Tag Archives: Persuasion

Tip My Hand Tuesday

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This is supposed to be terrible. Original clip art: Flickr

The first half of last week’s scene has been reworked, added to, and generally cleaned up. This is all first draft material so there will be other edits and more smoothing out. There are also ebbs and flows of energy in the writing. Again, that will be smoothed out with time.

The scene is in the middle of the novel so there are references to information revealed elsewhere, and information not revealed yet.

I’m not bothered by spoilers but if you are you might want to avert your eyes on Tuesdays.

 

LADY VS LADY

“This is what comes of bringing persons of obscure birth into undue distinction. I am sure the man’s father, and if he knew his place, his grandfather would be shocked and ashamed at his taking on such airs as to ask for the hand of a baronet’s daughter.” Sir Walter drank the last of his brandy and slammed the glass to the table. Lady Elliot feared for her crystal stems.

In his tirade, there was no mention of Anne by name, merely her standing as it related to her father, and that she was the object of the commander’s audacity. Not a thought to her heart or her prospects in a small country life. Well, there wouldn’t be, now would there? Commander Wentworth’s prospects were not certain, but he did have some. This made it impossible for her mother not to consider announcements of newly made sirs and lords being created almost daily. With the war, most of these were coming from the ranks of the navy and the army. If her husband would take a breath, she might say as much.

“After he left, I was saying to Lady Russell that—”

“Jane was there? She spoke with the Commander?”

“No, no. But she was waiting to see me when the man left. They passed one another in the entryway. As I was saying—”

It was galling enough that her husband was just now telling her about the Commander’s proposal, but to know that Jane was privy so soon after the fact was an embarrassment.

“—she reminded me that this is no different than the tenants wanting new rooves after all the damage of last winter’s snow and icy storms. The very idea that I should be persuaded, nay bullied into paying for the damage that God wrought is absurd.” He eyed the brandy but changed his mind and approached her. “Have no fear, my lady, I have put the barbarian to flight. We are safe once more.” He kissed his finger and touched her cheek. “Sleep well.”  He smiled and left her.

Sir Walter Elliot was never so happy as when he was repelling the surfs or demolishing the hopes of the undeserving. “The gentry is safe for now.” Her father was right all along. His warnings about the baronet rang louder as the days passed. They would eventually deafening her.

The book she was reading would hold no interest tonight. It was too early to call Trotter to change for bed. She rose from the chaise to call for Anne. The pull was in her hand when she stopped herself. It was not fair to her daughter to use her as a distraction. Anne might not know of her father’s response to the proposal. It was only a few hours ago and the Commander himself might still be digesting the results of the meeting. Let this be the case and let Anne be hopeful for a while longer. The bell pull dropped from her hand. She watched it as it swayed to a stop.

Another letter to her father this quarter was necessary, but she hadn’t the heart to write it. The view from the window was pleasant enough. The setting sun advancing to cover the garden with night.

A light knock startled and relieved her. No matter who was at the door, they offered an escape from this black mood. “Come.” Elizabeth saw the brilliant green feather eyes first. “Oh, it is you, Jane.” She was wrong about an escape.

“I know you won’t mind but I slipped in the side. No sense giving the servants anything further to gossip about. You have heard about that outrageous boy’s proposal?” Without taking leave, she took off her coat and laid it on the bed.

“He is hardly a boy, Jane. In the eyes of the Crown, he is an officer. And a gentleman.” There was nothing to do but sit and listen as her friend too crowed over the Commander’s defeat.

The feathers on Jane’s hat bobbed as it hung in the air for a moment. “Hardly a gentleman. Does this mean you approve of his suit?”

To admit her own uncertainty would turn all of Jane’s interest and persuasive powers on her. “No, I am considering what is best for Anne. Her prospects here are limited at best. This may be a chance for her—”

“But she has just turned nineteen, Lizzie. There are years for her to find someone suitable. Once Elizabeth is married to her Viscount, the world shall open wide for Anne. I am sure the ___s are extremely well-connected in their part of the world.”

In the wilds of Ireland, she meant to say. It was interesting that Jane did not counsel that Elizabeth should wait a little longer. “No doubt. I have met the mother, and she assured me that they are the absolute centre of the social life of Dublin. Or at least I think that is what she was saying. Her accent was so think I only understood half of what she said. However, I have my doubts that Elizabeth will be exerting herself overly to help her sister.”

Jane was tugging off her gloves. She examined the thumb of one of them. Her father was a glovemaker in Gloucester and she was never satisfied with any made anywhere else. She held the offending creature in her lap. “That is of no matter. When you visit her, you may scout the prospects. Anne is quiet, but she will charm them, even in an Irish wasteland.”

As if the countryside of Somerset was a metropolis. “I suppose. Perhaps it is the romance of it all. Anne is in love with him. We cannot discount that. Genuine love is quite intoxicating—”

“And rarely is it long-lived. Elizabeth, see reason. The man is handsome and a force to be sure, but even you must see that his being Anne’s inferior would ever be a wedge between them.”

“In marriage we grow used to personal defects easily enough. The deeper, and more public ones can be born with a good deal of grace.”

Jane’s mouth set in a firm line. “Commander Wentworth’s defects are not like crooked teeth or dirty fingernails. It is his personality which is at fault. He has such an overwhelming confidence that he has no fear. Or, at the very least, the good sense to be circumspect in the presence of his betters.”

“The man is required by his occupation to keep his fear in check, Jane. You would fault Nelson for his courage? He was courageous to the point of the ultimate selflessness. By your reckoning, all heroes must be so shamed.” As soon as the words were in the air, she wished she could pull them back. What was a discussion of Anne’s best interests was becoming a battle over the defects of another.

“The man is no hero. He is impudent and cruel in his wit.” She ripped open her reticule. How the light silk bag withstood the pressure was amazing. Her hands shook as she moved things about looking for something.” When she seized upon a piece of paper, she brought it to Elizabeth. “What do you think of the hero now?”

The paper was cheap and crinkled with fold lines running through pencil marks on it. It was clearly a crude rendering of Jane, focused on her nose, eyebrows, and one of her many feathered hats. She folded it and handed it back and thanking God she was much practiced in stifling laughter. “You are right, this is very unkind. How can you be sure it was his hand which drew it?”

She explained watching him and Anne at a distance. “When Anne tossed it in the fire, it fell to the side. I pulled it from the flames as I was afraid that they were planning an elopement, or a clandestine meeting of some sort.”

Thoughts of Jane Russell scrabbling about a fireplace was another opportunity for self-control. “He is a young man. They all say and do foolish things.” Lady Elliot waggled the paper for Jane to take.

“Do you want your family associated with such a man?”

“If he knew us better, I wonder that he would want an association with us.”

“That is a ridiculous thing to say. He could only benefit from allying with the Elliot name.”

The small page was still in her hand and Lady Elliot opened it again. “This is silly,” she looked at Jane. “A silly and hurtful sketch. However, the man did no physical damage to you. The Elliots, of late, have done far worse.”

There was no pretence. Jane knew precisely of what Lady Elliot spoke. “You make too much of Young Walter’s carryings-on. He is not yet sixteen. He will mature in time. The Elliot blood will tell. You will see.”

Yes, it will. Instead of giving the sketch back to Jane, Liz slipped it into her pocket. “I pray you are right. Though, his antics of late give me pause.”

“Everything can be laid at the feet of that Musgrove. The family believes their children are without fault and that there is no need to train them at all. Richard Musgrove took advantage of Young Walter and one can only hope that sending him away will rectify the mistakes of the years.”

“Richard Musgrove is a simpleton. A large, brawny simpleton. If there was advantage taken it was by my son. With a slip of the hand, the Larkin boy could have been killed. Had it been the case, Musgrove would have been hanged. There is no dignified way around it.” Her only knowledge of the affair was after-the-fact. She now wondered how much of the business Jane was consulted about.

“I do not understand you, Elizabeth. Why are you so quick to take the part of that sailor first, and now that dreadful young Musgrove? His mother is a Hayter for God’s sake.” The air was charged with the admissions and accusations. Each lady was revolving how best to continue or retreat from their stance. “You are determined to remain Elizabeth Stevenson of Gloucester.”

If she were to retreat, peace was still possible, but she had retreated enough over the past weeks and months. “No, I am merely reclaiming that girl who had better sense than I do now.”

“And why would you do that? She was a nothing of a girl and you are Lady Elliot, wife of a baronet. In Gloucester you were merely the daughter of a prosperous farmer. No different than—”

“The Musgroves. You may say it. I am not offended. I have put aside my pride and spent too many years now humouring and concealing the failings of the baronet to be insulted by such a comparison.”

“You have never esteemed him properly. Always thinking yourself ill—”

“Yes, well, it is likely that the thought of leaving the children at the mercy of such a conceited, silly man has kept me alive all these years.” Lady Elliot had turned away to look at the dark garden but turned back to face Lady Russell. “As for esteem, please remind me how you came to marry Henry Russell. It was his red coat and the title of ‘sir’ which touched your heart, was it not?” Lady Russell now paused. Her right brow raised, and her lips tightened. “Admit it, you did not think me refined enough for the Baronet of Kellynch Hall.”

There is a reason Lady Russell and Sir Walter did not marry after the death of his wife. I think she was a smart woman who had no desire to take over the gargantuan job of cossetting Sir Walter’s ego.

Take care-Susan

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday’s tip-o-the-hand

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This is supposed to be terrible. Original clip art: Flickr

It’s been a lousy spring around here. A bit of good news was that my mom doesn’t have to have chemo after colon surgery. Yay for that. Other than this, all is rattling on as before. That being said, the best I can do for a post, (hoping to get back into the swing of things. Again.), I have a bit of writing from a new project.

I referenced this new story back on March 6th. Time flies don’t it? I showed how a piece of writing changes as you discover things about the story itself and the characters. Even the title is up for grabs.

The first title of the piece was “Though I Had A Son.” Then it was changed to, “Anne Elliot’s Most Degrading Alliance.” Now, it’s “In Favor of His Constancy.” You, the reader, aren’t supposed to see any of this, but what the heck, this is sausage making, people, watch and be amazed!

The following is not a rewrite, but was fun to write. I hope you enjoy it.

In this story, “In Favor of His Constancy,” Lady Elliot (Anne Elliot’s mother) is alive. This scene takes place after she finds out that her dear friend, Lady Russell, was instrumental in breaking off Anne’s engagement to Captain Frederick Wentworth.

“Elizabeth, see reason. The man is handsome and a force to be sure, but even you must see that he is not Anne’s equal in rank or refinement. It would ever be a wedge between them.”

Elizabeth paused, then faced her. “Rank and refinement. Those are words you are happy to use when speaking of marriage. Admit it, you did not think me refined enough for the Baronet of Kellynch Hall.”

Lady Russell now paused. Her right brow raised, and her lips tightened.

“In every way, the Stevenson money was superior to his rank. Even if it was earned in trade and farming. I was besotted enough with a pretty face to accept a proposal. But when reason, in the form of dark doubts loomed, you stood me and them with a bright light of reason to convince me that I must keep my word.” Her hands were trembling, and she could feel a flush overtaking her. She took a seat at her dressing table.

“And I was right to do so. You had an obligation to fulfil. Your reputation was at stake and you were prepared to ruin it. As your dear friend, I could not allow that to happen.”

“I could have broken it off with little damage to my reputation.” Lady Elliot turned to her friend. “When, after a few years, you comprehended the deep unhappiness that my choice had brought me, did it give you pause?”

“It did.” Lady Russell pinched seam of the thumb of her right glove. Poorly made. “But when I realised you would have children from the match, no matter your feelings about him.”

It was deep grief she felt for her friend. There were no children with Sir Henry Russell. Whose fault it was, was immaterial. Elizabeth’s children were lavished with gifts and praise from Jane. Her particular favourite was Anne. This might account for her friend’s razor-sharp dislike for Captain Wentworth. She did not wish her daughter to suffer her fate. And yet.

STUFF

“He is still beautiful, even at his age, but his looks are so negated by his deficiencies.” Lady Russell says nothing, and Lady Elliot looks at her and realizes something. “So that is it. You are still smitten.”

Jane fidgets uncharacteristically.

“You are still in awe of that pretty face.” Lady Elliot rises and approaches Lady Russell. “Though, I see you are not so besotted as to do something stupid if I am called out of this life.” The revelation was not surprising but was more a relief. It cleared the air and would allow them to have an honest friendship now, and not one couched in suspicion. Her hands still trembled, and she would have to call for Trotter to help her change into a fresh dress for dinner. Jane still said nothing. “And that is because you can admire him from the comfort of Henry’s good management.” She took her seat once more. “You are far smarter than me. Better to view some beauties from a distance. And in this case, not have to live with the consequences of his vices.”

Yep, POV problems, notes to myself about the scene rather than the scene itself, and a sentence that makes no sense whatsoever! Again, this is sausage. I’ll work on this and post the rewrite next week.

Oh, and I’m still not in love with the title. Stay tuned.

Later.

A Gothic Persuasion

That’s not true, the new AMC series, The Terror has nothing to do with Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Except Ciaran Hinds, who played Captain Frederick Wentworth in the 1995 adaptation of the novel is starring as John Franklin. IMDB says he’s in all 10 episodes, but the questions is, will he be alive for all those episodes?

I’m not usually a fan of horror but I do have a thing for AMC’s, The Walking Dead, and I watched both seasons of Netflix’s The Frankenstein Chronicles a few weeks ago. (It’s bloody beyond reason, and Season One is FAR superior to Season two so be warned.) I’ll give The Terror a couple of episodes to persuade me of its worth.

The publicity photo below still has me laughing. I’m pushing away all sorts of unkind Frederick-in-the-future sorts of memes.

FW_and_friend_reduce

“I call him Walter. Don’t tell my wife.”

 

Set in 1847. A crew of a Royal Naval expedition is sent to find the Arctic’s treacherous Northwest Passage but instead discovers a monstrous predator, a cunning and vicious Gothic horror that stalks the ships in a desperate game of survival, the consequences of which could endanger the region and its native people forever. Written by AMC

Tip My Hand Tuesday

While doing a writing sprint this morning, I read an article by James Scott Bell entitled, Garlic Breath for Writers (aka Bad First Pages). The article helps writers improve their first pages so no one shies away.

He points out that writers don’t have much time to attract an editor’s attention so don’t blow it by making your opening lines uninteresting. I think it’s a little unfair that we write books for the mythic editor, (or reader), that only gives you 13 seconds to WOW them. If they’re not transfixed by your characters, plot and setting in that time, you’re tossed aside like so much cold oatmeal. But, I also have ended my past policy of if-I-start-your-novel-I-finish-your-novel. I give a writer 50 pages. I don’t have to be transfixed by your book. I don’t even have to be in love. I just have to be interested enough to turn the page. Maybe like me, the only shocking thing is how many books fail to do even that!

IN the spirit of putting myself at risk, I’m putting the first few paragraphs of a new novel I’m working on. (Yeah, yeah, I know, “finish the ones you’ve got going now, Madam Can’t-finish-a-thing!)

The first segment is the original from the first draft I’m working on. The second is the reworked version. The segments include a title change, a short synopsis, and several paragraphs of narrative and dialogue.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

The Original:

THOUGH I HAD A SON

The stillborn son of the Elliots survived.  With a son, SW is worse than ever about precedence, money, rank, all of it. Though Lady Elliot survives past 1800, she is often “unwell” and must withdraw from society for short periods. During these times, SW is free to spend on their son at an alarming rate. This brings the retrenchment closer more quickly.

CHAPTER ONE

Anne Elliot took her place down the table from her father, Sir Walter. With the eldest Elizabeth on his left, and his son and heir, Young Walter on his right, it was always Anne’s duty to go lower. Her father was reading a letter that had her sister and brother’s rapt attention. She carefully eased her napkin from under the silver so as not to disrupt him.

The warm touch of her mother’s hand comforted her. Lady Elliot sat straight and still, still facing her husband, but her eyes shifted to Anne. She winked. A wisp of a smile followed and then she looked back to the head of the table.

There were no footmen to serve the family’s breakfast, so Anne served herself an egg and a bit of sausage. This was the one area in which Lady Elliot was supreme. She had grown up in a house with a lawyer for a father who left the ordering of the house to her mother who was raised on a farm. The household had moved through the seasons dictated by what the land needed at the moment. At no time of year was it acceptable to dawdle over meals. There was no ceremony about seating, who sat where sorted itself by who got to the table first. If the matter was left to Sir Walter, every meal would be a rigorous, proper affair that took far too much time. Before the children had been born, and she still had a hold over him, she had insisted that breakfast be a quiet, casual affair. It was still a battle to keep it such. Everything, whether household or estate was now being used to teach their son that, in the words of Sir Walter, “a baronet should be seen to live as a baronet.” Even if that meant the hard-won domestic preferences of my lady were dashed.

“… and so, Miss Elizabeth’s gown, and the suits of Sir Walter, and Young Walter Elliot are ready for a final fitting. If you would be so kind as to fix a date that would be convenient to you and your children. Madam and I are most anxious to travel to Kellynch and to see our creations in the very house they will grace.  M. Perry and co.”

The havoc a fitting would stir depressed Anne. Before the visit, her sister was sure to fly into fits. Problems with the materials, snagged lace, uneven stitching, and surely the colours will be nothing at all like the ones she chose a month ago. Her father would be as bad, if not worse. Young Walter would merely snipe about the Mr Perry’s broad accent, the couples being from Exeter, and not being a fine London tailor.

“I do think that is high-handed of Perry, Father—”

“Yes, it is, Father. And his wife is not even a seamstress. The only proper gowns I have are made in London—”

“—presumptuous to make himself and that silly little wife out to be the actual creators of anything. If it were not for us, he would have been doing nothing in his little shop sewing buttons, and hems, and nothing else.” Young Walter took a bite of potato. A bit dropped on his waistcoat. He then stabbed a bit of toast in some yoke to follow. “What?” with a full mouth he demanded of Anne.

“Nothing, Walter. I just—”

“You have no interest in this, sister. You chose to embarrass the family by having something made over by Mother’s maid rather than—”

“Enough, Walter,” Lady Elliot said.

Yes, indeed,” their father said, folding the note. “Anne’s choices are her own. The dress was your mother’s and fit for London a season ago, so I think it will be sufficient. Though,” he set the note aside, “I hope you will make more than a superficial appearance at the ball my dear.” He spoke to Lady Elliot. She was in one of her periods of societal withdrawal, as Sir Walter called them. “We are twenty-two years married and this is a great occasion.” He realized he was leaning forward and that his voice was brusque. After a deep breath, he softened his tone. “It is my fondest wish that you would rally yourself and be at my side throughout the evening.” He smiled and raised a finger to the children. They turned and smiled as well.

The reworked version:

ANNE ELLIOT’S MOST DEGRADING ALLIANCE

From the Baronetage: “Walter Elliot, Born March 1, 1760 … Anne, born August 9, 1787; a still-born son, Nov. 5, 1789 … ” In the Regency period, a son made all the difference in the world to a family. Particularly one with a title and estate. In this Persuasion retelling, the stillborn son of the Elliots survived. In this story, as in reality, a small change can make a startling difference.

CHAPTER ONE

Anne Elliot carefully eased her napkin from under the silver so as not to disrupt her father as he read a letter at the breakfast table. The warm touch of her mother’s hand comforted her. Lady Elliot’s eyes shifted to Anne. Her mother winked. A wisp of a smile followed and then she looked back to the head of the table.

Her mother’s posture was ramrod straight. The Baronet’s flagrant disregard for his wife’s opinion that dining table was a place for polite and appropriate conversations amongst the family was, once again, ignored. Meals had never been delightful family affairs, but lately, tension was always on the menu.

Unfortunately, tension was not restricted to the dining room. More often than not, walking into a room unannounced brought a halt to intense conversations between her parents. As a matter of course, Anne cleared her throat or dropped things to make her presence known. Her elder sister, Elizabeth, was beginning to take notice, and her younger brother, Young Walter, outright called her an oaf. These snatches of conversations, and oblique references to things only understood by her parents weighed heavily on her.

“… and so, Miss Elizabeth’s gown, and the suits of Sir Walter, and Young Walter Elliot are ready for a final fitting. If you would be so kind as to fix a date that would be convenient to you and your children. Madam and I are most anxious to travel to Kellynch and to see our creations in the very house they will grace.  M. Perry and co.”

The Elliots were celebrating their twenty-second wedding anniversary with a ball. Lady Elliot was notorious for limiting extravagant socialising, and this gave Anne’s father an excuse to open his purse and spend freely. This included new clothes for everyone. The occasion being what it was, her mother felt helpless to stop him

The tailor’s letter held Elizabeth and Young Walter in thrall. A fitting with the Perry’s would rain havoc on the household. Even before their arrival, Elizabeth would fly into fits about snagged lace, uneven stitching, and mismatched buttons. She suspected there would also be doubts that the colours or even the material itself will be the ones she chose a month ago. Her father would be as bad, adding irregular lapels, and breeches too loose or too tight, whichever made the least sense. Young Walter would not bother commenting on the possibilities about the clothing, but cruelly snipe about Mr Perry’s broad accent and how the couple residing in Exeter could not possibly be skilled as a fine London tailor.

“I do think that is high-handed of Perry, Father—” So began Young Walter’s bombast.

“Yes, so high-handed, Father. And his wife is not even a seamstress. The only proper gowns I have are made in London—”

“—presumptuous to make himself and that silly little wife out to be the actual creators of anything suitable. If it were not for us, he would have been doing nothing in his little shop sewing buttons, and hems, and nothing else.” Young Walter took a bite of potato. A bit dropped on his waistcoat. He then stabbed a bit of toast in some yoke to follow.

“In the past, they have proven very good—”

What?” with a full mouth he demanded of Anne.

“Nothing, Walter. I just—”

“You have no interest in this, sister. You chose to embarrass the family by having something made over by Mother’s maid rather than—”

“Enough, Walter,” Lady Elliot said.

“Yes, indeed, enough.” their father said, folding the note. “Anne’s choices are her own. The dress was your mother’s and fit for London a season ago, so I think it will be sufficient. Though,” he set the note aside, speaking to Lady Elliot. “I hope you will make more than a superficial appearance at the ball my dear.” She was in one of her periods of societal withdrawal, as Sir Walter called them. “We are twenty-two years married and this is a great occasion.” After a deep breath, he softened his tone. Was it possible that he realised he was leaning a bit too far forward and that his voice was little too brusque? “It is my fondest wish that you would rally yourself and be at my side throughout the evening.” He smiled and raised a finger to the children. They turned and smiled as well.

 

These are both portions of a work-in-progress and subject to change.

A Little Contagion for Christmas

If you’ve read the stories in A Very Austen Christmas anthology (and if you haven’t, why NOT?) an accidental theme in three of them was illness and its ability to bring people together. Not to be outdone, I present to you a story I wrote years ago with the same theme: The Little Particulars of the Circumstance

In the course of the original Persuasion, Frederick Wentworth goes to Uppercross Cottage looking for Louisa and Henrietta.  Instead, he finds himself alone with Anne Elliot. He then rescues her from the naughty antics of little Walter. In this version, the apothecary, Mr Robinson, has come to check on the injured little Charles and in a twist of the story, declares a quarantine! When Anne and Frederick are forced to stay alone together in one room, with a sick child to care for, will they overcome their pride and anger? This story combines a little bit of “Outbreak!” with a lot of “It Happened One Night.” Happy ending included at no charge.

 

One morning, very soon after the dinner at the Musgroves, at which Anne had not been present, Captain Wentworth walked into the drawing room at the Cottage, where were herself, Mr Robinson the apothecary, and the little invalid, Charles, who was lying on the sofa.

The surprise of finding himself almost alone with Anne Elliot deprived of his manners of the usual composure: he started, and could only say, “I beg your pardon. I thought the Miss Musgroves had been here—Mrs Musgrove told me I could find them here,” before he walked to the window to recollect himself and feel how he ought to behave.

“They are upstairs with my sister—they will be down in a few moments, I dare say.”

He continued at the window; and after calmly and politely saying, “I hope the little boy is better,” was silent.

Anne turned back to Mr Robinson, the apothecary, who had come to check on the young patient.

The man glanced towards Captain Wentworth. “As I was saying before the interruption, the boy’s spine is undamaged and he is doing well enough in his recovery. I am heartened that my instructions have been carried out with such scrupulous attention.” He removed his glasses and put them in his breast pocket. “It is not always the case when I make recommendations here.”

Anne suspected her sister’s delicate health made it necessary for Mr Robinson to make rather a lot of calls to the Cottage, but she doubted Mary did more than enjoy the notice, with no intentions of following his orders. Mr Robinson once again looked over his little patient. He frowned and pulled up the boy’s shirt. “How long did you say this rash had been evident?”

She came closer. “As I said before, I saw it last evening. It is more acute this morning. I think it may be—”

Robinson grunted and sighed heavily. He put on his glasses and began to carelessly prod and turn the boy this way and that. Anne was appalled that he wholly disregarded Charles’s sharp cries. He touched a place or two, and then looked over the tops of the spectacles. “You say it is more intense?” Anne nodded. “Was this rash on him the other day?”

“No. I am not sure when it appeared, but I saw it yesterday evening, around seven.”

He opened a small notebook and flipped through a few pages. He sighed again. “There is a pocket of fever in Crewkherne. It became evident just a week or so ago. There is fear it is smallpox.”

“The place looked positively asleep when I came through.” Wentworth glanced towards the others.

Robinson turned and looked over his glasses at the Captain. “Come through Crewkherne did you? When did you arrive?”
Continue reading

The Days They Pass …

acquired on PEXEL.COM

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2017
My tinnitus is screaming, which means I’ve been to church. Every Sunday, I try to remember just when every service become like a full-on DEAF Leppard concert. We even have a guitar player who does a modified shred during praise and worship. I’m just not appreciative of that sort of “freedom.” When did I become so old?

 

MONDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2017
I finally caught up on season six, seven, and eight of The Walking Dead. I’ve been away from Rick and Co for nearly two years. But when my mom moved to be closer to my brother, I decided I would go back and catch up. I still love the storytelling; taut and tense. The more things change the more they stay the same. Well except for Glenn being gone.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2017
I got up and am working on a silly SciFi-esque story for Frederick and Anne. Here’s hoping to have some of it ready to post at BEYOND AUSTEN by Halloween. Or as most of us without children know it, next Tuesday. And today is beans and rice day. Any good recipes? The only serious bean recipe I know by heart is for Navy Bean soup. Love it but it’s not cold enough yet. Interesting aside, when looking for a graphic, all that came up at the graphics site I am using was coffee beans. So, coffee is what sustains us now, not food. Good to know.

Sue (Susan Kaye)

 

Men are a little bit blind

“I was six weeks with Edward,” he said, “and saw him happy. I could have no other pleasure. I deserved none. He enquired after you very particularly; asked even if you were personally altered, little suspecting that to my eyes you could never alter.”  Chapter 23, Persuasion

Just after meeting up with Anne Elliot again, Wentworth said that she was so altered he would not have known her. But we also know that guys say a lot of things they don’t mean. Whether to stay out of trouble or make themselves look better, who knows. Women are prone to this as well, but usually for more complicated reasons. Men also have the ability to overlook a lot. They can walk around the same plate and glass on an end table for weeks if no one mentions them. I think this offhand comment was in the same vein as Darcy’s in P&P, said to look clever but never meant to be heard by the object.

The other day I was reading a blog post about many men not noticing when their wives change a lot over time. The example was of a man who married a beauty queen and she lost her looks over the course of their 40 plus-year marriage. He said he only noticed the change in her face and body when he saw how others looked at her. But when they were home, alone, she was his lovely beauty queen.  The author of the blog is newly widowed and he said it was the same for him, and that he was pretty certain that his memories of his late wife will be ever green.

This bit of mental magic is alive and well in my own marriage. I’m considerably heavier than I was when Bill and I married 38 years ago. That doesn’t matter to him, he’s never said anything that can be construed as disappointment. And that’s why we’re heading for No 39 in a few weeks.

I like to think that Frederick was telling Edward the truth while his comment early on was just palaver you say to fill the time when you meet new people. We all get a little precious when we are trying to make a good impression. Maybe I’m all wet. I hope not. I like having a bit of a fairy tale world to retreat to these days.

Take care.