Good Afternoon everyone,
Today I am very pleased to welcome Gailie Ruth Caress at From Pemberley to Milton for the first time.
It is always a great joy to welcome new authors to this blog and particularly to the genre, especially when they are like minded people as Gailie seems to be 🙂 I found someone else with whom to discuss Gaskell’s work and that is always a reason for joy 🙂 But she is not here to talk about Margaret and John, she will share with you a deleted scene of her book Fearful Symmetry, a very interesting take on Pride and Prejudice. I hope you enjoy the deleted scene and the book 🙂
Thank you for visiting Gailie, and thank you to everyone at Quills & Quartos for the opportunity to be a part of this tour 🙂
Thank you for having me here to visit today, Rita!
I’m thrilled to introduce Fearful Symmetry to your readers in particular because so many of them are like me: they love reading Elizabeth Gaskell in near-equal measure to Jane Austen!
In immersing into the world of Pride & Prejudice to write my own novel variation, I’m aware that that I consciously chose to pull out and emphasize certain dynamics that resemble elements in North & South that I think readers of Gaskell will recognize and love, including:
– a heroine (Elizabeth) who showcases her grit in the face of hard circumstances and difficult family dynamics;
– a hero (Darcy) who is unafraid of the circumstances surrounding his beloved, and instead admires her for her grace under such pressure. (And don’t we love him for it!)
Today I wanted to share a deleted scene featuring our favorite couple that builds some playfulness into my tale of hardship. Let me set the scene a little.
DELETED SCENE: INTERLUDE BEFORE A WALK WITH MR DARCY (AND HIS DOG)
Upon discovering Elizabeth on the point of going out to walk Netherfield’s grounds with his playful hound Caesar, Darcy offers to escort her. Elizabeth, surprised but delighted, rushes to make good on his offer. This scene included just a bit of humor from the other Bennet girls towards the end that was later cut but still makes me smile.
“Caesar, you must stay here. Stay!” [Elizabeth] urged him, putting out her hand. Caesar licked it.
“No, boy. Here—sit. Sit!” When he complied, Elizabeth nodded. “Good boy. Stay!”
Examining the hound and finding Caesar was somewhat calmer, Elizabeth began to climb the steps to gather her things. As she progressed, her suspicions were stirred when she heard movement behind her echoing on the marble landing below.
“No, boy! Stay!” she commanded, whirling around on the step.
“If you insist, Miss Elizabeth,” said a surprised Mr Darcy, putting up his hands in surrender and arresting his progress below her.
“Oh! Forgive me, sir,” Elizabeth apologized, her colour rising at once. “I was speaking to Caesar.”
“I believe you will find him obeying my orders and lying down, as I have found he has never shown the will to master the command to ‘stay’.”
“Ah,” said Elizabeth, peering beyond and below Mr Darcy to where the dog was lying belly-down upon the cool marble of the foyer and peering up at both of them curiously. She bit back a smile. “I cannot much blame him. I have never mastered that particular command myself. I was going for a walk, and I hoped to take Caesar with me.”
Mr Darcy nodded and ascended to the step below Elizabeth’s, bringing his gaze nearly level to her own. His eyes searched her face. “If you are indeed well enough for such an excursion, I am certain Caesar would welcome the exercise.” He looked back at the hound that returned his master’s regard with raised ears and a thump of the tail. “As would I. May I accompany you, and perhaps keep your companion from running off into the next county?”
Elizabeth hid her astonishment. “You may, but if only if you will indulge me and explain why you think poor Caesar would ever feel the need to run away from me.”
“Quite simply, madam, it is because you are not as challenging to catch as a rabbit, which has always proven a temptation to Caesar above all other things.”
“You have never seen me run in open country, sir,” she challenged. “I may be every bit as swift as a hare.”
Mr Darcy smiled. “I shall expect you to be quick, then, as you gather your things.”
“I shall bound away soon enough, but I may be detained by one more errand,” Elizabeth replied around a smile as she brought her letter up between their faces. She fluttered her fresh missive teasingly in the air before her as though fanning her cheeks as she finished, “—I must first post my letter to your sister, if she is to receive it by Saturday night.”
The intensity of Mr Darcy’s gaze increased. Before she had time to react, he caught her hand by the wrist with a gentle but firm grasp. While Elizabeth was shocked into stillness, he neatly plucked the note from her fingers.
Mr Darcy grinned in triumph as he released her. “I shall post it now,” he said lightly, saluting her with his prize. “Bingley’s man is presently in the foyer.”
She gave him her curtsey. “You had best be about it, then, before I return,” she said pertly, as she turned and sprinted up the stairs.
From below, she heard Mr Darcy’s quiet chuckle. She felt color fly into her cheeks, but she continued upward with a determined step, finding herself too fascinated by his sudden attentions to waste time questioning them.
On the landing above, Elizabeth nearly ran poor Kitty down, and she squeaked a hasty apology to her.
“Gracious me! Elizabeth, did you see a ghost?” Kitty gasped, before she coughed and pressed a hand to her chest.
“Not a ghost, Kitty! Only a dog!” Elizabeth called over her shoulder.
“A what?” Kitty hollered back.
“I cannot explain now! I have to be away—as swift as a hare!” Unwilling to share her plans with her little sister, Elizabeth made haste her object. She nearly dove into the dormitory she shared with Jane, ready to pillage their scant belongings for the articles she needed for her walk with Mr Darcy.
Kitty still had her mouth agape in the hallway when Lydia emerged from their mother’s room to discover the source of the shouting.
“Lud, Kitty, what was that all about?” Lydia asked.
Kitty shrugged. “Lizzy has lost her senses! She ran up the stairs spouting all sorts of nonsense. I cannot make it out. Dogs and hares indeed!”
Lydia snorted in laughter. “Are you certain she is not running away from Mr Collins again? If he were pursuing me, I might sprint a whole staircase and shout nonsense, too.”
This story was a joy to write—especially these moments of humour that sweeten the seriousness of the tale. Thank you for reading along and getting a little taste of Fearful Symmetry!
Darcy had never known such a woman, one who could rush into an inferno and emerge as bold and brilliant as burnished brass, bright as any mirror.
Fitzwilliam Darcy had planned to leave Netherfield Park and all thoughts of the enchanting Miss Elizabeth Bennet behind him—until one night when he saw smoke rising from Longbourn and realised she was imperiled.
Elizabeth Bennet found Mr Darcy arrogant and insufferable right up until he became her hero, pulling her and her sister from the fire that devastated their home, and could have claimed both of their lives. Seeing how he put his own life at risk to pull her from the fire, how could she help but change her opinion of him?
Thrown together again in the refuge offered at Netherfield, Darcy and Elizabeth’s unexpected bond gains strength. But disapproval, debts, and doubts all arise when the costs in time and expense involved in rebuilding Longbourn threaten to widen the gulf in standing between Elizabeth and Darcy in the eyes of society. Amidst these perplexities of destruction and decorum, can love’s courage overcome calamity?
You can find Fearful Symmetry at:
and on Audible!
Gailie Ruth Caress, author of Fearful Symmetry, never dreamed of writing a debut novel in her own pleasure-reading genre when she was a no-nonsense, 4.0-chasing English major who won prizes for her academic essays at Hanover College in her home state of Indiana. Forced to readily adapt after a pivotal loss in early adulthood, she became a dabbler in many forms of expression and relationship-building—from opera and ballroom dance to nonprofit education and mentoring. And yet, she committed mid-Pandemic to the challenge of completing the manuscript of the story that kept her up at night, driven by a need to borrow from the courageous vulnerability of her favorite Jane Austen couple in a landscape transformed by disaster.
Her everyday life continues to hold unexpected adventures. Her two small boys and a duo of sassy tabby cats run wild on the Illinois prairie around a parsonage, where they keep her busy alongside rural community and ministry work with her pastor-husband. Learn more about Gailie Ruth at gailieruthwrites.com.
Quills & Quartos is giving away an ebook copy of Fearful Symmetry to one of my readers. To enter the giveaway please comment on this post and let us know what you thought about this excerpt.
The drawing will occur a week after the tour ends—March 19, 2021 and the winner announced shortly after that.
Good Luck everyone!