More Regency Bagatelle

Continuation of my Regency Bagatelle—an extension of the current fiction promotion artifact of interviewing the characters of fiction. I thought I’d like to try writing with a Regency sensibility, a la Jane Austen, so I have myself, Gisel Matah, (my very modern woman protagonist of my Iskander series), and Jane Austen, visiting the Darcys of “Pride and Prejudice” in 1814, the December following their wedding.

It started as an exercise (two posts below), but I’ve been having fun with it—and isn’t that what writing is all about?

Gisel stepped across the room to sit where offered, while Miss Austen moved closer to the other side of the fire to stretch out a hand to it. Mrs Bennet, who sat upon that side, though by no means uncomfortably close, edged away as if feeling somewhat crowded.

“Oh, Mr Darcy!” Mrs Bennet exclaimed. “I really cannot consider the slightest drop of wine at such an hour. It will surely go directly to my head. No–I really cannot accept any such refreshment at this time … but of course would not wish my apprehension to spoil such pleasure to anyone else in the company. No. Please do not hesitate from taking refreshment on my account. Mr Bennet, please, assure the guests that my health and headaches should not cause them to forgo their host’s hospitality.”

Mr Bennet stood to accept a glass from the somewhat disconcerted Haggerston who appeared not to know which way to turn. “Have no fear, Mrs Bennet. I’m sure your son in law’s guests will accept your words as uttered in a spirit of concern and comfort. Miss Austen, I see from your expression that you might be pleased to accept a glass. Haggerston…”

Author glanced at that lady, who taking her hand from before the fire, seemed to be suppressing some trouble with her breath behind a handkerchief pressed to her face. Mr Darcy took a glass from Haggerston to hand Miss Austen as the others were quickly served and the butler left the room.

Elizabeth Darcy leaned forward. “Miss Matah, I hope you do not find our climate too forbidding. It has turned cold these past three days. Before that, my husband and my father were out fishing in the lake it was so warm.”

“Oh no. I find it cool but not uncomfortably so. I have travelled a fair bit and been in both hotter and colder climes.”

“Really. You are well travelled? Do tell.”

Gisel exchanged a glance with Mr Author before answering. “As a young girl I was partly raised by my Greek grandparents at their home in Naphlion. I also spent time with my father recently in … Sweden, and with my mother in London…”

Mrs Bennet gasped. “Then your parents—”

Elizabeth Darcy dove in loudly, “In Greece? Is it possible that you may be conversant with the language of that place?”

“I speak Greek. I can read and write it also.”

Mrs Darcy looked up at her husband. “Isn’t that a happy circumstance, Mr Darcy?” She returned to looking at Gisel and reached out to her hand. “My husband has a communication from someone at Athens. Perhaps you could…if it would be no trouble… to take a look at it for him. What do you think, Mr Darcy?”

“I would not wish to trouble Miss Matah with such a trifle.”

Gisel smiled. “It would be no trouble at all, but of course it may not be written in Greek, since the country is within the Ottoman Empire. It could be written in Turkish, and I know nothing of that script.”

“It is Greek,” Mr Darcy affirmed, “but not comprehensible using the Greek I learned in school.”

Gisel smiled. “Classical Greek and modern Greek—I’m familiar with the problem. It would be like trying to read Italian from a knowledge of Latin. My Greek should be closer to that of your letter writer.”

Mr Darcy shrugged. “Then perhaps we might look at the letter tomorrow.”

Mrs Bennet stared at Gisel as if she were suddenly transformed. “Well I never. So young to have travelled so. It was always said when I was a girl that one should travel widely to learn about the world, but unfortunately I was unable to do so…not only was it a financial burden I did not wish to impose upon my parents it was rendered impossible by the outrageous behaviour of those Parisians. That machine…the name escapes me at the moment…created to—” She stopped speaking with her hands pressed to her mouth.

“Do not distress yourself, Mrs Bennet,” Mr Bennet urged. “I am sure everyone present is familiar with the device you would rather not mention—although it was allegedly invented as a humane means of execution…” He glanced at Miss Matah while changing a mischievous expression for an innocent one. “Are others in your family equally well travelled?”

Gisel grinned. “My brother as well, but he was unable to accompany me on this visit.”

“He’s not unwell, I hope.”

“Not at all, but he is in considerable demand due to his proficiency in mathematics. Several departments of our administration rely upon his advice.”

“Well I never.” Mrs Bennet repeated, sitting back in her chair.


Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “More Regency Bagatelle”

  1. joylene Says:

    Mrs. Bennet is wonderful. I bet Gisel got quite a charge out of her. I bet she’s thinking, “Please somebody, give Mrs. B another drink.”

  2. kester2 Says:

    Mrs Bennet can be a complete fool without the need for alcohol. Jane Austen portrayed her as possibly the most gauche and graceless character in fiction. Most people know the depiction in a succession of TV productions, but if your read the original carefully she is even more outrageous.

    Of course, I figured Gisel would find her entertaining. I’m having trouble getting my mind around Elizabeth Bennet, now Mrs Darcy, and am trying a few scenes to see who she works best with in contrast

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: