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Kindly Relations Chapters 3 and 4

March 30, 2018 06:32PM
AN: thank for the comments. For those who don't remember-when Lady Catherine could not get Darcy to change her mind, she went to her brother who realized that she was no longer competent and has taken custody of her. She is now living in the dower house at Rosings. Mary Bennet is engaged to Charles Musgrove. Mrs. Williams is Darcy's aunt on the Darcy side.
Chapter 3

The Bingleys, Hursts, and Findlays returned to Ambleside after a friendly visit to the distant cousins in Scarborough. As they headed south again, Caroline was once again grateful that her father had removed them to London in her childhood. The north was not to her liking. Even Derbyshire was too far north. She was happy that Findlay’s estate was in the south.

When they arrived at Ambleside, Jane was pleased to find that all of the papering and painting had been accomplished in the bedrooms. They were now soothing retreats, not frenetic showcases as they had been sometime in the very distant past. They were much more welcoming now. They could tackle the rest of the house at their leisure as the most important renovations were now complete.

As they settled in for the evening, Caroline said to Jane, “Ambleside is a lovely home-at least it is well on its way to being so again. I can see your touch in so many things, Jane. Do you like it here?”

“Yes, I do. I think Charles made an excellent choice. There is still much to do, but I am glad you like what we have accomplished so far.”

Louisa said, “It seems there is always something that needs to be done. Mrs. Hurst has seen to all the little touches on our estate so that I have very little need to correct anything. She has turned that over to me, but really, I see little to change. I love it as it is. I suppose I will make changes as things wear or break, but really, I cannot be bothered right now.”

Caroline said, “I would never have expected this, but I want to change nothing in my new home. I love it as it is.”

Findlay smiled and said, “See, I told you I was making a good choice. We even agree in the little things like that. She can change what she wants and wants nothing.”

Bingley laughed. “That was not what I expected when she left school. It seemed that little was satisfactory in those days. Since meeting you, almost everything is satisfactory. Thank you so much for making my life easier.”

Hurst added, “And mine. Life is truly satisfactory now.”

“You are both welcome. However, I think I am the true beneficiary.”

The trip north together had truly cemented the friendship between the men. The sisters had already counted Jane a close friend, so they also enjoyed the trip together. All were pleased that they would be together again in a few weeks in Somerset. Between correspondence and the season in London, they knew they would be able to maintain this companionable closeness.

The Hursts and Findlays paused only for a night as they wanted to spend a little time at home before traveling to Somerset for the shooting party. Both couples felt that they had already been away from home long enough.

After the family left, the Bingleys saddled up their horses and rode over to Pemberley. Bingley went straight to Darcy’s office while Jane was shown into Elizabeth’s parlor. “Elizabeth, it is so good to see you again!” exclaimed Jane as she greeted her sister.

“Did you enjoy meeting the Bingleys ’relatives?”

“They were very nice. It was a pleasant visit.”

“Did you like the north?”

“Yes, but Caroline Findlay averred that she was glad that they left when she was so young. She much prefers the south, and has decided that Sussex really is much better.”

“Are you pleased with the work done to the house while you were gone?”

“Oh, yes, I like it very much. It is so much more comfortable now-not nearly as fussy. How about you? Are you settling in here?”

“Yes. I have begun meeting the tenants and becoming better acquainted with some of the neighbors, joined our charitable group, and such things. I have also invited Charlotte Lucas to join me when we return from Somerset. Mr. Darcy is busy so much of the time that I fear I will be lonely when Mrs. Williams and Georgiana are both gone. After all, you will be busy at Ambleside and can only visit occasionally. Mrs. Williams leaves in just two days. I have a letter from Mary. She says she has selected Sally Fargo to be her personal maid. So many changes all around us.”

“I am sure Charlotte will be welcome company. It will be nice to have her here.”

They had a pleasant visit before Jane returned to Ambleside. How wonderful it would be to live so near her dear sister. They could visit as often as they desired.

Mrs. Williams left for home after enjoying her summer and hoped the next would be as much fun. She was very pleased at the new mistress in Pemberley and the extended family that they now enjoyed. It was past time for Fitzwilliam and Georgiana to be happy.

After Mrs. Williams left, Georgiana and Elizabeth spent a great deal of time together. Georgiana helped Elizabeth visit the tenants getting more involved in those duties that were normally those of the mistress than she had before such as the various charitable efforts. Elizabeth felt that Georgiana was certainly old enough to assist and should have a better understanding of their role on the estate.

“Why did Wills never insist that I do this with Mrs. Reynolds?” asked Georgiana after one of their early visits together.

“You would need to ask him. I would guess that he is not really aware of all the little things that his mother used to do and had no idea that you would need training on such things. He is probably like most men aware of those things only when they are not done. If your mother had lived, you would have been doing this all along or would have started shortly. My younger sisters are just starting.”

“What about when I go back to school?”

“While we are away, Mrs. Reynolds will tend to it as she always has. When Miss Lucas returns with me, she and I will undertake these together. When you are home during holidays, you will help again. Duty never ends-we simply do what we can when we can.”

They enjoyed time playing duets together now that Georgiana’s shyness had abated. Georgiana also realized that school had taught her that she and Darcy had really been lonely. They had really needed more people around them who were closer than acquaintances, and now they had them. It was quite comforting.

One morning, Darcy joined Elizabeth in her parlor. “I have a letter here from my cousin Anne.”

“Oh? How is she doing?”

“Apparently, she is finally doing well and recovering her health. The tonics her mother was forcing on her were causing most of the problems. She is going to do the season and be presented. My aunt will provide all the assistance she will need. They are also making a number of changes in the staff at Rosings. She has also attended a dinner party and started socializing with her neighbors. With her mother around, she was never really able to become closely acquainted with any of them. She quite enjoyed it.”

“How nice that she is becoming closer to her neighbors. l. I am sure having her season with Mary, Caroline, and Louisa will be a comfort for her once she comes to know them. Having many close friends is so helpful.”

“Yes, I am sure it will help her. It seems there are many changes going on, but Lady Catherine still cannot accept that she is no longer in charge. She continues to issue orders, but now they are ignored. Anne’s letter sounds excited about the future.”

“I cannot wait to meet her. Perhaps we can invite her to attend our Harvest Ball. Do you think she would enjoy it?”

“Yes, let’s do that. I think it would be fun for her. I will write her now.”

Finally, it was time to prepare to leave for Bath. In the past, Georgiana had felt resigned when she had to leave for school. This time, she had mixed feelings as she was anxious to see her friends again but sad to be leaving Pemberley again and her new sister.

Elizabeth comforted her, “We will see you again during your Christmas break. I am sure you will have much to tell us. And of course, we will write often.”

“Wills has always been good at writing to me, so I expect to have twice as many letters, not just little additions to his.”
Elizabeth laughed. “I imagine I will have different things to say than he. Well, if you want so many, you must reply to us individually.”

The Bingleys came for a family dinner the night before the journey was to begin. As they visited at the table, Jane said, “Georgiana, I hope you will write to me. I know Elizabeth will tell me of your adventures, but I truly would like to hear from you.”

Pleased, Georgiana replied, “Of course, if you really want to hear from me.”

Jane smiled, “Yes, I truly do. Also, I think it will be interesting to see my sisters through your eyes. They have been maturing quickly this past year, and I think school will cause even more changes. I cannot wait to hear how you see those.”

Elizabeth said, “I am interested in that too. They have never been away from family before. I think it will be good for them but am grateful I could learn at home with all my sisters around me.”

Bingley said, “I think it a hard thing that we send our children away so early. I am glad I was a little older than usual when I was sent away. Don’t you have a cousin who is due to go to Eton soon?”

Jane answered, “Our cousin John. He is going to start now rather than in another year. Apparently, the spur given by having to compete with Mary finished up the grounding they felt he needed and he feels ready. Since James Musgrove is there too, perhaps we will have another friendship in the family chain. They certainly enjoyed one another at the wedding.”

Darcy said, “I would not be at all surprised. They seemed to enjoy each other’s company during the wedding visit without getting into too much trouble.” Indeed, it turned out that James Musgrove and John Gardiner became fast friends that autumn after having started a friendship at the wedding.

As the Bingleys left, Darcy reminded them, “We will see you in Uppercross soon. Journey safely.”

Bingley replied, “Same to you. I am quite looking forward to this shooting party. Perhaps I will host one next year. I think getting together with friends and family is greatly to be desired.”

Chapter 4

As Elizabeth had never visited Bath before, the Darcys planned to spend more than a day in Bath after delivering Georgiana to her school. The journey was leisurely and uneventful. Darcy had already determined the best inns and places to dine on the route so the travel was pleasant. Both Darcys found the trip more pleasant with Elizabeth along. She used the same method the Bennets used for trips, with reading, discussion, and games keeping everyone entertained. Darcy found it a novel experience. He had always read on his journeys. Georgiana also enjoyed the diversions.

When it came time for the Bennets to leave, Mrs. Bennet had so major an attack of nerves at the thought of her youngest going away that she took to her bed with a tonic to soothe her. Mr. Bennet dealt with it by putting Mary in charge of her mother and leaving immediately with Kitty and Lydia. Since he was the one who had taught the others the trick of keeping busy while traveling, the three had a pleasant journey reading, talking, and playing word games. The girls were surprised at how skilled Mr. Bennet was as he never participated when they all traveled together. It was too hard with Mrs. Bennet in the carriage.

The Bennets arrived at school to find that the Darcys were already there. The Darcys had arrived in Bath the previous day and were helping Georgiana settle into her room when the Bennet carriage pulled into the court. Georgiana was pleased to see that the Bennets’ rooms were near her own.

“Kitty, Lydia, I am so happy to see you again,” she said as she saw them coming up the hall with the porter. “My room is here,” she continued, pointing to an open door just behind her.

Kitty replied, “Oh, good. You will be able to show us around. When did you arrive?”

Elizabeth heard the familiar voice and came out the door. “We are still in the process of settling her in this morning. Good day to you, Kitty and Lydia. Oh, and Father, hello. Where is mother?”

Mr. Bennet replied, “She was unable to join us so I left Mary in charge. I expect you will see her in Uppercross. I do not think her nerves will keep her from the shooting party.”

Greetings were exchanged as the porter indicated the rooms for the girls. This school had a small private bedroom for each pupil. Kitty and Lydia were just a couple of doors down the hall from Georgiana.

Lydia said, “This is going to be such fun-so many of us all together.”

All spent the next hour helping everyone settle in. Mr. Bennet chose not to stay, saying goodbye once the trunks were unloaded. “I must get back to your mother. Be sure to write. Mary will want to hear all about it. Lizzy, I will see the two of you soon at Uppercross.” He was relieved to get away with little emotional upheaval. He knew the girls would have some nervousness and felt Elizabeth could deal with it better than he could.

The girls found out that the Musgroves were expected to arrive the next day. Classes were due to begin the following Monday, but the girls were asked to come at least two days early to be prepared to go to work on the first day of class. New girls would receive an orientation to help them make the transition.

The Darcys returned to their inn with some melancholy. They were happy to be together but knew that each would miss the company of Georgiana. They returned to the school the next day to greet the Musgroves as Louisa and Henrietta arrived. They confirmed plans to meet the Musgroves at Uppercross the following week.

The Darcys spent the next few days becoming acquainted with Bath. Elizabeth could appreciate how those who did not like London might enjoy taking the season in Bath instead. There seemed to be more men in uniform than she saw in London, but the social scene was similar. They paid their obligatory visit to the Pump Room but were glad they had no need to take the waters. They attended one assembly but found little there to enjoy. It was too crowded for comfort. They spent another couple of days visiting some of the scenic ruins nearby but then were ready to go on to the shooting party. Bath had been interesting, a little less busy than London, but pleasant enough. They encountered a few familiar faces but were soon ready to head on to Somerset. The journey on to Uppercross was uneventful.

Over the course of three days, the Darcys, Bennets, Bingleys, Hursts, and Findlays arrived at Uppercross. Mrs. Bennet had recovered from her attack of nerves and was somewhat quieter than was her custom although she had many complaints about the journey from Longbourn and having missed seeing Bath. Luckily, only Mary and Elizabeth were present as Mrs. Bennet voiced her complaints as she was washing up after arriving.

“I cannot believe that Mr. Bennet simply left without me. He has no consideration for my nerves. I would have been fine had we left the next day instead, I am sure.”

Elizabeth responded, “Mother, you know Kitty and Lydia needed to be there on time. I am sure it was easier to say goodbye at home than it would have been in Bath. Perhaps it is just as well that you did not have to suffer that journey before coming here.”

Mary added, “Indeed, we are grateful to be here for the shooting party. It should be quite an entertaining time. Mother, you will have so much new company, I think you will enjoy it immensely.”

Mrs. Bennet sniffed, “Perhaps you are correct.”

With all of the various interactions the past few months, the others were all quite comfortable with one another although Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove were still accounted new acquaintances. Once all had arrived, the gentlemen spent the bulk of their days in the field. Musgrove invited a few of his neighbors to join on most days. These included both Charles Hayters, his uncle and cousin; Sir Walter Elliot, who joined only the first day; and Mr. Browning, the new vicar who had recently replaced Mr. Wentworth. One other visitor was Mr. William Dickinson who was the Member in Parliament for Somerset. He had long been friends with Mr. Musgrove and enjoyed having an opportunity to shoot with friends. He lived fairly nearby so would not need to stay at the house. While Sir Walter only participated the first day, the other gentlemen returned each day. All would appreciate the fowl on their tables and the days in the coverts. The weather was not too disagreeable, so they all greatly enjoyed themselves.

Dickinson, Charles Musgrove, and Findlay found themselves shooting together much of the first day. When they were relaxing for a few moments, Findlay asked, “So, Dickinson, what is it like being a Member?”

“It is pleasant to have an opportunity to represent Somerset. There are times I feel I can make a difference. Of course, much of the time, I feel like nothing is accomplished. I enjoy the time in London. Time with my constituents is not too demanding. Overall, it has been quite enjoyable. I know you spent some time in Sweden assisting the government. Your report was quite comprehensive.”

Findlay smiled. “You remember that, do you? Well, it was interesting to work with the government. I’d like to hear more about it.”

“My pleasure.” Dickinson continued to talk about his work whenever they had a moment to chat. Both Charles and Findlay found it very interesting.

While the gentlemen were busy in the fields, the ladies found many diversions to amuse themselves. An important one concerned the upgrading of a cottage on the estate as a future home for Mary and Charles. The ladies spent the first morning thoroughly examining the selected cottage inside and out. As Mary and Elizabeth Elliot were present that first day, they participated in the viewing of the cottage, although Elizabeth Elliot excused herself after a brief tour and returned to the house to await the others. She simply could not understand why anyone would want to turn a cottage into their own home. Why would anyone want such a simple place? Why not just build a grand new house if one wanted a home or remain in the main house? Mary Elliot remained with the rest, watching but not really participating in the discussions.

At dinner that first day, Mary Elliot and Mary Bennet found themselves discussing their upcoming seasons in London.

Mary Bennet began, “It has been so long since we have seen one another. We were both quite children and here we are preparing for our presentations. Are you enjoying being ‘out’?”

“Yes I am although there are relatively few engagements hereabouts. I am grateful the Musgroves are having this shooting party to bring you all here. Anne wrote of all you were studying this past season. However did you manage to attach Charles, I mean Mr. Musgrove, when you were not even out yet?”

Mary B. smiled. “As with my sisters, I think genuine friendship began before the attachment. I merely discussed some of what I had been studying, and I guess that intrigued Mr. Musgrove. I think friendship is very important for a strong, positive relationship, don’t you?”

Mary E. thought for a moment. “If you are to spend any amount of time together, I guess I can see that. I do not think my parents spent too much time together, but I know Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove do. Hmm.” She looked over at Elizabeth Elliot for a moment. “I wonder if that is why Elizabeth is being less than successful in her efforts to attach someone.”

Mary B. replied, “I cannot say about that. What I do know is that, in order to have some choice in the matter, one must befriend a wide variety of people, even those in whom one is not really interested. I know we all met quite a few who are fine dance partners but could never be much more than that. According to our aunt and your grandmother, we really need to assess what we want from marriage and life before we go looking. Your grandmother has been very helpful to us. I am very grateful to her. She has become like a grandmother to us as well.”

“I seldom see her as she has not been here since mother’s passing, and we have not been to South Park since then either. She and Sir James have lived mostly in London these past few years in any case. I am looking forward to spending time with her preparing for my presentation.”

Mary B. said, “Did you know that Mrs. Hurst and Mrs. Findlay will also be presented with us? Mrs. Findlay, the elder, will be their sponsor. They are very nice ladies-you should try to become friends with them while we are here for the party. Why don’t you come over every day to visit with the rest of us? I heard Mrs. Musgrove say you were always welcome.”

“I would not want to intrude. Elizabeth does not seem to think we should.”

“Come without her. After all, you will be without her when you go to London, at least until they join you later in the season. Of course I do not know for sure, but since she has been out for these past six or seven seasons without finding a mate, perhaps you do not want her for your model of behavior in society.”

“You may be correct. I think I will come back to spend my days with all of you. It will be far more interesting than staying home with Elizabeth; I can assure you of that. She manages to do nothing all day. I find that boring.”

Mrs. Bennet was pleased that the shooting party was so social. She always enjoyed a good meal and found like sentiment when seated by Mr. Hurst. They spent the entire first meal together talking of the different courses and the preparations and plating done by the Musgrove cook. Her daughters were pleased that, at least this first day together, the meal was not strained for them by the manners of their mother. Mr. Hurst always enjoyed speaking with someone who was appreciative of good food.

During one course, Mrs. Bennet said, “Now this sauce is excellent-so full of delicate flavor. I wonder what the herb is they use. It seems unfamiliar to me.”

Mr. Hurst replied, “My guess is tarragon. It has the same tang, in any case. Yes, it is quite a nice sauce. Not so rich as to inhibit the next course but very tasty.”

“It seems you look at food the same way I do. What is your favorite dish?”

They talked of their favorites and least liked dishes throughout the meal whenever they had the opportunity. Mr. Bennet watched with a degree of relief as she could often be quite inappropriate in her conversation. Apparently, food was a safe subject in this company since the Musgroves set an excellent table.

Elizabeth Elliot made a small effort to converse with the others. She had met most of them in town and already dismissed them as being of any real interest to her. However, there was nothing else to do, so she would make the best of the time. At least Mrs. Findlay, senior, had some interesting stories to tell about Sweden. A few moments with Mr. Dickinson convinced her that, although a widower, he had little to offer. He had no title except Member of Parliament which was not sufficient to interest her. The lack of enthusiasm was mutual-he had no desire to further the acquaintance either. However, he enjoyed all the others present for the party.

Sir Walter enjoyed the dinner as everyone was sufficiently deferential to make him feel welcome. The day in the field had been exhausting and dirty, neither of which feeling he enjoyed. However, he had managed to bag a few birds and had done his duty. There was no reason to participate in any of the rest of the party as none of the attendees was of any material importance.

Lady Russell was also invited to spend her time with the ladies. She and Mrs. Musgrove had long been friends although they lived just far enough apart that they did not spend a great deal of time together as Lady Russell did not enjoy riding and found the carriage ride uncomfortable. Lady Russell was glad to see Mary Elliot participate in the party. She still had hopes that Mary might follow Anne’s lead, rather than Elizabeth’s. However, she recognized that someone else had to be the one to convince Mary of the need.

The next day, Mary Elliot did return. She found herself warming to all of these women and truly enjoying herself as she never did at home. Lady Russell was there each day as well. Both agreed to ride home together and then ride over together each day. It allowed them to develop a warmer relationship.

As she was riding back with Lady Russell that second day, Mary said, “May I ask you a question?”

“Certainly. I will do my best to answer.”

“It is about Mrs. Bennet’s nerves.”

“Oh, so what is the question?” Lady Russell smiled as she considered what that question might be.

“I have noticed that her upsets do not seem to garner her the attention that she seems to desire. The others soothe her, but it does not seem to help her regain her equilibrium. Are her nerves real?”

“Oh, well, that is quite the question. She does suffer from nerves. I cannot say about something being truly wrong with her, but I can talk about using ill health to get sympathy and attention as many, both men and women, employ it as a tactic. I think nerves can be a way of managing the disappointments and stresses of life.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, there are people who do not feel they receive the attention they need or desire. They often use ill health to try to gather sympathy. However, it will not be successful in the long run. Family and friends will see that it is used as artifice and no longer hold sympathy for the sufferer. It is far better to suffer in silence than in a martyred, obvious manner.”

“You sound as if you are speaking of specific acquaintances.”

“I believe if you think about it, you will know who I mean. There are a number of older members in the parish who ‘enjoy’ ill health. There does not seem to be anything seriously wrong, but they are always suffering.”

“Gaffer Smith? Since he can no longer work the forge, he seems to have one ailment after another none of which seem to stop him from doing what he wants to do.”

“What most of us generally do around people who suffer for attention is to treat them kindly but, for the most part, ignore their complaints and ailments. It is never an attractive method for gaining attention.”

“So, we just do what we can to soothe Mrs. Bennet but ignore her complaints as much as possible.”

“Something like that. Now, someone who is truly ill will generally try to minimize the complaints. That is often what gives us notice that there is more than they will admit.”

“So when someone ignores us, health is not the way to get attention.”

“Entering into their interests is a far better method of gaining attention. I will admit I have tried to explain this to Elizabeth, but without much success. She does not seem able to enter into anyone else’s interests although she does not claim any ill health either. However, she offers very little enticement to friendship. I would like to be her friend as I was your mother’s, but she seems to be quite self-sufficient. At least she does not pretend to enjoy ill health as so many others do.”

“Perhaps you could be my friend and teacher? It seems there are many little social niceties that school did not teach and that Elizabeth cannot.”

“I would love that.”

Over the rest of the week, the ladies discussed options for creating a warm and welcoming home that would be befitting the heir of the estate and provide adequate space, which the current cottage lacked. Mary Elliot was surprised at how open the give and take was as different options were discussed. No one demanded deference from anyone else and all were heard with equal respect. This had never been the case with relationships at Kellynch.

After one of those discussions, Mary E. asked Mary B., “This discussion of the remodeling has been quite interesting, but there is one fundamental question I have not heard discussed. Why are you remodeling instead of building something new?”

Mary smiled. “Mr. Musgrove and I discussed both options. Of course, we could build something new and modern which would be very nice. However, we decided there is something more satisfying in taking something older and making into something new. I get to do much of the designing, and he gets to do some of the actual work on the cottage. It will feel much more ours for the work that we do.”

“I confess I would never have thought of such a thing.”

“I suppose I am old fashioned enough that I do not want change just for the sake of change and actually treasure history. This allows us to have something of history in our home. I imagine the cost will be something similar as building new, but the feeling of the home will not. And it allows us to use a cottage that has been empty for a number of years. The cottage also gives us neighbors of some of the villagers which can be a good way to hear what is going on in ways that are not often shared at the ‘big house.’”

“You both certainly gave this a lot of thought.”

“We did. And the shooting party is the perfect opportunity to enlist the suggestions and recommendations of our closest friends and family before we begin the work.”

Lady Russell and Mrs. Bennet spent much of their time together during the day. Lady Russell was a sympathetic listener to the various complaints Mrs. Bennet voiced about her treatment and the state of her nerves. Occasionally, Mrs. Bennet would sit with Mrs. Musgrove and compare the trials of children at different stages of her life. As they discussed Richard, the problem child at sea, Mrs. Bennet voiced relief that none of her girls caused that sort of worry. She was also grateful that there were no young children still at home such as Mrs. Musgrove had. On occasion, Amelia (9) and Robert (7), the two still home, would need attention from their mother. Mrs. Bennet was grateful that was all in the past for her even though she missed it at times.

While the ladies were talking of the house, they were also busy with a variety of sewing projects. Even Mrs. Bennet participated in these efforts although she seldom did at home. Finally, late that second morning, Mary E. asked about that, “Who are all these projects for?” She had not yet begun to assist with the sewing.

Mrs. Musgrove smiled. “We have a family in the village that lost most of what they owned to a fire. As you know, that is an unfortunately common occurrence. We are doing what we can to help them recover. The other women in our local charity circle are also doing so, but in their normal meetings. All of us here understand the need for those of means to find ways to assist those in need. We can talk of the cottage remodel and work with our hands at the same time. Would you like a little dress to work on?”

“This is the sort of think that Anne always did, isn’t it?”

Lady Russell answered, “Not only Anne, but your mother as well.”

“Really? Well, yes, I would like something.” Mrs. Musgrove went to her basket and found a dress that needed only a seam and hem to be finished. As they all continued to work, Mary Elliot thought about what Mrs. Musgrove had said and the expectation the others held that of course charity work was important and expected of a true lady. Mary could not remember Elizabeth ever participating in such, but it was true that Anne always had.

The give and take between all of these women gave Mary Elliot much food for thought. They treated one another as friends and equals although it was obvious that Mrs. Darcy was probably far wealthier than the others and Lady Russell higher ranked. However, it appeared that none expected any particular deference from any of the others. There was some good-natured teasing, lots of laughter, and much love.

Although Lady Russell was not as close a friend to most of them and somewhat more formal in manner, she was just as warmly welcomed. Mary also realized that this feeling was missing in her own home and had been since Anne had left.

Mary Elliot found it was far nicer to spend her days with the ladies of the shooting party. It was amazing how much more entertaining it was than staying home with Elizabeth and her father. They never seemed to do anything, so it was actually quite boring at home.

While the others continued to talk about improvements to the cottage, the two Marys became closer friends. While they were sewing together, Mary E. said quietly to Mary B., “You are very lucky to start your season already betrothed to Mr. Musgrove. You have so much less to be worried about. Why are you bothering with a season at all?”

“Yes, I do feel lucky. Mr. Musgrove wanted me to have the experiences my sisters had-the presentation, the balls and events, the fun, all that. However, he did not want to chance having me become attached to someone else once he knew he wanted to marry me. This works well for both of us. When Elizabeth left town without an attachment, she was a little concerned as our mother has always been very unhappy with both of us. Elizabeth did not want to hear all the criticism and really, neither did I, which is why we went to help Jane settle at Ambleside. We are lucky that the extra time with Mr. Darcy and Mr. Musgrove confirmed in them the choices they should make.”

“Since Father and Elizabeth never took Anne to London again, I fear what may happen if I do not attach someone before they arrive in March. There really isn’t anyone suitable in our social circle here.”

“I am sure your grandmother will give you more time if you wish to stay with her. Or Aunt Madeline might let you stay with her-and me. You are not limited to your immediate family. You have all the rest of us to turn to. I think if you are friendly you will not have trouble finding someone congenial. That seems to be what really makes the difference. I think it will be fun to be together. I know my sisters here will introduce you to lots of eligible young gentlemen even if your grandmother does not. Do not worry.”

“Thank you, Mary. You are being so kind. I do think it will be fun to enjoy the season together.”

These days together also improved Mary Elliot’s relationship with Lady Russell. As they rode back to Kellynch together a couple of days later, Mary asked her, “Lady Russell, are you missing Anne a great deal? I only saw her during my holidays and never really realized how much she did to make home so much more pleasant. I am surprised at how much I miss her.”

“Yes, I do miss her. We used to spend a great deal of time together. She always helped me with my charitable efforts and took tea with me more days than not.”

“I know I am not a good replacement, but would you like my company? I have enjoyed our conversations.”

“I would love it. You are always welcome at the Lodge.”

“Thank you. I have learned so much from spending time at the Musgroves this week that I am amazed. There is so much we could be doing of which Elizabeth chooses to be unaware. It is actually quite appalling.”

“That might be a bit strong. She was still young to be out when your mother passed and never learned the responsibilities and duties side of her new position, only the social. She would not hear about it from me feeling that she is already competent, so I have just stood aside. While Anne did some of those things with your mother and me, Elizabeth never did. Rather than censure her, I think you might pity her. Service brings such a sense of accomplishment and peace. Elizabeth is missing all that.”

“Well, I will be going with you from now on-at least for as long as I am here. I will be going to my grandmother for my season and presentation, so who knows how long that will be?”

“We can correspond then as I did with Anne. My one real regret with her marrying Captain Wentworth is the distance. Our letters will not be only very irregular and quite far apart. I have received only one since they went to sea.”

“I will write regularly from London and tell you all about my adventures. Miss Bennet is so kind and has been helping me feel more prepared for the season. The other ladies will all be there too, so I feel quite lucky that I will have a number of friends, in addition to any who may be there from school.”

“It is always nice to have a wide acquaintance in social situations. Take full advantage of it. I fear that Elizabeth has not. Your grandmother and aunt seem to have a much wider acquaintance than your father. These new friends will add to that as well, particularly Mrs. Findlay and Mrs. Darcy. Both are old, well known and respected families.”

“And they are really nice women too. I am glad to claim Mrs. Darcy as a cousin. It is kind of her to acknowledge the relationship as it is only through our mutual aunt.”

At this point, they had arrived at the Lodge. Mary bade her adieu as she continued on to the house. She knew it would be much quieter than it had been at Uppercross all day. The comparison upon returning home each day was somewhat sad. 

Kindly Relations Chapters 3 and 4

ShannaGMarch 30, 2018 06:32PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 3 and 4

Lucy J.April 01, 2018 05:35AM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 3 and 4

BrigidMarch 31, 2018 12:23AM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 3 and 4

ShannaGMarch 31, 2018 01:52AM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 3 and 4

DorisMarch 30, 2018 08:34PM


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