Posted on Monday, 18 December 2006
'Twas the night before Christmas at dear old Longbourn,
Where the inhabitants were dreaming about Christmas morn.
Or could I be wrong? Perhaps too soon I spake -
One person at least all night has been awake.
How could she sleep now? Too tight strung were her nerves!
To waste time in slumber - the very thought was absurd!
This close to her goal, she just couldn't lie there abed!
For Mrs. Bennet still had two daughters unwed!
Dear Lydia married first - a young bride of fifteen!
A circumstance not unwelcome for being so unforeseen.
What a happy result of her visit to Brighton!
And by one Mrs. Bennet's nightmare of spinsters was lightened.
Then Lizzy and Jane so satisfactorily matched!
Never a better matrimonial plan had been hatched.
She could spot husband material - her nose got all tingly -
Nothing was more meant to be than Jane and Charles Bingley!
But Lizzy, that sly one, had kept them all in the dark.
Mrs. B. admitted she'd been wide of the mark
When sizing up Mr. Darcy - but oh my! Oh dear!
Lizzy the wife of a man with ten thousand a year!
So much happiness to bear - yes, she really was blessed.
But now with three daughters wed, what to do with the rest?
There was still work to be done! She just couldn't falter
Until Mary and Kitty each made a trip to the altar.
And so on this Christmas Eve night, she pondered and paced,
Wearing a path on the rug while her mind madly raced.
With one sole idea her thinking was rife:
What single gentleman was in want of a wife?
So stuck was she on this important thought,
That she got all wound up - quite nearly distraught!
What flutters, what spasms, what menacing tingles -
Until she heard a noise from high up on the shingles.
Someone on the roof? The idea made her pause,
For she recalled very well just what night this was.
From Mrs. Bennet there was not a sound or a peep
As oh-so-stealthily down the stairs she did creep.
Through the parlor she tiptoed, very glad it was dark
Until she was in position to capture her mark.
She waited a moment longer, 'til the time was just ripe -
Her prey, all oblivious, was then lighting his pipe.
His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
Santa was there, off his guard and unwary.
He had unslung his pack and was turning around,
When from behind the sofa Mrs. Bennet did bound!
"There you are!" she cried. "I found you once more!
To see what presents for me this year are in store!
All I want - oh, dear Santa, have pity!
Is eligible husbands for Mary and Kitty."
Though Santa was startled, soon he regained his calm,
Saying first in reply, "Merry Christmas, dear ma'am!
Think you that I've got some lads hidden away?
Perhaps in my pack, or perhaps on my sleigh?
Your Christmas wish last year worked powerful well,
If those newspaper wedding notices have anything to tell.
Though I confess, Lydia didn't work out as we planned -
You asked for a soldier, and Denny was the man.
Lydia's a mite pigheaded, she knows how to pick 'em,
So we'll just see how things work out between her and Wickham.
For the other two, though, you have naught to complain -
Darcy and Bingley are perfect for Lizzy and Jane.
One thing, however, I did not foresee -
Black Peter got tricksy when he brought in Lady C!
I'll apologize when I'm in Derbyshire next,
But I hope Lizzy isn't too much by her aunt-in-law vexed."
"Yes, yes, it worked out, and I thank you for that,
But that was last year, it's passť and old hat!
In this new year that's coming, please say that you'll do
Something to help my last single two!
I must get them married! I tell you, I must!
Since they were born, on this one thing I've fussed.
It's given me heartache, heartburn, and chagrin -
They simply must wed before the Collinses move in!"
"Well," Santa said, "it's quite rarely done
To grant two Christmas wishes - most folks only get one!
But I confess your situation is outside the pale -
Five daughters to marry - yes, that's quite a tale!
So here's what I'll do - just a hint I will give you,
But the bulk of the work will be yours to do.
For Mary, at the next assembly she could make her mark,
With a fellow who's her uncle's newest articled clerk.
For Kitty, I think Derbyshire's the right vector,
If you can bring her in range of Kympton's new rector.
I can't make any promises - it could yet all fall through!
But I hope it's enough, Mrs. Bennet, for you."
Enough? Quite so, as Mrs. B. jumped for joy
Dancing 'round the parlor like a wind-up jack toy.
She wrung Santa's hand, both his red cheeks she kissed,
Assuring him these opportunities would not be missed.
She was planning already as Santa took his leave,
"For it's not too early to begin this Christmas Eve!
The next assembly is when? Mary won't miss her chance!
This is one party where I'll insist that she not play, but dance!
And about this new clerk, sister Philips I must ask -
Is he good enough for Mary? Is he up to the task?
If he likes music and reading, it will be a fine start,
And to encourage his interest I'll sure do my part.
As for Kitty, of the clergy I'm sure she's never thought -
Mr. Collins was surely a poor example to be taught.
But if it's a young handsome fellow who has the Kympton living,
Then Kitty may soon her affections be giving!
I'll just drop a line to Lizzy when I write,
And up to Pemberley she will Kitty invite!"
And with these happy thoughts Mrs. B. went to bed,
As visions of bachelors danced in her head.
May your Christmas at least be as happy as hers,
With warm holiday wishes each heart to aver!
One last word from Mrs. B. as she blows out the light:
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"