Author’s note: Due to a slight hiccup in my travel plans, I neglected to bring my normal recording equipment with me to nineteenth century England. I have instead included a transcription of the interview I conducted during my visit to Longbourn Estate.
Joshua: (knocks on the door) Here goes nothing…
Kitty: (opens the door) Greetings, sir.
Joshua: Excuse me, is this the Bennet residence?
Kitty: Indeed! (curtsies) I am Catherine Bennet. And who do I have the honor of addressing?
Joshua: I’m… er… Clapham. Josiah Clapham.
Kitty: Pleased to make your acquaintance, Mr. Clapham. Do come in.
Joshua: Thanks. (steps inside)
Kitty: Mama? There is a gentleman here to see us!
Mrs. Bennet: Oh! (jumps out of chair) We shall all be ruined, welcoming guests in a state like this! We’ll be the laughingstock of all Meryton!
Kitty: But Mama…
Mrs. Bennet: No time! Don’t just stand there, girls! Mary, sit up straighter and fix your hair. Kitty, run upstairs and put on your blue dress, we can’t have you seen in such a plain little thing like that.
Kitty: But Mama, he is already here! He is standing right here next to me.
Mrs. Bennet: Oh, heavens, help my poor nerves! Where is your father? Mr. Bennet? Mr. Bennet? (runs out of the room)
Mary: (stands up from her chair) Welcome to Longbourn, Mr. Clapham. You’ll have to excuse my mother, she has been dreadfully anxious since our sisters were married not two months ago.
Joshua: Ah, yes. Congrats, by the way.
Mary: Excuse me?
Joshua: (facepalms) Sorry, I meant congratulations.
Kitty: What brings you to Longbourn, Mr. Clapham?
Joshua: I was wondering if I could ask you some questions for a… uh… newspaper.
Mary: You seem awfully young to be employed, Mr. Clapham. Are you paid for your work?
Joshua: Don’t I wish…
Kitty: But whatever would you want to ask us?
Joshua: Well, for starters, what do you think of your new brothers-in-law?
Kitty: Oh, they are wonderful! Especially Mr. Wickham, he is such a charming fellow, and dear Lydia is so in love with him.
Mary: It seems Lydia was not the only one smitten with Mr. Wickham…
Kitty: Do be quiet, Mary!
Mary: You cannot deny it. But we digress, Mr. Clapham. Mr. Bingley is also a delightful gentleman and a perfect match for Jane. We have visited them many times at lodgings at Netherfield estate, and they are very happy together.
Kitty: Ah, but our journeys to Pemberley to call on the Darcys were even better! Mr. Darcy was very disagreeable when we first made his acquaintance, but he has since proven himself worthy of our affections.
Mary: Lizzy could hardly have found a better husband.
Kitty: Or a wealthier one. Did you know, Mr. Clapham, that Mr. Darcy makes ten thousand pounds a year?
Joshua: Yep. Your family is quite well known where I come from.
Kitty: And where is that?
Mary: Shush, Kitty. Let him finish his questions.
Joshua: Thanks, Mary. Next question, do you know where Lydia and Wickham are now?
Kitty: We haven’t the faintest idea. We last heard from them when they visited Netherfield for a time last month.
Mary: They are likely off in the north of England, doing something they cannot afford to do.
Kitty: I do wish I could go with them sometimes…
Joshua: Speaking of your sister, do either of you have any plans for marriage?
Kitty: What a strange question, Mr. Clapham! Of course we plan to get married. I personally fancy some of those dashing soldiers in Meryton.
Mary: Speak for yourself, Kitty. Jane and Lizzy have both been wedded to very rich men, so our family will be taken care of even after our father’s death. I see no reason to marry unless I find a likeable gentleman of a superior intelligence. Quite unlike certain militiamen…
Kitty: Mary, you are insufferable!
Mary: I could say the same about you.
Joshua: Maybe we should move on…
Mr. Bennet: (walks into the room and glances at Joshua) Greetings, sir.
Mr. Bennet: Pardon?
Joshua: (facepalms again) Never mind. Mr. Bennet I presume? (shakes his hand)
Mr. Bennet: Correct, and you?
Joshua: Josiah Clapham. I’m here asking your daughters some questions for a newspaper, would you mind if I ask you one?
Mr. Bennet: Be my guest, Mr. Clapham.
Joshua: Based on your recent experiences, what will you do about finding husbands for your two remaining daughters?
Mr. Bennet: Excellent question, my good man. Based on the fortune my other three daughters have had in matrimony, I am simply going about my business until the king of England himself rides from London with an offer of marriage for Kitty or Mary.
Joshua: For a family like yours, it’s not that unlikely.
(a carriage is heard outside)
Mr. Bennet: Now who could that be?
Joshua: The king of England, perhaps?
Kitty: Oh, I do hope so!
Mary: (glances out the window) Alas, it is only the Collinses come to call on us.
Mr. Bennet: Ah, excellent, I haven’t heard of the Lady Catherine’s criticisms in nearly a month now.
Joshua: So… (coughs) as much as I’d love to hear all about the chimneys at Rosings Park, I’d best be on my way. I wouldn’t want to intrude on your time with your guests.
Kitty: But what about Mama? You haven’t asked her any questions yet.
Joshua: Seeing as she ran out of the room screaming when I showed up, it’s probably not the best idea.
Mr. Bennet: Very well then. Shall we be seeing you again, Mr. Clapham?
Joshua: I may swing by again sometime when the Bingleys, Darcys, or Wickhams are around. See you then!
Mr. Bennet: Good day, sir.
Joshua: Peace out. (leaves the house)
Kitty: What ever does that mean…
Mr. Bennet: Kitty, Mary, please welcome our guests. I shall go inform your mother of their imminent arrival.
Mrs. Bennet: (enters the room, sees the Collinses coming through the window, and runs out screaming again)
Mary: (sighs) Just another ordinary day…
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet: https://www.perioddramas.com/images/2/3.jpg