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Kindly Relations Chapters 1 and 2

March 27, 2018 05:11PM
Blurb: Sequel to A Kindly Aunt where a variety of relatives aid young ladies in many families to find matches that promise happiness for the future

AN: To those of you who wondered what happened to all the other girls after A Kindly Aunt, I finally had the time to find out. The first half is pretty complete, the second still a bit sketchy. Right now, it is 52 chapters. I plan to post Tuesdays and Fridays if real life allows. I hope you enjoy. This picks up at the wedding breakfast after the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth.
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Kindly Relations

Chapter 1

During the wedding breakfast for Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy, Mr. Charles Musgrove (senior) invited the extended family members present to come to Uppercross for a fortnight shooting party in late September. “It has been so much fun together that we must have all of you join us for some shooting. Please do say that you can come.”

Mrs. Bennet was terribly excited as Mr. Bennet answered, “Of course we will bring Mary. It will give us a chance to see her future home. It is very kind of you to offer to host all of us.”

Mr. Gardiner was forced to decline, “I am sorry, but we will not be able to get away again until our December holiday. I do wish it were otherwise, but we must decline.”

Darcy looked over at Elizabeth to see her smile at the offer. “Of course we must be there. If you hold it shortly after we drop Georgiana at school, we can minimize our travel.”

Bingley, Hurst, and Findlay all readily accepted the invitation. Roderick Alleyn declined saying, “I do wish we could join you. It sounds like a jolly party. However, like Gardiner, I will be unable to get away.”

Lord Fitzwilliam said, “I am afraid we too must decline. There is too much that needs to be done at Rosings for us to spare the time. Perhaps we can join you again another time.”

Mrs. Bennet was particularly excited to view Mary’s future estate. Since Mr. Bennet traveled only reluctantly, she was terribly excited that she had visited London twice, Derbyshire once, and would visit Bath and Somerset all in the same year. Life was wonderful. To Mrs. Gardiner she said, “Oh, sister, what an exciting year. I do not remember us traveling so much before. So many new places to see. And with Lizzy and Jane living here in Derbyshire, there must surely be more travel to come. And Bath for the younger girls at school-what a joy.”

Madeleine smiled. “Yes, you have been truly blessed.”

With help from Darcy, Mr. Bennet had acted swiftly to claim spots at school in Bath for both Kitty and Lydia. They received the announcement of their acceptance the day of the wedding. There would be major changes coming to Longbourn beyond the loss of the older girls to marriage.

While Darcy and Elizabeth spent their week alone becoming acquainted in more intimate ways, their wedding guests prepared to move on. The Bingleys, Findlays and Hursts were to go north to Scarborough so that Jane and Findlay could meet the distant cousins. Mrs. Findlay thought it would be interesting to meet the rest of the family as well. They would enjoy a short holiday together leaving once the Bennets departed.

The Gardiners left the day of the wedding for a leisurely journey back to London enjoying sites along the way. As they were in no hurry, they would detour from the main roads on occasion to see places that caught their attention. The older children particularly enjoyed the journey.

The Fitzwilliams also left immediately after the breakfast.. Lady Fitzwilliam was very pleased that Darcy seemed to be so happy. She accompanied Lord Fitzwilliam to Rosings where they planned to meet with Anne and determine what needed to be done. They would also need to find permanent attendants to care for Lady Catherine in her permanent confinement. Hopefully, the dower house could be secured to create a comfortable residence for her.

Since the Gardiners were leaving immediately after the wedding, the Musgroves decided they would do the same. Although the girls did not want to leave Georgiana, they needed to spend some time at home before leaving for school. Also, with the Gardiner children gone, there would be no one for the younger Musgroves to play with. They had a long carriage ride ahead of them.

Two days after the wedding, Mr. Bennet was ready to go home. As he and Mary sat at breakfast, he said to her, “Well, I am pleased you are coming home with us. It will be nice to have you there for the autumn. It appears it will be the last time.”

“I hope Mr. Musgrove and I will visit on occasion.”

“I can always hope. I know it will be much quieter with your younger sisters at school. I wonder how it will change them.”

Lydia and Kitty had entered the room during the conversation. Kitty asked, “Do you think it will change us? Why?”

Mr. Bennet chuckled. “Broadening horizons and perspectives usually changes a person. Look at how much your sisters have changed. We know you have already begun to greatly mature, which I have truly enjoyed this past year. I suspect the school will help you change in ways we cannot foresee.”

Lydia said, “Well, I hope I can make many new friends. I like Georgiana, Louisa, and Henrietta. I am glad they will all be family. There have been so few young women at Meryton that it will be great fun to have many new friends.”

Mary said, “I think Father is right that we can expect a number of changes for both of you.”

Jane added, “I expect that you will all be very happy. I am very pleased for you.”

Mr. Bennet managed to get his wife and daughters out to the carriage after only a few attempts. There was always one more thing Mrs. Bennet needed to share with Jane. Finally, he simply took her by the arm and escorted her to the waiting carriage. She stuck her head out the door as the carriage pulled away calling, “Now, be sure to write immediately if you find you are with child. You must hurry to do your duty. See you in September.”

Jane waved goodbye, saying to Bingley, “Mother never changes.”

“At least you know what to expect.”

“You could say that.”

Bingley went into his library and sent a note to Pemberley inviting his family to join them on the road the next morning. Shortly after breaking their fast the next day, the Bingleys, Findlays, Hursts were on the road heading north to meet the cousins.

By the time Elizabeth and Darcy returned to the main house at Pemberley, only Mrs. Williams and Georgiana were left in residence. As they walked up the front steps, Darcy asked, “Well, Mrs. Darcy, are we ready?”

“I think so. I am certainly excited to begin our life together.”

They heard the piano playing as they entered the front door and headed immediately toward the music room. Mrs. Williams smiled at them as they entered. Georgiana caught movement out of the corner of her eye and looked up from the music and squealed. “Oh, you are home. I am so happy to see you both.”

Darcy smiled in return. “We are happy to see you too, Georgie.”

Elizabeth added, “Please, finish that piece. It sounded lovely.”

She and Darcy seated themselves on the sofa and prepared to listen. With a smile, Georgiana started the piece over for them. She was pleased at the applause that greeted her efforts.

Darcy excused himself to visit with his steward and see what needed immediate attention. Once he left them, Elizabeth asked, “Is there anything we need to deal with to prepare for school?”

Mrs. Williams answered, “I think everything is well in hand. Her new dresses should be ready next week. I will be leaving for home after we collect them.”

Elizabeth replied, “Thank you. I hope we can expect you to join us for the summer again next year. It has been lovely becoming acquainted and having you here.”

Mrs. Williams replied, “I will look forward to it but will understand if circumstances change and it is not possible.”

“We must hope that doesn’t happen.”

Later, Elizabeth went to her working parlor to see about any correspondence. She then spent some time with Mrs. Reynolds to discuss upcoming menus and schedules. Both she and Darcy found there was much to keep them busy.

Elizabeth, Mrs. Williams, and Georgiana spent much of the next week visiting tenants, allowing Elizabeth to become acquainted with some of her new challenges. She was impressed again with how thoroughly Darcy had cared for his estate. They also attended the local charitable circle together. Mrs. Williams had gone occasionally when visiting for the summer, but Georgiana had never been.

Mrs. Huntingdon was the hostess that week. “Mrs. Darcy, it is quite wonderful to welcome you and Miss Darcy to our circle.”

Elizabeth replied, “We are certainly happy to join you. Although Georgiana will be leaving for school in a few weeks, when I am home, I hope to be a regular participant in the group. How often do you meet?”

“With all our duties, we are only able to get together once each month, but we each take a project home to work on in between our meetings.”

“Oh, good. I will still be able to participate even though we will be gone for some of the meetings.”

They chatted and sewed for the entire morning. Georgiana said little, but was quite surprised at the variety of subjects and people discussed in those few hours. She planned to share what she had learned with her friends at school as none of them had participated with the adults in such a circle.

One afternoon a day or so later, Elizabeth sat at her correspondence, considering her new situation. She had received a letter from home, from her good friend Charlotte Lucas. After reading the letter and hearing the news from Meryton, Elizabeth went in search of her husband. As expected, he was in his study dealing with his own correspondence.

“Can I interrupt for a few moments?”

He smiled up at her. “Of course. Nothing would please me more than to spend a little time with you instead of these problems.”

“We have talked in the past of my friend, Charlotte Lucas. You are busy so much of the day, I thought I might benefit from a companion, and Charlotte would suit me well. I was thinking that perhaps we might invite her to join us after the shooting party in Somerset. We could travel to Longbourn after the party, allow my mother to boast about how well situated Mrs. Darcy is as she shows me off to our friends, and collect Charlotte to be a companion. If she were to be with us through the season next year, it is possible she might find someone congenial. As you know, she has very few prospects at home. She could also help me plan that Harvest Ball we have discussed if you still want to restart that tradition.”

“I think that an excellent idea. I wish I could spend more time with you, but you understand how it is. Yes, I still would like to host the ball if we can. I know the neighbors truly enjoyed it. The festival for the tenants has continued, but I think everyone would like it if the ball were to be held again.”

“Then I will write to invite her. It will be nice to have her company once your aunt and sister are gone. After all, you are busy most of the day,” added Elizabeth with a smile. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and returned to her parlor to write her friend. She also penned a long letter to Anne Wentworth apprising her of all that had happened in the past month. She knew it might be many months before she received a reply from Anne.

Although Mrs. Bennet complained at regular intervals on the ride from Derbyshire to Hertfordshire, the rest of the family enjoyed the time together. The sisters followed the same routine the older ones had used on the trip to Ambleside, reading, discussing, and playing games. Mr. Bennet read most of the time, but he enjoyed listening to his daughters in discussion. Mrs. Bennet could understand little of what was read or discussed, but she did enjoy having Mary back with her. She even managed to compliment her on occasion about her success in attaching a very eligible young man. Whenever she felt she had been ignored for too long, she would have an attack of nerves and need everyone’s assistance to sooth them.

The day after the Bennets returned from Derbyshire, Mrs. Bennet required the carriage so she could visit all her friends. Mary must join her mother so that Mrs. Bennet could boast of the success of Jane, Elizabeth, and Mary. It was a novel experience for Mary to hear herself praised so often by her mother.

A couple of days after arriving home, Mary talked with her father about obtaining a lady’s maid. Although there was no hurry, she thought it might be nice to have someone to care for her now rather than waiting, if her father thought it possible.

“I think we can afford it. It will only be until the wedding, so only about nine months or so. Our expenses here are decreasing even though we have the school fees.”

“Thank you, Father.”

After Mary talked to Mrs. Hill about it, they scheduled a few interviews with some local girls who were interested in such a future. They should have a lady’s maid for Mary by the end of the week.

The next day, all three Bennet girls managed to visit a couple of the tenants with Mrs. Hill before going to the village to select a couple of dresses that Kitty and Lydia would need for school. The dressmaker got started immediately. The girls decided they would work on retrimming a couple of bonnets.

After interviewing four girls, they settled on Sally Fargo who was only a little older than Mary and had at least a bit of experience in service. She had worked at Netherfield Park for its previous tenants. She was able to begin immediately.

Mary helped her sisters in their preparations as Mrs. Bennet preferred to pretend that they were not leaving for school. Fargo also assisted. As they worked on altering some of their older dresses, Kitty exclaimed, “Mary, thank you both so much for your help. I had given no thought to all that preparing for school would entail. Fargo, you sew so much better than any of us. Every dress you have fitted up has turned out beautifully. Thank you.”

Lydia added, “I can see how fine it will be to have a maid of my own someday.”

Fargo blushed. “Thank you, Miss Kitty. It was my pleasure.”

Mrs. Hill continued the education that Mary had started learning at Ambleside. With all three girls, she discussed the reasons for visiting the tenants and signs to indicate issues which some might prefer hidden. One nice benefit was Mary, Kitty, and Lydia becoming even closer friends as they visited and prepared for school together.

Mrs. Bennet invited all their friends for dinner just a few days after they returned home. Once again, Mrs. Bennet boasted of her married daughters and celebrated Mary’s betrothal. Mrs. Bennet’s friends enjoyed her happiness but many tired of her boastings after the second or third hearing. Remembering her discussions with her sisters, Mary spent time trying to become closer to friends such as Charlotte and Maria Lucas. These friends found her quite changed.

As they visited before dinner, Charlotte said, “I am so happy for you. You seem very content.”

Mary smiled, “Thank you. I will admit that I am much happier than I was before my visit to town. I have learned so much.”

Maria asked, “You mean your music? Your letters talked much of that, at least at first.”

“Well, that was part of it. I enjoy it much more now and can play much better. No, I learned much about life, about people, and acceptance. Learning to really converse with new acquaintances made me realize how I had not really made that effort here at home. I am glad I have this time to spend with you before leaving again.”

Charlotte added, “I am sure your betrothal has helped.”

“Of course it has, but the changes had already taken place. In fact, without them, I doubt that the betrothal would have happened. Once I was more relaxed, it was easier to talk with people. I understand that Elizabeth has asked you to join her after the shooting party.”

Charlotte smiled “Yes, it is very kind of her. After the party and her visit here, I am to return to Derbyshire with her. Later, I will see you again when I join them in town. She has very kindly offered to give me some access to a season. She claims that with Mr. Darcy working so much she will be in need of company. I know she is just being kind, but I greatly appreciate it.”

Mary replied, “I am sure she will enjoy the company. I know she did not enjoy the season as much after Jane was gone. With Georgiana at school and Mrs. Williams returned to her family, she will probably enjoy having you with her as she goes about her day. After all, growing up with four sisters accustoms you to always having someone nearby. You might well meet someone in London. I am sure that would be pleasant for you.”

Maria said, “There are certainly no eligible gentlemen here. I hope Charlotte is able to find someone-that will probably also increase my chances.”

Mary said, “Whatever happens, I am sure Charlotte and Elizabeth will have a grand time together.”

Charlotte said, “It is certainly kind of Elizabeth to invite me. I am quite looking forward to it.”

Based on their conversations with their new friends while in Derbyshire, both Lydia and Kitty practiced piano more than usual during their final days at home. They did not want their performance to be found wanting in the new environment of the school. Mary helped them when she had the time. She and Fargo helped them pack their trunks as the day for leaving Longbourn fast approached.

Chapter 2

Lord and Lady Fitzwilliam were happy for the Darcys as they left Pemberley. As they waved farewell and began down the drive, she said, “I do not think I have ever seen Wills so relaxed and happy-at least not since George died.”

“I believe you are correct, Constance. I will admit though, that he will be happier with his new mother living so far away. It is hard to believe that she is Elizabeth’s mother.”

“We all have relatives who leave something to be desired. Speaking of whom…”

“Ah, yes. At least Mrs. Bennet still has some grasp on reality which it appears my sister does not.”

“George, I will leave you to make the arrangements for Catherine. It is Anne that I am worrying about. We must get a real physician to examine her to see if her health can be salvaged. If at all possible, she must have a season. At a minimum, I will sponsor her presentation. I am sure it will do her good to be with Miss Bennet, Mrs. Bingley, and Mrs. Hurst. After all, she is only twenty. Do you think her capable of running the estate?”

“Who knows? She managed to keep herself quite hidden. Catherine was so dominant. I agree she needs to have a life now. We must discuss that with her before making any decisions. I have already written my physician to call upon her. He should have already performed that examination so she can know what to expect.”

“It will be so difficult for Anne.”

Their journey was fairly easy although neither relished having to try to make arrangements for Lady Catherine. They were happier that Anne would now be able to have more of a life.

The carriage went directly to Rosings. They could deal with the resident at the dower house soon enough. It was more important to see Anne.

As the Fitzwilliams gained the entry way, they were surprised that Anne was there to greet them. In the past, she had kept to her rooms as much as possible. “Aunt, Uncle, it is wonderful to see you. Welcome to Rosings.”

Although they had always been fairly formal in the past, Lady Fitzwilliam threw aside that formality and warmly embraced Anne. “We are sorry it had to come to this, but we are here to do anything we can to help.”

Lord Fitzwilliam added, “How are you managing?”

“As you might imagine, this has not been an easy transition. I know I will need your help with a great many things. Mother never allowed me to do anything at all, and of course, my health hindered any efforts I made.”

Lord Fitzwilliam asked, “I wrote to my physician in London asking him to attend you. Has he been here yet?”

Anne laughed, “Indeed he has. It was quite enlightening. Apparently, most of the tonics mother has been forcing on me have been part of the problem. They contain ingredients that are addictive, cause enervation and weakness, and generally sap the energy. We threw them all out. The first two weeks have been sheer hell, excuse the language, but they were. However, I am starting to feel better without them and the shakes have abated. I can now think clearly instead of in a fog. I am eating better and get outside for some fresh air and a walk every day. At first that was torture, but it is starting to be pleasant.”

“So the cures were actually causing the illness?”

“At one time, when I was young, there probably really was something wrong. However, I suspect that mother enjoyed the result that I was placid and amenable to whatever she suggested. The tonics gave her more control over me, and she liked that.”

He frowned, “My dear, I am so sorry that our neglect allowed this situation.”

She shook her head. “There is no need to apologize. My mother has ruled with an iron fist-how could you know?”

She directed the butler to show them to their rooms to refresh. “We can talk further once you have refreshed yourselves. There will be tea in the parlor when you are ready.”

The Fitzwilliams followed him to their rooms while Anne retired to the parlor. What she had said about the symptoms of quitting the nostrums could not convey the horror that these past weeks had been, but the way she felt now was more than adequate compensation for the misery she had endured. Perhaps it had even made her stronger.

When they joined her in the parlor, Lady Fitzwilliam asked, “Is Mrs. Jenkinson no longer here?”

“No. She was mother’s choice and not really a companion at all. I have provided a nice severance and reference but she asked to leave as soon as Mother arrived home. I know I will need someone, but I know you will help me find her. Since you indicated we will be together for some time, I do not feel there is any rush. Whoever it is must be someone whose company I can enjoy.”

“What about the rest of the help?”

“Her maid is at the dower house with her. She provides some assistance and a great deal of comfort. The steward is of course excellent. Wills has seen to that. I believe our butler and housekeeper might be ready to be pensioned off and someone more capable come in their stead. I will ask you to make your own assessment. I will need a lady’s maid as well as that companion. I know you will help me find both. We will need to do something about Reverend North. He is unable to comprehend the change, cannot function without multiple meetings with me each day, and shares information that should be confidential asking for my input on how to fix things. Mother actually loved having such a sycophant, but I find it very uncomfortable. He must be nearing retirement age as he was already old when I was a child.”

Lord Fitzwilliam said, “I think I can help with that. I will write to the Bishop later today. We must find someone more suited.”

Anne added, “Perhaps someone with a family? I think we need that in the village.”

Lady Fitzwilliam looked at Anne somewhat speculatively. “You are doing better than I had anticipated.”

Anne laughed. “Once I recovered from the potions, it is amazing what can be done with a clear head. My only outlet these many years has been reading and that I have done voraciously when I felt well enough. I read absolutely everything in the library. Although many are out of date, they included some of my father’s and grandfather’s books about estate management, journals, histories, philosophy, and science. Although I never had an opportunity to voice any of my thoughts, I assure you that I acquired a very thorough education. However, since you want me to have a season, I have absolutely none of the social attainments that are deemed required. I cannot draw, paint, sing, or play an instrument. I do not know any of the dances. I am hopeless.”

Lady Fitzwilliam replied, “I am impressed. However, those accomplishments are nice to have attributes, not absolute requirements.”

Lord Fitzwilliam added, “You will be popular enough as the heiress of Rosings.”

Anne said, “Of course. However, I do not want to marry just to have someone to help with Rosings. I want more of what I see in other marriages-partnership, friendship, companionship. That is what Wills said he wanted and it sounds like he found.”

Lady Fitzwilliam said, “Yes, he did. We will do our best to help you find that. You will need to finish regaining your health and learn to dance before we get to London.”

Lord Fitzwilliam laughed. “At least that is something I can help with. Constance can play while we dance together. You cannot get by without that accomplishment.”

“Thank you, Uncle George.”

Lady Fitzwilliam added, “And we can get you a wardrobe that is not so out of date and is flattering.”

“Let us wait a bit until I am a little fitter. I think the required cut of the dress will change as I get healthier.”

They enjoyed sitting together partaking of the simple tea Anne provided. Both Lord and Lady Fitzwilliam were pleased that Anne was doing so well. They knew there would be some problems to address because of Catherine’s iron hand, but Anne seemed to have already begun to blossom.

Finally, Lord Fitzwilliam could delay no longer. He must pay a visit to his sister. “Have you seen your mother since her return?”

“Of course. I visit each morning for about fifteen minutes. I allow her to rant about her treatment, issue orders, and agree to everything she says. I then bid her farewell and leave. It is the same every day.”

“So you have already been there today?”

“Yes, early this morning. I did not tell her that you were coming. I figured she would learn soon enough.”

“Thank you. What about other visitors? I had sent orders that no one should be admitted.”

“I thought it best to enforce those, otherwise Reverend North would still have gone to her for direction many times daily. She was not close to anyone as far as I can tell, so there are really no friends to call upon her. I did not want her acquaintances to see her in her more constrained circumstances, so I have given out that mother is unwell and unable to have callers. I do allow her to receive mail, but all her outgoing mail is sent here first. I am afraid I must censor it. And you will need to meet with Mr. North later today.”

“I suppose I meet must with him. We will have to set up something more permanent for the mail. You should not have to be her keeper. Well, I suppose that means I better go see her. I do not relish the thought.”

Anne smiled. “I am sure you are prepared for the scene you will find. Do not let it upset you.”

Lord Fitzwilliam nodded his agreement. Lady Fitzwilliam added, “We will be here to soothe you when you return.”

“I fear I will need that. I might need something a little stronger than tea.”

He walked through the park to the dower house contemplating the situation once again. He found his sturdy footmen in attendance with the dower house well fitted up to house the patient and prevent her leaving the grounds. However, Catherine could not understand why she was not allowed to leave nor to see Anne or carry out her former duties. No amount of explanation would convince her that she was no longer in charge. He marveled that Anne would visit daily and maintain her equilibrium. He found Catherine to be far more obstreperous than ever. She had never been so contentious even when she had been the willful child of the family. He found thirty minutes more than sufficient to determine that Catherine was no longer rational and would need to remain under care. He returned to the house disturbed at the extent of her ravings.
When he returned from the dower house, Lord Fitzwilliam did need some brandy to help him calm down after the unhappy session. He found his wife and niece in the parlor, apparently unmoved since he first left them.

Lady Fitzwilliam said, “We have some brandy already prepared for you, my dear. How was it?”

“As bad as we feared. Anne is right, she cannot have any visitors except family. If she were in her right mind, she would be mortified to have someone see her as she is now. We will need a housekeeper who can keep track of her visitors and manage the mail. Perhaps the couple here in the house can move to the dower house?”

Lady Fitzwilliam said, “That might be a good solution. We will have to see if they are up to it.”

Anne added, “They certainly know my mother’s preferences. That might indeed be a good solution for them.”

Once Lord Fitzwilliam had recovered his equilibrium, the butler announced Mr. North. Anne performed the introductions and was quietly amused to see Mr. North’s reaction to the status of her aunt and uncle. If anything, he was even more obsequious than he had been toward her mother.

Once they were finally able to dismiss the minister, Lady Fitzwilliam said in amazement, “If I had not seen it with my own eyes, I could not have believed that such a man could be a minister. And he has been here all your life?”

Anne smiled, “Yes, at least for as long as I can remember. He is perfect for mother’s needs. He kept her informed of everything going on around the parish and sought her advice on every decision, including the topic and direction for each sermon he preached. He is really at a loss without mother’s constant input.”

Lord Fitzwilliam said, “Well, I will write to the Bishop directly. I take it we can expect a similar visit each day?”

“Yes. I have told him he may come once in the early afternoon but that is all the time I will allot towards his business. We discuss only serious problems although he will try to share all the gossip and such as he used to do with mother. I cut him off when he tries.”

Lord Fitzwilliam excused himself to write to the Bishop. It was obvious that the parish must be suffering under the ministrations of someone so ill-suited to the task. He could see why Anne thought a family might help as well. The man had no idea of how to help anyone, including himself.

Lady Fitzwilliam watched the butler and housekeeper closely over the next couple of days. She could see what Anne meant. They were unable to accept that Anne was now the mistress and wanted things done to her preference rather than her mother’s. However, they still were quite capable of excellent work. Lady Fitzwilliam sent out inquiries for replacements after only three days. If they were not happy with moving to the dower house, they could be pensioned off. By the end of the first week, Lord Fitzwilliam spoke to the couple who agreed that they would probably be happier in the dower house. They would move down permanently as soon as replacements could be obtained. No need for the pensions just yet.

While waiting to interview suitable candidates to help run Rosings, Lord and Lady Fitzwilliam joined with Anne in meeting with the neighbors and incorporating Anne into the social life of the neighborhood. She had never participated in the past. All were at least acquainted with Anne but had never managed to have a conversation. After the first such visit, all three were invited to a supper at the neighboring estate that would be held in two days.

Mrs. Heatherton said, “After all, this will be a good way for Miss de Bourgh to become better acquainted with most of the neighbors and them with her needing to make laborious calls on everyone. She can then choose who she really wants to call afterwards. Much easier that way.”

Anne smiled. “I thank you. That sounds very efficient. It is very kind of you.”

Mrs. Heatherton chuckled. “Perhaps it is kind, but I will admit that it will be interesting to watch everyone reconsider your status around here. Forgive me, but you have been something of a non-entity, and now you matter.”

“There is nothing to forgive. Everything has changed since my mother’s illness and my own recovery. You are entirely correct. Now that I have regained my health, I will no longer be the quiet shadow of my mother. I give you leave to enjoy the show as my status becomes something our neighbors must consider.”

Lady Fitzwilliam added, “I, too, thank you. I have met only a few of the neighbors in the long past. It will be nice to renew those and add the new acquaintance as Anne comes out into society.”

“Will you be moving into the greater society in London, Miss de Bourgh?”

“Yes, my aunt has plans to give me a season and present me at court. It will certainly make a change from these past few years here in Kent.”

Mrs. Heatherton pursed her lips. “It might be interesting to come to town this season to see it all. I will have to think about that.”

Lady Fitzwilliam said, “I am sure we would be pleased to see you.”

By that point, Anne had acquired a few new frocks but was adamant that a full new wardrobe could wait. She would share her aunt’s maid for a while until she understood what she wanted in a maid. At least her new dresses were more fashionable and attractive than the old ones. As her aunt’s maid helped her prepare for the dinner, Anne asked, “Do you think I should try a different hair style? I am not sure that I have ever liked this one.”

The maid studied her a moment, then replied, “Would you allow me to try something different? There is still time to put it back if you do not like it.”

“Please do.” For the next fifteen minutes, Anne’s hair was completely rearranged. When done, she studied the effect in the mirror. “I can see why you are invaluable to my aunt. That is so much better. It softens the sharp angles and is much more attractive. Thank you.”

“You are more than welcome, miss. I am glad I could assist.”

Anne found the dinner at the Heatherton’s very entertaining. The company quickly realized that Anne had more to offer than they had ever suspected. There were a few other single women, much older than Anne, and an equal number of gentlemen, also older, but Anne still found herself to be quite popular. She thought one man of perhaps forty was actually flirting with her. She wasn’t interested, but found the experience to be quite different than the few social events she had attended in the past with her mother.
SubjectAuthorPosted

Kindly Relations Chapters 1 and 2

ShannaGMarch 27, 2018 05:11PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 1 and 2

Lucy J.April 01, 2018 04:20AM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 1 and 2

BrigidMarch 29, 2018 09:35PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 1 and 2

Kimberly F.March 28, 2018 12:10AM



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