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Just a plain old English "Two"

So I've been cast as Mr Darcy. I'm a little concerned as to whether or not I can do the part justice since Darcy is one of those iconic literary characters who everyone has their own view of, and I know that I'll never fit every single reader's image of him, that there are some who are most likely already thinking I'm not quite right before even seeing me act. I can only say that I will work hard to bring the character to life and I hope you're satisfied with what you see, but that he will be my version of Darcy, and maybe not as Jane Austen or yourselves have envisioned him.

That said, I think that everyone else has been brilliantly cast. I particularly look forward to seeing Ernie and Lavender sparr off each other as those ill-matched parents of Elizabeth Bennet, and I believe Morag will make a truly commanding Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Fear her, for she is the Head Girl! Darcy might have ended up with Anne out of sheer intimidation if she had been Lady Catherine from the start.

* * *

I'm so thrilled that you're all coming. Some information:

- The Portkey will be activated at 11:00 am sharp on Thursday morning, and they don't know the concept of tardiness. So please be on time. Even you, Cadwallader.
- Sleeping arrangements are as follows: (1) Christoper and friend, (2) Rachel and Susan, (3) Lisa and Luna, (4) Zacharias, Cadwallader and Summerby, (5) Michael, Terry and Stephen.
- You won't need to pay for any food or other expenses as we're taking care of all that. However, you might want to bring some Muggle money (Euros) in case we go sightseeing. If you don't have any, my father can arrange it for you. Wizarding Europe does still use Knuts and the like though, so those will be fine.
- Also make sure to fit your bags for pickpocket proof hexes if we do go sightseeing. Most thieves are so good at Stealth and Tracking that you'd swear they were Aurors. Or Unspeakables.
- Tuscany is much warmer than Scotland this time of the year, but it can still have cold snaps. Bring a showerproof jacket or coat and a few light layers that you can take on or off according to need, plus a jumper or two for the evenings. And bring a swimsuit or two. We do have a pool, and yes, it is heated.

* * *

Quintus seems to have misplaced his journal, so when you see him in class tomorrow, I'd appreciate it if you tell him that I'm looking for him. Thank you.

* * *

Well, despite the DADA project being almost finished, it looks like you're still stuck with me for a while longer, ha ha. Congratulations on getting the lead, and with all due respect to the other girls who auditioned, I can honestly say that they couldn't have made a better choice. Though (additionally with all due respect to the other girls), I still maintain that I have the prettiest wife!

Do you have time to work on the final draft tomorrow after your Quidditch practice? It's our last chance to get it sorted out before it's due. I think we've made a decent crack at it despite our late start, and I've enjoyed working on it with you.

- Stephen Cornfoot, Hopefully Not An Appalling Darcy


Private to the Italian Crew

...a few light layers that you can take on or off according to need...

You dirty-minded fiend.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Don't you wish, Cadwallader.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

I'm Mr Collins. I don't wish any such thing if it involves you. Though you know what they say about clergymen...

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

No, I don't, actually. What do they say about clergymen?

On second thoughts, I don't really want to know. Do keep that to yourself, please.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Cad, trust you to think of that.

Oh, and don't be surprised if you have a redheaded Hufflepuff coming into your dorm to make sure you're packed and ready to go on time.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Well, the wording could be interpreted in that way, you have to admit.

A redheaded Hufflepuff? I thought that Hannah was a blonde. Or perhaps she's decided to go more Strawberry than Neopolitan.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Yes, but I hadn't thought of that until you brought it up. Thank you for that, Cad.

Ever since I went into your dorm room and helped find the Quidditch notes, I have appointed myself as your Hufflepuff mum. Hannah didn't have the wonderful opportunity that I had to see the disaster area you call a room.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

It would be worse if the others let me have it that way. Sometimes I wish I could go to the seventh year boys' dorm and mess up the area around Zacharias's bed. It's so tidy that it doesn't even looked lived in. It looks like a hotel.

Even the house elves stay away from my corner of the room. I think they're worried about finding a sock in with everything else, the poor things.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Shortsheet my bed again and I'll have to blood in one of the reserve Chasers.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Zacharias! Good to see that the forthcoming trip to Italy has boosted your mood.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Must I share a room with you? Stephen, I don't remember your villa being quite that small.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

I haven't had quite that many people over before, which makes the villa a lot smaller. But I'm afraid that since you've had clashes with pretty much all my other friends, the sleeping arrangements are the best I could come up with and they can't be changed. You could always bunk down with Christopher and his friend, but we don't want you scaring an innocent little first year. Oh, how Mum wishes she could get a hold of you...

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

I don't ever try and scare the first years.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

I know you don't. That's what concerns me.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

The reserve Chasers aren't nearly as good as Cad. If you could wait until the season to do bodily harm to Cad, I would very much appreciate it.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Cad would appreciate it more if no bodily harm was done to Cad at anytime.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

No one wants bodily harm to come to them. I also don't want you to be hurt...so don't do anything to annoy Zacharias.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

It could be worse? That absolutely terrifies me. Not to mention a hint of disgust in there as well. Yes, but then you would be dead and I rather like having you around. There is nothing wrong with being neat because at least you can actually find your belongings if it's tidy.

From the amount of stuff that I saw, the house elves have a good reason for staying away.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

I think the "man mountain" has created a "trash mountain." And I know we Brits say "rubbish." But "trash mountain" had a better ring to it.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Oh, yes. Consider yourself lucky that you did not help go through it. But someone needs to balance out Zacharias and Ernie. And me.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Sometimes I think that Cad alternates between driving the Hufflepuffs to insanity and keeping you sane.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Oh, of course! He has perfected it over the years.

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

Trust you to think of that, Cad.

And Stephen? Can we put Cad on his own, I want a holiday without his snoring please?

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

No, I'm afraid not. All the bedrooms are being used as it is. Couldn't you get him to cast a Silencing Charm around his bed before he goes to sleep?

Re: Private to the Italian Crew

You think we haven't tried it before? We've had 6 years of trying everything and nothing's worked.

Private to Stephen

Tuscany! I still don't tire of writing or saying that. I talked with Theo about it and I shall be going for sure now. Mum was disappointed that I wouldn't be home this year, but well...I'm not exactly welcome there. Oh! But I get to room with Rachel! That's going to be great. We're going to have so much fun together.

Oh! While we're in Tuscany we can go over characterization for the play! Congratulations on being Mr Darcy; you're going to be brilliant at it. And really, we are going to be great together. I mean, we already get along (again), so it won't be difficult for us to go off of each other, right? Hmm...I wonder if there are any kissing scenes in the play, as that might be awkward. Oh, I really don't think Theo will be pleased about that. But, really. It's acting and if it's in the script, then there is nothing to be done. Merlin, you and I are going to have so much fun and I don't mind being 'stuck' with you at all. And you are sweet, with the comment about having the prettiest wife. I think that out of the other characters, I will have the most dashing husband.

Lately, I don't have much time for anything, but of course I will be there. I can't believe we managed to finish the project in time! I really like the end result of it and it was fantastic to work with you.

Private to Susan

Rachel can be a brat, but she's really excited about you coming. As is the rest of the family - even Christopher.

I'm bringing the script with me and plan on memorising my lines during the holidays, and it will probably be easier to learn them if we act them out and have emotional associations with them rather than it all being a random bunch of words.

Kissing? Um...well... It's Austen, so I can't imagine they'd be much of that sort of thing, although as it is a present day audience we're acting for and assumedly Elizabeth and Darcy kissed off-page, perhaps Wayne and Hermione did take a few minor liberties with the script? Though there's probably stage tricks to get around it. Either way, no one would expect you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable, least of all me.

That's very kind of you to say so, although perhaps Bingley is more dashing than Darcy? He's certainly more universally charming. He likes people on sight, whereas Darcy has to be forced to like others. But I'm sure he'll like your Elizabeth with no trouble at all.

I'm both surprised and impressed that we managed to pull it off too. I think we've scraped at least an "A" on it, if not an "E." Though Moody is not known as being a generous marker.

So, how is everything else with you? You seem a bit more settled than the last time we talked. Or rather, wrote.

Private to Stephen

Oh, wow, even Christopher? Well that can certainly make a girl feel special. I'm excited to see everyone and actually spend some time with them.

Yes, that's a great idea. I'm going to start memorizing lines straight away, so hopefully I can space my time out more evenly instead of worrying at the end. I don't want to go over lines too much over the holiday, since I really do think that I need at least one day of not worrying about school.

Well, I wouldn't feel uncomfortable doing it, since it is just acting, but I rather hope that Wayne and Hermione kept that part out of it. If not for me, then just for Theo. He's rather protective of me and now that I'm going with you to Italy, it's been a bit tense with him.

No, I don't think he is. Not many girls say with a sigh that they want a Bingley, but they most certainly say that they want a Darcy. I do hope that he does, though I'm certain Elizabeth will (eventually) like your Darcy. Oh, pride is a troubling thing.

I hope for an "E" with my fingers crossed.

With me? Oh, things are going okay. Since the match was canceled, I've been at a loss as to what to do. I was so ready for the match and I didn't have anything to do with my energy, so I ended up playing in the music room for a good portion of the day, which was a lovely break from the norm as of late. I feel more settled about everything since I've had time to think it over. I mean...of course I still have my concerns, but I'm sorting everything out to the best of my ability. I really do appreciate you reading all of my ramblings and helping me sort through it all.

Private to Susan

Yes, even Christoper. He's only eleven though, so he's nothing to worry about - yet. For the sake of my parents' sanity though, I hope he takes after me more than Rachel!

I think you're right in that you need to give your mind time to recover, particularly after that rush with the DADA project. And we've NEWTs to study for as well. I've been so busy these last few weeks that I almost forgot about them, which is saying something given how our professors remind us about them every few seconds.

If you believe that thing about girls being drawn to blokes who they think they can fix, then perhaps that's the appeal with Darcy. Bingley is already socially adept and an ideal marriage partner in various ways, whereas Elizabeth has to work on Darcy, and she's one of the few women to have any impact on him. So that gives her a specialness which I think a lot of readers would find appealing. The redeemable bad boy is sort of the literary heroine's act of chivalry, like how brave knights save fair damsels from dragons. And Rowena, I'm sounding far too much like a stereotypical Ravenclaw swot for my own comfort.

I can understand why Theo would be uncomfortable about the kissing, but why is he against you coming to Italy? Is it that you won't spend as much time with him as he expected?

I'm happy to listen anytime. I'm glad you were able to wrench the music room away from Terry and the rest of us for a while, but it's not like even you to play music for quite that stretch of time. Unless you're avoiding something, that is.

Private to Stephen

Oh, so do I. One Rachel is more than enough for a family.

I've been studying for Newts since this summer, so I think that I am okay on that front. It is mad how much work we have to do on top of Newts. By the way, how did your consultation with McGonagall go?

Well, I am engaged to a Slytherin who is not exactly the most popular man at school. I suppose that I have more in common with Elizabeth than I thought. I do believe that girls can fix their chosen men, given time and patience.

Yes, as we really haven't spent any quality time together for a while. I suppose I will just have to think of something to make it up to him.

I'm not avoiding anything, but I had missed my piano dreadfully. It's nice to not think of anything and just let the music take over.

Re: Private to Stephen

One Rachel is one Rachel too many. You know I love her really, but shhh...

I've been revising and writing up notes, but more going through the motions of it than anything. I sort of need to feel more urgency when it comes to time pressure to be at my most productive. I'm worried that I'm not more worried, if you understand what I mean. At the villa I'll just have to get up early and use the time while everyone else is still in bed and there's minimal distractions around to be productive.

I think people can only be fixed as much as they want to. And really, what right do they have to reply upon other people for that? Shouldn't it be their responsibility and something that they take care of on their own time?

I'm sure you will come up with something. You're always so thoughtful towards the people around you. If only you could be a bit more than way for yourself.

Hmm, I get the feeling that there's something you're not saying, Suzie. Which is speaking louder than what you are saying. But if you're not ready to talk, then you're not ready to talk. When you are, I'll be here.
I understand what you mean. Though I tend to turn to the piano more when I'm stressed out myself.

Private to Stephen

Don't worry, I won't tell a soul.

Being productive on holiday? That is a bit harsh, don't you think? I don't know. I try to get my work done as soon as I can so I can have fun later. Hopefully there won't be too many people around to keep you busy from your school work.

But sometimes we all need a little help and some people need more help than others. If they want to be fixed, yet don't have the capabilities as much as they should, then shouldn't we try and help as much as we can?

Well, I try my best most of the time.

I do that, too. I try to play with any excuse that I have. I tend to not play when I'm happy though, so maybe I should start doing that. Happy tunes are always fun.

Private to Susan

I'll probably have some sort of arrangement, like studying in the mornings and then having the afternoon off.

In my experience people can be helped to some extent, but the effort has to come from them. If they really want to do something, then they'll find a way.

You say you don't play when you're happy, yet you were in the music room forever that time. Suuu-zie. I think you're definitely avoiding something, and you and I will certainly be talking at some point. Happy tunes are fun, though the Beatles have the best of both worlds. I'm not so familiar with Muggle music, but I have heard about them.

Private to Sixth Years and Stephen

He what? Are you sure?

Oh - alright. If I do see him around, I'll let him know. But only because you're nice.

Private to Sixth Years

Quintus isn't a bad sort once you stop provoking him. But thanks for that, Demelza. And congratulations on making the cast.

Private to Sixth Years and Stephen

You remain the only one of us convinced of such.

It's quite alright.

Thank you! I'm very excited! And doubly so because I have a good reason for annoying Ernie. It's part of my ROLE! Hee hee. Congratulations on getting Darcy! It's going to be so much fun. And Susan as Lizzie. Ooo. I can't wait for rehersals to start!

July 2007

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