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

Sense and Sensibility Drabbles

Pursuing Fresh Schemes (A New Suit of Clothes)

Willoughby had never seen his cousin so angry, had never even heard her raise her voice before. When her face had turned deep red, he had worried she might suffer apoplexy right in front of him.

Still, better to think of her than that other, far more agreeable countenance, beautiful even when bathed in tears.

But he was in London now on business that could not be delayed. No time for the past; instead, it was time to court his future. He immediately set about procuring a new suit of clothes to wear for his next encounter with Sophia Grey.



Untitled (Ball)

“It is hardly a grand ball, but I suppose we must go, else my friends will be disappointed.”

“As you wish, Miss Grey.”


“Such formality! Will you not call me Sophia, at least when we are alone?”

“If you like.”

“You looked very smart in your blue coat last week. Will you not wear it to the party?”

“If I can procure your happiness with a simple blue coat, I am a lucky man.” Willoughby smiled until his heart hurt. Try as he might, he could not feel for this woman anything like the affection he still harboured for Marianne.



Whatever You Need

The days provided little variation: nurse, fret, watch, wait.

Then one morning, cheer returned to Cleveland despite the absence of its mistress’s inimitable laughter.

By evening, however, gloom had settled again, perhaps to stay. Elinor bore it until she could bear it no more. She sought, and found, a ready listener and ready aid in the colonel. “Whatever you need,” he said, offering to fetch Mrs. Dashwood from the end of the earth if necessary to secure Marianne’s comfort.

“Whatever you need.” Elinor held onto those words as she watched and waited and wished him Godspeed to Barton and back.



A Quiet Accompaniment (Music)

Each morning, he arose anticipating the next musical delight: her nimble touch on the pianoforte or rhythmic movements in the dance, her lilting voice and melodious laughter.

Each evening, the memories kept him awake for hours. He felt her passion reverberate through his being as he lay abed, dreaming of the impossible.

He listened with intensity and single-mindedness forged through painful experience. In joy, uncertainty, bitterest sorrow, he remained steadfast: always engaged, always enthralled, ever at hand.

He learned the songs her heart knew best, and when at last she perceived it, she made him the happiest of men.



Refreshment (A Long, Cool Drink)
(A Companion Piece to A Quiet Accompaniment)

Marianne watched Colonel Brandon enjoying a long, cool drink. It was almost shocking to catch such a serious, proper man at something so ordinary, so human, as quenching one’s thirst. The sight of his half-closed eyes and relaxed brow made her wonder if she had ever before observed him in an unguarded moment.

Willoughby’s appeal had been of the usual sort, but the colonel’s beauty was in his character, his charm in his attentiveness, his warmth in his reliable presence. Nonetheless, when he caught her staring, Marianne thought the smile that brightened his face rendered him quite handsome indeed.



Unlikely Rake x 4

No Opening for Consolation (Marianne's Misadventures, Part 1)

As the dancing commenced, tears threatened. Marianne slipped behind a screen.

Someone followed her.

“Still heartbroken? Surely you did not expect him to marry you once he got what he wanted.” He snickered. “Wild one, that. A regular rake. Bet you two had quite a tumble at Allenham.”

“What?”

“Brandon was glad to see him go, but I doubt the colonel’s languid… dancing… would agree with you after Willoughby’s. You need something else.” He wrapped his arms around her waist.

“Your wife may appreciate such intimacy, Sir John, but I certainly do not!” She slapped him and fled the room.

A Hasty Removal (Marianne’s Misadventures, Part 2)

Marianne ran blindly down the hall. The sounds of her heartbeat and laboured breathing only increased her agitation. Suddenly she collided with something firm and immediately felt arms around her. She thrashed wildly, desperate to free herself. “Sir John, no!” she whispered.

“Miss Marianne! Are you hurt? What has he done to you?”

Relieved, she looked up into the eyes of Colonel Brandon. “You know about him? Yet you are his friend!”

“I only just discovered it. Come, you are distraught.”

They hurried into the nearest room. She watched in apprehension as he closed the door and secured the lock.

All the Comfort That Could Be Given (Marianne’s Misadventures, Part 3)

“I had thought you were in London.”

“I had to come, to know if you were well.”

She regarded him nervously in the flickering light; after all, her last tête-à-tête had ended badly. “You will not turn out to be a scoundrel like the others, will you?”

“Marianne—” He began again, “Miss Marianne.” She felt safe when he held her hand, even when he touched her cheek. However, when he trailed a finger slowly across her lips, she gasped. “While I cannot deny that I find you…quite tempting, I hope I shall always show you the respect you deserve.”

Consoled for Every Past Affliction (a/k/a Willoughby Who? Marianne’s Misadventures, Part 4)

Rejoining the company, Marianne sought the farthest place from Sir John—a dark corner where Mr. Palmer lounged, apparently asleep.

As she sat, Palmer acknowledged her. “I have not seen you dancing. Nevertheless, it appears you have been well entertained.” He nodded towards her gown, the neckline of which was frightfully askew.

Turning away to repair the damage, she blushed, recalling the warmth of a flannel waistcoat against her bare skin. Brandon’s liberties had not been absolute, but what he had done…! And such a gentleman! With each searing kiss, every delightful caress, she had remained “Miss Marianne” to him.



Resolution (Courage Gathered)

Brandon had never wanted for courage, or so he had believed. Now, as he steeled his will and forced himself to look upon the piteous form of the woman who, in defiance of everything, was still dear to him, he realised what a coward he had been. He had called it anger, pride, even the only rational choice left to one braving such cruel circumstances. But as Eliza lay listless before him, almost spent of life, he saw that he had not been brave at all.

Courage gathered, he determined not to fail the child as he had the mother.



Meeting by Appointment

“I shall offer you one chance to avoid this.” Brandon observed Willoughby’s anxiety while masking his own. “I challenge you to do what is right.” For once.

“I will not marry Eliza!”

“No; marry Miss Marianne.” Brandon hardly believed he was offering up his heart’s desire to a scoundrel, but it was the scoundrel she wanted, not him. “You know she loves you.”

“And you know my cousin has discovered all and will disinherit me. Marianne has nothing—a thousand pounds!”

“Those are my terms.”

Willoughby eyed him in flagrant disbelief and pointed to the duelling pistols. “Choose your weapon!”



Admiration of a Stranger

Her mother and sisters stared; they all stared, unspeaking, at his back as he left the cottage.

He was uncommonly handsome. That had been apparent to her the moment she had looked into his eyes; that she could discern, despite her pain and embarrassment. Moreover, his manner, his voice and expression, his kind assistance, everything only added to the attractions of his person.

Although she had not seen as much of him as the others had, Marianne had observed quite enough to be certain she had never in her life laid eyes on a more beautiful man than Mr. Willoughby.



Discovery

“Marianne, show Colonel Brandon the blooms now. They may fade before we are in his company again.”

“Mama, we are always at Delaford. Perhaps Sir John should let Barton to some other relations.”

“You are very welcome whenever you come.”

“I know, Elinor, and thank you. I could not feel more welcome.”

Mrs. Dashwood and Elinor looked at each other and smiled. Shrugging, Marianne joined Colonel Brandon outdoors.

“You have discovered a new favourite spot?”

“Beyond the copse.” They walked there in silence. “These blossoms,” she pointed out upon arriving, “flourish in this shade. I wonder if they would do as well in front of the parsonage.”

“I shall ask Robertson’s opinion today.”

She chuckled. “You are so quick to indulge my every whim.” She caught his eye and stopped laughing as the truth burst on her. His gaze, his tender voice, his attentions all pointed to one thing.

He loved her.

“Colonel,” she whispered.

“Miss Dashwood?”

His voice warmed her. She knew she could love him, too. “Call me Marianne.”

“Marianne.” He stepped closer.

Colonel Brandon leant down, and Marianne stretched up on her toes. For several minutes, there was no more talk of flowers, whims, or anything else.



When Such Friends Were to Be Met

Elinor Dashwood stood outside Mrs. Jennings’s drawing-room, engaged in what she had not even done as a child: spying on her visitors. She had left Edward and Lucy alone under pretence of fetching Marianne, which she would eventually do despite believing her sister’s presence would hardly improve matters.

Lucy nattered on. Edward looked pained—no, disgusted. Poor man! What a scrape he had got himself into! Elinor did not know whether to laugh or cry at the sight.

Then he saw her. Comprehension dawned; he knew that she knew. Tears filled her eyes as she soundlessly shut the door.

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