Henry Tilney's Diary, p.1Amanda Grange
Table of Contents
Titles by Amanda Grange
Praise for Colonel Brandon’s Diary
“The hero of Colonel Brandon’s Diary has more tragedy and romance in his life than any three or four bodice-ripping Regency rakes. Elopements! Duels! Adultery! Love children! This is Jane Austen? the skeptic might ask; we reply, it sure is! It’s all in Sense and Sensibility, cunningly hidden in the backstory, but Amanda Grange has brought this dramatic tale to full life in the best book yet in her series of heroes’ diaries.”
“In her fifth novel in the Austen Heroes series, Amanda Grange has actually succeeded in improving upon Austen’s character Colonel Brandon . . . As always, Grange is one of the most gifted writers in the Austen subgenre, giving us a touching inside story that is hard to put down.”
Praise for Edmund Bertram’s Diary
“Amanda Grange has hit upon a winning formula and retells the familiar story with great verve.”
—Historical Novels Review
“Once again, Amanda Grange has provided a highly entertaining retelling of a classic Jane Austen novel, as seen through the hero’s eyes . . . Pure fun, with the story told in a diary format that makes the reader feel like she’s taking a peek into Edmund’s innermost thoughts . . . I enjoyed every moment of it.”
—Romance Reader at Heart
“A sympathetic portrait of a young man struggling with the difficult choices that life throws at us all.”
Praise for Captain Wentworth’s Diary
“Amanda Grange has taken on the challenge of reworking a much-loved romance and succeeds brilliantly.”
—Historical Novels Review (Editor’s Choice)
“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.”
“Amanda Grange’s retellings of Jane Austen’s novels from the point of view of the heroes are hugely popular and deservedly so . . . Captain Wentworth’s Diary, a retelling of Austen’s Persuasion, will entrance and enthrall old and new fans alike.”
“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
“Sticks close to the plot of Austen’s Emma, mixing [Knightley’s] initially censorious view of Miss Woodhouse with his notes on managing the hereditary seat at Donwell Abbey and affectionate asides on his collection of young nieces and nephews.”
—The Washington Post
“A lighthearted and sparkling rendition of the classic love story.”
—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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Titles by Amanda Grange
MR. KNIGHTLEY’S DIARY
CAPTAIN WENTWORTH’S DIARY
EDMUND BERTRAM’S DIARY
COLONEL BRANDON’S DIARY
HENRY TILNEY’S DIARY
LORD DEVERILL’S SECRET
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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 © 2011 by Amanda Grange.
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Berkley trade paperback edition / December 2011
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Henry Tilney’s diary / Amanda Grange.—Berkley trade paperback ed. p. cm.
ISBN : 978-1-101-55902-4
1. England—Social life and customs—18th century—Fiction. 2. Diary fiction. I. Title.
Dedicated to everyone at the Jane Austen House Museum,
Chawton, Home of England’s Jane. With many thanks for
their excellent work and for making me so welcome.
Wednesday 14 April
No lessons, no tutors, no Latin, no Greek! How glad I am to be home again, with time to spend with my horses and dogs, my brother and sister, my mother and father. No more school for a month! Instead time to wander the abbey and roam the grounds.
The kitchen gardens have changed since last I was here. My father took me on a tour of them as soon as I stepped out of the carriage. H
Mama looked pale but only laughed when I said so, remarking that everyone looks pale in April. But I think she is not well. Eleanor has grown another inch and has developed a taste for Gothic novels. Frederick was out all day and looks set to be out all night, too. Papa paced up and down, his watch in his hand, whilst waiting for my brother this evening, then at last gave instructions for dinner to be served without him. I do not envy Frederick when he returns, for if there is one thing my father hates, it is to be kept waiting for anything.
Thursday 15 April
All was peaceful this morning as Mama, Papa and I were at breakfast. Eleanor had just departed to work with her governess when suddenly the door of the breakfast parlour opened and Frederick walked in. It was obvious that he had just returned from a night’s carousing. He was looking very dishevelled. His eyes were red, his speech slurred and his linen was none too fresh. He lurched towards us and demanded a thousand pounds from my father to cover his losses at the gaming tables, saying he must pay his debts of honour. My father, who had watched him like a simmering volcano since he set foot in the room, went purple with rage and rose to his feet. He shook with anger and then erupted, roaring a refusal and saying that Frederick had disgraced the name of Tilney.
‘By God, boy! What do you mean by it, coming in here at this hour and standing before your mother in this state, unwashed and reeking of brandy? I have warned you about your behaviour before, sir, but I will not warn you again. I have had my fill! I will not stand by whilst you waste every penny of your allowance—’
‘Aye, and pennies is all it is,’ said Frederick with a sneer. ‘A gentleman cannot be expected to manage on what you give. It is a trifling sum, when you inherited a fortune—’
‘Which you are dissipating. I should never have listened to your mother’s soft entreaties on your behalf. I should have sent you into the army years ago, it would have made a man of you,’ said my father.
‘What? A soldier?’ asked Frederick as he half-lurched, half-fell into a chair with a derisory laugh. ‘I am the heir of Northanger Abbey. Careers are not for the likes of me.’
‘Careers are for every man who would be a man, instead of a disgrace to himself, his family and his name. The devil finds work for idle hands; well, no more! If you were older I would demand your help in running the estate—’
‘You would never let me meddle with your precious gardens and kitchens, you want them all to yourself. You do not even let Mama have a say! You like your own way too well.’
Papa threw down his napkin and his anger turned into icy contempt.
‘If you had shown any interest in your duty, then in the coming years I would have let you join with me in improving the abbey, but as it is you need discipline. Let us see what a few years in the army will do for you, and see if you, too, can rise to the rank of general.’
Mama, who had been sitting quietly up until that point, was upset by the turn events had taken. She implored my father to change his mind, saying that Frederick was too young to join the army. To which my father replied, ‘Eighteen? Too young? If anything it is too old. Some discipline would have done the boy good years ago, but better late than never.’ Then turning to Frederick he demanded, ‘Well, sir, what do you have to say for yourself ?’
Frederick looked mutinous, but Papa in one of his moods is not a man to cross, and so instead of challenging our father outright Frederick said provokingly, ‘That I think it a very good thing.’
‘Do you begad?’ said my father in surprise. He nodded his approval. ‘Then perhaps there is hope for you yet.’
But Frederick had not finished.
‘There is nothing more calculated to attract the opposite sex than a red coat,’ he said impudently. ‘The women fall all over me at the moment, they will fall even more quickly once I am in uniform!’
My father was incensed.
‘Puppy!’ he roared.
‘Please, dear, do reconsider,’ Mama implored. ‘Frederick is the heir. He cannot go into the army. What will happen if he is killed?’
‘He will be killed if he stays at home. He is forever putting his horse at breakneck jumps, and drunk or sober he has been in more duels than any man I know. It is a wonder he has lived this long.’
‘But think of the estate,’ said Mama.
It was an entreaty which fooled no one, for she cares very little for the estate and a great deal for her firstborn son.
‘If Frederick is fool enough to get in the way of a sword then Henry will look after it,’ said my father.
Mama pleaded with him again, but to no avail. Papa’s mind was made up.
At last Mama left the room in some distress, closely followed by my father, who was still shouting his dissatisfaction. I, meanwhile, was no less dismayed than Mama. Having no desire to inherit the estate, I was not pleased with the turn events had taken.
‘Have a thought for me,’ I said to Frederick, as he staggered drunkenly to his feet. ‘I do not want to inherit Northanger Abbey, I would much rather inherit the family living. So take care of yourself. I do not want to see you take a bullet.’
He smiled broadly.
‘Henry, dear boy, so there you are. It’s good to see you,’ he said, breathing brandy fumes into my face. He looked at me narrowly as he swayed on his feet, and added, ‘all of you.’ Poking me affectionately in the chest, he went on, in a slurred voice, ‘You’re a good man, Henry, a very good man. You’re not just my brother, you’re my best friend and I love you, I do. So I will tell you something, Henry. Now listen carefully. Come closer. Closer. Never give your heart to a woman. Never, never, never. Promise me. Promise me!’
‘Good. Good. Because they are devilish creatures, all of them. They lead a man on, they say they will love him for ever, and then do you know what they do? Do you, Henry? They leave him for his best friend. And do you know why they do that? Because his best friend has more money. They are not worth a candle. They are heartless and loveless and good for nothing. I will never love any woman ever again. I am glad to be going into the army. No women in the army. It’s the army for me, Henry my boy.’
He tried to stand up but lurched drunkenly and saved himself by putting his arm around my shoulder.
‘We men must stick together,’ he said.
Then his arm began to slide from my shoulder, he slipped down beside me and passed out on the floor.
When he is sober, my brother looks wicked and dangerous, when he is drunk he has the look of a cherub. His face relaxes and a happy smile curves his lips.
I was loath to break up such a pretty picture, but knowing what was likely to come next I rang the bell for his valet. Together we managed to lift Frederick to his feet and then we half-carried, and half-walked, him to his room where we put him to bed.
Friday 16 April
My sister Eleanor who, at the age of thirteen, is promising to become a beauty, was amused when I told her about the morning’s events, particularly by the possibility of my becoming the heir.
‘On, no, Henry! You cannot inherit the estate!’ she said, laughing, as she gambolled through the gardens in front of me, taking joy in the early-spring sunshine. ‘You will never make a good heir. You are not nearly reckless or rakish enough.’
‘I had the same thought myself. It is essential, I suppose, for heirs to be reckless and rakish?’ I asked her.
‘You know it is! You have read as many novels as I have – well, almost! It is unthinkable to have a son and heir who is a sober and reliable person. He has to spend his life seducing virtuous young women, or drinking himself into a stupor, or placing bets on whether he can drive from London to Brighton in seventeen minutes and forty-two seconds—’
‘Which of cours
‘And he has to turn good, honest families out of their homes when he has nothing better to do, and then give their houses to his mistresses . . .’
‘. . . even though the good, honest families are so virtuous that they have attended church every Sunday for their whole lives . . .’ I said.
‘. . . and so poor that they have nowhere else to go, and will therefore die in the snow,’ finished Eleanor. ‘Now Frederick is a very good first-born son. He is wild and handsome and he comes home drunk every night, and he is always losing money over some ridiculous bet. But you would make a very bad squire, for you have never done any of these things.’
We turned along the chestnut walk.
‘Not yet, I grant you,’ I said. ‘But in the unlikely event of my ever inheriting, I shall try to give satisfaction. I don’t suppose that I can become a rake all at once, but I will take it in stages. I will begin by making a mildly scandalous remark to the Lowrys’ governess, perhaps commenting on her shapely ankles. I will make a similar small beginning on gambling, betting five shillings on whether or not it will rain on Saturday, and proceed from there.’
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