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With Just a Little Guidance Chapters 5 and 6

April 22, 2015 06:14PM
AN: Thank you for the kind comments. I am glad you are enjoying my premise. Many thanks to JA for the text I borrowed this week.
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Chapter 5

Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley's attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his friend. Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed her to be pretty; he had looked at her with little admiration at the assembly although he had enjoyed their conversation; and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticize although he had not voiced that opinion.

But no sooner had he made it clear to himself that she had hardly a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of this she was perfectly unaware; to her he was only the friend of Mr. Bingley. She was not sure she was ready to marry again and was not currently interested in looking for a prospective mate.

Shortly before Elizabeth’s planned exit from Longbourn, all found themselves at a dinner at Lucas Lodge. Upon their arrival, Mr. Bingley had immediately sought out Jane, who was standing to one side with Elizabeth. Mr. Darcy had followed. There ensued a discussion about the accomplishments of the young ladies present that night. Many of the young ladies were quite proficient on the piano.

“It is amazing to me,” said Bingley, “how young ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished as they are.”

Caroline walked up behind him to hear that and questioned, “All young ladies accomplished! My dear Charles, what do you mean?”

“They all paint tables, cover screens, net purses. I scarcely know anyone who cannot do all this, and I am sure I never heard a young lady spoken of for the first time without being informed that she was very accomplished.”

Darcy replied, “Your list of the common extent of accomplishments has too much truth. The word is applied to many a woman who deserves it no otherwise than by netting a purse or covering a screen. But I am very far from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in general. I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are really accomplished.”

“Nor I, I am sure,” said Miss Bingley.

Elizabeth observed, “Then you must comprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman.”

Darcy answered, “Yes, I do comprehend a great deal in it.”

“Oh! Certainly, “cried his faithful assistant, “no one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half-deserved.”

“All this she must possess,” added Darcy with a small smile, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

Elizabeth chucked, “I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.”

Caroline was outraged. “Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this?”

“I never saw such a women. I never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe united.”

Caroline protested that she knew many women that answered this description. Darcy shook his head and wondered if Caroline even listened to herself. She had already said it to be rare, and now she knew many. Elizabeth also smiled at Miss Bingley’s absurdity and excused herself. She turned from the group and joined Charlotte with Colonel Forster. They discussed the possibility of the milita hosting a ball for the community.

After the conversation on accomplishments, Mr. Darcy wished to continue the debate, and as a step towards conversing with her himself, attended to her conversation with others. His doing so drew her notice. "What does Mr. Darcy mean," said she to Charlotte, "by listening to my conversation with Colonel Forster?"

"That is a question which Mr. Darcy only can answer."

"But if he does it any more, I shall certainly let him know that I see what he is about. He has a very satirical eye, and if I do not begin by being impertinent myself, I shall soon grow afraid of him."

On his approaching them soon afterwards, though without seeming to have any intention of speaking, Miss Lucas defied her friend to mention such a subject to him, which immediately provoking Elizabeth to do it, she turned to him and said, "Did not you think, Mr. Darcy, that I expressed myself uncommonly well just now, when I was teasing Colonel Forster to give us a ball at Meryton?"

"With great energy; but it is a subject which always makes a lady energetic."

"You are severe on us."

"It will be her turn soon to be teased," said Miss Lucas. "I am going to open the instrument, Eliza, and you know what follows."

"You are a very strange creature by way of a friend always wanting me to play and sing before anybody and everybody! If my vanity had taken a musical turn, you would have been invaluable, but as it is, I would really rather not sit down before those who must be in the habit of hearing the very best performers." On Miss Lucas's persevering, however, she added, "Very well; if it must be so, it must." And gravely glancing at Mr. Darcy, "There is a fine old saying, which everybody here is of course familiar with ‘Keep your breath to cool your porridge,’ and I shall keep mine to swell my song."

So Darcy had no opportunity to continue the debate about accomplishment. Her performance was pleasing, though by no means capital. He determined that she did not play quite as well as Georgiana, but he truly enjoyed her performance. After a song or two, and before she could reply to the entreaties of several that she would sing again, she was eagerly succeeded at the instrument by others impatient for display. Eventually, one of the young ladies began playing Scotch and Irish airs so that two or three officers and a few others joined eagerly in dancing at one end of the room.

Mr. Darcy stood near them in silent indignation at such a mode of passing the evening, to the exclusion of all conversation, and was too much engrossed by his own thoughts to perceive that Sir William Lucas was his neighbor, till Sir William thus began. "What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy!—There is nothing like dancing after all. I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished societies."

"Certainly, Sir; and it has the advantage also of being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world. Every savage can dance."

Sir William only smiled. "Your friend performs delightfully;" he continued after a pause, on seeing Bingley join the group; "and I doubt not that you are an adept in the science yourself, Mr. Darcy."

"You saw me dance at Meryton, I believe, sir."

"Yes, indeed, and received no inconsiderable pleasure from the sight. Do you often dance at St. James's?"

"Never, sir."

"Do you not think it would be a proper compliment to the place?"

"It is a compliment which I never pay to any place, if I can avoid it."

"You have a house in town, I conclude?"

Mr. Darcy bowed.

"I had once some thoughts of fixing in town myself for I am fond of superior society; but I did not feel quite certain that the air of London would agree with Lady Lucas."

He paused in hopes of an answer; but his companion was not disposed to make any; and Elizabeth at that instant moving towards them, he was struck with the notion of doing a very gallant thing, and called out to her, "My dear Miss Eliza, why are not you dancing? Mr. Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady to you as a very desirable partner. You cannot refuse to dance, I am sure, when so much beauty is before you."

And taking her hand, he would have given it to Mr. Darcy, who, though extremely surprised, was not unwilling to receive it, when she instantly drew back, and said with some discomposure to Sir William, "Indeed, Sir, I have not the least intention of dancing. I entreat you not to suppose that I moved this way in order to beg for a partner."

Mr. Darcy with grave propriety requested to be allowed the honor of her hand; Elizabeth at first demurred but finally accepted.

"Mr. Darcy is all politeness," said Elizabeth, smiling.

"He is indeed; but considering the inducement, my dear Miss Eliza, we cannot wonder at his complaisance; for who would object to such a partner?"

Elizabeth looked archly, but accepted his hand. The set was too lively, in such a small space, to allow for much conversation. Elizabeth merely said, “I thank you for the offer. It had seemed to me that you felt the request for dancing was an imposition.”

He replied, “Well, yes, maybe I did to some extent. However, I am not the host, and would not want to insult him by disparaging his mode of entertainment. And of course, as he said, there are excellent dancers available with whom to partner.”

“And for that I thank you, sir. I admit, I have missed the activity while in mourning. It is fun to be dancing again. What is your expectation of the ball your friend plans to host at Netherfield?”

“Since we have become acquainted with more in the neighborhood, I expect it will be a pleasant evening. I am not sure about enjoyable, but it should be pleasant.” Elizabeth did not realize that he meant her presence would make it pleasant and never thought to announce that she was shortly to leave the neighborhood. They continued to converse, with Elizabeth making witty comments about the people in attendance at the dinner. Darcy found himself smiling more than he had at any of the previous engagements in the area. He also relaxed more in the company of those Elizabeth had described to him.

Once the dance was complete, Elizabeth took her leave to visit with Charlotte while others continued to dance. He was thinking of her with some complacency, when thus accosted by Miss Bingley.

"I can guess the subject of your reverie."

"I should imagine not."

"You are considering how insupportable it would be to pass many evenings in this manner—in such society; and indeed I am quite of your opinion. I was never more annoyed! The insipidity and yet the noise; the nothingness and yet the self-importance of all these people! And your condescension in dancing when accosted by Sir William. What would I give to hear your strictures on them!"

"Your conjecture is totally wrong, I assure you. My mind was more agreeably engaged. I enjoyed my dance and did not need to be importuned. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow."

Miss Bingley immediately fixed her eyes on his face, and desired he would tell her what lady had the credit of inspiring such reflections. Mr. Darcy replied with great intrepidity, "Mrs. Elizabeth Raynor."

"Mrs. Raynor!" repeated Miss Bingley. "I am all astonishment. How long has she been such a favorite and pray when am I to wish you joy?"

"That is exactly the question which I expected you to ask. A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment. I knew you would be wishing me joy."

"Nay, if you are so serious about it, I shall consider the matter as absolutely settled. You will have such charming relations in trade who will be always at Pemberley with you."

He listened to her with perfect indifference while she chose to entertain herself in this manner, and as his composure convinced her that all was safe, her wit flowed long.


Chapter 6

Two days later, Elizabeth returned to Raynor Hill with Allen. She had planned to remain in Longbourn only to support Kitty at her first assembly. Her husband’s mother hated travel and had not accompanied her since the visit was to be only about two months long. However, her letters to Elizabeth were full of the trials she was facing without Elizabeth there to manage things. Also, there was much to do to prepare for winter, and Elizabeth wanted to be there to work with the steward as they completed the harvest. Although she had managed her own household for nearly three years, she always felt some regret at leaving Longbourn. It would always be home. Before the other guests had arrived at Lucas Lodge, she had spent some time talking with Miss Lucas of the removal from Longbourn.

“Charlotte, I will be returning to Raynor Hill in a few days. I would really appreciate it if you could consider joining me. I would love to have you in my home. With Allen gone, there is never anyone to with whom to discuss things, and I find I truly miss that. His mother just does not have sufficient understanding. If there is any kind of problem, she has a serious attack of nerves. You could also join me when I visit Jane in town later in the winter. She has asked for my company and I plan to visit for a few weeks. Who knows, you might even meet someone interesting.”

Elizabeth felt that after the death of Charlotte’s betrothed some years earlier, Charlotte’s opportunities for a new relationship had been limited in the Meryton environment. She hoped to help Charlotte find someone she could marry. If that did not happen, at least she would enjoy Charlotte’s companionship, and Charlotte would not be a strain on the family finances.

Charlotte looked at her friend and read the earnestness in the request. “Have you someone in mind?”

Elizabeth laughed. “No. I just know prospects here are limited. And I truly would like a companion. Allen’s nurse cannot be that nor can the housekeeper. Mrs. Raynor is more a trial than a companion, no matter how loving she is. However, you are that, when I am here, and I would take it with me. Please say yes.”

“Very well. Yes. Thank you for inviting me.”

The wagon collected their trunks the day before the planned departure. Charlotte watched thoughtfully as her things headed out of town. Would they be returning again the same way? When the carriage arrived with Allen, the nurse, the maid, and Elizabeth, Charlotte bade her family farewell as her father helped her in. She promised to write often.

Once everyone was settled, with Allen playing on the seat between the maid and the nurse, Charlotte and Elizabeth entered into quiet conversation about Jane’s growing attachment to Mr. Bingley. Elizabeth stated, “I can see that Jane likes Mr. Bingley very much, but she is so reserved about showing it.”

"It may perhaps be pleasant," replied Charlotte, "to be able to impose on the public in such a case; but it is sometimes a disadvantage to be so very guarded. If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark. There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. We can all begin freely; a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement. In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels. Bingley likes your sister undoubtedly; but he may never do more than like her, if she does not help him on."

"But she does help him on, as much as her nature will allow. If I can perceive her regard for him, he must be a simpleton indeed not to discover it too."

"Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane's disposition as you do."

"But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavor to conceal it, he must find it out."

"Perhaps he must, if he sees enough of her. But though Bingley and Jane meet tolerably often, it is never for many hours together; and as they always see each other in large mixed parties, it is impossible that every moment should be employed in conversing together. Jane should therefore make the most of every half hour in which she can command his attention. When she is secure of him, there will be leisure for falling in love as much as she chooses."

"Your plan is a good one," replied Elizabeth, "where nothing is in question but the desire of being well married; and if I were determined to get a rich husband, or any husband, I dare say I should adopt it. But these are not Jane's feelings; she is not acting by design. As yet, she cannot even be certain of the degree of her own regard, nor of its reasonableness. She has known him less than a fortnight. She danced with him at Meryton; she saw him one morning at his own house, and has since dined in company with him four times. This is not quite enough to make her understand his character."

"Not as you represent it. Had she merely dined with him, she might only have discovered whether he had a good appetite; but you must remember that four evenings have been also spent together—and four evenings may do a great deal."

"Yes; these four evenings have enabled them to ascertain that they both like Vingt-un better than Commerce; but with respect to any other leading characteristic, I do not imagine that much has been unfolded."

"Well," said Charlotte, "I wish Jane success with all my heart; and if she were married to him tomorrow, I should think she had as good a chance of happiness as if she were to be studying his character for a twelvemonth. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always contrive to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."

"You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound. You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself."

“I cannot say for certain. If it would allow me to have a respectable home of my own, I very probably would,” replied Charlotte. The conversation then turned to other matters as Allen demanded attention.

Elizabeth and Charlotte were missed by their families. Miss Bingley never thought to question where Mrs. Raynor had gone, nor had she revised her assumptions about the widows being dependent upon their father. She was merely grateful that Mrs. Raynor’s ‘fine eyes’ would no longer distract Mr. Darcy. Darcy, on the other hand, lamented her loss. He had begun to find her very attractive and wanted to know her better. She had the most amusing conversation at those local dinners they attended. None of the family fawned on him as so many others did in town, and he found he greatly enjoyed the Bennets. Mr. Bennet and Lady Stanford were always interesting in conversation. He had not really spoken much with Kitty, but found her to be an enthusiastic young lady when they did speak. Her lack of artifice was refreshing. From Kitty, he learned that Elizabeth had returned home to her estate in Surrey and was not currently expected to return to Longbourn although she planned to see her sister when she went to London in the winter. With that, he would have to be satisfied.
SubjectAuthorPosted

With Just a Little Guidance Chapters 5 and 6

ShannaGApril 22, 2015 06:14PM

Re: With Just a Little Guidance Chapters 5 and 6

Lucy J.April 24, 2015 02:30AM

I wonder if Elizabeth's estate in Surrey

GracielaApril 23, 2015 05:50PM

Re: I wonder if Elizabeth's estate in Surrey

ShannaGApril 23, 2015 08:08PM

Re: With Just a Little Guidance Chapters 5 and 6

terrycgApril 23, 2015 03:31AM

Re: With Just a Little Guidance Chapters 5 and 6

PeterApril 23, 2015 12:32AM

Re: With Just a Little Guidance Chapters 5 and 6

RoxeyApril 22, 2015 11:51PM



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