I do a good deal of my “writing” away from the computer. No, I don’t use pencil and paper. I play plots and scenes in my head. I like to say that when I’m taking a walk or a shower that I am plotting. But many of my plots will never be written, at least by me.
One thing I considered (and rejected) was a Gilbert and Sullivan/Jane Austen crossover. What follows are a few possibilities.
Pride and Prejudice & Ruddigore
Ruddigore is a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta where the Baronet of Ruddigore gets into trouble because: “Sir Rupert Murgatroyd/His leisure and his riches/He ruthlessly employed/In persecuting witches.”
A witch cursed him. He had to commit a crime a day or he would die in torture. The curse was passed down to each Baronet of Ruddigore. The hero of the operetta solved the problem by pointing out that suicide is a crime, and by not committing a crime, he was committing suicide. Thus, he satisfied the conditions without doing anything.
To bring this to Pride and Prejudice, imagine that Elizabeth and Darcy are engaged, and Darcy suddenly discovers he’s the next heir. Ignore the name discrepancy, since that can be explained. To break the curse, Darcy plans to commit suicide after attending to his affairs as he steadfastly refuses to live a life of daily crime. Before he can tell Elizabeth, she discovers that one of her sisters is dying and will be dead in days.
Seizing the opportunity, Darcy marries the sister. Mr. Bennet, aware of the plan, helps Darcy commit innocuous crimes for a few days by saying he does not have permission to hunt of fish on his land, but he will not prosecute him for breaking the law. Immediately after the sister dies, Darcy marries Elizabeth. Marriage to your deceased wife’s sister was illegal at that time. Therefore, by being married to Elizabeth and not seeking to dissolve that marriage, Darcy is committing a crime every day. He is safe.
Hopefully, Darcy and Elizabeth won’t have any sons to pass the title to. Maybe they can get the title dissolved, which might break the curse.
Pride and Prejudice & The Pirates of Penzance
The plot of The Pirates of Penzance involves a legal contract stating something will occur on the hero’s twenty-first birthday. Would it be delayed if his birthday fell on February 29th? The hero had a sense of duty and agreed, due to this event, to delay wedding until he came of age, sixty-three years after what would have been his twenty-first birthday, if he’d been born on any other day. And his fiancée agreed to wait for him, although “It seems so long!” Fortunately, she only had to wait until the end of the second act.
Suppose Darcy had been born on February 29th. If an old will gave Lady Catherine de Bourgh control of Pemberley until Darcy’s twenty-first birthday, would Darcy be honor bound to follow her wishes? That would make him her charge until his 84th birthday.
Pride and Prejudice & H.M.S. Pinafore or The Gondoliers
H.M.S. Pinafore involves two babies accidentally switched at birth and The Gondoliers involves two babies deliberately switched at birth. What if Mr. Bennet and old Mr. Darcy had been switched and it was only discovered when Darcy came to Netherfield Park? That would make Elizabeth and her sisters heiresses and give Darcy Longbourn, superseding Mr. Collins’ claim. If Mr. Bennet left Pemberley to his favorite, Lizzy, would Darcy marry her to have his home back? Or not marry her for fear his motives weren’t true?
Emma and The Mikado
The Mikado involves an elderly spinster who interprets the kindness of a young man as a proposal of marriage. The man runs away rather than be legally bound to marry her. Who would you like to see forced to marry Miss Bates? My pick is Mr. Elton, although I doubt he would be kind to her.
Pride and Prejudice/Mansfield Park/Emma/Persuasion/Northanger Abbey… or another Jane Austen work of your choice… & The Sorcerer
The crossover for Gilbert and Sullivan with Jane Austen’s novels with the most room for different plots is The Sorcerer. The plot involves a love potion which causes unmarried people to fall in love with the first person they see, usually someone highly inappropriate. It doesn’t work on married people, so we can’t have Wickham fall in love with Mrs. Bennet. To find the perfect match for Wickham, I had to go outside of Pride and Prejudice. I propose to pair him with Mrs. Norris. They deserve each other.
Lady Catherine could be paired with Mr. Collins. This shouldn’t be too bad for either of them. After all, he started out with a high regard for her and she thought enough of him to be willing to listen to his sermons every week.
The trouble with giving Miss Bingley to Mr. Elton is that he would be happy for her money and they could get along very well. I wouldn’t want that. On the other hand, a match between Miss Bingley and Sir Walter Elliot would make sense. He would get her money and she would marry someone with a title, but neither would be overly happy together.
I would like to give Charlotte Lucas a wealthy husband. How about a reformed Thomas Bertram? She would also do very well with Mr. Rushworth and be much more loyal to him than his first wife was.
Getting more unlikely, how about Mr. Wickham with Isabella Thorpe?
What other unlikely pairings would you like to see?
Are there any other Gilbert and Sullivan/Jane Austen crossovers that would make sense or appropriate nonsense?