Time gets away from you when you’re busy and depressed. I haven’t posted her since early April and it shows.
A Plan of His Own Making is majorly stalled and so I’ve hauled out A Word, A Look again. The 2.0 version. This will be the third in the Frederick Wentworth, Captain trilogy. This poor “trilogy” has been hanging for years. When people don’t need or know they want something, creating it is less the vital. Now, if it could cure cancer …
Anyway, the story starts with Anne and Frederick returning to Bath from Gretna Green to find Camden Place (Anne’s family’s home), stuffed with guests for a party. So much for worrying about Sir Walter’s opinion about the elopement. The guy is partying heartily.
Here’s a bit of it:
McGillvary drew Frederick off to a corner. “You look like you just took cannon fire, brother. Might this warm welcome be a surprise?”
“You know it is. Anne has been stewing for hundreds of miles about the reception we’d have from the Baronet, and how the gossips would surely have rendered my name utterly worthless. This does not seem to be the case.”
Patrick smiled again and lifted his glass. “While you have been enjoying the fruits of marriage, your sister-in-law and I have been busy as bees.”
“You and Miss Elliot?”
“Oh yes. Let’s take a seat.”
“I have to see to a few things before I can be off.”
“An explanation won’t take much time.” He directed Wentworth to a recently abandoned alcove. “When you left it to me to tell everyone at the engagement party about your elopement, you left me in a touchy situation.”
“You volunteered as I recall.”
“We can argue the details later, brother. Anywise, when the announcement was made, pandemonium broke out. Of course the old man was in a towering rage.” He nodded towards the Baronet. “I have never seen a human being so close to exploding without the aid of a keg or two of powder. Anywise, the only people acting rationally were yours truly, Mrs Croft, and the Admiral.” He lifted his glass just slightly to someone in the crowd.
Frederick looked and saw Miss Elliot raise a brow and then her chin before giving Paddy the cut. Patrick had shown an interest in Miss Elliot early on and he supposed, despite a severe warning, his friend was pursuing her with gusto. He pitied McGillvary in that Miss Elliot seemed to have turned back his energy with a precise and thorough snubbing.
McGillvary touched Wentworth’s arm. “So, the three of us discussed how the landsmen were responding so poorly to the sudden change of plans when the Admiral said something of true genius.”
Admiral George Croft was a fine sailor, a good and loving husband to Frederick’s sister, Sophia, and a lively guest in any social situation. However, genius was not a trait Frederick normally attributed to him. “And what was this astonishing bit of wisdom?”
McGillvary smiled widely. “He observed the glaring hypocrisy that elopements in real life are scandalous in the eyes of particularly the more refined in our society. Yet, in the sorts of novels of which they seem so fond, an elopement is seen as quite romantic and courageous. And if there is danger added, so much the better.”
Frederick remarked it to be an interesting observation, and that he was not surprised at the admiral’s acuity in thought. “However, it seems to have little to do with what seems to be the good result I see here today.”
“Interesting indeed, I still wonder if dear old George gave it thought during the long watches at sea or might it be a new line of thinking sweeping India? Anyhow, it struck me as an excellent thought to whisper in all the right ears.”
Wentworth saw the connexion immediately. “How does Miss Elliot come into this?”
McGillvary straightened and drained his glass. “I knew this had the ability to darken just as deep the reputation of the Elliots if not managed properly. The following day I made a condolence call of sorts and during, took Miss Elliot aside and pointed out that while it was impossible to stop the flow of gossip, it might be possible to redirect it in a more wholesome direction.”
“All the while taking care to polish that crooked halo of yours. And, making father and daughter more and more indebted to you. Precisely what did you whisper all over the town concerning the elopement” In a case such as this, it was important to remember that Patrick McGillvary did nothing out of purely disinterested motives and barely for fraternal reasons. However, in this instance, his self-interest seemed to be just the thing needed to save Frederick and Anne.
“Oh that, it was simple. You were being snatched away by orders from the Crown and that the two of you were far too in love to leave things at loose ends. People gobbled it up. If only I could invent a recipe for a pudding so popular. I was a bit shocked how simple it was actually. The biggest problem was, at the start, the Baronet refused to be consoled. Being the clever boy I am, I gave it a few days for this new strain of yeast to affect the dough to my liking. Putting on my best frock, I saddled up my nicest pony and returned for another visit.” He took a glass of wine from a passing tray and drank.
Wentworth resisted the temptation to look at his watch. The story, while interesting and useful, was beginning to cut into the few minutes he had left. “And?” The present mood of the room and his father-in-law proved that McGillvary’s scheme had worked. But, Frederick wanted details. “How did you find things?”
There’s even a bedroom scene int he first 20 pages. Not bad for depressed and busy.