Examining the Character of John Willoughby in Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”

John Willoughby is one of Dashwood family’s country neighbors in Devon in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, but what do we know of the character. He and Sir John Middleton serve as bookends in the country society. 

Willoughby, John Biography moviespictures.org ~ Greg Wise

Willoughby, John Biography
moviespictures.org ~ Greg Wise

Willoughby literally sweeps Marianne Dashwood off her feet with his first acquaintance in the novel. He assists her home when Marianne falls and twists her ankle. In Willoughby, Marianne discovers a man she admires for his dash. She comments “that is what a young man ought to be” in describing Willoughby to others, a line which is reminiscent of Jane Bennet’s evaluation of Charles Bingley. In her naive fashion, Marianne does not recognize that a man of Willoughby’s cut MUST marry for money for he loves his horses, society, and women. He is a landed gentleman living beyond his means. His behavior is a statement to the hereditary privileges granted men of his social class. Although Marianne terms him courteous and gallant, but he is a man-about-time. 

Willoughby, John Biography moviespictures.org ~ Dominic Cooper

Willoughby, John Biography
moviespictures.org ~ Dominic Cooper

Willoughby acts as his name implies. He is “pliable, but tough, and with a tenacity for life.” We must wonder if Austen took the name from Frances Burney’s “Evelina.” Sir Clement Willoughby is a baronet who pursues Evelina throughout the novel. He meets her at an assembly and takes umbrage at her refusing a dance with him. Sir Clement “creates” situations around Evelina. He is a smooth talker, but also superficial and obnoxious. His interest in Evelina is motivated purely by lust. [As to the name, we also know that Thomas Willoughby was the first Lord Middleton and a distant relative to Mrs. Austen.]

The character of Willoughby in the novel holds no qualms about how he treats the women he encounters (i.e., what he did to Colonel Brandon’s ward Eliza). His charm is everything for which Marianne could hope: handsome, loves poetry and music, rich, etc. In truth, Willoughby’s gaming debts and his life of debauchery consume him. He will become the typical country squire. The rivalry between Willoughby and Colonel Brandon contrasts the two men in broad strokes. 

Prior to the opening of the novel, Willoughby seduced and abandoned Brandon’s ward, Eliza. The two men fought a duel over the circumstances, and they later become rivals for Marianne’s love. Brandon is modeled in the Cavalier-Roundhead form. [“Roundhead” was the name given to the supporters of the Parliament during the English Civil War. They fought against King Charles I and his supporters, the Cavaliers (Royalists), who claimed absolute pose and the divine right of kings.] 

In truth, most readers feel cheated at Marianne’s abandonment of Willoughby for Brandon at the end of the novel. It is difficult to muster up any of the romance we recognize in “Pride and Prejudice” or “Persuasion.” In Nation & Novel, Patrick Parrinder says, “There are, perhaps, political as well as emotional reasons why this plot resolution is unsatisfactory. Austen’s determination to end the novel with a version of the Cavalier-Roundhead alliance cannot alter the fact that Brandon, Middleton, and (in his final incarnation) Willoughby are all country squires representing broadly similar values and interests. The social tension between Marianne and Brandon is not great enough to become a focus of romantic interest.” (page 191)

In what is one of Austen’s most “contrived” scenes, Willoughby appears at what he thinks is Marianne’s deathbed and confesses his “love” for Marianne to her sister Elinor. The confession amplifies Willoughby’s selfish and spoilt personality, but also shows that he is not totally without principles. After this scene, he marries the appropriately named Miss Grey (a ho-hum type of woman). Miss Grey is wealthy and very proper. Austen tells us Willoughby was one “to exert, and frequently to enjoy himself. His wife was not always out of humor, nor his home always uncomfortable; and in his breed of horses and dogs, and in sporting of every kind, he found no inconsiderable degree of domestic felicity.” 


Posted in Austen actors, books, British history, Great Britain, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, Regency era, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

The Children of the Empire Series Continues, Guest Post from Caroline Warfield + a Giveaway

Yesterday, Caroline Warfield released her latest book, The Reluctant Wife, book 2 in her Children of the Empire series. Today we are part of the Launch! Please welcome my friend, Caroline Warfield. 

First, I must say, that I am over the moon finally to be able to release The Reluctant Wife into the wild.

This sweeping story carries readers from the edge of Bengal to Calcutta to the Suez and across the desert, to rural England while two people stumble into love in spite of themselves. The hero, a clueless male with more honor than sense, never stops trying to do the right thing. Imagine his shock when he realizes people actually depend on him! The heroine is a courageous wounded duck with more love bottled up than she finds comfortable. Along the way it features a meteor shower, a tragic assassination, colonial officials, steamboats, narrow minded officers’ wives, herbal remedies, a desert bivouac, a court martial, interfering relatives, a horrific fire, and camels. The self important villain, rotten to the core, makes the hero miserable in both India and England, until the hero brings him down—with a little help from family—in the end. And last but not least, it features two charming children, one a precocious little girl who pushes the hero to do what is right even when he is confused about what that is.

On a more personal note, I have dedicated this story to my father, the constant soldier, who understood duty and loyalty as few people do.

I thank you for joining the celebration.  Tell me something of  your favorite story elements.

Caroline will give a kindle copy of The Renegade Wife, Book 1 in the series, to one person who comments. The giveaway will end at midnight EDST on May 1, 2017 (announced May 6). 

She is also sponsoring a grand prize in celebration of her release. You can enter it here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/2017blogtourpackage/   The prequel to this series, A Dangerous Nativity, is always **FREE**. You can get a copy here: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/a-dangerous-nativity-1815/

TheReluctantWife_850.jpg The Reluctant Wife

Children of Empire, Book 2

Genre: Pre Victorian, Historical Romance  Heat rating: 3 of 5 (two brief -mild- sexual encounters)

ISBN: 978-1-61935-349-9 ASIN:  B06Y4BGMX1 Page count: 275 pages

Pub date: April 26, 2017

Children of Empire

Three cousins, torn apart by lies and deceit and driven to the far reaches of the empire, struggle to find their way home.

Book 2

When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband. She certainly doesn’t need a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he let down so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?

Find it here: https://smile.amazon.com/Reluctant-Wife-Children-Empire-Book-ebook/dp/B06XYRRR1R/

WarfieldProfile copy.jpg About Caroline Warfield

Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all she is a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows while she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Caroline is a RONE award winner with five star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, Night Owl Reviews, and InD’Tale and an Amazon best-seller. She is also a member of the writers’ co-operative, the Bluestocking Belles. With partners she manages and regularly writes for both The Teatime Tattler and History Imagined.

Website http://www.carolinewarfield.com/ 

Amazon Author http://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Warfield/e/B00N9PZZZS/

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Twitter @CaroWarfield

Email warfieldcaro@gmail.com


The ballroom at Government House, Calcutta, 1835

Clare had stopped listening. A prickle of awareness drew her gaze to the entrance where another man entered. He stood well above average height, he radiated coiled strength, and her eyes found his auburn hair unerringly. Captain Wheatly had come. The rapid acceleration of her heart took her off guard. Why should I care that he’s here?

“Clare? The lieutenant asked you a question.”

Lieutenant? Clare blinked to clear her head, only to see Mrs. Davis’s icy glare turned on Captain Wheatly. “Is that your strange captain from the black neighborhood?” she demanded in a faux whisper.

The lieutenant’s avid curiosity added to Clare’s discomfort. “Is that Wheatly in a captain’s uniform? I thought they might demote him after the business with Cornell,” he volunteered.

Clare forced herself to turn to the lieutenant. “Cornell?” she asked to deflect Mrs. Davis’s questions.

“Collector at Dehrapur. Wheatly assaulted the man. Unprovoked, I heard,” the lieutenant answered.

She looked back, unable to stop herself. Merciful angels, he’s seen me. She watched the captain start toward them. At least Gleason could make introductions.

The lieutenant went on as though he had her full attention. “He was in line for promotion, the one that went to your brother instead. Philip posted over there right after it happened.”

Clare found it impossible to look away. The captain gave an ironic smile when he saw her watching. Mrs. Davis gave a sharp intake of breath when she realized Wheatly’s intent. “He’s coming here? Clare, I think I should warn you that a man who has been passed over as this one was—”

Before she could finish, Colonel Davis, who had been coming from the other direction, met the captain and greeted him with a smile. Clare couldn’t hear the words, but Captain Wheatly’s self-deprecating grin seemed to indicate at least a modicum of respect. The two men approached together.

“Captain Frederick Wheatly, may I present my wife, Mrs. Davis.” The captain bowed properly, and the colonel went on, “And our house guest, Miss Armbruster.”

This time the captain’s eyes held a distinct twinkle. “Miss Armbruster and I are acquainted. I met her when she visited her brother in Dehrapur.”

“Of course, of course! I should have remembered,” the colonel said jovially. He leaned toward Clare and winked. “He’s a catch, this one. Doesn’t like to boast of his connections, but earls and dukes lurk in his pedigree. His cousin stepped down from Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies just last year!”

Captain Wheatly looked discomfited by that revelation.

Gleason looked skeptical. “The Duke of Murnane?” he gasped.

Before anyone could answer, the small orchestra hired for the occasion began to play, and the captain cocked an eyebrow as if to ask a question.

“I think the captain wants a dance, Miss Armbruster. It’s your patriotic duty to see to the morale of the troops,” the colonel said coyly.

Captain Wheatly put out a gloved hand, and she put her equally gloved hand in his. Walking away from Gleason and the Davises, she admitted two things to herself. She was glad he came, and she planned to enjoy the dance.


Posted in book excerpts, book release, books, British history, editing, excerpt, giveaway, historical fiction, history | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Georgian Era Commerce ~ Part IV: The St Katherine Docks and the Custom House

If you are interested in reading the previous posts on the Early Nineteenth Century Commercial District in this series, please check out the links below: 

Part I: Introduction to Georgian Era Commerce

Part II: The West India Docks and the London Docks

Part III: The Surrey Docks and the East India Docks

The last of the docks bringing commerce to London’s doors was the St Katherine docks. They were located in the area known as Tower Hamlets on the north side of the Thames. It was higher up the river than the London, West India, East India, and Surrey Docks. Situated close to the Tower of London, the dock reported claimed the land of a Georgian slum of some 1200 houses for its construction. The name comes from a 12th Century hospital of St Katherine’s by the Tower, which once stood upon the site. The hospital was part of the demolition. 

An Act of Parliament in 1825 provided the permission to develop the area, and construction began in 1827. Thomas Telford served as the designer. The brown brick warehouses stood on Greek Doric columns mdd of cast iron. “The scheme was Telford’s  only major project in London. To create as much quayside as possible, the docks were designed in the form of two linked basins (East and West), both accessed via an entrance lock from the Thames. Steam engines designed by James Watt and Matthew Boulton kept the water level in the basins about four feet above that of the tidal river. Telford aimed to minimize the amount of quayside activity and specified that the docks’ warehouses be built right on the quayside so that goods could be unloaded directly into them.” (St Katharine Docks)

the 1828 opening of St. Katherine Docks http://www.skdocks.co.uk/ the-docks/our-heritage

the 1828 opening of St. Katherine Docks http://www.skdocks.co.uk/

While Telford designed the docks themselves, architect Philip Hardwick designed the yellow brick, six storey warehouses, including cast iron window frames and large vaults to keep luxury goods such as wine and tobacco safe. Hardwick also utilized the Greek Doric columns on the dock’s offices. It was not unusual to find cargoes from around the world to be found docked before the warehouses, which provided “1.5 acres leading to two four-acre docks…that could provide storage for 1.25 million square feet items. While considerable in acreage, the post was not deep enough for large, steam-driven ships which would soon play a more dominant role in international commerce. St Katherine’s Docks was never a great financial success and was forced to merge with the nearby London Docks in 1864.” (Brief History During the Snow Era 1813-58) “Sugar, rum, tea, spices, perfumes, ivory, shells, marble, indigo, wine and brandy ~ the docks thrived with bustle and commerce.” (St Katherine Docks: Our Heritage)

“As late as the 1930s, St Katharine Docks enjoyed a roaring trade of these goods, and was described as a focal point for the World’s greatest concentration of portable wealth.

Source:  Davies BR. London 1843, Publisher: Chapman & Hall, 186 Strand, London, Nov. 1, 1843.  www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/ snow/1859map/ stkatherines_dock_a3. html

Source: Davies BR. London 1843, Publisher: Chapman & Hall, 186 Strand, London, Nov. 1, 1843. http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/

“Between the two world wars, the World’s trade ships grew too large for St Katharine Docks and it was instead employed in war work. Although the site was a victim of The Blitz, Telford and Hardwick’s visions can still be seen today, as the modern office bloc ks such as International House and Commodity Quay, which house internationally renowned businesses, sympathetically mirror the architecture of the imposing warehouses that stood on the site before them.

“Ivory House, built in 1852, still stands with its distinctive clock tower and today it houses luxury warehouse apartments, smart restaurants and shops.” (St Katherine Docks: Our Heritage)

The Custom House was part of London’s dock system. It was rebuilt after the peace of 1814 at the expense of the central government. A committee solicited plans for the redesign. Son of a city tradesman and pupil of [John] Soane’s, the man who designed the Bank of England, David Laing was named Surveyor to the Customs and designed the customs house at Plymouth. Later, he was asked to submit designs for the proposed New Custom House in London. The old building by Ripley stood since 1718, but was found inadequate by 1812 and later accidentally destroyed by fire. 

The committee overseeing the project reject Laing’s initial plans, and so he created a simpler design, “a massive rectangular block. Laing estimated the cost at £209,000, but the contract was won by Miles and Peto, with a tender of only £165,000. During construction, costs escalated, and there were disputes between Laing and the contractors.” (David Laing)

The building sported a triple domed hall and a wall of windows. Praise for the structure was common at the time, and among the loudest touting the building was Laing himself. Confident in his abilities and his new place in the world, Laing published a book of designs, including farms and villas and forty-one plates showing the Custom House. In the book, Laing even describes the issues faced in laying the foundation for the building. 

Drawing showing the New Custom House ~ Public Domain en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/David_Laing_ (architect)

Drawing showing the New Custom House ~ Public Domain en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/David_Laing_ (architect)

The Fates were not so kind to Laing. Cracks in the central section of the block showed cracks as early as 1820. In 1824, a section of the river facade collapsed, as did the floor of the main hall. The beech piling was found to be badly executed, and Laing was accused of being negligent in overseeing a fraudulent contractor. Robert Smirke, from the Office of Works, took on the responsibility of repairing the damage. Smirke demolished Laing’s centre and rebuilt the inside with Ionic columns for supports. Needless to say, David Laing was removed from his post as Architect & Surveyor of the Board of Customs. His reputation and his business fell into ruin. 


Opening of St Katharine Docks, 25 October 1828 ~ Wikipedia


Posted in British history, commerce, Georgian, Great Britain, Living in the Regency, Regency era | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stagecoach Travel During the Regency

It was the late 1700s before the roads were in good enough shape to support coach travel. People until that time were of the nature to ride a horse or walk. Goods were placed upon pack horses. The roads were often muddy and full of ruts. Road surfaces were expensive to maintain and became the “option” of the local gentry or the aristocracy. It was nearly impossible to travel during the rainy seasons. 

The first stage coach company established a route between London and York in the first decade of the 1700s. It would take about 10-14 days to travel from Edinburgh, Scotland to London by the mid 1700s. By the mid 1800s, one could make the same journey in 3-4 days. 


Coach Stop on the Place de Passy, and change of horses, by Edmond Georges Grandjean via Wikipedia

According to Wikipedia, “A stagecoach is a type of covered wagon used to carry passengers and goods inside. It is strongly sprung and generally drawn by four horses, usually four-in-hand. Widely used before the introduction of railway transport, it made regular trips between stages or stations, which were places of rest provided for stagecoach travelers. The business of running stagecoaches or the act of journeying in them was known as staging. Originating in England, familiar images of the stagecoach are that of a Royal Mail coach passing through a turnpike gate, a Dickensian passenger coach covered in snow pulling up at a coaching inn, and a highwayman demanding a coach to ‘stand and deliver.'” The coach traveled in segments or “stages,” thus the name. The coach traveled at 5-7 miles per hour. They changed out hours at the “stages,” meaning about every 2-3 hours. At a staging inn, the travelers could find a bit to eat or take care of their personal needs. He could also spend the night at the inn and take a different coach the following day. 

According to the Georgian Index, “The coach body was suspended on leather straps, called thorough braces, to absorb some of the road shock, but the hanging vehicle body must have swayed terribly. Passenger were expected to get out and walk up steep hills to spare the horses and were even expected to help push the coach when the wheels became mired in mud holes. Worse yet, robberies by highwaymen were so common that paste jewelry was usually carried on trips. Progress on the poor roads was slow and coaching inns were busy, noisy places where uninterrupted sleep was almost impossible. Travelers arrived at their destinations motion sick, muddy, and exhausted.

“The coaching inns provided a support structure for coach routes. Fresh teams of horses were kept in readiness for changing out the exhausted team that had just run the previous stage of the journey. These teams were contracted to stage lines or the Royal Mail. Other horses were available to be leased by individuals. Crack teams of hostlers prided themselves in changing mail coach teams in as little as three minutes. Passengers could get a meal at an appropriately timed stop at a coaching inn. Many inns were famous for house recipes. Others were know for taking advantage of passengers by providing undercooked food or slow service. Inns were generally built around a central cobbled courtyard that gave some protection from the weather and made it easy to watch for coaches coming in. However, the convenience was offset by the difficulty in sleeping in a place where servants and passengers constantly came and went, horns were blown to announce arrivals and departures, and teams of horses created a constant clatter on the cobblestones. Travel guides generally advised coach passengers who were spending the night to stay at an inn rather than the main coaching inn.”

Mail coaches traveled much faster than a private coach owned by a member of the gentry would do. They were not required to wait for changes, did not spend the night anywhere, and had relief drivers. 

Stage coaches used their own horses, or horses under contract purely to the stage company.  They had their own drivers, not postilions, so it was not necessary for them to adhere to the speed limits put on private hires.  Stage coaches did stop at night, unless they were express routes, which operated only between a few large towns.  There were night coach routes, too, that operated only at night, but theses employed the worst vehicles, worst horses, and worst drivers, so passengers customarily avoided them.  They mostly carried packages between towns without going through London. 

stagecoach.jpg Stage coaches averaged about 7 miles per hour on the turnpikes, but much slower on secondary roads, which they traversed often since they were the only real public transportation connecting smaller towns. They also operated across the country instead of always radiating from London like the mail coaches did. They pushed their horses hard and carried LOTS of passengers, so the horses rarely lasted even three years of service, often being sold to farmers as plow horses afterwards.    

Mail coaches were the fastest form of transportation, averaging 9 miles per hour, but they only operated on the turnpikes and only on turnpikes in good condition.  Unless the roads were properly maintained, the mail route would be dropped. They did not stop for anything except changes of horses, which happened very quickly.  Again, the horses were under contract strictly to the post office, so they were unavailable to travelers.  Mail coaches carried, at most, 7 passengers: 4 inside, three outside.  Their coaches were smaller and lighter than the stage coaches, which added to their speed.

claudeduval A traveler would hire horses every 15-20 miles if he wanted to make any time. But the coach was required to stop at all toll gates, slow for all the numerous villages, and give way whenever a mail coach came up behind them. By the 1830s, that speed was doubled due to macadamization, which started in 1814.

Historic UK tells us, “The Regency period saw great improvements in coach design and road construction, leading to greater speed and comfort for passengers. For example, in 1750 it took around 2 days to travel from Cambridge to London, but by 1820 the journey time had been slashed to under 7 hours. This was the golden age of the stagecoach. Coaches now travelled at around 12 miles per hour, with four coaches per route, two going in each direction with two spare coaches in case of a breakdown. However the development of the railways in the 1830s had a huge impact on the stagecoach. Stage and mail coaches could not compete with the speed of the new railways. Soon the post was traveling by rail and by the mid 19th century, most coaches traveling to and from London had been withdrawn from service.”

Posted in British history, business, Industrial Revolution, Living in the Regency, Regency era, travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Chief John Norton, Real-Life Model for a Character in “The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin,” a 2016 Finalist for the Chanticleer International Book Awards

www.encore-editions.com Mather Brown-Portrait of Major John Norton as Mohawk Chief Teyoninhokarawen Notecards

http://www.encore-editions.com Mather Brown-Portrait of Major John Norton as Mohawk Chief Teyoninhokarawen Notecards

One of the characters in my latest Austenesque novel, The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin, is modeled upon that of John Norton (Teyoninhokarawen), who was a Mohawk Indian chief of Scottish birth. Norton attended school in Scotland and was a force with which to be reckoned during the War of 1812. 

Norton was the son of a Cherokee Indian father and a Scottish mother. His father was taken prisoner as a boy by British soldiers when the British destroyed the Cherokee village of Kuwoki in South Carolina. Later, the youth was removed to England.

John Norton became a soldier in 1784, serving with the 65th Foot Regiment in Lower Canada. From 1787 to 1788, he served at Fort Niagara (Upper Canada). From 1791-1795, he found his “fortune” in the fur trade. During those years, he learned his skills in trade and negotiation from John Askin, an American trader who served as an interpreter for those in and around Fort Detroit. Norton and Askin also had dealings with the First Nations (Maumee, Wyandot, and Shawnee tribes), who resided south of the Great Lakes. When the Americans defeated the Maumee at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in August 1794, Norton returned to Canada.

In Canada, Norton became an interpreter for the Indian Department at Niagara. During this time, he met Joseph Brant (Mohawk chief), who convinced Norton to become a fellow tribesman of the Grand River Mohawks. Brant even adopted Norton as his nephew, and Norton became chief when Brant died in 1807. As “Peace Chief,” Norton assisted the Mohawks in negotiating land settlements with the British government. Under Indian law, Norton was considered a full-blooded Indian for his father was an Indian.

The British and Foreign Bible Society saw John Norton as an asset to their cause. They asked him to translate the Gospel of St. John into the Mohawk language. The translation was published in 1806, a first for the First Nations’ language.

Over the next few years, Norton traveled extensively through the Grand River area, even establishing a relationship with Tecumseh. During the War of 1812, Norton served as a captain in the British army. He led several of the Indian tribes at Detroit and at the Battle of Queenston Heights. With the death of Sir Isaac Brock (the British leader in Canada), Norton led the Mohawk tribes against the American troops. He participated in the burning of Buffalo (NY) in 1813, as well as fighting in the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane. His efforts provided the British time to successfully defeat the Americans in the encounters.

Norton also was instrumental in the British defense of Fort Niagara, Fort George, the Battle of Stoney Creek, and the Battle of Beaver Dams. After the war, Norton and his wife, a Lenape (Delaware Indian) traveled to England, where he received the higher rank of major in the British army for his gallantry and meritorious conduct. It was a brevet commission and held no authority, precedence, or rank pay.

During his years in England, Norton finished his journal, which became an accurate account of the War of 1812 from the Indian point of view.

Norton return to the Canadian front in 1816. In 1823, he was found guilty of manslaughter after a duel involving his wife’s infidelity. We know little of Norton after this point. He reportedly passed in October 1831 in northern Mexico.

Resources for the post:
Davis, D. S. “Norton, John (Teyoninhokarawen).” War of 1812. © RCGS/HDI/Parks Canada 2011, All rights reserved. http://www.eighteentwelve.ca/?q=eng/Topic/106

“Chief John (Teyoninhokarawen) Norton,” The Casebook: The War of 1812. http://casebook.thewarof1812.info/People_files/Norton/people_summary.html

Carl F. Klinck and James J. Talman, eds. The Journal of Major John Norton. Toronto: Champlain Society, 1970.

PoMDC Cover-3 copy.jpg The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

Fitzwilliam Darcy is enjoying his marital bliss. His wife, the former Elizabeth Bennet, presented him two sons and a world of contentment. All is well until “aggravation” rears its head when Darcy receives a note of urgency from his sister Georgiana. In truth, Darcy never fully approved of Georgiana’s joining with their cousin, Major General Edward Fitzwilliam, for Darcy assumed the major general held Georgiana at arm’s length, dooming Darcy’s sister to a life of unhappiness.

Dutifully, Darcy and Elizabeth rush to Georgiana’s side when the major general leaves his wife and daughter behind, with no word of his whereabouts and no hopes of Edward’s return. Forced to seek his cousin in the slews of London’s underbelly, at length, Darcy discovers the major general and returns Fitzwilliam to his family.

Even so, the Darcys’ troubles are far from over. During the major general’s absence from home, witnesses note Fitzwilliam’s presence in the area of two horrific murders. When Edward Fitzwilliam is arrested for the crimes, Darcy must discover the real culprit before the authorities hanged his cousin and the Fitzwilliam name knew a lifetime of shame.

Barnes and Noble 
Excerpt from Chapter 2 of

The Prosecution of Mr. Darcy’s Cousin: A Pride and Prejudice Mystery

“I expect you to reexamine your records, Belker,” Darcy said with his best “Master of Pemberley” voice.

He favored the harbormaster with a quelling glare.

“I want to know unequivocally that no one impressed my cousin into service upon one of the ships recently setting sail from the Thames. If you ignore my request, you will know the wrath of the Earl of Matlock, Viscount Lindale, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and even His Royal Highness Prince George, who favored the major general upon more than one occasion.”

Darcy took pleasure when his exaggeration caused Belker to flinch. The harbormaster was not happy to observe Cowan enter his office.

Without doubt, as a Bow Street Runner, Thomas Cowan hounded Belker’s existence, for the man held a reputation for the importation of illegal goods. When this investigation knew completion, Darcy would use his extensive influence to aid Cowan in replacing the man who used his position for personal benefit.

“As I said previously, Mr. Darcy,” Belker shot a furtive glance to a glaring Cowan, “the major general was here. Saturday last. But he never boarded any ship.”

“How can you be so certain?” Cowan growled.

Belker puffed out his chest in self-importance.

“Assisted the officer meself,” he declared. “Some men upon the Towson thought the major general an easy target for your cousin consumed more than his share of drink.”

Darcy did not like to think upon Edward imbibing so heavily. Whatever drove the major general from his home rested hard upon his cousin’s soul.

“Certainly, some can hold their drink better than others.”

Belker straightened some papers upon his desk while organizing his thoughts.

“Those from the Towson thought to claim the major general, but Lord Matlock’s son proved himself worthy of his position. With just his fists, the major general dispatched the four men from the Towson. More easily than what anyone might believe of a gentleman’s son, I might add.”

“Explain,” Cowan demanded.

Belker did not disguise his disgust, but he provided the information. The harbormaster would not cavil over a thing such as principle.

“Needless to say, none on the Towson realized the man they discovered passed out among the crates waiting to be loaded onboard was a gentleman. The major general’s clothes be finely cut, but they be filthy. On the night in question, my dockers escorted all five men to my office, and I summoned a surgeon. Your cousin had but a few bruises and cuts, Sir. Two from the Towson are still housed at the infirmary a few streets over.”

“Do you know the major general’s destination when he departed the docks?” Darcy asked.

“Said he meant to find himself an inn to wait for his next set of orders. I thought him a junior officer on one of the ships, for he wore no epaulets. Thought he expected to depart soon,” Belker disclosed.

Cowan stood to depart.

“Do you have a guess as to where the man took residence?”

Desiring their exit, Belker stood also.

“Can’t say for certain. Most sailors avoid the inns close to the river, preferring those inland for obvious reasons. I would image a King’s soldier would follow suit. If I wished to hide from those who would follow me, I would avoid the city inns.”

Weariness claimed Darcy’s stance.

“If you think of anything of import, please contact me at Darcy House. It would be well worth your time.”  

Posted in America, American History, Austen Authors, British history, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, real life tales, Regency era | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frigates, Treasure, Snobbery, and Jane Austen, Guest Post by Antoine Vanner

In October 2016 when Antoine Vanner posted this piece on his Dawlish Chronicles blog, I asked his permission to repost it here. At the time, he asked me to wait for a bit. Well, as they say, one thing led to another. At last, the post has made it over the social media pathways. Be amazed and enjoy! 

Prize Money – Frigates, Treasure and Jane Austen


HMS Pomone, from a colour lithograph by T. G. Dutton, after a painting by G.F. St.John via Wikipedia

 The allocation of prize money followed a fixed formula, and some who benefitted from it might not be directly involved in the capture of the enemy vessel. The total value of the prize was divided into eight parts which were assigned as follows:In naval fiction set in the Age of Fighting Sail, prize money, accruing from the capture of enemy shipping which would subsequently be sold to third parties or bought by the Admiralty, is rightly shown as an important driver for Royal Navy officers and crew alike. For most on the lower deck it represented the only opportunity of their lives to earn a sum substantial enough to set themselves up in some comfort – typically by purchase of a tavern or other small business. For the officers it could mean the difference between an old age spent in respectable near-penury and acquisition of a fortune that would secure significant property for themselves and their families. The navy differed from the army in that an officer did not need to purchase his commission (a practice that continued up to the 1870s). Younger sons from wealthy families, who due to the law of primogeniture were likely to inherit little or nothing, or sons from poor but respectable backgrounds – such as Nelson – could however enter the navy at a young age and hope to rise through competence and luck.

Jack got safe into port with his prize, Robert Sayer

View of how the prize money was often spent!

One part to the admiral or commander-in-chief who signed the ship’s written orders (but if the orders came directly from the Admiralty in London, then this went to the captain);

Two parts (i.e. one quarter) went to the captain or commander;

One part was divided among the lieutenants, sailing master, and captain of marines;

One part was divided among the wardroom warrant officers (surgeon, purser, and chaplain), standing warrant officers (carpenter, boatswain, and gunner), the lieutenant of marines, and the master’s mates;

One part was divided among the junior warrant and petty officers, their mates, sergeants of marines, captain’s clerk, surgeon’s mates, and midshipmen;

Two parts (i.e. one quarter) were divided among the crew, with able and specialist seamen receiving larger shares than ordinary seamen, landsmen, and boys.

Frigate and sloop commands were much sought after for the opportunities they gave for capturing prizes but many crews were to find themselves dogged by bad luck for years. When fortune was favourable however, the rewards could be immense. In one such case, in 1799, the officers and crews of four British frigates were lucky enough to encounter two Spanish warships some 200 miles west of the northern Spanish coast. They were initially sighted on 15th October by HMS Naiad.  Her commander, Captain Pierrepoint, gave chase.  They subsequently proved to be the frigates Santa Brigida and Thetis, which were headed to Spain from Vera Cruz in Mexico.  

Sailor's Return boitard-1

The sailor’s return after Anson’s voyage. Note the wagons in the background carrying the prizes

The fact that the two frigates, which outgunned Naiad by two to one, should decide to run from her rather than to fight was indicative that whatever they carried was of great value. Pierrepoint followed them doggedly through the night and early in the following morning, another ship was seen in the south-west. It proved to be the British frigate HMS Ethalion and soon afterwards two more frigates, HMS Alcmène and HMS Triton, also appeared. In the hope of escape the Spanish vessels parted company and steered away on different courses, each were pursued by two British frigates. The odds had turned decisively against the Spanish. Overhauled, they chose to strike their colours rather than fight it out.

It is likely that much of the prize money was dissipated in wine, women and brief high-living ashore. Cartoonists of the time depicted seamen squandering money with wild abandon. Many of the officers were more likely however to set themselves up as land-owning country gentry. Although these men were in the front line of the nation’s defence or more than two decades in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, those whom they protected were often not just grossly ungrateful but resentful of such success. The novelist Jane Austen had two brothers in naval service in this period – both rose in their later careers to be admirals – and she makes a Royal Navy captain her hero in her last published novel, Persuasion, as well as portraying other officers sympathetically. With brilliant irony she describes the mean-minded prejudice endured by such officers – as her brothers may have experienced – from stay-at-homes resentful of their hard-earned prize money. The value of prizes was enormous since much of their cargoes proved to be specie – gold and silver coinage. The treasure was landed and Plymouth and loaded on sixty-three artillery wagons. Escorted by soldiers, armed seamen and marines, with bands playing and watched by a huge crowd, it began its journey to the vaults of the Bank of England in London. In the final distribution each British captain was awarded £40,000 (probably worth at least a million today, though such comparisons can only be very approximate). Each lieutenant received £5,000 pounds, each warrant officer more than £2000 pounds. The midshipmen – in many cases young boys the start of their careers, were each given £800. Those who received most of all, by the standards of their own expectations, were the seamen and marines, each being awarded £182 pounds. To put this into context it is worth noting that a domestic servant could be had for £10 per year while a private soldier in the army was paid a shilling a day, some £18 pounds a year, though deductions were to reduce this significantly in practice.

Cruikshank - pid off at Portsmouth

Paid-off seaman celebrating – cartoon by Cruikshank

Here is a snobbish landowner speaking in Persuasion – this passage deserves to be repeated in full:


(Referring to the Navy) Sir Walter’s remark was, soon afterwards– “The profession has its utility, but I should be sorry to see any friend of mine belonging to it.”

“Indeed!” was the reply, and with a look of surprise.

Sir Walter Elliot.jpg“Yes; it is in two points offensive to me; I have two strong grounds of objection to it. First, as being the means of bringing persons of obscure birth into undue distinction, and raising men to honours which their fathers and grandfathers never dreamt of; and secondly, as it cuts up a man’s youth and vigour most horribly; a sailor grows old sooner than any other man. I have observed it all my life. A man is in greater danger in the navy of being insulted by the rise of one whose father, his father might have disdained to speak to, and of becoming prematurely an object of disgust himself, than in any other line. One day last spring, in town, I was in company with two men, striking instances of what I am talking of; Lord St. Ives, whose father we all know to have been a country curate, without bread to eat; I was to give place to Lord St. Ives, and a certain Admiral Baldwin, the most deplorable-looking personage you can imagine; his face the colour of mahogany, rough and rugged to the last degree; all lines and wrinkles, nine grey hairs of a side, and nothing but a dab of powder at top. ‘In the name of heaven, who is that old fellow?’ said I to a friend of mine who was standing near, (Sir Basil Morley). ‘Old fellow!’ cried Sir Basil, ‘it is Admiral Baldwin. What do you take his age to be?’ ‘Sixty,’ said I, ‘or perhaps sixty-two.’ ‘Forty,’ replied Sir Basil, ‘forty, and no more.’ Picture to yourselves my amazement; I shall not easily forget Admiral Baldwin. I never saw quite so wretched an example of what a sea-faring life can do; but to a degree, I know it is the same with them all: they are all knocked about, and exposed to every climate, and every weather, till they are not fit to be seen. It is a pity they are not knocked on the head at once, before they reach Admiral Baldwin’s age.”

So much for gratitude for deliverance from Bonaparte!

img-profile.jpg Meet Antoine Vanner 

Antoine Vanner found himself flattered when nautical novelist Joan Druett described him as the “The Tom Clancy of historic naval fiction”.

He says: “I find the late Victorian era, roughly 1870 to 1900, fascinating because for my baby-boomer generation it’s ‘the day before yesterday’. It’s history that you can almost touch. Our grandparents grew up in that period and you heard a lot from them about it. So much in that time was so similar to what we still have today that you feel you could live easily in it, and then you hit some aspects – especially those associated with social conventions and attitudes – that make it seem wholly alien. It was a time of change on every front – intellectual, scientific, medical, social, political and technological – and yet people seem to have accommodated to these rapid changes very well.”

51O3qD9+aKL.jpg Britannia’s Wolf: The Dawlish Chronicles: September 1877 – February 1878

This is the first volume of the Dawlish Chronicles naval fiction series – action and adventure set in the age of transition from sail to steam in the last decades of the 19th Century.

It’s late 1877 and the Russian and Ottoman-Turkish Empires are locked in a deadly as the war between them is reaching its climax.  A Russian victory will pose a threat to Britain’s strategic interests. To protect them an ambitious British naval officer, Nicholas Dawlish, is assigned to the Ottoman Navy to ravage Russian supply-lines in the Black Sea. In the depths of a savage winter, as Turkish

It’s November 1879 and on a broad river deep in the heart of South America, a flotilla of paddle steamers thrashes slowly upstream. It is laden with troops, horses and artillery, and intent on conquest and revenge. Ahead lies a commercial empire that was wrested from a British consortium in a bloody revolution. Now the investors are determined to recoup their losses and are funding a vicious war to do so. Nicholas Dawlish, on leave of absence from the Royal Navy, is playing a leading role in the expedition and though it could not be much further from the open sea he must face savage naval combat. forces face defeat on all fronts, Dawlish confronts enemy ironclads in naval combat and Cossack lances and merciless Kurdish irregulars in battles ashore. But more than warfare is involved, for Dawlish finds himself a pawn in the rivalry of the Sultan’s half-brothers for control of the collapsing empire. And in the midst of this chaos, unwillingly and unexpectedly, Dawlish finds himself drawn to a woman whom he believes he should not love.

51l5b3cnbGL._SY346_.jpg Brittania’s Reach: The Dawlish Chronicles: November 1879 – April-1880

It’s November 1879 and on a broad river deep in the heart of South America, a flotilla of paddle steamers thrashes slowly upstream. It is laden with troops, horses and artillery, and intent on conquest and revenge. Ahead lies a commercial empire that was wrested from a British consortium in a bloody revolution. Now the investors are determined to recoup their losses and are funding a vicious war to do so. Nicholas Dawlish, on leave of absence from the Royal Navy, is playing a leading role in the expedition and though it could not be much further from the open sea he must face savage naval combat.

51Aap7r-ihL Britannia’s Shark: The Dawlish Chronicles: April – September 1881

It’s 1881 and the British Empire’s power seems unchallengeable.

But now a group of revolutionaries threaten that power’s economic basis. Their weapon is the invention of a naïve genius, their sense of grievance is implacable and their leader is already proven in the crucible of war. Protected by powerful political and business interests, conventional British military or naval power cannot touch them.

51e4mgiAYaL.jpg Britannia’s Spartan: The Dawlish Chronicles: June 1859 and April – August 1882

1859: a terrified 13 year-old boy has survived the shredding of a flotilla by enemy gunfire, the first defeat suffered by the Royal Navy for four decades. Now he cowers in a muddy ditch, waiting for the signal that will launch a suicidal assault on Chinese fortifications. It is Nicholas Dawlish’s blooding in combat and its memory will stay with him throughout his future career as a naval officer.

1882: now a captain, Dawlish is returning to China command of Britain’s newest cruiser, HMS Leonidas. Her voyage to the Far East is to be a peaceful venture, a test of this innovative vessel’s engines and boilers. It should bear no relation to that nightmare of failure in China that Dawlish remembers since boyhood and so there is no forewarning of the whirlwind of land and naval combat ahead. But soon after arrival in Hong Kong Dawlish is required to undertake a diplomatic mission in Korea. It seems no more than a formality but he finds a country racked by riot, treachery and massacre and the focus of merciless international ambitions.

613TthH9lyL.jpg Britannia’s Amazon: The Dawlish Cronicles: 5 April – August 1882 

1882: Florence Dawlish stands at the quayside in Portsmouth and watches the Royal Navy’s newest cruiser, HMS Leonidas, departing under command of her husband Captain Nicholas Dawlish. Months of separation lie ahead, quiet months which she plans to fill with charitable works.

Witnessing of the abduction of a young girl shatters that quiet, bringing Florence into brutal contact with the squalid underside of complacent Victorian society. With her personal loyalties challenged to the limit, and conscious that her persistence in seeking justice may damage her ambitious husband’s career, not to mention the possibility of prison for herself, Florence is drawn ever deeper into a maelstrom of corruption and violence. The enemies she faces are merciless and vicious, their identities protected by guile, power and influence.

Posted in British currency, British history, British Navy, Victorian era | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Celebrating the Re-Release of “Darcy’s Passions: Pride and Prejudice Retold Through His Eyes” + Giveaway

During the 2007-2008 school year, I complained to my Advanced Placement Language class about a particular novel, what we would now call Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF). The story, although well written, was historically inaccurate in the situations presented. It was not a true reflection of Austen’s period. As the class was taught to examine the language and the situation to identify the time period of a piece of literature, this novel would be misleading. Many of the students in the class had been in my honors classes previously, or in my elective classes, such as Journalism. They were accustomed to how I challenged them, and so one student said, “If you know how to do this, do it yourself.” Therefore, I took on the role of fiction writer. I had written much in the academic realm, but not novels. I decided to rewrite Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view.

To make a long story short, I self-published the book at a time when self-publishing was not a popular means to see one’s book in print. All I wanted at the time was to answer the challenge presented me…to be a good sport. I permitted one of my students to draw the cover of the book so she might put the experience upon her college application. I purchased copies for those in the class and quickly forgot about it until my son sent me an email informing me that the book was #8 on the Amazon sales list. Even then, I considered it a fluke. At length, however, Ulysses Press contacted me asking about traditionally publishing the book. This was the time when several of the traditional publishers were buying up the rights to JAFF pieces. Ulysses had 3 other Austen-inspired writers, while Sourcebooks scooped up a dozen or more.

In February 2009, Darcy’s Passions was published by Ulysses Press, and my publishing career began. I retired from teaching in 2010, after some 40 years, and have supplemented my retirement with the publication of 31 novels to date. Yet, Darcy’s Passions remains a favorite for it started me down this path. Moreover, it remains my best seller, having entered into multiple printings. 

Recently, I decided to rerelease Darcy’s Passions with a new cover and a reworking of the story (Gosh, I cannot believe neither the editor or I caught some of those errors found in the first printing!) So, please enjoy from Mr. Darcy’s point of view, the scene where Elizabeth Bennet comes to Netherfield to tend her sister.


Darcy’s Passions: Pride and Prejudice Retold Through His Eyes

FITZWILLIAM DARCY loves three things: his sister Georgiana, his ancestral estate, and Elizabeth Bennet. The first two come easily to him. He is a man who recognizes his place in the world, but the third, Elizabeth Bennet, is a woman Society would censure if he chose her for his wife. Can he risk everything he has ever known to love an impossible woman, a woman who has declared him to be “the last man in the world (she) could ever be prevailed upon to marry”?

Revisit Jane Austen’s beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice, retold from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. Discover his soul-searching transformation from proud and arrogant into the world’s most romantic hero. Experience what is missing from Elizabeth Bennet’s tale. Learn something of the truth of Fitzwilliam Darcy’s pride. Return to your favorite scenes from Austen’s classic: Darcy’s rejection of Miss Elizabeth at the Meryton assembly; the Netherfield Ball; his botched first proposal; his discovering Elizabeth at Pemberley; and Darcy’s desperate plan to save Lydia Bennet from George Wickham’s manipulations, all retold through his eyes. Satisfy your craving for Austen’s timeless love story, while defining the turmoil and vulnerability in a man who possesses everything except the one thing that can make him happy.


Chapter 3

“…to be really in love without encouragement . . .”

LITTLE DISTRACTED DARCY from his growing obsession with Miss Elizabeth except the opportunity to dine with the officers of the Derbyshire militia. Much to his friend’s dismay, his sisters chose to engage Miss Bennet to Netherfield on the same evening. Bingley had not enjoyed Jane Bennet’s company for several days, and his countenance showed the irony of the situation. “That beautiful angel dines at my own table, while you and I have the duty of dining with the local militia.”

For Darcy’s part, being away from Elizabeth Bennet had solidified his resolve to ignore her and to squash any aspirations she might have. “It is only one evening, Bingley.” His response did little to allay his friend’s desire to cancel their engagement with the officers. After the meal, the smooth brandy and the interesting conversation entertained Darcy. His interest in military history served him well. A continual downpour dampened his spirits some, but not enough to ruin the evening, while the rain and the travesty of the situation dramatically increased Bingley’s discomposure.

Upon their return to Netherfield, they were met at the door by Miss Bingley. “That foolish chit rode a horse in the rain,” she declared with a snit. “She is down with the ague. I had no choice but to offer lodging for the night. The apothecary has come and gone. Miss Bennet has a fever.”

“Should we send to London for a physician?” Bingley paced the floor.

“The lady has a cold, Charles. Sending for a physician would be preposterous! I warrant Miss Bennet shall be better on the morrow.” The whole matter fatigued Caroline. Although not thoroughly content with the answer, Bingley did not press his sister further. Privately, he told Darcy that he would wait until the morning to assess whether Miss Bennet required more learned care.

Satisfied he could do nothing to relieve his friend’s tumult and seeing no other need for his service, Darcy retired to his rooms. Sitting before the mirror in his dressing room, he spoke aloud to the image he found there. “So, Miss Bennet is at Netherfield and ill. How convenient! I wonder who planned such an astute venture. Mrs. Bennet, naturally. She sent her daughter out in the rain to snag a husband. Can one imagine such a mother–such connections–poor Elizabeth?” As quickly as he said her name, a reverie of images claimed his senses. Every time he thought he rid himself of his desire to see and talk to Elizabeth Bennet, reminders resurfaced. She would never agree to such a clearly manipulated plot as this one, he mused. Should he warn Bingley? His friend had become more entangled each day. Could he permit Bingley to create an alliance with such a family?

Darcy undressed and prepared for bed. Leaning over to blow out the candle, another thought dawned. If Miss Bennet fell very ill, Elizabeth Bennet would likely come to Netherfield to care for her sister. Darcy groaned with the realization. Elizabeth would be in the house with him. He would be forced to spend time with her. Was his groan from pain or pleasure? He was not certain.

Jane Bennet’s fever worsened. In the morning the Bingleys dispatched a note to Longbourn to secure approval to send for a physician. Despite not agreeing with propriety, Bingley realized he had no right to order a physician for Jane Bennet. “Please, you must calm down, Bingley. Everything which can be done for Miss Bennet is being done,” Darcy cautioned.

“I am aware of my insensibility, Darcy, but I feel I should be doing more for her.”


“Please, Charles, you are doing your best for Miss Bennet. She will recover soon; you will see. Let us join your family in the morning room. Your sisters are concerned for your well-being also.”

Darcy’s words lessened Bingley’s anxiety, and Bingley allowed himself to be led to the morning room. Although the rainstorm had ended, and the land had dried, remnants of the downpour remained. Darcy knew they could not ride out, so he, too, remained in a state of disorder; a ride on Cerberus would do him well. Consequently, there they sat, partaking of the morning repast, making niceties, and each of them lost in his own thoughts. Bingley worried for Miss Bennet’s well-being; Caroline and Louisa wished to rid themselves of the duty of caring for someone they only pretended to admire; and Darcy needed to be free of the unexplained energy which thoughts of Elizabeth Bennet created in him.

Suddenly, the door swung wide, and a servant announced, “Miss Elizabeth Bennet,” and she stood framed in the doorway. Her appearance had taken all of them by surprise. Mud steeped her petticoat, her hair was windswept, and her clothes, disheveled. The Bingley party sat in shock–-in momentary suspension-–at an unannounced visit so early. Both he and Bingley sprang to their feet to acknowledge the entrance of a lady. Mesmerized by her image, Darcy stood dumbfounded; in all his nightly musings, he had never envisioned Elizabeth to look as such; she was lovelier than ever.

Bingley, thankfully, had the good sense to leave the table to approach her. “Miss Elizabeth,” he began, “please, join us.” She motioned his plea away. “You have come to see your sister. I am so glad. Miss Bennet will benefit by having her loved ones close.”

Sarcastically, Caroline said, “Miss Elizabeth, did you walk here?”

“I did, Miss Bingley. I was worried for Jane,” Elizabeth reasoned.

“Three miles?” Louisa added incredulously.

Elizabeth smiled at their astonishment. “I believe so.” Then turning to Mr. Bingley she asked, “Would it be too much trouble for me to see Jane?”

“We will have someone show you to Miss Bennet’s room,” Bingley chimed in. “When you are able, please advise us on her condition; our apprehension grows. If Miss Bennet requires anything, we are your servants.” Bingley turned to the footman and indicated for him to escort Miss Elizabeth to her sister. During this exchange, Darcy did not move; the picture of Elizabeth, which he would add to his mental gallery of her, thrilled him.

When she was safely from earshot, Caroline could not contain her distaste for Miss Elizabeth’s display. “Did you ever?” she began, but Darcy cut her short by removing her immediate audience. “Bingley, it appears we will be unable to ride out today to examine your holdings, but we may address expenses for the renovations you have considered.” Bingley looked relieved at the possibility. They removed quickly to Bingley’s study.

“Darcy, would it be inappropriate to bring a physician from London to attend to Miss Bennet?” Bingley asked when they were from earshot.

“It would be a break in propriety,” Darcy responded. “May I suggest if Miss Bennet’s progress is delayed, her sister should also be given accommodations so she may attend to the lady. From what I have observed of Miss Elizabeth, she is very sensible. She would never allow decorum to stand in the way of her sister’s health; Miss Elizabeth would ask, mayhap demand, you do more if need be.”

“Naturally, why did I not think of such? When Miss Elizabeth joins us later, I will ask her to stay. Your good counsel never fails me, Darcy.” As Darcy turned to the plans for

Netherfield, he wondered if he had erred in favor of insensibility.

At three in the afternoon, Elizabeth entered the sitting room; she had attended Miss Bennet all day, with the occasional assistance of the ladies of the house. The apothecary declared Miss Bennet to have a violent cold and to be in need of additional care. “I must depart,” she said tentatively. “Evening approaches, and I must be to Longbourn.”

“Allow me to offer you the use of my coach,” Caroline declared in tones that sounded too sweet.

“I thank you for the consideration,” Elizabeth said.

Bingley hesitated, but Darcy nodded his encouragement. “I will not hear of it, Miss Elizabeth. You must stay and tend your sister,” his friend declared. “I insist. Miss Bennet will recover much faster if you are in attendance.”

“Mr. Bingley,” Elizabeth gushed with gratitude. “Your kindness is most appreciated. I do desire to stay with Jane if your offer is sincere.”

“Then it is settled,” Bingley added quickly. “We will send a servant to Longbourn to acquaint your family with our plan and to bring back clothes for your stay.”

“I am in your debt, Mr. Bingley.” Elizabeth curtsied and happily returned to her sister’s room. This satisfied Bingley, but if his friend had taken note of his sister’s face, Bingley would have seen displeasure. Caroline had made it no secret she wanted the Bennet family removed from Netherfield. She recognized her brother’s interest in Miss Bennet. Darcy suspected the woman also recognized his growing interest in Elizabeth Bennet.

It was half past six before Elizabeth rejoined the party, having been summoned to supper. “I am afraid, Mr. Bingley, I cannot give you a favorable response to your inquiry. My sister shows no improvement.”

Although she quickly returned to the needlework she held, Caroline intoned, “That is dreadful to hear, Miss Elizabeth.”

During supper Darcy hoped for an opportunity to speak with Elizabeth, but Caroline strategically placed Miss Elizabeth beside Mr. Hurst. Darcy made conversation with Caroline. He split his attention, however, hoping for gems of Elizabeth’s conversation, which he could use later.

She returned to her sister’s care after the meal, and Miss Bingley immediately abused her. “Miss Elizabeth’s manners, I find, are lacking indeed; they are a mix of pride and impertinence. Did you notice, Louisa, she cannot hold a civil conversation; she has no style, no taste, and no beauty of which to speak. Country ideas of such appealing qualities must be far below those of refined societies.” Darcy wondered at how little he knew of Miss Bingley. He once found her to be dignified, but her luster dulled.

Louisa Hurst joined in her sister’s aspersions. “Elizabeth Bennet has nothing, in short, to recommend her but being an excellent walker. I shall never forget her appearance this morning. She really looked almost wild.”

Caroline cackled, “She did, indeed. I could hardly keep my countenance. Very nonsensical to come at all! Why must she be scampering about the country because her sister had a cold? Her hair so untidy, so blowzy!”


“Yes, and her petticoat. I hope you noted her petticoat, six inches deep in mud!”

Bingley came to Elizabeth’s defense. “I thought Miss Elizabeth looked remarkably well when she came into the room this morning. Her dirty petticoat quite escaped my notice.” Bless him, thought Darcy. Mayhap he will one day be able to handle Caroline.

Caroline turned to Darcy. “You observed it, Mr. Darcy, I am certain, and I am inclined to think you would not wish to see your sister make such an exhibition. To walk three miles or whatever it is, above her ankles in dirt and quite alone–what can she mean by it? It seems to me to show an abominable sort of conceited independence, a most country-town indifference to decorum.”

Caroline’s references to the boorish behavior of the locals wore on Darcy’s patience. “Her sister was ill. It shows an affection that is very pleasing.”

“Mr. Darcy, you must agree, however, this adventure has rather affected your admiration of her fine eyes.” Caroline’s voice displayed her desperation.

“Again you are mistaken, Miss Bingley. I found them brightened by the exercise.”

Darcy hoped his comment would stifle Miss Bingley’s censure of Elizabeth, but she ignored his censorious tone. “Did you know, Louisa, the Bennet family has an uncle who is a country attorney and an uncle who owns a warehouse in Cheapside?” 

“I do not understand all this emphasis on material wealth when one judges a person’s merit; even if the Bennets had enough uncles to fill all of Cheapside, I would not think less of the family.”

Bingley felt the need to defend his preference for Jane Bennet, and in many ways Darcy sympathized with his friend, but the truth remained unchanged. “Unfortunately, Bingley, other people will judge differently. It must very materially lessen their chance of marrying men of any consideration in the world.” He hated to acknowledge the facts. Men of fine Society would not consider the Bennet sisters as probable mates, and although he found Elizabeth Bennet to be more than desirable, he knew he could not marry her.

Darcy’s speech had given the Bingley sisters permission to continue their condemnation of the Bennet family’s vulgar relations. Bingley, on the other hand, had no response. Darcy, too, could not shake the uneasiness he felt each time Caroline mentioned Elizabeth in a negative light. Eventually, the sisters ceased their humorous attack and removed to Miss Bennet’s room to offer their concerned advice. It was late in the evening before Elizabeth rejoined the Bingley household. The party sat at loo when she returned; Darcy anxiously observed her again.

After the Bingley sisters’ attacks, he spent several hours in quiet contemplation. During the day he decided he once more wished for Elizabeth’s company. Moreover, he reasoned having her at Netherfield would provide him time to know more of Elizabeth Bennet. Darcy looked forward to engaging her in a verbal battle. She would view him differently; she would increase her regard. That idea played to Darcy’s sense of pride. What woman would not desire his attention? No one Darcy met previously had refused his consideration.

DP Cover Concept copy.jpg

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Darcys-Passions-Prejudice-Retold-Through/dp/1544677057/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1492107629&sr=8-5&keywords=darcy%27s+passions

Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZY33384/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1492173037&sr=8-5&keywords=DARCY%27S+PASSIONS

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/darcy-s-passions-1

Nook http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/darcys-passions-regina-jeffers/1014948929?ean=2940148227243

CreateSpace Store https://www.createspace.com/7007069

Now, for the giveaway. Leave a comment below to be eligible for one of two eBook copies of Darcy’s Passions. The giveaway will end at midnight EDST on Monday, April 24, 2017.

Posted in Age of Chaucer, Austen Authors, book excerpts, book release, books, eBooks, marriage, Pride and Prejudice, publishing, Regency romance, Vagary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments