A few weeks ago the strange cave that is my mind started pondering on a question, why have there been no werewolf adaptations of ‘Pride and Prejudice’? Then threatened to write it, or at least something like it. So for those of you who really want to, here is the first chapter. Chapter two will be posted in a few days.
‘Chapter One: A New Neighbour
When Edward Bennet met his future mate, Elizabeth Gardiner, at the Meryton Assembly Rooms in 1783 nobody could possibly predict the chaos their offspring would cause among certain high-ranking packs.
Twenty-three years later this indolent alpha and his human mate had five daughters, no sons, and an entailed estate. Some distant cousin, a weak little thing, with all the appearance of a beta but the attitude of a lick-spittle pup known as Collins, would inherit. This left Mr and Mrs Bennet with something of a problem: who would take their half-breed daughters off their hands?
When Edward Bennet heard that a rich young gentleman from the north country had taken up residence at nearby (well, three miles as the wolf runs) Netherfield Hall, both the Bennet parents thought a solution had been to them, or at the least a partial solution. Should one of the girls catch this wolf’s eye the union would help them to meet more eminently suitable young men. With any luck their beauty would compensate for their half human parentage.
Mrs Bennet’s attention was chiefly focused on the young man’s reported fortune of four thousand a year, while Mr Bennet busied himself, in his usual unhasty manner, with discovering the man’s origins, parentage and pack status, as well as his reasons for moving to the area. He maintained however that he would not visit the new neighbour. When taxed by his nervous spouse about his reluctance to behave correctly he responded,
‘My dear, he is only a beta; he should visit me, not I him.’
‘It would be terribly impolite of you not to visit when he first arrives in the neighbourhood! Think of the girls!’
Ah, their girls, all five of them. Mr Bennet had a soft spot for Elizabeth, who he considered closer to wolf than the rest. But Jane, his eldest at 21, was widely considered the most beautiful, with the sweetest, most obliging temperament of them all. His Lizzy, twenty years old, was a great walker, energetic dancer, and occasional pianist; she prided herself on her discernment and judgement. Next came Mary, who was unfortunately plain, but tried so hard to make up for it by becoming accomplished instead. Mr Bennet often thought she’d make a very good rectors wife; she was self-consciously self-righteous and pious enough, but Mrs B completely pooh-poohed the idea, unless of course the young man had a generous living and an illustrious patron. If not, at eighteen she was an old maid in the making. The two youngest, Kitty and Lydia, were Mr Bennet’s biggest worry, and Mrs Bennet’s biggest joy. They had neither accomplishment nor discernment to distinguish them from the usual run of high spirited, ignorant young misses. They lived only for gossip, ‘fun’ and the next ball. They talked of clothes, men and dancing, and never let a serious thought enter their heads from morning (although they usually rose at noon) ’til night. Of course, he did nothing about their waywardness; their mother had charge of their education. Unfortunately their mother was as ignorant as they, and doted on them considerably.
Miss Jane Bennet and Miss Elizabeth Bennet were accounted two of the prettiest young ladies in the county and caused much speculation as to the colour of their fur, until it became obvious that none of the Bennet girls could Change. People nodded sagely, blamed their mother, and wished them well.
Mr Bennet became acquainted with Mr Charles Bingley in the usual way, and after returning from their Run, Mr Bennet settled down to surprise his wife and daughters. He doubted he could surprise Lizzy though, she always had more of the wolf about her than the other girls, a certain quickness of comprehension that he admired and encouraged.
The family ate dinner late, Lizzy occasionally catching the hint of a strange hint from her father. She grinned at him when she realised why. Lizzy ducked her head to hide her smile from the rest of the family. All was well until tea time. Her sisters started talking about balls. Lizzy sat working on a new bonnet, making occasional comment.
‘I hope Mr Bingley,’ for that was the name of their new neighbour, ‘likes it Lizzy.’
‘We are not to know what Mr Bingley likes, since we are not to be acquainted with him.’ Mrs Bennet whined peevishly.
‘Oh but Mamma, Mrs Long says she will introduce us.’ Lydia broke in to the start of her mother’s rant.
‘How can she? She doesn’t return until a day before the Assembly, she won’t be known to him herself, and anyway, she has two nieces she wants husbands for.’
‘Mamma!’ Jane was shocked at her mother’s indelicacy. She shouldn’t have been; Mrs. Bennet was a terribly vulgar woman.
‘Ah, then you will have an advantage over your friend, my dear.’
‘How so? Do stop teasing Mr Bennet! I am heartily sick of Mr Bingley!’
‘I do wish you said so earlier my dear, for I’ve been to visit him this morning. we can hardly escape the acquaintance now.’
‘What?!’ All but Lizzy shrieked in excitement,; she merely smiled at her father and rose to leave the ladies and return to the peace of his book room.
‘What an excellent father you have girls! I knew all along how it would be!’
The two weeks passed rather quickly as all the young ladies of the neighbourhood gossiped about the new master of Netherfield Hall, speculating about his character and looks. The ladies of Longbourne did their best to add to the pool of information by attacking their father for intelligence. All their efforts in that endeavour, direct questions, wild suppositions and sneak attacks could not draw a thing from him.
Not long after Mr Bennet’s visit to Mr Bingley that gentleman returned the courtesy. Despite his wish to meet the you young ladies Mr Bingley saw their father only. The girls were luckier. They saw him from an upstairs window riding away. All they could ascertain though was that her was of moderate hight, and slim, wore a blue coat and rode a black horse. This partial knowledge would have to do them for now.’
What thinketh thou? Should I bother writing any more of it? I really would appreciate some constructive criticism.
I apologise to the ghost of Jane Austen for this terrible bastardisation of her masterpiece.