Last Saturday, a friend and I visited a local thrift store. They were having a twenty percent off everything sale — how can you resist that! As is my normal habit on entering a thrift store, I began my perusal of items with the books, DVDs, music CDs, and paintings. In other words, all the imagination inspiring treasures.
“Dan Gibson The Northern Mist.” YouTube. Ed. RELAX NATURE MUSIC -Emmaqui3♥. YouTube, 21 Aug. 2015. Web. 26 Mar. 2017.
I found two CDs of instrumental music. They have both found their way onto my mp3 player on my desk, and I have been listening to birds while writing every day this week. The song in the video above is track two on Songbirds at Sunrise. In my opinion, which is the one that matters when the music is for my writing time 😉 , I think these songs are perfect for imagining a scene in a garden or meadow, and part of what I wrote did take place in a garden. However, only a small part. So, apparently, the music is equally as effective when plotting compromising scenes in libraries. Sadly, I am only going to share the garden portion today.
The story I was focusing on writing this week is called Not an Heiress and is a sequel to the story Discovering Mr. Darcy — this story got its epilogue and has been sent off to my last editor. It should be published sometime around the middle to latter part of April.
Other than writing just over 7,000 words on this new story, I also added close to 1,000 to With the Colonel’s Help and edited six chapters of At All Cost, which should be starting the editorial rounds by the beginning of April. Needless to say, it was a busy and tiring week, but it was also extremely enjoyable. I am quite excited about all four of the projects that demanded my attention this week. So excited, that I have had trouble sleeping. The good colonel has been assisting me with working out plot ideas when I should be sleeping. I have asked him to wait until a more appropriate time of day, but it seems an impatient colonel outranks a mere authoress.
Now, shall we get on to the longish excerpt from Not an Heiress? This sequel will focus on Colonel Fitzwilliam and Mary Bennet and will feature a compromise. As you should all know by now if you have read my secondary character stories, don’t expect a completely typical Mary. This Mary reads sermons and is rather serious, but she has a particular reason, at least when Richard is around, for reading this material. (Also, Lady Catherine in this story and in Discovering Mr. Darcy is also not typical — demanding and all, but not typical. This is definitely Austen with a twist.)
EXCERPT FROM Not an Heiress:
Mary did not spend very long at the parsonage, just a few minutes with Charlotte hearing about the antics and accomplishments of the two young Collins boys and inquiring after Charlotte’s health as she was preparing for the arrival of a third child. Then, after a mere five minutes of listening to Mr. Collins wax eloquent on the book he was lending, she was free to leave. Charlotte was so very good at distracting her husband when he began meandering. Mary hoped that when she married she might find a sensible husband. A parson would be nice — one with a good living or two. That would afford her the comfort she desired. Of course, the wedding papers would have to be created in such a fashion as to leave her and any children she might have with ample means to live without relying on the charity of relations too much.
She sighed. If only she were an heiress. Then, she would have a home and a husband that would provide everything for which she wished, but she was not an heiress and so she must put fanciful and imprudent dreams out of her head. Colonel Fitzwilliam would not be hers, no matter her heart’s desire on the matter.
She rambled along the tree lined lane, book under her arm, and mind firmly engaged with one of those imprudent dreams. In this one, she was walking this very lane leaning on the colonel’s arm. She sighed. She had noticed how his arms had been so very firm and strong whenever she had had the chance to walk with him at Pemberley. So strong. She wondered if a parson would be as well muscled at as colonel. She supposed not. After all a colonel spent his time in riding and other gentlemanly pursuits while a parson spent his time studying. Reading, though a magnificent exercise for the brain, did very little to strengthen the body.
It was on these things that she was pondering when she turned from the lane and entered Rosing’s garden in the exact place where Richard was being chased by a squealing Alexander. She was not prepared to confront him just now. She had not had a moment to read anything grave! How was she to not allow her mind to be filled with him when she had fed it with nothing but poetry and novels? So, being totally unprepared, she was doomed to be struck most soundly by his presence and the charming prospect of him as he might be as a father. Had Alexander not stopped when she appeared at the edge of the garden, she might have been able to slip back into the lane and find a less provocative route to the house or a place to sit and read a bit before she ventured back into the garden.
“Miss Mary!” Colonel Fitzwilliam drew to a halt not far from her. “I did not expect to see you at Rosings? Are you visiting your cousin?” He directed the question to her but turned to make certain Alexander was still close. The child had moved, but not away. He had taken a few steps toward Mary and was tipping his head to the side as if he were trying to figure out who she was. “It is Aunt Mary,” Richard told him. “Mama’s sister.” He held out his arms in invitation to Alexander. “Come. Give your greetings as a proper young gentleman should.”
It did not take more than a minute for the child to find his way into Richard’s arms where he managed to give Mary a sweetly proper greeting by repeating everything that Richard told him to say.
“It is good to see you Alexander,” Mary replied. “Is your mama in the house?”
Alexander twisted to look back at the house. He pointed and babbled about mama and biscuits.
“Ah, yes, Uncle Richard did promise you a biscuit, did he not?” said Richard. “Shall we invite Aunt Mary to join us and share our biscuits?”
Alexander’s brows furrowed.
“She will not eat many,” Richard assured him. “Shall we ask her?”
A smile crept across the young boy’s face, and he nodded his agreement.
“Very well. Miss Mary will you join us for biscuits?”
“And tea?” Mary asked Alexander.
“Tea.” He head bobbed up and down.
Richard, extending an arm to Mary, steeled himself for the pleasant jolt he always felt when she accepted his assistance. He had not prepared in vain, for as she lay her hand on his arm, there it was again. If only he could find a woman of the ton with a substantial dowry who could cause the same reaction in him. He had searched diligently for three months now, attending soiree after soiree and dancing with every quiet, soulful-eyed debutante he could find. When none had been able to attract him as Mary did, he had cast the net so far as dance with the more exuberant and popular young ladies.
“How long are you visiting your cousin?” He hoped it would not be long. For it if was, he would have to go back to London and its balls and parties before he could be reminded too fully of all that Mary was. A fresh memory of her would do nothing to assist him in his attempt not to compare every young lady to her.
“I am not visiting my cousin,” she said.
“You are not?”
“No, Lady Catherine has asked me to come stay with her. She misses Anne.”
Oh, this was not good. Not good at all. He would have to create an escape plan. Perhaps a supposed letter from a friend could call him away. “Are you staying long?”
“Indefinitely,” Mary replied. “Or until I find a husband. Your aunt is insistent that she can see me well-matched before the end of next season.” Unfortunately, it would not be to the man she desired, but one did not always get what one wished.
He had known she would eventually marry. She must. It was not as if she had the independent means to live on her own, and he supposed she did not wish to spend her whole life without a husband and family. When Alexander was just an infant, Mary had visited Pemberley and had been so naturally good at calming the child and tending to his needs. She was born to be a mother. It really was too bad she was not an heiress, for he would very much like for her to be the mother of his children.
“Next season? So a year or nearly so?”
Mary shrugged. “Unless a worthy candidate stumbles into Kent and presents himself before then. I will be given some time to visit my family, but the majority of my life shall be here — under Lady Catherine’s tutelage.
“I am surprised Darcy had not mentioned this.” It was unlike his cousin to keep information from him.
“I only arrived three weeks ago. Lady Catherine thought it unnecessary to inform him since he would be arriving for his annual visit in such a short time.”
Alexander began to squirm as they got closer to the house and demanded that he be allowed to walk.
“Will you hold my hand?” Mary asked him.
He agreed with alacrity, and Richard was forced to relinquish both his possession of the child and Mary’s hand. It was just as well he supposed as he walked beside them. It was not as if he had a hope of ever truly claiming her hand, so he had best get used to seeing it claimed by another. The thought did nothing to ease his displeasure, nor did the knowledge that the gentleman stealing her hand away from him was only two years old and her nephew. He shook himself. A letter. He must write a letter to himself and then ride out and have it posted, for an escape was definitely necessary.