Last year, I participated in Austen Authors’ read along of Emma. It was my second reading of the novel. It’s a very good story — but a long one, and, to be honest, one that I struggled with at times just because it seemed to not move along fast enough for me, and there were some characters (including Emma) who aggravated me. 🙂 However, I did find this second reading gave me a better appreciation for some of them.
Elementoffun. “Emma 2009 – If You’re Not the One.” YouTube. YouTube, 04 Jan. 2010. Web. 27 May 2017.
I think my favourite character was Miss Bates. She often shared some information in her long meanderings that hinted at what was really happening, and if other characters had paid closer to attention to her rather than tuning out her babblings, they might have discovered things before they did. But, Miss Bates was not a character designed to be listened to. I find that so clever of Miss Austen to use such a character in this fashion.
Today, I have chosen to share one of the three aimagined scenes that I wrote during the read along. There is a place where Miss Bates leaves her house to meet up with Emma and is engaged in talking outside of her home for some time — since you know Miss Bates is not a lady of few words — and Frank and Jane are left alone with a slumbering Mrs. Bates. Rebecca Jamison who was the discussion leader that week asked what we thought happened in that little interlude in chapter 28 when the two true lovers were left alone. Below you will find my answer — in vignette format.
The reason I have chosen to share this particular piece of writing instead of something I wrote this week is because, well, my brain seems to be in a little slump, and it was occupied for most of the week with the publication of both Better Than She Deserved and At All Costs.
I did sit down with a story I wrote some time ago and have always wanted to extend into a novelette or novella, but as I started rewriting it, I was finding that the story was not capturing my imagination. I believe my writing suffers when I am not fully engaged in the story, so I decided to tuck that story away for now. I also think the story needs an expanded concept and better conflict/plot development before I go back to it. This means, however, that I am back to needing to decide on a writing project. So far, I haven’t landed on anything, and I am attempting to just relax and refill the creative well with things like music videos such as the one above, reading, movies, and fun activities.
So, while my brain rests and recovers from the workout I have given it of late, enjoy this little scene of what might have been in Emma.
An Interlude Between Acts:
Frank waited until the door had latched and the prattling of Miss Bates could only be heard softly through the window. Then, after a “your spectacles will soon be fixed” spoken at a loud volume without so much as a snort from the elderly sleeping lady, he pushed away from the table and crossed the room to the window where Jane stood watching Mrs. Weston and Miss Bates cross the road. “I had wished to dance with you last evening,” he whispered close enough to her ear to make the little tendril of hair that looped down past her ear dance on his breath. “But they suspect nothing. In fact, Miss Woodhouse is quite convinced that the pianoforte is a gift from Colonel Campbell.”
“I do not like it, Frank. This shifting and covering — it has its pleasures to be sure, but it makes me uneasy. It has my nerves in such as state that I can barely force myself to eat until I am nearly famished and faint. I am always certain that any instant, one small slip will reveal all, and we shall be separated forever. ”
He pulled her back from the window. “That will never be. These people,” he waved his hand in a circle as if to encompass the whole of the area, “are so easily led. A pleasant word, an easy smile, and the approval of the illustrious Miss Woodhouse is all it takes to be thought the best of men. They do dote on her, do they not?”
“Must you dote on her as you do? I find that also to be quite intolerable.”
“Jealous?” he teased, rubbing a thumb across the back of her hand.
“Indeed I am! The way you make love to her and in my presence! It is very trying to remain so calm, you know. I have a mind to fling myself at Mr. Knightley. He is very accommodating, and I might be able to prey on his generous, caring nature.”
Laughing, Frank pulled her into his embrace. “Mr. Knightley would be the first to suspect something if you did, and I dare say Miss Woodhouse would be beside herself with displeasure. I do believe she is jealous of you.”
Ah, he loved the way her eyes grew wide at a surprise. He only wished he could have been here when the pianoforte had been delivered. “Yes, you. You are well-liked, fair, and quite accomplished. It is rather trying for me to say things that border on or are complete disparagements of you when speaking with her, for you know how I love you, my beautiful Jane.” There was the smile and blush he had been longing to provoke since his arrival. That was not all he had been desiring and since the room was practically empty. He cast a look in the direction of the sleeping old lady, who had not stir at all. Satisfied that all would remain none-the-wiser, he lifted Jane’s chin. “This,” he said placing a soft kiss on her upturned lips, “is for you alone. Miss Woodhouse might require my attentions for now, but you my dear will always have my heart.” This declaration was followed by a second kiss and a third. Finally, after a few more moments of reveling in the freedom to be together, Frank returned to his work repairing the spectacles, while Jane took a moment to compose herself before the noise that was Miss Bates and her friends entered the parlour.