Today on the blog we are taking a slightly different turn as I show you an exert from a series of fictional interviews I am working on. They are intended to be entirely whimsical, I hope you enjoy...
It was difficult to hear each other over the delighted screams around us. I had been received into the vast and impressive Pemberly by one of Mr and Mrs Darcy's servants and was immediately intimidated.
I didn't want this job, I wanted to raise moral issues, challenge politicians and shine light on deprived areas of society. Interviewing socialite of the year Elizabeth Darcy was not my idea of Journalism. Ah well, a girl does what she has to I suppose. I didn't want to stay too long so I needed to get Elizabeth on my side quickly which is why I brought a hamper of goodies for their three, admittedly rather cute, children. I was now being punished by their elated screams.
I was settled in the drawing room for all of two minutes, in which time I had managed to scald my mouth on some tea, when Mrs Darcy entered. She didn't keep me waiting, she didn't come in with a flock of servants; she simply came over, topped up my tea and sat elegantly down perfectly ready to be interviewed. I must admit; I was a little stunned. Was this the same girl? Was this really the opinionated, fiery Elizabeth Bennett I had been warned about? Or was she now some other creature all together, did more than her name change when she became Elizabeth Darcy.
Surprise aside I sharpened my pencil, drew a few more lines on my pad and pulled my interview face on. I wasn't going to let her unnerve me. My angle for the story was a simple one, poor controversial country girl marries above her station. I wanted her to reveal some of the privacy's of upper class life to us mere mortals so we could all swoon and drool over her life of leisure, basically.
"So Mrs Darcy"
"Please, call me Lizzy"
"OK, Lizzy. Could you begin by explaining why now, after five years of marriage you are beginning to talk to the press about your home life?"
"Well, I should imagine that's rather simple. I wanted what every bride wants, some time alone with my husband. We only knew each other for a short while before we were married and while I knew I was making the right decision in becoming his wife, I still needed to become his wife. That is not a process that happens in one ceremony."
"I see, that does make perfect sense. So could you talk us through how the first five years have been? What has really been like to become Mrs Darcy?"
"Exhilarating, immensely challenging, life changing and utterly wonderful. I have at once lost myself and found even more of myself."
"Could you elaborate on that. As an unmarried woman I'm struggling to understand how you lost and found yourself at once?"
"Well, you see you have to be entirely unselfish to be married. And both of us, well, we were very selfish. Only our commitment to each other could make us see beyond that. I had to let go of every piece of pride, every judgement and conclusion, everything I thought I knew about myself. We then walked together, learnt together and grew together and now, with him as an integral part of me, I feel more myself that ever. Imagine a beautiful daffodil, alone in a vase it would falter and droop, but surrounded by others it stands tall and proud. It's the joining to others that gives us true independence."
"Right, I see, I must admit you make married life sound incredibly appealing. Which, is contrary to what most women convey to me. How have you avoided the feeling of suppression and shackling that so many women privately discuss?"
"That's difficult for me to answer. What could be less shackling than having the constant and enduring support of someone who knows you completely and loves you for who you are? Is there anything more liberating that feeling entirely appreciated and cared for every day? As a single girl I misunderstood marriage completely. Yes, it is an institution and I passionately fought against being boxed in, but, just because it is an established tradition doesn't mean it's not radical. All great pieces of art, the ultimate form of human expression, are kept in grand old, cold buildings. Does that take away any of their creativity and power? All I can say in response to women feeling shackled by their marriage is either, you're in the wrong marriage or you are in fact deluded and it is you chaining the shackles on yourself.
"Forgive me for being so bold but that is a rather strong statement, is it opinions like this that you think have earned you your feisty reputation?"
"Quite perhaps, although these days a woman with any opinion would be deemed feisty. I like to imagine in a few years that my reputation will be overshadowed by many other women finally speaking up."
"Do you not worry about what other people will think, or how it will reflect on your husband?"
"Why should I worry what other people think?"
"Well that's the eternal question I suppose, but everyone does."
"I thankfully seem to have been made without that piece of paranoia."
"That's very lucky. Can we talk more about your life now and how it compares to your life before marriage, you are considerably wealthier..."
"Undoubtedly. I have a loving husband and constant companion and three healthy and very entertaining children. I consider myself to be very rich."
"Excuse me for being blunt but I was more referring to your material wealth, Pemberly Hall is quite the estate."
"Yes it's certainly a generous home and I can't deny I appreciate the finer things in life as much as the next person. But it's the tangibility of affection, the freedom to spend time with my children, the proximity to my family -yes even my family. It's those luxuries that leave me smiling every day."
At this point in the interview I've had enough. Who is this woman? She is entirely happy, full of wise words and thoroughly unshakable. I'm not going to be able to get any sort of juicy details out of her. My editor is going to be furious.
"So it seems as if you have found yourself the perfect and contended life. Is there nothing you miss from your single days? The companionship with your sisters perhaps?"
"Yes of course, but missing people doesn't equate to unhappiness."
"I'm going to level with you, I need this interview to be good enough for the society pages. I'm clearly not on form today, what can I ask you that will reveal some information that people would scramble to read?"
"Well now, that would be telling wouldn't it? I wish you the best of luck."
And with that she left, leaving in her wake a superior sense of calm I found both irritating and irresistible. I can describe her as nothing but a refined and elegant woman. How infuriating.
My article was given the headline of 'The new face of feminism' and run at the front of the society pages, my first piece to do so. It turns out Elizabeth was right; finding happiness and contentment with someone is in fact the most radical thing you can do.