Welcome to Austenesque Extravaganza’s “Touring Thursdays.” For this project I worked with amazing authors Amanda Grange (Mr. Darcy’s Diary, Dear Mr. Darcy, Pride and Pyramids) and Stephanie Barron (author of the Jane Austen detective series beginning with The Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor plus ten more in the series). For your pleasure, we’ve created three interrelated missing scenes from Sense and Sensibility. These should, ideally, be read in order. My part kicks off the project. To read Parts Two and Three, you’ll have to go to the blog sites for my co-authors. (Links provided below.) I hope you enjoy our insights into the delicate and complicated romantic triangle involving Edward Ferrars, Elinor Dashwood, and Lucy Steele.
Here’s Part One of Edward’s Dilemma: Edward Visits the Dashwoods at Barton Cottage
Edward Ferrars had always considered himself to be a man of education and rational thought, but he was learning that when it came to matters of the heart…well, that was an entirely different story. Escaping the confines of Barton Cottage, he sought refuge under a large, shady tree. He had just settled himself comfortably when he saw Miss Dashwood – Elinor – walking purposefully toward the garden with her sketchpad in hand. So intent was she on her mission that she failed to see him although he was no more than thirty feet away. Raising himself up on one elbow, he watched silently as she took a seat on one of the stone benches with her back to him.
His first impulse was to join her, but he restrained himself and chose instead to remain where he was and observe her from a distance. Distance. That was definitely what he needed. Although he knew it was an invasion of her privacy to watch her when she thought she was alone, he could not find it in himself to leave or turn away. First, she carefully removed her bonnet and set it beside her. Then she opened her sketchpad and began to draw, moving her slim hand over the paper in long, graceful strokes. From time to time, she paused, cocking her head to the side as if she needed a different perspective on her subject.
Edward was captivated by Elinor’s every move. Cherishing these few moments when he could indulge himself completely in watching her, he let his mind wander. In his imagination, he saw himself walking up behind her and putting his hands on her soft white shoulders. As he leaned in to look at her drawing, a lock of her hair, which had come loose from its pins, tickled his cheek sending a light, pleasant sensation through his entire body. As he inhaled, he detected the familiar scent of her lavender soap mingling with the garden smells of sun-warmed flowers. Unable to resist, he pressed a gentle kiss to her cheek.
Just as he saw himself turning her around to taste her lips, he was brought up short by the realization that this could never happen. Never! It was nothing more than a fanciful dream. Foolish mistakes from earlier in his life made any serious relationship with this amazing woman impossible. Edward had fancied himself in love once before, but as soon as he met Elinor, he had realized how naïve he had been to mistake that earlier experience for love. Through chance and his own carelessness, he was tied forever to another, and as a result, Elinor would never be his.
Unfortunately, knowing this did not stop him from wanting to be with her every moment, to see her smile, to comfort her when she was sad, to support her when her burdens became too great to bear. Edward knew he had no right to think of her this way, but he could not stop these thoughts that had taken root deep in his very being. He had never wanted the grand, important life his mother and sister envisioned for him. All he had ever wanted was a quiet life in the country, and Elinor was exactly the woman who could make that dream complete.
He should leave Barton immediately. Yes, he would leave tomorrow. No sooner had he formed this plan than he remembered promising Elinor that tomorrow they would walk into the village for market day. Well, the day after that then. No, some neighbors were invited to supper that day. If he left before that gathering, he might insult Mrs. Dashwood as she was holding the event specifically in his honor.
So two more days and then he would ride away from here – from her – forever, taking with him his aching heart and shattered dreams. With a deep sigh, Edward promised himself, that for the time remaining here at Barton, he would try to maintain the delicate balance of paying just enough attention to the object of his affections to feed his growing need, but not enough to make anyone, especially Elinor, suspect the true depth of his attachment.
I hope you enjoyed Part One! Please continue reading the other parts of Edward’s Dilemma:
Part Two – Flashback! Edward and Lucy Reach an Understanding – Amanda Grange
Part Three – Lucy Steele’s Sense – and Jane Austen’s Sensibility – Stephanie Barron