As part of an attempt to avoid dealing with several cranky camels in Book VI, I was rooting around in my Book V files looking for the deleted scene where Charlotte waxes nostalgic about her childhood parrot (as you can imagine, the parrot and the Dowager Duchess of Dovedale did not enjoy a harmonious relationship). Naturally, I didn’t find the parrot scene, but I did come upon another deleted snippet from The Temptation of the Night Jasmine that caught my fancy.
Often, in early chapters, I’ll catch my characters engaging in long passages of self-analysis, more fit for a psychoanalyst’s couch than for moving the plot forward. (This, of course, occurs right after they engage in gratuitous antics with unnecessary small animals.) These passages are really more for my benefit than the other characters’, so they tend to get deleted pretty quickly. Nonetheless, these bouts of introspection can be informative, and I was particularly struck by the following (deleted) exchange between Charlotte and Robert:
“You, cousin, are an Original.”
Charlotte looked tolerantly at him, as though he had just said something very silly. “Penelope is an Original. I’m simply a… sort of dilettante bluestocking.”
“A dilettante bluestocking?”
“I’m only a bluestocking when it suits me,” she explained. “I find it very hard to be serious for long periods of time; I like romantic novels; and I can’t find it in myself to eschew the comforts of pretty clothes or comfortable surroundings for a cause or an ideal.”
It’s not great dialogue, but it definitely says something about Charlotte….