Fitzwilliam Darcy is a fine fellow and all but, my word, he's spiked his guns! Shot himself in the foot! And with no reason!
Convinced that Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy knows next to nothing about romancing a woman, Admiral Patrick McGillvary of Mercy's Embrace puts pen to paper. Let's join Austenesque author Laura Hile in peeking over his shoulder as he writes...
You barely spoke a word at Blankenship's dinner last night and had nothing to do with the dancing. My good fellow, the walls are capable of standing on their own without you being there to hold them up! It's that Miss Bennet, isn't it? She has captured your heart. And you, having suffered a setback, are pining.
Pining? Get a grip, man! Far be it from me to offer advice, but my dear, you are in need of serious help. Battle tactics. Strategy. Common sense management techniques. These are the tools of the manly suitor. So let's get some things straight. Because failure should not be on your to-do list, Darcy. Not today or any other!
First and foremost, display confidence. Look, Miss Bennet will be placing her life in your hands, should you marry---are you capable to lead? What if I, before engaging the enemy, wrung my hands, cast my gaze to the heavens, and wondered aloud if we'd live to see another day? No! I must stride across the quarterdeck, my mind alive with strategies, barking orders and laughing at death! My men need to see my competence, Darcy. And Miss Bennet needs to see yours.
And no more explanatory letters! Women save letters, Darcy, often for years. And they refer to them when they think you're not measuring up to promises that you made. Letters are dangerous, even after marriage! Speak more, write less.
Point out the bad, but only if you must. This means no more criticizing her family, especially if you're right. See here, it simply isn't worth it. Voicing your "I told you so" opinion will only make Miss Bennet angry. And while she might forgive you, she'll never forget. Tread carefully!
Women enjoy a man who as at ease socially. This means that you must learn the art of small talk. I know, it's a curst nuisance, but it cannot be avoided. Collect stories, polish them up, and use them at social events. I will warn you to rotate your stock with new material, especially as you age. No one appreciates an Old Bore. I should know; Whitehall is filled with them!
Women admire a man who faces down danger. Rescuing Miss Bennet's sister was sporting, but I must point out that rough-and-ready tactics trump all. Look, Miss Bennet would have admired you more ardently if you had coshed in Wickham's skull instead of making out that bank draft. Any pantywaist can sign his name, Darcy.
This means you should carry a weapon and know how to use it. You'll fool no one with one of those dainty fencing rapiers. Wear a businesslike fighting dirk, and learn how to walk and sit with it. Trust me, even if the women don't notice the banged-up hilt and scabbard, the men will. And they'll give you a wide berth.
Solving problems with money is risky. Why? Because it teaches your future wife how it's done. I realize that I'm calling the kettle black here, as I did something similar in Mercy's Embrace. But now that I've had time to consider, I'm shaking in my boots. Ten thousand pounds is a whopping amount. Trust me, Miss Bennet has no idea how much this loss hurts.
Guarding your privacy is pointless. Look, if you argue with your steward or have a cross word with a guest, it's known in the Pemberley Arms within the hour. Face facts, Darcy. Word travels lightning fast. If you'd ever lived aboard ship, you'd understand this. More people know about your sister's escapade than you realize. Put your chin up and brazen it out. Besides, you're in the position to deliver some truly crushing snubs.
Never praise one woman to another. When asked to comment on a woman's appearance---or singing, or dancing, or any other ability---give a neutral answer and remove yourself from the conversation. At once! Because ...
The Caroline Bingleys of this world exact revenge. And it won't be taken out on Miss Bennet, either. Oh, she will suffer. But you will be made to pay for that "fine eyes" remark, perhaps years later. Some women live to get even. Make very sure, before you marry, that Miss Bennet is not one of this kind. And marry you will, if you conduct your courtship like a man. You may correspond with me by writing to my Bath estate, Belsom Park, or through Whitehall. All the best, McGillvary
Would you like more Admiral McGillvary? He's Wentworth's daring friend in Susan Kaye's Frederick Wentworth, Captain and the swoon-worthy romantic lead in Laura Hile's Mercy's Embrace.
As a girl Laura Hile pored over Victorian novels on her grandmother’s shelves, and later discovered Gothic Romance and Jane Austen’s Regency. But it was not until serialized Austen fiction became popular that Laura summoned her courage and began to post stories of her own. To keep readers interested, she developed what has become her signature style: intertwined plots, cliffhangers, and laugh-out-loud humor. The comedy she comes by naturally in her job as a middle school teacher—there’s never a dull moment at school! Laura lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three college-age sons, and a collection of antique clocks.
During the month of May, all books by Susan Kay and Laura Hile are are on sale! Print books have been reduced 25% at the Wytherngate Press website. Ebook editions are $2.00 off at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other on-line retailers.
And there's more: An INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!
Laura Hile is offering two (2) print copies of Mercy's Embrace: So Rough a Course (Book 1) , one for US readers, and one for international. Hooray! Post a comment by May 15th to enter. Visit Laura at her website, Mercy's Embrace, at her blogs, Jane Started It! and Austen Authors. Find her on Facebook at as Laura Hile Author and MercysEmbrace. Follow her at Twitter @LauraHile.