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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #1889489
Written for: In The Manner Of Contest. Jane Austen is my character I am using.
Jane Austen was looking at the newspaper. She came across an item that held her interest.

"Five Writers Wanted. Your work will be published once a week in this newspaper. Send your letter to: The Black Cat to this newspaper about what you write, why you write and tell us what items you have written. Send us copies of some of your writing. If you are chosen, you will receive a letter in two weeks. The Black Cat will be your host and Editor. Maybe he will choose you. Good Luck."

"Henry! The newspaper is going to showcase five writers each week in their newspaper. This is my chance. I am going to write a letter and send some copies of my work. What do you think about this?"

"I think you should submit your letter." Henry read the ad and smiled. "Meow."

Jane had her letter written in no time and sent copies of her work of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Henry went to get the carriage because he knew that Jane wanted to post her letter today. She had a feeling that others would be applying. She hoped that she would be chosen.

Henry and Jane enjoyed the ride into Bath. It was sunny and Jane felt so hopeful. Henry had publishers publish two of Jane's books but being a featured author in a paper would be the icing on the cake. Jane held her umbrella to keep the sun out of her eyes.

"Thank you, Henry. You are the best brother ever."

"You are my sister and I would do anything for you."

Henry got Jane to the Post Office and they got her letter sent out. Jane hoped that she would be one of the chosen ones.

Jane was on pins and needles and she waited for a letter from The Black Cat. Maybe she wouldn't get one. She helped her mother clean house and wrote stories from her writing desk made out of cherry wood. Her father was a big supporter of her writing.

She was helping her mother do quilting two weeks later when her brother Henry came home. He walked over to Jane and handed her a letter addressed to her from The Black Cat. She didn't say a word as she slowly opened the letter. Yes! She was chosen as a featured author. They would publish the first two chapters of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. They asked her to send a chapter a week.

Jane hugged her brother Henry and showed him the letter.

"I am so proud of you, sister."

"I am, too. Looks like I will be busy."

Jane hummed to herself and went upstairs to get out copies of her novel and she got them ready to be posted. Henry took them to the Post Office for her.

Two weeks later, the first three chapters of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE were published in the paper. Jane was so happy. A Captain Stetson, Angus, Emily and Charlotte Bronte were the other four authors. The authors were welcome to send letters to each other if they had the author's name on them and had to be addressed to c/o The Black Cat. Jane loved Charlotte's love poem and Emily had chapters of WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Angus was a bit of a radical writing against the Crown and was full of himself. Captain Stetson was in the Navy and he wrote about the battles he had been in and wrote a story about the Lochness Monster claiming that he had seen her. Jane loved it. She wrote letters to Captain Stetson and the Bronte Sisters. She didn't care for Angus. She didn't write to him.

Jane sent in more copies of her novel and a couple of love poems. She got letters from the Bronte Sisters and they loved her work as much as she did theirs. Captain Stetson wrote to her and he admired her work. She had praised his work as well. There was a letter from Angus. He didn't like her story. He told her that she needed to get married, have kids and relationships based on mush was what was wrong with the world. He had an attitude problem! Jane didn't like him and she wasn't going to answer his letter.

Jane continued to send in chapters and she wrote to the Bronte sisters and Captain Stetson was very taken with Jane. When Captain Stetson found out that she lived in Bath, he asked if he could see her at the ball. His fleet would be close to Bath and they were attending the Whitmer Ball and so was Jane's family. Jane couldn't wait to meet him. Jane wrote that she would be delighted to see him. She received more letters from Angus telling her she was a lousy writer and women should be seen and not heard. Jane showed her brother Angus' letters and he wrote to The Black Cat about them. The Black Cat promised that Angus would be warned about his behavior and wasn't allowed to contact Jane again. Angus had written poison pen letters to Captain Stetson, Emily and Charlotte. Angus quit writing for The Black Cat. Jane felt relieved.

Jane continued to write stories for The Black Cat. She had bought a blue fancy dress with ruffles, lace and pearls. She was all excited about the Whitmer Ball. Jane received two letters from Captain Stetson and he told her he would be dressed in a blue uniform holding a red rose. Jane could hardly wait.

The night arrived and Jane and her family went to the Whitmers. Jane was quiet and Cassandra hated going to the ball but Mr. Austen wanted his wife and daughters with him. Henry had business and was out of town. Jane was nervous and she kept touching her cameo necklace. Finally, they arrived at the ball. Mr. Austen helped his wife, Jane and Cassandra out of the carriage. Jane walked graciously and the Austens were greeted by the Whitmers.

"You look nice, ladies." Mrs. Whitmer had fading blonde hair and always looked tired. She was being a gracious host. The music was playing and Jane saw the military men. Which one was Captain Stetson? She touched her cameo nervously and then she saw a handsome soldier with dark hair and blue piercing eyes holding a red rose. She shyly walked over to Captain Stetson and bowed.

"Captain Stetson?" Jane asked.

"Yes. Are you Jane?"

Jane nodded. "Yes, I am Jane Austen. A pleasure to meet you."

Captain Stetson handed Jane the red rose and kissed her hand. Jane blushed. Captain Stetson asked her to dance and they danced. He was quite a good dancer. After several dances, Jane and Captain Stetson went outside to the Veranda and sat down on a wicker bench.

"I like your story. Does this ball remind you of your story?"

"Yes, it does. How do you like the Navy?"

"I love serving my country. I may write for a living after I am done with the Navy."

"I love writing. I am so glad that The Black Cat was looking for authors and he chose me, you and the Bronte Sisters."

"Me, too. I see Angus isn't writing anymore. That man is conceited!"

"He quit. I think he was asked to to. I don't miss him."

"Me, either. I have learned a lot about the Navy from reading your letters and your stories. I like reading about Nessie."

"She is real and I saw her once. How did you like the giant squid story? I saw him, too."

Jane smiled. "I liked it very much." She lookd around. Her father was standing in the doorway. She looked nervous. "We had better get back inside."

Captain Stetson danced with Jane to some more dances. Other men didn't ask Jane to dance but she was used to that. Jane and Captain Stetson sat down again but stayed in the house.

Mr. Austen came over to Jane and Jane introduced him to Captain Stetson. Mr. Austen was friendly but he didn't like his daughters courting. Jane knew that she wasn't beautiful but her father didn't encourage her to meet men. He wanted her and Cassandra to be old spinsters it seemed. Mr. Austen told Jane they would be leaving in a half hour. Captain Stetson took Jane to the Veranda again as he led her by the hand.

Captain Stetson gently kissed Jane on the lips.She was surprised but was glad for the kiss. Jane was over the moon. A man had kissed her and paid attention to her.

"I know that a gentleman isn't supposed to kiss a woman that he just met but I don't know when I will see you again. "

"It is alright. We know each other well enough."

"I will take you back inside. Jane, I do care for you."

"I care for you, too Captain Stetson as well."

"Nathan. Call me Nathan, my Dear."

"Nathan. I will be writing to you and reading your stories. "

"I will read yours as well and be writing you."

Captain Stetson kissed Jane's hand and the Austens left the ball. Jane hoped that she would see Nathan again soon.

"Daughter, do you fancy yourself a soldier?"

"Yes,father I do. He is very nice."

Mr. Austen grunted. Jane was glad when they got home.

Jane finished submitting her PRIDE AND PREJUDICE chapters. Nathan wrote to her and Jane enjoyed his letters. She received another letter from her Captain telling her that he loved her and wanted to marry her. This was so romantic to Jane and she couldn't believe it. She loved him and wrote him a letter and told him so. She said "Yes" to his marriage proposal. Jane was so happy. Her life would be complete. Captain Stetson was her Mr. Darcy. He was handsome and perfect and he loved her. Jane told Henry and he was happy for her. She would tell her parents when Nathan had leave and came to see her. He would ask her father personally for her hand in marriage. Jane didn't even write and tell the Bronte sisters. She couldn't wait to tell everyone but she would have to for now.

Jane wrote some short stories for the paper but Nathan hadn't written anything. She hadn't had a letter from him, either in 3 weeks. Jane was nervous as no more letters came from Nathan. Did he change his mind? Maybe he didn't love her. How well did she know this man?

Henry came home from work one day and didn't know how to tell Jane what he had to tell her. Jane was writing at her desk. He came to her room and knocked on the door.

"Hello, Henry. You look so serious. Is something wrong?"

"I am afraid so. Pirates seized some Navy ships and blow them up. Captain Stetson was killed with the others."

Jane's face grew white. "When was this?"

"Two days ago. A letter came for you today. It is dated last week from Captain Stetson. I am so sorry. There's more. I am The Black Cat and I have been ordered to stop publishing the story page."

Jane put her hands over her eyes and cried. Henry gently embraced her. "I am so sorry. You found love and I was so happy for you. Jane, we will get through this. The Story Page well, I wanted to get your writing out there."

"I know. I will always love Nathan and you. He was Mr. Darcy but he was real."

Henry kissed Jane's cheek. "I love you, too. Is there anything I can do?"

"No. I need to be alone." Jane's heart was broken and she felt her world was over.

Henry left and Jane cried. She wrote a poem about Nathan and she felt better but only for a little while.

Henry told his family about Jane. Mr. Austen went to talk to Jane.

"Daughter, Henry told me about your soldier. I wouldn't want you to have married him but I love you and just want you to be happy. I am sorry." Mr. Austen hugged his daughter.

"Thank you, father. I love you, too and you always take care of our family."

Mr. Austen left and Jane's mother and Cassandra went to see Jane. They hugged Jane and told her how sorry they were. Jane was lucky to have her family. She cried in her mother's arms and Mrs. Austen's heart was aching.

The next few days, Jane didn't eat much and she wrote to the Bronte sisters and they wrote back and told her how sorry they were about Captain Stetson.She told them that they planned to marry. The Bronte sisters felt as helpless as Jane.

A year later, Jane met the Bronte sisters in person as they came to visit her. There were hugs and tears. Jane would always love Captain Stetson but she was thankful that she had him briefly and her writing and name were popular in some circles. Her family seemed closer and she had two beautiful friends, The Bronte sisters. Jane always tried to be thankful for what she had and considered each day a gift. Nathan's last letter told her how much he loved her and wanted to marry her. She got some comfort and happiness as she cherished his memory and letters the rest of her days. Every romance book she wrote was with him in mind. We all know her writing is famous today.
2,234 Words
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