That announcement aside, happy October 1st! That means I am neck deep trying to finish this year's Twisted Austen offering: Becoming Mrs. Norris. What better way to celebrate the Halloween than with Austen's most Mansfield Park geeks climbing out of the woodwork. I wonder if anyone will have the stomach to read this story. We shall see. In the meantime, here's a excerpt from the work in progress:
ghoulish character? And here come all the
Knowing her privileged position within the household, Miss Ward did her best to protect Maria and Francis from their uncle's rage, and over the years she had learned how to minimize his fits of temper. At 21, having survived 11 years in his care, she knew how to best engage his meager supply of sympathy.
Knocking on the open door, "Sir? May I claim a moment of your time?"
He looked up through a cloud of pipe smoke and fixed her with an angry stare before consulting his pocket watch. "You have two minutes."
She stepped into the terrible glare emanating from the great windows behind the desk, but she willed her eyes not to blink. Better to water mercilessly than display such a weakness before her guardian. "I request your permission to invite a gentleman to dinner tomorrow evening. He is calling upon Miss Maria now. This is the third time he has called since they were introduced at last week's assembly."
He sneered, eyes still on his watch. "I suppose I shall have to bear the expense of feeding all the foolish gentlemen who are susceptible to a pretty face and empty head. Who is he?"
"Sir Thomas Bertram of Mansfield Park." She tried to hide the satisfaction in the words.
He looked up. "Mr. Norris' guest? The baronet?"
"He should not be bothering with Maria. She's at least three thousand pounds short of being worthy of his interest."
"You underestimate the appeal of becoming manners and complaisance, Uncle."
"I doubt it," he snorted, "but if Sir Thomas fancies an empty headed wife, I shall not be the one to throw a rub in his way. Invite him for Thursday next, when Richards dines. That will minimize the expense."
"Yes, Uncle," she replied and retreated, before he had the opportunity to scold that her two minutes had expired.