Monday, February 7, 2011

Writing with Senses in Play!

I'm cheating today because I'm down with a barking cough and can't muster the wherewithall to think up a post relating to usage of all the senses in one's writing! So I've snatched a snippet from latest historical WIP. Please bear with me as this is a first draft, but it does incorporate the three senses sight, touch and smell.   Brief: Elizabeth Mountjoy is riding away after calling at Loxton House, her beloved away on business and she a little disheartened by his absence; her mind in reflective mood.         

       But then  . . . then Captain Thomas Thornton had arrived. His duty to escort the Prince to the local garrison for a review of troops. Her affections for the prince had faded fast in mere fleeting moment of eye contact with the young captain of horse. Much to her delight, that same night Captain Thornton had returned with the prince, and their eyes had met for a second time.
       A smile crept to her face. A sensual tremble rippled down her spine, for the vision of dark smouldering brown eyes and oh so charming smile leapt instant to mind. She had not doubted the young captain had charmed every lady ever encountered, and had not cared one dab of ladies rouge if he had. Lucky for her the Prince left Bristol the next day, Captain Thornton did not, and not a tear did she shed during the prince’ departure.
       Her horse stumbled drawing her from reverie; but momentary her heart nonetheless jolted in sympathy for her mount. Within two strides her mount regained its former pace. She assumed a stone had caused the animal severe discomfort, for she knew it had a loose shoe and she in part to blame for its pained state. Had she taken more care on her journey to Loxton House and not galloped the poor animal over rough ground it would still be sound of foot.
       For the horse’ sake she must look more to the path ahead, for had she done so she might have spied a bedraggled looking wretch of a man walking beside a rangy chestnut. How had she not seen the pair?
       Horse and man were now little distant, and wary of a hooded stranger she clawed the Lady Anna’s cloak more tightly about herself. A waft of lavender reminded her of the very close alliance between the Lady Anna and Thomas, and although in her heart she knew Anna to be deeply in love with his lordship, she could not help but wonder if Thomas harboured feelings for Anna that went far beyond friendship.     
       Walking?  The poor man ahead seemed sudden bent double, faltering in step, his horse patient and tolerant in restraint as though aware of its master’s plight.
       She urged her mount forward at the trot, for the man had not so much as raised his eyes to look ahead.
       Sure in mind the man no threat, she hailed him.
       On seeing his face her heart lurched, and bile rose in throat.
       She reined in, leapt from her mount and ran to his aid.
       ‘Oh dear God, what has happened to you?’
       He gripped her shoulder, his reply barely audible. ‘Beaten, and damn well robbed.’
       ‘Oh Thomas, your face, your poor face.’ She wanted to hug him, soothe his pain, for he looked dreadful. ‘Your bruises are all black and blue, and encrusted blood on the cut above your eye implies this happened days ago.’
       He drew breath, pain evident. ‘My face will heal. I fear the damage is here,’ he said, hand to lower chest. ‘A bone or two broken, methinks.’
       ‘Who did this to you?’
      ‘Damn vagabonds had lain a trap with a bit of a girl left lying on the highway. I stopped to assist her, and they came at me before I could draw sword or pistol. They tried to make off with Saxon here, as well as the gold coin I carried. He’s a cantankerous beast at best, and unaccustomed to harsh hands he resisted and caught one of the vagabonds a good clout about the head. That’s when they made off leaving me for dead or dying, neither of which bothered them.’
      ‘And you could not regain saddle?’
      ‘I tried when senses regained enough, the pain too severe.’ A noticeable wince streaked his features in first real attempt to straighten up a little. ‘Ten miles I’ve walked, and not another soul have I seen.’      
      ‘Might you mount with help?’              
      ‘I think not, and it will take more than another mile of walking to kill this man.’
      She could not help but feel heartened by the smile that swept to his face, and the way he said, ‘A kiss will do me well and perchance aid in quickened step.’
      Pure pleasure enveloped in obliging his wish, his arm about her shoulder as it should be, as it had been in better circumstance of snatched moments of bliss. She so wanted to hug him, but his tenderised state forbade it. Just to feel him leaning against her, to hear his voice, and to look into eyes caused inner excitement no other man had achieved nor would: ever.


  1. This is so poetic, Francine! It really conjures a romantic and historical mood. Get well soon!

  2. Oh that's gorgeous! I think smell is often dealt with very clumsily in many stories and this is great. Feel better soon.

  3. Great excerpt! No better way to teach a concept than to show it.

  4. Interesting excerpt,I liked the 'waft of lavender'.
    Hope you feel better soon.

  5. Very nice, Francine.

    My favorite part was the sensual tremble that rippled down her spine.

    Hope you're feeling better soon.