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Kindly Relations Chapters 7 and 8

April 06, 2018 04:52PM
Chapter 7

Mary Elliot found the time with her cousins enlightening. She would see the Gardiners again soon as they left the day after the funeral-Mr. Gardiner needed to be in town as soon as possible. As with the interactions during the shooting party, it seemed that with close friends and family, little attention was paid to rank except when entering the dining room where they proceeded by rank. As a single young woman, she was the least of those present, but she was not treated as being of any less importance. It was quite gratifying. In fact, she received more attention than she would have had she been at Kellynch. She continued to make an effort to visit with each of these new cousins so that should they come to town, she would have friends arriving. They planned to write to one another in the future in any case.

As she and Lady Stevenson pulled away from South Park in the carriage, Mary asked, “Grandmother, how are you really doing?”

Lady Stevenson smiled. “Well enough. As I said in my note, this was not really unexpected. He began failing fast once the season was over and it became quiet again. This was why we were unable to attend Mrs. Darcy’s wedding. So, are we ready to begin some of that conversation to prepare you for your season?”

Mary nodded. “Yes, at least I think we are.”

“Very well. First, I want you to consider the sort of life you want in the future. What kind of partnership do you want with a husband?” Lady Stevenson held a long conversation with Mary that was similar to the one she and Mrs. Gardiner had held with the Bennet girls the previous winter. Mary agreed that she needed to look around and determine what she truly wanted. She considered that for most of that first day of travel.

Each day, they talked of different aspects of society and its expectations. Lady Stevenson was blunt in her assessment of Elizabeth Elliot’s off-putting manners and the reasons for her lack of success in pursuit of matrimony.

Mary admitted, “I really have been curious as to her failure. She talks of her time in town as very positive and hopeful but there is never any follow up from these supposed beaux. What I have heard of their house parties, cards, and shooting is always similar. Someone very promising, but nothing ever results.”

“While Kellynch is an old title, your family offers little else. Your dowries are respectable but not more. Although Elizabeth is quite pretty, she offers nothing else.”

“What else is there?”

“Intelligence, talent, conversation, sympathy, friendship-the list is endless. At a dinner party, you generally invite some to fill out the table, others who are fascinating or interesting conversationalists and others who are necessary for social reasons-returning an invitation or favor, etc. Your father and sister fill out the table. Now, your cousins and their friends offer interesting conversation. So does your sister, Anne. You can seat any of them next to someone who is querulous or cantankerous, and they can keep them entertained. That is a valuable social skill. Since Elizabeth has no conversation at all, she must be seated next to someone who will be entertained no matter who is his partner. There are not too many of the younger men who are like that. That is generally someone who is older and more self-sufficient.”

“I think Mary Bennet was explaining some of this to me. She explained that she and Mr. Musgrove had become friends just through their conversations. I do not know that I have ever really had friends.”

“You certainly would not have an example of how to be a friend in Elizabeth. Now Anne, with her visits to Lady Russell, the Musgroves, and everyone else in the area, always demonstrated the fine attributes of friendship.”

“Hmm. I should probably think about that. I would like to have friends, I think. Lady Russell and I had a general talk about attention and those who use ill health to gain what they cannot otherwise. I think we have made a start on becoming friends. This goes along with that, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, it does. Did Mrs. Bennet spur the discussion? Her nerves have always been a major distraction and trial for the family.”

“Yes, it did, but she pointed out that I have many acquaintances that use their health in a similar way. But how do I really develop friends?”

“I think you have begun with your interest in all your various cousins. Friendship generally grows over time as you exhibit interest in another and share experiences. Now, were there any girls at school that you would like to continue relationships with?”

“I had not really considered. I was not particularly close with anyone, but I am sure there are some who could have been friends if I had made some effort. Of course, I never did.”

“Are any of them in London?”

“I think they might be.”

“We will look them up and see if a friendship can be developed.”

Each day of the journey, Lady Stevenson tried to rectify the lack of direction that Mary had received in losing her mother at such an early age. She was pleased to see that Mary could reflect on the suggestion and then determine what would work best for her. She was more like Anne in this than Elizabeth. Elizabeth had refused all of the assistance her grandmother had offered. She began to think that Mary’s season would not be as difficult as Elizabeth’s had been. At least Mary was maturing and could take direction. Elizabeth had never done either.

In Hertfordshire, Mrs. Bennet was indeed excited to have her married daughters visit. As they entered the parlor, she exclaimed, “Oh, wonderful. Here you are at last! I could not imagine when you would finally arrive. I declare, I was worried that something awful had befallen you.”

Jane kissed her mother on the cheek. “We are here exactly at the time we had predicted. There was no need for you to worry. Now, let us clean up and then we can visit properly.”

“Well, hurry then. I want to take you and Lizzy to see our friends. They all want to see you.”

Mrs. Hill showed them to the rooms they would use and helped everyone settle. “May I offer you both my congratulations?” she asked as she showed them up the stairs.

Elizabeth replied, “Thank you, Mrs. Hill. I hope it has not caused you too much extra work to deal with all these changes.”

“Not at all. I can see that both of you are very happy in your new lives. It is nice you were able to visit us. Your mother is quite pleased.”

Jane said, “I hope so. Mother does appreciate our comfortable situations.”

Within thirty minutes, the men were in the library with Mr. Bennet, relaxing, and the ladies were in the carriage to see as many of Mrs. Bennet’s friends as possible. They only visited those who would not be attending the dinner that Mrs. Bennet had planned for that day. “I do wish you were to stay longer. There will be so little opportunity to see all our friends.”

Elizabeth replied, “Perhaps we can on our next visit. Jane still has much to do to Ambleside before winter, and I need to prepare for Pemberley’s traditional harvest dance. They have not held it since Mrs. Darcy passed, and there is much to try to coordinate to bring it back.”

“I am certain you have what you think are valid reasons, but you simply delight in upsetting me with your own plans while ignoring my needs.”

Jane simply replied, “Yes, mother. But that is what life is all about. Your children grow up and have families of their own to manage.”

“You have no consideration for my nerves. Who knows-Jane may finally begin the addition to the family and be unable to travel again. For that matter, you must hurry to give Mr. Darcy an heir. Show some compassion for my nerves.”
Elizabeth smiled. “Yes, mother. We will do so.”

They spent the next couple of hours allowing Mrs. Bennet to brag to her friends. Then it was time to return home to prepare for dinner with the rest of their friends.

First to arrive were Mr. and Mrs. Philips. After being introduced to Bingley and Darcy, the gentlemen stood to one side to become better acquainted. Mrs. Philips offered her congratulations to her nieces, then said to her sister, “Oh, Fanny. You never told me that their husbands were also handsome. All you spoke of was their wealth. They are even more blessed than you said.”

Mrs. Bennet replied, “I suppose they are good looking but that is not what matters at all. Their situation is all that I care about.”

Shortly after the Lucases arrived, Charlotte and Elizabeth had a chance to catch up together. “Elizabeth, it is so kind of you to invite me to attend you.”

“Perhaps, but you are also doing me a favor as well. I will love having you for company.”

“Are you sure you really need a companion? I do not want to be an imposition.”

“I imagine I could get by without one, but honestly, Mr. Darcy is busy most of the day. I really do you want you to keep me company. I am so used to having Jane always around that I really do not like being alone. You will be doing me a great favor.”

“Very well. You are very kind to think of me.”

“You are my closest friend after my sisters, after all. If there were something to keep you here, I would not ask you to leave, but I think we shall have a wonderful time together.”

Mrs. Bennet preened the entire evening being able to boast of the fine homes that both of her married daughters had and the one that Mary would have once she too married. Most appreciated the good fortune of the Bennets and also that it had been achieved without attaching any of the few available single men in the area. That allowed those still living in Meryton to have hope for their futures.

The next day, the mail caught up with the visitors. After reading his, Darcy went in search of his wife. “Did you tell me that John Lucas recently took orders?”

“Why yes. You met him last night-he was the quiet one of the lot. Why do you ask?”

“Yes, I recall. Well, the vicar at Kympton finally succumbed to old age. I have that living to fill and thought we might want to chat with Mr. Lucas to see if he would be a candidate. However, I expect this will also bring up some issues.”

“What kinds of issues?”

“Back when my father died, his will specified that, if at all possible, he would like this living to go to his godson, George Wickham. Wickham had already decided that the church would not suit him and accepted a fairly large sum in exchange for release from that specification. He was correct that the church would not suit-he is a rake, wastrel, and gambler. But, I expect that he will hear of the death and show up at Pemberley looking for money again.”

“I won’t ask about the others, but how do you know about being a wastrel?”

“I have paid off his debts on a number of occasions. He thinks nothing of running up debt and not paying before leaving a location.”

“Well, then, I have a suggestion. If he does come calling, offer him a choice: he can either leave the country or go to debtor’s prison unless he can repay. Since you hold that debt, you can call it in. If you offer to purchase his ticket to either Canada or Australia, you give him a true choice. After all, you want to protect those who might be taken in by him in the future-whether financially or otherwise. If he is a rake, I am sure there are many ladies who would appreciate him not being here.”

“I have tended to think this a family problem to clean up, not in terms of how it impacts other. You may have a good idea there. I could protect others if we force his hand.”

“Let’s go visit John and see what you think.” They were able to get away without informing Mrs. Bennet who would have wanted to join them visiting Lucas Lodge. Her nerves seemed to always be on edge, so her comments were shriller and louder than in the past. All found it much easier to avoid her rather than trying to deal with her complaints which seemed never-ending.

Darcy and Lucas talked together for about an hour while Elizabeth visited with Charlotte, Maria, and Lady Lucas. Lady Lucas wanted to hear about Pemberley and what awaited Charlotte as she moved there with Elizabeth. They also spoke of the upcoming harvest ball and then the future season in London.

Finally, Darcy and Lucas joined the ladies, and Lucas said, “Well, Mother, it appears that I, too, will be moving to Derbyshire. Mr. Darcy has offered me the living at Kympton, a small parish near Pemberley. I will be heading north as soon as we can manage it after confirmation from the Bishop.”

Lady Lucas exclaimed, “Oh, how wonderful. Mr. Darcy, thank you so very much. You take a great load off my mind.”

Darcy smiled, “It is to our mutual benefit. I have someone I can rely on at Kympton while you have a son serving the church and community. I hope that means we will see you visiting our neighborhood in the future. With Miss Lucas also visiting us, that is further incentive to have you come north for a time. I am sure the single ladies of the area will appreciate his appointment. I predict he will be receiving lots of treats as they try to curry favor.” John blushed.

“With William managing his father’s former concerns, and John now gaining a church, we have been truly blessed in settling our sons. You are also helping Charlotte which is an additional blessing. Perhaps we will come to visit as you say. We surely will if John does attract some fine young lady.” Lucas blushed an even brighter red.

Elizabeth smiled, “But by helping Charlotte, we are also helping me, so we are also blessed. I suppose that Mother’s wish for us to find men of substance to provide help for the rest of the family also extends to our friends. I am happy we could help John get his start on his vocation. I suppose I need to begin calling him Mr. Lucas. That would be more appropriate.”

Lucas said, “If you can manage that, I can switch from Elizabeth to Mrs. Darcy.”

“Well, at least we can when formal. As friends, I hope I can continue to be Elizabeth and you John when we are in a less formal setting.”

“Agreed.”

The Bingleys and Darcys remained for just another two days before bidding farewell to Longbourn, collecting Charlotte and heading north. Mrs. Bennet was not happy that they would not stay, but Mr. Bennet was sympathetic to their responsibilities at home. While she complained behind them, he said to the girls, “Safe journeys. Write to us. We will be thinking of you.”

Mary added, “I want to hear all about this harvest ball. It sounds like it will be a lot of work.”

Elizabeth said, “I will write. Yes, there will be lots of work, but I think it will be worth it.”

Behind her, Mrs. Bennet exclaimed, “Of course it will be worth it. It will showcase the importance of the Darcys.”

“Yes, mother, it will,” smiled Elizabeth. They entered their carriages and headed off, first to Lucas Lodge to collect Charlotte, then north.

When they finally arrived at Pemberley, Charlotte’s response as she exited the carriage, “Oh, my, Elizabeth, it is spectacular. I can see that we will be very comfortable here. Thank you again for inviting me.”

In Sussex, Findlay began his efforts to garner votes. He met with various groups of landowners and listened to their concerns, pledged his best efforts on their behalf. Caroline had teas with the wives and dowagers, supported by Mrs. Findlay. They encouraged the women to talk favorably of how Findlay would support and promote the area. Mrs. Findlay quietly helped show Caroline what her role in such a campaign was. Caroline was always there to show her support when he addressed groups, generally following up with the women after the general meetings. The three worked well together, and when the election was finally held, Findlay was selected. He would join Parliament when it was seated again in the new year.



Chapter 8

After her sisters left, Mary Bennet once again spent time visiting the tenants with Mrs. Hill. She knew that when she left, Mrs. Hill would again assume that responsibility. Since she would be home for a couple of months, she wanted to ensure that all was well before she left. She consulted frequently with her father to inform him of conditions on the estate.

At the end of one such visit, Mr. Bennet said, “Mary, when we sent you to your aunt’s after Christmas, I never anticipated so many changes. You are truly an asset and prepared to take your place as mistress of Uppercross when the time comes. You have made me very proud.”

“Thank you, father. I would never have believed so much could change in less than a year, but it certainly has. I think it will be quieter after I marry until the girls come out, and then it starts over again.”

“Perhaps, but my guess is, we will continue to see a great deal of change. It seems to accelerate as I get older.”

Mary continued to visit friends with her mother, usually at least one visit each day. The morning was available for seeing to the needs of tenants as her mother usually slept in. Mary also chose to spend time with the friends who participated in charity together although Mrs. Bennet never understood the need. She usually tried to convince Mary to go out with her instead, but Mary always chose the circle over her mother on those days. She knew she was setting the pattern for her future life and hoped that her mother might choose to join. She knew the hope was a slim one, but she knew she must continue to provide that example. She felt some measure of success when Mrs. Philips finally joined, although Mrs. Bennet still remained outside the group.

“Aunt, I am so happy you are joining me with the ladies. I will enjoy your company.”

“Well, your description of the good you accomplish got me thinking that I could contribute too.”

Mary smiled, “I am sure the gossip and conversation will be enjoyable too.”

“Likely it will,” replied Mrs. Phillips. Then she laughed and said, “Who am I fooling? That is probably what will keep me going once you leave, Mary. I am not the most gifted seamstress, but I do love conversation.”

“We must have some reward for our efforts,” agreed Mary. She understood her aunt well. “Perhaps you can eventually convince Mama to join you.”

“Well, I can try. She likes sewing even less than I do.”

“But she does love conversation and visiting. I have tried explaining how fun this is but without success.”

“After I attend a few times, perhaps I will have more luck.”

Mary found that she became close to many of those women, but also, that she and Maria Lucas also became closer friends. Now that Charlotte was gone, Maria found that she was in need of friends, too. She started coming to sew for charity and found that it was possible to become friends with some of the older women. Her mother had not been regular in attendance, but as Maria began to attend, Lady Lucas determined that she should be there as well. She had only attended occasionally in the past.

As Maria and Mary walked home together after one such meeting, Maria said, “Do you realize how many changes you are influencing here? You used to talk about all that moral stuff but it had no impact on anyone. Now, you never talk like that, but you do things. And those things make a difference. I knew these ladies were meeting and helping people but never thought about it. You joined them as soon as you got home. That was an impressive example.”

Mary blushed. “My aunt helped me learn how to be truly moral and not just talk about it. She practices applied charity and made it attractive. I truly believe that, because we have so much, we have a duty to give back. I am glad I am a good example.”

“I never realized that such things could be so pleasurable. It is an added bonus that my sewing and embroidery have improved. Our relationships with the other ladies are also growing. So, thank you Mary.”

“You are most welcome. I suspect you would have started coming eventually in any case. Perhaps I simply helped you come sooner,” Mary replied modestly.

Within a week of her sisters leaving, Mary received a letter from Musgrove. It informed her that the family had just received word that his brother, Richard, had died at sea that previous summer. His mother was taking the loss hard although they had always found Richard to be difficult when he was still living at home. Mary immediately penned a note to her future mother offering her condolences.

After she sealed the letter, Mary sat at the desk thinking. She had heard a number of stories about Richard. He had been rather wayward, never applying himself at anything. Why did some people expect to have a great life without expending any effort while others always strove? Could Richard have been any more different from Charles? They had the same parents and upbringing but were so different.

Her thoughts then turned to her own family. Perhaps it was not just the parents and upbringing. All five of the Bennet girls were quite different. Of course, temperaments were a part of it, but some of it had to be due to parental influences. At least none of them suffered nerves like Mama. She finally concluded that she would do all she could to promote learning and achievement in all of her children-girls as well as boys. The world was changing and it would require educated women as much as it did men.

Shortly after the Darcys arrived at Pemberley, George Wickham appeared, just as Darcy had predicted. However, after considering Elizabeth’s suggestion, Darcy was prepared for the confrontation.

After Wickham was shown into the library, Darcy said, “Well, George, I had not expected to see you again.”

“The Kympton living is available so I thought I should return to claim it.”

Darcy shook his head. “You are mis-informed. It is not available. And I hold here your quitclaim to the living when you accepted the money in its place. So you think you have a vocation and should take orders, do you?”

“I think I could be very effective as a minister,” said Wickham with a smile and a mock-pious pose.

“Well, since the living is not available, you must rethink your plans.”

“How could it not be available? The old vicar just died.”

“I already have a minister to replace him. He should be here within the week. But I do have a proposition for you.” Darcy smiled.

Wickham grinned, “I thought you might.”

Darcy held up some papers. “Between these and those that my solicitor holds, I have a significant amount of your debt. You have before you now, three choices. You may choose to redeem all of these, and we go our separate ways. I will continue to hold them but purchase a ticket for you to emigrate to either Canada or Australia to begin anew. Or, I can summon the bailiff and have you escorted to debtor’s prison until such time as you repay the debt. The choice is yours.”

Wickham’s grin faded as he stared at Darcy. “That is no choice. How can you think that it is?”

“Perhaps you have the means to repay all those debts you owe. How would I know? And I am generous to offer the opportunity to emigrate. Many would simply place you in prison. So, what is it to be?”

“I would take the money for the ticket, I suppose.”

“Ah, no, that is not the offer. You tell me which – Canada or Australia - and I will purchase your passage and see you on your way. You have given much evidence that I could never trust you otherwise.”

“If that is the case, then I will just be on my way,” replied Wickham, turning to leave the library.

“I think not.” As Darcy said that, he rapped on the desk, and two burly footmen entered the library. “My men here will escort you to the bailiff and prison if that is your choice. One way or another, you decide your destination today.”

“You cannot be serious.”

“Deadly.”

The two men blocked the doorway and simply stood there. Darcy had previously discussed all of this with them. They had papers to provide any necessary funds and were solidly in favor of this solution. Wickham had seduced the sister of one; that sister died giving birth to a daughter who had quickly followed the mother into death. He would rather deal with it with his fists, but had accepted this as a way to protect others. Wickham looked at Darcy incredulously. What had happened? “What about the publicity?”

“I am thinking more of protecting our neighbors and the merchants than any publicity. Well, what is it to be?”

Wickham could not understand why Darcy would not capitulate. Finally, he said, “Canada.”

Darcy smiled. “Fine. You can leave from Liverpool next week when there is a ship sailing. I have been keeping track of possible ships once I determined on this possible solution. These two are your new best friends. They will accompany you to the ship and see you sail. Should I ever find that you have returned to England, I will request your incarceration until all of these debts are paid. I wish you luck in finding a better start in Canada. If you do not sail, thinking to slip away from these fine men, I have access to investigators who should be able to find you anywhere in England and see you in prison. Keep that in mind. Well, these two will go with you to your rooms to help you collect your things and get you to Liverpool. Should you want to return to England, be sure to send payment of the debt before you arrive. That will enable you to remain at liberty.”

Wickham looked at his two companions in distaste. Darcy seemed to have thought of everything. “But I will have nothing when I get to Canada.”

“You should be able to find work quite easily. I know you have some funds on you. Use those to start with. You are getting nothing more from me, that’s for certain.”

As the two men left with Wickham, Darcy went in search of Elizabeth. She and Charlotte were in her parlor writing letters. “Elizabeth, thank you for your suggestion about dealing with Wickham. He came, just as I thought. He is now on his way to collect his things and leave for Liverpool with two of our larger footmen. He has chosen to try his luck in Canada. I will relax once I know he is aboard ship, but at least I may be free of cleaning up his messes in the future.”

“I am glad we could have a happy solution to an unhappy situation.”

“As am I. I am also pleased it is settled before the ball. I think he might have used that to force my hand if he had known it was planned. He would have tried to cause a scene or something. Whoever told him of the Kympton vacancy probably did not think of it. I am grateful John Lucas is already come to fill it. That made this easier for me.”

“All of the planning is well in hand. Mrs. Reynolds is a marvel, and Charlotte has been very helpful. We have been through all of your mother’s journals about it. It will uphold all the Pemberley traditions.”

“Excellent. Have you both new dresses for the occasion?” He asked this with a smile.

“Yes, we will collect them tomorrow in Lambton. Charlotte protested, but I insisted.”

Charlotte said, “Thank you very much for the new dress. I had not planned to acquire a new wardrobe at your expense.”

Darcy smiled. “I am glad we could assist you. I hope you enjoy yourself.”

“I am sure I will.”

As he left, Charlotte asked, “Will he recognize that yours is not new but is merely newly trimmed?”

“I suspect he will since he is the one who requested I be married in it. However, I think the new sapphire trim will look stunning.”
“I agree.”

She was unaware that Darcy overheard this conversation as he had paused to consider what to tackle next when he left her parlor. He smiled thinking, “This would be the perfect time to pass on mother’s sapphire and diamond necklace. I must see to that.”

In Sussex, Caroline was becoming more comfortable with her role as the mistress of the estate. Like Mary and Elizabeth, she was visiting tenants and learning of their needs. She joined the local charity circle and became better acquainted with her neighbors. Louisa joined her in the charitable effort. Like Jane and Elizabeth, Louisa and Caroline enjoyed living so close to one another. Caroline also spent time learning about what would be needed as the wife of an MP both at home and in London. There was a wide scope for social activities.

At Rosings, the Fitzwilliams and Anne developed a good working relationship with the new butler and housekeeper. The situation at the dower house stabilized although Lady Catherine still spent much of her time berating her caregivers for their failure to follow her orders when those were counter to their instructions for her care. However, when they could, they placated her as much as possible.

A new minister arrived at Hunsford, Mr. Grimes, along with his wife and three children. He did not need the guidance and direction that Mr. North had required. Anne invited them to tea shortly after their arrival.

As they were enjoying their tea, Anne asked, “Are you finding the Hunsford cottage to your satisfaction?”

Mr. Grimes replied, “It is eminently suitable.”

Mrs. Grimes added, “It is more than suitable. My husband can be the master of understatement. The children already enjoy helping in the garden, and it is so comfortable and spacious.”

Grimes added, “And the village has been most welcoming. I hope we can return the favor by meeting their spiritual needs.”

Mrs. Grimes said, “I would like to feel that we will be here for the foreseeable future. It is delightful.”

Anne said, “I am so glad you are happy. I know that if your situation is agreeable, it is easier for you to minister to your parishioners. I eagerly await your first sermon.”

Grimes smiled, “I hope it pleases. I have been thinking of speaking on gratitude.”

Lord Fitzwilliam finally entered the conversation, “One can never be reminded of that too often. Wonderful choice.”

“Thank you, my lord.”

All five enjoyed the tea. The children had been left at the parsonage with their nanny. After their guests left, Lord Fitzwilliam said, “Well, he will be quite the change for Hunsford.”

Lady Fitzwilliam added, “He certainly will. I think it will be refreshing for everyone.”

Anne said, “I agree. He was an excellent choice, uncle, as were our new butler and housekeeper. I hope all the other changes in my life go as smoothly.”

Lady Fitzwilliam answered, “I think you will find that many will do so, but other changes will be harder. You have come so far quickly that I predict change will slow down a bit now.”

Anne continued, “Can you imagine what it would have been like if we chose that first candidate the Bishop suggested-the one even more sycophantic than Mr. North? I think he was Mr. Collins. I shudder to think of it.”

Lord Fitzwilliam said, “I fear your mother would have loved him. Well, let us hope he finds some measure of success far from Rosings-and far from my estate as well. I hope never to encounter him again.”

Anne said, “Well, one change I am ready for is a few new dresses. Now that we are visiting with the neighbors and will be going on to Pemberley, it is time to make a few changes there.”

“Good. I had hoped you would feel ready for that soon. Do you wish to use the local dressmaker?”

“I think she does excellent work. If we select more fashionable things than Mother chose, I think we will be satisfied.”

“We must start on that tomorrow then.”

They visited the dressmaker together and selected a number of day and evening dresses, and one ball gown. As both aunt and uncle were avid riders, they also selected a riding habit. Anne had begun tentative steps at learning to ride and was advanced enough to require a proper outfit.

Mr. Grimes's first sermon was a success. If there were some who were grateful that Lady Catherine was no longer so involved in their lives, they were prudent enough not to voice the sentiment. Anne did think of it when he mentioned gratitude for changing circumstances. He would definitely be a valuable addition to Hunsford.

Once the dresses were delivered, it was time to prepare for the trip to Pemberley. Anne’s attendance at the harvest ball would accomplish a great deal for the family: she would have the opportunity to engage in social activity (thanks to Lord Fitzwilliam teaching her a few of the latest dances); Anne would get acquainted with Elizabeth; and Anne would have the opportunity to acquire some new acquaintances in a setting that was less pressured than London. She had enjoyed becoming socially active with her neighbors and was anticipating a wider social acquaintance to come.

When the Fitzwilliams arrived at Pemberley, Anne was surprised to recognize the lane leading up to the house. She had been a young child when last there. She hadn’t expected to remember any of it. She was also surprised at the warm welcome given her by Darcy and Elizabeth. Her cousin had never been so voluble.

As they entered the foyer, Elizabeth said, “Oh, Miss de Bourgh, we are so happy to welcome you to Pemberley once again. You cannot imagine how pleased we are that you could attend our harvest ball.”

Anne smiled in reply. “We are now cousins. Please call me Anne. I am very happy to be here with you.”

“Then you must call me Elizabeth as my family does.”

“Thank you, Elizabeth.”

Turning to Lord and Lady Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth continued, “I hope the journey was not too much trouble.”

Lord Fitzwilliam answered, “It was not. We were happy to make it. In many ways, this is like the old times when my sister was still here.”

Lady Fitzwilliam added, “I am certain we will all enjoy ourselves.”

In the parlor later, everyone was introduced to Charlotte as they refreshed themselves. After a bit of welcoming conversation, Elizabeth said, “Well, I think we are now ready since you are come.”

Lady Fitzwilliam asked, “What are the plans?”

“It is the full moon and the weather seems fair, so none of the other guests will be staying with us. The festival for the tenants and servants begins tomorrow. There has been no change there-it has continued as it always has. Tomorrow evening, the ball for the gentry takes place here in the house. It will continue into the early hours when our guests will depart. Servants will take turns to attend the festival and serve at the ball. The following day, we will eat buffet style of the leftovers from the ball.”

Lady Fitzwilliam said, “That sounds much like it always was.”

“We think so. We had an excellent harvest, and of course, we are still celebrating the marriage, so we anticipate a good time. The tenants have a couple of excellent fiddlers, and we have a nice instrumental ensemble, so the music at both should be good. Our cook, Mrs. Hannah, has been preparing delicacies for both for many days now. She seems to really enjoy this opportunity.”

Anne said, “From what I remember, it appears that the house has been prepared too.”

Charlotte said, “Yes, everyone has been busy. We have all collected flowers for all the main rooms. The scent in the ballroom is quite nice. The flowers have been as abundant as the rest of the harvest.”

Lord Fitzwilliam said, “There always seems to be so much involved in these affairs. I, for one, am grateful that you ladies manage all the arrangements.”

Darcy added, “As am I. I know Mrs. Reynolds would have done so for me in the past, but I am grateful to have a Mrs. Darcy to preside this year. It is much better to have a hostess.”

Lord Fitzwilliam smiled, “For more than just the ball, I would bet.”

“You would be correct.”

Anne said, “Wills, Elizabeth was an excellent choice. I have never seen you so relaxed and happy. Once again, my congratulations to you both.”

Darcy said, “Thank you, Anne. I hope you will find someone who makes you as happy.”
SubjectAuthorPosted

Kindly Relations Chapters 7 and 8

ShannaGApril 06, 2018 04:52PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 7 and 8

BrigidApril 06, 2018 05:58PM



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