Chapter 7 of Pride & Prejudice begins by explaining the situation of the Bennet family and the frequency with which the two youngest girls visit their aunt and uncle in Meryton. Their aunt always has news of the officers, which they bring back home and share. One morning a certain of these conversations is interrupted by a footman bringing a letter from Netherfield for Jane.
The letter is from Caroline Bingley inviting Jane to dine with her and her sister, Louisa Hurst. Her brother and the gentlemen will be out dining with the officers. Mrs. Bennet sees it as unlucky that the men will be dining out, as it will be a missed opportunity for Jane to see Mr. Bingley. Not to worry though, Mrs. Bennet has a plan. When Jane asks if she can take the coach, Mrs. Bennet tells her she will go on horseback as it looks like it will rain and she will have to stay all night. Lizzy says it is a good scheme, so long as the Bingley’s don’t offer to send her home. Mrs. Bennet has thought this one out as Mr. Bingley will have their chaise out to Meryton and the Hursts do not have horses. Jane insists that she would rather go in the coach, but her mother says that the horses are wanted on the farm.
As the horses are engaged on the farm, Jane is forced to go on horseback. This is slightly confusing, but I believe it’s the fact that they only had to spare one horse for Jane to ride to Netherfield as opposed to more to pull the carriage. The Bennets aren’t the richest family, so Mr. Bennet has to use his working horses for carriage duty.
Not long after Jane leaves, it begins to rain hard and Mrs. Bennet is thrilled that her plan has worked. Jane sends a letter the next morning to Lizzy saying that she is unwell and the Bingley’s insist on her staying to see the doctor and not leaving until she is well.
Episode 19 opens with Lizzie in a stupor and blithering lots of non-sense. Once she gets a good yawn in and a cup of coffee, she lets us in on why we’re being treated to The Lizzie Bennet Zombie Diaries. It has nothing to do with looming finals, creating a shameless meme for more viewers, or George Wickham possibly being back in town. The fault once again lies with Mrs. Bennet. Lizzie’s panicky mother drug her out of bed to go grocery shopping at 4:00 AM. Keeping up appearances, Mrs. Bennet doesn’t want anyone to know that the Bennet family is using coupons. Remember those ones that Lizzie found for green beans and cranberry juice while clipping coupons? Well they were put to good use.
Lizzie and her mother weren’t stocking up on green beans and cranberry juice because they were on sale. Mrs. Bennet has a plan that involves green beans in cranberry jello.
It’s revealed to Jane through a reenactment that Lizzie draws up. Turns out there is to be a freak rain storm the next day and Mrs. Bennet wants Jane to take the cranberry jello over to Bing Lee during it while wearing her white dress. The rain will melt the jello all over her white dress and Bing will offer to wash it for her. She’ll be forced to stay at his home for at least as long as the wash cycle takes and depending on whether her dress can be put in the dryer or has to be hung, it could be a while. Jane doesn’t want to go through with this plan at all. It’s a good thing Lizzie is around to save the day.
Lizzie proceeds to start eating the green bean cranberry jello. She enlightens us on the fact that the only thing her mother loves more than a good panic is a convoluted plan. Lizzie’s original plan, instead of eating the jello, involved just talking to her mom about the plan, but she could overhear her parents discussing a 2nd mortgage and the falling value of their house. There are other personal financial issues as well and there is a reason they all still live at home. Lizzie never talks about these reasons because it’s boring, but things seem to be getting worse. At this point a light bulb seems to go off in her head and she realizes that the fixation on marriage may be a way to get the Bennet sisters out of the house before there isn’t a house for them to get out of anymore. Either way, she still has that whole cranberry jello ring filled with green beans to eat.
When looking at the comparison between chapter 7 of P&P and episode 19 of LBD, we are treated to a great modern twist. In P&P, Jane receives an invitation to dine with Mr. Bingley’s sisters. In LBD, Mrs. Bennet drags her middle daughter out of bed at all hours of the morning to go buy the ingredients for her convoluted plan. Already we have a change in how Jane will get to Netherfield. She is invited in P&P, but in LBD it is her mother who plans how to get her there.
In P&P Mrs. Bennet can’t stand the idea of her eldest daughter going to Netherfield and not being in the presence of Mr. Bingley, so she devises a plan. Knowing full well that it is going to rain, she sends Jane on horseback to Netherfield where she is forced to spend the night. Being that we don’t travel by horseback much any more, we see Mrs. Bennet going to quite an extreme in LBD, especially considering the lack of invitation from Caroline. Jane, along with the rest of us, learn from Lizzie that Mrs. Bennet plans to send her eldest daughter over to Bing Lee’s house clothed in a white dress, carrying a cranberry green bean filled gelatin, in the middle of a freak rain storm. When Jane’s dress is stained by melted cranberry gelatin Bing will have to invite her to stay while he washes it for her. There is also a change from Jane going to visit Caroline and Mr. Bingley being out to Jane visiting Bing and no mention of Caroline.
The ending result? Come morning Jane is too ill to return home and Mrs. Bennet is thrilled that her plan has worked better than she ever imagined. Jane will spend even more time under the same roof as Mr. Bingley. In LBD, Jane is so upset by the plan, that Lizzie consumes the cranberry jello, green beans and all. Mrs. Bennet’s convoluted plan is successfully thwarted.
Something worth mentioning that I loved about this episode was The Lizzie Bennet Zombie Diaries, which is a fun play on Pride & Prejudice and Zombies.
Until next time, my name is Joslyn Dechant and episode 19 inspired me to start blogging Pride & Prejudice vs The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.