I was cleaning out old files on my computer and came across my very first efforts at writing Jane Austen fan fiction. (I thought they were long gone.) At the time I published, Searching for Pemberley, an historical novel, I didn’t even know fan fiction existed, but then I found meryton.com. Not knowing if I had any talent for writing fan fiction, I posted two short vignettes. The response was very encouraging. These vignettes became the seeds from which other stories would grow.
Elizabeth Bennet Regrets
The morning after Mr. Darcy’s proposal, Elizabeth was able to leave Hunsford Lodge only after satisfying the Collinses that she was well enough to go on her morning walk alone. Charlotte had witnessed Mr. Darcy’s departure from the parsonage the previous afternoon. Despite her friend’s probing looks, Lizzy had said nothing about the gentleman’s visit and had kept to her room after dinner, complaining of a headache. In order to silence Mr. Collins and hasten her escape, Lizzy had mentioned that she wished to begin a study of Fordyce’s Sermons. Mr. Collins had presented the book to her earlier in the week when he had come upon her reading a novel, a book he considered inappropriate for an unmarried woman to be reading without the supervision and guidance of her father. He would have been horrified to learn that she had read Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy in the library at Longbourn without any supervision and at the recommendation of her father. Finally, after multiple assurances regarding her health, the weather, distances, etc., she had been allowed to leave the parsonage and immediately went in search of a place where she could reflect upon the events of the previous day.
RosingsPark had beautiful vistas at every turn, but Lizzy’s favorite was where woods and pastureland met. The contrast of the dark greens of the forest and the lush bright greens of the pastures made it a favorite stop, and at this slice of Eden, the De Bourghs had placed stone benches paralleling the path—the perfect place for reflection. But she was not to be alone this morning as sitting on one of the benches was Mr. Darcy. It was too late to turn away, and so she pretended to be engrossed in her book providing him with an opportunity to pretend not to have noticed her. She soon realized that his being in this particular spot was no accident as on several occasions he had come across her at this very place. He quickly approached, and after asking her to do him the honor of reading his letter, he just as quickly departed.