Goodreads giveaway: Captivated by Youth and Beauty

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Captivated by Youth and Beauty by Noe

Captivated by Youth and Beauty

by Noe

Giveaway ends August 20, 2017.
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Our story is captivating! If you've ever wondered how Mr. and Mrs. Bennet could have united as one, this will tell you.

Two paperback copies to be given away, USA only at this time. And we hope you'll connect with us:
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Spider-man rescues Jane Austen

It could happen ...

Jane Austen was sitting at her writing desk, but pen was not making that swift movement from paper to inkwell at the moment. No, her hand was at her head in a contemplative posture, as she asked herself, “Oh, how should Emma react to Mr. Knightley’s reprimanding her for her treatment of Miss Bates after the picnic on Box Hill?” Jane felt the need to stretch, deciding to take a walk about the garden as she contemplated her main character’s reaction. “Should Emma get angry? Should she start to cry? Should she defend herself, or even shoot back some accusation?”

As she was deep in thought about this, all at once, from her peripheral vision, what seemed to be the most enormous bird caught her attention. Turning her gaze into the sky, she looked in every possible direction for it. Seeing nothing, she concluded she had just imagined it, for how else could such a large creature be gone so quickly? Had it not been for the icy chill going down her spine, Jane Austen could have forgotten about the phantom giant bird and returned to the dilemma of Emma’s reaction. She was at the point of refocusing her mind when suddenly she felt herself enwrapped in the arms of someone, or something, and her feet leave the ground.
“I beg your pardon!” she protested, “A woman doesn’t mind getting swept off her feet, but this is not quite the idea!” Getting a view of the person in whose clutch she was and observing it to be a snarling, bald, ugly man with the appearance of a large bird, she added, “Well, I suppose this is the only way you could manage the feat of sweeping a woman off her feet.”

“Listen, lady, just listen! You wrote that story about Mr. Darcy, didn’t you?”

“A brute like you has read Pride and Prejudice? Perhaps you are not quite as unrefined as I first thought.”

“Shut up and answer the question—are you Jane Austen or not?”

“I see refined is definitely not the word for you, sir, but yes I am she. Though I must say, you might reread P&P and pay closer attention to those with good manners.”

“You can keep your manners, I’m not interested in them. I want to tell you how to make your story better—I want you to write another one with Darcy being like me. That will make a really great book, way better than what you have with all that good manners stuff.”

She gawked at the stranger, replying, “You want me to what? Now see here ...”

“Ok, Beak Head, I hate to ruin your fun, but this is Jane Austen and she is
used to men with better manners!” came another voice out of nowhere. At that moment, Jane found herself pulled out of the grasp of the ugly bald man and his winged suit, only now she was somehow suspended by a thread and being placed gently on the ground. Looking up, she saw someone in a red and blue form-fitting outfit spinning a web around the winged man and very politely placing a note to his forehead for the local police.

“My, my, I just came outside for a change of scenery, hoping for a bit of inspiration ... this has certainly been more invigorating than a whiff of roses!”

“Sorry about that, Miss Austen,” said the man in the red and blue suit, “but ol’ Beak Head—or Vulture, as he prefers to be called, but I don’t like insulting the real birds with the association— he hasn’t learned how to behave in decent society, as you would say.”

Jane nodded her head in agreement. “And what are you called? And why do you fellows from America choose to go flying through the air as you do? Isn’t walking like an ordinary person good enough?”

The man laughed, “I’m Spider-man, and if it doesn’t make me sound too conceited, I would say I am not exactly ordinary. But all that aside, can I ask what prince charming there wanted with Jane Austen?”

She answered with some loathing, “That barbarian wanted me to write another story about Mr. Darcy and ... excuse me, but do you know who that is?”

“Sure, from Pride and Prejudice—love the book.”

“Why thank you, sir! Well, as I was saying, he wanted me to make Darcy be like him. The nerve of the man—have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous?”

“No way, I see your point. If you made Darcy like our feather-brained friend, he wouldn’t be Darcy anymore.”

“Quite right! Now tell me, what would you think of someone making up a story about you and this bald-headed winged man, but when you arrive on the scene as you did for me just now, you get angry and turn into .... oh, I don’t know, let us say some giant green thing, and he is changed from his winged costume into some other thing, a jungle creature such as a rhino, perhaps?” Giving her hands an upward toss, she cried, “Now, do be honest, the story would no longer be Spider-man versus the Vulture ... do you see my point?”

“Sure, I get it, but let me correct you ...” Miss Austen inclined forward as he continued, “ ... the Thing is a big rocklike person and the giant green angry one is the Hulk.”

Miss Austen rolled her eyes and laughed, “I see, but let us not get sidetracked from the main point: changing a character’s identifying traits entirely changes the character and, therefore, giving them a certain name doesn’t make them that character; such a thing would be nonsense. Even if this vulture was called Darcy, he wouldn't be my Mr. Darcy!”

Spidey nodded his head, “Absolutely! If someone wants to put one of your characters in some other story setting, that is something that could be interesting, but the real beauty of it would be if the character is still the same person you came up with. Otherwise, why not just make up some other name for the character?”

“You are a young man of good understanding. How refreshing! And speaking of refreshment, I should beg your pardon; the least I could do after you saved me from that savage is to offer tea.”

“That sounds good, but I must be going now.”

“Oh ... well then, I sincerely thank you for saving me, kind sir.”

“My pleasure, Miss Austen, and if I hear of anyone messing with your characters, you can trust your friendly neighborhood Spider-man to give them a stern talking to!”

copyright © 2017 by NoeandCindy ***********************************
Jane Austen art by Gracie Klumpp I found this beautiful art piece by Miss Gracie through a Google search, and you can find her and more of her work on Facebook and her website. Thank you so much for the permission to use it on our story, Gracie!

Vulture clipart: This was found with a free clipart search and downloaded from this site.

Spider clipart: This also was found with a free clipart search and downloaded from this site.


Captivated by Youth and Beauty

Our newest release

With the release of our latest novel, Captivated by Youth and Beauty: Mr. Bennet’s story, now seemed like a good time to interview Noe on his cover art. Noe has done all the covers for our stories, and there’s a reason he did each one the way he did. Here are some of his thoughts about doing our cover art and on this one in particular:

Me: Noe, why do you choose to do your own book covers?
Noe: Creating a book cover that is interesting and related to the story inside is a challenge. I have picked up books that had sweet covers only to find, in starting to read the book, that the cover was misleading.

Me: That has happened to me before as well and can be quite a let-down, I must agree.
Noe: Exactly. For that reason, I try hard to make our book covers accurately represent the narrative. Our latest book has a cover that I hope imparts the idea of the man we know from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, who loves books so much they are his best friends, being distracted by a beautiful young lady.

Me: That seems simple enough, and with him holding the book in one hand and her beside him on the other, I think you captured that.
Noe: Thank you. Because the story is also about the history of his family, though, I wanted the image to communicate a feeling of nostalgia, that sense of looking at old family photos. That is why I opted for black and white for the main portion of the digital copy. The paperback will be in color but will also have a distressed look to convey that same idea.

Me: This story is bit different than your others in that you have Mr. Bennet answering Elizabeth’s question about how they met, so it takes us from their present to their past. I think you said you incorporate that idea in the cover also.
Noe: Yes, while making Mr. Bennett and Miss Gardiner look young, I highlighted them with white, as if their white hair of old age is being transformed to their younger days by virtue of him relating the story. For those who are young now, to think of themselves as elderly may be difficult, but when a person has reached old age it is a blessing that with a simple thought you can conjure up your younger self. Suddenly, those many decades that you have lived through don’t feel like decades, but more like just a flash. And speaking of flash, the light behind our two lovers is meant to be a setting sun, for that touch of romance of our hero and heroine ending up together, but it is also a symbol for Mr. Bennet being in his declining days.

Me: Wow, there really is a lot to consider in this book cover.
Noe: Well, when people look at a piece of art, each person has their own impressions of any implied meaning in the objects depicted, and most often the artist is not present to relate what his concept of the piece really is. I have no idea if all I was trying to convey in the cover art can be perceived, but hopefully with this explanation, you might see some semblance of it as you read the story.

Me: Well, I think even if readers do not see this blog article, they will be moved by the cover of the book. For people who love this character, finding out how the silly Mrs. Bennet was able to captivate Lizzy’s father in his youth will be quite moving.

Mr Bennet meets his wife
Captivated by Youth and Beauty

The book is available in ebook format only at this time, but should be ready in paperback by the end of May if not sooner. Below are a couple of links for places you can find it online:
Books2read has several links:
You can also find it on other online bookstores by searching their ebook sections.


Perfectly Preposterous Pride and Prejudice, number 3

Episode 3

Jane Austen, without a doubt, is one of the wittiest women you can find. She is absolutely one of our favorite authors. This is the third in our series of preposterous episodesclick here to see the first or the second. And now, let the fun begin:
Sisters Will Talk

The Meryton Assembly Ball always created a stir in the Bennet household, and this year's ball had what could be called that very special something that makes such an event something looked forward to even beyond the enjoyment of dancing. Yes, that appeal to the heart and imagination that a rich single man in attendance brings! Handsome is always a part of the description of such a fellow, regardless of the reality. Why, one might even believe the color of his coins is rose.

As the location for the ball is the small town of Meryton, this added incentive for excitement is rare indeed. "Lizzy," cried Lydia Bennet, "are you not simply overflowing with anticipation to the point of giddiness to finally see Mr. Bingley? My own head is positively whirling so that I am dizzy! You, on the other hand, seem so calm—you resemble the pond when not even a duck has so much as stirred its waters. The day has finally arrived for all our curiosity and speculations to at last be over! Surely there has not been a ball that has offered so much reason for suspenseful anticipation, would you not agree? We shall be meeting a handsome single man of five thousand a year living at Netherfield Park!"

Indeed, the days until this happy prospect arrived could not pass quickly enough. Before her sister had time to reply, however, Kitty walked to the window and declared, "Lizzy has wisely determined not to set her horse after the same fox as all the other young ladies. I dare say I will adopt her position myself, for there is nothing quite so frustrating as wanting what everyone else wants when there is not enough to go around ... in a house full of five sisters, I can assure you, I know that more than anyone. And besides, just imagine how terrifying for the poor fox to have so many hot on the chase."

Lizzy raised her eyebrows at such common sense coming from this younger sister and was on the verge of saying so when yet another of her sisters spoke before she had the chance. "What you say has a ring of truth, Kitty. However, in the world of men and women, it is we, the fairer sex, who are most often viewed as the game after which the men chase, not the other way around. I believe it was Sir George from Birmingham who, I might add, spent more than a few years in the jungle—yes, it was he who said, 'Find a good woman and one has found a fine trophy to showcase.'" Being very much pleased with the quote, Mary gave her head a nod or two and then paused, casting a wary eye as she added, "Although, the whole notion of comparing human relations to the barbarism of the hunt would make one conclude that mankind has yet to learn to be truly civil. For my part, romance should have nothing in common with anything that ends with blood being spilled."

Elizabeth now turned toward Mary, but as her lips began to part and her breath was about to create that articulate sound, the other sister that had yet to speak said quietly, "Mary, men have always put matters of the heart in terms that make sense to them. They are not to be found fault with for the littleness of their minds on this point ... it is common knowledge that men have brains equal to their hearts. They do so little thinking or feeling, it is no wonder that both have atrophied to the point that we find them now. As you say, their comparing love to anything noisy and violent, such as sport with guns, is proof of this unfortunate debility."

Lizzy put her hand to her chin and gazed upon her sisters, respect and warm regard filling her heart and head. At that moment, her sisters turned to her as one, and seeing she had taken on such a faraway, thoughtful aspect, they declared in unison: "Well, Lizzy, are you looking forward to seeing Mr. Bingley or not?"

copyright © 2017 by NoeandCindy

The end of this episode ....

Want to read more "Perfectly Preposterous P&P" posts?
Here they are:
Number 1, The Continuing Saga
Number 2, Bingley visits Mr. Bennet

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Show, don't tell — or How to make a mountain out of a molehill

My thoughts

Storytelling sounds so much better than story showing, don’t you agree? And yet, in the world of writing, there is this mantra: "show, don’t tell." According to some persons, a book is determined to be either good or bad on this one basis. But is "show, don’t tell" really the cornerstone of good writing? I don’t think so.

I have read several articles about "show, don’t tell" and inevitably the person writing the article takes one sentence or a short paragraph that is written very plainly as an example of telling and then they rewrite it in a more interesting way as an example of showing. Afterward, they make this conclusion: “There, isn’t that better? You see, showing is so much better than telling!" Of course, you can take one sentence or paragraph that is poorly written and just about anyone can rewrite it in a more interesting way. I dare say, you can then take the showing, rewrite and rewrite it yet again and keep coming up with a better sentence. That is, after all, why authors write and rewrite their books until they’re happy with them.

I have read reviews where the reader enjoyed a book but complained about misspelled words and bad grammar, but I have never read a review where the reader said it was a good book but found fault because there was telling and not showing. This is why I would maintain that a more significant way to determine if what is written is good or not is how interesting and entertaining it is. An author can show all he wants in his writing, but if his characters are not compelling or the story is of no interest or, perhaps better said, not told in an interesting way, the technical mumbo jumbo about "show, don’t tell" is completely irrelevant. It’s a bit like saying, “I love the color of my car! Didn’t the painters do a wonderful job?”— but the car doesn’t have an engine or wheels.

This malarky about show, don’t tell strikes me like a silly fashion craze that lasts for one summer, whereas good storytelling— yes, telling— is like blue jeans. They’ve been around forever and they never go out of fashion.

Goodreads review: Star Sand

Noe's review

Star SandStar Sand by Roger Pulvers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars 

From his author page, we read: “Roger Pulvers is an author, playwright, theater director, and translator. He has published more than forty-five books in English and Japanese, including novels, essays, plays, and poetry. He also translates works from Japanese, Russian, and Polish.”

With a résumé like that, you would expect some good work, or at least fair writing. But reading Star Sand is like going through something that was written by a real novice. I did not know the author’s credentials as I was reading his book; I found it at the end on the “about the author” section.

Having just finished Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby before reading this book, I was glad for the change of pace. The story isn’t long and doesn’t have Dickens’ irritating knack for going on and on. Star Sand is told in three parts: the first during WW2; the second, which is very short, in the 1950’s; and the last section in the 2000’s.

The WW2 part is told through a diary of a sixteen-year-old Japanese American girl who is helping two deserters, one Japanese and the other American. This was getting to the point of being boring due to its repetitious nature of her activities, but thankfully, that is when the section came to an end. The two deserters hole up in a cave on a small island that was far enough removed from the war for it to be a safe haven, though the men could not venture far from the cave for fear of being caught and executed. The girl is there for the relative safety of the place as well.

The story does a pretty good job of showing the absurdity of war, the hating and killing of other humans just because they live on the other side of a line at the orders from some person who says you should. The girl being Japanese American serves well as a symbol of the fact that we are, after all, humans on the planet earth, not just residents of one particular country. I realize most people don’t take a larger world view of things and prefer to look at themselves and others through the lens of nationalism. But there are those that feel like Albert Einstein, who said, “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.” And during war, mankind’s measles comes on at its worst.

I wish Roger Pulvers would have written a more powerful short story, but his ineptitude leaves us with only a fair one that lacks suspense and, most of all, emotion. I give it three stars because he attempted a worthy subject in what could have been an interesting way and because he kept it short.

What the Dickens?

Charles Dickens

I have been reading Nicholas Nickleby for a few weeks now and have some thoughts to share on this author. Movies based on his books are almost certain to be goodOliver Twist, Bleak House, Little Dorrit, and Great Expectations, to name just a few.
Little Dorrit mini-series 2008
But I want to talk about reading his books and his style of writing. Charles Dickens had a rare distinction among artists, which is he was famous while he was alive. People by the millions loved his work back when he was writing and still do to this day. Of course, not everyone was his fan; according to Wikipedia: "Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Virginia Woolf complained of a lack of psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein of saccharine sentimentalism."

I'm not sure I understand what those three were talking about in their complaints against Dickens, but I have a much more simple protest to lodge. To me, he writes like someone who is in love with the sound of his own voice. There is something annoying about the way he drags a scene out that has nothing to do with the storypage after page of silly nonsense between characters of no significance. Dickens seems to try to make up for this fluff by attempting to be witty or by taking some dig at the society of his day. Hey, maybe I do understand what lacking psychological depth, loose writing, and a vein saccharine sentimentalism is after all.

There can be no debate in that he has a way with words and a knack for creating some distinctive characters. But the way he regularly extends things becomes tediously painful and tiresome, since the places he chooses to get carried away have no bearing on the story. It's like going shopping for groceries, but the store is filled with so much other stuff you have trouble finding the food. I don't know about everyone else, but when I'm reading for entertainment, I don't want to wade through this kind of malarkey to find the story. If I wanted to just read words for the sake of reading, I would reach for the dictionary or the encyclopedia.

I have found it interestingly ironic that in Nicholas Nickleby, Dickens actually wrote this about a particular scene: "To recount all the delight and wonder which the circumstances just detailed awakened at Miss La Creevy's, and all the things that were done, said, thought, expected, hoped, and prophesied in consequence, is beside the present course and purpose of these adventures." Had he used that principle throughout his writing, I would consider him a great writer, not just a good one! Instead, he frequently 'recounts all the delights and wonders and things done, said, thought, expected, hoped, and prophesied!'

Half the brilliance of a great artist is to know when to stop adding paint; the other half, I would say, is the subject. I am struck with the idea when reading his works that, if Dickens would have used his creative imagination to embellish the story in the areas involving the storyline and the main characters, this would have been genius. Instead, reading his books is like watching a Humphrey Bogart movieone of those movies where Bogey gets into a cab, at which point the cab driver either nods at Bogart and then he, as the main character, tells the driver where he wants to go ... now, sometimes the cabby will have a line to say, such as: "Where to, Mac?" Or maybe the driver gets to say more, like: "That's a bad side of town ... you sure you want to go there?" In any event, however much or little the cabby gets to say, once he drops Bogey off, that's it for the driver. But in a Dickens story, you would learn the cabby's name, body size, how cleanoh, that's right, this is Dickenshow dirty his cab is, how long he's been married, how many kids he has, why driving a cab is the best job he ever had ... well, if there was such a Dickens tale I was reading, all the while I'd be pulling my hair out, crying, "I don't care about the cabby! I just want to know what happens to Bogey when he meets Bacall in the bad side of town!"
Oliver Twist movie 1948
That is my gripe with Charles Dickenshe becomes the storyteller describing how some old geezer (who you, or at least, I don't really care about) arranges his socks, how his housekeeper can't hear because her hair has been turned up too tight, why she only polishes the silver on special occasions, why he takes two lumps in his tea although he would prefer four, and on and on about this guy and just any and almost everybody in the story! To be sure, this is why the movies based on his books are so much better than the booksthey have cut out all this extraneous material.
Bleak House mini-series 2005
I think what may account for what I consider a pretty big flaw in his writing is that he wrote in installments, putting the stories in a journal and releasing them weekly or monthly. Perhaps if he had just sat down to write an entire book and not simply articles, he may not have gotten lost in what he was supposed to be writing about. I'm surprised he didn't have an editor with the good sense to rein him in, or maybe that's just what the editor wantedsomeone who would write lots of words to fill his magazine for a year or so.

At any rate, there Charles Dickens sits atop the literary world, and here I get this little chance to rant about him. And in today's world, that means he wins, though I will never understand what the Dickens all the fuss is about.

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Perfectly Preposterous Pride and Prejudice, number 2

What now?

Jane Austen, without a doubt, is one of the wittiest women authors you can find. She is absolutely one of our favorite authors. Here is our second in this series of preposterous episodes -- click here to see the first. Now, let's get into this one:
Bingley visits Mr. Bennet

Imagine a blue coat like the border.
Charles Bingley, having received a visit from his neighbor of Longbourn estates, Mr. Bennet, sought now to return the honor and went to visit the older man. Of course, he might not have hastened to do his neighborly duty if Mr. Bennet did not have five daughters of whose reputed beauty he had heard much about; it was for that reason that Charles, in his becoming blue coat that was such a lovely pairing to his blond hair and blue eyes, went to visit Mr. Bennet.

“Ah, Mr. Bingley, how good of you to come and see me,” Mr. Bennet declared on greeting him. “If you will follow me, we can talk in the library where we are sure not to be interrupted.”
“You know, Mr. Bennet, I for one am not averse to interruptions ... in fact, in some way, I believe they can prove to be diverting—in their own way,” Charles repeated, testing the waters.

“Nonsense!” declared Mr. Bennet. “There is no need for you to trouble yourself with that. I’m quite sure you have heard that I have five daughters and you mean to put me at ease, for no one seems to be half so good at ill-timed poking in of the head than young ladies, you know. But, rest assured, we will not have to worry about such things in the library,” Mr. Bennet teased, his eyes twinkling.

Charles sighed and tried to look satisfied as he followed his host to the library. Making sure he was a step or two behind Mr. Bennet, he scanned from left to right in hopes of a glimpse of at least one of the girls. Mr. Bennet, turning back to look at his guest, noticed his looking about, and laughed, “Longbourn is not quite Netherfield Park is it?”

Surprised, Bingley jumped a bit, with the countenance of a boy caught cheating at his school work, and stammered, “What?.... oh, no, I assure you, I was .... well ....uh, what I mean to say is ...”

“Do not concern yourself over such an innocent act, Mr. Bingley. We all examine other people’s things, for we find some private amusement in feeling a bit superior to our neighbors whenever we can.”

“Indeed, you are very kind, sir,” he replied sheepishly.

Now in the library, Charles heard the door shut with the sound of a prisoner being condemned to never see the light of day. This feeling of condemnation only increased with his host's small talk of the condition of the roads and the last poor growing season. In vain, he attempted to turn the conversation to the ladies of Longbourn house, inquiring, “Do any of the young ladies take an interest in the running of things?”

He might just as well have placed a red rubber nose on and danced about like a monkey for the reaction this question elicited from their father! As Mr. Bennet finally stopped laughing, a knock at the door drew their attention, and for the first time Charles’ face lit up, hoping the voice on the other side of the door would be female, but to no avail. The servant entered, begging pardon, “Mr. Bennet, it seems there is some emergency with one of the tenants.”

“Emergency? That sounds like something that cannot be put off till after lunch, does it?” he said, looking at his guest.

“I have rarely used the word for anything that was not urgent,” Charles agreed, and thinking fast, he added, “... but perhaps it is something that can be seen to with speed. I shall wait for you, and if you are detained long, I will take my leave, knowing it cannot be helped.”

“Very good,” replied Mr. Bennet, proceeding for the door. Seeing him turn the corner as he left the room, Charles called out in as low a voice as he could manage that might still be deemed audible, “Perhaps I will wait for you in one of the other rooms.” Receiving no answer, he muttered, “Obviously, if he had some objection, he would have said so.”

He rose from his chair tentatively, still feeling remnants of the schoolboy that had only recently been caught at something. Each step toward the door made him more bold, however, and the expectation of seeing at least one of the girls was all the added motivation he needed to get him out of the library and into the hall. Now which way should he go, especially since he didn’t really know where the sitting room was? He reasoned, “If I make my way toward the entrance, I at least ... wait, what was that?”

He heard the definite sound of gigglingyes, the sound young females express in those light, pleasant tones of subdued laughterthat made him put his ears up as if he were a hound on the hunt. Just when he believed he had caught the direction, though, it stopped. He now moved ever so quietly forward, like an American Indian sneaking up on a buffalo. Had Mr. Hill, the manservant, not been so intrigued by his odd behavior, he would have approached and offered to be of assistance. But knowing this was the rich fellow of Netherfield Park, he opted to watch instead, for he had heard that these rich men can be quite eccentric, and what he was beholding certainly qualified for unconventional, and more than a little strange.

Having determined the general direction he should go in search of his quest for a sighting of lovely ladies, Bingley proceeded toward the sitting room. The beauties, who were unknowingly being sought, were in the sitting room discussing how unfair it was that Papa not allow them even a brief hello from their new neighbor. Lydia finally proclaimed, “I don't know about you, but disappointment always makes me hungry—I am going to the kitchen.”

It seems that disappointment made them all hungry, for they each followed their sister. As the last one exited the room, Charles had finally found his way there, followed at a good distance by Mr. Hill, who was glad the household never was at a loss for some diversion.

Entering the room, Charles put on his most innocent face and prepared himself to give the appearance of surprise upon finding the Bennet girls. Alas, all his innocent face-making and surprise preparation came to naught, for he found the room empty. “How do those American Indians manage sneaking up on a buffalo out in the wide open spaces and I cannot conduct a successful hunt for five ladies in the confines of a house such as this?” he cried.

Mr. Hill had pretty much determined the young man was in search of the Bennet girls, but with this declaration, he now had confirmation. “I know it has been to my master’s detriment that he did not have a son, but what we have gained in the way of entertainment with these girls has been worth it!” he chuckled.

In the kitchen, the girls were treated to fresh biscuits just come from the oven. Kitty declared, “I believe I could do very well without seeing our new neighbor for another of these biscuits,” causing her sisters to laugh heartily as they each helped themselves to another. The laughter drifted along with the aroma of the biscuits to the sitting room, bringing their neighbor to a more active posture. “I may not be an American Indian, but I am certain I can trace that sound and the unmistakable aroma of biscuits!”

Who wears bonnets and cloaks in the house?
Meanwhile, Elizabeth, with a mischievous grin, suggested, “Let us take our treats and meander past father’s library ... we might perchance hear something of our neighbor at least, even if we are prevented from seeing him.” Giggling with delight, the girls left the kitchen for the hall that communicated with the library door.

Nevertheless, the sound of laughter and growing intensity of the bouquet of biscuits confirmed Charles was nearing his goal. He traded in his face of innocence for the real look of wanting a fresh biscuit; the surprise, he felt sure, would come naturally. So he pushed open the door, only to find the cook and her help busily replacing the biscuits that had been eaten by the five girls. The staff turned to look upon the young gentleman, and as things turned out, it was he and the cooks that had the look of surprise—he, for he was sure he had come upon the girls, and they, for they were not accustomed to receiving guests in the kitchen. “I say,” began Charles, overcome with the smell of the delights just placed upon the table, “ … I realize it is fearfully unusual, but might I trouble you for a sample of those delicious smelling biscuits?”

“Certainly, sir, have as many as you like.”

Having proclaimed the biscuit as being among the finest he had ever tasted, the cook recommended he try some raspberry jam on another. Bingley, giving voice to the exquisite tastes dancing upon his tongue, moved the cook to make further recommendations to his willing acquiescence.

While Charles was enjoying himself in the kitchen, the girls moved slowly past the door of the library, hoping to hear something, but to no avail. Mary, thinking quick on her feet, pretended to trip on the carpet and bump against the door. All five turned in unison, biscuits in hand, to await some response from within the library ... how simple to explain a happy tripping accident of their nearsighted sister to their father. But, alas, nothing. Jane said optimistically, “He may not even be here, but let us go upstairs and see if his horse is still here.” With that the girls hustled away.

At this point, Bingley, having his fill of the delicious biscuits, asked the most sensible question to ask once his stomach was full, “May I inquire, were the young ladies of the house just here?”

“Indeed, sir, they have gone to the library, I heard them say.”

“Ahh, excellent! I shall just go there then ... thanks ever so much for the biscuits.”

Proceeding to the library, Charles was filled with high hope, as well as biscuits, the smile on his face bespeaking both feelings. Coming to the library door, he swung it open only to find no one was there either. “Well, I know I am supposed to be in here, but I might as well venture to the front door,” he said, heading directly there. He now stopped by the stairs, feeling rather suspicious for all his lurking about.

Suddenly, one of the servants in the other part of the house made a rather loud noise, causing Charles to jump and look about. Seeing no one, he struck a pose near the banister, looking as innocent as a grave robber outside the cemetery gates. Observing no one either coming or going, he first allowed his eyes to wander as far afield as possible without actually turning his head. With the moments ticking by making him feel more safe, he permitted himself the freedom of looking about, so very much desiring the nerve to gaze upstairs, thinking it would be from one those apartments he might catch a glimpse of one of the beauties. Ever so slowly, he began to turn his head that direction and, feigning to yawn, he stretched his arms above his head and opened his mouth wide for the full effect. Unseen to him, an innocent gnat happened by at that very moment, only to be sucked into his mouth, causing him to cough and gag and try to remove the offending gnat in the only way one can remove such a creature that had crossed one’s lips and gone into the cavity beyond where teeth and tongue reside! Had Mr. Hill not been practised in the art of remaining silent as human comedy played out before his eyes, he could not have watched the scene and continued quiet.

Hearing once again the sound of young ladies giggling, Charles was made to look all the more silly as he frantically contorted this way and that in an effort to regain composure. Thinking he was still beside the banister, he attempted to place his right hand on it and look nonchalant, only to find his twisting and jostling about had brought him further away from the said banister than expected. His hand finding only the open air on which to lean, Bingley found it sorely lacking in its ability to hold him up, and his leaning did not stop till he was flat on the floor.

However, being still a young man of some dexterity, he sprung up from this prone position with surprising swiftness. Straightening and examining his blue coat and seeing that it was none the worse for these gymnastics, he said calmly to himself, “Well, it appears Mr. Bennet will not be returning very soon. Just as I thought.”

Thereupon, Charles Bingley calmly walked out the front door, sporting his beguiling smile, and had he been less in a hurry to ride off, he might have observed five lovely faces looking down, admiring his blue coat.

copyright © 2016 by NoeandCindy

The end of this episode ....

Want to read more "Perfectly Preposterous P&P" posts?
Here they are:
Number 1, The Continuing Saga
Number 3, Sisters will talk

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