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Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 9 (Part 1)

June 26, 2017 11:24PM
Author’s Note: Huge, mega, and a really-big shout out to Betsy and Roxey. Thanks for your help! I REALLY appreciate it! This is being posted without my beta's final approval - any issues are my own. Due to the fact that I won't be able to post again until late next week, I wanted to get this up for you! It is the chapter you all have been waiting for…


Chapter 9 – Learning to Move On (Part 1)

Dewert House, London; August 1812

As Mr. Darcy’s carriage arrived at the front of his London home, after dismounting, he stood on the steps and looked down the street at the large stately home at the end of their lane and sighed. He had his mail forwarded from Derbyshire and had received his godfather’s summons right before he left Hertfordshire.

Grosvenor Street, London
August 12, 1812

William,

A report of an alarming nature has reached me, I find an in person interview is now necessary. Return to London as soon as you possibly can. I understand you have guests at the moment, I also know who they are: feel free to let Miss Bingley know your Godfather, the Duke of Shrewsbury is demanding your presence.

It is the truth. I will give you a week before I send Jones to you.

James Talbot

His Grace’s London town home was only a littler larger than the rest, and looked more ornate and powerful. Knowing who lived there he felt a pang of guilt and thought, it has almost been almost two weeks, I should make a point to get over to him today. However, I must also make sure to visit the Gardiners, soon. He shook his head as he turned toward his own home; I wonder what I have done to deserve such a severe note. I am quite surprised he has not sent someone after me as he threatened. As he turned toward the house, he was grabbed in a rough hug from his sister who had launched herself toward the door as soon as she was informed he was arriving.

“Brother!”

“Georgiana! It has not even been two weeks since I saw you last.”

“I know, but I still missed you. I was not expecting you so soon.”

Mr. Darcy sighed and said, “There was nothing keeping me in Hertfordshire.”

“And how is Mr. Bingley? Did he see his angel?”

Laughing, Darcy said as they walked inside, “Yes. I expect an illegible letter from him informing me of his engagement soon.”

“Will I be able to go to Hertfordshire for the wedding? I would dearly love to see Elizabeth again!” Georgiana shyly asked.

By this time, they had entered the sitting room and sat down together on a couch. Darcy knew he needed to tell Georgiana about Elizabeth and said, “She is not in Hertfordshire. Her grandfather, apparently, has decided it was time for her to live with him in London. I asked her cousins to write and inform her of your willingness to continue your friendship.” He then ran a hand through his hair and replied, “I was not even planning on leaving when I did. However, James summoned me here”

Georgiana sat in utter confusion. Finally she asked, “Brother, you received a note from Godfather this morning. He also called last week, the day after you left for Hertfordshire to meet with Bingley. He was quite upset that you were not readily available for him. He wanted to make sure you would be here for a dinner party. I believe it was sometime this week. I believe the note from this morning is about the party.”

Darcy rose and replied, “If it is, we will most certainly attend.” He went to his desk and sought out the note, when he looked up he saw Georgiana’s worried brow, “What is it dearest?”

“Elizabeth has been in town since her departure from Pemberley?” she asked haltingly.

“Yes.”

“Was she aware of my presence in town?”

Looking oddly at his sister, Darcy replied, “I believe her cousins were meaning to write to her informing her of your presence.”

Quietly she said, “Then she does not wish to continue our acquaintance.”

Darcy’s eyes immediately sought his sister. When he saw she was on the verge of tears, he rushed her side, and he cried, “What do you mean?”

“If she is here and has been here all this time, why has she not called on me, unless she does not wish to continue our friendship?” Tears started forming in her eyes, “I never called on her because I did not know she was here or where to call even if I had! If she knew I was in town, I must believe she does not wish to be known to me.”

“Oh, dearest! That is not true at all!” Darcy cried, “You remember she told me to apologize specifically to you upon her removal from Derbyshire. I assure you, even Miss Bennet informed me of her cousin’s enjoying her time with you at Pemberley. You will see!” He then offered, “Perhaps, she is unaware of your presence. When she left Derbyshire, she still thought you were staying. She had no way of knowing our party would dispatch so quickly!”

At that moment, a servant came in with a tray in her hand. She bowed and offered, “Miss Darcy, this has just come for you.”

Miss Darcy attempted to dry her tears as she grabbed the note. Her tears immediately evaporated when she read it. She said, confused, “I do not understand? Why would Lady Talbot be inviting me to tea tomorrow? I do not believe I have ever met the Earl’s wife.”

Darcy rose and took the note from his sister’s hands and read it himself, and said, “I do not believe this is the Earl of Talbot’s wife, Georgie. James mentioned once that his granddaughter would be introduced to society this year. It looks like it came from James’ home. It might be her.”

Confused Georgiana asked, “If that is true, then why is she inviting me to tea tomorrow? I could just as well meet her at her party tomorrow evening,” she added quickly for her brother’s comfort, “I had no idea you were to be here today. Aunt Bea offered to let me come with them. I saw no harm in it…”

Darcy gently put his hand on his sister’s shoulder and replied, “That is quite alright, I will write to Bea and tell her I will take you myself.” Turning toward the note he still held, Darcy read a portion back to her, “As to her inviting you for tea, it says her that she ‘wishes for one friendly face’ and that you two could ‘chat before’ her grandfather’s friends ‘descend upon her’.”

Chuckling at the wording, he thought, thought sounds like something Elizabeth would say. To his sister, he smiled and replied, “It seems that she wishes to get to know you before she meets everyone else.” Handing the note back to his sister, he added, “it would look like she is determined to make your acquaintance first, an honor, I am sure.”

Georgiana looked hesitantly at the note as she received it back and quietly asked, “Brother, I do not know if I could go by myself…I…I do not do…well meeting people for the first time.”

Darcy sighed and replied, “If you need me to go, I can simply write to His Grace and explain the situation. You know James would never put you in a position that would make you uncomfortable.”

“But she did not invite you…”

Darcy raised his eyebrows and asked, “Since when do we need a formal invitation to our godfather’s house?”

“It might be different now...”

Darcy snorted and replied, “I do not believe that for one minute.” Drained from his trip to London, and then his sister’s emotions, Darcy rose and saw the newest letter from James and sighed. “I probably need to respond to James’ correspondence immediately. James does not often hold parties, I am sure it has to do with his granddaughter. I am at a loss, however…” his voice trailed off.

He was content in his own thoughts until Georgiana asked, “What have you lost, brother?”

Darcy immediately looked up from the note; when he saw his sister’s confusion, he replied, “Oh! I apologize! My thoughts wondered away from me. James sent a rather…different note to Pemberley. It caught up with me yesterday morning. He was not as…pleasant in it as he was in this one. I cannot fathom the other note would be about his granddaughter…”

Georgiana only nodded and held up her own note and replied, determined, “I will respond immediately. You are right: James would never allow someone to make his guests uncomfortable. She is, after all, related to him; surely I will be fine by myself!”

“That is good!” Darcy said distractedly, “I need to go through my correspondence; it seems some things did not catch up to me in Hertfordshire. I will see you before dinner for a walk maybe?”

“I will find you!”

As Georgiana skipped out of the room, Darcy sighed again as he handled his Godfather’s note. James was not normally a demanding man. However, when he wanted something, he certainly got it; I guess that goes with being a Duke. He so rarely wrote to him, why would he need to? James prefers accosting me at our club, he thought as he tore open the letter. Before he was able to read it, Richard was announced.

“Back so soon? Bingley get situated? Is he engaged yet?” Richard called out.

Dryly, Darcy rolled his eyes at his cousin, “Yes, he is at Netherfield. No he is not engaged yet, however, I would not be surprised at a letter announcing such in the next few days.”

“One you will not be able to read of course.”

“Of course.” After offering Richard something to drink, Darcy asked, “What brings you by?”

“Had to get out of my parents’ home. Sanderson, my aide, and I were staying there for a few days while it aired out.”

“Sanderson?”

With raised eyebrows, Colonel Fitzwilliam exclaimed, “I felt it was the least I could do for the help he rendered us in finding Wickham and Miss Lydia. Surely you remember Sanderson? He showed impressive intelligence at seeing through Wickham’s façade. He was invaluable at finding the menace as well. My aide was to get married and muster out, I was in need of new man, and Sanderson fit the bill.” Wiggling his eyebrows he said, “He also wants to work his way into a better position, something about a young lady he is been courting through the mail?”


Darcy nodded, not really listening to his cousin as he opened his mail. He caused Richard to laugh loudly when he said, “Of course. Are you aware he is courting Miss Lydia’s sister Miss Catherine? You may lose another aide soon. Also, did I ever properly thank you for taking care of things after I left?”

“Yes. I still do not believe that you purchased his silence.” Richard stood back and studied his cousin before he asked mischievously, “Why did you? Why did you even get involved? Should not Bingley have been the one to be their family’s savior? If in fact, did you even let him know about it? I mean I know you wanted to make reparations for your mistake in keeping Charles and Miss Bennet apart, but £10,000 to keep their family respectable?”

“You know perfectly well why I acted how I did,” Darcy deadpanned. “I did not do it for Miss Jane or her family. I did it for Elizabeth.”

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet, the girl who got away? I thought she was not even a daughter of the Bennets? I thought she was their niece?” Richard said slyly.

Darcy dragged a hand over his eyes before he said, “She is. Had the scandal hit the family she was living with and raised by, she would never recover. The Bennet girls might have been able to marry, although a marriage with Bingley would not erase the scandal. I assure you, our intervention was well timed.”

“I thought she had no connections?” slyly asked Richard. “Wickham made it seem as if he thought that she did.” Richard smiled as he thought about the letter Elizabeth had sent His Grace. He had read only enough to realize she was confessing Darcy’s failed proposal to James but not enough for Wickham to have known she was writing to a Duke. He had just come from surrendering that letter to its original intended recipient.

When James had mentioned that Darcy more than likely had already told Richard, he had been completely correct. The two men were only about thirty minutes into their ride to London from Rosings Park when Darcy quietly said, “Richard, I proposed to Miss Bennet.”

As Colonel Fitzwilliam sat in his best friend’s and favorite cousin’s study, he smiled at the memory of William’s story. His cousin had not been able to surprise Richard very many times in their lives, but he certainly succeeded on that carriage ride.

The only thing more diverting than Darcy being turned down was the fact that he was completely ignorant of his lady’s true stature in society. Leave it to Darcy to complicate things, Richard thought.

Shaking his thoughts away, Richard listened while Darcy answered his earlier question, “From what I understand she does not have any worthwhile connections, at least no one of significance.” Darcy rose from his seat to refill his drink, and concluded, “It was a godsend that Sanderson wrote to me. If he needs anything in life, let him know to contact me.”

Richard decided rather than to beat around the bush, he would ask his cousin directly, “Darcy, what are you going to do about your relationship with Miss Elizabeth? Surely you cannot mean to continue your suit of her?”

“Yes, I do” As he said this, Darcy felt the weight of his resolve, “I will continue to…attempt to be the man she deserves. The only thing that will stop my resolve will be her marriage to another.”

“Surely she will marry you after saving her beloved family from disgrace?” the Colonel questioned, “When she finds out about the part you played –”

Darcy interrupted his cousin and stated quickly, “I do not wish for her to know of that! “ He sighed as he added, “I want her to marry me out of love, not gratitude.”

Richard suddenly felt sorry for his cousin. “Well, you have my support, as always. She is a wonderful lady. I am not surprised at all at your having fallen in love with her.”

The Colonel rose and noticed the Duke’s handwriting on the note that Darcy had not started reading. Richard decided there still might be an opportunity to be mischievous and grabbed the letter. He opened it up and said, “Well. You got the same summons my family did from James. I think I will stay here at least through the party tomorrow.” the Colonel paused as he read part of the note aloud, “ ‘A very little social gathering to introduce the Duke’s granddaughter to society’,” he read aloud, “I do not believe for a moment this will be a little party. However, it is tomorrow evening. It should be droll but my entire family will be there.”

Pocketing the letter slyly, a move Darcy did not notice because he was already responding to the summons, Richard grinned and added, “Mother has found out that the Earl of Huntington and his family will be there as well. Apparently, even the Duke of Carlisle and his wife and heir are attending. Of course, Georgiana will come” Colonel said without looking at Darcy.

Darcy sighed, “Yes, we will both attend.” Richard made his excuses and said he would be back for breakfast. As he moved toward the door, he heard Darcy say, “Bring Sanderson tonight! He is welcome in any of my homes.”

“Of course.”

As Richard made his way outside and waited for his horse to be brought around, he took out the letter and re-read it one more time with an impish smile on his face.

Dewert House, London
August 21, 1812

Darcy,

You are finally in London after spending almost a year gallivanting around! I was much too busy for a second call today. Write to me immediately as to whether or not you will be attending tomorrow evening. I REQUIRE your presence, and my granddaughter wishes for Georgiana’s.

Do not even try to give me that drivel you make up concerning “prior arrangements” or “business”. It has been seventeen years since any of my family, besides two old and decrepit brothers, have graced the halls of my London home. You can put your own awkwardness aside for one evening; especially since most of the people I have invited have known you since your infancy.

It would be good to note: It would be in your best interest to be there to defend yourself.

I expect to see you no later than 6 o’clock. I believe my granddaughter would like more time with Georgiana, and you and I must speak about your recent…adventures.

James Talbot



Dewert House, London; August 22, 1812

The next morning was a bright affair. After she had started her breakfast, Georgiana was pleased to hear her brother say, “Sister, I was planning on making a very short visit to the Gardiner’s this morning, to invite them to a play at the end of the week. Would you be willing to go?”

Georgiana looked up from her plate excited, “Of course, brother!” Then she added quickly, “but should I? I am supposed to be at James’ for tea with his granddaughter by ten…Is that too soon to visit the Gardiner’s?”

Darcy smiled and replied, “Normally yes, but I plan on pleading business that takes the rest of my day and ask for their forgiveness for arriving so early. Mr. Gardiner informed me, while at Pemberley, his house wakes quite early. I do not believe the time will be a problem. I do not plan on staying for very long, I am quite sure I can get you to your engagement on time.”

Her enthusiasm returned: Georgiana was very excited to go visit the Gardiners and then after to be finally introduced to her godfather’s granddaughter. She was so animated about it she was unaware of her cousin’s entrance with Lieutenant Sanderson when they came in the room for breakfast. “Oh brother, I am so thrilled. Mrs. Gardiner promised to tell me more about Mother and her childhood in Derbyshire. This will be my first social call to someone I actually know, Brother! I mean, Aunt Beatrice always has me go with her on her calls when I stay with them, but I never know anyone and feel so lost in conversations. Oh! Mrs. Gardiner has four children, two boys and two girls, and I hope to meet them! Elizabeth’s description of little Benjamin is just darling and I –” she abruptly stopped speaking when she realized there were more people in the room.

“Little Sparrow, do not stop on my account!” Richard exclaimed as he started filling a plate. The Lieutenant looked quite uncomfortable but followed Richard’s lead and started filling a plate for himself.

Richard sat down next to Georgiana which made Sanderson sit to the left of Darcy. Darcy was amused at the Lieutenant’s obvious discomfort. “Lieutenant Sanderson, I am pleased you were able to be persuaded to stay with me. I am quite indebted to you for helping me with that situation in Brighton. Please know my table and homes are always open to you. Indeed, you are just as welcome as Richard and he drops in even when I am not here. Please feel free to do the same.”

“Well, what are cousins for?” retorted Richard.

“I appreciate your hospitality, Mr. Darcy –”

With a nod of his head, Darcy responded, “You are quite welcome, I assure you. Now, Lieutenant, tell me more about you.”

Darcy spent the rest of breakfast endeavoring to get out of his own shell and get to know the lieutenant. He was a little astonished to hear of his guest’s connection not only to the Baron of Dorset but also the Earl of Alton. That had not come up in his meetings with the man in Brighton. He was pleasantly surprised by how well-bred the lieutenant was.

Between him and Richard, Sanderson became quite at ease in the company. By the time Richard sent Sanderson on an errand for him, Sanderson was quite comfortable with Mr. Darcy and was pleased with the acquaintance.

Darcy, on the other hand, was becoming more nervous by the second. He could not help but wonder if Elizabeth would also be visiting her cousins’ aunt and uncle. I wonder, he mused as he and Georgiana got into his carriage, how much the Gardiners know about Elizabeth’s and my history; after all, she said on numerous occasions that they were favorites of hers.



Gracechurch Street, London; August 22, 1812

Elizabeth had spent a restless night tossing and turning in her bed. Her every thought was turned toward Mr. Darcy. What could it mean that he would rescue Lydia how he did? How did he get Wickham to be silent on the matter? Grandfather simply cannot be right: it is unconceivable to me that Mr. Darcy would still have affection for me after being so abused. So many questions were rolling through her head all night. How should I act once I see them again?

As soon as she was done with breakfast, she had informed her grandfather she was going to visit the Gardiners. Robert had already left on errands, and James had simply continued to read his paper and said, “When you are there, make sure the Gardiner’s will be here tonight. They will be a welcome addition and certainly will calm your nerves down considerably.” Lowering his paper he said, “Also, invite them to a play for the evening after tomorrow; I believe Much Ado about Nothing is playing and I wish to see it.”

“They have already confirmed their attendance, and I will remember to invite them.”

Looking up from his paper, James asked, “Elizabeth, are you quite alright?”

Distracted, Elizabeth waved him off and said, “I simply wish to see a familiar face.”

Not convinced, the Duke rose from his chair and approached Elizabeth to embrace her, “Of course my dear, but know you can talk with me about anything.” Then his face creased in worry and he asked, “What time is Georgiana to be here?”

“Miss Darcy should be here around 10 o’clock.” Looking at her grandfather, she added, “Do not worry, I will be back to meet my guest. I just...” she paused to find the right words, “wish for Madeline’s wise counsel.”

“Of course,” he replied as he let her go. James dryly added, “We all know she is the wisest person around. Just do not tell that to Bea when you meet her evening.” Laughing at the image, Elizabeth took her leave.

When she arrived at the Gardiner’s residence, she found that Mrs. Gardiner had just completed breakfast. Madeline offered to speak with her in the sitting room, with the explanation, “I left cards with a few friends yesterday and will possibly see them this morning. Let’s speak in here in case they drop by.”

After they settled themselves, Lizzy started, “I will not be staying long; I have a guest coming for tea. Oh! Before I forget, Grandfather wanted me to make sure you and Edward would be attending tonight. I told him you had already confirmed but he was insistent. He also offered to take us all to see a play the evening after tomorrow if you are available.”

“Of course we shall be there tonight, and I believe we are free the night after. We will plan on it and I will inform you if we are unable to after I speak with Edward.” Madeline teased, “Will you be sneaking in after the opening scene, again?”

“No indeed!” laughed Elizabeth still clearly distracted by her own thoughts. “I am sorry to arrive so early…I have an appointment in about an hour, but I….needed your advice on something.”

Madeline saw Elizabeth’s distraction and asked, “Lizzy, what is wrong? Are your nerves starting to get to you? Do I need to fetch the smelling salts? I just replenished them as the last trip to Hertfordshire depleted my stock.”

“Oh Madeline! I am not turning into Aunt Fanny,” she cried as she was jolted out of her own set of nerves, “But thank you for the image! I wished to speak with you about Lydia and what happened with her.”

For the next thirty minutes, Madeline was informed of the rest of the story behind Lydia’s situation; Elizabeth was careful to not mention Georgiana’s near disgrace and simply labeled the situation as other family matters. At the very end of her tale, Elizabeth explained the reason for her visit, “Madeline, I find it has been much on my mind lately! Surely his motives could not be Jane and Bingley. Lydia returned before Bingley did. I know that Mr. Darcy was not only involved but was the principal reason she was found and Wickham dealt with. What could have been his motive?”

Madeline simply smiled and replied, “I have a feeling that his motives were not developed out of familial duty.” When she saw Elizabeth’s confused look, she stated, “I will say that when a man is in love as Mr. Darcy is with you, he will do whatever it takes to make sure his beloved is not touched by scandal.”

Elizabeth turned scarlet red, “Madeline! How can you say –”

“That Mr. Darcy loves you? Quite easily my dear; after your description of him last winter, I was prepared to meet a very taciturn and ungentlemanly man. Not only did he immediately introduce his sister, who you have even said he is over protective of, to you, he also returned his friend to your sister at your insistence.”

Mrs. Gardiner allowed Elizabeth to absorb what she had said, and after a few moments of refractions, added, “But I am sure His Grace has made his own opinion known, having known Mr. Darcy for so many years. What has he had to say on the matter?”

Distractedly, Elizabeth replied, “He believes Mr. Darcy’s mind is unchangeable.”

“And you still think that Mr. Darcy could not be in love with you? A man whose mind is unchangeable had already made his mind up to marry you. Surely, if his will is as constant as His Grace believes, a mere refusal from you will not stop his course. Indeed, his actions speak to his very motive!”

Elizabeth attempted to interrupt but Mrs. Gardiner would not let her and continued, “Did you not tell me you argued about Jane and Bingley with him? He also condescended to get to know your
Mr. Gardiner, one of your favorite people, I might add, while on his property. He even had your favorite foods the evening we spent at his home.”

At this point Elizabeth was extremely embarrassed and was blushing fiercely. However, Madeline was not done, “Not only did he return with his friend to your home in Hertfordshire, I am given to understand he asked after you frequently while there. Yes,” she said when Elizabeth’s shocked face turned to her, “Catherine wrote to me of his visits with the Bennets. If all that is not enough for you to believe he is still very much interested in you, consider this: Catherine stated that he spent the majority of his time with Fanny, a woman you told him he slighted. I can only image he did this to improve his relationship with her. Think about it Lizzy, to obtain your good opinion he would need to solicit the approval of those you view as closest to you: that would include all of the Bennets.”

Elizabeth sat in silence for a few moments simply digesting what Mrs. Gardiner had just said. After the silence started to become awkward for Mrs. Gardiner, she asked, “I do not understand your confusion. Surely you do not believe he is making these reparations because of his Godfather?”

Elizabeth blushed at the thought and replied, “No. I do not know! Obviously, he cannot afford to offend Grandfather, nor his own relations who are so close to James, but then he still is unaware of who my grandfather is. James verified that with Richard, I am sorry, Colonel Fitzwilliam when he saw him yesterday.”

Madeline’s heart melted a bit as she asked, “You do not believe he truly loves you?”

“How can he?” cried Elizabeth, desperately trying to understand, “How can he want to align himself with my father’s family who is so reprehensible to him? Even if he were able to get past my Bennet relations; how could a man love someone who abused him so horribly? I keep thinking that he acted how he did with Wickham to avoid scandal for his sister,” she put a hand over her mouth and cried, “Oh no! I was not supposed to tell a soul!”

Madeline smiled and reassured her niece, “It is alright: I promise not to breathe a word; which can be easily done since I am ignorant of whatever tale you are referencing. However, I cannot image a situation that would have called for him to save Lydia’s reputation for the sake of his sister. That seems a little reaching to me. However, since I know none of the particulars of that story, I will ask this: If he was only acting on his sister’s behalf, why would he spend so much time with your family in Hertfordshire?”

“Mary wrote that he told her he could not allow Bingley to ‘muck it up’ again.” Elizabeth smiled in memory.

“That could explain it, but I do not believe so.” Madeline grabbed Elizabeth’s hands in her own and drew the young lady’s eyes to hers and said, “The man I saw at Pemberley saw to your every comfort, he made a point to introduce you to his sister. He has since encouraged her familiarity with your family, and all of this has been done prior to him knowing about your grandfather.” She started laughing and added, “Indeed, he fled to Hertfordshire with his friend as soon as he could!”

The maid came in to both ladies laughing, and as she curtseyed announced, “Mr. and Miss Darcy Ma’am.”

Elizabeth went white; surely she could not meet with him right now. But Madeline was already standing to greet them. “Mr. Darcy, Miss Darcy, how wonderful! I was not expecting you to visit so soon!”

“I apologize for the early call, but I only just returned to London yesterday and Georgiana was excited to see you. I hope we are not too early.” As he said this, Mr. Darcy never took his eyes off of Elizabeth.

“Of course not! You are both welcome! Please sit.” Mr. Darcy chose to sit next to Mrs. Gardiner. “Miss Darcy, you remember Elizabeth do you not?”

“Yes! I hope your family emergency was taken care of satisfactorily. I was sorry to see our time disrupted.” Miss Darcy said quietly as she watched Elizabeth. “Oh! Once again, please call me Georgiana.”

Elizabeth was still very much at a loss and was having a hard time adjusting to Mrs. Gardiner’s interpretations of Mr. Darcy’s actions. She was so embarrassed at the suggestion Madeline had made right before the Darcy’s entered, she attempted to control herself as she addressed Georgiana, “I was also sorry we had to part as we did. I am sorry for any inconvenience it caused you, Georgiana. I believe the situation was handled very competently.” She said the last line as she looked at Mr. Darcy and saw him squirm a little as she said it.

Georgiana was so pleased to see Elizabeth early, she exclaimed, “I am happy to see you! I missed you after you left.” Looking at her brother, she added, “I am surprised to see you today; I understand are you staying with your grandfather…”

Madeline attempted to draw Mr. Darcy into conversation, she had a feeling that Elizabeth would not be up to the task. She was very amused at seeing Mr. Darcy’s distraction. He attended their conversation as much as he could, but it was evident to Madeline his attention was on Elizabeth.

This went on for about fifteen more minutes until Elizabeth realized how awkward the evening would be in Mr. Darcy was unaware of their prior connection. She also still wanted to tell Georgiana before the party and decided to do so quickly. However, as she tried to come up with the words, she allowed herself to become distracted.

Elizabeth was brought out of her own thoughts as Georgiana said, “Elizabeth, if you are busy, I understand. My schedule is quite open, other than this morning and this evening. You are welcome to come to tea anytime. It does not have to be tomorrow.”

Elizabeth instantly felt ashamed by her lack of attention. It was clear to her that Georgiana had offered to invite her for tea and she completely missed it. In an effort to cheer her friend, she forgot her own nerves and replied, “But you were to come for tea this morning! You cannot get out of that now,” she teased, “Unless of course you agree to come before the party tonight! In fact, that would probably work better for me anyway: there is so much to do before I am introduced to Grandfather’s friends, or allies, as he calls them. Simply come around at 6 o’clock, we can each calm the other’s nerves then!”

Darcy, confused and little nervous about the turn of events, interrupted and said, “Unfortunately, Miss Bennet, I must make our excuses for this evening Georgiana and I already have plans this evening. It was made quite clear that we could not miss it. However,” here he paused before adding, “I do not believe I received a note of invitation to your gathering this evening. I will check with my secretary, however. It could be that he simply rejected it for me since we already had plans.”

Georgiana smiled, “Yes, James’ summonses are always clear.”

Elizabeth smiled as she grabbed her things to leave, and replied with a wink to Mrs. Gardiner, “Then I will have no qualms in postponing our chat until this evening Georgiana!”

Georgiana rose, confused, and asked, “What do you mean Elizabeth?”

Elizabeth smiled and replied, “James Talbot is my grandfather, and it is our home you have been summoned to. I shall see you promptly at six Georgiana! We shall have a nice chat before your relations descend upon me and I will answer any of your questions then! I will rely on your description of them as I have never really believed that James friends are as…colorful as he has pictured them. I shall count on your support tonight.”

Mr. Darcy stood stunned at the news that Elizabeth just casually imparted; his sister fared better. She quickly got over her own surprise and exclaimed, “You are James’ granddaughter? I have been hearing about you my whole life!”

Elizabeth only smiled and replied, “Yes; but I really must be off. I will see you tonight, Georgie! Be there at six sharp!” With that she threw an awkward smiled toward where Mr. Darcy stood still shocked into silence, and departed.

The Darcy’s did not stay much longer after Elizabeth left. Darcy did not know what to think; he felt he had to get away to consider this new development. However, as they were leaving, Mr. Darcy remembered a plan he already had and said, “Mrs. Gardiner, we wish to have you to dinner sometime this week. Which evening would work best for you?”

Madeline was quite amused at the invitation; Clearly he wishes to get close to Elizabeth through Edward and me. I believe I will help him. Elizabeth needs someone who will challenge her. However, James must be included in these machinations. “We are not available tomorrow evening anyway, also the following evening we are to go to a play with Elizabeth and James. I was planning on having Elizabeth and her grandfather over on Friday to give them relief to their busy week; you and Georgiana are welcome to join us then.”

Darcy, cognizant of the offer Mrs. Gardiner made said, “What time would you like us here?”

“Seven o’clock would be fine.”

Miss Darcy was the one who accepted, “You may depend upon us! If I might be so bold,” Georgiana said completely unaware of the drama that had unfolded in the last thirty minutes, “Since we were unable to discuss her today, would you be able to have a few stories of mother then?”

“Of course! I am sure Elizabeth would love to hear about Anne as well since she one of was her mother’s best friends!”
SubjectAuthorPosted

Ignorance and Irony - Chapter 9 (Part 1)

MarciJune 26, 2017 11:24PM



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