Darkness and moonlight cover the house in a sleepy blanket. Servants, all five of the Bennet daughters, and the elder Bennets safely ensconced in their respective sleeping quarters. For years, this nightly routine would have brought Elizabeth Bennet a sense of peace and comfort, but this peacefulness ended when the dreadfuls came.
Wide awake, weapon in hand, Lizzie and Jane creep down the hall hoping the dreadful inside their house hadn’t eaten any of the family or servants. Right before they strike, their mother’s voice halts the girls.
“ Mr. Bennnn-nnnnnet….open uuuuuppp…” The rest of the conversation, no daughter should ever hear a parent discuss.
“You just want a male heir, you mean. And I’m too tired to give you one.” Mr. Bennet declines the overt sexual advances of his wife whilst his daughters are terrified, grossed out, and praying to un-hear that whole conversation.
Does something disturb the reader too? Oh perhaps, the breach of decorum and how un-Austen like this whole scene is? Not to mention, Jane riding a horse, bouncing up and down while Lord Lumpley plots to get her in his bed. He even begs Mr. Bennet to have Jane serve as Lumpley’s bodyguard. A simple ploy, Jane comes to protect Lumpley, then he tries to slip her a drugged sleeping tonic and happens to show up in her bedroom. Of course, he was just “looking for a Bible.” Was he going to read to her from the Song of Solomon?
Seriously, the characters in Dawn of the Dreadfuls are too horny for their own good.
I’m not saying that sex wasn’t a part of the Victorian culture, and sex is discussed in the original Auten work. The difference—Austen maintains a discreet approach when discussing sex. A point often ignored in Dawn of the Dreadfuls. We are slapped silly with a stiff sausage when it comes to sex. Would Jane approve of the vulgarity? I think not.
Photo obtained through Flickr Creative Commons and MezzoBlue.