Monday, December 20, 2010

Noel in Paradise?

The number of unmentionables has been rising incredibly over the past few weeks. As I said to Mr. Bennet only yesterday, if you spend more time on the battlefield than the ballroom, something is wrong!

As you may know, unmentionables are a subject of much contention in the Bennet household—but fear not! I have a solution! Why, only last week, my neighbour Mrs. Lucas was telling me about the lovely—and nearly dreadful-free—opportunities for travel to the New World. (Yes, Mrs. Lucas and I are back on speaking terms, though I haven’t forgotten how her daughter Charlotte betrayed our family).

She was telling me about a lovely place in Florida—one of the colonies in the new world. Apparently, there’s a village there called Orlando, which is charming, warm, and has not yet been afflicted by the plague. Why, simply imagine what the balls and events must be like there, with the summer warmth, and not a single dreadful to be had?

I’m currently dropping “hints” for Mr. Bennet—hopefully he will understand what I’m getting at—a lovely vacation for the family, one that’s ever so much more relaxing than a stint in London or a week in Bath. Of course, the trip will take nearly two months to complete, but I would consider it a Christmas worth the wait. What do you think of my plan, readers?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Decorations, Without Risk of Decapitation!

Reinvent these five everyday objects for an affordable—and dreadful-free!—holiday season.

1.    Gauze: Certainly, you have more than enough white gauze in your first aid kit. Simply bundle this material in whimsical “poufs,” hang it from your ceiling using your cross-stitching thread, and you have turned your home into a winter wonderland!
2.    Katanas: When in the hands of a man intent on decapitating a dreadful, a katana is lacking a certain degree of “holiday cheer.” However, the blade is quite handy for removing chestnuts from their shells, and slicing those cheery ribbons that adorn your Christmas packages! 
3.    Bayonettes: When polished to a holiday sheen and adorned with a bough or two of greenery (only if you can get outside safely!), these silver embellishments can enhance even the most sophisticated of homes.
4.    Iodine: Perhaps you have this disinfectant on hand to prevent the plague from spreading. But the liquid can also be used as a dye that adds a lovely violet hue to your drab, outdated wardrobe. Simply soak a tired pair of dancing slippers or a faded pinafore in iodine, and you have a reinvented winter wardrobe!
5.    Musket Balls: When painted silver, these perfect spherical forms are lovely adornments to hang from your Christmas tree, or to include as a decorative element in that basket of sweetmeats you deliver to your close friends each year. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Has Arrived!!!

Last night a thick blanket of snow covered Longbourn—just in time to harken the “Christmas season” on the first of December! Such was the joy of rising to a world sparkling with ice and snow that the girls and I decided that we simply must decorate the house, and set out at once to collect boughs of holly for our Yuletide décor.

We hadn’t gotten more than a few hundred metres from Longbourn before we encountered a most disturbing scene—the pure snow adulterated by the savage red blood of a newly dead corpse, its brain stripped bare by the teeth of a group of zombies. (You didn’t hear it from me, but I daresay it was our Southernly neighbors who were most recently afflicted with the plague—they lacked breeding in life, as well as death!) The snow was disturbed and tousled around the stiffening body, and we could only assume that the unmentionables were wandering in the woods, waiting to attack. Why, even the name of Father Christmas would not discourage them from quite ruining our holiday season.

Of course, Lizzy and Jane set out at once, pulling their daggers from their boots and swearing that they would each slay at least twelve unmentionables before sundown.  Thankfully, I have five daughters, and three of them were more interested in Holiday Cheer than hunting the undead.

Now, in case you were wondering, we have discovered a few ingenious methods for decorating our home using everyday objects (in a manner that requires less “scavenging” for boughs and branches than normal). As soon as I have a moment to spare, I shall compile a list of our ideas—for they are as stylish as they are safe!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Enough with the noise!

A musical selection for to help you mask the unappetizing moans, screams, and plodding footsteps of those incessant unmentionables!!

1.    Gloria Estefan- Conga: I quite dare you to listen to this tune without leaping to your feet, and “celebrating life!” Why, last week I was so swept up in “doing that conga beat” that I didn’t notice an unmentionable clawing his way into a second story window. (Fear not, Mr. Bennet was waiting with a loaded musket.)

2.    Amy Grant- Baby Baby: What follows marriage? Why, grandchildren, of course! When the zombies become terribly loud outside, I listen to this song, and imagine all of the children my daughters will soon produce. 

3.    Indigo Girls – Galileo: It’s so lovely to see what beautiful music two friends can make!

4.    Wilson Phillips- Hold On: Sometimes I believe these women speak directly about my plight…spectacular lyrics!!!!!

5.    Cher – If I Could Turn Back Time: Putting this song on my list, DOES NOT mean I approve of Miss Cher’s incredibly offensive attire. But her voice! I can’t get enough!

6.    The Carpenters – Rainy Days and Mondays:  Well, I must say I was unfamiliar with this song until my dear, heartbroken Jane insisted on listening to only this song for days on end. It’s quite melancholy, but lovely all the same.

7.    The Human League – Human: Not only is this a lovely song, but it reminds us of what we all are, humans! Enough with the unmentionables!

8.    The Shirelles - Going To the Chapel of Love: Need I say more!?!? What a joyous song, and it really gets me thinking about what matters in life. J

9.    Dirty Dancing - Time of My Life: Who can forget that final scene in Dirty Dancing when Baby and Johnny risk everything for their love!?! Why, I get goose bumps even thinking about it!

10.     Tina Turner – Proud Mary: Before the plague even descended upon England, I used sing this song to dear, serious Mary. Today, she merely purses her lips at the sound of these notes, but oh how she used to dance!

11.     Shania Twain­­ – You’re Still the One: More singers should instill the value of attaining masculine attention and finding love. I © Shania!!

12.     Falco- Rock Me Amadeus: Heres, a ditty that Mr. Bennet enjoys—such a novel “reinvention” of dear, familiar Mozart (though, to be quite honest, it’s not much to my own liking.)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lizzy's Latest Endeavour

Some of you may have heard that my daughter Lizzy, in addition to insisting that she can fight as well as a man (why would you even want to?), has begun a small “zombie apothecary” business in our cellar. She’s become quite adept at creating salves and balms that she claims will combat the plague. As for me, I took it upon myself to convince Lizzy that the products must at the very least be floral scented (for everyone knows that jasmine and rosemary are universally appealing to men). She is currently selling these products on

I sat down with my daughter Lizzy to discuss her endeavour, which, while not exactly ladylike, could at least be considered a handicraft in some circles (thus adding to her “accomplishments” as a young lady).

Mary was kind enough to transcribe our conversation, which appears below:

Mrs. Bennet: Why Lizzy, are you really intent on tying your hair back in such a manner? It’s so unfetching!

Lizzy: I thought I was here to talk about my apothecary business, mother.

Mrs. Bennet: Oh yes, yes, of course, I’m simply trying to “warm the waters” as they say!

Lizzy: Well, I have a batch of Reanimate and Perambulate smelling salts drying in the garden, so I don’t have long to discuss such trivialities.

Mrs. Bennet: Well, then! Silly me to keep you here, speaking of “trivialities” as you say, which will only help you find a husband! I daresay no gentleman will be impressed by this apothecary business of yours—your hairstyle is the only thing that will remind them that you’re a woman.

Lizzy: Goodness me, I knew this was a trick! I’m leaving.

Mrs. Bennet: No, no, no, no! Please, Lizzy, stay! Now let’s start over. Tell me about your business. My readers are very interested.

Lizzy: Well, all right. It’s a small apothecary business, and I’ve been producing salves and disinfectants so the people of Hertfordshire can better ward off the plague. Why, what happened to all those poor children at Beechman’s Home for Oprhans would have been completely avoidable, if they only had my Gnaw-be-Gone Purifying Poultice on hand.

Mrs. Bennet: What does that one smell like again? Peonies? Don’t roll your eyes at me! It’s a valid question.

Lizzy: Well, anyway, I’ve been sending small boxes of goods to powerful individuals in the area, so they can better ward off the plague. It’s been quite successful so far. I’ve also been selling these products on my Etsy account.

[long pause]

Lizzy: Why are you wringing your hands?

Mrs. Bennet: Are you really sure you won’t change your hair style? Lizzy! Don’t walk away! It’s just because I know how attractive it could look!

Well, anyway, perhaps the interview didn’t go quite as well as I wished, but please do take a look at Lizzy’s products:

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Avoiding the most "unmentionable" embarrassment of all!

It’s fall again, dear readers. Longbourn estate is in such a tumult of activity, what with preparing for the autumn balls, taking walks around the grounds, and enjoying afternoon tea in the company of so many important and handsome members of society—no! I will not say a word about whom exactly I speak! (Here, please excuse a most selfish aside: four of my five daughters are brunettes, and as I find the crisp weather and autumnal colors to be quite in the favour of their complexions, I do expect at least one marriage proposal before the season is out!)

Of course, along with the excitement of such balls and activities, it seems that Longbourn’s loamy fields are quite prone to the unearthing of all manner of unmentionables. Their tattered garb and utterly disfigured visages are a daily affront to my lawn, and dear Lizzy spends nearly two hours each day outdoors, slaying them in her finest clothing and most dainty dancing slippers. Of course, Mr. Grahme-Smith’s atrocious exposé of our family has done doing nothing to help Lizzy’s cause. In fact, I believe that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has contributed to her complete abandonment of all things feminine. Dear readers, if you encounter this book, please tell any interested parties that Mr. Grahme-Smith’s depiction of my daughters’ unladylike behaviour is utterly exaggerated. They are much more radiant and less blood-splattered than the horrendous pictures that he chooses to display so brazenly within his book’s pages!

But I digress. Let me simply introduce this afternoon’s “question of note”: What is to be done with an overly headstrong daughter? And how, exactly, can one expect to marry her off, when she insists on spending her afternoons studying ninja techniques, and prefers a Katana to a lovely crochet? If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I have been quite begging Mr. Bennet to take my side on the manner; alas, he utterly refuses to ask Lizzy to enjoy more ladylike pursuits.

I will publish the most noteworthy responses to this question in one of my upcoming correspondences.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Marriage, motherhood, and the "dreadful" horror of the undead!

19th Century Mombie is a correspondence dedicated to the particular (and sometimes peculiar!) difficulties of trying to raise ladylike and marriage-worthy daughters in the midst of the terrible plague that has over-run England. As a “self-proclaimed” mombie, I place the greatest importance on all manner of techniques and tactics to, as I like to say, “Get the girls married!” I also see it as my duty to counteract the gross exaggerations about my daughters’ unladylike behaviour as portrayed in Seth Grahme-Smith’s unfounded piece of fiction about my family, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

In these difficult times, my dear daughters must frequently forsake propriety in order to fight the undead—but I remain convinced that they need not fall into the “unmentionable” horror of spinsterhood! With five daughters (Elizabeth, Jane, Mary, Kitty, and darling Lydia), I consider myself quite the expert in the field, and I thought it my duty to inform my fellow matriarchs of what I’ve learned. I also find it helpful to include my personal cooking, sewing, and “socializing” techniques, as well as information on the latest and most fetching bonnet and frock styles for all those daughters out there—and the mothers that insist that they remain à la mode!

 Just because dear England is under siege by such terrible (and badly groomed) unmentionables, this is no reason to give up on the decorum and propriety that the “old guard” remember so fondly. I wholeheartedly encourage you to enjoy, benefit from, and share what you learn here.

Mrs. Bennet
Longbourn Estate
Hertfordshire, England