Between the Sheets


Between the Sheets | Mrs Edmund Bertram Rides a New Pony | Letting the Kitty out of the sack | Nancy Steele at the Door |

Diana Birchall asks the pivotal questions - which Jane Austen Character is Best in Bed? - she then shares with us some more intimate scenes that Austen never wrote.

Between the Sheets

The caveat here is that the author herself, as a virgin, was perhaps not the best judge, but then as she herself said, "Imagination is everything." Here, then, since I have absolutely nothing to do of any use this evening, is my own partial, prejudiced list. To get the ball rolling (so to speak), and in roughly descending order:

BEST IN BED (Male division)

Mr. Darcy (My choice. Live with it)
Mr. Tilney (Lots of fun)
Mr. Crawford (Polished)
Captain Wentworth (Natural)
Willoughby (Handsome young stud)
Wickham (Same)
Frank Churchill (Enthusiastic, if you're Jane, anyway)
Colonel Fitzwilliam (Nice, normal man)

COMPETENT IN BED (Male division)

Mr. Knightley (A little too stately for the top division)
Admiral Croft (Affectionate)
Bingley (Well-meaning)
Mr. Weston (Nice normal man in the middle-aged category)
Mr. Elliott (Rather like Mr. Crawford. A bit studied and technical.)
William Price (Healthy natural lad)
Mr. Elton (Only twenty-seven, likes the ladies)
Charles Musgrove (Good-natured healthy chap)

JUST PLAIN BAD IN BED (Male division)

Edward Ferrars (Would bore me cross-eyed)
Colonel Brandon (Did YOU ever sleep with a man in a flannel waistcoat?)
Edmund Bertram (Says his prayers in bed)
Mr. Collins (Sex doesn't take much intelligence, but it does take SOME)
John Thorpe (See above)
General Tilney (impotent from overeating)
Dr. Grant (likewise)
Robert Ferrars (sense some sexual confusion there)
Tom Bertram (ditto - a little weird)
Mr. Price, Fanny's father (drunk and incompetent)
Sir Walter Elliot (he'd do funny things with mirrors, wouldn't he?

BEST IN BED (Female division)

Elizabeth Bennet (Light, bright and sparkling)
Maria Bertram (uncontrollable passions)
Lydia Bennet (likewise)
Mary Crawford (if she ever gets the chance to do it legally)
Marianne Dashwood (a bit wasted on her husband)
Mrs. Croft (Warm married woman)
Mrs. Weston (Likewise)
Catherine (true ardor for her husband)
Mrs. Elton - well, you knew I'd defend her, didn't you?

COMPETENT IN BED (Female division)

Anne Elliot (a little too restrained)
Emma (healthy gal, but sorta clumsy
Harriet Smith (like a damned rabbit)

BAD IN BED (Female division)

Jane Fairfax (no vitality)
Elizabeth Elliot (cold codfish)
Charlotte Lucas (dull, and with no helpful inspiration from her partner)
Lady Catherine (unimaginable)
Mrs. Norris (likewise)
Mrs. Bennet ("Oh, heavens Mr. Bennet, not that again, you tear my nerves")
Elinor Dashwood (Sorry, Elinor fans; I think she's just too repressed)
Mary Musgrove ("My headaches, you know, are worse than anybody's)
Fanny Price (inhibited isn't the word: close your eyes and think of England)

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Mrs Edmund Bertram Rides a New Pony

"Now, Fanny, you know, God has joined us together." Fanny sighed with joy, and felt too happy to speak. "Yes; and I well know how timid you are, how unused to new ideas. I would not alarm you for the world. Gently, I know, is the way to proceed with my dear Fanny; though I hope I may succeed in my object before ten years of wedded life have passed." "It is so comfortable being with you, cousin. You always understand every thing." "Husband, now you should say, rather than cousin; so, dear Fanny, should you dislike it if I just...loosened the strings on your night-gown...like this..." "Oh!" "Do not turn around about it Fanny, it is only your husband, after all." "Oh, must you, Edmund?" "Why, how you are trembling! Do you recollect how it was when first you were put on the old grey pony? You trembled as you are trembling now - more I think - and yet how you did come to love riding." "Dear old pony." "Yes. So I am sure that, in time, you will be equally calm, with me...Though I confess to you, Fanny, I am not calm myself; for I know no more of this business than you do. But I am sure I will find my Fanny." "Oh! Cousin!" I apologize to all list members whose teenage children may have access to this and become corrupted to the point of violence.

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Letting the Kitty out of the sack

Oh, all right, then: Kitty: "Well, but what is it like, Lydia? Is it very nasty? Does it hurt so awfully much?" "Lord! no, what is that. I like it better than any thing. Of course, my dear Wickham is the best husband in the whole world, I am sure - if we could find you such another man, how happy you would be. When my father lets you visit me in Newcastle, you shall be bedded and wedded, just like me." "I wish I could. Oh, Lydia, imagine my being stuck down here with Jane and Lizzy everlastingly preaching at me, while you are having all the fun." "Yes, we will have balls and parties with the regimental officers, I am sure, but I tell you what, Kitty, nothing is so fine as Wickham's lovemaking. I must tell you all about it." "Yes, do!" "Well, in the first place, one is never bored, because now one always has *that* to do. It is so heavenly you can't think. I know my dear Wickham has had ever so much practice, because he does it so very well; and he says I have quite a talent for it too." "And you are sure it does not hurt?" "Lord, no! The best part is when he - " Here Elizabeth came into the room, and perceiving the tete-a-tete between her two youngest sisters, acted quickly. "Lydia, what are you telling Kitty? You know Papa forbids you to be alone together, until you and Mr. Wickham leave - it is not proper." "Proper! You are as bad as Aunt Gardiner. But, Lizzy, only stay and listen, and I will tell you all about what it is like, being in bed with a darling husband like Wickham. It is a shame you should not know. I am sure you would like it yourself." "That will do, Lydia. You had better go to your mother, she is waiting to take you out in the carriage. Kitty, come away at once."

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Nancy Steele at the Door

"I was listening at the door and there was no sound nor no nothing, and I was surprised because la! you do hear noises when people are making love, and they are newlyweds, and all that, so I expected a great deal, and they did not know I was by; but I never did hear a peep, and then there was this great crash, and poor Lucy comes running out and nearly knocked me over, and she was all in a terrible taking, and she said, "Here, you take these horrid things," and she threw on the floor all Mr. Ferrars' toothpick cases, ever so many of them, some is real silver and one is gold and even has a little diamond top, only fancy, and she did not say I could not keep them; so I will and tomorrow I mean to exchange them for some pink ribbons that the Doctor did say was his favorite color. I hope she won't be very angry"

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