Story Title: Be Careful What You Wish For
Author Name: Sillimaure
Story Url: Story Link
Content Rating: All Ages
Length: 14,100 words
Story Summary: Mrs. Bennet discovers in a most distressing way that achieving her fondest desire may not turn out in the manner in which she expects.
Allow me to be blunt and admit that “Be Careful What You Wish For” appeals to a vengeful, angry corner of my mind – one of which I am certainly not proud. But if you have ever wanted to see Elizabeth get even with Mrs. Bennet for the worst of her behavior, you’ll find this very satisfying. More specifically, if you’ve wondered what would have happened if Elizabeth had been forced to marry Mr. Collins, here is your answer.
This isn’t an angsty tale. It is, however, a bit of an angry tale. It is told from Mrs. Bennet’s POV, about 10 years after the events of Pride & Prejudice, during which time Elizabeth was forced to become Mrs. Collins. At the opening of this tale, Mrs. Collins and her family are moving to Longbourn, where the recently widowed Mrs. Bennet holds ridiculous delusions of maintaining her status as mistress of Longbourn.
It was obvious to me from Jane Austen’s book that Mrs. Bennet was (not unlike certain members of my own family), someone whose view of reality took precedence over reality itself. She was never one to let facts interfere with her perceptions and beliefs. In the book, it was obvious she had no idea what her widowhood would entail if Elizabeth were Mrs. Collins. She also seemed to be utterly unaware of the depth of anger which Elizabeth could carry – something Mr. Darcy unfortunately became aware of at Hunsford. “Be Careful What You Wish For” takes Mrs. Bennet’s intended actions and delusions, following them through to their logical consequences.
So imagine, if you will, a world in which Elizabeth not only missed out on the Hunsford lesson about her temper and grudges, instead she was given more reasons to fuel that angry shade upon her character. Ten years later, and Elizabeth is certainly not as shrewish as I fear I might’ve become under such circumstances, but neither is she the happy, kindhearted, forgiving woman we see at the end of Pride & Prejudice. She is a woman who has had ten years to blame Mrs. Bennet for ever slight, every disgusting element, every annoyance and every horror associated with her role as Mrs. Collins. And now she is living at Longbourn with her mother as a dependant. Woe be unto Mrs. Bennet!
Again, I must emphasize that this isn’t story isn’t angsty. It’s a great story for venting, letting off some steam, and reveling a bit in the kind of anger I know I would feel, were I in Elizabeth’s shoes. Thankfully, Elizabeth has a good moral character beneath it all, which prevents her from giving in to her less charitable urges. But best of all, the story ends with the most wonderful possible conclusion – one which I am confident will delight any reader. I certainly had a huge grin at the end!
My Only Critique: I can’t think of anything to truly critique here! I’d love to know a bit more about Elizabeth’s relationship with her father, but because the story is told from Mrs. Bennet’s POV, and Mrs. Bennet is oblivious to anything that doesn’t interest her, we only get the most essential information in that regard. As it is, the author managed to convey a surprising amount of information into a very short story. I wish I could write as concisely as this author and still manage to convey so much!
Please Note: As always, the “Out-of-character behavior (Deliberate)” tag is never used as a critique, but to make it easier to locate recommended stories in which deliberate characterization changes were made. In this case, a primary purpose to this story is to examine the personality changes which Mrs. Bennet’s actions have forced upon Elizabeth.