Hello readers, I’m very excited to share this post with with you! Suzan Lauder, author of Alias Thomas Bennet, visits our humble blog today and she shares with you all an “outtake scene” from her new release, a Pride and Prejudice variation where Mr. Bennet seems to get quite chummy with Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth isn’t too thrilled about it…
This scene was never part of the novel, Alias Thomas Bennet. I wrote it for this blog, mainly because it’s super-challenging to find an excerpt from Alias Thomas Bennet that does not include a spoiler. The scene takes place fairly early in the story. Elizabeth has overheard Mr. Darcy’s insult, but her father initiated a friendship with Darcy at the same time and, since then, her family has taken kindly to him.
When she noticed the crack of light coming in as the door opened, Elizabeth looked up from the crockery she was studying and recognized Jane entering the still room. She was unsurprised to see a bit of disapproval on Jane’s face as she approached the table where various items of scientific apparatus were scattered, with an oil flame heating a small pot containing some kind of liquid among them.
“As you see, I am wearing the leather apron this time,” she said, defending herself against what she saw as a certain admonishment for carrying on the experiments. Jane’s expression said she was little appeased.
“Your dress may survive this time, but you should be wearing gloves as well, to save your hands from burns. Is Mr. Akuete here with you?” she asked.
A black man of average height with sprays of white through his tightly curled hair emerged from the shadows at the other end of the room and moved with ease towards the women. He was wearing a similar leather apron and wiping his hands on a rag. His face was lined, but he looked years younger than his actual age, and traces of humour about his eyes gave away the contentment he had in his life
“Good afternoon, Miss Bennet,” he said. “Is there some way I may be of aid to you?”
“Good afternoon, Mr. Akuete,” Jane replied. “I was hoping you could accompany me to attend to the home of Mr. Taylor. Sir William Lucas overheard him speaking to people in town about the decision we made regarding Mr. Warner’s rights to the well water, and Mr. Taylor is still quite displeased and feels slighted. I would like to speak to him to encourage his co-operation.”
Akuete nodded. “Very well. I shall see the groom about readying the horses.” He ambled off to do so.
“Lizzy, if you see Papa, could you let him know where we are gone, and why?” Jane asked as she headed towards the door to follow him.
Elizabeth had returned her attention to the experiment: studying the small pot that would not boil. “You did not see him yourself? I thought you two were busy with accounts today.”
“I see no reason to burden Papa with this, though. Mr. Akuete and I can manage quite well and leave him the opportunity to enjoy his time with Mr. Darcy.”
Elizabeth’s head snapped up at the mention of Mr. Darcy “He is here again today? Does he not realize Papa has an estate to manage, rather than play chess with him all the time?” There was an edge to her voice.
“They are not playing chess every time. Papa values Mr. Darcy’s input on his estate decisions, and I think it is a good thing to have new ideas to consider, as well. He has some experience we could take advantage of, and emulate some of the better land management principles.”
Meanwhile, Elizabeth straightened up and removed her leather apron. She folded it and placed it on the table while she spoke. Her face was stern and her tone defensive. “There is nothing wrong with what we are doing. Papa has made it the practise of years to continuously improve the estate. You know how it is, Jane. You see the accounts. Longbourn has never prospered nearly as much as since Papa inherited. We employ the latest in agricultural techniques, and we have even used our own scientific discoveries to make things more effective. Mr. Darcy is just meddling, and trying to look important.”
“Elizabeth!” Jane shouted as she pointed to the little crock, which was now boiling and threatening to spill over the edges.
Elizabeth grabbed some tongs from nearby and relocated the pot from the flame to a metal stand nearby, but not before a bit of boiling metallic-looking substance splashed on the table and burned it. She then looked up to Jane, whose eyes immediately flicked to the leather apron that lay folded on the table, then back to Elizabeth’s face in a most judging way. There was no other response than to feel sheepish about having discarded it exactly at the moment it was necessary.
“There is no need to say anything, Jane. I will take care of this, and then I will seek out Papa and Mr. Darcy and try to get the man to take the hint that he is wasting my father’s time.”
Jane sighed and rolled her eyes. “I think I know exactly who it is who wishes to look important, and it is not Mr. Darcy,” she said as she was leaving.
Elizabeth was left with her thoughts as she cleaned up the mess. Mr. Darcy. She scowled. She had to admit he was clever, but it was too bad he knew it. She could not tolerate such a proud man, no matter how interesting he was to talk to about science. Had he been here during this calamity, well… who knows what he would do. He would certainly make her feel as if she were not within her senses. He had this way of doing that, rattling her, just when she was about to become triumphant in demonstrating she knew more than he did. It was not fair. He had no place at Longbourn, and was a nuisance. She had best seek him out and find a subtle way of letting him know that.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to read this one! Mr. Bennet and Mr. Darcy playing chess? Elizabeth and science experiments? I’m dying to know more!
Connect with Suzan
…of most interest to Bennet was Mr. Darcy of Pemberley.
When Fitzwilliam Darcy attends the Meryton assembly, he befriends a quiet, intelligent gentleman. In frequent visits to his friend’s home, he becomes acquainted with the Bennet family of Longbourn. Yet Mr. Darcy is distracted by a strange feeling of having met some of them before.
This is a different Bennet family from the cleverly crafted one in Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. This Mr. Bennet is a responsible gentleman who takes an active role in the education and upbringing of all five of his daughters, manages Longbourn to be prosperous, and displays loving guidance toward Mrs. Bennet—a gentle, caring mother and wife.
There is a mystery lurking at Longbourn—a secret unknown even to Elizabeth Bennet—and Mr. Darcy is entangled in its extraordinary revelations.
Who is Thomas Bennet?
This book contains one brief scene of non-explicit sexual violence that may be concerning to sensitive readers. The sexual violence does not include Elizabeth Bennet.
Suzan and Michele of Meryton Press have kindly donated 1 paperback and 1 digital copy of Alias Thomas Bennet for me to giveaway to 2 lucky winners! Woot Woot!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, question, or some love for Suzan!
- This giveaway is open worldwide. Thank you, Meryton Press!
- This giveaway ends December 27th!