I detest illness of any sort – it’s so positively dull for the poor person who has the decency to stay healthy. There was a bit of a bug going around and everyone holed up in her house for so long, I had a dearth of entertainment.
Since Thornfield is such a lovely home and so well appointed, I know it makes everyone feel better simply by being here… when they aren’t seething with jealous over my good fortune. After what I can only describe as an eternity of being ignored, I opened my doors to all of those struck ill to allow them to air out their stale countenances with a little hospitality and freshly baked lavender scones; it’s just one of the many ways in which I give to the community.
I promptly sent notes to Emma Woodhouse, Lizzie Bennet, Catherine Earnshaw-Linton and Lady Macbeth (heaven forbid someone address her as Gruoch) for a spot of tea. You would think they would be more appreciative but of course, they sefishly declined due to the sniffles. Honestly, where have manners gone today? I gently reminded them of all the silly dances, banquets, brunches and garden parties of theirs I’d attended when I had other things to tend to and the ungrateful lot finally saw fit to grace me with their presence. Honestly, it’s as if you have to shove goodwill down people’s throats these days.
Miraculously everyone managed to crawl out of bed and into her Sunday finest and arrived with meager bread and butter gifts since, they claimed, they simply couldn’t get out early enough for something decent. (I see, and what was your excuse for my Valentine’s Dinner when you were all healthy as hogs?) Emma was painted up like a French parlor maid, which, had it not looked so comically out of character, would have been indecent. To hide the hideous pallor of her already pasty cheeks, she had apparently foregone the blush and slapped on some ox blood to give her face a splash of color. And I assume the shocking blue on her eyelids was to set off the black circles below them.
Catherine looked like death warmed over but when doesn’t she? She seemed to take exception when I mentioned I was inviting Heathcliff – I guess they still have that “thing” between them. So I acquiesced… okay, I didn’t so much acquiesce as find out he was away on business – but honestly, can I be blamed if he is so charming and she is such a wandering dingbat? I invited that vile Edgar but he must have fallen apart – again – and she showed up conveniently alone. She was wearing a gown so thin you could see her breakfast! The invitation said tea ladies – I didn’t mention anything about tarts.
Lady Macbeth showed up… oh fiddlesticks – she looked like a lady of ill repute but I didn’t say anything, that one scares me. Providing the only entertainment for the evening, she immediately wiped whatever was on her hands on Lizzie’s brand new fur-trimmed cape.
We took our seats in the drawing room. Mr. Darcy realized a little too quickly he was the only gentleman in attendance and went off to find Mr. Rochester. Lizzie and Lady tried to out-pretense each other, both escalating their volume to stamp the other down until Miss Fairfax ran in with a broom above her head thinking Bertha had gotten out again. After Mr. Darcy left, Emma turned her attention to Catherine and suggested a few remedies for Catherine’s persistent cough. I don’t mean cures for the cough; I mean ways to make it sound daintier because Emma has the depth of a cracker. I kept trying to redirect the conversation to things that would actually be interesting to discuss, like my peonies or how well Adele has placed in her exams under my tutelage or the new churner I had purchased for my buttery or, at the very least, the new bonnets I intended to purchase in London, but those silly ninnies could only bother to discuss themselves. I tell you, I don’t know why I even try!
I decided to call an end to our afternoon when Lady M’s head lolled to the side and her left eye began spinning slowly. It was either her sinuses acting up or she found the tipple again. Emma’s fever produced a sweat that caused her makeup to run down her chin and she terrified Grace when she came in to collect the plates (although, honestly, that is not very difficult to do.) Catherine, unbeknownst to me, simply curled up on the hearth and fell asleep… or may have lost consciousness. I sent for Edgar, MacBeth and whatever that twit Emma leads around by the nose is named to come fetch their churlish others. Mr. Rochester and Mr. Darcy had gotten off to who-knows-where and I could not convince Lizzie that a few laps around the grounds with Pilot is exactly what she needed so I was forced to listen to her once again list and update me on each of her vapid sisters.
When I was finally rescued from the Bennet History of Crushing Boredom, that silly girl rushed Mr. Darcy from my estate before we could have a proper chat! She can’t possibly think she is the reason for my repeated invitations. I was so distraught by the whole affair I told Mr. Rochester that Mrs. Fairfax needed him in the hedge maze and let him amble about trying to find her while I took my supper in my room.
I think tomorrow I shall pen prank notes to Blanche Ingram to entertain myself. I simply hate the flu!