A Singular Couple part four

Image of Jane Austen

(Ed.- I am beyond pleased to present the serial of the story A Singular Couple written by A Lady™.  Jane meets the Angelus’ while in Bath and well, their friendship goes in a direction most unexpected. If you’re a fan of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, well, you can only guess where this goes. Check in every Thursday for a new chapter!)

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

July 17, 1817 –

My Dearest Cassandra,

I hope this little note will cheer you, and give rest to your fears of leaving me in the care of Mrs. Angelus. I know you find her conversation alarming, but I fear less for the morals of a woman who talks openly than those who always say the correct things. I feel we have seen the worst of her, and that is refreshing. If her husband proved himself to be an incorrigible rake, well, the wife of such a man is to be pitied, not scorned. Furthermore, Mr. A is assuredly absent. Darla promises me he is many days sea voyage away on some sort of educational journey.

Do forgive me for sending you away! All will be better when you return in two weeks. Mrs. A will depart then for London, there to await her husband’s return, and I will be very much in better health, I am sure of it. Mrs. A has told me she knows of a particular cure for my ailment, and will apply it tonight: I have only to take a turn with her in the damnable invalid chair while the moon is out. (I suspect this is more to distract me than for any medicinal affect. You see how you and Darla could be such friends? You both are terrible liars.)

Please think only pleasant thoughts of me, my dearest sister, and I look forward to reading to you from my work when you return. I’m basing a character on dear M. Angelus and you will get great satisfaction from hating her.

Yours Affectionately,


July 23, 1817
Address Unknown

Dearest Cassandra,

I am aware that a funeral was held for me and a body buried and this letter will come to you as a great shock, but I am alive. Alive and well! Know that, be content and glad, and do not try to find me. I shall come to you when I am ready.

Please see to it that all correspondence I have sent mentioning Mr. or Mrs. Angelus are destroyed. This would be a great service to me. I trust you with handling my other papers and my silly books. Treat all I left behind as if I have truly died, or I should say, continue to do so. I hope you gave Fanny the springed muslin and all the fruits and laces for my bonnets, save any you wish to keep for yourself.

You would blush to see what Darla has put me in today! A canary gown all ruffles and lace that would befit a maiden in the first blush of youth! I confess, it feels natural. I have thrown off my high collars and can breathe.

Colors are bolder now I am well. The air tastes… it tastes so elaborately. I am possessed of a demonic energy. I could run for days and write forever.

On that front, I confess I have composed but a few short vignettes since my recovery and I am mildly concerned at the dark direction my fancy takes. I may have grown as uncensored as Darla herself. I have continued the fancy I had to make her a character and may base a whole book around her. I…

Perhaps you should burn my notes from early July, and this letter, too. Yes. Tell no one. This shall all be our little secret. Darla and I are to quit the country tonight and I dare not tell you where we go. When my path takes me back to England, I shall find you, dear sister. I will kiss you so deeply on your sweet, swan-like neck, as I kiss my patroness now.

Yours Eternally,

The End

A Singular Couple part three

Image of Jane Austen

(Ed.- I am beyond pleased to present the serial of the story A Singular Couple written by A Lady™.  Jane meets the Angelus’ while in Bath and well, their friendship goes in a direction most unexpected. If you’re a fan of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, well, you can only guess where this goes. Check in every Thursday for a new chapter!)

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

Tuesday, May 27, 1817

My Dearest Angelus,

I trust your studies are going well, though really, how much more does a man of your talents need to know about ripping another man’s head off? But don’t concern yourself with my boredom, I am glad not to travel to the Orient; I prefer my food wrapped in familiar finery, and for once the English Springtime is not wholly tedious. Do you recall that Miss Austen we met in Bath? My particular friend and the one bright spot of the society there, that you had intended to make into a light snack? I have come upon her again! Unfortunately, she is quite a changed creature. Has it really been that long since we strolled along the Avon with her? These mortal lives take their toll. She is here for medical treatment, anxious and miserable family in tow. She pretends to good spirits, but I can smell resignation. (Over the awful and useless medicines they ply her with.)

It reminds me of myself as a dying woman, I confess, and it gives me an uncharacteristic bout of nostalgia, which I find as repulsive as neuralgia. Still, it gives me ideas for a scheme that will make this summer without you pass most divertingly.

Well do I recall that you once had similar designs on the young lady, though I doubt her current complexion would suit you. If it angers you to have me take the opportunity I prevented you from having – well, darling, you did not have to rush off to Cathay for pugilistic lessons just because a Fyarl beat you in a fair fight. I have said time and again, the solution is to make sure one is never in a fair fight.

Have fun pummeling the monks, dear boy, and don’t hurry home.



May 30, 1817
Mrs. David’s, College Street, Winchester

Letter from Jane Austen to Frances Tilson, excerpted:

… but I assure you that I am gaining strength very fast. I am now out of bed from 9 in the morning to ten at night – upon the sopha tis true – but I eat my meals with Cassandra. Also, a rather odd old acquaintance of mine has emerged in the person of a Mrs. Angelus whom I had met years ago in Bath. A most singular lady of ready wit, she has attended on me patiently every evening, to fill the time when others have left and Cassandra must absent herself, my tender, watchful, indefatigable nurse, that she might not be made ill by her exertions on my behalf. Darla – for that is Mrs. A’s given name – has been a blessing to her, and I think my friend’s cheer is strengthening me daily.

A Singular Couple part two

Image of Jane Austen

(Ed.- I am beyond pleased to present the serial of the story A Singular Couple written by A Lady™.  Jane meets the Angelus’ while in Bath and well, their friendship goes in a direction most unexpected. If you’re a fan of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, well, you can only guess where this goes. Check in every Thursday for a new chapter!)

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

August 20, 1805
Saint George Tavern, Batheaston, England

To the Master of Aurelius, Frankfurt, Germany

Dearest Sire,

If you replied to my last letter at Bath, I have not received it. We are temporarily lodged at the most miserable little inn removed up the river from that town, awaiting our servants with the luggage so that we may continue on to Chippenham by daybreak and then we shall head by coach to Reading and our long, dreary way back to London. I so enjoyed Bath! Ignore the nay-sayers, it is not a wit less glamorous than its heyday. Our rooms on the Crescent had a commanding view over the pleasant town. There were balls and recitals almost every night. And the food! Rich, naïve, abundant and easily missed. (Though I did not care for the sulfur taint of the restorative waters everyone drinks.)

I know you’re waiting for me to tell you why we have suddenly departed, and are eager to hear that it is all Angelus’ fault. This conflict between the two men I hold most dear grieves me, Master. And moreso does it grieve me to give fodder to your side of the fire. But what is done is done!

Angelus, as you know, is fond of his projects, and in Bath he fastened upon a middle-class miss with dark, intelligent eyes and modest dress. When a few simple enquiries revealed that she had a large and devoted family, I begged Angelus off. I was not about to risk my comfortable holiday for some Clergyman’s family.

You can imagine how little the girl’s father being clergy dissuaded Angelus. He eagerly asked after all her family, no doubt hoping to uncover a nun or at least a choir-boy among her near relations. It seemed there was nothing to it but to arrange a believable ‘accident’ to befall her, and so I proposed a jaunt into the country to scrabble up and down hills. The young lady, a Miss Jane Austen, is fond of walks and had the excellent taste to take to me right away. I carefully arranged a trip south, toward the nearest rough country, where we were assured pretty prospects and dangerous drops.

That settled, I set about securing myself in her affections and her mother’s approval so she would be easily allowed to leave with us. Though the poor dear is approaching 30, I did my best to intimate I could find her a husband. I even tried to instruct her in beauty. Lord knows I passed for half her age when I was last healthy and alive. It’s all a matter of perception and good dressing. The girl, alas, turns charmingly scarlet whenever I suggest the slightest application of paint. She is quite pretty enough, but blind to it. The odds are not in a girls’ favor, these days. So few men to go around! She would surely not be a maid still if she had grown up in my native Virginia, where ladies were rare and men full of the passions of the frontier.

How can I describe a woman’s heart to you, dear Master? I arranged everything as a gift to my dear boy, but unforeseen circumstance changed everything. I actually became fond of Miss Austen.

At first I only found her refreshingly competent and intelligent. She was as interested as I am in clothes and fashion, and her experience as an amateur dressmaker meant she could talk on these subjects in a manner equal to my extensive experience. Then, as we visited her family, I saw her hide some small pieces of paper as we entered the drawing room. There are few things I love as much as a good secret, though I was prepared to face the disappointing evidence of a spinsterish romance. It was an easy matter to slip the papers out from under her blotter when attention was focused elsewhere. The dear thing was working on a novel! Revising something she called “Elinor and Maryanne”. What I read of it was quite good, though Angelus regards himself as the literary one and felt it was “just woman’s concerns”. I daresay you would say so as well, but how either of you, who are too much alike to ever admit it, could enjoy reading as a hobby and stick only to books that raise tedious questions like “What is death?” is beyond me. I rather like Miss Austen’s approach of exploring the answer rather than the question. I cornered the dear girl and forced her into giving us a reading of her latest work, which she has titled “The Watsons” and considers not very good. Artists! Always so fragile. And never my favorite meal, as you know. Give me a wealthy man, any day, thick and fat and on the decline from an active youth, with no strain of artistry anywhere in him.

But I digress. The full fact of the matter is we could not possibly dine on this young woman. Even if she were not a particular friend, nor a great artist, the fact is she has already one novel sold, and may have others in negotiation. You know the headaches associated with dining on anyone with any level of celebrity! But Angelus was not to be deterred. He started talking of turning the girl and having his very own “vampire novelist”.

Well, I had gone to all the trouble of arranging her abduction, it seemed the only thing to do was trust to providence, the girl’s charms, or Angelus being distracted. I added an abbey to our itinerary in hopes of the latter. Our driver was Wulfgar, and he certainly knows better than to obey Angelus when I tell him there is to be no “accident”. Well, I could see Angelus’ irritation rise as we passed promising drop-offs and dangerous turns without incident. “These roads are treacherous,” he said, more than once, glaring pointedly at Wulfgar’s back. Dear Miss Austen took it upon herself to reassure him! And she deftly turned the conversation to Angelus’ experiences of roads in France. What a charmer! Angelus is not too far removed from men in general when presented with an excuse to talk about himself.

Well, I knew he hadn’t accepted my judgment of the situation by half, but I did not except him to whisk Miss Austen from my side the minute we stepped down from the carriage! We were near a small promontory and hoped to walk to a nice view – Wulfgar had heard tell we could see as far as Glastonbury Tor. I turned to retrieve my reticule from the seat, and saw naught but Miss Austen’s skirts fluttering in the wind as Angelus carried her off! I had to fell him with a sharp kick to the flies of his deerskin trousers, and admonish him right in front of her. As it was, the poor woman nearly fell to her death from the hilltop as Angelus dropped her. And I do so hate to scold in front of others! Angelus knows this. A lady should present the image of being completely without temper to all but her family. I fear my reputation in Bath is utterly ruined. And Miss Austen, whose friendship could have provided me with years of joy and entertainment, ran off through the woods, securing her own transport back to town from a nearby sheep-farmer.

I did not even get to admire the view. Angelus is sleeping in the carriage-house today and I shall see to it he eats nothing but livestock until we are safely returned to London. I know you have enjoyed this account of his disappointment and punishment, and that gives me some small satisfaction. I have let him run too loose on the leash, up until now. Henceforth I will take a firm hand in his plans, and teach him how to arrange a proper “project”. Surely somewhere in England I can find a nice novice for him – some special girl with no great intellectual prospects. But not for a while yet. I shall not forgive him if Bath is even less fashionable by the time I can return there as my own daughter.

I will write again when we have more permanent lodgings.

With Warmest Regards,
Your Darla

A Singular Couple part one

Image of Jane Austen

(Ed.- I am beyond pleased to present the serial of the story A Singular Couple written by A Lady™.  Jane meets the Angelus’ while in Bath and well, their friendship goes in a direction most unexpected. If you’re a fan of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, well, you can only guess where this goes. Check in every Thursday for a new chapter!)

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

August 13, 1805

My Dearest Cassandra,

How lucky you are to have once again escaped the dreary society of Bath! Do tell Fanny she is free to have as many life-threatening fevers as she wishes, that will call her dear aunt to her side. Next time, perhaps, she could convince her sister to join her so that two aunts will be necessary.

But all is not tedious here, though the heat makes society insufferable and the beige stones make one feel one is in a clay-lined oven. I have taken to late walks along the promenade to cool myself, mostly with dear M. Lefroy, who has chosen to summer here with all her family. They are the brightest spot in our little society, and what is more, Madame has recently met the most singular couple! Mr. and Mrs. Angelus are also fond of the river walk and after exchanging greetings on a few occasions, Madame furnished an introduction. Since then there has hardly been a ball or party they haven’t attended. They seem intent on knowing every last tedious section of Bath society. I can’t imagine why, as they are the least dull people I have ever met, and I find myself eager to converse with them. I shall have to draw a portrait for you in words.

Mr. Angelus is exceedingly handsome, tall & broad, and has all the self-possession of a man who unfortunately knows he is handsome and wealthy besides, but is saved by his inexplicable lack of boasting. He rarely talks of himself at all, but converses nicely and respectfully on art, music, and books, without the overbearing attitude of most men when discussing such matters with women – those charmless fiends who expect one to have no opinion of her own but to praise his. I feel he (Mr. A.) genuinely values my opinion. As for his opinions, they are refreshingly direct, and his reaction on disagreement nonplused. Mr. A. fears the loss of no one’s good opinion. His taste in books parallels mine, dearest Cassandra, and he is nearly as scathing a critic as myself. We are quite pleased to be displeased together and hope never to be satisfied with the state of English writing! His taste in music, however, I shall have to charitably call “fashionable” and leave it at that.

Mrs. A. is American! And not, as one would expect, a barely-clothed savage – except insomuch as fashion dictates. Last night she wore a pink dotted silk that seemed to adhere to her bosom by magic alone. The neckline was a heavy breath away from non-existent, and the sleeves quite short, decorated with rosettes of satin. Complexity and volume are assiduously avoided. (I hope Mrs. A is as prescient about coming fashions as she claims to be, the affect was striking and looked comfortable to wear.) Her hem had a thin satin border worked most cunningly in a pattern she called Egyptian. (Mr. A had words to day about its authenticity.) I would have thought it too frivolous a style for a quite married woman, but she carries it exquisitely. Her hair is as golden and her eyes as blue as ever M. Radcliffe would want in a tragic heroine.

I was wearing your grey muslin, the one we cut down, which I confess to feel is my least horrid dress presently, particularly with the new percale ribbon we added. Mrs. A allowed that it was a fine dress, but not the equal of my features. Can you imagine? I cannot decide whether to be quite cross with her or pleased with the compliment. She felt a green trim would have been more fetching than the peach we purchased. She says that colors are not so dull on the continent. Apparently, they have recently been there and enjoyed their stay immensely. They did not appear to be the least afraid of Napoleon, which is praiseworthy, and spoke eagerly of returning after their sojourn in Bath. I can only presume that Mr. A has some high commission with the Army. He has traveled extensively, talking of the Americas and East India with equal aplomb and relish. Most people when discussing the vistas and balls of their travels are painfully dull, but Mr. A made these far-flung, wild locations sound enticing, and spoke with delightful disdain of persons he has met, some of them quite famous. We shall find ourselves once again very happy in disapproval. I was quite glad to hear that M. Lanval is as odious as I had hoped.

Mrs. A has urged me to address her as Darla, and to dress more becomingly. I think she has fastened upon me as a matrimonial project, though you should hear her words about marriage. She owns that to marry is better than not to marry, “But not so much better that I would be bothered ordering a cake.” And this right in front of Mr. A., who laughed brightly and said he would never bother attaching himself to a woman stupid enough to want to be a wife. I must say M. Lefroy was not pleased with this exchange, and said so at great length. She owns they were attempting to be shocking, in the most unbecoming way. Though they are clearly quite wealthy, Madame suspects they both began their lives in Trade. I did not say, but rather thought that money gotten in trade is just as handy as that received in rents when one wants a new gown.

Either way, Mr. and Mrs. A have invited me to ride with them into the country this evening. We must leave at dusk for they have always some engagement during the day. I feared my mother’s poor opinion, informed by M. Lefroy, would cause her to disapprove. However, she has given her blessing. (She suspects Mrs. A’s matrimonial plans and approves heartily. I daresay the woman could be the ruined daughter of laborers, wealth and matrimonial prospects for an aged bloom such as myself raise her in esteem.) Mrs. A says that she is a great collector of marriageable young men, who mistake her married state as safety. I would not be surprised if she receives an hundred offers of marriage a day, even with her imposing husband upon her arm. And so, dear Cassandra, I hope before your next letter arrives to be happily affianced to a Count, or at the least have more scandalous stories to tell of the witty Mr. and Mrs. Angelus. Really, with such engaging companions, I can foresee nothing but a most pleasant country sojourn.

Yours Affect’nly.