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Corona Chronicles ~ 2

May 07, 2020 08:21PM
Chapter two

Mr Bennet was among the first to see Mr Bingley. He had always intended to have a look at the house, although to the last he had assured his wife that he could not leave the house for useless walks because they were in lockdown, and until the evening after the sighting his wife knew nothing about it. When he observed his second daughter fabricating a face mask, he suddenly addressed her with, “I hope Mr Bingley will like it, Lizzy.”

“We won’t know what Mr Bingley likes,” said her mother resentfully, “since we’re never going to see him.”

“But you forget, Mama,” said Elizabeth, “that he’s going to be on the village Zoom meeting because Mrs Long promised to add him.”

“I don’t believe Mrs Long will do such a thing,” said Mrs Bennet, who had no idea how these digital things worked herself and who could not imagine that someone like Mrs Long did. “She has two nieces of her own. She’s a selfish hypocritical woman and I don’t have a high opinion of her.”

“Neither do I,” said Mr Bennet. “And I’m glad you don’t depend on her for news.”

Mrs Bennet did not reply, but scolded one of her daughters instead. “Don’t keep coughing like that, Kitty! Have a little compassion for my nerves! Don’t pretend to have the coronavirus to scare me. We’re all going to die if you bring the virus into our home!”

She could not stand the slightest cough or sneeze these days and every day she had been sure one of the girls had caught the virus. Lizzy used to try and reassure her that it was impossible if they had not been out of the house in three weeks, but Mary had always read something alarming. Lizzy had given up and as a consequence Mrs Bennet’s nerves were at breaking point.

“Kitty can’t help coughing,” said her father. “She doesn’t do it on purpose.”

“I don’t cough because I like it,” replied Kitty fretfully. “And I do not have the coronavirus. I’m just coughing. When is the next Zoom, Lizzy?”


“Right,” cried her mother. “And if Mrs Long hasn’t been out again she won’t be able to add him, because she won’t know him.” Mrs Long was not supposed to go out once, let alone twice. If she had gone out twice, she might be dead by now. Consequently she could not know Mr Bingley.

“Then, my dear, you will be at an advantage and introduce Mr Bingley to her.”

“Impossible, Mr Bennet, impossible, when I’ve never seen him myself. Do you think that’s a good joke?”

“That’s very true. Having known him for a few seconds is certainly very little. One cannot know what a man really is in a few seconds. But if we do not add him, somebody else will, and Mrs Long and her nieces must get their chance, and therefore, because she will think it an act of kindness if you decline, I’ll do it myself.”

The girls stared at their father. Mrs Bennet said only, “Nonsense, nonsense!”

“What’s that?” he cried. “It’s nonsense to follow the standards of politeness and introduce the newcomer to the neighbourhood? What do you say, Mary? You think about things and you read books and write thoughtful posts.”

Mary could not decide what to say. Maybe something about social distancing or the security issues with Zoom.

“Let’s get back to Mr Bingley,” said Mr Bennet when there was no reaction from Mary.

“I am sick of Mr Bingley!” cried his wife.

“I am sorry to hear that, but why didn’t you tell me this morning? I wouldn’t have talked to him if I’d known. I’m very sorry, but since I’ve actually met him we can’t escape the acquaintance now.”

The astonishment of the ladies was just what he had hoped for. Mrs Bennet was even louder than the rest, but when everything quieted down she began to say that it was exactly what she had been expecting all the time. “How good of you! I knew you would do it! You love your girls too much to neglect this opportunity to broaden their circle. I’m delighted. And what a good joke, that you went there this morning and never said a word until now. And here I was thinking you only went to the supermarket? Was Mr Bingley there?”

Mr Bennet was the designated shopper in the household, since Mrs Bennet claimed to be afraid of catching the virus and she had decided that the most expendable member of the family was her husband. Only – and for no other reason – because it allowed him some reprieve from the constantly cackling and bickering females did he agree to do the weekly shopping. If the house had been empty he would not have set a foot out of it.

Mr Bennet did not tell them exactly where he had seen the mysterious Mr Bingley, tired as he was already. He got up to escape to his study. “Now Kitty, cough as much as you like,” he said and left.

“What an excellent father you have, girls!” said Mrs Bennet. “That is so kind of him to actually speak to unknown people out there. At our time of life it’s not so pleasant, I can tell you, to make new acquaintances with a deadly virus raging around, because you never know where they’ve been, but for your sakes we would do anything. Lydia, though you are the youngest, I daresay Mr Bingley will even chat with you on Zoom.”

“Oh!” Lydia was not afraid. “I am the youngest, yes, but I have the most to talk about.”

The rest of the evening was spent wondering how they could catch a glimpse of this Mr Bingley while they were stuck in the house, although maybe if their father had seen him the man might not be as stuck in his house as much as he was supposed to be.

Corona Chronicles ~ 2

LiseMay 07, 2020 08:21PM

Re: Corona Chronicles ~ 2

Mari A.May 10, 2020 12:45PM

Re: Corona Chronicles ~ 2

LiseMay 10, 2020 06:50PM

Re: Corona Chronicles ~ 2

Mari A.May 10, 2020 07:03PM

Re: Corona Chronicles ~ 2

Shannon KMay 09, 2020 04:39AM

Re: Corona Chronicles ~ 2

JenMay 08, 2020 12:59AM


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