What if Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was told from a cat’s point of view? On the heels of smash hits like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and I Can Has Cheezburger, this hilarious mash-up by children’s author Pamela Jane and photographer Deborah Guyol spins a fresh, quirky take on two of the things we just can’t get enough of: classic cats and classic Jane.
Pride and Prejudice and Kitties juxtaposes wacky photos of cats with the wicked humor of Jane Austen. Soulful Mr. Darcy gazes at Elizabeth Bennet in fascination; hysterical Mrs. Bennet yowls that no one understands her; somnolent Mr. Hurst passes out on the sofa after dinner; arrogant Lady Catherine hisses at Elizabeth. Each photo includes a hilarious caption that goes along with the text of Pride and Prejudice, told from a feline perspective.
Pride and Prejudice and Kitties is a book for cat-lovers, Austen-lovers, and people who love to laughin other words, just about everyone.
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About the Author
Pamela Jane coaches writers, conducts writing workshops nationally and internationally, and has written twenty-seven children’s books, including Little Goblins Ten and Noelle of the Nutcracker. Pamela also contributes to the popular blog womensmemoirs.com. She resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Deborah Guyol has studied photography with Larry Sultan, Judy Dater, and Ellen Brooks, and her photographs have appeared in print and web publications. She is also a lawyer and coauthor of The Complete Guide to Contract Lawyering. She edits a legal publication, teaches creative writing, and conducts writing workshops. She resides in Portland, Oregon.
Date of Birth:December 16, 1775
Date of Death:July 18, 1817
Place of Birth:Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England
Place of Death:Winchester, Hampshire, England
Education:Taught at home by her father
Read an Excerpt
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a handsome young tom in possession of his own territory must be in want of a mate.
"My dear Mr. Bennet!" said Mrs. Bennet. "Have you heard the news? Netherfield Park is marked at last! What a fine thing it would be for any of our five kittens to catch a rich mouse — I mean spouse," said Mrs. Bennet. "Really, Mr. Bennet, you must pay a call on Mr. Bingley immediately, before that scheming Lady Lucas pounces on him for her daughter Charlotte."
Mr. Bennet, however, feigned indifference, yawning and proceeding to wash his face.
"I'll tell you what, my dear," said he, "why don't you go yourself? I will send a few lines by you to assure Mr. Bingley of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he chooses of our daughters; though I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy."
"I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; I am sure she has neither Jane's fluffiness nor Lydia's animal spirits. But you are always giving her the preference."
Mr. Bennet steadfastly refused to call on Mr. Bingley, and his wife's mournful meows could be heard echoing through the halls of Longbourn. She was as nervous as a cat has a right to be about finding her kittens good mates. For, if she did not succeed in marrying her daughters off to rich toms, she would be thrown out to the hedgerows to catch her own supper when Mr. Bennet died.
Poor Mrs. Bennet was a cat of dim perceptions and horrifying hallucinations. The business of her life was to see her kitties well-mated; its solace was visiting and mews.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.CHAPTER 2
Observing his second daughter attacking a feathered bonnet, Mr. Bennet remarked, "I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy."
"We are not in a way to know what Mr. Bingley likes," sniffed Mrs. Bennet, "since we are not to visit."
"But you forget, Mama," said Elizabeth, "that we shall frolic with him at the assemblies."
At that moment, Kitty began coughing up a hairball.
"Not another hairball, Kitty, for heaven's sake!" cried Mrs. Bennet. "Have a little compassion on my poor nerves!"
"Kitty has no discretion in her hairballs," said her father. "She times them ill."
"When is your next hair ball — I mean ball to be, Lizzy?" "Tomorrow fortnight."
Mr. Bennet suggested they return to the subject of Mr. Bingley.
But now poor Mrs. Bennet found herself coughing up a hairball. "I am sick of Mr. Bingley!" she gagged.
"I am sorry to hear that; but why did not you tell me before?" replied her husband. "If I had known as much this morning, I certainly would not have called on him. It is very unlucky; but as I have actually paid the visit, we cannot escape the acquaintance now."
Upon hearing this, Mrs. Bennet frisked and frolicked with abandon; the irksome hairballs were entirely forgotten. Instead, her head was filled with visions of the coming assembly. There, in the ball room, her daughters would meet the alluring Mr. Bingley and, if all went as planned, enjoy the pleasure of chasing the ball (Sir William Lucas had procured a particularly fine one with a bell inside) under the sideboard with him. These hopes and expectations raised Mrs. Bennet's spirits to a pleasant pitch, for such sport with such a partner promised to answer all her dearest hopes for the happiness of at least one of her daughters, and the security of the entire family.
"What an excellent father you have, girls," said she, when the door was shut. "I do not know how you will ever make him amends for his kindness; or me either for that matter. At our time of life it is not so pleasant, I can tell you, to be making new acquaintances every day; but for your sakes, we would do any thing. Lydia, my love, though you are the youngest, I dare say Mr. Bingley will dance with you at the next ball."CHAPTER 3
Though he had visited Mr. Bingley, Mr. Bennet did not give his family the satisfaction of a description of their new neighbor. Was he long or short- haired, remote or cuddly? Did he sleep on or under the bed? The five Bennet sisters could only speculate on these fascinating questions. But their curiosity would soon be satisfied, for Mr. Bingley would be attending the assembly ball.
"If I can but see one of my kittens happily purring at Netherfield," said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, "and all the others equally well-mated, I shall have nothing to yowl about."
Mrs. Bennet invited Mr. Bingley to dine at Longbourn and planned a marvelous meal of mouse tails and spiced mole. But Mr. Bingley, drooling for a big-city rat, ambled off to London without warning. Mrs. Bennet was quite put out. Was he forever to be straying here and there instead of curling up contentedly at Netherfield?
When the evening of the ball came, Mr. Bingley arrived with his two sisters: Mrs. Hurst and Miss Caroline Bingley. Also accompanying him was his friend, Mr. Darcy, a handsome cat with an equally handsome fortune of 10,000 mice a year and an extra six lives into the bargain.
"What a catch for our girls!" chirped Mrs. Bennet.
As it turned out, Mr. Darcy was a proud, disdainful cat who looked down on country kitties and growled when Mr. Bingley suggested he ask Elizabeth to prance! Fortunately, Mr. Bingley was more accommodating, for he delighted in the company of country cats and romped spiritedly around the room with Jane. After supper, all the cats, with the exception of the proud Mr. Darcy, played with a handsome ball with a bell inside, and an excellent ball it was!
"Come, Darcy," said he, "I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance."
"I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room, whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with."
"I would not be so fastidious as you are," cried Mr. Bingley, "for a kingdom! Upon my honour, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them you see uncommonly pretty."
"You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room," said Mr. Darcy, looking at [Jane], the eldest Miss Bennet.
"Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you."
"Which do you mean?" and turning round he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said: "She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me."CHAPTER 4
Jane was warm in her praise of Mr. Bingley after meeting him at the assembly.
"He is just what a tom cat ought to be," said she, "and he has his breeding papers, too."
"He also has street smarts," said Elizabeth, "since he spends a good part of his time in the sewers — that is, since he spends a good part of the season in town."
"His sisters are pleasing, too," said Jane. "Miss Bingley is to keep Netherfield free of mice. What a charming neighbor!"
Elizabeth said nothing. Privately, she thought the two Bingley sisters proud and conceited. They were of a respectable breeder in the north, a circumstance more deeply impressed on their memories than that their brother's fortune of 5,000 mice a year had been acquired not by hunting, but by trade!
Between [Bingley] and Darcy there was a very steady friendship, in spite of great opposition of character — Bingley was endeared to Darcy by the easiness, openness, and ductility of his temper, though no disposition could offer a greater contrast to his own, and though with his own he never appeared dissatisfied. On the strength of Darcy's regard Bingley had the firmest reliance, and of his judgment the highest opinion. In understanding, Darcy was the superior. Bingley was by no means deficient, but Darcy was clever. He was at the same time haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well-bred, were not inviting. In that respect his friend had greatly the advantage. Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared, Darcy was continually giving offense.CHAPTER 5
Within a short walk of Longbourn lived a family with whom the Bennets were particularly intimate. Sir William Lucas had risen to the honor of cathood and the distinction gave him many airs.
Charlotte Lucas was a close friend of Elizabeth's, and that the two families would meet to talk over the ball (especially one with a bell inside) was absolutely necessary.
Everyone agreed that Mr. Bingley admired Jane Bennet exceedingly. He had pranced with her twice!
"Still," said Mrs. Bennet, feigning indifference as she licked her paw, "it may all come to nothing you know."
They discussed Mr. Darcy who, everyone agreed, was eaten up by a pride — that is, eat up with pride (for, luckily, no lions had attacked him).
"If I had 10,000 mice a year like Mr. Darcy," said one of Charlotte's younger brothers, "I should drink a bottle of cream every day and keep a pack of hounds."
"Hounds, how horrible!" cried Mrs. Bennet with a shudder. "They would chase you all over the countryside."
"I should outrun them," declared the young tom. Mrs. Bennet continued to exclaim over the horror of hounds, and the dispute ended only with the visit.
"[Darcy's] pride," said Miss Lucas, "does not offend me so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. One cannot wonder that so very fine a young man, with family, fortune, everything in his favour, should think highly of himself. If I may so express it, he has a right to be proud."
"That is very true," replied Elizabeth, "and I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine."
"Pride," observed Mary, who piqued herself upon the solidity of her reflections, "is a very common failing I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed, that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us."CHAPTER 6
The kitties of Longbourn soon waited on those of Netherfield. The visit was returned in due form. Miss Bennet's pleasing mannerisms grew on the goodwill of Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, though Mrs. Bennet was found to be intolerable, and the younger sisters not worth sniffing. Elizabeth still saw superciliousness in the Bingley sisters' treatment of everybody, hardly excepting even Jane, and could not like them.
It was generally evident that Mr. Bingley did admire Jane and equally evident that Jane was in a way to be very much in love; but Elizabeth considered with pleasure that Jane was not a demonstrative cat, and her preference was not likely to be discovered by the world in general. She mentioned this to her friend Charlotte Lucas, who only shook her head.
"If a cat conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of securing a home. Who will want to pet and pamper such a cat?" she said. "Jane should therefore make the most of every half hour in which they are playing or napping to command his attention."
"But Jane has known Bingley only a fortnight," said Elizabeth. "She romped with him at Meryton and shared a bowl of wet food with him in company four evenings. Those four evenings have enabled them to ascertain that they both like Purina better than Fancy Feast, but with respect to any other leading characteristic, I do not imagine that much has been unfolded."
A few days later, the neighboring cats gathered at Lucas Lodge. Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley's attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his pedigreed friend. No sooner had Mr. Darcy made it clear to himself that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her luminous eyes. And, in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of an aristocat, he was caught by their easy playfulness as she chased a ball of yarn under the table.
Elizabeth then proceeded to pounce on the piano and the other cats pranced around the drawing room. Mr. Darcy watched in silence.
"What a charming amusement this is for young cats, Mr. Darcy!" said Sir William Lucas. "I consider prancing as one of the first refinements of polished society."
"Certainly, sir; and it has the advantage also of being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world. Every alley cat can prance."
"You have a house in town, I conclude?" asked Sir William.
Mr. Darcy yawned.
"I once had some thought of getting fixed in town (by an eminent veterinarian of our acquaintance) so Lady Lucas would not be disturbed by my nightly prowls."
Soon afterwards, Miss Bingley approached Mr. Darcy.
"Imagine," said she, "the insipidity, and yet the yowls — the nothingness, and yet the self-importance — of all these country cats! What would I give to hear your strictures on them!" growled Caroline.
Mr. Darcy assured her that his mind was more agreeably engaged in admiring Elizabeth Bennet's beautiful eyes.
"Miss Elizabeth Bennet!" repeated Miss Bingley. "I am all astonishment. I've heard she's a good mouser, too, so that settles the matter. Pray, when am I to wish you joy?"
"A female's imagination is very rapid," remarked Mr. Darcy drily. "It jumps from admiration to mice, and from mice to matrimony, in a moment."
Convinced by his manner that all was safe where Elizabeth was concerned, Miss Bingley spent the rest of the evening trilling to Mr. Darcy and preening herself by the fire.
"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance [said Charlotte to Elizabeth]. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always contrive to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."
"You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound. You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself."CHAPTER 7
Longbourn, Mr. Bennet's territory, produced 2,000 juicy mice a year. The entire estate was end-tailed to a male hair, unfortunately for the Bennet sisters, for Mr. and Mrs. Bennet had produced only female litters.
The two youngest kitties, Catherine and Lydia, had craniums even smaller and more vacant than those of other cats. They rollicked and romped here and there without a rational idea in their heads. Indeed, these empty-headed kits were filled with rapture upon learning that an army of toms were to camp in the neighborhood for the entire winter! What flouncing and pouncing they anticipated, what bells and balls! Mr. Bingley's large fortune paled beside the vision of a red-coated, red- blooded tom.
Their father just shook his head.
"From all I can collect by your manner of romping," he observed, "you must be two of the silliest cats in the country."
Later that day, a footcat came in with a note for Miss Jane Bennet. It was an invitation from the two Bingley sisters to dine at Netherfield, though the tomcat of the house would be out.
At that moment, something quite remarkable occurred. A thought popped into Mrs. Bennet's tiny brain — that Jane go on horseback to Netherfield so that if by lucky chance it rained, she would have to stay overnight.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Pride and Prejudice and Kitties"
Copyright © 2013 Pamela Jane and Deborah Guyol.
Excerpted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.
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