I was endlessly flattered when Catherine offered me this exciting brief. My challenge was to imagine sharing a cup of tea with any person real or imagined from the course of human history. How does one chose from such a smorgasbord of talent? I quickly ran through a mental check list –
- Gandhi?– too politically correct
- Hitler?– too politically incorrect
- Leonardo Da Vinci? – too high brow
- Leonardo Di Caprio? – barely pubescent
- Mr Darcy? – Swoon. Who could pass up a tea date with Mr Darcy?
Ah Mr Darcy. He’s the prototype romantic lead. The Rochesters and Heathcliffs et al are mere imitations. The slow burning passion between Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet spawned a million “first they hate each other, then they love each other” rom com plots. Women want him. Men want to kick the seat of his britches.
I, like most women, view Darcy as a fortress worth penetrating. Sadly though he always appears uncomfortable. I suspect the stiffness of his upper lip is due to more than his internal struggle with his passion for Lizzy. His often pained expression could be attributed to overly snug britches but is more likely constipation. All Bran wasn’t around in 1813. Perhaps over a cleansing cup of tea I could coax him into loosening the cravat. My weapons of choice would not be wit and charm a la Miss Bennet as I lack these qualities in droves. Instead my evil plan would be to squirt a generous dash of vodka into the tea pot.
Thus forearmed I summoned Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy to tea at Chez Abulous in the year of our Lord 2013. The invite was writ in gold leaf and delivered by stage coach to Pemberly.
I imagine the encounter unfurling like this.
Darcy arrives on my doorstep looking discombobulate . After some polite formalities I sit him down at our courtyard table affording a splendid view of the hills hoist. He reveals why he is so flustered.
Darcy: ” Mrs Mumabulous. I say, the fashions of 21st century Sydney are scandalous. Its like returning to the Garden of Eden to witness Adam and Eve cavorting with nary a fig leaf to conceal their modesty. Where is the propriety?
Mumabulous: “Babycakes, it’ future shock. Have sip of tea to calm your nerves”.
Darcy: “I’m grateful Mrs Mumabulous. But where are the babycakes of which you speak? All I see is a round muffin like object perforated with tiny holes”
Mumabulous: ” Sweetheart that’s crumpet for crumpet. Trust me – its most agreeable. And call me Brenda, I insist”
Darcy gulps down the tea like he’s just emerged from a week in the desert. ” This tea is curiously soothing. May I prevail upon you for another”.
Mumabulous: ” Oh honey – prevail away”
Darcy slams down another cup like he’s the Solo Man. The upper lip relaxes, his dark eyes dart about sheepishly. He leans in. “Brenda – It’s most unorthodox but the outrageous attire of your time is rather fetching . It’s made me a little……… hot under the collar as it were”.
Mumabulous: “My dear Mr Darcy, the only person who wears a cravat nowadays is Matt Preston. I’d be insulted if you didn’t remove yours immediately and have another cup. It’s most refreshing”.
Darcy yanks away his tie grinning widely. Cheekily he says “Brenda, do call me Fitzwilly”
Mumabulous: “Only if the willy fits.”
Darcy blushes. ” Brenda – You have bewitched me, body and soul. Elizabeth who?”
Mumabulous fist pumps the air.