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Kindly Relations Chapters 21 and 22

May 01, 2018 05:28PM
Chapter 21

With Musgrove in town, Mary Bennet found everything much more entertaining. While she had enjoyed the various activities before, it was much more fun to participate with Musgrove present. The balls, soirées, card parties, and concerts all seemed brighter with his presence. With the season in full swing, their calendar was now full almost every afternoon or evening. He spent many of his mornings helping Dickinson at Parliament. This meant he also spent a great deal of time with Findlay, becoming good friends with both. Darcy appreciated that he was not required to host Musgrove all day. It made their friendship easier as well.

Mr. Gardiner continued the process of screening their new acquaintance and indicating which ones should not be pursued when found wanting. Happily, there were very few of those.

Mr. Hatton and Lady Hatton continued to call at Fitzwilliam House and enjoyed a warm reception. At the first ball after the presentation, Anne danced with him twice. The more they talked, the more congenial they found one another. He asked, “So, did you enjoy meeting the queen?”

“It was an interesting spectacle. However, I think I am glad I participated. Of course, it gives one something to talk about. I suppose it also demonstrates that one is of the first rank. I care little for that, but I know that some find that very important.”

He agreed. “Many think it of critical importance. I suppose what it represents is of importance.”

Anne looked thoughtful as they separated during the dance, asking as they once again joined, “What do you think it represents?”

“You have an acquaintance with those who are important in society. You are among those important. Things like that.”

“Yes, that sounds about right. What matters more to me is congenial friends and acquaintances.”

He smiled. “I find those are what give enjoyment to life. That and purpose, accomplishing something. If I were a scholar, it might have been easier to find something fulfilling that way. Or if I were interested in pursuing a life in the military like your cousin Major Fitzwilliam. I guess I am still floundering my way toward that purpose.”

“Once I began to take over the management of Rosings, I began to find some of that satisfaction you are speaking of. Becoming better acquainted with the rest of the family has also given satisfaction. I find my new cousins to be wonderful friends. When I was in ill health, I never anticipated having such a satisfying life.”

“So you are enjoying London?”

“Yes, although I think I agree with Mrs. Annesley that a little will suffice. I will likely want to come for a couple of weeks each year, but I cannot imagine spending half the year here every year going to all these events. It is like living on a diet of sweets. Such excess would not long satisfy.”

Shortly after this first dance with Hatton, Lord Milton introduced Anne to a number of his friends. She was surprised to find herself quite popular. She danced nearly every dance.

Mary Elliot and Beaumont enjoyed the same ball with a different topic of conversation.

Beaumont said, “I am grateful we can have these two dances at each ball. You are an excellent dancer.”

Mary smiled. “Thank you. I will admit that I love dancing with you. You are very easy for me to follow and never step on my toes.”

“There are those who are less adept who call for reinforced footwear, aren’t there?”

“Yes, there are. At least there are not too many of those. You have met most of my extended family. What think you of them?”

“Your extended family members are quite wonderful, warm and welcoming. There is so much good humor in those Sunday dinners. The conversation is always interesting, sometime challenging, often thoughtful. I will admit that my own family dinners never required me to be quite so on my toes. I find I enjoy it.”

“Well, as you know, that is quite a change for me a well. At Kellynch, no original thought is required and seldom offered. With Grandmother, it is required. In many ways, with the reading and new experiences, I have learned more this year than in many years in the past even though I was at school.”

He smiled. “I can appreciate that. As a barrister, I am constantly challenged, so that is not new. However, we discuss topics I never considered before. Your cousins are all quite stimulating.”

“I agree. They are.”

“Have you decided if you like London?”

“I think I do. Of course, the air is dirtier than at Kellynch. However, there is so much to see and do that I think it makes up for it. I can understand why my grandparents chose to stay here rather than in Gloucestershire when Grandfather fell ill. It is far less boring than the country.”

The Darcys ensured that Musgrove and Mary were introduced to many new people at the ball. However, there were a few gentlemen who requested introduction that were denied the pleasure. Mr. Thomas Bertram and Mr. Dudley were in that group. Darcy said, “I am sorry, but I do not believe you would be appropriate acquaintances for my sister. We wish to limit her dance partners to those with whom a further acquaintances would not be amiss. Your reputations suggest that it would be better for you to look elsewhere for a partner.”

Bertram laughed, “You are too fastidious by half, Darcy.”

Darcy smiled, “Yes, I know. However, one can never be too careful. I know you are friends with my cousin Milton, but even he would not be given leave to dance with my sister. “

Dudley and Bertram walked away shaking their heads. There were always other interesting young ladies for dancing. Dudley said, “His sister is probably as stuffy as he is. Not worth pursuing. The cousin, Miss de Bourgh is not as attractive but her dowry is much nicer. Her dancing was not bad. I am glad Milton introduced us. She might be worth pursuing.”

Bertram replied, “I suppose so. In fact, there are a great many lovely women in attendance who might be fun for a little dalliance.”

Dudley agreed. “There are certainly many of those. Some of them even have more of the ready available like Miss de Bourgh. I doubt that Darcy’s wife’s sister has much of that. I hear his wife brought him very little.”

Musgrove was a little overwhelmed at all the new introductions, but comforted himself that creating a network of acquaintances could only improve his life. Look at how many more people he could invite for future shooting parties. He relaxed a bit when he had a dance with Mary Elliot’s friend, Miss Lovedean.

“Are you enjoying your season, Miss Lovedean?”

Leticia smiled, “Oh yes. I have met so many fascinating people. I am having a wonderful time. What about you?”

“It is not quite the same, but yes, I am. I too have met many wonderful people. Somerset will seem very quiet in comparison.”

“I am sure it will.”

When he relinquished Miss Lovedean to Raynor, he saw how her eyes lit up at seeing the man. He thought there might be some kind of announcement about those two in the near future. When they were together, they had eyes for no one else in the room.

Charlotte was not left to sit at the side. She found that there were many who would gladly dance with her even if they were not interested in pursuing an attachment since her portion was too small. During one break, she sat next to Elizabeth and said, “I cannot thank you enough for bringing me to London. It is so much fun.”

“It is far more varied than Hertfordshire, it is not?”

“Indeed it is.”

“I notice you are not lacking for partners.”

“That has been quite nice. Although he still cannot dance, Major Fitzwilliam has asked for the supper dance. He hopes we can talk and then enjoy the supper together.”

“That should be fun. He is so very entertaining.”

“Indeed he is. He always has many amusing anecdotes.”

“I can understand why he and Wills are so close. He helps Wills drop some of his seriousness. They are so close, they could be brothers.”

As the Darcys enjoyed dinner together, Elizabeth said, “I saw the Miltons. Lord Milton nodded, but Lady Milton did not even acknowledge my presence. Not a cut, but it was somewhat surprising.”

Darcy frowned. “I do not find it too surprising. She ignores almost everyone. Do not let it bother you.”

“I hadn’t planned to.”

“I did notice that he introduced a number of his friends to Miss de Bourgh.”

Darcy frowned. “I refused to introduce them to Mary. She does not need acquaintances like them. Neither does Anne. I will have a word with her after dinner.”

Just then Major Fitzwilliam and Charlotte joined them at the table.

Darcy asked, “How is the leg? I do not suppose you danced, did you?”

“No, I am not that well healed yet. Miss Lucas kindly accepted my request to chat instead of dance. It will be at least a couple more weeks before I can return to the dance floor.”

Charlotte said, “We had a very nice conversation about horses. Did you know your cousin can talk of them by the hour?”

Darcy smiled. “Yes, I have heard him do so. Do you like horses?”

“I am not very knowledgeable. I can ride, although not well. It was not something I ever really considered much before.”
Fitzwilliam said, “Well, they are fine and essential animals.”

As the supper ended and the dance began again, Charlotte’s next partner came to claim her. Fitzwilliam watched as she stepped out onto the floor. He said, “Elizabeth, I am very glad you brought Miss Lucas along with you this year. She is a very pleasant change from those I usually encounter in town.”

“Yes, she is. I hope at least one of the gentlemen of our acquaintance can see her value and become attached. She is a wonderful person. After Jane, she is my very best friend. It is a shame that Mr. Morris’ death left her with so few prospects at home.”

As he watched her dance, Fitzwilliam replied, “Yes, it is. She is refreshingly real compared to many of our friends in town. I wish her the best of luck.”

Lady Fitzwilliam had alternately watched Anne with her various partners and the Major. As he supped with Charlotte, she said to Mrs. Gardiner, “You know, Richard could do much worse than consider Miss Lucas. He cares little for the ton and therefore finds many of the belles severely lacking. Miss Lucas is so practical but still quite charming. I do not think I would mind at all were he to look no further.”

Mrs. Gardiner said, “I have always enjoyed her company. She has been a good friend to Elizabeth and Jane for many years. It was a shame when her betrothed was killed. It certainly made her much more reserved than when she was younger. It will be interesting to watch their friendship develop to see if it becomes something more.” 

Chapter 22

The morning after the ball, Hatton sought Lord Fitzwilliam at his club. They chatted for a few moments before Mr. Hatton said, “I wanted to talk to you before approaching Miss de Bourgh. I have greatly enjoyed becoming acquainted with her. Could I have your blessing to ask her for her hand in marriage?”

“Before I answer, do you think she would agree?”

“I do; well, at least I think I do.”

“Would you feel the same if she is unable to have children?”

“Of course, but why do you ask?”

“Until very recently, she was in very poor health. I just want to ascertain if marriage would still interest you if she might not be able to have a child.”

“I am not particularly interested in children although I know they might result from marriage. I believe I would like to help her manage Rosings. It sounds like a beautiful place. I enjoy her company and would like to spend my time with her.”

“If you can keep your brother and his fast friends away, then yes, you have my blessing. I noticed my son introduced them to her at the ball last night.”

“I do not generally socialize with my brother or his friends and can promise not to invite them to visit us at Rosings. We might see them at various venues, but I will not seek them out. I will speak to Miss de Bourgh when next we call, then, if that is acceptable.”

“Call tomorrow. I will forewarn my wife to prepare for it.”

“Thank you.”

When Lord Fitzwilliam returned from his club, he found Lady Fitzwilliam reading in her private parlor. “May I have a few minutes of your time?”

“Of course. What can I do for you?”

“Is Anne home?”

Lady Fitzwilliam considered for a moment before answering. “She and Mrs. Annesley left perhaps an hour ago. I believe they were to call on Harriet.”

“Good. William Hatton called upon me to ask for my blessing in his suit with Anne. He will visit tomorrow to see if she is agreeable to becoming Mrs. Hatton.”

“They seem to be an excellent match. He and his mother have visited quite often. I think they will do very well together.”

Lord Fitzwilliam agreed. “That has been my impression as well. I know he and Richard have long been friends which will make his addition to the family somewhat easier for him. Milton is friends with his older brother, but I told Hatton that group must not be invited to Rosings and he agreed. I am glad he is not fast and reckless like that crowd.”

“It is a shame that the heirs are so often irresponsible. I believe Harold introduced a number of his friends to Anne last night. Well, William seems a good choice for Anne. She seems to like him. I will make sure we are home for him tomorrow. Shall I tell Anne why?”

Lord Fitzwilliam smiled. “Let us allow him that pleasure. However, I think I will forego the club in the morning. If she accepts him, we probably need not worry about any of Milton’s friends.”

“I suspect they only see the heiress. I believe William Hatton sees the woman. I think Anne will find that very attractive.”

Hatton was successful in his quest, and Anne found herself very happily betrothed at the beginning of March. Since he could easily procure a license, they decided to be married quietly in two weeks. With his parents and brother were in town for the season, all of the immediate family was available except for Lady Catherine.

“Do you want to bring your mother to town for the ceremony?” he asked.

“I do not think that would be wise. My aunt and uncle will suffice for parents. I would like to ask Mrs. Darcy to attend me. We have become very close friends these past weeks.”

Lady Fitzwilliam said, “We will host the breakfast here, of course.”

Hatton said, “I believe my mother would like to host a dinner to recognize this. I talked of the possibility with her, hoping that Miss de Bourgh would agree.”

Her ‘cousins’ happened to call upon her that afternoon where she joyfully shared her news.

Mary Bennet said, “See! All of us have had success. Now we must hope that Mr. Beaumont moves along soon. Congratulations, Anne, this is so wonderful.”

Mary Elliot agreed, “Indeed, I am very happy for you. I do hope Mr. Beaumont does decide to move forward. Each time we are together, I find myself more attracted. However, I believe he wants to go slowly in order to be sure we will suit one another. My father and sister arrive in two more weeks. I hope he can decide before then. I have hinted on that desire and he seems thoughtful. My friend Miss Lovedean has also had success. Mr. Raynor has asked for her hand; and Mr. Marsh has asked Miss Raynor. Both gentlemen have been showing their interest for a number of weeks and have finally decided.”

Caroline Findlay hosted all of them at a supper that evening. It was a large party half of whom were members of Parliament, the other social friends. The food was excellent and most of the conversation was interesting.

Mary Bennet smiled at the memory of conversations during dinner with her partner. He thought that civilization was doomed if it continued down the path it was currently following. Mr. Hargraves had said, “We would do so much better to return to the values of our forebears. Have you ever ready Fordyce Miss Bennet?”

He was shocked when Mary answered, “Yes, I spent a great deal of time reading him the past couple of years.”

“Indeed? Did you learn anything from him?”

“I hope I did. Although his style of writing is too pedantic for my taste, he offers excellent advice for living a truly moral life. I have tried to apply his recommendations to my own life.”

Mr. Hargraves said, “Have you, now? In what way?”

“I consider it practical application of applied Christianity. I perform a number of charitable acts and do what I can to relieve the suffering poor. I do my best to improve my own mind and its ability to apply Christ’s teachings to my life. I no longer quote him, as I once did, but I do try to consider what I learned from him in every situation.”

“Well, we certainly need more young people like you. Believe me, they are very sparse on the ground. I would not be surprised to see civilization itself disappear within twenty years.”

This was apparently the only subject on which Mr. Hargraves could converse. As the ladies removed to the withdrawing room, Mary considered what a bore she must have been when she quoted Fordyce at every turn. Although she had expanded her mind beyond Fordyce, she could still see value in what he preached. However, it really did not suit conversation at a dinner party.

Caroline sat next to her for a few minutes. “How are things with you?”

Mary smiled. “Quite well. And you?”

“I am well enough. I have heard from Louisa. Her journey home was uncomfortable, so she is glad to be well settled until her confinement.”

“That is good. I am excited for Louisa. I hope all goes well. You certainly have a wide variety of people here.”

Caroline glanced around the room. “Yes, it was necessary. How did you enjoy Mr. Hargraves? I could not think of anyone else who could hold a conversation with him.”

“We managed to do that. It was a good reminder to me that there is more to life than the moralizing that Fordyce does. Before our visit to town last year, I sounded very much like him.”

“I thought I recalled you mentioning Fordyce a time or two when we first met but not recently. You were the only person I could think of who might be able to converse easily with him. He is helping Rupert with some charity project which is why I invited him. He is very sound, just not good at conversation.”

“I did not mind him. As I said, it was a good reminder for me. How are you enjoying the social side to politics?”

“It has shown me another side to the social niceties we enjoy. Most of the members Rupert works with are fine men. I enjoy socializing with them. A few are not so fine, but just must be endured. I suspect that after this first year in town, we will not attend quite so very many balls in future. It is likely to be more suppers, soirées, card parties, theater, and concerts. I expect it will be only the occasional ball. Dancing is fine-I love it-but the cost can get prohibitive.”

“Do you expect to be in town until Parliament rises or will you join Louisa after the birth?”

Caroline said, “I am not sure. Right now, I plan to stay with Rupert. We will see when June rolls around. We plan attend your wedding in Meryton first and then go on home afterwards. That will let us see Jane at least briefly.”

“I am happy you still plan to be there.”

“We are both looking forward to it.”

Mary continued, “Isn’t it wonderful about Miss de Bourgh?”

“Yes. Hers will be our first wedding this season.”

“I think we will all be attending many weddings this season. Two of our other friends have already become betrothed as well.”

Caroline smiled as she rose to see to other guests. “I hope they are all as happy as I am.”

Mary nodded in agreement. Elizabeth sat down at the seat vacated by Caroline.

“It seems so long since we have had a quiet moment to talk. If you were living with us instead of the Gardiners, I could see you every day. I miss you.”

Mary chuckled. “Who would ever have thought that? But it is true, we are both so busy that quiet moments together are rare. I just had a reminder of how very poor my conversation and company must have been when all I could do was quote Fordyce. I am grateful to have changed. How is the planning going for updating Darcy House?”

Elizabeth smiled. “I know Fordyce has sound advice, but I admit I am glad you no longer quote him. At last I think I know what I would like done in the house. I will not change much, just a few minor things, I think. Did Jane tell you they are almost done with the inside renovations at Ambleside?”

“Yes, and she seems very pleased with them. Next they will tackle the outside that is still in need of correction.”

Elizabeth asked, “How are things progressing on your cottage?”

“Mr. Musgrove had an update only yesterday. All the new rooms have been framed out and the walls are now up. They will be painting soon. Aunt Madeline has helped me find fabrics that I like, so we are ready for draperies and upholstery. We are going to refurbish some of the family furniture, so I will be shipping off the fabrics once we are done with selections, probably next week. At least Mr. Musgrove agrees with all my choices so far.”

“That is wonderful. I will want to come and see all the changes.”

“He has talked of having another shooting party in the autumn, so perhaps you can see it then.”

By the end of the evening, Caroline was pleased that all seemed to enjoy themselves. She was developing a reputation as an excellent hostess. She found the social side of politics was very enjoyable, and Findlay appreciated the assistance her efforts provided. 

Kindly Relations Chapters 21 and 22

ShannaGMay 01, 2018 05:28PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 21 and 22

DorisMay 02, 2018 08:28PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 21 and 22

EvelynJeanMay 02, 2018 06:29AM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 21 and 22

BrigidMay 01, 2018 07:16PM



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