Lizzy, It’s Cold Outside

Due to the controversy regarding Baby, It’s Cold Outside (which I think is harmless so here’s the link to my favorite version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpg7-ab_F7s), I can’t get the song out of my head. Mr. Darcy told me that he had a story to tell, but then Elizabeth wanted it all through her point of view. From your favorite hero who can’t make words happen, here’s what might happen if Darcy and Lizzy were singing the song. 

Elizabeth Bennet rubbed her gloved hands together in her fur muff. It was no use, however. It was simply too cold. She glanced up at the sky. And too snowy. The winter storm rolled in quickly since she left had Longbourn.

She had only intended to enjoy a walk. She needed time to herself after all the noise of Christmas the day before. Mrs. Bennet had crowed non-stop about how grand it was to have her eldest daughter established as the mistress of Netherfield Park. Elizabeth lost count after hearing it for the one hundredth time. God bless Mr. Bingley, but he did not seem to care. Indeed, his joy of having Jane as his wife was so much that nothing Mrs. Bennet could do would offend him. There was a time when Elizabeth would have applauded his amiability and think of it as the sort of behaviour which would most appeal to her in a suitor. However, that was before she met Mr. Darcy.

The Mr. Darcy who had separated Jane from her Mr. Bingley. The same Mr. Darcy who proposed to Elizabeth last Spring. A proposal she spitefully refused. Next, he wrote her a letter, illuminating all of the reasons for his insufficient manners. Over time, Elizabeth had learned to accept his words. However, she had never done any looking into her heart over the matter. She had thought him the worst man in the world when he proposed and while his character improved after she read his letter, she never expected to meet him again. 

Alas, Elizabeth visited Mr. Darcy’s estate over the summer. Confronted with all things Darcy, she soon realized hearts are treacherous things. If ever there was a man she could have loved and rejoiced in marrying, it would have been him. Her only complaint about him was that he was not friendly enough to her relations. No sooner had she made such an observation than did the master of the estate appear before her. 

Even more shocking, Mr. Darcy not only asked for an introduction to Elizabeth’s aunt and uncle who were in trade, but he called on them the next day with his sister–and Mr. Bingley. He invited them all to Pemberley to dine. However, before such a thing could occur, Elizabeth received a letter that her youngest sister had eloped with Darcy’s sworn enemy. 

How Elizabeth had grieved her chance with Darcy then! If not for Lydia’s stupidity, their second chance might have grown to more. When Elizabeth later learned that Darcy had arranged for the reckless couple to marry, she finally admitted the truth to herself. She was madly in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy.

It could never be, however. He could never become brother-in-law to Mr. Wickham. A few weeks after Lydia’s marriage, Darcy returned to Hertfordshire with his friend Bingley. Of course, Darcy disappeared just as suddenly. Bingley made quick work of his courtship this time and proposed to Jane within days of his return. 

Elizabeth counted the days to the wedding, hoping to see Darcy once more. She knew it was likely vain to hope for his continued affections or wishes. She only wished to see him, to hear his voice. Most of all, she wished she could thank him for his service to her family. Only her aunt and uncle knew the truth of Darcy’s character and what he did for the Bennets.

He came, of course. He had amended his view of Bingley’s marriage and appeared the delighted friend. However, he avoided Elizabeth’s eyes and conversation. He never approached her. He always seemed surrounded by others.

He left the next day and Elizabeth had not seen him since. Jane said he had been invited to Netherfield for Christmas but declined. Instead, the new Mr. and Mrs. Bingley spent the day at Longbourn with the Bennets, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner and their four noisy children, Elizabeth’s other aunt and uncle who were vulgar, and Mary’s suitor.

Mrs. Bennet’s victory was complete with Mary having a beau. It also made Elizabeth a target for her displeasure more than ever. Was it any wonder that Elizabeth needed a few moments to herself? Deciding that a visit with Jane was precisely what she needed, she determined to continue on to Netherfield. A broken heart cannot heal amidst the laughter and gaeity of others, but Jane and Bingley’s gentle company could restore her mood.

During Elizabeth’s walk, it had begun to flurry. Undeterred, Elizabeth pressed on to Netherfield. She needed quiet and sweet Jane to soothe her mind. A mile later, and the snow fell in earnest. As she was closer to Netherfield than Longbourn, she continued to her destination. By the time she reached it, however, her teeth chattered and the snow was above her ankles. There would be no returning to Longbourn today. She would be lucky if even a servant could be sent to inform her family where she was. 

Elizabeth rang the bell and waited several minutes but no butler opened the door. Confused, Elizabeth pushed it open herself and was stomping off the snow on her boots in the dark entry when an unexpected voice startled her. 

“Eliza–Miss Bennet!” Darcy said.

“Mr. Darcy!” Elizabeth quickly ducked her head to hide her blush. “I did not know you were visiting.”

“It was supposed to be a surprise,” he said as he hastened to her side and assisted with unwrapping her scarf.

“I thought you did not approve of surprises.” 

Darcy furrowed his brow. “When did I say that?”

“Here above a year ago. You decried Bingley’s penchant for changing his plan on a whim.”

“That is hardly the same thing. Surprising others is not the same as it being a sudden change of plans on my part.” He took her elbow and began directing her to the drawing room. “However, I am the fool after all for Bingley seems to have given the entire staff the day off and I presume has left to spend it at Longbourn.”

Elizabeth chuckled and shook her head. That was just the sort of thing he would do. He rewarded his own house while unintentionally straining another’s. Still, Elizabeth could not fault him too much–or perhaps she could not focus on it too much as Darcy’s nearness made her heart race.

Suddenly, a thought occurred to her. “If we are alone, I really cannot stay.” 

“Nonsense,” Darcy frowned. “The snow is coming far too rapidly for you to return now. I have not checked all the servant’s quarters but surely someone has remained.”

“The butler and housekeeper are gone?”

“They are not in their rooms. However, I have a fire lit in here,” Darcy said as they entered the drawing room. “You must warm yourself, at the very least.” He motioned to a chair and then took her hand to assist her in sitting. “Your hands are like ice!”

Darcy rubbed his hands over hers while staring intently into her eyes. Elizabeth felt she could say nothing. His tender care of her was everything she had ever wanted and yet it could never mean what she most desired. She both hated and loved his attention.

After a minute or two, he placed her hands on his chest. “I was hoping I would see you, Elizabeth.”

She sucked in a deep breath. He could not mean what she hoped. “I really should leave,” she murmured.

“You are still nearly frozen,” he said as he let go of her hands and led her nearer the fire. Next, he dragged the nearby settee closer. 

Unable to resist the heat’s temptation, Elizabeth sat. It felt inexplicably nice to warm herself after the freezing walk. Darcy busied himself with a decanter of wine and returned with two glasses. 

“This will help warm you,” he said when he offered one to her.

Elizabeth drank it rapidly, enjoying the flush that came to her body. Darcy reached for her glass and their fingers grazed. “I really should not have more.”

“I have seen you drink more during a dinner.” Sitting beside her, he sipped on his own glass. 

He must have seen her drinking wine while dining at Lady Catherine’s. Heaven knew one needed it there. And when alone with the man they hopelessly loved, apparently. Nervous with the silence and his nearness, Elizabeth lightly smiled. “Well, maybe just a bit more.” 

The only sound was the crackling of logs and while Elizabeth avoided looking at him, she could feel Darcy’s eyes upon her. A thousand memories washed over her. He had always watched her. At first, she had thought it was with criticism. Too late, she had realized it was in love. Now, she did not know what she would find in his eyes if she were brave enough to look upon them. After a few minutes of silence, Darcy began humming a tune. She finally turned her head to him, still averting her eyes.

“Do you recognize it?” he asked. “I believe you played it when you stayed here while your sister was ill.”

She had. Did his remembering that signify anything? Did it mean he still loved her? Or was it a reminder of the odds they were at during that time? She had thought she hated him and he had thought she was unworthy of his hand. Or maybe it all meant nothing. He never was very good at small talk.

“Thank you for the fire and the wine,” she nodded at each, “however, I must leave.” She hated the thought of leaving. Who knew when she would see him again?

“It is far too cold to be walking in all that.”

Despite her desire to stay, she felt compelled to search for every alternative. “I do not suppose you know how to prepare a carriage or drive it?”

Darcy peered at the window behind them. “Even if I did, it would not be safe.”

“Then I must walk or the neighbors might think…” 

Darcy wrapped his hand around Elizabeth’s as he took her empty wine glass. A shiver went up her spine. When had she drunk the whole glass? Her nerves must have needed the sweet wine more than she had thought.

He returned with another glass. “This wine is very good, do you not think? I was enjoying a glass when you arrived.”

Elizabeth nodded her agreement as she took another sip. Had Darcy sat closer to her this time? He felt closer. His thigh nearly touched hers. Looking up from peering at her glass, she found his eyes upon her and his head leaning down toward hers. 

“Your eyes glitter in the firelight.”

Elizabeth tried to breathe normally. She attempted to hide the shudder that coursed through her body at his words. They were unchaperoned and the worst would be thought of them. As it was, he might not have meant that he still loved her. Surely her looks had not changed very much even if everything else between them had. It would be no great thing to still admire her beauty but not wish for her hand in marriage. 

Why did she still sit here while the snow grew another inch every five minutes? Had he bewitched her somehow? Never before had she felt so incapable of doing what she had determined to do. She had determined to leave, had she not? She was almost certain she had thought it was the best decision only a few moments ago, but now…

Darcy reached forward and rubbed a curl between his thumb and forefinger. The lock grazed her cheek and his hand was so near her face that she grew dizzy. 

“I always thought you had beautiful hair. I wondered if it would feel like silk to touch.”

Was this truly happening? Perhaps she was hallucinating. A snow-induced dream. Did one dream before freezing to death? Of course, she did not feel cold. She felt warm, very warm. Had Darcy come even closer? His leg now pressed against hers.

The wind howled, causing Elizabeth to look at the window. It was useless to leave now. She should have turned back in Meryton. The most she could explain to others now was that she had gone to Netherfield in good faith and at least discussed returning to Longbourn once she realized only Darcy was in residence. 

“Mr. Darcy,” Elizabeth said and gulped as his eyes met hers. “Surely—surely you see that I cannot stay here.”

“It would be far worse for you to go.”

Was there a note of pleading in his voice? Did she wish for her to stay? He did not appear to be shunning her company and her heart rejoiced at that but to stay would tie his hands. She would be considered ruined and he would be forced to marry her or be worse than even Mr. Wickham. 

“No,” her voice faltered. “No, I cannot stay.” She would hate to be married to Darcy if he only regretted her and hated the connections she brought. “Thank you, again, for allowing me to warm myself. However, I must go.”

“I am not in control of the weather,” he said. “You can see for yourself. It is too dangerous for you to go.”

“Jane will worry and Bingley might even attempt to look for me himself.”

“They will know you had enough sense to seek shelter.”

“You may recall my aunt, Mrs. Phillips, and her unguarded tongue. It can be quite vicious…” Elizabeth took another sip of wine, willing it to give her strength and courage. 

Darcy released her tendril then took Elizabeth’s glass and took a sip from where she had placed her lips. “I believe this is the most delicious wine I have tasted.”

The action was unbearably intimate. However, he must have consumed too much for he was not thinking clearly. If she stayed much longer or indulged in what appeared to be their mutual desire, he would be attached to Wickham for the rest of his life. Deciding this might be as close to kissing Darcy as she would ever get, she retrieved her glass and copied his actions. “Just after we finish this glass, I will go.”

Darcy’s eyes never left hers as they continued to sip and exchange the glass. His free hand crept over the one which lay in her lap. He drew lazy circles before turning her hand over and repeating the action on her palm. Every touch of his skin made more her shudder. 

“I have never seen such a blizzard,” he muttered before taking the last sip of their shared glass of wine. 

“Yes, but all the same I must go,” she whispered. Her resolve had all but evaporated. She hesitated now only in deference to his feelings.

“I know what you once believed me ungentlemanly but I flatter myself that I am too much of a gentleman to allow you out in that. You would freeze before you reached Meryton.”

“If you do not need it, then I can wear your coat as well.” 

Darcy chuckled. “It would be far too large. Besides, look,” he pointed at the window. “It is likely to your knees by now.”

Elizabeth dropped her eyes to their hands. He had linked them. If he had really wanted to marry her still, he could have said so at any point. He had no reason to fear her acceptance. Why else would she have stayed unchaperoned with a bachelor for so long? Elizabeth took the interlude for all it could be. He still loved her, perhaps more than ever, but he could not marry her.

She must tell him something of what she felt. “I have enjoyed seeing you again, Mr. Darcy.” She squeezed his hand as she searched for her next words. Darcy shaprly inhaled and returned the pressure. 

“Do you know what you do to me, Elizabeth?” Darcy asked as he touched his forehead to hers.

She did know, or at least she thought she did. It was the same effect he had on hers. And it was a miserable prison of her own making. “But do you not see? There would be a world of gossip…”

Words were becoming even harder for her. She attempted to slip her hand from his. 

“I will regret it forever–“

She spoke over him. “So much would be implied.” Her heart leapt when she realized the beginning of his statement. She held her breath for him to continue.

“–If you got pneumonia and died.” 

Deflated, Elizabeth shrugged. She had hoped he would say something more. She would willingly stay if only he asked. “I am too healthy to catch such a thing. I must go…”

“You will have to think of something better to say,” Darcy laughed. “You are usually so witty.”

“I fear I have no humor about this. I cannot force your hand in such a way.”

“Is that what you are worried about?” Darcy asked with raised brows. 

“No one can know I was here with you. The expectations would be–“

“Everything I wish for,” he rushed to say. “I think you can guess that my affections are unchanged from last April but my attempts at wooing you might be as inept as my conversation. I thought the wine would ease your reserve and allow me to find the right words. Alas, it has not and I am left stumbling as best I can.” He sighed. “My wishes have not changed.”

“You cannot mean you still wish to marry me. You could never be related to Wickham, and if you still loved me you might have spoken with me at the wedding. You were so silent and grave–” Elizabeth could not continue and choked back a sob. 

Darcy placed both hands on Elizabeth’s cheeks. “I thought you did not care for me. Only a man who felt less could have risked another refusal. I will never–can never–stop loving you.”

“I would not refuse you,” Elizabeth blinked back tears. 

“I have never been so thankful for a bloody snowstorm in my life,” Darcy chuckled. “You will marry me?”

Elizabeth nodded. “I love you.”

Darcy responded with a kiss. Despite the dropping temperature and piling snow, he and Elizabeth were able to keep very warm until discovered by Netherfield’s returning servants two days later. Naturally, they used only one chamber to conserve resources. Many things were implied and Mrs. Phillips’ tongue did wag, but the couple had no mind for it at all. A couple as violently in love as they will always find a way to stay warm on a winter’s day. 

17 thoughts on “Lizzy, It’s Cold Outside

      1. Lol 😂. Let’s hope this one does!! 😂😉😊
        Anyways thanks for all the amazing work you do. Don’t worry about us readers— we will live, even if we make it seem like we need the next chapter to survive! 😂😂 Just do what you need to do to keep on going and making amazing stories and posts! 😁

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. I like that song but much prefer your version. Thank goodness Darcy did manage to get his feelings across eventually and thank goodness they were trapped alone there long enough to realise how they felt (and act on it). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like your adaptation of the song.

    I think the song is better than harmless. It’s a musical example of the doublespeak necessary in the days when women couldnt simply say they wanted to stay, alone, with a man. I find it sad they know so little social history that they hear it as manipulative on the mans part rather than the coded anf flirtatious truth of it. I am old enough to envy younger people the luxury they have of more modern notions of consent, the ability to say yes or no directly, to ask directly, instead of talking all around the subject like that.

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    1. Thanks! I think you’re exactly right! That’s one reason why I felt it lent itself to the Regency era so well. Lizzy had to be very mindful of her reputation just as the woman in the song did. I’ve also heard tell that in that day and age, women would blame their staying on situations like car trouble, weather, or having too much to drink. I don’t mean to say that all those situations were definitely consensual. I know assault happened just as much then as now. However, I’m sure a lot of them also just twisted things afterward because they couldn’t say that they willingly stayed.

      I grew up in a very conservative household. After 18, I stayed at my boyfriend’s house (although he did live with his parents) a lot. They had a spare room and it was usually just that it got too late and I got too tired. I truly did have car trouble more than one time as well and this was before everyone had cell phones. I was able to flag someone down on a dark, country road after midnight (I would probably be too terrified to do that now) and tried calling his house so he could come and get me. Someone was using the internet so it didn’t go through. I called my mom and she didn’t answer. Finally, we got my car running again and that’s how I got home but I could have been stranded in my car all night. Surely it would have been better to just stay at his house. After that, I learned to not push my luck. However, at the time it always felt like I needed to “at least say I tried.” In my situation, I wasn’t staying to have sex, although I think that’s probably the situation in the song (and in my story). But even for me in 2004, I felt like I had to justify my choices. Imagine that in the 1950s!

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  3. Depends on the context, of course, and when leaving amounts to a dangerous risk, the persuasion is only sensible. HOWEVER I had only heard the song twice before hearing the controversy, and I didn’t use to think it was so bad, but this link is truly a case of a man not accepting that No means No.

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    1. You know, all art is open to interpretation. I haven’t seen the entire film this is a clip of, but I think it’s an enemies to lovers trope. I see a woman who feels very in control of the situation and has changed her mind a few times about coming or going (as is often the case in these tropes the woman is often hot then cold and often the man is also). She sees through his charm and won’t be persuaded by it. If she chooses to stay, it won’t be because he touched her arm or said something in a seductive voice. In the second clip, I see a woman who is wanting the man to stay and she is giving off the “Ado Annie from Oklahoma” vibes in that she’s a girl who “just can’t say no” and even wants to say yes. An important context to place this song and this video clip in is an era where a woman couldn’t have a sex drive. She couldn’t be attracted to a man she loved and planned to marry, or even *did* marry (how many times were married women talking about the “chore” that sex was?) let alone a man that maybe she didn’t know very well. Maybe a man she didn’t think very highly of. Maybe a man she had vowed to others she hated. Let alone should she give in easily. She shouldn’t be the instigator. She shouldn’t be so in tune with her sexuality that the moment the opportunity is suggested to her, she can cave into it. No, she should resist and his need to persuade her is part of the unspoken social contract. I honestly think the song pokes fun of all that.

      In neither scenario in the clips you provided, do I see people held against their will. I hear a “I should go” and “I ought to say no” there’s constant talk about what *others* might think, but nothing about what they themselves are thinking or saying. I see nothing worse than when I tell my husband I’m too tired for certain activities, we don’t have enough time, the kids are up, I need to do xyz etc. and he shows me there’s a reason to put all that out of my head. Have I said “no”? Yep. Did I ever explicitly say “Yes?” No. Did I enjoy our time together? Oh yeah. Did I even *want* him to show me just how much *he* wanted me to be with him–*needed* me to be with him? Definitely. That’s a powerful aphrodisiac.

      I’ve read an article that claimed they didn’t even have roofies in this era, which come to think of it, might be accurate. That’s some high-level chemistry stuff and having it readily available would have taken some time. Additionally, my understanding of date rape is that you are not lucid. You typically have no memories. You have no control–no ability to say yes or no. The woman in the song and in the film here has had so little of the beverage and for such a short time, it wouldn’t have time to metabolize and affect her even if a drug had been slipped in her drink.

      I would also say that shaming this song belittles all the women who truly are date raped. It’s not a “oh, I eventually changed my mind and wanted it thing” because women ARE allowed to change their minds both ways. It’s a situation where they either have no control or it lowers their inhibitions so much that they indulge in risky behavior that they might not otherwise have (like multiple partners, no protection).

      This song is about flirtation and desire in an era in which a woman had to be sneaky about it. Not just for society’s sake in not knowing but because men were told not to respect women who gave up so easily (the Mr. Collins effect). The song is exposing the ridiculousness off it. They both want the woman to stay. They both know what will be the inevitable conclusion and they have to decide if the desire outweighs the consequences. I hope my story illuminated that as well. Elizabeth wants to stay. Darcy wants her to stay. Elizabeth doesn’t want Darcy to feel bound to her. She doesn’t want to stir up talk and it lead to either nothing or nothing enjoyable. Is it the plainest way to talk about things? No. And so, because they’re my characters and I think that’s something Jane Austen pokes fun of as well–the societal norms kept them apart, they only advanced their relationship when they were throwing rules of civility and decorum out the window–they eventually have to talk it out.

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      1. Date rape has nothing to do with cosciousness or memory. Well, it can, but those arent the definition. Sometimes date rape is when scenes like this go wrong and someone is coerced into having sex. That is the flip side to being unable to clearly say yes and resorting to doublespeak and sort of saying no. It means when you do say no, it isnt taken seriously. It means anything short of actually walking out the door is encouragement for the other to keep hinting and pushing. I lived through that in my early dating years. Date rape was not a term yet, I thought i just gave in and therefore it was my fault we had sex when I hadnt really wanted to. It was years after the term was invented before I realised thats what I’d lived through. The thing is, neither he nor I thought it was at the time. (I dont know if he ever figured out what he was doing was rape. Maybe. Maybe not) . That sort of pushing and ignoring of ‘no’ was pretty normal. Good girls didnt say yes, so even nice boys knew it was worthwhile to keep pushing until the good girl allowed sex after all. Because she does want to: no can mean yes.

        Modern ideas of clear consent are So Much Better than this nonsense we all learned indirectly.

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