Charlotte and Elizabeth were returning from the village when they saw Mr. Collins coming down the lane. Because he was frantically waving his black parson’s hat as if hailing a London cab, it was apparent the man was in distress.
“Charlotte, you must come! Come quickly!”
“What is the matter, dear,” Charlotte said, quickening her pace.
“My cucumber has gone missing.”
After a quick glance at his breaches, Mrs. Collins informed her husband that his cucumber was still there. Lizzy, stifling a giggle, hinted that Mr. Collins was referring to the cucumber in his garden.
“Oh, of course,” Charlotte said, blushing.”
The two ladies hurriedly made their way to the garden where the theft of the ten-inch gourd, pinched off at its root, was confirmed. After Mr. Collins informed Charlotte and Lizzy that he had already interrogated the staff to make sure that they had not pilfered his plant, he asked if they knew of its whereabouts. Both shook their heads in unison. But then Lizzy pointed to footprints embedded in the path, revealing the culprit to be a female. After following in the thief’s path, they arrived at the gate that fronted the road to the village. It was there that they discovered tracks made by a carriage, the get-away conveyance of the thief. Continue reading →
The wished-for proposal did not come. The green sarsanet, the primrose silk, the floral printed gown with the fichu, were all cunningly constructed so to give Miss de Bourgh’s figure consequence, and accordingly worn with her best French ringlets and hair decorations. None of these things, nor all of them, brought Mr. Darcy to a declaration. To Lady Catherine’s mortification, Darcy was invariably polite, and listened to her deliver strictures and dictates with commendable patience, but he seldom seemed to even notice that Miss de Bourgh was in the room at all.
Darcy and Fitzwilliam had arrived with promptitude, just when they were expected, in the week before Easter; and they were welcomed with all the festivity that was at the command of Lady Catherine in doing the honours of her own house. She had hoped that Anne might be equal to charming and entertaining at least one of her cousins, but Anne said very little, and whether from embarrassment or from pique, remained a silent stick in the corner each evening, despite Lady Catherine’s grossest and most urgent attempts to bring her forward.
“I do wish Anne could play to you. She has such taste! Mr. Collins the other day said that never did he see a young lady with more real musical ability, who did not know how to play, and that her preference for Mozart over Haydn showed her taste to be very nearly divine.” Continue reading →
The first in a series by Persuasion’s Mary Musgrove
My sister, Anne, is fond of saying this: “Into each life, a little rain must fall.”
As if Lady Russell weren’t enough, I must have Anne prosing at me. Was there ever a more annoying sister?
I’ll have you know that in my life, rain simply pelts down! But does anyone care? Gentle reader, this is a hard and cruel world. No one knows what I suffer.
At this time of year I am often laid low by a cold. And yet I have learned the gentlewoman’s art of making the best of sicknesses. Allow me to explain.
No illness is trifling. Anne nobly soldiers on, determined to do her duty no matter how poorly she feels. And what, I ask you, is the result? The infection of an entire household! Get this straight: Gentlewomen are delicate creatures. When you are ill, for goodness’ sake, lie down and be ill. You owe it to yourself and your family.
Discomfort is to be made much of. When you cough, do it thoroughly. When you sneeze, say, “Bless me!” Use your suffering to elicit pity. Is this a crime? Certainly not! Look, if you do not call attention to your sorry state, no one will notice. Continue reading →
by Jack Caldwell
The Austen Interviews #7 – An Interview with Colonel Sir John Buford
JC – Good evening, once again. Jack Caldwell here, and in a much larger studio than we’ve used before. Thank you, NBC and Jay Leno, for letting us use The Tonight Show stage and house band. But there’s a good reason for that, isn’t that right, ladies?
AUDIENCE OF WOMEN – WE WANT SIR JOHN!
JC – Ha ha! My special guest is a Welshman and the most popular original character I’ve ever created. So, let’s get right to it! You want him out here; I want him out here—
AUDIENCE – YEEAAHH!
JC – Ladies and … ladies, I give you Colonel Sir John BUFORD!
(AUDIENCE GOES WILD AS THE HOUSE BAND PLAYS THE TOM JONES CLASSIC, IT’S NOT UNUSUAL)
COLONEL SIR JOHN BUFORD – Good evening, ladies.
(AUDIENCE GOES EVEN WILDER)
WOMAN’S VOICE – I LOVE YOU, SIR JOHN!
JB – Thank you. The ladies are very … welcoming tonight, Mr. Caldwell.
JC – They’ve been waiting a long time for this. Please sit down.
JB – Thank you, I— (BUFORD IS STRUCK IN FACE BY AN OBJECT THROWN FROM AUDIENCE) What is this?
JC – Err… that’s a thong.
(LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE)
JB – Is it a weapon? It resembles a sling.
JC – It has been known to bring a man to his knees. It’s a lady’s weapon, if you get what I mean.
(LAUGHTER FROM AUDIENCE)
JB – I will pocket this little keepsake and perhaps meet later with the kind soul who offered it.
AUDIENCE – OOOOHH!
JC – Well, we’re packed to the rafters, and they’re not here to see me! Colonel, tell us a little about yourself.
JB – (FLASHES A BRIGHT SMILE) Are you certain I will not bore to tears all the lovey ladies assembled?
AUDIENCE – NOO! Continue reading →
Lady Catherine prided herself on her deportment, which consisted in a magnificently upright carriage, and a way of moving that might be called an arrogant glide. To display a need for haste, would be deserving of contempt; a lady did not hurry-skurry like a schoolgirl. Yet on this morning, Lady Catherine did enter the small summer breakfast-parlour at Rosings with such unwonted rapidity that Miss de Bourgh and Mrs. Jenkinson looked up startled from their work.
It was only March, yet the ladies liked to sit in this room of a morning because it had good light for stitching, and was in its way more comfortable than many of the grander rooms. Anne, who hated to walk before noon, liked to sit and sew, and look out of window. She was engaged in making yet another garment for her trousseau, which had been her self-assigned daily task for many years. Almost since she was a little girl sewing her sampler, had she worked on the embroidered linens and night-dresses for her marriage to Mr. Darcy. She seldom accomplished more than one or perhaps two stitches a minute, but fortunately Mrs. Jenkinson had worked more steadily and great piles of fine Irish cloth and delicate laced muslins were put up in lavender in the massive cedar-lined chests, waiting in the great store-rooms of Rosings for the happy day. Continue reading →
As an author responsible for my book’s promotion, I speak to book clubs, literary guilds, and library groups about my book, the creative process, and the journey to publication. After such a talk last week where I had gone on for 40 minutes, sacrificing my husband and children for a laugh, baring my rejection history for a little sympathy, and explaining how my creative technique evolved from watching Gilligan’s Island as a child, someone raised their hand. (I’m embarrassed to admit this). The gentle reader asked, “What is your book about?”
I told her.
And then I went home and wrote on my note cards: TELL THEM WHAT THE BOOK IS ABOUT.
Along these same lines, I realized I had gone on and on about Jane Austen, but I’d never bothered to say what I love about her, why I devoted five years of my literary life and a book to her. As a result, I’ve made new note cards for future book talks and next time, immediately following the elevator pitch* (the 90 second synopsis of my book), I’ll explain exactly why I care about Jane Austen. Here are five reasons: Continue reading →
Valentine’s Day… ahhhh… the most romantic day of the year… better than Christmas AND my birthday!
I just know I’m going to get showered with the usual array of flowers, candy, and handmade, heartfelt valentines. I’ll be serenaded. lauded with compliments and proclamations of undying love and …
(For those of you old enough to understand this reference: Insert *record needle scratching across the record sound effect here.*)
So, what I’m going to be doing instead is this:
1. Taking a cold shower.
2. Treating myself to a venti decaf non-fat latte at Starbucks
(and yes, they have really cool Valentine’s Day cups now, see below)
3. Imagining my day as if I were surrounded by Mr. Darcy and a few other usual suspects…
Coffee in hand, I’m going to pretend as if I’m as smart as Elizabeth Bennet, but as gorgeous as her sister Jane. While I’m at it, I’ll make myself as rich as Emma Woodhouse, as passionate as Marianne Dashwood, yet as steadfast as Elinor. I may as well be as young as Catherine Morland and yet as clear-headed in a crisis as the mature Anne Elliot.
I’ll start my day with Colonel Brandon…
…who, being the eldest hero of the bunch (yet, at 35, he’s still deliciously younger than me!) has his people drive the kids to school for me. After fighting (and winning) a duel on my behalf, he will then come back here and have his servants make us a wonderful romantic breakfast of fresh fruit, mimosas and … is that a flannel waistcoat hanging on my leopard-print lampshade?
Moving on to about the eleven o’clock in the morning hour, I have found that the combined intelligence of Elizabeth, Elinor and Anne has allowed me to finish my day’s work in one hour’s time, leaving the rest of the day free for debauchery of all kinds.
So, naturally, when Mr. Willoughby knocks on the door…
…I’m happy to invite him in. (What? You wouldn’t let him in? Yes, you would!) He proceeds to read me all of my favorite poems and he passionately says all of the right things at the right time. He sets out a picnic lunch of strawberries, artichokes, oysters on the half-shell and chilled white wine. He swoops me up off my feet and carries me to the picnic blanket. I sure enjoy his bad-boy ways but when he tells me my eyes shine brighter than the stars in the sky, I can’t help but laugh and show him the door.
Not long after a letter arrives in the mail, and it’s from none other than Captain Wentworth…
…I can’t disclose the contents of the letter, but we all know the man can write. Let’s put it this way: I now understand why Anne waited seven years for this guy. But alas, the Captain’s off at sea and nowhere near the Chicagoland area …
A footman arrives to tell me that Mr. Darcy…
…has kindly arranged for my kids to be chauffeured to their myriad of after-school activities by someone other than me, and this would’ve made my day right there! However, the footman also announces that the kids will be well taken care of for the duration of the evening. They will be fed and homework will be done and checked over! Mr. Darcy’s French chef will be providing a six-course romantic dinner for the two of us. That Mr. Darcy thinks of everything. But what’s a lady to do once her work is done and her children are away for the next six hours—on Valentine’s Day? Well, it seems Mr. Darcy has taken care of that little issue by making a grand, personal appearance. * Fade to black here, for about six hours. *
Around 9:30 pm Mr. Tilney…
…the most charming Austen hero of all, with hands down the best sense of humor, arrives with my kids in tow. He’s laughing and joking with them, and ha, ha, off they go to bed! Mr. Tilney, having a certain flair for fashion himself, requests a fashion show of my new spring outfits and I oblige, of course, catwalking as best I can! He advises me on the outfits that look best, showering me with compliments, champagne, and lovely writing journals all along the way. Wait! He notices a bit of lint on my top, and would I come closer? He flashes that mischievous Mr. Tilney smirk. Closer? Closer …
Suddenly there’s a loud knocking on my office door. I’m holding a cold cup of coffee and my laptop screen blinks a blank page at me.
“Mom?! Mom?!” It’s my daughter knocking. I look at my watch. It’s 8:30 in the morning on February 14th. “Are you going to drive us to school or what?!”
Do you think if I look in the mirror I’ll still be as gorgeous as Jane Bennet?
Just another day in the idyllic life of a Jane Austen-inspired fiction writer…
Happy Upcoming Valentine’s Day, Everyone & Love To You All
from Karen Doornebos author of DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY!!!
Which hero(es) or villain(s) would you spend your Valentine’s Day/Night with?
Thanks to Siren of the Storm (whoever you are) for crafting the hysterical “A Regency Romance in 2 Minutes” and sharing it with the world on Fanfiction.net. If you haven’t read this before, Oh! You must! Totally tongue-in-cheek as it pokes fun at the numerous romance cliches – and a bit naughty (you are forewarned) – this witty read will have you rolling on the floor. Here is the first part, followed by the link to read the rest. Enjoy!
A group of rogues enters to find the heroine looking innocent and sexy.
Rogue 1: We are a group of handsome, rouguish friends!
Rogue 2: Note how disgustingly wealthy we all are!
Rogue 3: We’re like a pack of wild, roguish, devastatingly handsome wolves!
Rogue 4: A pack made up entirely of alpha-males!
Rogue 5: This causes no problems in the group dynamic at all, believe it or not.
Rogue 6: We have terrible reputations as rakes and scoundrels! Continue reading →
Good morning (afternoon, evening, middle of the night, sunrise, sunset, witching hour, etc) my friends. In my part of the world it’s winter right now, and well, I have a bit of the doldrums. I’m really done with being cold and am ready for spring. Or chocolate. Whichever comes first. I’m easy.
So, I’m going to trust my good friend Jane, who said, “To be very brief was all that she could determine on with any confidence of safety.”
I’m all about safety.
I was thinking last night about what I should be writing for this blog post. And what did I have playing on my laptop while I was musing? Northanger Abbey, of course! I love Northanger Abbey. It’s one of my favorite books, right up there with P&P and Persuasion. I’ve read it so many times I’ve got it memorized and I’ve enjoyed both film versions. (Although I really prefer the 2007 Andrew Davies one over the vaguely creepy 1987 Peter Firth edition)
Henry is in many ways an overlooked Austen hero. He’s not haughty like Darcy, he’s not angry like Wentworth, he’s not humorless like Knightly (or Bertram or Brandon) (Jane really had a trend there, didn’t she?) Henry is an all-around nice guy. The problem(s) he has are all based around his father, who is not a nice person at all. Henry likes dancing, he makes jokes, he is simply charming. Continue reading →
“My dear Anne,” Lady Catherine de Bourgh said to her daughter, “I do hope you will be taking your drive today. You need an airing.”
“Is is so cold,” Anne replied fretfully, “I do not see how a constitutional drive can be expected to do any one good in the month of January.”
“You know what Dr. Shaw said,” Lady Catherine put down her eggshell-thin teacup deliberately. “Your health requires a great deal of fresh air, and today it is sunny.”
“A pale sunshine, and I do not believe it is going to last. There are several black clouds. And it is so dreary sitting up in the pony phaeton alone.”
“Take Mrs. Jenkinson,” urged Lady Catherine, “Upon my word, I would go with you myself, only I have an immense deal of correspondence. There are important matters occurring in the nation, and I, as a magistrate, must inform the Prime Minister of my views. And then I must do some sick-visiting. There is a laborer in the village who is refusing to labour, and I am certain he is just shamming.”
“I could come with you there,” said Anne, brightening up a little.
“No; if he is ill, we could not run the risk. You are not strong, Anne, and would be liable to catch cold, in those chilly cottages. Besides, I wish that you would call at the parsonage.”
“The parsonage?” Anne frowned. “Oh, Mama, have we not paid sufficient attentions – and more – to those odious people?” Continue reading →