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Deleted Scene: Comforting Lady Catherine

Mistaking Her Character MEDIUM WEBA few scenes got cut from the final project, but they live on here, for your enjoyment.


As Dr. Bennet is arguing with the surgeon and apothecary, Elizabeth is comforting Lady Catherine.

 

 Lady Catherine drew a sharp breath but did not speak. The great lady was never without words. She was in a most serious state indeed.

“Come with me.” Elizabeth gestured toward the door of the small parlor.

“I wish to see Anne.”

“I will take you, but I do not think it advisable now. Miss de Bourgh wished so much to please you by getting well. When she sees you, she will think you disappointed in her. That could hinder her recovery. Do you still wish me to take you to her?”

She blinked three times and licked her lips. “No, you are right. She should not be upset.” Her shoulders fell just enough to make her look very old.

“Please, come with me.” She opened the door to the small parlor.

A comfortable fire crackled in the fireplace. Elizabeth lit several candles from it. Soon the room welcomed them. She poured a small glass of sweet wine and shut the door against the angry voices in the hall.

Lady Catherine sat in a large chair near the fire, the most throne-like in the room. She never used a settee—perhaps the chance someone might sit near her was too great.

Elizabeth chewed the inside of her cheek. Where to sit herself? She always did keep a very great distance between herself and all her subjects. Was it merely an issue of rank, or could there be something more? Elizabeth handed her the wine and sat down in the nearest, but not too near, chair.

Lady Catherine drank down the wine in an unladylike gulp and handed the cup to Elizabeth. She rose, refilled it and returned it to her. When Lady Catherine simply cradled the cup in her hands, Elizabeth returned to her seat.

“It disturbs me to see Dr. Bennet argue with Mr. Peters and Mr. Lang.” Lady Catherine stared into the glass and ran her finger around the rim.

“It should not surprise your Ladyship.”

“Why exactly is that?”

“Did you not seek out Papa because you were unsatisfied with Mr. Peters’ and Mr. Lang’s efforts on Miss de Bourgh’s behalf? Would you not be disappointed if Papa were only to do more of the same as they? Did you not expect him to bring new treatments and ideas?”

 She nodded and rolled the glass in her palms. The firelight glinted off the liquid within as it came dangerously close to splashing out. “I suppose you are correct. The arguing though—”

“—is also entirely expected when distinguished men of learning are exposed to new ideas. No one likes to give up old ways and opinions for the new, even if the new are far more efficacious.”

Lady Catherine sipped her wine. “You have most decided opinions for so young a person.”

“Forgive me, I do not mean to be impertinent.”

Lady Catherine barked a strange, hoarse laugh that Elizabeth had never heard before. “You do not care one jot about impertinence, Miss Elizabeth. Do not attempt to deceive me.”

Elizabeth blushed and hung her head.  No good could come from any other response.

“That is what I like about you.”

Elizabeth’s head snapped up and she stared at Lady Catherine, though she gazed into the fire.

“It can be a refreshing moment to have someone disagree with me if I declare the sky green or the world flat.”

Elizabeth hid her giggle in a dainty cough. Surely she had had too much wine. How much toasting had taken place at dinner?

“Few will do that, particularly few with so very much to lose.” Lady Catherine’s sharp gaze trained on Elizabeth.

“My father is using all his training and experience to help Miss de Bourgh. He is but a man,  and life and death lie in the hands of Providence. Remember, though, before he came, how much more Miss de Bourgh suffered.”

She grumbled and finished her wine. Elizabeth took the glass and refilled it.

 “Do you know how very vexing it is to have one’s only child so very unwell and to be utterly unable to remedy the situation?”

“No, your ladyship, I do not, and I hope that I never do.”

“Sensible girl. But what would you know of such suffering?”

“Of watching a child suffer, I confess I know nothing. I only know the torment of watching a beloved younger brother die of a recurrent fever whilst Papa did everything he could to save him.”

Lady Catherine’s expression softened. “His only son? I did not know. Your stepmother’s son?”

“Yes.” Elizabeth returned the glass to Lady Catherine and moved to the window. Her throat clamped down over her words and a bit of fresh air might loosen it. Or not. “The grief has not erased all these years. Mama— He does not share the tale often.”

“And you would violate their privacy?”

“Only because I thought it would give her ladyship comfort to know Papa’s desire to see Miss de Bourgh well runs deeper than your patronage to him. He does not wish anyone to know the grief he has suffered.”

“You do well by him, Miss Elizabeth. Most fathers have little use for a daughter, but I am sure you are a great comfort to him.”

Elizabeth pressed her lips tightly and clutched the window sill. Oh, that Papa would agree with her.

1 comment

1 ping

    • Sheila L. M. on June 22, 2015 at 12:09 pm
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    Lady Catherine seems a little more mellow herein. Maybe the finality of Anne’s situation is a bit of a shock, even tho she has been watching Anne’s decline for years. WHEN IT FINALLY HITS that all the prayers, all the money, all the medications and treatments can not stop such a fate, I am sure it is even more difficult for one such as Lady C. to accept. I am sure she is railing at GOD.

    • Deleted scenes and a new free book! - Random Bits of Fascination on June 22, 2015 at 12:44 am

    […] Deleted Scene: Comforting Lady Catherine […]

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