Chapters of Pride and Prejudice and Aliens

Chapter 3 – Pride and Prejudice and Aliens – JAFF Mr. Darcy Book

Rough first draft.

The Bennet family arrived at the small stone church in Meryton, filing into their usual pew. As the organist began playing a hymn, Elizabeth scanned the congregation, noticing Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy seated across the aisle. She suppressed a smile at the stark contrast between Mr. Bingley’s relaxed posture and cheerful expression compared to Mr. Darcy’s ramrod straight back and dour look.

The opening prayer had scarcely finished when a commotion arose from the pew behind Elizabeth. She turned to see her younger sister Lydia whispering and giggling loudly with her friend, drawing disapproving looks from nearby parishioners.

“Lydia, do be quiet,” Elizabeth whispered sharply, but Lydia ignored her, continuing to chatter and fidget in her seat. Out of the corner of her eye, Elizabeth noticed Mr. Darcy observing the scene, his eyes narrowed. She felt her cheeks grow warm with embarrassment.

Further down the pew, Mrs. Bennet leaned over, “Lydia, you must stop this nonsense at once,” Mrs. Bennet whispered sharply. “The entire congregation can see you acting like a foolish child. Have you no concern for our reputation?”

Lydia rolled her eyes. “Oh Mama, I was just having a bit of fun,” she replied in a loud whisper. “Don’t be such a bore.”

Mrs. Bennet’s face flushed. “You will lower your voice this instant, young lady!” she hissed. “Now sit up straight and be silent or there will be no trips to Meryton for a month!”

With an exaggerated sigh, Lydia slumped back against the pew and crossed her arms sullenly. Mrs. Bennet gave a curt nod and turned her attention back to the front of the church.

Elizabeth sat rigidly through the remainder of the service, acutely aware of Mr. Darcy’s intermittent glances in her direction. She felt a flush of embarrassment at her family’s spectacle and silently commended her mother for stepping in to quell Lydia’s outburst, though she feared the admonishment had come too late to prevent a tarnish on their reputation. The prospect of Mr. Darcy’s disdainful remarks later to Mr. Bingley, based on such behavior, weighed heavily on her mind.

She desperately hoped that Lydia’s outburst would not tarnish the family’s reputation in Mr. Bingley’s eyes. Elizabeth feared that Mr. Bingley might withdraw his attentions from Jane. The prospect of her beloved sister losing Mr. Bingley’s regard over something so trivial made Elizabeth’s heart ache. She wished fervently that her mother had intervened sooner to curb Lydia’s reckless tongue.

As the congregation filed out after the service, Caroline sidled up to Mr. Darcy. “Such a delightfully quaint country church,” she said lightly. “Though some seem not to appreciate the… decorum such a place requires.”

Mr. Darcy’s only response was a non-committal murmur, his eyes following the Bennets’ exit. Caroline’s smile widened.

Elizabeth hurried outside, eager to escape. She lamented the unfortunate impression her youngest sister had made on Mr. Darcy, reinforcing his poor opinion of them. Her only consolation was that she would likely have few occasions to interact with the disdainful man in the future.

“Did you see the patterns etched across Miller’s wheat field? They say it’s the work of the devil,” one townsperson whispered to another, casting a furtive glance skyward as if expecting to see a sign.

“And the cattle at Squire Pattinson’s farm,” another chimed in, “found drained and lifeless, as though taken by some unearthly predator! No wolf does that, mark my words.”

Elizabeth overheard snippets of other conversations – talks of thunder rolling in the absence of clouds, and bright flashes across the night sky that left even the most stolid farmers scratching their heads in wonder.

“It’s as if the heavens themselves are in upheaval,” said the baker, a worried frown creasing his usually jovial face.

Such occurrences might have been dismissed as rural superstition in any other circumstance, but Elizabeth couldn’t help the shiver that ran down her spine. These were not mere tales to frighten children; something inexplicable was transpiring.

She quickly found her sisters among the crowd, exchanging a glance with Jane that communicated their mutual concern.

Elizabeth waited until they were back home at Longbourn, and after lunch, to find Mr Bennet alone in his library. She hesitated in the doorway, observing her father seated in his favorite worn leather chair by the fireplace, a book open on his lap.

“Father, may I speak with you a moment?” Elizabeth asked.

Mr Bennet glanced up, raising his eyebrows. “Of course, Lizzy. Do come in.” He set his book aside.

Elizabeth perched on the edge of a chair opposite him. “I wanted to ask your opinion on the strange occurrences people have been discussing lately – the lights in the sky, the tremors, the tales of creatures draining animals dry.” She lowered her voice. “I myself felt an odd tremor the other day, though no one else seemed to notice. And the servants whisper of seeing lights streaking overhead at night.”

Mr Bennet steepled his fingers, his expression thoughtful. “Yes, I have heard the servants’ chatter. And the villagers spin wild theories in the tavern, I’m sure.” He chuckled. “But I wouldn’t put much stock in fanciful stories, my dear.”

“But do you not think it could be a sign of something amiss?” Elizabeth pressed. “Perhaps even Napoleon’s troops have crossed the Channel?”

Mr Bennet shook his head. “If it were Boney, we would have seen smoke on the horizon, heard cannon fire. An invasion could hardly go unnoticed.” He smiled gently at Elizabeth. “I know you have an active mind, Lizzy. But I suspect these are just the product of bored villagers looking for some excitement.”

Elizabeth bit her lip. “I suppose you are right. I just cannot shake this uneasy feeling…”

“Now, now.” Mr Bennet patted her hand. “No need to worry yourself over country tales and tricks of the light. I’m sure it will all be yesterday’s gossip soon enough.”

Though still troubled, Elizabeth nodded. She knew pressing the issue further would be futile. “Thank you for indulging me, Father,” she said, rising from her chair. “I will try not to let the gossip stoke my imagination.”

Mr Bennet chuckled again. “See that you don’t. Though I daresay your imagination could invent tales far more thrilling than any circulating Meryton.”

With a small smile, Elizabeth left her father to his reading, thoughts swirling. She wanted to trust his reassurances, yet the disquiet lingered.


Elizabeth picked at her lunch half-heartedly, only half listening as her mother prattled on about Mr. Bingley and her hopes that he would soon pay a call on their household. She was still preoccupied by the strange events that had been occurring around the countryside. Though her father had dismissed her concerns, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right.

Mr. Bennet’s voice cut through her thoughts. “Mrs. Bennet, I must ask you to have another place set at the table for supper tonight.”

Mrs. Bennet’s face lit up. “Mr. Bingley is coming to supper?” She grasped Jane’s hand excitedly. “Oh, I knew it was only a matter of time before he paid you notice, my dear!”

“No, my dear, it is not Mr. Bingley,” Mr. Bennet replied, a glint of amusement in his eyes.

“Not Mr. Bingley?” Mrs. Bennet looked crestfallen. “Then who?”

“It is my cousin, Mr. Collins, who will be inheriting Longbourn upon my death.”

A heavy silence fell over the table. The Bennet sisters exchanged uneasy glances, knowing full well what Mr. Collins’ inheritance meant – their eviction from their childhood home.

Mrs. Bennet was the first to break the silence with a dramatic wail. “Turned out of our own home! Oh, what shall become of my poor girls when you are dead and gone?”

“Do not distress yourself, Mrs. Bennet,” replied Mr. Bennet drily. “I am sure Mr. Collins will take the greatest care of you all.”

His sarcastic tone did nothing to mollify his wife’s hysterics. “You take delight in vexing me! How can you make light of this?”

As her parents continued to bicker, Elizabeth’s thoughts turned to the mysterious Mr. Collins. What manner of man would turn a family out of their home without compunction? She had hoped never to make his acquaintance, but it seemed that meeting was now unavoidable.

Her father’s voice interrupted her contemplation. “I have received a letter that he means to make up for the estrangement between our families from the earliest possible moment.”

With the letter clutched firmly in his hand, Mr. Bennet paused for a moment, casting a glance at his family before he started to recite the contents. His voice, laced with a theatricality he reserved for moments such as this, filled the room.

“—I have been so fortunate as to be distinguished by the patronage of the Right Honourable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, widow of Sir Lewis de Bourgh, whose bounty and beneficence has preferred me to the valuable rectory of this parish, where it shall be my earnest endeavour to demean myself with grateful respect towards her Ladyship, and be ever ready to perform those rites and ceremonies which are instituted by the Church of England. As a clergyman, moreover, I feel it my duty to promote and establish the blessing of peace in all families within the reach of my influence—”

As he read, the absurd character of Mr. Collins began to unfold, aligning perfectly with the ludicrous image Elizabeth had already painted in her mind.

She couldn’t help but smile as her father read Mr. Collins’ letter aloud. Though the prospect of their cousin inheriting Longbourn was sobering, his excessive formality and fawning praise of Lady Catherine painted him as quite the oddity.

“He certainly seems a character,” Elizabeth remarked, eyes twinkling with amusement.

“Indeed, his obsequiousness towards Lady Catherine is rather pronounced,” replied Mary in her customary serious tone. “One wonders if he is capable of an original thought.”

Kitty and Lydia, who cared little for discussions of clergymen, grew quickly bored. “May we be excused?” Kitty asked petulantly. “We’ve no interest in this Mr. Collins.”

Mrs. Bennet, anxious to discuss prospects, readily assented and the two youngest daughters scurried off.

As the conversation continued, Elizabeth felt her earlier unease about the strange events around Meryton lessen slightly. This unexpected visit from their eccentric cousin Mr. Collins and speculation about what manner of man he would turn out to be overtook her previous worries.

“Perhaps Mr. Collins will provide some much needed liveliness to the neighborhood,” Elizabeth mused. Though the entail remained an ever-present threat, she hoped their cousin’s company might offer amusement during his stay, providing a distraction from the unsettling rumors that still lingered at the back of her mind.


The arrival of Mr. Collins at Longbourn sparked a mixture of reactions among the Bennet family. Mrs. Bennet pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes, regarding their cousin and heir with clear displeasure. Yet Mr. Collins beamed, seemingly oblivious as he gushed over Longbourn’s charms and the gracious welcome of his relations.

Elizabeth bit back a smile as she watched the obsequious man bow and compliment endlessly, his manner so excessive as to seem like parody. Catching her father’s eye, she saw Mr. Bennet’s lips twitch in an effort not to laugh at their ridiculous cousin.

After Mr. Collins finished approving the dimensions and furnishings of their breakfast room with enthusiasm bordering on absurd, he turned his attention to Mrs. Bennet. “My dear Madame, you must be justly proud of maintaining such an elegant household and rearing such lovely daughters.”

At this, Mrs. Bennet softened slightly, a pleased flush rising in her cheeks. “Well, I do my best for my girls, though our situation, as I’m sure you understand…” She trailed off meaningfully.

“Say no more, dear lady!” Mr. Collins exclaimed. “Rest assured, I am fully sensible of your delicate position. Yet one could search far and wide and not find a more pleasing home or fairer maidens than at Longbourn.”

By now Mrs. Bennet beamed under his compliments, her demeanor transformed to gracious hospitality. She bid him sit and pressed an abundance of refreshments upon him. Mr. Collins needed little encouragement, cheerfully helping himself to tea, cakes, and cold meats while continuing to extol the many advantages of Longbourn.

As Elizabeth set down the teapot, she caught her father’s eye again with a wry smile. The absurdity of their cousin regaled them both, though she felt some pity for the man underneath her amusement. Still, she doubted whether much sincerity or sense lay beneath his torrent of words.

“As delighted as I am to make the acquaintance of my fair cousins,” Mr. Collins was saying importantly, “I do have a particular purpose in visiting Longbourn sooner than I envisioned.” He paused before announcing, “I am resolved to choose a Mrs. Collins without delay from among my cousin Bennets!”

Mrs. Bennet gasped, pressing a hand to her chest in surprise and delight as his intention dawned on her. “Oh! Do you mean…you wish to select a bride from among my girls? Oh, Mr. Collins!”

“Indeed, esteemed lady!” He nodded enthusiastically. “As Longbourn’s next heir, it seems only appropriate to unite myself in marriage with one of Mr. Bennet’s daughters. Such an alliance will go far, I think, in healing any wounds inflicted by the unhappy business of their displacement.”

Elizabeth raised her eyebrows at Jane in astonishment. His abrupt declaration and seeming expectation that they should be grateful for his condescension was astounding. Yet Mrs. Bennet appeared overjoyed.

“How perfectly considerate you are, Mr. Collins!” she declared. “It would set all our minds at ease knowing one of my dear girls was so well settled. Why, we had not dared hope for such tidings, had we, Mr. Bennet?”

“It is generosity itself, to be sure,” Mr. Bennet replied sardonically. If Mr. Collins detected the subtle mockery, he gave no indication. Instead, he nodded benevolently.

“I flatter myself to be acting in the best interests of all parties. Perhaps after dinner, I may become acquainted with my fair cousins to discern which is best suited to become the next Mrs. Collins.” He rubbed his hands together in anticipation, fully confident in his welcome and the appeal of his offer.

Elizabeth pressed her foot against Jane’s under the tea table, barely suppressing the urge to giggle at the absurdity. “Indeed, we look forward to bettering our acquaintance, do we not, Jane?”

Jane smiled politely. “Yes, I am sure we will all enjoy lively conversation this evening.”

After the tea was cleared, Elizabeth managed to whisper to Jane, “Can you believe Mama’s delight? She is ready to have him choose any of us, I daresay!”

Jane sighed. “She is thinking only of our future security. But oh, imagine being married to such a man!”

Elizabeth pulled a face. “Let us hope he chooses you or Mary. I believe I should run mad if subjected to a lifetime of such sycophancy and foolishness!”

“Hush!” Jane gently scolded, though her eyes glinted with humor. “We must be charitable. First impressions are not always correct.”

“Yours certainly are unfailingly gracious.” Elizabeth squeezed her hand affectionately. “Very well, for your sake, I shall strive to be patient.”


Elizabeth sighed as she entered the Philips’ drawing room, bracing herself for the evening ahead. Mr. Collins bumbled in behind the Bennets, already pontificating loudly about the grandeur of Rosings Park and the magnificence of his esteemed patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

Mrs. Philips greeted them warmly, though her smile faltered slightly as Mr. Collins launched into a rapturous speech on the glories of the De Bourgh bloodline. Jane caught Elizabeth’s eye with a subtle grimace, both sisters steeling themselves for the inevitable discomfort their cousin would cause.

The militia officers provided a welcome distraction. Lydia and Kitty immediately flocked to the striking figure of Mr. Wickham, whose easy charm and handsome features made him an object of fascination for the younger Bennet sisters. Mary hung back, watching the card games begin with a small frown of disapproval.

Mr. Collins seated himself at a table, waving Elizabeth over eagerly. “Cousin Elizabeth, you must join me for a round of whist! I daresay my skill shall impress the whole company.”

Elizabeth bit back a smile as she took the seat opposite him. “I shall try not to be outmatched, Mr. Collins.”

The game began and it quickly became apparent that Mr. Collins did not, in fact, possess any discernible skill at cards. His blunders elicited winces from Elizabeth, though she maintained a polite demeanor.

During a break between hands, Mr. Collins launched into a detailed comparison of the merits of Rosings Park versus Longbourn. Elizabeth nodded along half-heartedly as he described the manor’s extensive grounds and the generosity of Lady Catherine.

“It is only due to her ladyship’s condescension that I find myself able to pay this visit to my noble cousins at Longbourn estate,” he proclaimed.

Elizabeth raised an eyebrow. “Condescension? That seems rather a strong sentiment.”

Mr. Collins looked affronted. “I speak only of her ladyship’s abundant graciousness in allowing me to attend to familial duties. The magnificence of Rosings Park exceeds even the comforts of your own home, Cousin Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth bit her tongue, doubting very much that Rosings Park held any appeal beyond Mr. Collins’ absurd veneration. She dealt the next hand, hoping to avoid any further panegyrics on Lady Catherine’s “abundant graciousness.”

The game continued, marked by Mr. Collins’ frequent exclamations of shock at his mounting losses. Each minor error elicited effusive apologies for disgracing his noble patroness by his lack of skill. Elizabeth remained silent, letting him dig his own pit rather than chastise him directly.

As supper was served, Mr. Collins launched into another monologue extolling Lady Catherine’s generosity, until he was interrupted by Mrs. Philips.

“My, how devoted you are to Lady Catherine,” she said lightly. “I’m sure our little gatherings here pale in comparison to an evening at Rosings.”

Mr. Collins looked aghast. “Indeed, my dear madame, no insult was intended toward your humble abode! I speak only out of habit, for Lady Catherine herself…”

“Of course, of course,” Mrs. Philips replied soothingly. “No need for apologies. We are honored by your presence here tonight.”

With an awkward little bow, Mr. Collins subsided, realizing his blunder. Elizabeth caught Jane’s eye, barely suppressing a grin.

Elizabeth was lost in thought as she sipped her wine. A shadow fell across her and she glanced up to see the smiling face of Mr. Wickham.

“Miss Elizabeth, you seem deep in contemplation this evening. I hope I am not intruding?”

“Not at all Mr. Wickham,” Elizabeth replied, gesturing for him to sit. “I was merely observing the lively spirits of the party.”

His smile faded slightly. “Yes, though I confess such frivolity does not always sit well with me. The militia life can be a lonely one for a man of more serious temperament.”

Elizabeth studied him with interest. “Serious temperament? I had not thought that description suited you, Mr. Wickham.”

“Ah, you see only what I choose to reveal, Miss Elizabeth,” Mr. Wickham said ruefully. “In truth, I have suffered grave injustices that compelled me to don this carefree guise.”

Seeing her curiosity piqued, he continued solemnly. “I speak of none other than Mr. Darcy, who deprived me of my rightful inheritance and left me no recourse but to join the militia to make my way.”

Elizabeth’s eyes widened. She listened intently as he described his childhood as the son of Mr. Darcy’s late father’s steward, growing up together at Pemberley. He painted a picture of friendship turned sour by Mr. Darcy’s jealous attempts to suppress him.

“And so he denied me the living I was promised, leaving me without prospects,” Mr. Wickham concluded mournfully.

She shook her head in dismay. “How abominable! Mr. Darcy always appeared proud, but I did not think him capable of such injustice.”

“Sadly, his wealth and status protect him from facing consequences for his callous actions,” Mr. Wickham said bitterly.

Elizabeth offered a sympathetic glance toward him. “I am so sorry. You were clearly treated most unfairly.”

Elizabeth’s conversation with Mr. Wickham was interrupted by the energetic voice of her younger sister Lydia. “Mr. Wickham! Several of the officers wish to dance, but Mary is playing only dull, slow songs. You must come persuade her to play something more lively!”

Mr. Wickham smiled indulgently. “Duty calls, it seems. Please excuse me, Miss Elizabeth.” He bowed and followed Lydia, who was already chattering about which dances she hoped he would lead.

Elizabeth watched them go, vexed by Lydia’s forwardness. Nearby, Mary was seated at the pianoforte, her playing faltering as Lydia called for livelier songs. “Really, Lydia, have some consideration,” Mary said in annoyance.

But Mrs. Bennet waved a hand dismissively. “Oh posh, Mary, let the young people enjoy themselves! Play a reel or hornpipe, they wish to dance!”

Mary’s frown deepened but she acquiesced, transitioning reluctantly into a spirited dance tune. Lydia laughed gleefully and pulled a willing Mr. Wickham into the set. Kitty and the other officers quickly joined.

Elizabeth sighed, feeling secondhand embarrassment at her family’s behavior. Jane came to sit beside her, offering a sympathetic smile. “Do not trouble yourself, Lizzy. Lydia is just enjoying the evening in her own way.”

“Enjoying it at the expense of our dignity,” Elizabeth muttered. But further discussion was curtailed by the sudden pontificating tones of Mr. Collins as he drew near.

“What a delightful gathering! It calls to mind the frequent balls and dances held at Rosings Park, hosted by my noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Her ladyship’s taste in music and entertainment is beyond reproach…”

Elizabeth and Jane exchanged subtle grimaces as Mr. Collins launched into a detailed account of a musicale held at Rosings Park, with frequent mentions of Lady Catherine’s discriminating taste and generous condescension in allowing him to attend.


Elizabeth breathed in the cool night air as the Bennets made their way home from the Phillips’ gathering. Above them, the sky was unusually clear, the stars seeming almost preternaturally bright.

“Did anyone else observe that?” Kitty inquired, her gaze lifting toward the heavens. “There appeared to be a flash of light ascending just now.”

“Yes, how odd,” said Mary peering up curiously. Even the more skeptical Elizabeth could not deny the strange flashes and trails of light dancing across the heavens.

“It’s those celestial lights again,” Jane remarked. “People have been seeing them all over the county lately. I wonder what causes such things?”

“Likely just swamp gases or some such nonsense,” Mr. Collins proclaimed authoritatively. “In any case, we should not dwell on such frivolous matters. Our thoughts are better directed toward higher things.”

Kitty rolled her eyes but Mrs. Bennet nodded approvingly.

“Too true, Mr. Collins. What do these lights and omens matter for our daily lives? We ought not indulge idle fancies.”

Elizabeth suppressed a smile at her mother’s quick agreement with their pompous cousin on a subject she clearly knew nothing about.

“Come now,” Mr. Bennet said mildly. “If lights appear in the heavens, is it not natural to wonder at them? Speculation need not imply idle fancy.”

“Hear, hear,” Elizabeth murmured appreciatively.

“I must disagree, sir,” Mr. Collins replied. “Curiosity about such phenomena often leads to ungodly superstitions. As a man of the cloth, it is my duty to guide minds toward more elevated matters.”

Elizabeth bristled slightly but her father answered calmly. “An interesting perspective, to be sure. But might not the study of the natural world also constitute a veneration of God’s creation?”

Mr. Collins looked taken aback, seemingly unused to having his pronouncements questioned. “Well…I…that is to say—of course we must appreciate the glories of creation. But we must not let insidious doubts infect our thoughts.”

“Doubts are not insidious,” Elizabeth said, unable to restrain herself. “They lead to greater understanding.”

“Lizzy!” her mother admonished. But Mr. Bennet looked amused.

“Let Mr. Collins express his views,” he said. “The diversity of thought is what makes discourse worthwhile.”

They had reached Longbourn. Mr. Collins seemed flustered but managed a small bow. “You are generous to indulge my humble opinions, dear cousins. I speak only from my wish to impart wisdom and guard against moral decay.”

“Of course, of course,” Mr. Bennet said soothingly. “Your intentions do you credit.”

They bid their cousin goodnight. As Elizabeth climbed the stairs, she marveled that one man could exhibit such arrogance and pomposity alongside such inadequacy and silliness. Despite the pervasive whispers about celestial disturbances, the evening’s array of topics and Mr. Collins’s peculiarities had offered Elizabeth some measure of respite from her deeper worries.

When the Netherfield party arrives to take up residence in the long-empty Netherfield Hall, rumors swirl that the estate is haunted. Skeptical Elizabeth Bennet laughs off the ghost stories, until a series of eerie events forces her and the aloof Mr. Darcy to confront the possibility of restless spirits stalking the halls.

As bizarre occurrences plague the old house, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are drawn together in the search for answers. Battling fears and prejudices, they forge an unlikely alliance that blossoms into mutual understanding and possibly something more. But not everyone is happy to welcome this connection.

Can Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy overcome the mysterious workings of Netherfield before their hopes for happiness are extinguished? Set during the Christmas season, Halloween JAFF puts a spooky twist on Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice characters in this suspenseful tale of ghostly happenings, romance, and the power of courage and love conquering all.

Pride and Prejudice and Phantasms is a slow burn romance between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet that is over 65,000 words and features hijinks, lighthearted spookiness, a flustered Caroline Bingley and happily ever after for ODC.