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A Kindly Aunt 33 & 34

November 17, 2016 09:56PM
AN: moving right along...at least we take care of one of the girls. thank you again for your comments.
Chapter 33

When Anne awoke the morning of her wedding, she could hear no one else stirring in the house. She loved that quiet, peaceful time when she could just enjoy the silence. How fortunate she was that her aunt had welcomed her in London. She realized what a blessing the Gardiners were in her life. They had always been loving and supportive.

She arose and quietly began to dress for her day. Her gown was simple enough that she could dress without assistance. As she finished, the maid arrived to help her with her hair. By this point, many members of the household were up and the noise level began to reflect the many people currently in residence.

Mary joined Anne and asked, “Is there anything I might do to assist you this morning?”

Anne smiled at her. “No, I am well enough right now. If you could just keep track of the veil and flowers, that would be wonderful.”

“I would be pleased to do so.”

The two descended to the dining parlor for a light meal and to await the carriage from the Stevenson’s. Since Sir James was to escort Anne down the aisle, he and Lady Stevenson had asked to ride to the church with the two of them.

It was soon apparent that Mrs. Bennet was up. Even though she was on a different floor, her voice could easily be heard as she complained about her nerves. She needed constant reassurance that her dress looked fine. She complained as she exited her room and saw Elizabeth and Jane that their dresses were too plain. Just as she entered the dining room, Anne and Mary saw the Stevenson’s carriage and swiftly left to its quieter environs.

As the footman helped the girls in, Sir James said, “Well, you two certainly look beautiful today. Anne, I am grateful you wanted my escort. Miss Mary, may I offer you my other arm as we enter the church to await the festivities?”

“I am sure I would appreciate it, sir. How happy I am for Anne today. It is wonderful to be so loved.”

He smiled. “Yes, it is, isn’t it? I think Anne and the Captain will do quite well together.”

Anne blushed. “Thank you, Grandfather.”

Lady Stevenson added, “Such a wonderful day. I am so happy for you, my dear. You two are off to Somerset after the breakfast?”

“Yes, we will see Mr. Wentworth and visit some more with the Musgroves and Lady Russell after they return home. We expect to be gone by the time Father and Elizabeth return to Kellynch. We plan to go on to Portsmouth to see if there is any news of his next posting and so that I can meet more of his naval friends.”

They chatted amiably the rest of the way to the church. Mary and Anne went to a quiet office to await the ceremony. Lady Stevenson was escorted to the pew for the bride’s family. She was happy to greet others of their friends. Soon the Bennets arrived and sat in the pew behind her. A few moments later, Sir Walter and Elizabeth came to sit next to her. She nodded at them but did not bother to speak with them.

Elizabeth Elliot looked at the rapidly filling church in amazement. Anne had so many friends, most of whom Elizabeth did not know. How had she acquired them? From the clothing they wore, they were all of the first circles, dressed in the height of fashion in expensive fabrics. There were a great many men who were very good looking. She wondered if there were a way to gain an introduction to see if they were exalted enough to know.

Sir Walter also looked around at the rapidly filling church. He considered that he looked as good as any of the other younger men in attendance. However, other than the nod from Lady Stevenson, no one seemed to pay him any notice whatsoever. As the father of the bride, he should have more notice from friends and family. He wondered why they all seemed to ignore him. It did not seem quite right.

Mrs. Bennet looked around at the filled pews, closely examining the men, calculating which gentlemen present may have been paying court to her girls. To Mr. Bennet, she said, “Isn’t this exciting? Look at all these handsome young men. Surely one or more of them is a suitor of our girls. I wonder who?”

He shook his head. “This is Anne’s day. Please keep your attention focused where it belongs, on her happiness.”

“It does not hurt her for me to speculate about our own girls. The Captains do look so well in their uniforms, do they not? Who is that army officer over there?” Mrs. Bennet asked this of Mrs. Gardiner who was seated by her.

“He is the brother of Captain Fitzwilliam, Captain Wentworth’s groomsman. He returned to active duty last week and was able to get leave to attend this morning. He will be unable to come to the breakfast however, as he must return directly to his duties.”

“What a pity. I do love a man in uniform.”

Jane and Elizabeth blushed to hear their mother. Luckily, while the Bingleys and Hursts were attending the ceremony, they were not coming to the breakfast. Jane had carefully warned Bingley not to pay her any attention at all. Caroline had agreed to keep her brother’s attention from his favorite object so as not to raise suspicion in Mrs. Bennet. All of their friends who were attending the breakfast had agreed to be no more than civil to either girl so as not to encourage speculation by Mrs. Bennet. They all understood about match-making mothers and did not want to make things uncomfortable for their friends.

Soon it was time for the service to start. Captains Wentworth and Fitzwilliam stood at the front of the church awaiting the processional music. When the fanfare began, all arose. Mary walked sedately down the aisle, followed soon by Sir James and Anne. Once he had handed her over to Captain Wentworth, Sir James joined Lady Stevenson and the congregation was once again seated.

The usual wedding service was unusual in that both the bride and groom seriously attended the words of the minister, particularly his advice on building a strong and positive relationship. They were pleased that their affection had survived the severe test of their separation and that they could now face the future together. Possibly the most unusual aspect was that the grandparents were the ones giving the bride away, not her father. Sir Walter did not even notice that he received some raised eyebrows when friends first realized that Anne had chosen her grandfather to escort her rather than her father as Sir James walked her down the aisle. Their already low opinion of him lowered even further on this evidence of his failure as a father.

When the ceremony was over, the couple and their witnesses signed the register, then stood in the lobby to receive congratulations from friends and family. Only a small group would travel on to Gracechurch Street for the wedding breakfast. It took some half hour to greet all the well-wishers before the new couple could take carriage for the celebration. Bingley had wished the couple well and lamented that he could only view Jane from afar. Caroline had kept him from disturbing Jane and quietly pulled him toward the exit once they had tendered their best wishes. They were followed closely by the Hursts.

By the time the Wentworths arrived at Gracechurch Street, the celebration had already begun. A light repast was spread on the buffet in the dining room with the celebrants helping themselves to dainties that tempted the palate. Mrs. Bennet complained to Mrs. Gardiner, “But, why are we not having a full meal? Could you not provide an appropriate breakfast?”

Mrs. Gardiner replied, “Anne did not want an elaborate meal. It was her desire that her friends could enjoy these treats and visit with one another for a short while. This is her day-we are doing as she desires. She has never been one for pomp and show.”

Mrs. Bennet just shook her head and planned how Jane’s breakfast would be much more lavish. She looked at the gentlemen again, speculating about possible matches for Jane or Elizabeth. However, she noted that none of them spent much time with either girl. Finally, she began talking of their possible matches to Mrs. Gardiner, talking freely, openly, and of nothing else but of her expectation that Jane would be soon married to someone rich. It was an animating subject, and Mrs. Bennet seemed incapable of fatigue while enumerating the advantages of such a match. He must be someone charming, and so rich, were the first points of self-congratulation. It would also be such a promising thing for her younger daughters, as Jane's marrying so greatly must throw them in the way of other rich men; and lastly, it was so pleasant at her time of life to be able to consign her single daughters to the care of their sister, that she might not be obliged to go into company more than she liked. It was irrelevant that they would actually be in charge of Mrs. Gardiner, not Jane, when they finally came into society. In vain did Mrs. Gardiner endeavor to check the rapidity of Mrs. Bennet’s words, or persuade her to describe her felicity in a less audible whisper. The chief of it was overheard by Mr. Darcy, who sat opposite to them. Mrs. Bennet only scolded her for being nonsensical.

"What is Mr. Darcy to me, pray, that I should be afraid of him? I am sure we owe him no such particular civility as to be obliged to say nothing he may not like to hear. He is not paying court to one of the girls, is he? I have seen no attentions to them from him."

"For heaven's sake, madam, speak lower. What advantage can it be to you to offend Mr. Darcy? You will never recommend yourself to his friend by so doing. Although I know no such thing, what if he should be interested in one of your daughters? You could cause him to change his mind about her."

Nothing that she could say, however, had any influence. Mrs. Bennet would talk of her views in the same intelligible tone. Finally, when he went to refill his plate, he relocated to a seat near Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove and spoke with them for the remainder of the morning, avoiding Mrs. Bennet’s nonsense.

At length however Mrs. Bennet had no more to say and fixed her attention on her inadequate feast about which she complained once again. Mr. Bennet had watched this monologue with sadness. Although Mrs. Bennet had promised to be circumspect, apparently that was beyond her ability.

Finally, the Wentworths were ready to take their leave. As Anne said farewell to Lady Russell, she promised to see her at Kellynch Lodge within the week. She also promised to visit the Musgroves as soon as they were back in Uppercross. The couple received a multiplicity of well-wishes from all of their friends and family. Even the Elliots had managed to offer congratulations. As they entered the carriage to begin their wedding journey, both were relieved that the day had gone relatively well.

Sir Walter and Elizabeth Elliot had behaved with civility and that was all the Wentworths had wanted. The Elliots left the gathering in the wake of the Wentworths, having no desire to socialize with anyone else in the company. Since Major Fitzwilliam was not present, Elizabeth Elliot had no desire to remain one moment longer than necessary. She had not been introduced to any likely candidates and was quite disappointed. The only men that had come to the breakfast were those she had already met. Why were none of those other fashionable men invited? Anne had the strangest taste in friends. Sir Walter was surprised that not a single guest had attempted to chat with him. He had been left only with Elizabeth for company during the entire morning.

Darcy and the Musgroves spoke of their girls at school and the friendship that had developed. During the discussion, Darcy said, “I wonder if you would consider a proposition that could greatly assist me? My sister has very few friends of her own age, particularly who live anywhere near us. Could I convince you to allow your daughters to visit with her during their summer break? You would all be welcome, including your younger children. I think it would mean a lot to her to have their continued companionship. I fear she has been somewhat lonely these years since our father died.”

Mrs. Musgrove reached out and took his hand. “My dear boy, I am sure we can work something out. It is kind of you to offer, but I know you would not really like the entire family. Perhaps Charles could escort his sisters?”

Charles Musgrove added, “I would be honored. I am sure we could find many things to keep us busy while the young ladies enjoyed their time together.”

As they continued to discuss this, they determined that the three would come to Pemberley in mid-June and remain until the end of July. The Musgroves would then have August together at home before Henrietta and Louisa returned to school for the next year.

When Darcy had relocated, Mrs. Bennet had turned her attention to the other single gentlemen in attendance. As Captain Fitzwilliam was seated not far from her, he became the center of her focus. “So Captain Fitzwilliam, are you away at sea all the time as Captain Wentworth or have you already come more permanently ashore?”

He smiled, guessing her motivation. “I am afraid that I am a little further down the list than Captain Wentworth. We serve at His Majesty’s pleasure; generally most of our time is at sea. We both expect to be recalled to service within the next month. I might not be back in England again for a year or more. His sister and her husband have been gone at least two years on their current tour.”

Mrs. Bennet looked somewhat disappointed, then thought of how she might quiz this young man about Jane and Elizabeth’s admirers. “How difficult it must be for you. I understand you have met my daughters on any number of occasions this Season. I am sure Jane must have many admirers. Can you tell me about any of them? My sister and the girls refuse to give me any details.”

Mr. Bennet overheard this, deciding that she had indeed gone too far. “Captain, excuse me for interrupting. Mrs. Bennet, could I please have a word with you?”

She looked at him uncomprehendingly. “Whatever do you mean?”

He looked at Mrs. Gardiner and then back at Mrs. Bennet. “Would you please come with me, Mrs. Bennet, so that I could have a private word?”

With poor grace, she acceded to his request and followed him from the room into the hallway. Mrs. Gardiner followed after them.

He said, “Fanny, you promised to keep quiet about the girls’ beaux and prospects in favor of the bride. You have spent this past quarter hour talking only of our girls marrying rich young men. This is a direct violation of your promise. You have greatly embarrassed both girls and the young men forced to listen to you. Madeline tried to get you to desist and you refused. Madeline, I apologize. We will now be packing up to leave. We should be gone within the half hour. If you could call our servants for us and send the girls to our room to say farewell?” So saying, he took Mrs. Bennet’s arm and began assisting her to their room to begin the packing.

As Mrs. Gardiner moved to answer his request, Mrs. Bennet replied, “You cannot be serious. I have done nothing wrong. All mothers are concerned with the marriages of their daughters.”

“Yes, they are. However, they are not so rude as to focus on their daughters at the wedding of their niece. You have forfeited your shopping trip for this afternoon. You should be grateful that Anne brought you that lovely length of lace because you will get nothing else from this trip. I am sorry it should come to this, but we cannot have you jeopardize the girls’ chances through your foolish talk.”

Mrs. Bennet continued to protest this proceeding while he oversaw their packing. All three girls came to bid their parents farewell. Mrs. Bennet continued to be unable to understand what she had done wrong. She then proceeded to give a great deal of unwarranted and ill-thought advice to all three daughters for the remainder of her visit.

Finally, within the thirty minutes he had specified, Mr. Bennet returned and bid a hasty farewell to the group. It would likely be dispersing within the next hour in any case. Their friends were curious about the abrupt departure of the Bennets, but they also realized it meant that both Captain Fitzwilliam and Darcy could once again talk with the Miss Bennets if they wished.

The girls returned and conversations resumed as if nothing untoward had taken place. Elizabeth was secretly pleased that the Bingleys had not been present to witness Mrs. Bennet’s rudeness and speculation. That would have been difficult for Jane.

The Musgroves had determined to stay in town for another two or three days to shop, but Lady Russell left almost immediately after the Wentworths. She planned to arrive at the lodge about two days after the Wentworths arrived in Monkford. The Musgroves would be a couple of days behind that.

That afternoon found both Darcy and the Bennets calling at the Hurst’s at the same time. The girls came to talk of the wedding and quietly inform Bingley that their mother was again on her way to Longbourn so that Bingley could call if he desired.

When Darcy was shown in, he said, “Oh, excellent, we can get many opinions on these options for Bingley. He asked me to look into possible estates, and I have some choices for him to consider. With so many here, you can all offer opinions to help our friend in his decision.”

Bingley smiled. Here was a way to get Miss Bennet’s input without asking for it directly. Darcy described three different estates that were available. They did not talk about the costs or income from the estates. What they discussed were the amenities of the houses and the work required to bring them up to current standards. As they talked, Caroline realized that, while her opinion differed from Miss Bennet’s, it was more important for Miss Bennet to approve than for her. She hoped she would be moving in a different direction with Mr. Findlay.

Finally, the entire group determined that Ambleside sounded like the ideal location. It was a simple house with some modern conveniences, ample space, and nice, if somewhat overgrown, gardens surrounding it. A little work would bring the gardens back to their splendor. For the rest, it was somewhat neglected and could use a little tender loving care. It would offer Bingley an excellent start at estate management. It was also an easy ride from Pemberley.

Darcy and Bingley left together to finalize arrangements for Bingley to take possession around the beginning of June. This would allow Darcy to take his annual trip to assist his aunt at her estate in May before returning to Derbyshire at about that same time as Bingley arrived.

After the gentlemen left, Caroline said, “This is such an excellent start for Charles. It was always our father’s fondest dream to acquire an estate. I would say the only drawback is its distance from Louisa in Sussex.”

Louisa smiled. “It will give us a reason to head north for a change of scenery. I too am pleased for Charles.”

Caroline glanced over at Jane with a sly smile. “I wonder if there is a particular reason Charles is finally ready to take this step?”

Jane blushed. Elizabeth chuckled and said, “Why, whatever could you possibly mean, Miss Bingley?”

All of the women laughed. Then Jane said firmly, “Well, this has been a pleasant visit. We have overstayed our welcome, however. I hope we can expect to see you all tomorrow at the soiree?”

Louisa agreed, “Yes, we will be there. Enjoy your family evening.”

Since they had expected to spend the evening with the Bennets, the Gardiners had declined other invitations for that evening. They decided that rather than accepting something at this late date, they would simply have a family evening at home with the Musgroves. It would be rather a relaxing change. 

Chapter 34

The next morning, the Musgroves once again visited the Gardiners. They had enjoyed Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner and wanted to extend the new friendship before returning to Uppercross. After visiting for perhaps a quarter of an hour, the men took their leave to visit Darcy. However, the women again decided to do a little shopping together. Mrs. Musgrove wanted to find fabric for new dresses and asked the others to join her. They determined to shop at some of Mrs. Gardiner’s favorite shops.

The ladies spent an enjoyable time purchasing fabric for new dresses for Mrs. Musgrove and her older daughters. Since the girls would be home for a few days before traveling on to Pemberley, they could be fitted when they were home and receive the dresses when they returned again.

The ladies then enjoyed chocolate and biscuits before venturing to the book store for a few more purchases. As they browsed, Mrs. Musgrove chatted with Mary about her preferences.

Mrs. Musgrove asked, “So, Miss Mary, what is it that you prefer? For myself, I’m afraid I only read novels, and those, not very often.”

Mary smiled. “I used to try to read only religious texts as a way to try to learn to improve my life. I was very dissatisfied with it. However, I have learned that, while I still tend in that direction, now it is the more philosophical and questioning texts that I enjoy. There is certainly a lot of enjoyment to be gained from the novel-I have been reading them with my sisters and cousin, mostly in French or Italian. However, I find that so many of the heroines are completely ridiculous that they are not as much fun as they otherwise might be. Books about history can also be interesting although many are so poorly written, I feel as if they were not really written to be read but for show.”

Mrs. Musgrove replied, “I fear I agree with you there. That might be why I stopped readying anything but novels. The others were too dry for me. So why do you like the philosophical?”

“It seems to me that society is a study in conflict between the moral and the expedient. Many espouse moral truths but their conduct is in opposition to their words. The philosophers help to explain these contradictions and help me to gauge how I am doing. I do not think people intend to be hypocrites, but it seems to be very easy to rationalize the things we know are wrong when they are generally accepted or overlooked. My father and Lizzy seem to enjoy noting the foibles of our acquaintances while I want to try to understand them. I think that was why I was interested in the religious texts. I was looking for moral instruction.”

“To what end?”

“That, I am not sure, except that I would like to regulate my life and live it according to what I think are correct principals and standards. For example, when our aunt talked about what we want from marriage, it got me thinking. I think I have decided I am looking for someone who is truly good, who does good things because he thinks them the right things to do. He does not have to be an intellectual nor wealthy, but he would have to accept that I like to read about and discuss these ideas.”

Mrs. Musgrove smiled. “I can see how a man who courts you will have to be open to much discussion. He will definitely have to have an open mind.”

Mary smiled in return. “Exactly. I do not want someone who thinks he is perfect, but rather someone who is willing to think.”

Mrs. Gardiner, who had joined them during the conversation, said, “That is an excellent observation, Mary. I am glad you have determined what sort of man you would like. Your home will certainly be an interesting place for conversation.”

Mrs. Musgrove selected a novel new to her that the others had read together. Each found a book or two to add to their libraries. While their parcels were wrapped, they discussed their reasons for today’s selections. There was always a great deal of sharing in the Gardiner household. Mrs. Musgrove enjoyed the give and take between the sisters. She hoped to see such closeness between her daughters as they matured. She felt this summer in Pemberley, after their year in school together, might foster that process.

The Musgroves had received an invitation to the soirée during the mingling at the church after the wedding. Once the shopping expedition was completed, Mrs. Musgrove hurried back to their inn to change and collect her husband and son for the evening.

The men had enjoyed an afternoon at the club with Darcy. He had introduced them to a number of his friends, and they had enjoyed speaking of hunting and shooting for most of the afternoon. All agreed that it sounded like Somerset had enjoyed an excellent season this past autumn and was a place to investigate for future autumns. Mr. Musgrove offered an open invitation for them to visit and enjoy his shooting whenever they might be able to travel to Somerset.

Although Mary had joined the ladies on the shopping expedition, she was still not ‘out’ and did not attend the soirée with the others. She was content to remain at home and hear about the evening in the same way as before.

After greeting his hosts, Bingley went straight to Jane’s side and hardly left it the entire evening. Now that he had a place to call home, he was planning when he could conveniently ask Miss Bennet for her hand. He hoped to wed her before moving into his new home. They had not been courting for long, but he hoped they could soon move to a betrothal. His dream was that they would renew Ambleside working together hand in hand. He could not imagine his life with anyone else.

Caroline smiled over at Elizabeth when she saw her brother’s determination. She herself was quickly joined by Findlay. She was just as happy in her companion as her brother was in his.

Allen Raynor spent much of the evening talking with Elizabeth. He enjoyed her sense of humor and fun. She was very entertaining. He found himself very attracted to her. For a while, she felt like a flower surrounded by bees as both Musgrove and Darcy joined Raynor at her side.

Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove immediately sought out the Gardiners for companionship after greeting their hosts. They were acquainted with only a few of the other attendees and were most comfortable with the Gardiners. They would not presume of the introduction they had with the Fitzwilliams to seek them out. They were pleased to have that acquaintance acknowledged.

Fashionably late, the Elliots also joined the company and greeted the hosts. They took care to acknowledge their family members but immediately tried to attach themselves to Lord and Lady Fitzwilliam. Lord Fitzwilliam gamely tried to include Sir Walter in the conversation he was having with another peer, but it was soon apparent that Sir Walter was unable to participate, having no opinion or knowledge of the subject they were discussing. That did not deter him from remaining firmly at Lord Fitzwilliam’s side. After a short period of time, his presence was completely ignored.

Lady Fitzwilliam was in a similar state. Miss Elliot was a firm fixture at her side offering no enhancement to her conversations with her friends. Frustrated at the presumption, Lady Fitzwilliam had finally said, “Now, if you will excuse me, Miss Elliot, I must speak with my daughter.” She turned and went immediately to Lady Harriet leaving Miss Elliot at a loss of where to go next. Miss Elliot eventually turned to an acquaintance to begin speaking of the clothing of the attendees.

Finally the entertainment was called and they all took their seats. The Bennets and Gardiners found seats with Lady Harriet and her husband. Sir Walter and Miss Elliot found a couple of empty seats, but not near the Fitzwilliams as they had desired. Instead, they were forced towards the back of the room away from the more important guests. They were both frustrated to see that the Gardiners were treated with more welcome than the Elliots. It was completely incomprehensible.

The music was quite good and the following refreshment enjoyable. The mother of the hostess sat next to Lady Stevenson enjoying her food. She looked over at Sir Walter and Elizabeth who were once again trying to ingratiate themselves with Lord and Lady Fitzwilliam, shook her head, and said, “I am somewhat surprised in your son and granddaughter.

Lady Stevenson glanced over at the Elliots and sighed. “In what way?” she asked.

“Of course, I have known you this age, and after becoming acquainted with your granddaughter, Mrs. Wentworth, I had a higher expectation of those two than what they have displayed. I had not previously had an acquaintance with them. They are both nice looking but there seems to be nothing more than that.”

“James was somewhat naïve when he gave Elizabeth permission to wed Sir Walter. We too had higher expectations that have never been met.”

“I do not believe they will be invited again. They were asked as a courtesy to Mrs. Wentworth who is such a dear. However, I do not believe they merit our notice. I hope you will not mind that they are excluded.”

“Of course not. One must have some standards, you know. Although we invite them to family dinners, they rarely attend. We are not truly in the same social circles. Do not worry about offending us. I am afraid we feel somewhat the same as you.”

“Well, that is a relief. On the other hand, I do like both of the Miss Bennets. They are delightful young women.”

Lady Stevenson smiled in satisfaction. “I agree with you there too. Their father is quite entertaining, as is their mother for other reasons. However, they are both quite wonderful as is their next younger sister who should come out in a year or so. I have quite enjoyed myself watching them become so popular.”

Once again Elizabeth Bennet found herself the center of attention from both Charles Musgrove and Allen Raynor. As they conversed, she found it interesting that neither had much to say about current events. Both were more articulate when it came to either their opinions of the night’s entertainment or of their autumn shooting events. They were also able to discuss the benefits of spending at least part of the season in London to take advantage of their connections and of certain social advantages.

As the evening ended, the Musgroves said farewell to their new friends. They knew they would see Darcy again soon, but had no expectation of seeing the Bennets and Gardiners again although they would certainly visit the Gardiners if they returned to London. The ladies all promised to be faithful correspondents as they had greatly enjoyed the new acquaintance. The Musgroves would be heading back to Uppercross the next day.

As the Elliots left, Miss Elliot was quite frustrated that none of Anne’s friends would acknowledge more than an acquaintance with her. She thought she might like to better know Mr. Raynor and Mr. Nelson, and none of those friends would help her make any progress. As the son of an earl, Nelson was definitely worth knowing. Raynor was more questionable as there was no title, but the estate sounded lovely. It was insupportable that these two had not even looked twice. How was she to know if they were suitable if they would not talk with her? As they drove home, she said to her father, “These few events we have attended with the rest of the family seem quite odd. We are never treated with the respect we deserve as Elliots. It seems the Gardiners are of more importance than we. Have you noticed this too?”

“Indeed. I cannot account for it at all.”

“Well, I think we need to turn back to our own circle of friends. It seems to me that the Gardiners are obviously jealous of our importance and have convinced their friends to ignore us. I do not feel they would be much loss as they have no conversation of any interest.”

“I must agree. Well, at least we have other resources for our enjoyment. It will be their loss.”

Elizabeth smiled. “Indeed it will.”

Of course, none of those so dismissed by the Elliots would regret the loss of the acquaintance. Each year, it seemed that the Elliot social circle in London would diminish as more and more were removed from desirable acquaintance. Neither Elliot would ever understand why they were not more sought out.

While the Elliots were vaguely dissatisfied by their visit to London, the Musgroves were overjoyed. They had appreciated the invitation to Anne’s wedding and had been almost overwhelmed by the positive attentions of Anne’s friends. Now recognized as acquaintances of the Fitzwilliams and Darcy, the Musgroves recognized that their circle had expanded significantly. The return trip to Somerset was one of reminiscence and pleasure.

A Kindly Aunt 33 & 34

ShannaGNovember 17, 2016 09:56PM

Re: A Kindly Aunt 33 & 34

Margaret FNovember 18, 2016 04:06AM

Re: A Kindly Aunt 33 & 34

BrigidNovember 18, 2016 01:45AM

Re: A Kindly Aunt 33 & 34

EvelynJeanNovember 18, 2016 12:57AM


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