Pride & Prejudice ficlet: A Posy for Lydia [Elizabeth, Lydia, general]
Title: A Posy for Lydia Author: celandineb Fandom: Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice Characters: Elizabeth Darcy, Lydia Wickham Rating: general Length: 420 words Summary: Mrs. Wickham pays a visit to her sister, Mrs. Darcy. Note: For author_by_night, who asked for an older Lydia Wickham talking with one of her sisters about her marriage, and gave the prompt "flower bundle."
Lydia is Lydia still. She always will be, thought Elizabeth, gazing through the mullioned windows as the carriage bearing her youngest sister drew up, and Mrs. Wickham waved, half-falling out of the door in her eagerness to step down.
It had been nearly two years since her last visit, when she had entrusted the care of her eldest daughter, Daisy, to their sister Jane. At the age of seven Daisy was already beginning to show signs of the lack of restraint that had so grievously marred her mother's conduct, and Elizabeth and Jane together agreed that it would be best for all concerned if Daisy joined her Bingley cousins in the schoolroom. In due course Lydia's other daughters, Rose, Violet, and Iris, were expected to do the same.
"So you see I am here, Lizzy," Lydia was chattering before she had half-entered the room. "I have left my dear flower-bundle at Jane's, where they will be very well looked after by Cecily and Julian's governess and nursemaid, I am sure. But I was so sorry to part from my dear Wickham! He could not leave the regiment, you know, as they rely on him exceedingly. He sends his best love to you and to Mr. Darcy, of course."
"Thank you," said Elizabeth. "I am glad to hear he does well."
"Oh yes indeed. Though the pay is shockingly bad." Lydia seemed to hesitate for a moment, and privately Elizabeth wondered if she would make her usual request for money so soon after arriving. Even Lydia had always before waited until further into her visits before breaching such a topic.
"But that is as nothing. He is such a fine figure of a man! And he dotes so on our girls! I know he would like a son, however, and perhaps this time he will have one." Her smile held less complacency than often; after four daughters she was less confident than she once had been on the point.
"My congratulations—I hope it may be so." Elizabeth turned her mind away from the image of the child's begetting. "All is well with you, then?"
"Very well. Do you see my hat? 'Tis from last summer, but I had Minnie sponge it well and trimmed it afresh with these flowers, and it serves me admirably. Look, the flowers represent my girls, as you see."
Elizabeth saw, and if she felt that Lydia might have done better to limit herself to a single flower, she thought it prudent to hold her tongue.