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This works for me. It sounds like you have the story you want.
Normally, I would caution about soft pedaling a word (fear vs. cowardice), but if you chosen to use a different convention, so be it.
On putting the key scene off stage. I’m sure the rhythms of a Regency make that possible. But I’d encourage you to write the scene, even though it will not be included. Knowing what happened and articulating it should have a good effect on the scenes you do include.