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Authors: Amanda Grange

Captain Wentworth's Diary

BOOK: Captain Wentworth's Diary
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Table of Contents

 

Praise for
Captain Wentworth’s Diary
“In this retelling of
Persuasion
we are given a real treat . . . Like the other books in Ms. Grange’s series, scrupulous attention is paid to the original, even while interpreting what is not explicitly shown, and some well-known scenes are fleshed out while others are condensed, nicely complementing the original.” —
AustenBlog
"Amanda Grange’s retellings of Jane Austen’s novels from the point of view of the heroes are hugely popular and deservedly so . . .
CaptainWentworth’s Diary
will entrance and enthrall old and new fans alike.” —
Single Titles
“One of those wonderful historicals that makes the reader feel as if they’re right in the front parlor with the characters . . . this book held me captive. It is well written and I very much hope to read more by this author. Amanda Grange is a writer who tells an engaging, thoroughly enjoyable story!” —
Romance Reader at Heart

 

Praise for
Mr. Knightley’s Diary
“A lighthearted and sparking rendition of the classic love story.”

The Historical Novels Review
“Charming . . . knowing the outcome of the story doesn’t lessen the romantic tension and expectation for the reader. Grange hits the Regency language and tone on the head.” —
Library Journal
"Ms. Grange manages the tricky balancing act of satisfying the reader and remaining respectful of Jane Austen’s original at the same time, and like Miss Woodhouse herself, we are given the privilege of falling for Mr. Knightley all over again.” —
AustenBlog
“Readers familiar with
Emma
should enjoy revisiting the county and its people and welcome the expansion of Mr. Knightley’s role. Others will find an entertaining introduction to a classic.”

Romance Reviews Today
“Well written, with a realistic eye to the rustic lifestyle of the aristocracy, fans of Ms. Austen will appreciate this interesting perspective.” —
Genre Go Round Reviews
“A very enjoyable read and an amusing tale.” —
Fresh Fiction

 

Titles by Amanda Grange
MR. KNIGHTLEY’S DIARY CAPTAIN WENTWORTH’S DIARY LORD DEVERILL’S SECRET HARSTAIRS HOUSE

 

THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
A Berkley Book / published by arrangement with Robert Hale Ltd.
Copyright © 2007 by Amanda Grange.
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form
without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in
violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
BERKLEY® is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
The “B” design is a trademark belonging to Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
eISBN : 978-1-436-21441-4
1. Wentworth, Frederick (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. England—Fiction. I. Austen, Jane,
1775-1817. Persuasion. II. Title.
PR6107.R35C37 2008
823’.92—dc22 2007049422

http://us.penguingroup.com

1806

 

Thursday 5 June
At last I am on my way to Somerset!
Harville and I travelled from the coast together, marvelling at how strange it was to see green fields as we went along, rather than the blue sea. Apart from the ground’s alarming tendency to stay still beneath us, instead of rolling and dipping like an honest element, the journey was not uncomfortable, and we managed to while away the time by regaling two governesses, the Miss Browns, with our recent adventures at sea. Or rather, I did, for Harville said little, and it fell upon me to astonish them with tales of the dangers we had passed through in our efforts to protect them from the French. I was rewarded by their horrified gasps and grateful thanks.
As they left the coach, I rallied Harville, telling him he was a fool to exchange the smiles of a country full of women for the shackles of one, and asking him if the elder Miss Brown was not the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He acknowledged that she was very pretty, but not as pretty as his Harriet, and he would not be dissuaded; he is still determined to ask her to marry him as soon as he gets home.
We found a comfortable berth at the Cow and Calf, and now here I am in my room, sitting by the open window, looking out over fields. I have not yet accustomed myself to the country, with its rich smell of flowers and grass. It seems strange to me after the salt tang of the sea, but I will grow used to it before long, I dare say, and I have no doubt I will soon be revelling in the joys of shore leave.
Friday 6 June
Harville and I made a good breakfast, and then we parted, he to go to Wiltshire, and I to go to Monkford. He left first, on the stage, and I had to wait an hour for the coach that was to carry me onwards. It arrived at the inn in a great hurry, pausing only long enough to change horses, disgorge three passengers, take up two more, myself and a young man who sat outside, and then depart at the same riotous pace. I took my place inside, being in funds, and was soon thrown about by the speed and the poor condition of the road, but as a very pretty farmer’s daughter was thrown into my lap I could not regret it. Her mother looked at me disapprovingly, but we could none of us help laughing when another pothole sent
her
into my lap as well! Restraint being thus broken, we began to talk, and it soon emerged that they had a cousin at sea. The time passed quickly as we talked of battles and promotion, and it was a surprise to me when it was time for me to leave the stage.
I looked about me, to get my bearings, and found I had some distance to cover on foot, but I was glad of the exercise after spending so long confined. I passed through Uppercross, which I had expected to be larger from my brother’s description, but which turned out to be merely a moderate-sized village, with yeomen’s houses, a high-walled mansion, and a parsonage. I wondered if my brother lived in something similar, and hoped it was so, for although the parsonage was a small house, it had its own neat garden, with a vine and a pear tree trained round the casements.
I came at last to Monkford, and found myself a subject of interest to the two dames and three little boys I passed, the latter falling into line some way behind me. I looked about me for my brother’s house, and at last I asked a gentleman coming towards me where Mr Wentworth, the curate, lived. He gave me directions, and I soon found myself at the gate.
My eye ran over the house with interest. It was not as fine as the parsonage at Uppercross, being much smaller, and without a vine, but it had a good aspect, and I was in high spirits as I knocked at the door. The servant answered and told me that his master was not at home, having not known exactly when to expect me, but that he could be found in the church. I left my belongings in the hall and went in search of him.
The church was a modest size, but in a good state of repair, which spoke well of its parishioners. As I went in, Edward saw me and gave me a hearty welcome. He finished his business, and then we left the church together.
As we walked back to his house along the dusty road, I told him all my news, of the ships I had sailed in and the captains I had sailed under, of the battle of St Domingo and my promotion to commander, and in return I listened to his tales of sermons and services, of neighbours and parishioners. I could not help laughing at the difference.
‘What! One of your neighbours climbed over your wall uninvited last month? What a calamity! I do not know how you survived the excitement!’
‘A pretty time you have had of it!’ Edward retorted. ‘Never knowing where you would be in a few hours’ time, and whether you would be alive or dead. I would rather be safe in my parish with my garden and my books, my home and my church, than tossing about on the open sea in a flimsy wooden boat. You were always the bold one, Frederick.’
‘And why not? The war has made it possible for men of ability and ambition to rise in the world, and I mean to use the opportunities it has given me to make my fortune. Ah! the limitless horizons, both at sea and on land, the battles to be fought, the prizes to be won. I will be a wealthy man soon, and I mean to own an estate before I am done.’
‘And then be off again the minute you have bought it! You will never settle on land, you will find it too dull. I believe you will scarcely be able to tolerate your shore leave. I can offer you no battles, unless you wish to frighten my parishioners into listening to my sermons instead of whispering about each other’s bonnets, and I can offer you no glory, save the glory of being a novelty, to be examined and talked over like a prize bull at a fair.’
‘It is enough. I have had my fill of battles for the time being, and I am ready for variety. A man may grow weary of the sea as well as anything else, and I will fight all the better for the change. Besides, I mean to enjoy myself whilst I am here, and to do all the things I cannot do on board ship. I mean to ride and walk and explore the countryside, and I am looking forward to meeting your neighbours. You have told me a great deal about them in your letters and I cannot wait to make their acquaintance. I hope there are some pretty girls hereabouts!’
BOOK: Captain Wentworth's Diary
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