Welcome to the third stop on the 'A Will Of Iron' Blog Tour! Kindly brought to you by Jakki at Leatherbound Reviews & Meryton Press! Today author Linda Beutler is kindly sharing an excerpt with us from Anne de Bourgh's diary!
Hello Linda & welcome!
Tamara! Thanks so much for providing a stop on the
'A Will of Iron Blog Tour!' In this twisted little macabre romp, the main plot line, occurring in “real time” (meaning Regency 1812), is shadowed by journal entries from the deceased Anne de Bourgh. (The journals are in six-month volumes, and in this story we are concerned with July 1 through December 31, 1811, and January 1 through April 8, 1812, when Anne is found dead from complications of an illicit pregnancy).
The following are two such entries appearing at the end of Chapter Three, Cooing to Broken Hearts. In this story, Darcy and Colonel Alexander Fitzwilliam (I’m done writing Richards when Jane Austen did not like the name) have whisked Georgiana off to Rosings after the debacle with Wickham at Ramsgate. Loathsome as this may seem, Rosings would have been the closest family enclave to Ramsgate.
My version of Lady Catherine de Bourgh is foremost concerned with preserving the family name, and would not have “outed” Georgiana, but would rather have protected her reputation, if not the girl’s spirit. So herewith we have the sometimes sympathetic, sometimes sarcastic Anne’s view of the matter.
7 July 1811
Mama has outdone herself. Even within Little G’s hearing, her verbal blows rain down on Darcy constantly, and worse now that Alex has had to return to his duties. How Darcy bears it, I do not know. Mama insists he propose to me, thinking this will stabilise a home for Little G, who by all appearances is quite contrite. Poor Darcy is due to leave tomorrow. Little G will stay until August, and we are all in search of a more thoroughly researched companion for her. Once a lady is hired, Little G and said companion will travel to Pemberley. Darcy is expecting guests—some people named Bingley. Mama sniffs that they are nouveau riche, as though the de Bourghs were not. She hates the French but loves employing their insults. —A de B
23 July 1811
I think we have found a companion for Little G. Mama is crowing with the credit of it, but it is, as usual, undeserved praise, as she only knew someone who knew someone, when in truth, Darcy found notice of the woman from a gentleman at his club whom Mama knew only distantly. The lady was here yesterday, a Mrs.Annesley, and we all liked her, not that my opinion was required. Darcy and Alex interviewed her, and Darcy had previously contacted her references. She is a widow of perhaps thirty-five years of age who lost the three children she bore her husband one after the other to a fever, and then lost the man himself. Life may have beaten a lesser woman, but Mrs.Annesley is intelligent and without complaint. Once my cousins had completed their interview, they allowed my mother a share of the conversation, and nothing Mama said discomfited the lady in the least. This I witnessed for myself as Mama insisted, “Anne and I shall observe her and give you our opinion.” She never asked what I thought, but had she, I would have said I found the woman quite pleasingly observant.
Little G is much changed. She is loath to play any instrument except that in Mrs. Jenkinson’s room, and she seems to have developed a horror of performing. Perhaps it is only a horror of my mother; one could not fault her for that. What is it about music that renders my mother such a fool? I notice Little G wearing childish clothes, and she does not walk out as she used to. The summer flowers in the cutting garden are at their height, but she will not go abroad, even with me. She has not spoken of her experience with Wickham but she did confide to me that she never liked Mrs. Younge, Wickham’s accomplice, and she wishes she had the courage to have said so to Alex, who would have been more sympathetic than her brother. G believes she has bitterly disappointed Darcy. I daresay she has, though Darcy will not hear of it. Wickham had her believing he was in constant convivial correspondence with Darcy and there was no schism in their childhood friendship. Poor Little G. It is thus proved that it is possible to know too little of the world and to be made weak by cosseting—as if the example I embody is not proof enough. She is not a spoilt child…far from it. For all her physical and material advantages, she persists in a profound shyness and modesty. This is manifested more now than ever.
G will remain with us for perhaps ten more days. Mrs. Annesley will join the family here as soon as she has settled her affairs in London where she lives with a brother. They will remain for another five days or a week and then proceed to Pemberley to stay through August and September. Once the heat of summer breaks, Little G will return to town and await the pleasure of her brother and Alex. I do agree with Mama to this extent: the girl needs distractions. More music lessons, more drawing…anything to restore her confidence.
I do admit to some envy. How I would love to trade Mrs. Jenkinson for Mrs. Annesley. Mrs. J is a dear old thing but has little wit. Mrs. Annesley is clever. I am unkind, but I come by it honestly, do I not? —A de B
Good luck with 'A Will Of Iron' and I look forward to the rest of the blog tour!
The untimely death of Anne de Bourgh, only days after his disastrous proposal at the Hunsford parsonage, draws Fitzwilliam Darcy and his cousin Colonel Alexander Fitzwilliam back to Rosings Park before Elizabeth Bennet has left the neighborhood. In death, Anne is revealed as having lived a rich life of the mind, plotting rather constantly to escape her loathsome mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Anne’s journal, spirited into the hands of Charlotte Collins and Elizabeth, holds Anne’s candid observations on life and her family. It also explains her final quirky means of outwitting her mother. Anne’s Last Will and Testament, with its peculiar bequests, upheaves every relationship amongst the Bennets, Darcys, Fitzwilliams, Collinses, and even the Bingleys! Was Anne de Bourgh a shrewder judge of character than Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy combined?
Blog Tour Schedule
7/6: Review at Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
7/7: Guest Post & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
7/8: Excerpt at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride & Prejudice
7/9: Review at Wings of Paper
7/10: Guest Post & Giveaway at So Little Time…
7/11: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
7/12: Excerpt & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
7/13: Review at Songs and Stories
7/14: Review at Austenprose
7/15: Guest Post & Giveaway at Babblings of a Bookworm
7/16: Review at Margie's Must Reads
7/17: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
7/18: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Love for Jane Austen
7/19: Excerpt & Giveaway at The Calico Critic
7/20: Review at Diary of an Eccentric
As always I delight in hearing your thoughts!