What am I doing with Regency Bagatelle?

Since I started posting excerpts of Regency Bagatelle on May 31st I have used the exercise as a simulator and stimulator for a more serious work—which may possibly emerge as a Regency novel or a suite of novellas. If you want to see the whole set so far, you might look for the May 31st post and follow from there. (I don’t know how bad it sounds if read backwards.)

Having not long finished a Virtual Blog Tour for my fantasy novel “Rast’s” release and done character interviews, author interviews, guest blogs, and whatever else might come to mind, I thought I might try a glorified character blog for my own general interest. Bagatelle’s cast consists of myself, Mr Author; Jane Austen; Mr and Mrs Darcy; Georgiana Darcy; Mr and Mrs Bennet; and the glaringly un-Regency protagonist of my Iskander series novels, Gisel Matah.

After writing a few pages, I found I needed something other than more novel material to share with one of my local writers’ groups—so I took the first few pages of the Bagatelle. They seemed to elicit some interest. Shortly after, wondering with what to keep this blog alive, I decided to post the material here. Since then I have started on the aforementioned Regency work, which has anachronistic elements (greater progress with steam development and a Napoleon who successfully extricated his army from Moscow, won the Battle of Leipzig, and now threatens England with another invasion); a very Regency-paced romance; and spies, warships, and (perish the thought) people who make their fortunes by industry and commerce.

Anyway. Time for another post of Regency in an Austen-ish style.

After breakfast next day the sun consented to shine and offer enough encouragement for the house guests to venture outside. Mr Author and Miss Austen took a walk about the grounds, crossing the lawn to the path beside the river. “Your Miss Matah is certainly an outspoken and provocative young woman,” Miss Austen averred. “I suppose your description of her to me was considered accurate in your eyes, but I should have been wiser to have enlarged upon all your words of qualification.”

“I beg your pardon, Miss Austen, I dwelt too much perhaps upon those times when she had ingratiated herself with people of modest fame and too little upon those when her appearance and bearing had challenged important people with the earnestness of her business.”

“And her fierceness,” Miss Austen said with a smile. “I can quite picture such concern among her interlocutors—you have crafted her as a most energetic and provocative person—all qualities a young woman of the English gentry in this day and age is not permitted to display.”

They had now entered a beautiful walk by the side of the water, and every step bringing forward a nobler fall of ground, or a finer reach of the woods to which they were approaching; Mr Author felt a resurgence of optimism in such surroundings. “I hope the Darcy’s are not regretting issuing the invitation. I fear some of their opprobrium could attach to yourself.”

“I rather fancy not. Mr Darcy’s true nature was concealed by my circumlocution for three fourths of the novel, but his even and liberal nature can come to the fore on ground of his own choosing—in this case, Pemberly. Mrs Darcy has always been quite open minded for her background, and most generous in her regard for others—for all save Mr Darcy when they first met. I’m sure you understand that as a technique of fiction craft.”

“Yes, your technique has become a standard, but critical readers have become suspicious when they find strong animosity at such early acquaintance.”

“Ah, I must own that you surprise me. My writing is known?” They paused at a higher vantage point and looked back toward the house where two ladies could be perceived starting across the lawn.

“Known and admired, Miss Austen.”

She smiled, perhaps a little absently. “Can you tell the identities of the two ladies beginning their walk, Mr Author? I do hope your Miss Matah is not walking with Miss Georgiana before Mrs Darcy has spent some time in conversation with them both.”

“Yes. I understand your concern. One is definitely Gisel and the other does not look tall enough to be Miss Darcy.”

“I hope your eyes do not deceive. I fear Miss Georgiana will be too influenced by your young lady’s novelties and strong opinions. Such freedom of speech is frowned upon in our society, and would do her reputation no good service.”

“I will be sure to speak to Gisel about it.”

Miss Austen smiled. “I hope those are the sentiments Mrs Darcy will be able to convey during their walk this morning. I do believe I perceive a strong readiness in Miss Matah to challenge your authority—perhaps enough that she will attempt to see how provocative a manner she can display.”

“I intended her to be a strong character who would not back down to anyone.”

Miss Austen laughed. “I would suggest, if I might venture to criticise, that you have rather exceeded your intention.”

“In her dangerous career she needs to come across as a person one would be well advised to avoid tangling with.”

“Your idiom is strange to me—it must be of your world and age, is it not? I do comprehend the tenor of your response, but perhaps the most scandalous secret of her life we must keep unspoken is her employment in some enterprise. A young lady in Regency England does not work for a living, nor does she enter into any gainful activity.”

Mr Author smiled. “Such as writing fiction, perhaps?”

Miss Austen laughed. “That was always my secret. Very few members of my family circle ever knew of my predilection.”

They spoke little more as they entered the woods, and bidding adieu to the river for a while, ascended some of the higher grounds. Mr Author would have liked to converse further but his anxiety over Gisel’s outspokenness filled his mind. His pace slowed enough that Miss Austen commented that the two ladies might soon overtake them; whence, in spots where the opening of the trees gave the eye power to wander, they looked for them coming nearer as well as enjoyed many charming views of the valley, the opposite hills with the long range of woods overspreading many, and occasionally part of the stream.    Cont…

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One Response to “What am I doing with Regency Bagatelle?”

  1. joylene Says:

    Very entertaining, and so easy to slip into that time. Thanks for thinking of this, it’s a lovely diversion.

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