The Taming of the Shrew’s Connection to “Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar” Excerpt + Giveaway

One of the main themes in my upcoming release of Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary is the use William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew as a basis of the interaction between Darcy and Elizabeth. My story DOES NOT follow Shakespeare’s play exactly, but there is enough similarity in the two for a lover of Shakespeare to take note. Of Shakespeare’s comedies, Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing are my favorites. 

Wedding.pngFor those of you who have never read or seen a production of Taming of the Shrew, here is a brief synopsis provided by No Sweat Shakespeare: “The play opens as the student Lucentio arrives in Padua. He hears that the merchant Baptista has two daughters, but the younger, prettier daughter, Bianca, cannot be married before her strong-willed sister, Katherina. On seeing Bianca Lucentio falls in love with her and changes identities with his servant Tranio. Bianca already has two suitors, but doesn’t like either. The elderly Gremio hires Lucentio, disguised as a Latin tutor, to woo Bianca on his behalf, while Hortensio disguises himself as a musician to get access to her. Meanwhile Petruchio, a young adventurer from Verona, arrives to visit hisfriend Hortensio. He learns about Katherina and decides to woo her, aided by both Gremio and Hortensio.

“Baptista is enthusiastic about Petruchio’s suit because the feisty Katherina is a burden to him and is continually quarreling with her sister and with him. Petruchio will not be put off as he woos Kate and he fixes their wedding day. At the church, where Kate unwillingly awaits him, Petruchio arrives in an absurd outfit and after the ceremony he leaves for Verona immediately, with his new wife. On reaching there Kate is mistreated by Petruchio and his servants, and is denied food and sleep. To teach her to obey him Petruchio does not allow her new clothes or a hat. Eventually, worn down by her husband’s relentless eccentricity, Kate submits and accepts all his eccentricities. They set off to visit her father in Padua.

“On the journey the couple meet Vincentio, Lucentio’s wealthy father, who is subjected to a strange conversation as Petruchio tests Kate’s obedience. The three reach Padua where Hortensio, rejected by Bianca, has married a widow and Baptista has been tricked into believing a passing stranger is Tranio’s rich father. While Vincentio attempts to unravel the complexities of the situation his son Lucentio returns from a secret wedding with Bianca.

“Nevertheless, Baptista holds a wedding feast for both his daughters. As the men relax after their meal Petruchio devises a competition to prove whose wife is the most obedient. Bianca and the widow fail to come to their husbands when called while Kate lectures the women on the duties of a wife.” 

10_things_i_hate_about_you_blu_ray-3126-5.jpgOne of my favorite film adaptations of the story stars Richard Burton as Petruchio and Elizabeth Taylor as Katherina. When I taught school, I often showed my students excerpts from the teenage-geared film Ten Things I Hate About You, starring Julia Stiles as Kat and the late Heath Ledger as Patrick. In both these films, there is a scene where Petruchio/Patrick must “persuade” Katerina/Kat that he means to marry/date her.

Below, find my version of this contest. Darcy has compromised Elizabeth by kissing her at the Meryton Assembly. She thinks her father will cover up her indiscretion, but Mr. Bennet says otherwise. Elizabeth then means to avoid Mr. Darcy and his marriage proposal. 

Excerpt from Chapter 11: 

Darcy stormed across the lawn toward the Longbourn stables, but drew up short when the building came into sight. “How in blazes am I to persuade a woman who barely tolerates my presence to spend the remainder of her days as my wife?” Uncertain how to proceed, he stared up at the wooden structure before him and back to the house. He imagined that canny old Shakespearean scholar was pointing toward the stable, urging Darcy on. “Bennet is as crazy as his daughter,” Darcy grumbled. “I should up and leave them all to share in their delirium.”

But he knew he would not act so dishonorably. Moreover, the idea of marrying Miss Elizabeth Bennet had taken root in his soul. It was as Bennet purported. The woman would enliven Darcy’s days. With a heavy sigh, Darcy closed his eyes, attempting to steel his resolve. He had come to Hertfordshire to escape the guilt he felt in failing Georgiana and to escape Lady Catherine’s marital manipulations, only to land in a trap of his own making. “At least, I can say my future bride did not apply her arts and allurements to bring me to task.” Darcy chuckled to himself. “Certainly did not expect a dip in a creek to lead to marriage vows.”

With that, he strode forward. Reaching the stable door, he swung it wide with enough force to announce his presence to this intended. “Going somewhere, my dear?”

* * *

When the door banged against the side wall, Elizabeth jumped. She had hoped to be absent when Mr. Darcy came calling. “I am not your ‘dear,’” she said baldly. Her shoulders shifted in a defensive manner. Unsurprisingly, so did Mr. Darcy’s.

The gentleman held his position, and for that, Elizabeth was thankful. She did not think she could tolerate his touch at this moment, for the memory of his hands caressing her back were all to familiar. “I disagree. Your father and I have spoken, and you are to be ‘my dear’ for the remainder of our days.”

“My father erred,” she challenged. “I would prefer to live out my days alone than to saddle myself with the likes of you.”

“The likes of me?” he asked as he took two steps in her direction. “And what do you find so offensive with the likes of me?”

Reflexively, Elizabeth retreated a full step. She wished Mr. Darcy was not so  handsome and she did not still carry a very vivid memory of his kiss or of the manner in which his lips had branded hers or of the solid heat of his body as she clung to him.

With a lift of her chin, she said, “From the very beginning, from the moment I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners impressed me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain for the feelings of others—”

“Selfish disdain for others?” he interrupted. “Did I not show your sister Mary tender care upon more than one occasion? Have I not been an attentive audience for your father? And you? Did I not offer to carry a complete stranger across a chilly creek at the cost of my favorite hat? The most you can hold against me is that I choose not to speak much unless I am among intimate acquaintances or when I share a private conversation with a highly intelligent person, be he male or female. Have I not always provided you my attention when you have a point of reference to impart?”

It was all Elizabeth could do not to stamp her foot in frustration. She despised him when he spoke with logic. “You touched my person without my permission,” she argued. “On more than one occasion.”

Mr. Darcy crossed his arms over his chest and leaned leisurely against one of the support posts. “You held no objections to our last encounter, at least none until we were found out.” He smirked.

“I object now,” she claimed.

“I fear it is too late, my dear.” He emphasized those dreaded words. “We have been observed breaking propriety.”

Elizabeth could still feel the warmth of his breath against her cheek, but she shove that tinge of desire to the side. “It was but a simple kiss,” she contested.

Mr. Darcy straightened. She noted the shift in his demeanor. It would do her well to remember that he was a proud man—a man accustomed to having his way. “The kiss we shared was everything but simple.” He began slowly stalking her. Intent marked his features.

Elizabeth’s nerves hitched higher. Suddenly, she realized why he had previously seemed so relaxed: She had no means of escape. Whatever had possessed her to permit him to corner her so? She should have stormed past him when Mr. Darcy first entered the stable. More importantly, whatever had possessed her to kiss him? Over the years, she had engaged in several flirtations, but never once had she considered an indiscretion, so why was it that she had acted so boldly with the one man who engendered her disapprobation? And what had possessed him to kiss her? Did he often kiss unsuspecting women? The idea of Mr. Darcy embracing another brought a frown to her forehead. Whether she wished his kiss or not, Elizabeth wanted the one they has shared to be a break from his normal interaction with eligible young ladies.

Instinctively, she back-stepped. “Grand or simple,” she declared as her gaze veered upward. Wrapping the length of her riding habit about her arm and catching the nearby ladder, she took the first step. “It was only a kiss. There is no reason for us to marry.” She climbed another rung, while Mr. Darcy moved ever closer.

He paused to look her up and down, and Elizabeth knew a flush of color pinked her cheeks, for surely from her position on the ladder, her ankles were exposed to the gentleman’s view. The heat of their embrace last evening was not part and partial of her imagination. “I cannot permit you to ruin your future,” he declared in tones that should have brooked no argument.

But Elizabeth was never one to avoid an obstacle in her way. “It is my future. My choice.” She continued to climb to the hay loft, while Mr. Darcy reached for the first rung of the ladder to follow her.

“Yet, you do not hold the advantage of making the choice for your sisters’ futures. Your disgrace will affect their chances of finding husbands.”

Looking down upon Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth kicked at the loose straw sending it peppering down upon him. He blinked hard and spat against the dusty deluge. “The matter is not of your concern, sir. I shall explain it all to my sisters.”

“Miss Bingley already objects to her brother’s attentions to Miss Bennet. Your family’s connection to me would soften the lady’s disparaging words. Miss Bingley would cherish a continuance of the privilege of being a guest at Pemberley,” he argued, as his slow methodical climb began.

“If I were Mistress of Pemberley, Miss Bingley would only be invited if I chose to do so, and I would never extend my good graces to the lady,” Elizabeth declared before backing away from the opening.

“Bold words, my dear,” he reasoned, “but if Bingley chooses your sister, the future Mrs. Bingley will beg you, for family’s sake, to include Miss Bingley in your plans for the entertainments at Pemberley, and you will no doubt relent, for you love your elder sister. You love all your sisters. And you are willing to suffer the worst you can imagine if doing so would keep them safe from scorn. Even if the worst you could image comes in the form of a gentleman from Derbyshire.” He climbed through the opening to stand before her.

Tears misted Elizabeth’s eyes. She was trapped—both in the hayloft and in a situation she did not desire; even so, she would not surrender so easily. “You know nothing of my nature, sir.” She grabbed a handful of straw and threw it at his face, but only a flurry of dust motes reached him.

“Obviously, I know more of your nature than you do of mine,” he stated in hard tones as he took a long stride to reach her.

Surprised by his boldness, Elizabeth stepped back quickly to avoid him, but her boot caught on some farm wire around the bale of hay, and she pitched backward. She knew Mr. Darcy reached for her, and in desperation, she grabbed his wrist, but it was too late. She tumbled backward, with only a pile of hay to soften her fall, but her shame was not complete, for the gentleman had followed her down. Thankfully, he had the foresight to turn his body so as not to land hard upon her.

Elizabeth attempted to sit up, but before she could reclaim her wits about her, Mr. Darcy had rolled over upon her, pining her in place. “You will release me,” she ordered.

She caught a glimpse of what she thought was annoyance before his expression closed over. “I will release you when things between us are settled.”

“Nothing you can say or do will change my mind.” She wriggled from side to side, but from the waist down, he was firmly planted upon her person.

“Like it or not, you are mine, Elizabeth Bennet,” he growled when they were nearly nose-to-nose. “Your father sent me to find you, and soon someone or more than one person will discover us here together—experiencing a romp in the hay. Although we might have been able to keep last evening’s indiscretion a secret if not for Miss Bingley, this situation will be more problematic. I will simply rest all my weight upon you, and you will not be able to escape. We will wait for our witnesses to our taking liberties with each other.”

Again, she fought him, only to have Mr. Darcy make good upon his threat. His weight pressed her further into the prickly hay. “I will never be yours,” she hissed.

He shook his head slowly in the negative as if he thought her protests were of little consequence before presenting her a cool smile. “Would you not prefer to spend our time in more pleasurable pursuits?” He lowered his head to caress her jaw line with his lips.

“I have no desire for another kiss from you!” She turned her head to the side to avoid his kissing her again, but she could not control the hitch in her breathing as a result of his warmth invading her body.

“I do not need to kiss you to mark you as mine,” he murmured against the side of her neck as his lips skimmed down the column of it.

Even through her objections, Elizabeth felt the return of the stirrings she had experienced last evening. Yet, she was not to know what would come next.

“Lizzy!” She recognized Charlotte’s voice from below. “Are you in here?”

“Please,” Elizabeth pleaded in a whisper.

“I cannot,” he said against her lips. “Your father means for us to marry.”

She stared at him in frustration. Mr. Darcy expected her to surrender, but the word was not in her vocabulary. She dug down deep to claim the presence of mind to once again to defy him. “You will regret this moment, sir. Mark my words.” With that she shoved hard against his chest, and he easily rolled away from her. Standing quickly, she shook the hay from her clothing and moved to the opening. “Charlotte! she said with a well-placed smile, as she peered down upon her friend. “You are to congratulate me. Mr. Darcy has offered me his hand in marriage, and I have accepted.”

PP+SS Cover-01Introducing Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar 

Unless one knows the value of loyalty, he cannot appreciate the cost of betrayal.

What if Darcy and Elizabeth met weeks before the Meryton assembly? What if there is no barely “tolerable” remark to have Elizabeth rejecting Mr. Darcy’s affections, but rather a dip in a cold creek that sets her against him? What if Mr. Bennet is a renown Shakespearean scholar who encourages Darcy to act the role of Petruchio from Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” to bring Elizabeth’s Katherina persona to the line.

ELIZABETH BENNET’s pride has her learning a difficult lesson: Loyalty is hard to find, and trust is easy to lose. Even after they share a passionate kiss outside the Meryton assembly hall and are forced to marry, Elizabeth cannot forget the indignity she experienced at the hands of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Although she despises his high-handedness, Elizabeth appreciates the protection he provides her in their marriage. But can she set her prejudice aside long enough to know a great love?

FITZWILLIAM DARCY places only two demands on his new wife: her loyalty and her trust, but when she invites his worst enemy to Darcy House, he has no choice but to turn her out. Trusting her had been his decision, but proving his choice the right one before she destroys two hearts meant to be together must be hers, and Darcy is not certain Elizabeth is up to the task.

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY! Leave a comment below for the chance at winning an eBook copy of Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar. The giveaway will end at midnight EST on December 16, 2017. 

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Posted in Austen Authors, blog hop, book excerpts, book release, British history, drama, excerpt, film adaptations, Georgian Era, historical fiction, Jane Austen, Living in the Regency, marriage, Pride and Prejudice, Regency era, Regency romance, romance, Vagary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

James Wilmot on “Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays?” + an eBook Giveaway

 

Wilmot

anonymous engraving of James Wilmot – scanned from Serres, O The Life of the Author of the Letters of Junius, the Reverend James Wilmot, MD, London, 1813. ~ public domain via Wikipedia

James Wilton was supposedly the first to question whether William Shakespeare was the actual author of the plays and sonnets we now attribute to him. Wilmot was an English clergyman, having been educated at Oxford, and scholar from Barton-on-the-Heath, Warwickwickshire, some six miles from Stratford-upon-Avon. We know something of his Shakespeare research because his friend James Corton Cowell conducted two lectures at the Ipswich Philosophic Society on the subject in 1805. However, there are those who believe the Ipswich Philosophic Society did not exist, nor can they find a record of James Corton Cowell. That being said, Cowell’s two lectures DO exist in handwritten manuscript form: “Some Reflections on the Life of William Shakespeare.” They can be found in the Durning-Lawrence collection at London University. Could Cowell simply have written out his research, but not shared it with others?

D-LL_MS294_55

Page from a manuscript purportedly written in 1805 by James Cowell, which has since been determined to be a forgery. MS 294, Senate House Library, University of London ~ public domain ~ via Wikipedia

Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence was a British lawyer and Member of Parliament. He was a strong advocate for the idea that Francis Bacon was the true author of Shakespeare’s plays. Durning-Lawrence penned several books on the subject and hosted public debates on his Baconian theory. His widow donated his research to London University upon his death, among those pieces were the two “Cowell” manuscripts, which tell something of Wilmot’s search for any books or papers that reference Shakespeare as being the author of the plays attributed to him. After covering a 50-mile radius of Stratford, Shakespeare’s home, Wilmot concluded that Shakespeare was not the author of the plays, but rather the author was Sir Francis Bacon. The problem is that Wilmot only confided his findings to Cowell. The actual research was supposedly burned.

It has even been suggested that Wilmot may have been the author of The Story of the Learned Pig (1786). “The anonymous pamphlet The Story of the Learned Pig, By an officer of the Royal Navy (1786) picked up the theme of reincarnation. This presents itself as the personal reminiscences of the pig, as told to the author. He describes himself as a soul that has successively migrated from the body of Romulus into various humans and animals before becoming the Learned Pig. He recalls his previous incarnations. After Romulus he became Brutus, and then entered several human and animal bodies. Adapting the Shakespeare theme, the pamphlet states that he became a man called “Pimping Billy”, who worked as a horse-holder at a playhouse with Shakespeare and was the real author of his plays. He then became a famous British aristocrat and general — identified only by asterisks — before entering the body of a pig. [McMichael, George L.; Glenn, Edgar M. (1962), Shakespeare and His Rivals: A Casebook on the Authorship Controversy, Odyssey Press, p.56. via Wikipedia]

220px-Toby_learned_pig

caricature by John Leech

 “Puns on the name “Bacon”, referring to the philosopher Francis Bacon, also appeared in the literature. In the poem ‘The Prophetic Pig,’ in The Whim of the Day (c.1794) a believer in reincarnation states, ‘I can easily trace…A metempsychosis in this pig’s face!…And in transmigration, if I’m not mistaken,/This learned pig must be, by consanguinity,/Descended from the great Lord Bacon. Thomas Hood’s poem The Lament of Toby, The Learned Pig also uses the Bacon pun, adding another on the poet James Hogg.  He describes the thoughts of a learned pig forced to retire from his intellectual pursuits to be fattened for slaughter.” [Learned Pig]

In The Times Literary Supplement, James Shapirio, author of Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?, declared the document [the lecture manuscripts] a forgery based on facts stated in the text about Shakespeare that were not discovered or publicised until decades after the purported date of composition. Peter Bower, an expert in paper history analysis, identified the paper as drawing paper, not writing paper, probably made shortly after the type was introduced in the mid-1790s. He noted that he knew of no instances of that type of paper being used to write out a long lecture. You can read the whole article HERE: Forgery on Forgery 

PP+SS Cover-01Introducing Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar 

 

Unless one knows the value of loyalty, he cannot appreciate the cost of betrayal.

What if Darcy and Elizabeth met weeks before the Meryton assembly? What if there is no barely “tolerable” remark to have Elizabeth rejecting Mr. Darcy’s affections, but rather a dip in a cold creek that sets her against him? What if Mr. Bennet is a renown Shakespearean scholar who encourages Darcy to act the role of Petruchio from Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” to bring Elizabeth’s Katherina persona to the line.

ELIZABETH BENNET’s pride has her learning a difficult lesson: Loyalty is hard to find, and trust is easy to lose. Even after they share a passionate kiss outside the Meryton assembly hall and are forced to marry, Elizabeth cannot forget the indignity she experienced at the hands of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Although she despises his high-handedness, Elizabeth appreciates the protection he provides her in their marriage. But can she set her prejudice aside long enough to know a great love?

FITZWILLIAM DARCY places only two demands on his new wife: her loyalty and her trust, but when she invites his worst enemy to Darcy House, he has no choice but to turn her out. Trusting her had been his decision, but proving his choice the right one before she destroys two hearts meant to be together must be hers, and Darcy is not certain Elizabeth is up to the task.

Excerpt from Chapter Two, where Darcy learns the true identity of Mr. Bennet. You can see how the “history” becomes part of the story line. 

“Darcy!” Bingley called from the third storey balustrade. “I did not hear your carriage.”

“Likely because it is some two miles removed with a lame horse being tended to by Mr. Farrin. Do you possess an animal that would serve until my horse can heal?”

Bingley spoke as he rushed down the stairs to greet Darcy properly. “I sent my large coach to London to fetch my sisters to Netherfield, but the smaller carriage and its team is available. I planned to dine out this evening—before Caroline and Louisa arrive,” he said conspiratorially, “but I can take my curricle, if necessary arrangements cannot be made otherwise. Longbourn is only a little more than three miles removed. Permit me to send to the stables, and you may explain to the head groomsman what you require.” He motioned to the footman to fetch the groomsman. “Come join me in my study. You must be starving. Mr. Byers, ask Cook to send up something for Mr. Darcy and prepare a room for him.”

“Yes, Mr. Bingley.” The butler rushed away to do Bingley’s bidding.

Bingley motioned for Darcy to follow him. “I did not expect you today. In truth, I was not certain how long you might be required in Kent.”

“I removed my sister from my aunt’s residence and returned her to Darcy House yesterday,” Darcy explained. “Lady Catherine will not have such easy access to Miss Darcy at my home.”

“Another of her ladyship’s demands that you marry Miss De Bourgh?” Bingley asked in what sounded of concern.

“My aunt is hard to dissuade,” Darcy admitted.

Bingley ventured, “Perhaps you should choose another to wife.”

Darcy prayed his friend was not suggesting his younger sister Caroline would make a good mistress for Darcy’s properties. If so, Bingley would be as disappointed as Lady Catherine. “While we traveled to London, Georgiana suggested something similar.”

Bingley, thankfully, changed the subject. “I despise that I was unaware of your distress today. It would be pleasant to be of service to you.”

“You are of service to me,” Darcy corrected. “You have rescued me from Lady Catherine’s manipulations.”

“Most assuredly, but I wish to be more. I mean to employ your knowledge of running an estate to determine whether this one would serve me well. Therefore, I will be further in your debt.”

Darcy chuckled as he sat before his friend’s desk. “We shan’t keep tallies, Bingley. That is not the way of friendship.”

“Nevertheless, I will be in the positive this evening for more than a daring rescue of your person from Lady Catherine’s demands.” Bingley reached for a sheet of foolscap. “Permit me to send a note around to Mr. Bennet that I will be bringing a guest with me this evening.”

“I would be perfectly content to remain at Netherfield. You do not need to alter your plans simply because I have appeared upon your doorstep,” Darcy assured his friend. “I do not expect you to cry off at such short notice nor should you inconvenience Mr. Bennet’s cook by adding another to her preparations.”

“Nonsense,” Bingley declared good-naturedly. “If worse comes to worse, we will split the portions between us. You know I could never abandon you to a house with which you are unfamiliar. The library here is sadly lacking. Moreover, Mr. Bennet of Longbourn is Mr. Thomas Bennet.”

“Thomas Bennet?” Darcy asked. “The Thomas Bennet? The man who is both a Shakespeare and a Bacon expert and who means to refute claims that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets? The one our professors at Cambridge so often quoted?”

“The very man,” Bingley said with a wide smile. “Bacon made this part of Hertfordshire his home, thus Mr. Bennet’s interest in the man. Bennet and a group of scholars have been trying to refute Wilmot’s research claiming that Bacon is the true author of Shakespeare’s plays.”

“Ah, naturally. Who better to look for Bacon’s imprint upon the work of Stratford’s hero than England’s most renown expert on each?” Although he considered the true pleasure of taking Bennet’s acquaintance, Darcy wondered more upon the Shakespearean influence upon a certain young lady who had set his blood on fire when he touched her. “I happened to be in Suffolk when James Cowell lectured at the Ipswich Philosophic Society back in ’05. I was preparing for my final exams and thought to gain several insights to impress my professors. It was all quite fascinating.”

Bingley began to scratch out his message to Bennet. “What I find fascinating,” his friend said as he dipped his pen again into the ink well, “has nothing to do with Bennet’s treasured manuscripts. I am more concerned with the fact that the man possesses five daughters, equally renowned for their beauty and their amiability.”

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY! LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO BE PART OF THE GIVEAWAY, WHICH CLOSES AT MIDNIGHT EST ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 16 (JANE AUSTEN’S BIRTHDAY). THE WINNER WILL RECEIVE AN eBOOK COPY OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND A SHAKESPEAREAN SCHOLAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Austen Authors, book excerpts, book release, British history, Elizabethan drama, excerpt, Georgian England, Georgian Era, history, Jane Austen, legends and myths, literature, Living in the Regency, Pride and Prejudice, reading habits, real life tales, theatre, Vagary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

How Is Pride & Prejudice & a Shakespearean Scholar Connected to Gorhambury House?

old-gorhambury-hero.jpgSeveral months back, I landed upon an idea that has become part of my latest Austen-inspired book. You see, there is this whole faction of people/experts who believe that Francis Bacon and others within Bacon’s circle wrote Shakespeare’s plays. And guess what? Francis Bacon’s home is in the St Albans area of Hertfordshire. Old Gorhambury House [see image above] is an Elizabethan mansion, which now lies in ruins. It is an example of what was called an Elizabethan prodigy house, a term for large and showy English Tudor and Jacobean houses built by courtiers and other wealthy families. In the case of Old Gorhambury House, it was built by Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England. It is said that Elizabeth I visited the home upon multiple occasions. 13259-004-BD9D7AB8.jpg  bacon_francis.jpg

The house was built from the bricks of St Albans Cathedral, which had been demolished a quarter century earlier. Sir Francis Bacon lived there for many years before Bacon bequeath it to his secretary, Sir Thomas Meautys, who married Anne Bacon, the great-granddaughter of Sir Nicholas. Between the years 1777 and 1784, James Bucknall Grimston, 3rd Viscount Grimston  commissioned the notable architect, Sir Robert Taylor, to build a new Gorhambury House, this one in the Palladian-style. The Grimston family came in possession of the estate when Anne Bacon Meautys remarried after her husband passed. She then married Sir Harbottle Grimston, Master of the Rolls and Speaker in the Convention Parliament in 1660.

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For more images of the original house, visit http://www.hertsmemories.org.uk/content/herts-history/topics/literary_hertfordshire/francis-bacon/old-gorhambury-house-2

Contested Will.jpg  In my latest Austen-inspired title, Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar, Mr. Bennet is a renown Shakespearean academic, a man of whom Darcy and Bingley know only from their years at Cambridge. What they do not know of Mr. Bennet helps to drive the story. But what of those Shakespearean plays? Is there any chance William Shakespeare is not the author? In Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare by James Shapirio, the author tells us of several “conspiracy theories” regarding the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. One involved Miss Delia Bacon, an American playwright, whose best known work was The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded, in which she attributes the plays to social reformers such as Francis Bacon and Sir Walter Raleigh. She speaks of Bacon, Raleigh, Lord Buckhurst, Edmund Spenser, the Earl of Oxford, and others as being disappointed and defeated politicians, who collaborated and used drama (an art form coming into itself during the Elizabethan period and one enjoyed by both the wealthy and the common man) to oppose the “despotism” of Queen Elizabeth and King James.  For example, there are many who think that Shakespeare’s Macbeth comments on the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.

Shakespeare’s Globe tells us, “Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish Play’ was probably written in 1606, just three years after James I was crowned as Elizabeth’s successor, and so undoubtedly seems to be paying homage to the succession of the Scottish King to the English throne. But within that time, in November 1605, the Gunpowder Plot had been discovered: the plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament, kill James and replace him with a Catholic monarch failed and the plotters were tortured and horribly executed. The impact of the event was so dramatic that we still remember it today on Bonfire Night, so we can only imagine the enormity of the event for Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

“Why are the Gunpowder plot and Macbeth connected?

“Firstly, many of Macbeth’s themes resonate with the attempted revolt: it’s a play about treason, the overthrow of a King, and the downfall of his murderers. Even more importantly, King James was commonly believed to be descended from Banquo the thane of Lochquhaber, the historical counterpart of Shakespeare’s Banquo, the friend who Macbeth betrays and has murdered. With this in mind the witches’ prophesy that Banquo’s ancestors will be kings takes on a new meaning: it is referring to Banquo’s ancestor James Stuart, King of Scotland and England. By extension, it has been suggested that the escape of Fleance, Banquo’s son, from Macbeth’s murder plot is designed to echo James’s own escape from the Gunpowder plot and to subtly compliment the House of Stuart as legitimate and truly-descended rulers.”

Okay. Does that not play with all we hold most dear in English literature? Obviously, I do not have Darcy and Elizabeth back in the 1600s, but what I do have is a “puppet master,” of sorts in Mr. Bennet, who encourages Darcy to “tame” Elizabeth much as does Petruchio with Katherine in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. However, what if neither Darcy nor Elizabeth wish to be a part of such a farce? Within the story, you will find other examples from Shakespeare’s works, and I do acknowledge the Bacon theory when Darcy, Elizabeth, Mr. Bennet, Jane and Bingley visit the old ruins and tour Gorhambury House, much as Elizabeth and the Gardiners did at Pemberley in Austen’s original tale.

PP+SS Cover-01Introducing Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary

Unless one knows the value of loyalty, he cannot appreciate the cost of betrayal.

What if Darcy and Elizabeth met weeks before the Meryton assembly? What if there is no barely “tolerable” remark to have Elizabeth rejecting Mr. Darcy’s affections, but rather a dip in a cold creek that sets her against him? What if Mr. Bennet is a renown Shakespearean scholar who encourages Darcy to act the role of Petruchio from Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” to bring Elizabeth’s Katherina persona to the line.

ELIZABETH BENNET’s pride has her learning a difficult lesson: Loyalty is hard to find, and trust is easy to lose. Even after they share a passionate kiss outside the Meryton assembly hall and are forced to marry, Elizabeth cannot forget the indignity she experienced at the hands of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Although she despises his high-handedness, Elizabeth appreciates the protection he provides her in their marriage. But can she set her prejudice aside long enough to know a great love?

FITZWILLIAM DARCY places only two demands on his new wife: her loyalty and her trust, but when she invites his worst enemy to Darcy House, he has no choice but to turn her out. Trusting her had been his decision, but proving his choice the right one before she destroys two hearts meant to be together must be hers, and Darcy is not certain Elizabeth is up to the task.

Now, for an EXCERPT: You may read Chapter 1 (how Darcy and Elizabeth meet) on the Austen Authors’ Writers’ Block at this link: http://austenauthors.net/writers-block/exquisite-excerpts/pride-and-prejudice-and-a-shakespearian-scholar/

Chapter Two

Darcy watched her storm away. “Magnificent,” he murmured in admiration. He held no idea what had come over him. He certainly did not set out to flirt with the lady. Perhaps it was his recent confrontation with Lady Catherine that had him looking to potential mates other than Anne. Or perhaps is was Georgiana’s encouraging words regarding his need to look beyond the obvious. Or more likely it was the loneliness that had invaded his soul of late that had spurred him on. “The lady is certainly from the norm.”

He brushed the dirt and water droplets from his hat as he privately enjoyed the sway of her hips as she marched angrily across the field. Those hips were made more enticing by the damp muslin clinging to her skin and undergarments. He chuckled. She was a real virago. As he turned, he noticed something dark lying in the long grass and bent to retrieve it. It was the book in which the woman had been writing when he approached her. He had meant simply to inquire of Netherfield’s location, but when he had looked down upon the enticing globes of her breasts peeking from the neckline of her day dress, something primal had caught his good sense and had emphatically announced: Mine.

He glanced in the direction of her retreating form, momentarily considering whether to chase after her to return the book in his hand, but he thought it likely she would throttle him if he acted, even if he did so in good conscience. Moreover, she had set herself a good clip, especially for one walking without boots. She was nearing the far side of the field.

“Perchance Bingley will know something of the lady,” he said aloud, as he opened the book to view her last entry. The words brought a smile to his lips as he read…

Mama has no idea that I prefer Juliet’s words when she speaks of the necessity of our marrying before Papa passes to the prescribed sensibility of society on the matter.

’O bid me leap, rather than to marry Paris,

From off the battlements of any tower,

Or walk in thievish ways, or bid me lurk

Where serpents are. Chain me with roaring bears,

Or hide me nightly in a charnel-house

O’ercovered quite with dead men’s rattling bones,

With reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls.

Or bid me go into a new-made grave,

And hide me with a dead man in his shroud—

Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble—

And I will do it without fear or doubt.

To live an unstained wife to my sweet love.

Darcy was not certain he was comfortable reading the lady’s most intimate thoughts. On one hand, he was impressed by her knowledge of Shakespeare, her having quoted from Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, and now Romeo and Juliet with accuracy. “She even recognized my walking song,” he said in real respect. “I know few men—and fewer women—who hold knowledge of so many of Shakespeare’s finest pieces.” But on the other hand, the notation regarding her need to marry was troubling. “When she discovers my identity, will the lady transform into another Caroline Bingley? Will the need arise for me to avoid her as I do Miss Bingley?” Darcy thought that would be a true shame, for he did wish to take the lady’s acquaintance properly just to see if they could be in each other’s company for more than a few minutes without freely tossing accusations holding no merit about. “Certainly, she had a right to be angry, for I placed her down, but not as she wished, but there was that moment when I kissed her hand. Something resembling interest passed between us.”

Reluctantly, Darcy placed the journal in the pocket of his greatcoat. He would return the book when the opportunity arrived. “To think all I wished was to ask directions to Netherfield.” With a shrug of resignation, he set out the way he had come. This time he would pay more attention to locating the marker leading him to Netherfield.

* * *

When she was certain the man had not followed her, Elizabeth had sat upon the opposing stile from the one she had foolishly crossed earlier to don her stockings, garters, and boots. Mrs. Hill would have something to say about the moss stains on both her gown and her smock, but there was nothing for it. Surprisingly, tears stung her eyes. She had never encountered such an overbearing man, but she had to admit, if only to herself, she had enjoyed the heat and the strength of his body as he held her in his arms. For just a moment, she felt protected and foolishly a bit cherished. “Even so,” she announced to the birds above her in the trees lining the field, “I wish the cad the fate of Prometheus. A vulture forever nibbling upon his liver. Or perchance his cold heart instead.” With a satisfied nod of her head, she shook out her skirts to loosen them from her legs and then said a prayer that she could sneak into Longbourn without her mother’s notice.

However, God meant to vex her day, for although she managed to cross the kitchen and mount the servants’ stairs without anyone’s notice, when she reached the entrance hall, the sound of female voices filled the front drawing room. On silent feet, she tiptoed along the carpet, wordlessly asking the Fates to permit her invisibility.

“Lizzy!” her mother bellowed when the floor board popped from her weight pressing down upon it, and everyone in the room looked up to see her standing awkwardly in place outside the open room door.

Biting back a curse no lady should utter, Elizabeth straightened her shoulders to face those within the room. “Good morning, Lady Lucas. Charlotte. I did not realize you meant to call upon us today.” She remained a step outside the room’s entrance, where the shadows might mask the condition of her clothing.

“Do you wish tea?” Jane asked kindly.

“Perhaps later,” Elizabeth said with a well-placed smile. “I must to speak to Papa first.”

“You leave your father to his studies,” her mother warned. “I told Mr. Bennet that no one would disturb him this afternoon if he would promise to be agreeable over supper when Mr. Bingley comes calling this evening. Now, stop dilly-dallying in the hall. Come join us. I am certain Charlotte is desirous of your conversation.”

Elizabeth sighed in resignation and stepped forward where they all might view the condition of her dress. “I fear I have taken a tumble,” she said with a hard swallow.

Charlotte Lucas’s dark head turned away so her friend might smother her laughter in her serviette. Meanwhile, the rest of the room gasped upon viewing her smudged and wet appearance.

“Elizabeth Ruth Elaine Bennet!” her mother shrieked. “What am I to do with you?” Mrs. Bennet threw her head back in despair, her mother’s mobcap draping to one side.

Lydia mocked, “I have seen drier fish.”

Jane and Charlotte were both quickly at Elizabeth’s side. “Oh, Lizzy,” Jane whispered in sympathy. “Come, I shall assist you in changing your clothing.”

“No, I shall do it,” Charlotte corrected. She shot a glance to Mrs. Bennet. “It might be best if you see to your mother. I would dislike seeing her suffer from a fit of her nerves.” Mrs. Bennet had retrieved her handkerchief from her sleeve and was waving it about in agitation.

Elizabeth shook her head in the negative. “Both of you remain. I am a bit sore from my tumble. I believe I shall lie down after I change my clothes. It is imperative that I not disappoint Mama twice in one day. I just require a bit of rest.”

“Are you certain?” Jane asked.

Elizabeth placed a smile upon her features. “Absolutely. I have suffered no harm more than a few bruises, sodden skirts, and wounded pride.”

With acceptance in her stance, Jane nodded her agreement and turned toward her mother. Elizabeth squeezed the back of Charlotte’s hand. “Do not permit Lady Lucas to tarry too long. Mama calms faster when she has no audience.”

Charlotte smiled knowingly. “No more than a quarter hour. Now, go change before you catch your death from being cold.”

Elizabeth quietly departed, although the sound of her mother’s “It did me little good to forbid her to go out. Lizzy never listens to me.” followed her down the hall. Without a glance backwards, Elizabeth turned to her father’s study. She required someone of sense to vet out the truth of her encounter with the stranger.

She tapped lightly upon the door, but did not wait for her father to bid her to enter. Instead, she turned the latch and slipped into the room, closing the door behind her. “Papa, I know you are extremely busy with your research, but may I claim five minutes of your time?”

He did not look up immediately, rather he finished his notation before placing his pen in the well. It was the way with him. How many times had she waited until he finished his thoughts before he addressed her? “Lizzy?” he remarked in distracted tones. “Is something amiss?”

Although she had closed it behind her, she had not moved from the door. “Something is amiss, sir. Yet I do not know the best course.”

“Come sit,” he instructed, gesturing to the chair pulled close to his desk. She crossed to the cushioned seat. As always, the odor of musty manuscripts and cigars and leather filled the space. He folded his hands across and middle and said, “You appear quite disheveled. I assume your tale will include an explanation of what occurred to your gown.”

Both of her parents had expressed their concern over her appearance, but their approaches were as different as their histories. Her father was of the gentry—a country squire, educated at Cambridge and considered one of England’s finest intellects. Her mother was the daughter of a rich man with connections to trade. Elizabeth doubted that Fanny Bennet had ever read an entire book. Her mother was not illiterate, but Mrs. Bennet saw no reason to educate her girls unless one of them took a special interest in a social skill, such as her sister Mary’s love of music. “I walked to Oakham Mount after Mama returned to her quarters for a restorative nap.”

“I imagine this was against Mrs. Bennet’s orders,” he surmised. Immediately Elizabeth experienced guilt. Although he did not yell and fuss over her deception, her father’s simple statement told Elizabeth that he did not approve of his daughter’s acting behind Mrs. Bennet’s back.

Elizabeth dropped her eyes. “Mama did not specifically forbid my leaving,”  she offered as an excuse that made her feel more at fault than if she had admitted her manipulation. “It was only implied, sir.”

Her father snorted his amusement. “The fool considers himself as wise as Solomon, while a man of intellect realizes we are all fools.”

Elizabeth protested, “I did not intend to act a fool. It was all the strange gentleman’s fault.”

“What strange gentleman?” he asked with a lift of his brows.

She leaned forward to press her point. “The one who accosted me on Oakham Mount.”

“Accosted you?” he questioned in serious tones. “Did he harm you? Treat you poorly?”

“Certainly he treated me in an ill manner,” she declared.

“You would know the men from the neighborhood.” His gaze remained steady, and Elizabeth resisted the urge to squirm. “The only stranger is Mr. Bingley. Was it he who approached you? I would not wish to sit with the man if he does not respect my daughter.”

Elizabeth shook off the suggestion. “You described Mr. Bingley as having hair a shade or so darker than Jane’s, with reddish tints to his locks. The man I encountered was tall and dark and…”

Her father chuckled. “And handsome?”

She bristled, “Reasonably fair of countenance.” The unguarded admission shocked her.

His brows drew together in what appeared to be mock thoughtfulness, and Elizabeth suddenly felt the fool her father had described previously. “How did the man touch you?”

Frustration ate at her. She would be forced to admit her temper. “He kissed my hand.”

“How did he come in possession of your hand?” Mr. Bennet ran his palm across his features to smooth his expression.

Despite her best efforts, her voice rasped, cutting like shards of glass. “I was sitting upon a log. He came up behind me and extended his hand to assist me to my feet.”

“So, you presented your hand to the man, and he kissed it?” He spared her a shake of his head in denial. “Quite a scoundrel. Is there more I should know of the this stranger?”

This had to be one of the most uncomfortable conversations in which she had ever participated. Determined to make her point, Elizabeth declared, “He picked me up in his arms to carry me across the brook between Mr. Olsen’s and Mr. Kincaid’s farms.”

Her father tilted his head to one side in consideration. “Why would the man assume you could not cross alone?”

Elizabeth again dropped her eyes in shame, for she knew her father would not approve. “I had removed my half boots and stockings before he arrived. I was writing in my diary. But after the stranger kissed my hand without permission…” her voice rose in consternation.

“I thought we established that you offered the gentleman your permission by presenting him your hand,” he argued.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes in vexation. “Please, Papa, permit me to finish.”

Her father sat forward, and his smile had lost its amusement. “Instead, permit me to summarize the obvious,” he said in serious tones. “You rushed away from the man when his kiss of your proffered hand offended you. You wore no boots, but still you meant to cross the cold stream despite the foolishness of your actions. By your own admission, the man presented you no offense beyond the brush of his lips across your bare knuckles. When he offered to carry you across the stream’s stones, you again objected to his forwardness.”

“He did not offer!” she protested. “I told him when he would not turn aside and go away that he was no gentleman, and he took it upon himself to prove me in error.”

“Knowing my Lizzy, you did not take well to his defending his pride. How did you make him pay for his presumptuous nature?”

“I struck him with the boot I carried in my left hand.”

Relief eased the lines of weariness etched upon her father’s forehead. “I imagine you struck him harder than I could have if I chose to challenge him for his behavior.”

“Then you will do nothing to defend my honor?” she charged.

“I would bend Hell over the Devil’s anvil to defend your honor, Elizabeth. You are now and forever my dearest Lizzy, but I will not challenge a much younger man to defend your pride. He would dispatch me in less than a minute, then you and your sisters and your mother would be set out in the hedgerow when my heir presumptive claims Longbourn.”

“But the man set me in the water when I demanded that he place me down,” she protested. Her arguments were having little effect upon her father, for he disguised a laugh behind his hands as he pretended to cough.

At length, he asked skeptically, “Did you unknowingly provoke the man?”

Standing defiantly, she snapped, “I repeated lines from Shakespeare, as did he.”

“Obviously, I cannot fault a man the improvement of his mind, but if you encounter the gentleman again, point me in his direction. I promise to present the fellow a earful laced with my disdain for his handling of my daughter.”

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY! LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW TO BE PART OF THE GIVEAWAY. I HAVE A eBOOK COPY OF PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND A SHAKESPEAREAN SCHOLAR AVAILABLE FOR THE WINNER. THE GIVEAWAY WILL END AT MIDNIGHT EST, DECEMBER 17.

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A Closer Look at “Mr. Darcy’s Present: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary”

逗人喜爱的葡萄酒圣诞节新-礼物嘲笑-62236984.jpg Mr. Darcy’s Present grew out of a trip down memory lane. I was attempting to go through photographs found in a box among my late mother’s belongings. I was adding the ones of people I recognized to a photo album, and among the pictures were several that chronicled two different occasions in my childhood. The first group were of the Christmas I remember most clearly of all those from my childhood. Among the few gifts my mother presented me was a book that contained these wonderful illustrations of some of my favorite stories to read. The cover was gold embossed, and I thought it the most perfect gift in the world. The other box held a locket made of what we called “pink gold.” According to my mother, the locket belonged to my grandmother, a woman I never knew because she passed from cancer when my mother was but seventeen. Inside the locket, there was a picture of me and one of my grandmother. 

Now some of you might think this sounds a bit too sentimental to have really happened. Yet, if you knew my family — one side of staunch German blood and the other of high-strung Scottish roots — you would know how much family and traditions mean to me. We spent many evenings sitting around with the “old folks” and enjoy tales of days gone by. I am 70 now. I lived in a time when families still sat about the supper table and talked and young ones at the table listened to their elders. 

The other set of pictures came from the Easter that I received three Easter baskets. My parents separated when I was young, and in a day when women did not go off to work, it was difficult for my mother to scrap enough money together for an Easter basket, but that particular year, I received three: the modest one my mother purchased for me, a bit larger one from my grandfather, and a super-sized one from our neighbors, who had no children of their own. The thing was that my mother put all three in hiding until the big day, but my mother’s cousin who was not so well educated dropped them cards on each, and when she put them back, the cards got mixed up, having me thanking the wrong people for each basket, until my mother became wise to what had occurred. 

From these memories, an idea hatched for Mr. Darcy’s Present. What if, in his misery and wishing he had the right to call upon Elizabeth Bennet again, Darcy purchased a gift for her that he never meant to present her? What if a run-in with a coal cart has him laid up for several weeks, and he employs Bingley to add a message to a calling card for each present? What if Anne de Bourgh receives Georgiana’s present; his sister Georgiana, the one meant for Elizabeth; Darcy’s long time “friend” and confidant, the one meant for his cousin, Anne; and Elizabeth, the one meant for his “friend”? How much chaos can ensue? What if Darcy’s gift of a simple book of poetry and a ruby stick pin are the perfect gifts to win Elizabeth’s heart?

MDP eBook Cover (1).jpgMr. Darcy’s Present: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary 

[Fiction; Romance; Regency; Austenesque; vagary; Christmas; holiday]

The Greatest Present He Would Ever Receive is the Gift of Her Love

What if Mr. Darcy purchased a gift for Elizabeth Bennet to acknowledge the festive days even though he knows he will never present it to her? What if the gift is posted to the lady by his servants and without his knowledge? What if the enclosed card was meant for another and is more suggestive than a gentleman should share with an unmarried lady? Join Darcy and Elizabeth for a holiday romp, loaded with delightful twists and turns no one expects, but one in which our favorite couple take a very different path in thwarting George Wickham and Lydia Bennets elopement. Can a simple book of poetry be Darcys means to win Elizabeths love? When we care more for another than ourselves, the seeds of love have an opportunity to blossom. 

Words of Praise for Mr. Darcys Present

Jeffers takes a familiar story and reinvigorates it with humor, warmth, and wisdom. – Roses and Lilacs Reviews

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TRTU eBook Cover Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Mr. Darcy’s Present... ENJOY! 

Chapter One

It is not her,he murmured in self-chastisement.

Nearly a month had passed since he last looked upon her countenance, and although Elizabeth Bennet had adamantly refused the offer of his hand, every time he turned his head to scan the crowds scampering along the walkways lining Bond Street, Darcy expected to encounter her. It was as if he thought his constant desire for her would manifest itself in her actual appearance. You remain as foolish as ever.

With a sigh of resignation he did what was required. Christmastide would arrive within the week, and he held obligations. There were the traditional giftsto be arranged for his staff at Pemberley and at Darcy House, as well as for his tenants, and there were the more elaborate presentations expected by his dear family. He despised the necessity of purchasing the expected. Darcy preferred to surprise those for whom he cared with tokens of his affection throughout the year, rather than to break with the religious tone of Christmas Day, but society seized every opportunity to claim another reward to assuage its pride.

You have the list, Sheffield?he asked his valet. Because Darcys secretary had taken ill, Sheffield volunteered to retrieve the items for Darcys family and the senior servants.

Yes, Mr. Darcy.

Although I consider this business all of a piece, have the selections delivered to Darcy House. Make certain the merchants know some items will be returned as inappropriate for the recipient. He had previously viewed all the items on his list, but Darcy had yet to make a decision.

I understand, sir.

Darcy gripped his cane tighter. Since his last encounter with Miss Elizabeth, he often felt off kilter, as if he expected his familiar world to tilt. I will call upon Mr. Hess regarding the adjustments to Miss Darcys dowry and see you again at Darcy House later.

I shant be long, sir,the valet assured him.

Speed is not compulsory,he instructed. I wish you to conduct business in my name.Glancing toward the bookstore across the busy street, he said in distraction, Add a book of poetry to the list. Cowper, Scott, Coleridge, Prior, or something in that range and mayhap a simple pin a lady could wear upon a bonnet or to secure a shawl in place. Nothing ostentatious. Just a jewel to mark a gentlemans regard.

He knew Sheffield studied him carefully, but Darcy could not abandon his maudlin. He would never present Elizabeth Bennet with the fairing, but he would place the items away in the drawer with the multiple letters he had written to her, but never posted. Anything else, sir?his servant asked in a tone that sounded of concern.

Darcy shook his head in the negative. That will be all, Sheffield.Still deep in his regrets, he turned to bump into a young buck up to London on holiday. Darcy opened his mouth to extend his apologies, but the young man took instant offense at having his cravat knocked askew. The dandy shoved hard against Darcys chest, sending him windmilling backwards into the busy street. He noted that Sheffield shoved past the youth to reach for Darcy, but it was too late. A coal cart pulled by a donkey plowed into his side, knocking him to the ground. A loud groan of wood against wood announced the drivers load shifted, and the coal covered him completely.

* * *

Darcy could hear the rumble of voices nearby, but he refused to release the dream, for it was one of his favorites. He had claimed Elizabeth Bennets hand at the Netherfield Ball. Needless to say, he would have preferred a waltz where he might hold her close, but it was strangely satisfying to grasp her gloved hand in his, even for a few brief seconds when they came together. Surely the lady must understand that their connection was singular. Surely she experienced the same zing of a knot inside her chest that wished to be set free. That wished to know him as much as he wished to know her. That wished to bind them together. Never had Darcy known a woman who made his heart feel lighter.

It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. I talked about the dance, and you ought to make some kind of remark on the size of the room or the number of couples.

He smiled as he circled her. Whatever you wish me to say will be said.

A familiar playful taunt claimed her tone. No female had ever flirted with him by matching wits. Darcy enjoyed the twist of her lips as she said, Very well. That reply will do for the present. Perhaps, by and by, I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones, but now we may be silent.

They bantered in a like manner until they claimed the opposing corners in the form. It was then that he made a serious misstep, one worse than claiming her toes. Do you and your sisters very often walk to Meryton?he asked to keep the conversation easy between them. He was so consumed by the joy of studying Miss Elizabeths beauty that he did not realize Mr. Wickhams lies would foul the air surrounding them.

When you met us there the other day, we had just been forming a new acquaintance.

Despite his best efforts, a deeper shade of hauteur overspread his features, and during a long pause he searched for words that could warn her from his former friend. At length, he responded in a constrained tone, Mr. Wickham is blessed with such happy manners as may insure his making friends. Whether he may be equally capable of retaining them is less certain.

The lady replied with emphasis, He has been so unlucky as to lose your friendship and in a manner which he is likely to suffer from all his life.

Matters between them were worsened by the appearance of Sir William Lucas, who made it clear that the neighborhood expected Bingley to propose to Miss Bennet. Sir Williams statement had Darcy rethinking his fascination with Miss Elizabeth. How could he permit Mrs. Bennets connection to trade to tarnish his familys name? And a gentleman does not play with a ladys reputation with misplaced flirtations, he reminded himself.

Her words penetrated his half-hearted responses. I remember hearing you once say, Mr. Darcy, that you hardly ever forgavethat your resentment, once created, was unappeasable. You are very cautious, I suppose, as to its being created?

I am,he replied in a firm voice.

And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice.

I hope not.

It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion to be secure of judging properly at first.

Her words had him second-guessing his opinion of only a few moments earlier.

May I ask to what these questions tend?His tone knew suspicion.

Merely to the illustration of your character.

His character? His roots were impeccable! His was a noble lineage!

I am attempting to make it out.

Disguising his piqued interest, he asked, And what is your success.

She shook her head as if she held her doubts. I do not get on at all. I hear such different accounts of you as to puzzle me exceedingly.

For a brief second Darcy wondered if he proposed, would she realize his finer qualities? I can readily believe,he replied gravely, that reports may vary greatly with respect to me, and I could wish, Miss Elizabeth, that you were not to sketch my character at this moment.He was once again from countenance with her. As there is reason to fear that the performance would reflect no credit on either.

But if I do not take your likeness now, I may never have another opportunity.

Did she wish to know him better? A marriage would bring them together on every level. A tolerably powerful need for her remained even when his head declared the emotion insensible. I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours,he said through husky tones.

Darcy? Darcy? Can you hear me?It was Georgiana and she sounded frightened. Please, William. Open your eyes.

He did not wish to leave Elizabeths image behind. There was still much he wished to say to her. It was imperative that he convince her to accept his hand, but he held a duty to Georgiana. And so he lifted his heavy lids to welcome the worried features of his sister.

Oh, William.Her sob of relief had her bottom lip trembling. I feared we had lost you. I could not bear it.

He wished to take her in his arms to comfort her, but try as he might, Darcy could not lift his arms.

Bingley nudged Georgiana from her place. You gave us quite a scare, Old Chap,his friend said with a reassuring smile. Do not worry if you cannot yet move about. Doctor Nott and Mr. Harvon could not agree upon your treatment, but it was decided they would tie your arms to the bed frame. Broke you right wrist and suffered a blow to your head, as well as multiple cuts and bruises. Neither Harvon nor Nott wished you to bolt up unexpectedly and do more injury to yourself.

Darcy made himself form the word Water.His mouth was excessively dry.

Miss Darcy, fetch your brother some water,Bingley ordered. His friend remained sitting with one hip on the edge of the bed. At length, Georgiana handed Bingley the glass. Darcy could feel her worried eyes upon him, and so he made the effort to appear alert.I shant attempt to brace you. Let us use this spoon.Bingley held up the utensil before spooning the water into Darcys mouth. A coal cart toppled over on you,Bingley explained as he tended to Darcy. You will be quite stiff for a few days, but Harvon says your wrist is the worst of it. Once the laudanum wears away, Harvon will untie your arms. Miss Darcy says the opiate provides you nightmares, and no one wishes you thrashing about in the bed.

Darcy thought of his dream of Elizabeth. It was far from perfect, but certainly not a nightmare. Thank you,he said as he refused another spoonful of the water. Sheffield?

Your man is fine. He took Lord Joyners son to task for the youths lack of forethought. His lordship was less than pleased with Sheffields tongue lashing of his son until he realized young Mr. Joyner had struck Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy.Bingley winked at him. Lord Joyner prays you will not withdraw your investment in the canal in which he holds the primary interest.

Darcy pronounced through stiff lips, Would be foolish.

My sentiments exactly,Bingley said as he sat the glass of water and the spoon aside. When you are well enough to consider the situation, the magistrate awaits your decision as to addressing a complaint against the his lordships heir. But there is no need for you to place your mind to it at this time. Just rest. It will do young Joyner good to wait a few more days until he learns whether he faces charges of assault. I heard he has known great anguish at considering a charge of murder if you died. The wait will make him appreciate the privileges his fathers barony provides him. As to Sheffield, he tended you for the last two days. I sent him to his bed for some much required rest.

Two days?Darcy asked weakly.

The reason for your sisters distress,Bingley replied. Miss Darcy and I have fended off all those more curious than sincere. You have nothing of which to worry. The Matlocks and I will tend to Miss Darcy. For now, just rest.

Darcy attempted to nod his gratitude, but the movement sent a wincing pain shooting through his head. He squeezed his eyes shut to quell the piercing ache between his eyes. I am in your debt,he murmured through gritted teeth.

None of that,Bingley insisted. No soul can claim a truer friend.

Bingleys words had Darcy wondering if he had betrayed his friends trust by permitting Miss Bingley to separate Bingley from Miss Bennet. Was I protecting myself rather than my friend? he wondered. If Bingley claimed Miss Bennet, I will lose a friend, for I cannot bear to be in Miss Elizabeths presence and view her choose another. With that doubt planted firmly in his mind, he drifted to sleep only to return to the Netherfield ball and the disaster that marked his rejection.

Even though throughout the evening, he had held reservations regarding his own sanity in considering marriage to Elizabeth, as the ball at Netherfield wound down, his unconscious mind again sought Elizabeth. Surprisingly, he discovered her hiding behind a pillar upon the terrace. Although she was not in the first tier of fashion, Elizabeths exuberance for life had him considering her more than just a handsome face. He looked upon her and could see his future in her eyes. And so, despite the world whispering in his ear for him to be rational, he asked, Would you walk with me, Miss Elizabeth?

Her spirits appeared inclined to refuse, but she nodded her agreement and placed her hand upon his proffered arm. He directed their steps first on a circular tour of the terrace and then down the steps to the garden. As foolish as it would be to speak the words aloud, his fate was marked. He held no plans to propose on this evening, but he knew he would do so. As they walked, Darcy attempted to organize the words he wished her to know. It is a beautiful evening, especially for November,he said in distraction. If we were in Derbyshire, we would be thinking of snow.

I understand the southern shires are more temperate,she responded.

At length, he brought her to a halt under a rose arbor that no longer held its blooms. They stood in silence for several minutes before he mustered the nerve to speak his heart. In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Elizabeth, obviously, had not expected him to speak so soon of his regard for her. After all, they had known each other only some six weeks. But he thought she must understand how often he showed her his preferences above all others in their company. She stared and colored, but remained silent. Such was sufficient encouragement for him. Foolishly, he spoke his avowals of all he felt for her. Even as the scene replayed through his laudanum-induced mind, Darcy knew a certain pride in how well he spoke. It was only when he detailed the qualms he held regarding her connections that things turned sour. In hindsight, he should have omitted his sense of her inferiority, of its being a degradation, and of the family obstacles which judgment had always opposed to inclination from his recital. If he had known his words would incite her waspish tongue, he would have held his.

He might have taken her unawares, but her response destroyed him.  In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode is to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot. I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and, I hope, will be of short duration. The feelings which you tell me have prevented the acknowledgement of your regard can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.

He knew he paled with anger for he felt the blood rush from his heart, and the disturbance of his mind had to be obvious to her, and unfortunately, he could not disguise the tight line of his features as he sought control. He struggled for the appearance of composure. He refused to open his mouth until he believed he could speak without the alarm ringing in his head. And this is all the reply which I am to have the honor of expecting? I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little endeavor at civility, I am thus rejected. But it is of small importance.

I might as well inquire,replied she, why with so evident a desire of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character? Was not this some excuse for incivility, if I was uncivil? But I have other provocations. You know I have. Had not my own feelings been decided against you, had they been indifferent, or had they even been favorable, do you think that any consideration would tempt me to accept a man who would act against the happiness of a most beloved sister?

His color changed, but the emotion was short lived. He reined in his anger, but before he could respond, she continued, I have every reason in the world to think ill of you. You speak of the faults and follies of my family as if they are the unwashed. You deny a childhood friend a means to better himself, but the worst of your sins is how you plot with Miss Bingley to divide her brother from Miss Bennet. After our dance, I overheard you speaking to the lady. Miss Bingley spoke of Sir Williams assumption of a marriage between Jane and Mr. Bingley.

I did not encourage Miss Bingleys aspirations,he said in defense.

Yet you made no move to curtail her derogatory comments,she accused. In fact, you agreed with Miss Bingley, even going so far as to suggest that she discover a means to keep her brother in London when he departs upon business this week. You have joined forces with Miss Bingley to expose your friend and Jane to the censure of the world for caprice and instability and to the derision for disappointed hopes, involving them both in misery of the acutest kind.

He wished to deny all of her accusations, but how could he? He had listened to Miss Bingleys litany of offenses against the Bennets, and although he never considered either Elizabeth or Miss Bennet inferior, Darcy held his doubts regarding the others in her family, the same doubts he had expressed earlier in his proposal. Moreover, as a guest in Bingleys household and as a gentleman, he could not dissuade Miss Bingley, for the lady served as Netherfields hostess.

Can you deny that you have done this?she demanded.

With assumed tranquility, he replied, I have no wish of denying that I offered my opinion to Miss Bingley, may she rejoice in her success. Toward Bingley I have been kinder than toward myself.He presented her a curt bow. I would offer you escort to the house, but I do not wish to hear another refusal from you lips.He looked upon her with dashed hopes. I perfectly comprehend your feelings and have now only to be ashamed of what my own have been. Forgive me for having taken up so much of your time. Please accept my best wishes for your health and happiness.

That was the last time he had seen her. Bingley departed for London on the Monday morning following the ball. He and Miss Bingley had followed two days later, and there was not a second that had passed in the three weeks since that Darcy had not regretted his actions that night, but not because of his profession of love, but because the outcome had not been what he wished.

* * *

It was another two days before his physician permitted him from his bed. His wrist hummed with pain, but Darcy willed it away rather than permit Nott to continue dispensing more laudanum. He would accept the opiate only when he could no longer tolerate the pain and, even then, only in small doses. There had been a variety of nightmares with the dose Nott prescribedsome were full of the fires of Hell, but none of them touched his soul as did reliving Elizabeth Bennets refusal of his hand.

Do you require anything more, Mr. Darcy?Sheffield said as he placed a lap rug over Darcys knees. Mayhap some tea. Cook has baked a fresh batch of cakes.

Darcy attempted to disguise the frown claiming his forehead, but Sheffield took note, and so he offered, Nothing against Cooks preparations, but I am not in the mood for celebrating the festive days.

Sheffield claimed the poker and stirred the fire. It has been difficult for you and Miss Darcy since your fathers passing,his long-time servant remarked. Some would object to advice from one in service, but Darcy did not. His valet had been with him since Darcy was ten years of age. It was Sheffield who had talked Darcy through the birth of Georgiana and the eventual loss of Lady Anne Darcy. Sheffield was the one who spoke of rejoicing in Miss Darcys birth rather than the misery involved in the leave-taking of their mother. And it was his valet who delivered the devastating news of Mr. George Darcys passing in his sleep. I know Mrs. Reynolds would prefer your return to Pemberley for the Twelfth Night celebrations.

Darcy held up his casted wrist. Traveling does not appear in my futurecertainly not for the number of days and hours required to reach Pemberley.

Sheffield glanced over his shoulder as he added more coal to the fire. Considering a one-armed groom taught you how to use the ribbons, I doubt your wrist could keep you from a curricle or from Pemberley, if such was your desire, sir.

Darcy paused to formulate his response. I just do not understand why some people put so much stock into a Christmas wish. It is dashed foolishness.

Sheffield stood to wipe his fingers on a handkerchief. I recall a fresh-faced lad who set up late into the night, waiting for the appearance of the Christmas star to make his wish.

Darcy recalled those days, as well. He had wished for a large family, one to fill Pemberley with laughter. He had been an only child at the time, and he felt robbed of the joy of family his school chums experienced. Little did he know, he would lose his mother, and his father would lose the woman he cherished. Often he wondered if his wish had been something less personal if God would have granted it and his family would have known happiness. And what good did it do that boy?Darcy argued. When Lady Anne Darcy passed, lifepure lifedisappeared from Pemberley.He would never admit to anyone he held dreams of Miss Elizabeth restoring those childhood dreams of his estate. He often imagined her sitting upon the floor of the nursery with their children surrounding her. Just larks in the brain.

Sheffields expression said the valet did not believe Darcys protestations. Then I suppose you do not care to view the items the shops sent over for your inspection.

You managed the list, after all?he asked in surprise.

I did not wish to disappoint,Sheffield admitted. Moreover, I assumed you would wish me to execute your charge no matter the unusual situation. It was my duty to see your wishes completed. The items are in the library, but I could have them moved in here, sir.

Darcy sighed in acknowledgment. The days before the celebration grow short, so it is best I meet my obligations. Even though I care not for the festivities, others will think me a poor nephew or brother or cousin if I do not recognize those who claim me as part of their lives.

 

 

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How Did an American Author of the 1840s Influenced “Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean Scholar” + a Giveaway

Delia-Bacon_(1811-1859)

Delia Bacon 1811-1859, daguerreotype taken in May 1853 ~ public domain ~ via Wikipedia

Born in Tallmadge, Ohio, in February of 1811, Delia Saltar Bacon was an American author who was among the first to purport what is known as the Baconian theory, which perpetuates the idea that Sir Francis Bacon and others were the true authors of the works we currently attribute to William Shakespeare. 

content.jpg Delia Bacon attended school at Catherine E. Beecher’s School for Girls in Hartford, Connecticut. From 1826 to 1832, she was teacher. At one time she attempted to start her own school, but the venture failed. Her next endeavor was first to write Tales of the Puritans and then a play called The Bride of Fort Edward (1839), which was based on a 1777 story of the murder of Jane McCrea. Bacon also lectured on literary and historical topics to knew some success on the lecture circuit until she became involved with a young minister and was forced to look for other work. This occurred in 1850. 

bacon_francis “Bacon gradually evolved a theory that the works attributed to Shakespeare had in fact been written by a coterie of writers led by Francis Bacon and including Edmund Spenser and Sir Walter Raleigh and were credited by them to the relatively obscure actor and theatre manager Shakespeare largely for political reasons. Becoming thoroughly convinced of the notion, and with some encouragement from Ralph Waldo Emerson, she traveled to England in 1853, ostensibly to seek proof. She was uninterested in looking for original source material, however, and for three years lived in poverty while she developed her thesis out of ingenuity and ‘hidden meanings’ found in the plays. In 1856, for unknown reasons, she abandoned her plan of opening Shakespeare’s grave to look for certain documents she believed would support her position. Nathaniel Hawthorne, at that time U. S. consul in Liverpool, took pity on her, lent her money, and arranged for the publication of her book The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded (1857). Immediately after the appearance of the book, she suffered a mental breakdown, and she never learned that it had met with little but ridicule. She was returned to the United States in 1858. The idea that had obsessed her assumed a life of its own, and the theory continued to have its adherents throughout the years.” [Encyclopedia Brttannica] She died in September 1859. 

Contested Will How does this tie into my new release, Pride and Prejudice and a Shakespearean ScholarIn my story, Mr. Bennet is a renown Shakespeare scholar, a man of whom Darcy and Bingley know only from their years at Cambridge. What they do not know of Mr. Bennet helps to drive the story. But what of those Shakespearean plays. Is there any chance William Shakespeare is not the author? In Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare by James Shapirio, the author tells us of several “conspiracy theories” regarding the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. One involved Miss Delia Bacon, an American playwright, whose best known work was The Philosophy of the Plays of Shakespeare Unfolded, in which she attributes the plays to social reformers such as Francis Bacon and Sir Walter Raleigh. She speaks of Bacon, Raleigh, Lord Buckhurst, Edmund Spenser, the Earl of Oxford, and others as being disappointed and defeated politicians, who collaborated and used drama (an art form coming into itself during the Elizabethan period and one enjoyed by both the wealthy and the common man) to oppose the “despotism” of Queen Elizabeth and King James.  For example, there are many who think that Shakespeare’s Macbeth comments on the 1605 Gunpowder Plot.

Shakespeare’s Globe tells us, “Shakespeare’s ‘Scottish Play’ was probably written in 1606, just three years after James I was crowned as Elizabeth’s successor, and so undoubtedly seems to be paying homage to the succession of the Scottish King to the English throne. But within that time, in November 1605, the Gunpowder Plot had been discovered: the plan to blow up the Houses of Parliament, kill James and replace him with a Catholic monarch failed and the plotters were tortured and horribly executed. The impact of the event was so dramatic that we still remember it today on Bonfire Night, so we can only imagine the enormity of the event for Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

“Why are the Gunpowder plot and Macbeth connected? Firstly, many of Macbeth’s themes resonate with the attempted revolt: it’s a play about treason, the overthrow of a King, and the downfall of his murderers. Even more importantly, King James was commonly believed to be descended from Banquho the thane of Lochquhaber, the historical counterpart of Shakespeare’s Banquo, the friend who Macbeth betrays and has murdered. With this in mind the witches’ prophesy that Banquo’s ancestors will be kings takes on a new meaning: it is referring to Banquo’s ancestor James Stuart, King of Scotland and England. By extension, it has been suggested that the escape of Fleance, Banquo’s son, from Macbeth’s murder plot is designed to echo James’s own escape from the Gunpowder plot and to subtly compliment the House of Stuart as legitimate and truly-descended rulers.”

Okay. Does that not play with all we hold most dear in English literature? Obviously, I do not have Darcy and Elizabeth back in the 1600s, but what I do have is a “puppet master,” of sorts in Mr. Bennet, who encourages Darcy to “tame” Elizabeth much as does Petruchio with Katherine in Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Within the story, you will find other examples from Shakespeare’s works, and I do acknowledge the Bacon theory when Darcy, Elizabeth, Mr. Bennet, Jane and Bingley visit the old ruins and tour Gorhambury House, much as Elizabeth and the Gardiners did at Pemberley in Austen’s tale.

PP+SS Cover-01.jpgINTRODUCING PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND A SHAKESPEAREAN SCHOLAR

Unless one knows the value of loyalty, he cannot appreciate the cost of betrayal.

What if Darcy and Elizabeth met weeks before the Meryton assembly? What if there is no barely “tolerable” remark to have Elizabeth rejecting Mr. Darcy’s affections, but rather a dip in a cold creek that sets her against him? What if Mr. Bennet is a renown Shakespearean scholar who encourages Darcy to act the role of Petruchio from Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” to bring Elizabeth’s Katherina persona to the line.

ELIZABETH BENNET’s pride has her learning a difficult lesson: Loyalty is hard to find, and trust is easy to lose. Even after they share a passionate kiss outside the Meryton assembly hall and are forced to marry, Elizabeth cannot forget the indignity she experienced at the hands of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Although she despises his high-handedness, Elizabeth appreciates the protection he provides her in their marriage. But can she set her prejudice aside long enough to know a great love?

FITZWILLIAM DARCY places only two demands on his new wife: her loyalty and her trust, but when she invites his worst enemy to Darcy House, he has no choice but to turn her out. Trusting her had been his decision, but proving his choice the right one before she destroys two hearts meant to be together must be hers, and Darcy is not certain Elizabeth is up to the task.

Now, for an EXCERPT: You may read Chapter 1 (how Darcy and Elizabeth meet) on the Austen Authors’ Writers’ Block at this link:

http://austenauthors.net/writers-block/exquisite-excerpts/pride-and-prejudice-and-a-shakespearian-scholar/

from Chapter Two

Darcy watched her storm away. “Magnificent,” he murmured in admiration. He held no idea what had come over him. He certainly did not set out to flirt with the lady. Perhaps it was his recent confrontation with Lady Catherine that had him looking to potential mates other than Anne. Or perhaps is was Georgiana’s encouraging words regarding his need to look beyond the obvious. Or more likely it was the loneliness that had invaded his soul of late that had spurred him on. “The lady is certainly from the norm.”

He brushed the dirt and water droplets from his hat as he privately enjoyed the sway of her hips as she marched angrily across the field. Those hips were made more enticing by the damp muslin clinging to her skin and undergarments. He chuckled. She was a real virago. As he turned, he noticed something dark lying in the long grass and bent to retrieve it. It was the book in which the woman had been writing when he approached her. He had meant simply to inquire of Netherfield’s location, but when he had looked down upon the enticing globes of her breasts peeking from the neckline of her day dress, something primal had caught his good sense and had emphatically announced: Mine.

He glanced in the direction of her retreating form, momentarily considering whether to chase after her to return the book in his hand, but he thought it likely she would throttle him if he acted, even if he did so in good conscience. Moreover, she had set herself a good clip, especially for one walking without boots. She was nearing the far side of the field.

“Perchance Bingley will know something of the lady,” he said aloud, as he opened the book to view her last entry. The words brought a smile to his lips as he read…

Mama has no idea that I prefer Juliet’s words when she speaks of the necessity of our marrying before Papa passes to the prescribed sensibility of society on the matter.

’O bid me leap, rather than to marry Paris,

From off the battlements of any tower,

Or walk in thievish ways, or bid me lurk

Where serpents are. Chain me with roaring bears,

Or hide me nightly in a charnel-house

O’ercovered quite with dead men’s rattling bones,

With reeky shanks and yellow chapless skulls.

Or bid me go into a new-made grave,

And hide me with a dead man in his shroud—

Things that, to hear them told, have made me tremble—

And I will do it without fear or doubt.

To live an unstained wife to my sweet love.

Darcy was not certain he was comfortable reading the lady’s most intimate thoughts. On one hand, he was impressed by her knowledge of Shakespeare, her having quoted from Macbeth, The Taming of the Shrew, and now Romeo and Juliet with accuracy. “She even recognized my walking song,” he said in real respect. “I know few men—and fewer women—who hold knowledge of so many of Shakespeare’s finest pieces.” But on the other hand, the notation regarding her need to marry was troubling. “When she discovers my identity, will the lady transform into another Caroline Bingley? Will the need arise for me to avoid her as I do Miss Bingley?” Darcy thought that would be a true shame, for he did wish to take the lady’s acquaintance properly just to see if they could be in each other’s company for more than a few minutes without freely tossing accusations holding no merit about. “Certainly, she had a right to be angry, for I placed her down, but not as she wished, but there was that moment when I kissed her hand. Something resembling interest passed between us.”

Reluctantly, Darcy placed the journal in the pocket of his greatcoat. He would return the book when the opportunity arrived. “To think all I wished was to ask directions to Netherfield.” With a shrug of resignation, he set out the way he had come. This time he would pay more attention to locating the marker leading him to Netherfield.

* * *

When she was certain the man had not followed her, Elizabeth had sat upon the opposing stile from the one she had foolishly crossed earlier to don her stockings, garters, and boots. Mrs. Hill would have something to say about the moss stains on both her gown and her smock, but there was nothing for it. Surprisingly, tears stung her eyes. She had never encountered such an overbearing man, but she had to admit, if only to herself, she had enjoyed the heat and the strength of his body as he held her in his arms. For just a moment, she felt protected and foolishly a bit cherished. “Even so,” she announced to the birds above her in the trees lining the field, “I wish the cad the fate of Prometheus. A vulture forever nibbling upon his liver. Or perchance his cold heart instead.” With a satisfied nod of her head, she shook out her skirts to loosen them from her legs and then said a prayer that she could sneak into Longbourn without her mother’s notice.

However, God meant to vex her day, for although she managed to cross the kitchen and mount the servants’ stairs without anyone’s notice, when she reached the entrance hall, the sound of female voices filled the front drawing room. On silent feet, she tiptoed along the carpet, wordlessly asking the Fates to permit her invisibility.

“Lizzy!” her mother bellowed when the floor board popped from her weight pressing down upon it, and everyone in the room looked up to see her standing awkwardly in place outside the open room door.

Biting back a curse no lady should utter, Elizabeth straightened her shoulders to face those within the room. “Good morning, Lady Lucas. Charlotte. I did not realize you meant to call upon us today.” She remained a step outside the room’s entrance, where the shadows might mask the condition of her clothing.

“Do you wish tea?” Jane asked kindly.

“Perhaps later,” Elizabeth said with a well-placed smile. “I must to speak to Papa first.”

“You leave your father to his studies,” her mother warned. “I told Mr. Bennet that no one would disturb him this afternoon if he would promise to be agreeable over supper when Mr. Bingley comes calling this evening. Now, stop dilly-dallying in the hall. Come join us. I am certain Charlotte is desirous of your conversation.”

Elizabeth sighed in resignation and stepped forward where they all might view the condition of her dress. “I fear I have taken a tumble,” she said with a hard swallow.

Charlotte Lucas’s dark head turned away so her friend might smother her laughter in her serviette. Meanwhile, the rest of the room gasped upon viewing her smudged and wet appearance.

“Elizabeth Ruth Elaine Bennet!” her mother shrieked. “What am I to do with you?” Mrs. Bennet threw her head back in despair, her mother’s mobcap draping to one side.

Lydia mocked, “I have seen drier fish.”

Jane and Charlotte were both quickly at Elizabeth’s side. “Oh, Lizzy,” Jane whispered in sympathy. “Come, I shall assist you in changing your clothing.”

“No, I shall do it,” Charlotte corrected. She shot a glance to Mrs. Bennet. “It might be best if you see to your mother. I would dislike seeing her suffer from a fit of her nerves.” Mrs. Bennet had retrieved her handkerchief from her sleeve and was waving it about in agitation.

Elizabeth shook her head in the negative. “Both of you remain. I am a bit sore from my tumble. I believe I shall lie down after I change my clothes. It is imperative that I not disappoint Mama twice in one day. I just require a bit of rest.”

“Are you certain?” Jane asked.

Elizabeth placed a smile upon her features. “Absolutely. I have suffered no harm more than a few bruises, sodden skirts, and wounded pride.”

With acceptance in her stance, Jane nodded her agreement and turned toward her mother. Elizabeth squeezed the back of Charlotte’s hand. “Do not permit Lady Lucas to tarry too long. Mama calms faster when she has no audience.”

Charlotte smiled knowingly. “No more than a quarter hour. Now, go change before you catch your death from being cold.”

Elizabeth quietly departed, although the sound of her mother’s “It did me little good to forbid her to go out. Lizzy never listens to me.” followed her down the hall. Without a glance backwards, Elizabeth turned to her father’s study. She required someone of sense to vet out the truth of her encounter with the stranger.

She tapped lightly upon the door, but did not wait for her father to bid her to enter. Instead, she turned the latch and slipped into the room, closing the door behind her. “Papa, I know you are extremely busy with your research, but may I claim five minutes of your time?”

He did not look up immediately, rather he finished his notation before placing his pen in the well. It was the way with him. How many times had she waited until he finished his thoughts before he addressed her? “Lizzy?” he remarked in distracted tones. “Is something amiss?”

Although she had closed it behind her, she had not moved from the door. “Something is amiss, sir. Yet I do not know the best course.”

“Come sit,” he instructed, gesturing to the chair pulled close to his desk. She crossed to the cushioned seat. As always, the odor of musty manuscripts and cigars and leather filled the space. He folded his hands across and middle and said, “You appear quite disheveled. I assume your tale will include an explanation of what occurred to your gown.”

Both of her parents had expressed their concern over her appearance, but their approaches were as different as their histories. Her father was of the gentry—a country squire, educated at Cambridge and considered one of England’s finest intellects. Her mother was the daughter of a rich man with connections to trade. Elizabeth doubted that Fanny Bennet had ever read an entire book. Her mother was not illiterate, but Mrs. Bennet saw no reason to educate her girls unless one of them took a special interest in a social skill, such as her sister Mary’s love of music. “I walked to Oakham Mount after Mama returned to her quarters for a restorative nap.”

“I imagine this was against Mrs. Bennet’s orders,” he surmised. Immediately Elizabeth experienced guilt. Although he did not yell and fuss over her deception, her father’s simple statement told Elizabeth that he did not approve of his daughter’s acting behind Mrs. Bennet’s back.

Elizabeth dropped her eyes. “Mama did not specifically forbid my leaving,”  she offered as an excuse that made her feel more at fault than if she had admitted her manipulation. “It was only implied, sir.”

Her father snorted his amusement. “The fool considers himself as wise as Solomon, while a man of intellect realizes we are all fools.”

Elizabeth protested, “I did not intend to act a fool. It was all the strange gentleman’s fault.”

“What strange gentleman?” he asked with a lift of his brows.

She leaned forward to press her point. “The one who accosted me on Oakham Mount.”

“Accosted you?” he questioned in serious tones. “Did he harm you? Treat you poorly?”

“Certainly he treated me in an ill manner,” she declared.

“You would know the men from the neighborhood.” His gaze remained steady, and Elizabeth resisted the urge to squirm. “The only stranger is Mr. Bingley. Was it he who approached you? I would not wish to sit with the man if he does not respect my daughter.”

Elizabeth shook off the suggestion. “You described Mr. Bingley as having hair a shade or so darker than Jane’s, with reddish tints to his locks. The man I encountered was tall and dark and…”

Her father chuckled. “And handsome?”

She bristled, “Reasonably fair of countenance.” The unguarded admission shocked her.

His brows drew together in what appeared to be mock thoughtfulness, and Elizabeth suddenly felt the fool her father had described previously. “How did the man touch you?”

Frustration ate at her. She would be forced to admit her temper. “He kissed my hand.”

“How did he come in possession of your hand?” Mr. Bennet ran his palm across his features to smooth his expression.

Despite her best efforts, her voice rasped, cutting like shards of glass. “I was sitting upon a log. He came up behind me and extended his hand to assist me to my feet.”

“So, you presented your hand to the man, and he kissed it?” He spared her a shake of his head in denial. “Quite a scoundrel. Is there more I should know of the this stranger?”

This had to be one of the most uncomfortable conversations in which she had ever participated. Determined to make her point, Elizabeth declared, “He picked me up in his arms to carry me across the brook between Mr. Olsen’s and Mr. Kincaid’s farms.”

Her father tilted his head to one side in consideration. “Why would the man assume you could not cross alone?”

Elizabeth again dropped her eyes in shame, for she knew her father would not approve. “I had removed my half boots and stockings before he arrived. I was writing in my diary. But after the stranger kissed my hand without permission…” her voice rose in consternation.

“I thought we established that you offered the gentleman your permission by presenting him your hand,” he argued.

Elizabeth rolled her eyes in vexation. “Please, Papa, permit me to finish.”

Her father sat forward, and his smile had lost its amusement. “Instead, permit me to summarize the obvious,” he said in serious tones. “You rushed away from the man when his kiss of your proffered hand offended you. You wore no boots, but still you meant to cross the cold stream despite the foolishness of your actions. By your own admission, the man presented you no offense beyond the brush of his lips across your bare knuckles. When he offered to carry you across the stream’s stones, you again objected to his forwardness.”

“He did not offer!” she protested. “I told him when he would not turn aside and go away that he was no gentleman, and he took it upon himself to prove me in error.”

“Knowing my Lizzy, you did not take well to his defending his pride. How did you make him pay for his presumptuous nature?”

“I struck him with the boot I carried in my left hand.”

Relief eased the lines of weariness etched upon her father’s forehead. “I imagine you struck him harder than I could have if I chose to challenge him for his behavior.”

“Then you will do nothing to defend my honor?” she charged.

“I would bend Hell over the Devil’s anvil to defend your honor, Elizabeth. You are now and forever my dearest Lizzy, but I will not challenge a much younger man to defend your pride. He would dispatch me in less than a minute, then you and your sisters and your mother would be set out in the hedgerow when my heir presumptive claims Longbourn.”

“But the man set me in the water when I demanded that he place me down,” she protested. Her arguments were having little effect upon her father, for he disguised a laugh behind his hands as he pretended to cough.

At length, he asked skeptically, “Did you unknowingly provoke the man?”

Standing defiantly, she snapped, “I repeated lines from Shakespeare, as did he.”

“Obviously, I cannot fault a man the improvement of his mind, but if you encounter the gentleman again, point me in his direction. I promise to present the fellow a earful laced with my disdain for his handling of my daughter.”

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY!! COMMENT BELOW FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO WIN AN eBOOK COPY OF “PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND A SHAKESPEAREAN SCHOLAR.” THE GIVEAWAY WILL END AT MIDNIGHT EST ON  DECEMBER 12, 2017. THE PRIZE, HOWEVER, WILL NOT BE AWARDED UNTIL THE BOOK RELEASES ON DECEMBER 15. 

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A Closer Look at “One Minute Past Christmas” by George T. Arnold and Regina Jeffers

515ZRGQX5VL._AC_US218_.jpgI came to this story late in the aspect that the nucleus of it was written by my former journalism professor. When I read it, I like it, but I had the feeling that something was missing. Even so, I kept my mouth shut on the subject for some two years. When he decided to add to cover and post the story on other seller sites (other than Amazon), I suggested that we work on the story together. That is how it came about. 

When George Arnold originally wrote the story, it involved a grandfather telling his granddaughter the family secret. I changed the story so said granddaughter is now a grandmother herself and sharing that same secret with her granddaughter. We kept all of George’s scenes, making them flashbacks. By doing so we had a three-dimensional story: Layers on layers, but all tied together by this special “secret.” 

The story is a contemporary one, set in West Virginia, as both George and I are West Virginia natives. It is set around his hometown of Beckley, a town set on two interstates, I Interstate 64, going east and west and Interstate 77, going north and south. The family in the story own a tree farm, one that has been in the family for multiple generations. 

If you are looking for a quick, easy read that will restore your faith in the spirit of Christmas, this is the story for you. It is a novella of some 20,000 words. 

515ZRGQX5VL.jpg  Introducing One Minute Past Christmas 

One Minute Past Christmas is the story of a Greenbrier County, West Virginia, family in which a grandfather and his granddaughter share a special ability — they call it a gift — that enables them to briefly witness each year a miraculous gathering in the sky. What they see begins at precisely one minute past Christmas and fills them with as much relief as it does wonder. But they worry that the “gift” — which they cannot reveal to anyone else—will die with them because it has been passed to no other relative for forty-four years.

Nook  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-minute-past-christmas-george-arnold/1113741423?ean=2940015939545

Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1475224273?keywords=one%20minute%20past%20christmas&qid=1443971109&ref_=sr_1_2&sr=8-2

Kindle  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009YZKHZ0?keywords=one%20minute%20past%20christmas&qid=1443971133&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

Kobo   https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/one-minute-past-christmas

CreateSpace  https://www.createspace.com/3855718

Enjoy this excerpt from “One Minute Past Christmas” 

She climbed the steps to the attic a bit more slowly than she did previously. Jessica claimed her sixty-fifth birthday in September, and even though both the Nicholas and Lawrence families traditionally lived well into their late seventies and early eighties, Jessica could not shake the idea that her days were shorter than she hoped.

“Where to look?” she murmured as she pulled the chain to turn on the bare overhead bulb to illuminate the space once used as a drying room, but which now held the family “treasures.”

Hanna joined Jessica to look around in bewilderment.

“I did not realize there were so many boxes.”

“Several lifetimes chronicled here,” Jessica said as she scanned the markings on the side of many of the boxes.

She turned slowly to inspect the many configurations.

“You used to like to play among all the boxes,” Jessica reminded her granddaughter. “We made castles for you to crawl through.”

“Really?” Hanna asked in surprise, and Jessica could not disguise her scowl of disapproval.

“I don’t wish to think upon the values you lost by movin’ away from your family home,” she pronounced in chastisement. “Yes, your father found a viable position, but your family abandoned so much more.”

“Oh, Gram, don’t be going there again. Papa is accounted one of the best mechanics in the area. He has fifteen men working for him.”

“Financial success doesn’t keep a person warm in the same way as one’s memories do,” Jessica countered.

Her granddaughter rolled her eyes in the way of all young people who think they know everything.

Discarding her frustration with what she could not change, Jessica gestured toward several rows of boxes against the far wall.

“You look over there. I’ll take this side. The boxes are labeled, but it wouldn’t hurt to take a peek into each to make sure the contents match the labels.”

“Do you think there are mice in here?” Hanna asked tentatively.

Her granddaughter lifted a box from the top of the stack to investigate the inside.

“You know nothin’ of livin’ in the country,” Jessica remarked as she adjusted her glasses upon her nose so she could read through the bifocals.

“Your grandfather and I have three of the best mousers in the county. Nothing gets past those cats.”

“I thought you kept the cats because they were treasured pets,” Hanna said in distraction before searching through the first box.

Jessica thought, Not likely, but she said, “No. The cats earn their keep.” Like everyone on this farm.

Silence fell between them as they searched. Hanna made quicker work of the task than Jessica. Reminiscing over one of Jeremy’s toy trucks or a favorite picture frame belonging to her mother required time. Recollections required time. Her grandfather Jared Nicholas taught Jessica that time only bent for those God granted a miracle. When Hanna was born, Jessica thought to teach her granddaughter something of the magic, but Jeremy and Molly snatched the child away from Jessica before she could show the girl what made the child one of God’s chosen beings.

“Any luck?” Hanna called out.

“Not yet,” Jessica murmured as she caressed each of the precious items before returning them to the box. 

Hanna stood to scan the stacks.

“Do you recall anything of how the dress was put away?” the girl asked.

Jessica watched Hanna work her way behind what appeared to be an artificial Christmas tree box along the wall.

A smile of recognition claimed Jessica’s lips.

“I recall now,” she said before crossing the small space to spin the box meant for a fake tree around where she could tear away the tape holding it closed.

“There is no need for an artificial tree on a Christmas tree farm,” she declared. “My mother thought it a good joke to store a family heirloom in a hoax of a box.”

Stripping the masking tape away, Jessica placed the box upon the floor and opened the flaps.

“Ah, here it is.”

Jessica lifted the garment bag, which was closed at the bottom with more tape to keep moisture and air from ruining the dress.

“There are mothballs in the box,” she said with a laugh. “We may need to air the dress out.”

Jessica slowly unzipped the bag.

“I imagine my mother covered the hanger before returning the dress to it. My mama, bless her soul, was most particular about the gown. It was the most expensive dress anyone in the family ever owned. I think her cautions and her protestations nearly persuaded your mama not to marry our Jeremy.”

“Will you be as crazy with my wearing it?” Hanna asked half in a tease and half in fear.

“Count on it,” Jessica said smartly as she lifted the dress from the bag.

Beneath the heavy garment carrier was a dry cleaning bag covering the gown and its layers of soft lace.

“Thanks for the warning,” Hanna retorted in what sounded like cynicism.

The girl reached for the bottom of the bag and lifted the plastic to reveal a dress with all the glamour of the 1920s.

“It is like something right out of The Great Gatsby,” Hanna gasped. “It is perfect. We can do the wedding as if it’s high tea in the Hamptons.”

Jessica was more practical.

“We must check all the seams. The lace has yellowed a bit, but not enough to hurt the look of the dress. We may need to find some replacement lace for the sleeves, but matching it shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s a common rose-and-ivy pattern. I do not want you to think of making this a flapper look. My mama and my grandmother would roll over in their graves. Grandma Lily ordered this dress special, based on a picture of her mother’s wedding dress in the old country. Grandpa Jared spent his last penny to please Lily Hardwick. During their first few years of marriage they had nothing to live on but love, but that was enough. Even later, during the Great Depression, they never considered selling the dress or the lace.”

“I promise I’ll treat it properly,” Hanna swore, crossing her heart with her index finger.

“I’ll return the dress to the bag, and we’ll take it downstairs for a closer look. Later, we’ll go into town for lace and whatever else we might need.”

Jessica reached for the box.

“Help me set the empty carton from the way.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Jessica thought it ironic that the prospects of wearing her great-great-grandmother’s dress brought a return of Hanna’s manners.

“What’s that?” Hanna asked as she lifted the box to hear a thud hit the floor a second time.

“Best we find out.”

Jessica draped the bagged dress over the back of a chest of drawers, which should be donated to one of the shelters, before she knelt to dig into the bottom of the tree box.

“Well, I’ll be,” Jessica swore with a chuckle. “I haven’t seen these since before Grandpa Jared passed. I thought them long gone. I wonder who put them in this box.”

“You must have put whatever it is there, Gram,” Hanna said with a bit of impatience, common of young people dealing with the older generation.

Jessica’s frown lines met.

“You are assuming I am suffering from early ‘old timer’s’ disease, but it’s not true. I thought these were long gone.”

She withdrew two composition notebooks with hard covers.

“Love poems written to Grandpa Bob?” Hanna teased with a raised eyebrow.

Jessica clutched the two books to her chest as she stood.

“No, they contain a story my Papaw Jared thought should be kept alive to be shared sometime after our deaths.. He was in his eighties when he asked me to record his tale, a story I shared with him. Although he could read and write, Papaw Jared was not much for his letters. He worried too much about correct spelling and such. His teacher was quite strict, striking his hands many times for his poor penmanship, and I often helped with legal papers and the such as I grew older. Eventually, Papaw told his tale into an old tape recorder, and I transcribed it for him.”

Jessica shot a quick glance at her granddaughter, and hope lodged in Jessica’s heart. She long regretted not knowing for certain whether Hanna could be the answer to a family mystery. With the absence of Jeremy’s family during t0hose years when the girl might show herself, Jessica remained uncertain about how to approach the subject.

“I’d like very much to share the story with you,” she said tentatively. “There’s a bit about you in it.”

Hanna’s nose twitched in what appeared to be disapproval, but she said, “As you’re willing to help me with the dress, it’s the least I can do.”

Jessica knew that was likely the best she would earn from her granddaughter. Since her son’s family took “Reading and Writing and Route 23” to the North, there was a chasm of misconstructions between them.

Posted in Appalachia, Austen Authors, book excerpts, book release, books, Christmas, family, holidays, legends, reading habits, tradtions, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richard Bertie’s Attempt to Become Lord Willoughby d’Eresby ~ Part II

This post is a continuation of the one from yesterday, which introduced my readers to Richard Bertie and his unsuccessful attempt to become Lord Willoughby d’Eresby. 

800px-Catherine,_Duchess_of_Suffolk_by_Hans_Holbein_the_Younger

Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk (Wikipedia)

Richard Bertie married the widowed Duchess of Suffolk and had issue by her, a son named Peregrine. Bertie made a claim to the Barony of Willoughby, for his wife was the 12th Baroness Willoughby in addition to her title as duchess. Bertie’s claim considered the two Baronies of Willoughby and Eresby.  He did so in right of his wife, Catherine, as tenant of the curtesy. The claim was referred to Queen Elizabeth I, who turned it over to Lord Burghley and two other Commissioners. There was an additional claim to the same dignity by Peregrine Bertie, the son of the claimant. The commissioners made their report in favor of the son, who was accordingly admitted to the dignity, in the lifetime of his father. (Cruise, William, Esq. A Treatise on the Origin and Nature of Titles of Honor: All the Cases of Peerage, Together With the Mode of Proceedings in Claims of This Kind, London, Joseph Butterworth and Son, 1823.)

But there was more going on than a simple proceeding. For example, Henry VIII declared he would not permit a female heir to provide him his barons. Two questions were to be addressed in this claim: (1) Could a female could inherit as a right and later transmit said peerage to her heirs, a Barony in fee. (2) If she had that privilege, was her husband entitled to the barony or to style himself as a baron in her right?

In reality, little of this case was settled until 1674 when “the judges expressed an opinion that Gervas Clifton (who was summoned to Parliament in the sixth year in the reign of James I) was by virtue of the writ of summons and sitting in Parliament ‘a Peer and Baron of this kingdom, and his blood thereby ennobled,’ and that ‘his honour descended from him to Katherine, his sole daughter and heir and successively after several descents to the petitioner,’ who was his great-granddaughter. The House of Lords thereupon resolved ‘that the claimant Katherine O’Brien had right to the Barony of Clifton. Even this was a decision upon a particular case than an enunciation of a general principle. It appears, however, to have been a sufficient precedence for all subsequent cases in which the circumstances were the same, but to have left open the question of the period at which a summons to Parliament following by a sitting first operated to create an hereditary barony.” (Pike, Luke Owen. A Constitutional History of the House of Lords, from Original Sources, Burt Franklin, New York, first published in London, 1894, page 131.)

In his case Bertie argued with another precedence. His wife Catherine was named the heir to the dukedom. At her father’s death, Catherine became the ward the King, who on 1 March 1528, sold it to his brother-in-law, Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. Catherine was reportedly betrothed to Suffolk’s son by his third wife, Mary Tudor. Mary Tudor died at Westhorpe on 25 June 1433, and six weeks later at the ages of 49 for Suffolk and 14 for Catherine, the pair wed. [Henry Brandon, 1st Earl of Lincoln, Suffolk’s son died in 1534. Although Suffolk was forty-nine and Catherine only fourteen, the marriage was a successful one. The Willoughby inheritance was not fully settled until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, but Suffolk was able to force Sir Christopher Willoughby to relinquish possession of some of the contested Willoughby estates, and Suffolk eventually became the greatest magnate in Lincolnshire. Suffolk and Catherine had two sons, Henry Brandon, 2nd Duke of Suffolk and Charles Brandon, 3rd. Duke of Suffolk.

Lord Brandon succeeded his father as 2nd Duke of Suffolk on 22 August 1545. He and his younger brother were both minors and continued their education by going up to St John’s College, Cambridge. During an epidemic of the sweating sickness, the two youths died, Suffolk first and his younger brother about an hour later. They died at the Bishop of Lincoln’s Palace in the village of Buckden, near Huntingdon, where they had fled in an attempt to escape the epidemic.

More importantly, to Bertie’s case, Suffolk had influenced a decision in favor of his wife, who as her father’s daughter, had usurped her father’s younger brother, the male heir, after Lord Willoughby’s death in 1525. Bertie claimed that Catherine’s right had been established against her uncle’s claim, and that said uncle’s son was denied the title of Willoughby of Eresby (and assigned that of Willoughby of Parham) when he was raised to the peerage in 1547. 

More than two years passed before Bertie could secure a hearing on the matter. On 14 April 1572, Bertie writes to Lord Burghley, “I send to your Lordship by this bearer my servant (1) the bill for confirmation, having used therein the advice of Mr. Attorney General. I send also (2) a collection of such as have in the right of their wives enjoyed titles of honour; though you required but a few names, yet, I send many; … And, to prove the use of it in the Barony of Willoughby, I send (3) two Court Rolls where you shall find it in the title etc.” (British History Online. Calendar of the Cecil Papers in Hatfield House: Volume 15, 1603. Originally published by His Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1930.)

The two questions presented above were decided in opposition. Beyond dispute, it was decided that not only could a female inherit a barony, but she could transmit said barony to her heirs. However, the claim of the husband to right of her title was not upheld. The thing we must remember about is Bertie’s claim came about when there was little precedent on the books to support his claim. It was questionable then whether Richard Bertie’s claim was valid. Much debate on the issue occurred. The writ of summons to his son Peregrine, especially occurring during Richard’s own lifetime, was a landmark decision, one that was fatal to the view that a barony could be held by “the curtsey of England.” In other words, Richard Bertie could not succeed to the Barony of Willoughby d’Eresby at the same time as his son was named to that peerage. There could not be two Barons of Willoughby operating at the same time. 

Posted in Act of Parliament, British history, Elizabeth I, estates, Inheritance, kings and queens, marriage, peerage, research, titles of aristocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment