- the quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech. i.e. “his tales are full of humor”
- a mood or state of mind. i.e. “her good humor vanished”
Down through our years, we have good days, mediocre ones, or horrible ones—which we hope are few. In looking back at some of the good days, most of us can agree that they were days with some smiles, maybe a giggle or two, or even doubling over in laughter about something that tickled our funny bone. If truth be known, the laughter or humor of those days are what contributed to them being good days.
If we take a brief look at humor down through the centuries, it’s interesting to note that there have been differing opinions concerning the value of this important quality.
Plato was one who criticized laughter as an emotion that undermined self-control, and he called for strict control of everything connected with the comedic. Seneca’s stance was completely different and felt that humor was a vital element of serenity. He stated that “all things are a cause for either laughter or weeping.” With that statement, he concluded that it was more fitting for people to laugh at life than to lament over it. Many would agree with him.
Laughter may not make our problems go away, but it does relieve some of the stress in our lives and gives us the ability to handle the problems or other rough spots a little bit better.
Personally, I would rather laugh than have a reason to cry. And, although I don’t include humor in all my books, I do have some that is included to lighten the story for a time and, hopefully, help my readers enjoy my tales of Darcy and Elizabeth just a little bit more.
The following scenes are from Darcy vs Bingley. Let me know what you think.
Because the ground was still soft and a little muddy in spots, the men refrained from indulging in their usual race and concentrated on looking for damage to the one dam on the property and to ensure none of the ponds had overflowed their banks.
All was well except for the dam which had sustained a small amount of damage needing repair that would be reported to Bingley’s temporary steward. Up until now, the man had seemed very competent, and if Bingley decided to buy Netherfield, he would retain the man permanently. Bingley appreciated Darcy’s acumen in regard to estate management and his willingness to train his friend too. He would do well if he could become as knowledgeable also.
“It’s been a good morning, and the property seems in fine shape. Let’s return and prepare for our visit to Longbourn.”
“Darce, shall we race back?” Without waiting for an answer, Bingley urged Baron into a gallop that showered Darcy in mud. The gauntlet had been thrown.
Achilles loved a good run and quickly caught up with Baron. Then Darcy returned the favor.
After leaving their mounts at the stable and apologizing to the groom for the condition of the horses and equipment, both men cleaned their boots before entering the house through the kitchen. The cook, the kitchen maid, and the scullery maid all stood speechless as Bingley and Darcy tried to sneak up to their bedchambers. The three had never seen gentlemen covered in mud to the extent that Bingley was picking it out of his teeth. The ground had proven muddier than expected.
Hurrying toward the staircase, they were dismayed at the shriek behind them. “Charles…Mr. Darcy!” Caroline Bingley was appalled at their appearance.
Louisa just said, “Oh, my!”
Hurst doubled over in laughter at the sight of the mud-spattered men: from head to toe. “I’m going to dub you two Mud Hens,” he said. And he howled with laughter.
Nobody could tell that both men were blushing fiery red.
And the footman was coughing up a storm.
Darcy walked into his bedchamber and locked the door. His valet took one look at him and excused himself. Going into the dressing room, he closed the door. And Darcy swore he could hear smothered laughter from within.
Scowling, he turned toward the dressing mirror. “Oh!” Wiping a hand down his face, he just smeared the mud further over his skin. No wonder Higgins scarpered.
Clearing his throat, his spoke loudly enough to be heard through the closed dressing room door. “You can come out now, Higgins.” But much to his chagrin, his valet didn’t appear. Instead, there was more smothered laughter from the closed room. Darcy gave up. Walking over, he opened the door and glared at his man. “I know what I look like. If you would please…” He paused, collecting his thoughts, and tried to act like the master of his house with all his dignity in front of his servant, but it was impossible with him looking like he had been in a hog wallow.
The two men stood there for a moment just looking at each other without a word, and Darcy could see the laughter building again in Higgins’ eyes until one of them starting to guffaw. Later, neither one would own up to which one it was. They just laughed until they had tears in their eyes and the laughter finally just died down to soft chuckles.
Taking a handkerchief from his pocket, Higgins wiped his eyes and apologized. But Darcy would hear none of it. “No, I will not hold you accountable. Miss Bingley has had the entire house under such tension that we needed some comic relief. However, in the future, I shall expect a bit more decorum than you’ve displayed this afternoon.”
“Yes, sir.” The contrite look his valet gave him seemed a bit forced.
And after a few more chuckles, both men set to work in figuring out how to undress the master without getting mud everywhere. Higgins sighed over Darcy’s riding clothes. “Sir, I’m not sure these are salvageable,” he said smothering his amusement.
“’Tis no matter, Higgins. Since we were only riding the property, I wore my older ones. If they cannot be saved, set them on the rubbish heap.
His valet squinted and took a closer look at the clothes in his hands. “Oh, I recognize them now. I couldn’t see them well enough before.”
Darcy gave a mock glower at the man. Raising his hand, he said, “Please, no more laughing. My sides hurt, I’m still muddy and am wondering when my hot bath will appear.”
No sooner had he uttered the words than there was a knock at the door and the footmen came in and began to pour steaming hot water into the tub. Darcy noticed that none of the men even glanced at him as they turned and left the room. He just rolled his eyes when he heard someone snicker in the hallway until the sounds disappeared. “Even the footmen are amused.”
Higgins smiled. “Perhaps, the whole household was in need of comic relief, sir.”
Darcy just nodded, stripped off his banyan and sank with a sigh into his bath while his valet ordered more hot water that he added a time or two until Darcy indicated that he stop. “I must get out lest I look like a prune, and with a dinner engagement this evening, I wish to look my best.”
Higgins agreed and promised to have him looking immaculate even giving his hair a light trimming after his shave. Then the two men took their time in making sure that Mr. Darcy was dressed in the manner that typified who he was: a young, handsome, and successful landowner. However, he wasn’t dressed to the point that he would make the Bennets appear unfashionable or embarrassed. He wanted to make a good impression on the Bennet household, especially Miss Elizabeth. And he smiled when he thought of her light figure, her pleasing countenance, and her amiable nature. His list of her pleasant attributes continued to grow as he added her glorious chestnut curls, her sparkling eyes, and her impertinence, which he loved about her.
So far, I love everything I’ve discovered about Elizabeth. Could I love her for herself? Am I in love with her? I never believed in love at first sight, but my heart turned over the minute I saw her at the Meryton Assembly and heard her beautiful laugh. And I remember thinking I would enjoy being married to someone like her. Perhaps, married to her. He closed his eyes and smiled.
“Pleasant thoughts, sir?”
“Just thinking about the evening, Higgins,” he said with a little frown.
“I hope, sir, that it will be a most pleasant evening.”
“Thank you, Higgins.”
Quitting the bedchamber, Darcy headed to Bingley’s suite of rooms where he knocked on the door.
“Are you ready, Charles? It is close to the time we planned to leave. If we arrive too late, we’ll not be able to take a stroll with the ladies before dinner.”
“Yes, and I ordered the carriage so we both shall arrive immaculate for our ladies. I don’t mind telling you, I was shocked at how much mud I was carrying. It had gotten down my neck under my cravat even…well I won’t mention that,” he said with a cackle.
“Don’t get me started, Bingley. Higgins and I lost it when we decided that I looked like I had taken a mud bath. My ribs hurt from all our laughter, and I swear never to laugh again…at least for a week.”
Pointing his finger at his friend, Charles Bingley laughed at and with his friend until they got word the carriage was at the front of the house. Both men hastened down the stairs and out the door eager to reach Longbourn.
Caroline watched her brother and their guest leave for the evening. All the while, she was thinking about what she could do to lower Miss Eliza Bennet in the eyes of Mr. Darcy. That country chit doesn’t deserve him.
It never occurred to her that neither did she.