JA quotes and intro

"I should infinitely prefer a book." -- Chapter 39, Pride and Prejudice
"...I wish my collection were larger for your benefit and my own credit..." -- Chapter 8, Pride and Prejudice
"I shall be glad to have the library to myself as soon as may be." -- Chapter 20, Pride and Prejudice

Thanks for dropping by! Titles are below and to the right, under the following headings:
The Trouble of Practising | Longer fiction
The Result of Previous Study | Challenge entries and stories based on others' prompts (or simply others' prompting)
Impulse of the Moment | Short stories written on a whim
Drabbles | Snapshots, usually 100 words but occasionally more, and usually based on a prompt
The Alcove | Writings other than Jane Austen fanfictionNewest Post: All Six Senses (and All F
Note: Some stories include direct quotes from Austen's works, and there is the occasional nod to one or other of the adaptations.

Most Recent Posts:
A Great Coxcomb, Parts 1 - 5 (May-July 2017)
A Little Alteration: Mrs. Forster's Friend (October 2016)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Emma Drabbles

A Solemn Engagement (Or, Some Part of His Conduct We Cannot Excuse) (The Final Straw)

“I have endured uncertainty, loneliness, even unwanted sympathy, but this is the final straw! I will not stand by and watch you make love to another!”

“How can you say that? I love you!”

“How can you say that after your shameless flirting?”

“Shall I expose us instead? If my aunt finds out, we will lose our chance at happiness.”

“You alone threaten our happiness.”

“Jane, please!”

“Very well. I forgive you, Frank, but you must amend your behaviour to my friend, for Mr. Dixon’s sake as well as my own. After all, they are to be married next week!”



Untitled (Cataloguing One’s or Another’s Faults / Running Away)

Careless, undutiful, double-dealing scoundrel…Cataloguing Frank Churchill’s faults kept George from dwelling on his newest failing: running away from his troubles.

“A fearsome frown, indeed.”

“What? Oh—don’t mind me, John. Just thinking of…a problem I left behind in Highbury.”

“Rather, one you brought with you, despite your intentions.” John smiled. “You never change, George. Always working.”

“True. My mind will not rest. I will try to get the better of it.”

“Do, for Isabella’s sake, and the children’s, if not your own. Here’s a letter from Weston. Perhaps it brings news of the problem, whatever it is.”



The Music Lesson

“You really ought to practice more.”

She made a distinctly feminine sound of disapproval. “If I had an appreciative audience, perhaps I would. To atone for your criticism, you must turn the pages for me.”

“Very well.” As with so many things, they understood each other almost instinctively, and the song proceeded without flaw.

“I may never play as well as Miss Fairfax, but I hope I have performed creditably.”

“Quite delightfully, my” The endearment—the declaration—froze on his tongue. “My dear Emma,” he added instead, staring at her lips and wondering exactly when admiration had turned to love.



Closing One Door and Opening Another
(A Sequel to The Music Lesson)

“Mr. Knightley, are you well?” He had stared in silence for so long.

“I… A moment.” He got up, closed the door, and returned to her side.

“What is the matter?” she asked, quite worried. “You look pale.”

His face immediately flushed with colour. “I did not mean to alarm you. It is only… That is…” He looked directly into her eyes. “I cannot make speeches, Emma. Forgive me. I know not how else to tell you…”

She felt his hands on her face just before his lips caressed hers. Ohhh, she marvelled. So this is what love tastes like.



The Power of Observation (Water)

“You must have had a wet ride.”

“Yes.”

As Mr. Knightley talked on, Emma silently studied him, picturing him on horseback: muscle, motion and manly elegance combined; hair drenched, windblown and wild. She had always admired his hair, always wished to touch it and satisfy her curiosity on the matter of its softness. John’s hair looked much the same, but John had belonged to Isabella forever; Emma would not have dreamt of taking such a liberty with him.

Now it seemed the privilege of caressing Mr. Knightley’s locks would be Harriet’s. Disheartened, she wiped a hand across her watery eyes.



A Decided Prejudice

Mr. Knightley’s inexplicable anger aroused Emma’s own. “Thinking highly of yourself ought not to prevent your thinking highly of another.”

“You believe me unjust?”

“I believe nothing can redeem Mr. Churchill in your eyes, since you have set your mind against him. I am sorry for it.”

“If only you would cease defending him! Think of him less, and perhaps I shall soon think more of him.”

“What has my opinion to do with the justice of yours?”

“Emma—”

“How can my speaking well of him matter to you?”

“Emma,” he repeated, his voice suddenly tender, “how can it not?”



An Accurate Likeness

Mr. Knightley rarely complimented Emma's work, rather tending towards criticism if he said anything about it at all. His “you have made her too tall, Emma” still irritated her every time she recalled it, and she recalled it every time she looked upon her portrait of Harriet. That he had judged correctly had not altered her opinion that he at least could have attempted to find something praiseworthy in her efforts.

She had decided he knew little of art and had even less appreciation for it. Her surprise was great, therefore, when she discovered evidence to the contrary during a visit to Donwell Abbey.

Rambling through the halls, she entered a smallish room, where her eyes soon fell upon a tidy collection of drawings—some pretty sketches, all very like, all completed, and all of a single subject: herself. With both trepidation and curiosity, she approached an easel and removed the cloth that covered it. The fabric slipped from her hands as she gazed upon her own face, with such an expression on it that she felt oddly exposed despite the very proper clothing donning her watercolour image.

“I had thought I might have forgotten to lock this door.” Mr. Knightley proceeded to do so after stepping fully inside the room.

Emma turned to him, blushing heavily and breathing audibly, completely unaware of the tantalising picture she presented as life imitated art.



Nothing but Kindness (Cotton)

“…and they fell to the ground in a heap!”

Guffaws and chuckles followed the conclusion of Colonel Campbell’s lively tale. So congenial a man, a gentleman in every way; Jane considered herself fortunate to have been taken into his family. Yet, moments like these increased her melancholy. Had her father lived, perhaps…

She felt the handkerchief being pressed into her hand before sensing the wetness of her cheeks. “Thank you, Mr. Churchill,” she mouthed, not trusting her voice. She carefully stemmed the flow of tears with the soft cloth, grateful for the comfort gleaned from a simple square of cotton.



A Winter Walk

The snow was more than a trifle, certainly. Knightley's boots were sturdy and comfortable, however, and he little regarded the inconvenience. He admired the layers of white that generously filled dirty corners while framing all that was beautiful in Highbury. What more attractive garland, for example, could the bare trees have wanted?

He would get a peep at Emma and her father just to be certain they were well. He knew it was unnecessary, but he could not help himself. Besides, waiting for him at Hartfield would be the warmth of Mr. Woodhouse’s great fire—and of Emma’s welcoming smile.



A Substance to Sink Her Spirit (Taste)

Emma knew things had gone too far when she noticed the spoonful of gruel hovering in front of her face.

She lowered the spoon into the bowl, straining to recall the moment her father had succeeded in convincing her to forego her usual fare. Shaking her head, she excused herself from the table. Gruel for dinner? The very idea of it relieved her of her appetite.

It was true she had been in shock all afternoon, but even the horrid prospect of Mr. Knightley's being in love with Harriet should not have robbed her completely of her sense of taste.



Every Look Described (Suspicion)

With her “Never!” still ringing in his ears, Knightley tried to convince Emma that he had not fashioned his suspicions regarding Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax out of thin air. “If only you had seen for yourself the expression on Churchill’s face at the Eltons’.”

Her amused smile strengthened his resolve.

“His gaze was… tender.” His eyes begged her to understand. “As a man, I would swear he wanted—even ached—to reach across the table and touch her.”

Emma’s immediate “Oh!” seemed a quick reversal, until he realised he had reached across and laid his hand against her cheek.



Nothing Doubtful (Suspicion)

“Miss Smith.”

Harriet froze, suddenly beset by memories of other walks with other gentlemen, ambles which had led only to misunderstanding and heartache. Had Mr. Martin, too, fallen under that same spell? Heaven forbid!

“H-Harriet.”

His halting intimacy thawed the unwelcome chill. She smiled at the tips of her shoes. Slowly, she looked up and met Robert’s velvety eyes.

“I must ask again… Will you marry me?”

“Yes!” she cried, laughing at her momentary silliness. Really, it had been too much to suspect even of Miss Woodhouse that she could steal away the affections of three men in one year.



The True Hazel Eye (Eyes)

The true hazel eye! If only she could see the truth with those beautiful eyes of hers. She requires not a sycophant, but someone to challenge her mind and moderate her confidence.

She is entirely too confident. That is the truth.

She needs the firm, yet gentle, influence of one who cares for her, not only her approbation!


Knightley’s internal monologue continued all the way to Hartfield. Emma’s welcoming look sent his agitation spiralling from his head to a place far lower. Dismissing the sensation as nothing more than what any truly lovely woman might inspire, he smiled in greeting.



Hartfield Hospitality (A Cup of Chocolate)

“You are just in time, Mr. Knightley. I was just about to have a little gruel.”

Knightley ignored the tacit invitation and took a seat near Emma. “It would surprise me, Sir, if you were not about to do so, considering the chill in the air.”

“Do sit nearer the fire.”

“Do not worry, Papa.” Emma poured a steaming cup for their visitor. “We will have Mr. Knightley warm and comfortable in no time.”

“Is the chocolate not too rich?” Mr. Woodhouse fretted.

“It is perfect,” Knightley said with confidence before he had even tasted the treat from Emma’s hand.



Youth and Beauty

John saw Isabella at once, bent over her work as she sat on her favourite garden bench. The sunlight gave her hair the most enchanting glow.

He drew closer, and she looked up. “Mr. Knightley!”

“Miss Woodhouse.” He bowed. “What have you there?”

“My crown,” Emma informed him, coming round a shrub. “Are you done, Bella?”

“Almost.” After a final twist of stems, Isabella placed the wreath of flowers on Emma’s head.

“Is it not lovely, Mr. Knightley?” Emma asked.

“What a pretty picture you make,” he answered, eyes never leaving Isabella’s face. Her resulting blush rendered her even prettier.



Very Far from Pleasant (Set-down)

Was Emma out of her senses? Miss Bates had felt the full sting of her contempt. Knightley would have expected such callousness sooner from Anne Cox, although the vulgar Miss Cox hardly had wit enough to merit the comparison. Yet what good was wit without compassion to temper it? Even Churchill, hardly blameless himself, had not dared add to Miss Bates’s distress.

Knightley’s dark thoughts impelled him towards the place where Emma waited for the carriage. When she noticed his presence, his temper flared to a blistering heat, and he gave her a set-down she would not soon forget.



Mr. and Mrs. Knightley Stop to View Box Hill (Winter Wonderland)

“It is beautiful covered in snow.”

“A winter wonderland.”

“Rather fanciful talk, coming from you.”

“My fanciful wife is beside me; that must account for it.”

“Seeing it this way… softens impressions from my previous visit.”

He frowned. “I was harsh with you then.”

She grimaced, remembering. “You had cause. My harshness prompted yours.”

“You quickly made amends. Let us not dwell on it.”

“I shall not. This is a different day. A happier day.”

“Happier, yes.” He held her hand as they looked over the landscape. For the first time he asked, “Shall we stay at the Abbey tonight?”

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