Word Count: 879
Notes: In one of my classes, we are studying Pride and Prejudice, which is wonderful because I adore it! Our Professor posed the challenge last lesson, however, to rewrite P&P, e.g. change the setting, the gender roles, the relationships etc. So, I’ve taken chapter one and rewritten it to suit my fangirlish tendencies; the idea to make Darcy and Bingley canon inspired by my cousin (LJ says her username is bad and won’t let me link it ):< ) and my Professor! Enjoy~
Pride and Prejudice and Manlove
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
However, little is known about the feelings or views of such a man, this truth so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of someone or other of their daughters.
“My dear Mr. Darcy,” said his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, to him one day, “have you heard that my daughter is walking about more?”
Mr. Darcy replied that he had not.
“But she is,” returned she; “for Mrs. Jenkinson has just been here, and she told me all about how likely it is her condition is improving.”
Mr. Darcy made no answer. Instead, he cast a side-long glance at Mr. Bingley who sat beside him.
“Do you want to know more about her amiableness?” cried his aunt impatiently.
“You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing about it.”
This was invitation enough.
“Why, you must surely be interested to know, Mrs. Jenkinson says that my daughter will likely bloom into a most handsome young lady after all. She would be a suitable match for you in every aspect. It is wonderful how many families I have been the means of supplying in that way. Four nieces of Mrs. Jenkinson are most delightfully situated through my means; and it was but the other day, that I recommended another young person, who was merely accidentally mentioned to me, and the family are quite delighted with her.”
“Is that so?” replied Darcy.
“I trust you are still single.”
“Oh! A single man of large fortune; of a respectable lineage. What a fine thing for my girl!”
Mr. Darcy shifted in his seat, a tight smile on his face and glanced again at Mr. Bingley. The latter seemed fixed in his cheerful disposition. “How so?” said Darcy, “how can it affect her?”
“Now Darcy,” replied her Ladyship, “how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of your marrying her.”
“Is that your design in summoning me here?”
“Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that you may fall in love with her, and therefore you must wait to spend, at least, more than one afternoon with her.”
“I see no occasion for that.”
“But, my nephew, you must indeed see how much prettier she is becoming.”
“It is more than I engage for, dear Aunt.”
“But consider your position and reputation. There is much you must ensure falls into worthy hands. Do you speak against my wishes and better judgement that has proved precious to hundreds others?”
“I merely state that I have other matters to attend to before I engage in the good affections of Miss de Bourgh. In fact, Mr Bingley and myself are planned to go to —— shire for a while.”
“I desire you will do no such thing. You waste time. No girl is a bit better than my daughter; and I am sure there are none who are half so handsome as my daughter is becoming, nor half so good humoured.”
A small laugh escaped Darcy before he could stop himself, and Lady Catherine’s eyes narrowed as a result.
“I am sure you are right,” said he, “there are few who have much to recommend themselves to me.”
Mr. Bingley spoke then and supported Mr. Darcy in this claim. Again, Darcy felt grateful that his friend had agreed to accompany him.
“We will still be going to —– shire, however, as Mr. Bingley has acquired Netherfield house and plans to move in before Michaelmas. I have promised to assist him.”
“Mr. Darcy, how can you abuse your responsibilities in such a way? You must not lose sight of that which is important to this family.”
“You mistake me, my Lady. I am highly aware of our family’s disposition and of my duties. I have heard you mention them with consideration almost since the time of my birth.”
“Yes, I am very responsible in that way. I always try to be helpful when I can see those who are in need of my intervention.”
“Consider your intervention duly noted and appreciated,” said Mr. Darcy, standing up. “It is getting late though and I should like to retire as Mr. Bingley and I have a long journey tomorrow.”
Lady de Bourgh nodded. “Though your trip displeases me, it is wise to sleep early when one has a trip such as yours. You should follow suit, Mr. Bingley.”
Mr. Bingley rose to his feet as well and bowed. “It was a joy to meet you, my Lady,” said he.
“I’m certain it was,” she replied.
The gentlemen then bid her goodnight and left the room.
Mr. Darcy was so odd a mixture of sarcastic humour, generosity, reserve, and contemplation, that the experience of eight and twenty years had been insufficient to make his aunt understand his character. Her mind was less difficult to develop. The business of her life was to make anyone and everyone indebted to her, and to get her daughter married to Mr. Darcy, when Darcy could not be any less interested in Miss de Bourgh…or any other woman, for that matter.