Skip to content

A Chance Encounter with Mr. Darcy’s Progenitor

(In honor of the 200th anniversary of Pride & Prejudice, a review written in a style which attempts similarity to that of Miss Austen.)

I found myself, through no fault of my own, suffering terribly for several days under a fever. During the course of that time, I exhausted the contents of my reading list and asked my beloved wife if I might read her favorite book, one Pride and Prejudice by a Miss Jane Austen. Here is my opinion.

Miss Austen is a talented writer. She is witty, charming, gifted in her phrasing and descriptive ability, and has a sharp, perhaps wicked, sense of humor. I don’t like her at all. Next to hers, my own prose arrives at the ear uninteresting and plain. Hateful woman. Her ability to make the mundane and silly prattle of Elizabethean women both interesting and delightful gives me cause to doubt my own abilities.

I had the privilege of attending a ball at which Miss Austen was also an attendee. A Mr. Darcy, my longtime friend at whose estate I have often passed enjoyable hours fishing for trout in his stream or listening to his delightful sister play on the piano forte, did the pleasure of introducing us. In person, I found Miss Austen engaging, insightful, and possessed of a savage ability to expose to the world the innermost parts of other attendees with a mere sentence. May I always find myself in her good favor.

During that encounter, Miss Austen enquired as to my opinion of her book, as Mr. Darcy had informed her previously of my reading it. I told her all that I have already described to you. She then asked me to be forthright and direct with her as to my personal opinion. I hesitatingly told her that, while I found her writing gifted and her skills great, I was not enamoured with her subject matter as it falls outside of my personal interests. She gave a frown and replied, “Of course, you are not among my target audience.”

We both stood silently for a moment, regarding one another. Our stern gazes met, softened, and smiles appeared. Soon we found ourselves laughing giddily and causing no small scene. In the end, we embraced and parted as friends.