplating the matter. That he cut a fine figure and knew something of the world were enough to attract her interest; that he was willing to take her away from the tedium of Brighton, or still worse, the possibility of returning to Longbourn, was enough to ensure her affection.

3. That she was rather sorry to see peace restored, at least as in it made her own life a deal less comfortable. To be the young, pretty wife of an ensign often occupied in regimental matters was to have both a rare freedom and the respectability to enjoy it. The to and fro of military life also suited her, as it meant that news of her card skills (not as good as her husband's, but less often impeded by alcohol) was often slow in reaching others, and so by this method Lydia both passed many a happy hour and added many a penny to her purse.

4. That Wickham was all but a stranger to her sooner than even she predicted. Harmony, if one were to call it that, lasted rather longer, but it was one of tolerance and resignation, rather than adoration and comity. Lydia had no intention of allowing her sisters to pass judgment, so they continued to play the charade in front of her family. (Wickham had less pride, but more need of the extended hospitality.)

No sooner were they past the gates of her sister's home, however, than Lydia would tuck a pound or two into Wickham's pocket and cheerfully wave him good-bye. For the next several weeks, or possibly even months, she would eat only what she liked and do only what she liked to do. Returning to her small but tidy cottage, she would take off her hat and look around with satisfaction.

5. That she regretted nothing.

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