Author's Notes: Hey guys. This is an English assignment of mine. The task was to either create or change a scene (or both) that challenges the assumptions of the novel. It was fun. Anyone reading this should give it a go. Anway, I thought it was odd that Wickham eloped with Lydia even though she was really poor and he made it clear he valued wealth above beauty. And I know that the Bennet sisters are meant to be beautiful, but he spurned Elizabeth (beautiful but poor) for Miss King (rich but described as unattractive). Are you getting my point? If not, basically what I'm saying is that he wouldn't have just eloped with Lydia without an ulterior motive. Here's my attempt at explaining it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Pride and Prejudice. Actually, for PP fanfiction, you don't need a disclaimer because books lose their copyrights after (I think it's) 21 years or something like that.
Pride and Prejudice
Chapter 18, Volume I
Elizabeth entered the drawing-room at Netherfield and found Mr. Wickham among the cluster of red coats assembled there. She felt relieved, for till then she had begun to doubt his being present. She had dressed with more than usual care, and prepared in the highest spirits for the conquest of all that remained unsubdued of his heart, trusting that it was not more than might be won in the course of the evening. In an instant the dreadful suspicion of his having being purposely omitted from the guest list for Mr. Darcy's pleasure dissipated, after Wickham's friend Denny, to whom Lydia eagerly applied, told them that Wickham had been engaged in the drawing-room.
"I do not imagine what business could call him away now, even if he had not wished to avoid a certain gentleman here." he added to Elizabeth with a smile.
This part of his intelligence assured her that Darcy was indeed as displeasing as her first surmise had been. Every feeling of resentment against the former was sharpened by immediate fortification. She could hardly reply with tolerable civility to Darcy's polite inquiries which he directed to her after he approached them -- Attention, forbearance,
patience with Darcy, was injury to Wickham. She was resolved against any sort of conversation with him, and turned away with a degree of ill humour, which she could not wholly cover even by speaking to Mr. Bingley, whose blind partiality to Darcy provoked her.
But Elizabeth was not formed for ill-humour; and quickly sought out Mr. Wickham, who applied for her hand with equal haste.
The two first dances, however, she was obliged to stand up with Mr. Collins; they were dances of mortification. Mr. Collins, awkward and solemn, apologising instead of attending, and often moving in the wrong direction without being aware of it, gave her all the shame and misery which a disagreeable partner for a two can give. The moment of her release from him was ecstasy.
She danced next with Mr. Wickham, and had the pleasure of talking with him, and of delighting in his easy manners and gentle charm. When those dances had concluded she sought out Charlotte Lucas, and was in conversation with her, when she found herself suddenly addressed by Mr. Darcy, who took her so much by surprise in his application for her hand, that, without knowing what she did, she accepted him. He walked away again immediately, and she was left to fret over her own want of presence of mind; Charlotte tried to console her.
"I dare say you will find him very agreeable."
"Heaven forbid! -- That would be the greatest misfortune of all! -- To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate! -- Do not wish me such a dilemma."
When the dancing recommenced, however, and Darcy approached to claim her hand, Charlotte could not help cautioning her, in a whisper, not to be a simpleton, and allow her fancy for Wickham to make her appear unpleasant in the eyes of a man of ten times his consequence.
Elizabeth made no answer, and took her place in the set, amazed at the feeling of dignity that overcame her when she stood opposite to Mr. Darcy. She read in her neighbours' looks their equal astonishment in beholding it. Wickham too looked on with amazement.
"Dear Lord," He whispered to his neighbor, "I dare say Mr. Darcy has been rather taken by Miss Bennet. He never dances with anyone not of his own party."
After observing the couple's strained conversation and Mr. Darcy's contemplative expression, Mr. Wickham had contrived without a doubtthat the blasted Mr. Darcy was indeed smitten by Elizabeth. He had never seen the expression on Mr. Darcy's face before, and though he had not been an intimate acquaintance of Mr. Darcy's for many years, he knew the contemplative expression was as close to a look of love as Mr. Darcy could manage. Wickham continued to observe the couple with many subtle glances. Mr. Darcy seemed to rile Miss Elizabeth with the simple act of breathing; an effect, Mr. Wickham had no doubt, he had caused and took great pleasure in observing.
As Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth neared Mr. Wickham in the course of their dance, he was able to hear their conversation.
"When you met us there the other day, we had just been forming a new acquaintance." Elizabeth informed her partner. The effect was immediate. A deeper shade of hauteur overspread his features, but he said not a word, and Elizabeth, though blaming herself for her own weakness, could not go on. At length Darcy spoke, and in a constrained manner said,
"Mr Wickham is blessed with such happy manners, he's sure of making friends. Whether he's equally capable of retaining them is less certain."
"He has been so unlucky as to lose your friendship, and in a manner which he is likely to suffer from all his life." replied Elizabeth.
Darcy made no answer, and seemed desirous of changing the subject. Mr. Wickham, who was standing not three feet away from the couple, shrank away. He was confident that Mr. Darcy would reveal none of the particulars, as Darcy's pride and painful need for privacy prevented him from acknowledging his or his sister's folly to the public.As their dance came to an end, Mr. Wickham slipped away from the dance hall to the balcony, where he found himself alone with a fellow officer. The red-coat in question was Mr. John Fisher, whom had been a constant companion of Wickham's for at least five years. He was the only one outside of the parties directly involved to know the full affair between Darcy and Wickham.
"What troubles you, dear friend?" The red-faced Mr. Fisher asked airily. "Surely you cannot be unhappy on such a gay night as tonight."
"No," Mr. Wickham replied, his devious mind ticking over. "I am wondering how I could starve Mr. Darcy of the one thing I believe could grant him eternal happiness."
"And what might that be?" Mr. Fisher enquired, sloshing his wine slightly as he swayed.
"The hand of a most agreeable young lady of regrettably mediocre circumstances. Miss Elizabeth Bennet."
"Oh, my old friend. Marry the young woman to whom you refer and take her away from the wretched Darcy forever."
Mr. Wickham laughed merrily at this suggestion.
"She is not wealthy enough for me to marry, nor am I for her. Between us we should be penniless and living on the streets in no time." The men fell into silence, looking through the large glass panes of the drawing-room windows. The youngest Miss Bennet was running through the room with Denny's piece, being chased by several of the officers. An insidious plan was born in Wickham's mind.
"Indeed, my friend, I believe I will be joined in matrimony with a Miss Bennet. The youngest, I believe, would be adequate."
"Is she richer than her sister?" Mr. Fisher hiccuped.
"No, but Darcy is. If I can convince Miss Lydia Bennet to elope with me, I can take her to London and hide her away while we remain unmarried. In that event, Elizabeth and, indeed all of her sisters, would be ruined and even more unsuitable to matrimony with someone of Darcy's rank. If Darcy truly cares for her, the only way they could be married was someone for Miss Lydia Bennet and myself to be married, and the only way they could do that would be to settle my debts, purchase for me a commission and attach a large dowry to Miss Bennet."
Mr. Fisher made no reply, except to make a loud thump as his over-inebriated body fell. The nefarious Wickham paused only to reaffirm his friend was breathing before joining the party once more.