Saturday, February 2, 2013

A "Pride and Prejudice" Writer's Group

I facilitate a monthly writer's group which consists both of group exercises and solo writing time. Since this week was the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," we decided to do a P&P themed writing exercise. We each took a scene from the book and rewrote it from another character's perspective. They turned out so well, that I asked the group if I could share them on this blog, and they all graciously agreed (thanks guys!). Anyhow, they're quite brilliantly written, and very funny, so I highly recommend taking a look at them if you're an Austen fan. Spoilers if you haven't read the book/watched the movie.


Mrs. Forester's Letter
 By Elizabeth Hausladen
- a reply to Lydia's letter, which she left after eloping with Wickham in Brighton.-

My dear, naughty Lydia,

Or, I suppose I should say, "Mrs. Wickham." What a fright you have given us! As you know, I have a most calm and mature disposition, as quite befits a married woman, but when I discovered you gone I quite fainted from the shock! And you know I am not in the habit of fainting above twice a month unless something truly horrid happens.

Not that your wedding is a horrid affair my dear - and I am sure I am nothing but overjoyed at your change in circumstances, but really, you did promise that I could help you plan your wedding trousseau!

And then on top of this most cruel disappointment, I had to brew simply pots and pots of tea to calm Colonel Forester down, as he was most agitated. And to make matters worse, Dennys came and told him all sorts of nasty stories and now the Colonel does not believe you are married at all! I told him that he was quite silly and of course my darling Lydia was married, but I don't think he believed me. Now he is quite insistent on going to Meryton to tell your father all about it. I am all apologies about that, but after Dennys' stories it really couldn't be helped.

I must tell you that Wickham left some of his debts in Brighton unpaid. Trifles, really, I'm sure, but they do seem rather upset about it all and I think it might be best if you and Wickham stayed in Scotland for the rest of the summer. Although I shall miss you most dreadfully. Colonel Irving's wife has been most solicitous of my well-being and concerned for you and I think she may attempt to fill the hole left by your departure, in which I shall certainly encourage her as I am most bereft.

I have packed all your things, as you asked, except the six lawn hankerchiefs you borrowed from me this summer because you were always dropping yours in front of officers, and I shall send the trunk on to Longbourn with my husband. I couldn't find your second best bonnet until everything was quite packed, but I shall take good care of it and never wear it out in the rain.

I am quite desolate without you, dearest Lydia, but wish you every happiness that is not to be shadowed with sadness over abandoning me.

Yours, always, with affection,

Harriet Forester.

By Meg Graham
-Elizabeth coming to visit Mr. and Mrs. Collins....aka, Elizabeth's reconciliation-

Charlotte pulled her husband along as they went to greet her best friend.

"Really my dear, there is no need to be excited!" Mister Collins huffed, clearly not pleased with his wife's rushing about.

"But I have not seen Lizzie in so long," Charlotte's face was beaming as the carriage made it's way down the dirt road towards the house. 

Soon, the party arrived at the gate and they were welcome warmly as they were greeted at the door. 

Charlotte, unable to hold in her excitment any longer, rushed over to embrace her best friend.

"Oh Lizzie," she exclaimed through a few sniffled. "I've missed you so!" Charlotte pulled away from the hug, but kept Elizabeth's arm wrapped around hers. "I am so pleased you have come."

"As am I, my dear Charlotte, as am I."

"Hello Miss Bennet," Mister Collins greeted in his always proper, always well-mannered, way. "Both my wife and I are elated to see you. Welcome to our humble home. Please, let me give you a tour. Come Charlotte, my dear."

Charlotte blushed with a shy smile as she led Elizabeth along behind her husband as he rambled on about the landscaping and the house fixtures outside.

"My cousin has not changed," Elizabeth mused, whispering in her friend's ear. "Even in his affections towards you, dear Charlotte, he is very much the same. But," she added smiling fondly at Charlotte. "I can see now that you are indeed happy here with him. And that, my dear Mrs. Collins, is enough to make myself happy for you."

"Thank you, Lizzie," Charlotte beamed, a small, relieved smile on her face. "You have no idea how much that means to me." she patted Elizabeth's hand before continuing. "Come," she said. "You and Maria must come and see the house........"


by Joel

-Lady Catherine de Bourgh tells the story of her confrontation with Elizabeth from chapter 57-

I did not begin until we were quite well on our walk, I dare say. None could accuse me of impropriety, but really, I found it hard to stand the insolence of Miss Bennet's disingenuous silence. There was no doubt that she knew her wrong, but she acted as though she had nothing to be ashamed of. It is a wonder I could hold myself back so long. As soon as we entered the copse, I confronted her with the impossibility of her union with my nephew. She swore to be ignorant of any such rumor. Faced with such a bald, cold-blooded lie, my darkest fears awoke. Perhaps she did not merely spread this rumor, but had actively enticed him!

When I questioned her on this point, she refused to tell me anything. Even when I pressed her, asserting the rights of my dear Anne, she contradicted me, denying the facts that were plain to everyone.

“Why may not I accept him?” she asked. (The impertinence!)

“Because,” I said, “because honour, decorum, prudence, nay, interest, forbid it.”

In spite of this eloquence, for I must say I spoke quite forcefully and well, she remained headstrong. I warned her that she would only bring unhappiness and misery on both of them. Indeed, now you can see what it has come to. This marriage! If only she had heeded my advice.


Mr. Collin's Proposal
By Katie Kacalek
-From the perspective of…Mr. Collins-

After breakfast, just after he had finished his second role, but not before Mr. Bennet had left the table, Mr. Collins took a sip of coffee—in order to appear casual—and as he set down his cup, began:

“May I hope, madam, for your interest with your fair daughter Elizabeth, when I solicit for the honour of a private audience with her in the course of this morning?” (After giving the matter some thought, he decided to install the adjective of “fair” to the mention of the young lady, guessing she might feel snubbed—as ladies were prone to be—at not being addressed directly).
He did not listen to Mrs. Bennet’s reply or her short exchange with her daughter, knowing of course that his suggestion would surely be accepted. Since it would have been rude to stare at the ladies and Mr. Bennet as they left the room, he turned his attention instead to a rather amateurish needlework on the wall and pretended to admire it.
Exactly one breath—time enough to clear the air—after the door had shut behind Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, Miss Bennet, and Miss Bennet, Mr. Collins turned to Miss Bennet and began his proposal.
He spoke moderately and earnestly, calling to mind as he did so the page on which he had written the speech two nights before. It was folded in his pocket, but he had no need of it; he prided himself on being an excellent orator. As he spoke his voice rose and fell in a perfect imitation of actual speech; the lady standing before him was doubtless fooled by his appearance of spontaneity.
It was a brilliant speech, carefully and artfully constructed to provide Miss Bennet with all the most prudent and applicable information as quickly and in the best order as possible.
Just as he was reaching the climax of his proposal—finances—the unthinkable happened.
She interrupted.
He was never interrupted.
He had been giving sermons every Sunday to peasants and children and even then he had never been interrupted.
“You are too hasty, sir,” she interrupted and followed through with a rejection.
However, although the timing was somewhat…less than ideal, Mr. Collins was prepared for such a turn of events. Young ladies often rejected their suitors, no matter how appropriate, beneficial, and exceedingly handsome they were. He countered her rejection and prepared his next move.
Again, she protested.
And again.
…And again.
Really, her conduct was bordering on absurdity now.
It was not until she turned and departed from the room right in the middle of his descriptions of their wedding china patterns that he was forced to consider that, perhaps, her rejection of him was based in earnest intent.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Those were all so wonderful! And I must say, the proposal from Mr. Collins' POV was absolutely brilliant. I think that one was my favorite =] It sounded just like something Mr. Collins would be thinking.