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Kindly Relations Chapters 11 and 12

April 13, 2018 04:13PM
AN: Glad you are enjoying. thank for the comments.
Chapter 11
A few weeks after arriving in town, Mary Elliot attended another small dinner party at the Gardiner’s. She found a varied social group attending just as at the previous events. Mary enjoyed meeting a few couples-some older, some younger-and a few single gentlemen and women. Her friend, Leticia Lovedean, was also invited as Mary had recently introduced her to Mrs. Gardiner.

When she saw her friend, Mary said, “Miss Lovedean, I am so glad you could attend. Other than family, I have only met the Alleyns before tonight. Are you acquainted with any of them?”

“It is good to see you too, Miss Elliot. I have met Mr. Raynor on occasion. I do not believe I have met any of the others.”

Mary smiled. “We must then support each other in getting to know our new acquaintances.”

Both girls spent time getting to know the people in attendance. By the time they sat down to eat, both were quite at ease in the company. Leticia found herself sitting next to Mr. Raynor while Mary found herself next to a Mr. Beaumont. She determined to try to practice what her grandmother had been teaching her about being personable in her small talk.

“So, Mr. Beaumont, are you originally from London?”

He smiled. “No, my family lives in Lincolshire at Edlington Beck. My older brother, Edmund, will follow my father as its master, so I have chosen to go into the law. I have found it to be very interesting. Living in London is quite different than Edlington, but I find I enjoy it here very much.”

“So at least you have found a good situation for yourself. I have two sisters. Have you other family than just your older brother?”

“Yes, two younger brothers. One is gone into the navy and the other into the church. The younger is currently a lieutenant and at sea and the elder is a curate in Northamptonshire. What of your home and family?”

“My home is called Kellynch, in Somerset. My father is the baronet. My oldest sister is still living at home. I am the youngest. The middle sister married a naval captain this past spring. She is with him on his assignment in the West Indies. What is Edlington Beck like?”

“It is an average estate but I think it quite beautiful. Father is Viscount Beaumont which my brother Edmund will assume at some point. Edmund has recently come to an agreement with a young lady who hopes to help refurbish Edlington. My mother never cared much about decoration beyond comfort, so I fear our home is a bit shabby and out of fashion. Miss Fotheringale is quite fashionable and determined to bring us more up to date by the time they marry, which should be during our Christmas holidays.”

“So you will be going home for the holiday season?”

“Yes. I generally do. There is little to keep me in London and much to lure me home. How about you?”

“I went home when I was at school, but this year I will remain with my grandmother to keep her company. We may go to her family home in Gloucesteshire for a couple of weeks as she has been unable to see everyone for the holidays for a few years due to my grandfather’s illness. I will see my father and sister in March when they come to town. So your brother marries when you go home?”

“Yes, and father and Edmund are quite excited about it. My mother died 5 years ago, so there has been no mistress of the estate for some time. Mother had been ill for quite a few years. Father entertained but little having no hostess, and he is quite sociable, so he is looking forward to having guests again.”

“My sister has been the hostess since my own mother’s passing. I have been away at school and only recently began to attend her events. I must say they seem more entertaining here in town than they were at home. I do not know if that is because of the variety of the company or the hostess. My aunt seems to be a wonderful hostess.”

“Mrs. Gardiner is always quite kind to those of us in chambers. She invites us regularly to her festivities and hosts a number of dinners so we can all come to know one another better outside of chambers. I believe I met some of your cousins last season, the Bennets. I say, I think I also met your sister. She was living here last autumn, was she not?”

“Yes to both. Mrs. Wentworth moved here last autumn as Miss Elliot and married in the spring.”

“Your aunt did not have us all over as much due to the arrival of little Jenny, but I met your sister just once at a card party held here last autumn. I believe she played the piano as background music rather than play cards.”

“That sounds like Mrs. Wentworth. She has never enjoyed cards.”

“If I remember she was dark like you. Is your other sister also a brunette?”

“No, Miss Elliot and Father are blondes. Mrs. Wentworth and I more resemble our mother.”

“Ah. Do you enjoy cards, or are you like your sister and prefer to provide music?”

“I love cards and find providing music only tolerable. I am not as proficient on the piano as Anne and do not enjoy it quite as much as she.”

“I look forward to encountering you at a card party in the future then.”

Once through all the exchanges about family, they talked of living in London and of his work. By the end of the dinner, Mary hoped she would see Mr. Beaumont again. He thought she was quite interesting and would like to get to know her better. At least she could talk about a wide variety of subjects. Since she would be here for the season, he thought he might attend more events than he had in past years. She might be worth knowing.

Leticia had enjoyed her conversations with Mr. Raynor. He was entertaining. So many of the men she had met to date were boring. He was also not overly intellectual, which a few had been. She did not like those as she was not at all intellectual. She could see that Mary was also enjoying her partner. They would have to meet tomorrow to discuss this evening and their partners.

The next day, Leticia called at the Stevenson’s. After a few moments of polite greetings, she said to Mary, “It seemed to me that you enjoyed your dinner partner yesterday very much.”

Mary smiled. “As you did yours, I think. Yes, Mr. Beaumont seemed very nice. I would like to get to know him much better.”

“That is how I feel about Mr. Raynor. Lady Stevenson, do you know him?”

Lady Stevenson smiled. “Yes, I do, and you could do worse. He is a nice young man and has a very comfortable situation. Had you not met him before?”

“Not where we could actually talk. I was introduced at a large gathering , and we did nothing more than exchange greetings. I have not seen him anywhere else.”

Lady Stevenson nodded, “Well then, you must make calls with Miss Bennet and either me or Mrs. Gardiner as both of us do have many friends in common. His mother and Mrs. Gardiner have been friends for a long time. We can help you further the acquaintance to see if you might be interested in something more of an attachment.”

Mary added, “Mrs. Gardiner and I will be calling on them this afternoon. You must come with us.”

“Thank you. I will.”

Mrs. Lovedean smiled to see this expansion of Leticia’s social circle. She herself was only on the periphery of this group. She and her husband would like to see Leticia move into a higher circle like that enjoyed by Miss Elliot.

“Mrs. Lovedean, will you join us?”

“Thank you. I think I would enjoy that.”

While Mrs. Lovedean became better acquainted with Mrs. Raynor and Mrs. Gardiner, Leticia and Mary spent the call at the Raynor’s becoming better acquainted with Miss Raynor. Last season had been her first and she was displeased at not becoming attached. “My brother may look for as long as he chooses. With us, we must find someone in a year or two or risk being considered passé.”

Mary replied, “My sister has been coming each year for only a few weeks for many years now. I wonder if she is becoming passé? Do you think it better to be here for the whole season?”

Miss Raynor replied, “I think there are many more opportunities if you attend a wide variety of events. Even the little season can help. There is a young man, a Mr. Marsh, who seems to be paying a great deal of attention lately. I met him in June after almost everyone was gone for the summer. We have seen him a few times during the summer, but he seems to be at almost everything we attend this autumn. He was at the Gardiner’s last night, which was the third time I have seen him this fortnight.”

Leticia asked, “You think you would be interested in accepting, should he offer?”

“I think so. He would offer a very comfortable situation and seems a nice young man. You two are just coming out, aren’t you?”

Mary said, “Yes, we are. We were both at school together until this past spring. Miss Lovedean lives here in London, and I have come to live with my grandmother, my grandfather having just passed.”

Leticia added, “We are both eagerly anticipating this upcoming season. I am sure it will be much more fun than school.”

Mary added, “Far more interesting too.”

Miss Raynor giggled. “I expect it will be more fun and interesting, but it will also be tiring. You are out so late so often that early mornings become a thing of the past. I hope you are both ready for that.”

Mary answered, “I suppose we will find out.”

As they rode back to drop Leticia and Mrs. Lovedean off at home, Mary asked, “Are you still interested?”

“I think so. I like his mother and sister. It all seems quite suitable. I hope I can help him become more interested in me. At least talking with the two of them, I have gained some more information about his likes and dislikes so that I can entertain him more when we speak.”

Mrs. Gardiner said, “Should we be aware of him attending an event, we will be sure to inform you so you can attend.”

“Thank you. I am sure that would be helpful.”

Mrs. Lovedean added, “You are kind to assist Leticia this way. They seem a very nice family.”

Mrs. Gardiner said, “We are pleased we can further the acquaintance. You could certainly do much worse. He would offer a very respectable situation.”

After stopping at the Lovedean’s, Mrs. Gardiner said to Mary, “You seemed to be having quite the conversation Mr. Beaumont last evening. What did you think of him?”

“I liked him. He seems nice. He does not talk down to me as some of the more intellectual gentlemen seem to do. He is interesting and witty without being cruel in his humor. I believe I would like to know him better.”

“He has indicated to Mr. Gardiner that his situation is now sufficiently secure that he can think about looking for a wife. He expects to participate in the season more than he has in the past. Would you want to live in London as we do?”

“I might. There are certainly lots of things to do here. And I have you and Grandmother here as well.”

“Some of the other cousins are also here during the season, so you would see at least some of the family on occasion. Would you miss living in the country?”

“Perhaps, but isn’t that what visiting the family is for? After all, I have spent more time in Bath at school than Kellynch these past few years. I am not much of a country girl any longer.”

Mrs. Gardiner laughed, “I suppose so. Very well, we will see what we can do to offer opportunities for the two of you to be in company. His lineage is sufficiently exalted that your father should offer no objection. “

“Does father really care about that so much?”

“Yes, that was his initial objection to Captain Wentworth. He was apparently from the wrong branch of the family. I believe rank and looks are all that matter to your father.”

True to her word, Mrs. Gardiner managed to allow Mary to see Mr. Beaumont at least a couple more times before the holidays. Both were encouraged about possible future meetings.

Chapter 12

One morning at the beginning of December, Lady Stevenson and Mary Elliot sat in the parlor reading their mail. Mary was pleased to have a very newsy letter from Mary Bennet. She certainly had been busy about the estate as she prepared to leave her home. Mary contrasted all that Mary Bennet was doing with the little she had done in saying farewell. Obviously their circumstances had been very different.

Lady Stevenson cleared her throat and said, “I have an invitation from Matilda for the two of us to join them in their celebrations at South Park. As you know, with Sir James ailing, I have not been in some years. Would you like to go?”

“Very much. Tell me about South Park celebrations. At Kellynch, the holiday is barely acknowledged. There are a few trimmings and gifts but not even a special feast. A few of the neighbors have celebrations, but of course I have never gone as I was not out. Father and Elizabeth attended but always complained about them although Anne never found any fault.”

“They complained?”

“Yes. The food was adequate, the company not deferential enough, the people not terribly interesting-that sort of thing.”

“Ah yes. Well, I expect Michael and Matilda uphold all the old traditions. In the old days, we would have a Yule log, mumming and a Lord of Misrule, games, singing, and a feast. Matilda says we should not expect a ball this year as we are still in mourning, but our other family celebrations will be as usual.”

“They usually have a ball?”

“Yes. It has always been quite fun to have a Christmas ball for the neighborhood. It would be about a week before the holiday. All the guests would stay at South Park the night before and the night of the ball. We would end with a grand breakfast before everyone would return to their own homes.”

“That helps explain why so very many of the neighbors wanted to pay their respects when he passed. He must have been very popular.”

“Yes, I think he was well and truly admired.”

“It sounds like it will be lovely. I will also enjoy seeing the rest of the family again.”

Lady Stevenson nodded her head in agreement. “I will just reply to Matilda’s letter. We will leave on Monday.”

Mary had never had a happier holiday than that spent with all her cousins. Now that she had learned better how to be a friend, she found herself developing friendship with all the women in the family. She might not see many of them during the season, but she would enjoy the relationship in any case.

The same day that Mary and Lady Stevenson had their discussion, Charlotte, Elizabeth and Darcy left Pemberley for Bath. This year, they had decided to join the Fitzwilliams and Anne in London for the holiday. Anne was not ready to institute new traditions at Rosings and wanted to be around family for the holiday. She was not interested in spending it with her mother this year. She was ready for change.

The Fitzwilliams and Anne planned to stay at the Fitzwilliam house while the Darcys would stay in their own townhouse. All arrived the day before the Gardiners were to leave for Longbourn. However, Mary and Lady Stevenson were already on their way to Gloucestershire.

Elizabeth had only been at Darcy House once, during the supper after theater that Darcy had hosted to support Wentworth with Anne’s family. As they entered the foyer, both butler and housekeeper were waiting to greet them.

Darcy said, “Ah, Wheeler, Mrs. Wheeler, may I present Mrs. Darcy?”

Wheeler responded, “We are most pleased to meet you, Mrs. Darcy. Welcome to Darcy House.”

“Thank you. We are pleased to be here. Once we’ve refreshed, might we have some tea in the parlor? Then, perhaps Mrs. Wheeler could introduce me to the staff? The one time I visited, I never anticipated I would return and find this my home.”

Mrs. Wheeler responded, “Of course. We have been eagerly anticipating meeting you.”

When Mrs. Wheeler conducted the introductions, Elizabeth included Georgiana when she learned that the girl knew almost none of the London staff. Charlotte also attended since she thought it would be prudent to meet the staff as well.

When they finished, Georgiana said, “At least there are not as many as there are at Pemberley.”

Elizabeth chucked. “We can be grateful for small favors.”

About an hour later, the Darcy group headed directly over to the Gardiner’s. As they sat in the carriage, Elizabeth said, “Wills, you must help Charlotte and me remember everyone’s name at the house. They all seem as eager to please as at Pemberley which is no surprise. The Wheelers seem very competent.”

Darcy said, “We will do what we can. However, I know you both well enough to know you will have mastered all the names in short order.”

Georgiana added, “I hope I can learn too. I will at least try.”

Darcy continued, “The Wheelers have been with us about three years. I believe they will be grateful to have a mistress to oversee everything. I am afraid I relied on Mrs. Reynolds to inform them as to things I would need to have done. Direct supervision will be much appreciated, I am sure.”

As they exchanged greetings in the Gracechurch Street parlor, Mrs. Gardiner said, “You are all looking well. Miss Lucas, it is a pleasure to see you again. It has been far too long since last Christmas. Georgiana, it looks like school has been good to you this autumn.”

Georgiana replied, “I have enjoyed becoming better acquainted with Kitty and Lydia. Kitty has become a very good friend. Although I miss home, I love school.”

Charlotte added, “It is good to see you again, Mrs. Gardiner. When we return for the season, I expect we will be seeing much more of each other.”

Mrs. Gardiner said, “Well, Mrs. and Mr. Darcy, you both look exceptionally happy. You must tell me all about this harvest ball you held.”

Georgiana said, “I want to hear about it too. Elizabeth said she would tell all once we were here to see you. I have been waiting quite impatiently to hear.”

They spent an hour talking of their autumns. As they spoke, Elizabeth reflected how pleasant it was to have family one could relax and visit with comfortably. Finally, she said, “We must let you prepare for your journey. I understand that Lady Stevenson and Miss Mary Elliot have already left for South Park. When do you leave for Longbourn?”

“Yes, they left three days ago. You will see them when you come the next time, I imagine. We will leave tomorrow now that we have had a chance to see you again. Perhaps some year we will be able to get away long enough to go to South Park instead. I do not believe I have spent Christmas there since my marriage. Mr. Gardiner has been unable to spend so much time away from town.”

The Darcys’ next visit was Fitzwilliam House. They were warmly welcomed, happy that Anne finally had an opportunity for a family Christmas. Another year, they might go to the Fitzwilliam’s country home in Yorkshire, but Anne had not wanted to travel that far for this year.

As they visited in the parlor, everyone was introduced to Anne’s new companion, Mrs. Annesley. She seemed a very serene, capable lady of early middle age. Georgiana was also introduced to Anne, as she had never really had the opportunity to meet her cousin.

“I am sorry I never came to Rosings. I am pleased we have the chance to become acquainted now, though,” said Georgiana, making an effort to overcome her shyness at meeting someone new.

Anne replied, “Do not regret it. You would not have enjoyed the visit. My mother would not have allowed for that. However, I hope that you and your family will be able to visit now. Perhaps you can spend a few weeks this summer. I enjoyed seeing Pemberley after so long a time.”

Georgiana said, “Well, that will be up to Wills. However, I should like that.”

Charlotte and Mrs. Annesley sat chatting while the rest discussed their activities since the end of the harvest ball. Charlotte asked, “So, have you been a companion in the past?”

“Only as a wife. My husband was a clergyman who died at the beginning of the summer. Our son married last winter, and I did not want to be an imposition on their new married life. I thought I could be a companion for a few years and later move in with my son. They have invited me, but I want them to have some time alone together.” With a smile, she added, “I assume they will enjoy having my company once there are a few children under foot. What about you? I would not think that Mrs. Darcy required a companion.”

Charlotte smiled, looking over at her friend. “She is merely being kind although she claims she would be lonely while Mr. Darcy is working. We have been friends since we were young. We have had a lovely couple of months together in Pemberley.”

“How very nice. So, since Miss de Bourgh will be having a season this winter and spring, we will expect to see much of each other.”

“Yes, I expect that we will. Do you enjoy London?”

“I will admit that I prefer a small town to the city, but Miss de Bourgh deserves to have a season in town. Her situation has been difficult until just lately. I will do whatever I can to help her have a wonderful season to make up for her past unhappiness. Her aunt and uncle will do the same.”

Charlotte smiled. “She seemed to enjoy the harvest ball. I understand that she engaged you on the way back to Rosings after the ball.”

“Yes, she did. She said she greatly enjoyed the ball. However, she said she needed to build up her stamina before the season, so we have done a great deal of walking.”

“Mrs. Darcy is quite the walker. They could walk in the park together while we are here.”

“I will suggest it.”

Mrs. Annesley did suggest it and found the others excited about the opportunity. The younger ladies met almost daily for those walks, occasionally also accompanied by Lady Fitzwilliam, for the duration of their holiday visit to town. They all became quite good friends, often enjoying a joke as they discussed the news or a concert they had attended. Anne found the companionship to be a significant change to the way she had been living and vowed that she would never be as alone as she had been again. If a paid companion could become a friend such as Mrs. Annesley had, so much the better. How lucky she was in her choice of companion. Should she find someone to marry, he would need to be a friend as well. Georgiana was surprised at how much fun it could be to walk with the other ladies. They were all pleased that the weather was clear for these walks even if it was quite cold. A footman or two always discretely followed the group.

Although many left town during the holiday season, they still found much to keep them busy and amused. They particularly enjoyed the variety of concerts available. Anne said to Georgiana after one of them, “I know you always have music since you play. However, my mother did not allow me to learn, and I have missed it greatly. Being here to listen to such fine exhibitions has been wonderful.”

They also enjoyed becoming acquainted with Lady Harriet. Georgiana had met her only once, and Anne had not seen her since her childhood. They cooed over Rory on their first visit, and then spent the time getting to know one another.

Lady Harriet said, “So, Anne, do you anticipate enjoying the Season?”

“Yes, I do. Your father helped me learn the dances, and I enjoyed the Darcy’s harvest ball. I have had no occasion for good music at Rosings and really hope for that.”

Charlotte asked, “You do not play?”

“No, mother would not allow me to learn. She always said my health would not permit it.”

Lady Harriet said, “You might consider starting now. When you are here, you can have a master to help. I am sure Mrs. Annesley can get you started.”

Mrs. Annesley said, “I would be happy to do so. I can teach the basics, which is all you need before we come back to London.”

Georgiana added, “I could help before I go back to school. I would love to.”

Elizabeth chuckled, “There you go, Anne. You will be playing before you know it.”

Anne did indeed begin to learn the basics from her family and Mrs. Annesley. She would not be competent to exhibit, but at least she could get a start. After mastering her first piece, she said to Elizabeth, “This is like magic. I can see why all of you enjoy it so much. It is hard work, but so satisfying to make the instrument produce the song.”

Elizabeth replied, “Indeed. If I would work harder at it, like Georgiana, then it would produce even nicer tones.”

Georgiana blushed as Anne said, “I can see how that works. Georgiana does practice quite a lot and it shows in the quality of her playing. Well, I will not be able to produce that, as yet, but at least I can begin to make music.”

Mrs. Annesley said, “It is one of the hobbies that can entertain throughout one’s life. I am pleased we could get you started on its pathway.”

Georgiana added, “If we are able to visit Rosings this summer, perhaps we can play some duets together. Elizabeth and I have, and it is so fun, much more than doing it with another pupil at school.”

At the end of the holiday, Anne and Mrs. Annesley returned to Rosings for a month or so. They would return to town a week or two before the presentation. The Fitzwilliams decided they would remain in town rather than spend most of January on the roads since Parliament would reconvene on January 23. The Darcys returned Georgiana to Bath before returning to Pemberley to relax for a few weeks before their trip to town for the Season.

Kindly Relations Chapters 11 and 12

ShannaGApril 13, 2018 04:13PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 11 and 12

EvelynJeanApril 14, 2018 08:26AM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 11 and 12

Kimberly F.April 13, 2018 06:49PM


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