Hello! I am so pleased to be here with you today at More Agreeably Engaged. My latest novella, Missing Jane, releases tomorrow and I wanted to stop by and share a deleted scene with you. Before we begin, here is a bit about the book.
And the eldest Miss Bennet? No one really knows.
Poor Mr. Bingley is led to believe she is no more, but her sister swears she is alive.
Can Mr. Darcy and his friend find her and, in turn, their own happily ever afters?
When I began writing this story, it started out from Elizabeth’s point of view. I reworked the first chapter several times before I realized that it just wasn’t needed and decided Darcy and Jane would tell the story for once. That said, this scene at the beginning of Chapter Two was hard to cut. I think you will understand why. (Since it was deleted, it was not edited; so please forgive my errors.)
Elizabeth moved about the book room in a daze. She had done as her father instructed, removing anything of sentimental value from the room and locating the names and directions of family members they had never met. Now all that was left would be passed on to Mr. Collins.
She shuddered. The odious man was expected to arrive today. Mr. Phillips, her uncle and father’s attorney, had notified him of his inheritance. Even now, her sisters waited in the drawing room to greet the Collinses when they arrived. Her mother had not yet left her rooms.
A soft knock on the door interrupted her thoughts and she turned to find Mrs. Hill watching her with a sad look in her eyes.
“Mr. and Mrs. Collins have arrived, Miss.”
“Thank you, Hill,” she replied before taking one final look about. “I will be there directly.”
“Yes, miss. Tea will be served promptly.” The loyal housekeeper slipped soundlessly from the room.
Elizabeth turned and looked at her father’s chair. “Oh, Papa, how ever am I to deal with that man?” Her lips tugged upward as her eyes filled with tears. “I am certain you are looking down at us in expectation of the ridiculous, but I do not share your amusement this time.”
She took another deep breath and left the room. Pausing outside the doors, she was able to hear her cousin lamenting the loss of Mr. Bennet at so young an age, while expressing his gratitude for the size of Longbourn as Charlotte had only just informed him she was increasing. The mumbled replies of her sisters gave her the necessary motivation to enter the room.
“Charlotte,” she said as she approached her friend and they embraced. “I am pleased you arrived safely.”
“How are you, Eliza?” Charlotte asked as she clasped and held Elizabeth’s hands. “You look tired.”
Mr. Collins cleared his throat. “Cousin Elizabeth,” he said as he moved toward her.
Elizabeth held out a hand which he grasped, drawing it close to his chest and causing her to step closer to him.
“I was just expressing my condolences to your sisters on your father’s passing.” He shook his head as he clucked his tongue. “So young. Who would have known when we were all together just a few short months ago that he would be taken so quickly? The things we might have done differently.”
Elizabeth drew her hand from his grasp and linked arms with his wife, taking the seat beside her and causing him to find another. “Did I hear you have news to share?” she asked her friend.
A warm blush covered Charlotte’s cheeks. “It is full early to announce, but I have been ill in the mornings and explained to my husband the possible cause.”
“Is it not wonderful?” Mr. Collins beamed from his seat a short distance away. “Hopefully it will be a son and my wife and other children will be secure in the knowledge they will continue at Longbourn for many years.”
Elizabeth’s jaw dropped open as she stared at the man. Before she could think of a response, Charlotte stood and marched toward her husband.
“Mr. Collins, may I have a word with you in the hall, sir?”
His confused expression was nearly comical and, for a moment, Elizabeth imagined she heard her father chuckle.
“Of course, my dear,” he finally replied and rose to follow her from the room.
Though they intended to close the door, the latch to that room was tricky and sometimes slipped. The door drifted open enough that words could be heard coming from without. The Bennet sisters, well the eldest three, attempted to appear as though they could not hear what was being said, but the younger two moved closer in order to fully understand.
“But Lady Catherine…” Mr. Collins whined.
“I care not what Lady Catherine thinks or says. We are no longer at Hunsford, and we are no longer required to kowtow to her. You are a landed gentleman, the heir to Longbourn. You owe that harpy nothing.”
“Charlotte, I am shocked.” His voice conveyed his emotions fully. “The lack of respect…”
“I respect those who earn it. Lady Catherine has done nothing but order people about and force her opinions on others. She cares not for those who serve her or the people under her protection.” There was a pause and Elizabeth suspected her friend was attempting to regain her composure. “I hope you will not oversee Longbourn as she does Rosings Park for I fear you will quite disappoint me.”
Mr. Collins was apparently shocked into silence.
“Now, Eliza, her sisters, and their mother are in mourning. We shall retire to Lucas Lodge. My father has offered for us to stay there until the Bennets are ready to make other arrangements.”
A moment later, the couple reentered the room as Kitty and Lydia rushed back to their seats. Charlotte approached Elizabeth and took her hands once more.
“We will not force you out. This is your home as long as need be.” Mr. Collins began huffing and she turned back to him. “Sir, it is time for us to leave,” she picked up her reticule and left the room.
Mr. Collins appeared torn. He looked at Elizabeth then turned to Jane. “Please tell your mother I shall return tomorrow to review the books.”
Jane nodded, a look of shock covering her features as Mr. Collins turned and followed his wife.
Elizabeth released the breath she had been holding. She looked about at her family. Charlotte had given them a reprieve, but she knew they must make arrangements and leave Longbourn as soon as possible.
Isn’t Charlotte wonderful? Missing Jane is quickly becoming my favorite story that I wrote. Certain scenes bring a smile or laugh when I think about them. The Kindle version is available for pre-order HERE and will be released on July 10th. I hope you will pick it up and love it as much as I do.
And now, a GIVEAWAY! Just make a comment on this blog and Janet will pick 1 lucky winner to receive an ebook copy of Missing Jane. Good luck! And I hope you enjoyed our visit as much as I did. I can’t wait to read your comments.
began her writing career working on suspense romance, but finally became a published author with her Pride and Prejudice variations. She takes great pleasure in searching for potential “plot twists” and finding the way back to a happy ending.
Her love of writing has led her to several writing groups, and she is currently serving as the vice president of the Riverside Writers and organizes the Riverside Young Writers.
For more information, visit her at www.bronwenchisholm.com.