P&P in Lesbois – Chapter 1

P&P in Lesbois – Chapter 1

[We thought maybe we could get a pop-hit by rewriting the immensely popular “Pride & Prejudice”. Or at least learn a little bit about how a book can be both good and enjoyable. Not sure how far we’ll get with this idea, but here’s a start.]

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a mate.

But in today’s bustling and itinerant world, where a man will land and even whether or not he’ll keep his feet under him and stand to the fullness of his height, are outcomes difficult to presage.

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that the old Netherfield place has sold?”

Mr. Bennet turned towards his wife, and, looking up over his reading glasses to catch his eyes in hers, shook his head, lips slightly drawn around slightly dropped jaw, slightly. As if to signify, “No! Hadn’t! And?”

“It is! Mrs. Long heard it from Mrs. Short, and

“And that’s the long and short of it!”, Mr. Bennet could not resist interjecting.

“Yes, dear, quite. Anyway, it seems that the property, spacious and of a craftsmanship and detail not often found in this part of town, or really in this city for that matter, and located on a prominent turn on the bench, with commanding views of a bustling commercial district, the fairgrounds, and even a bit of the river, is now in possession of a couple of lawyers and their three children, all boys, and all corresponding in age, and for all we know in diverse and fortunate other ways, to our three girls.”

“What’s their name?”

“Bingley. And their law office is called ‘Bingley & Bingley’. How’s that for a ring?! Oh, I do wish we’d been more enterprising in our comparatively wasted, though very pleasant and one cannot fault or complain about the issue, youth!”

“Yes, it’s a shame to be sure; but like you said, we cannot fault or complain about the results.”

“Anyway, no sense sobbing on dried milkweed — if that’s the expression — “

“It isn’t”

“Anyway, like they say, no sense slobbering over rotted turnips. The main thing’s the girls now, and I don’t think it impious or self-centered to consider the very likely possibility that providence has done us the good turn of bringing three healthy, handsome, academically and physically strong single — as to the best of my reconnaissances — young men aged exactly 20, 23, and 26 to one of the finest exemplars of mid-century modern architecture outside of the North End

“The Netherfield place isn’t mid-century modern.”

“Well, what is it, then?”

“I don’t know: colonial revival?”

“No way! Anyway, that’s hardly the point. The point is that Mrs. Long said that Mrs. Short was given to understand that the family was Presbyterian. Don’t you see?! Three young men. 20, 23, and 26. Presbyterian? We must go introduce ourselves. You and I alone, to assess and strategize before we involve the girls, who don’t know their own minds, let alone their own best-interests. I hate to say it, but there it is! In all its raw brutality: don’t know their own minds, to speak naught of their own best-interests. There it is.” And she, sitting up against the wooden bedhead in pink pajamas, her expensive hairdo protected beneath a sleep cap, shook her head, lips slightly duckbilled together, from side to side in deep fellow-feeling with herself and anyone else who might want to worry about their three children’s lack of insight.

“I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, all four Bingley men may lose concern for the rest of the party.”

“My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty.”

“Perfect! Switch to my barber. Forgo the skin and nail treatments, the teeth-whitening, and the gym. I’m sure we could but the extra $10,000 per annum to good use.”

“You know what I mean. Stop being difficult and consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be for at least one-third of them — given these odds! And then the other two, unable to avoid or ignore the profound lesson of their own dear sister’s obvious happiness in the full womanly office of the attached engaged and otherwise spoken-for, will doubtless amend their courses in due time. Think on all this, and also of the heavenly alignment. Stir, then, into your contemplation of these perhaps ultimately ineffable but still clearly heavenly influences: I say mix therein the holy scripture’s reminder that God helps those who help themselves — and their children. Hold all these particulars a moment in your mind, and I think you’ll find that here and now action, rather than an interminable and wearingly lonesome discretion, is truly the better part of valor.”

Author: Jane Calamity
Editorial Oversight: Amble Whistletown
Production / Transformations into and out of beasts real and mythical: Bartleby Willard
Copyright: AMW

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