Last night I laid awake for a bit considering who I might invite to a dinner party of literary characters, and I thought I would present to you my guest list. This kind of turned into a matchmaker party, so assume that all these characters were somewhere near the beginning of their stories, before they’d met the people they hook up with in the books.
Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) and George Cooper (Song of the Lioness Quartet)
Lizzie is a proper drawing-room-novel heroine and George is King of Thieves, but other than that I think they’d get on well together. George would be happy to laugh at all Lizzie’s neighbors with her (without being malicious), and Lizzie would probably not scream if she came across George’s ear collection.
Cassandra Mortmain (I Capture the Castle) and Will Stanton (The Dark is Rising Sequence)
Both are sensible and low-drama, possess a good sense of humor and are generally interested in what other people are up to. You could call each of them “consciously naive,” but looking deeper you’d see that Cassandra is a first-class observer of humanity and Will is born of an ancient race destined to save the world from evil. Comparable talents, in my opinion. I don’t think they’d fall in love, but I think they’d have some very good conversations together.
Flora Post (Cold Comfort Farm) and Bertie Wooster (the Jeeves and Wooster books)
Flora loves to tidy people up, and Bertie’s life is decidedly untidy. Obviously, that is what Jeeves is for, but surely Jeeves will eventually want to go off and marry one of the chefs or scullery maids he’s always quietly stepping out with, and then what will become of Bertie? Flora’s meddling is gentle but firm, and she’s not all wet or all ghastly about sports or a malicious prankster like all the other women he’s been engaged to.
Dorothea Brooke (Middlemarch) and Seymour Glass (Nine Stories)
I always felt that serious, dedicated, motivated Dorothea was wasted on Will Ladislaw; he was not nearly her equal in intelligence, maturity or morality. Seymour is obviously smart enough for her, and he has that heart-shattering love of, well, everything, which she would do well to learn. On his part, I think he would be happy with a woman as forthright as Dorothea. And she does occasionally see the humor in things, although not, it must be admitted, a lot. They might have a very intense conversation at one end of the table which no one else would be interested in.
That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’m open to suggestions in case I find a genie or a wishing ring and can put this into practice some day.