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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Excerpt from Jack Caldwell, author of Pemberley Ranch

Earlier in the week, a bunch of Austen Authors told us which two Austen characters from different novels they would pair up; author Jack Caldwell had a little extra to share on that subject.
Enjoy!




Well, in an unpublished novel, I paired up William Price from Mansfield Park with Margaret Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility. The following scene takes place in a garden of Mansfield Park. Lt. Price of the Royal Navy, who will soon be promoted to Commander, has come to visit his sister, Mrs. Fanny Bertram, and he has fallen in love with another guest, Miss Margaret Dashwood---


The remainder of William’s days at Mansfield Park had passed pleasurably. Each day he had walked with Miss Dashwood and some of his relations—sometimes in the woods or fields, but mostly in the vast gardens. William began to note that their chaperones invariably outstripped them or lagged behind, so the two had found themselves quite alone for large portions of their strolls. He and Margaret fell into easy conversation about Dorsetshire or Mansfield or some of the places the gentleman had seen in his profession. Neither had talked of anything of importance—it had been the presence of the other that was sought. The daily walk had been the highlight of William’s day.
Soon, all things must end, and before either had been ready the day had come for their last walk. On the morrow Lt. Price would have leave to take up his command in Lyme. This walk had been different—the easy conversation gone, unsettlement filled the air. Sure enough, Mr. and Mrs. Yates had stopped along the way, for the stated intention of more closely observing a lily.
William had been miserable. He was leaving the next day, but did not know what to say to Margaret. He could not write to her—that would be highly improper with no understanding between them. Would he ever see her again? Would she want to see him?
It had been the lady who broke the uncomfortable silence. “I understand you are to leave us tomorrow,” she had said.
“Yes; I am to Lyme to take up my first command.”
“Does that mean you are a captain?”
“I shall be called thus, but my rank will only be Commander.”
“I don’t understand—how is it you shall be called something you are not?”
He had smiled. “’Tis the custom of the Navy, Miss Dashwood. All who are in charge of a vessel are called ‘Captain’; but that does not make him a Post-Captain, which is the actual rank of one who may be given a post-ship—a frigate or ship-of-the-line.”
“It is confusing, I must say.”
“I cannot disagree with you. When do you return to Dorsetshire?”
“We leave a week Tuesday.”
“Traveling must be enjoyable, but I am sure that you look forward to home.”
The lady looked away. “Dorsetshire is not my home—it is only where I live.”
Recalling Sir Thomas’ tale of the Dashwood’s plight, William could only murmur, “I understand.”
“It is quite all right; I have learned that one place is like another. It is why I long to travel. I shall make the world my home.”
Is she trying to tell me something again? his heart had asked. Before he could think further, he saw that Margaret looking at a rose on a bush near them. “Do you fancy that rose, Miss Dashwood?”
“Oh yes—it is lovely.”
William had immediately pulled his folding knife out of his pocket and with a quick flick of his wrist had cut the stem free. As he had handed the flower to Miss Dashwood their hands had touched—an electric charge ran through him. He had looked into her eyes and saw them grown large again—beautiful chocolate pools that threatened to pull him in. William had been unable to move—to breathe—he could only stare into her lovely face, framed by those bountiful curls.
An impulse had taken over his body. “Miss Dashwood, may I ask a favor of you?”
“Yes, Mr. Price?”
“May I, if it is not too much to ask … might I trouble you … for but the smallest lock of your hair?” His world was one large soft brown sea.
Without a word, Miss Dashwood had turned and lifted her hair up to him. With trembling fingers he had carefully cut free a few precious strands. Folding his knife and putting it away, he had removed his handkerchief and placed the lock of hair in it. He had folded his treasure and returned the package to his pocket.
When he had been able to look at Margaret Dashwood again her eyes were not only large but shining as well. For the first time he had noticed her lips, moist and full of promise. All he had been able to think about were those lips. Only with a supreme effort had he been able to seize control.
“Thank you, Miss Dashwood, that was very kind.”
“You are welcome, Mr. Price.” A pause. “You must get lonely aboard ship. My mother asks if she may write to you—would that be welcome?”
“That is uncommonly kind. I would be happy to receive a letter … from your mother. And I shall write as well.”
“My mother would enjoy that very much—as would I.”
The two, running out of things to say, had only looked at each other, until the noise of the approaching Yateses had brought them to their senses. “Our party approaches, Miss Dashwood.”
“So it seems. Shall we return to the house?”
“As you wish.”






Jack Caldwell is the author of Pemberley Ranch, a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in post-Civil War Texas.
How awesome does that sound?




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5 comments:

  1. Oh that was sweet! I love the Margaret/William pairing and I'd love to read the entire story.

    Pemberley Ranch is wonderful. I always enjoy Jack's storytelling and sense of humor.

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  2. What a sweet and touching love story. I hope to there will be more of their story for us to read.

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  3. Margaret & William what a great match! She would be the perfect Naval Captain's wife. Frederick Wentworth's sister comes to mind. Perhaps Jack will publish Margaret & William's story.

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  4. This excerpt comes from Persuaded to Sail, a sequel to Persuasion. I hope to publish it one day.

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  5. ooo, yes. i like this pairing. such a sweet scene between the two. i like the sparks.

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