Although the official release date of Edmund Bertram's Diary isn't until November 30, the book is ready early and the publishers, Robert Hale Ltd, are already shipping it.
Hale are offering a 30% discount until November 30 (and possibly a little afterwards) and free UK p&p
You can order the book from Hale by clickinghere a>
Exclusive extractThis extract is taken from near the end of the book. Maria has run off with Henry. Edmund has gone to see Mary, and has been horrified by her reaction. Here he tells her that he wouldn't want Maria to marry Henry.
'I would not ever want to see my sister married to such a man as your brother – the man I now know him to be. Inconstant, deceitful, immoral, everything that a man should not be. I see now that I have never understood you; that I have loved an image of you, and not you yourself.’
She did not know how to look At first she was astonished, then she turned red, and I saw a mixture of many feelings, chief amongst them anger. I saw a great, though short struggle, half a wish of yielding to truths, half a sense of shame, but habit, habit carried it. She would have laughed if she could.
‘A pretty good lecture, upon my word. Was it part of your last sermon?’ she said sarcastically. ‘At this rate you will soon reform everybody at Mansfield and Thornton Lacey; and when I hear of you next, it may be as a celebrated preacher in some great society of Methodists, or as a missionary into foreign parts.’
But her words could no longer wound me. I only said in reply, that from my heart I wished her well, and earnestly hoped that she might soon learn to think more justly, and not owe the most valuable knowledge we could any of us acquire, the knowledge of ourselves, to the lessons of affliction. And then I left the room.
I had gone a few steps when I heard the door open behind me.
‘Mr. Bertram,’ said she. I looked back. ‘Mr. Bertram,’ said she, with a smile; but it was a smile ill–suited to the conversation that had passed, a saucy playful smile, seeming to invite me in order to subdue me. I resisted; it was easy; and I walked on.
As I walked out of the house, I was shocked to see that our interview had lasted only twenty-five minutes. Such a short time to change so much!
I met my father soon afterwards, and though I did not tell him of everything that had passed he guessed it had not been good, for he suggested to me that I should write to Fanny and tell her to ready herself, then go to Portsmouth and take her home.
My gloom began to lift at the thought of seeing Fanny again, but I worried about leaving my father. He reassured me that he could manage alone, and so I sent my letter, telling Fanny I would be in Portsmouth tomorrow for the purpose of taking her back to Mansfield Park. I said also, at my father’s request, that she should invite her sister Susan for a few months, for he was sure that Fanny would like to have some young person with her, someone who could help counteract her sorrow at the blow that had befallen her.
Wednesday 10 May
I arrived in Portsmouth early, by the mail, too worried to be tired by my lack of sleep, and by eight o’clock I was in Fanny’s house. I was shown into the parlour, and then Mrs Price left me in order to attend to her household affairs whilst the servant called Fanny down. She came in, and I strode across the room, reaching her in two strides and taking her hands in mine, scarcely able to speak for happiness and relief at being with her again.
‘My Fanny – my only comfort now,’ I said, momentarily overcome.
I collected myself, for what were my griefs compared to hers?
I asked if she had had breakfast, and when she would be ready. She told me that half an hour would do it, so I ordered the carriage and then took a walk round the ramparts. As I felt the stiff sea breeze, I thought of the moment I had taken Fanny’s hands, and I wondered at the strangeness of it, that her fingers were so tiny and yet they could put such strength into my own; for I had felt it flowing into me, strength and courage, when I had touched her, sustaining me in my misery, and I hoped that my touch had strengthened her, too.You can find another extract on my website by clickinghere