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Kindly Relations Chapters 27 and 28

May 11, 2018 06:20PM
Chapter 27

Sir Walter and Elizabeth Elliot arrived the next week in mid-March as was their custom. Lady Stevenson and Mary called on them shortly after their arrival.

After greetings, Sir Walter said, “Lady Russell sends her greetings and is sorry she cannot come for your wedding. Here is a note from her. You have done well for yourself. Beaumont is a fine family.”

“Thank you, Father. We have everything well in hand. I believe we sent you the settlement papers.”

“Yes. When you bring him by to meet me, I can hand them over. He is being quite generous with you. You should be pleased.”

“May I bring him to introduce you tomorrow?”

“That would be good.”

Elizabeth asked, “How did you meet him?”

“At the Gardiner’s. He is also a member of chambers with Uncle Gardiner and came to a dinner they hosted.”

“So he works as a barrister?”

“Yes, he is a barrister.” She almost commented on the nice little townhouse they would have, but then realized that it might require her to host her father and sister each year. Better not to say anything and see what happens.

Elizabeth continued, “And you have everything set for next week? You know we cannot host your breakfast.”

“Grandmother is doing that. Everything is all set. All you need do is attend.”

Lady Stevenson managed to say very little during the visit. Internally, she was wondering why Elizabeth should be so unable to show interest in the affairs of others, including her sister. It was obvious that Elizabeth did not really care except as it might impact her own activities.

Mary and Lady Stevenson left after a call of suitable duration. As they entered the carriage to go call on the Gardiner’s, Lady Stevenson said, “Your sister continues to amaze me. How is it possible to have so little interest in the doings of others in the family?”

Mary said, “I do not think she ever learned how to care about anyone else. While Mother certainly did, Father does not, and she follows his example in everything. I will admit I was also well down that path before you and our friends helped put me on one that promises to bring far more satisfaction. I must thank you for that.”

“You are most welcome. I am certainly pleased that you decided to become someone people would want to know rather than avoid. Not everyone notices such changes can be made-for example, your sister does not. I wonder if she is aware of why she is having so little success in the marriage mart?”

Mary smiled at her grandmother. “She never discusses her failures although I believe she feels them. However, she always says they were not really suitable when someone turns away from her-except for our cousin. She really cannot understand his refusal to court her.”

“His choice to marry money and secure his own independence explains that. Pity she cannot see it.”

As they went on to Gracechurch Street, Mary read the note from Lady Russell, commenting on it to her grandmother. “Lady Russell sends her best wishes and regrets that she cannot be here. I had invited her in my last letter. She hopes I will enjoy living in London but wonders if I couldn’t have found someone who could provide a more secure future. I am not sure what she means.”

Lady Stevenson chuckled. “Well, like your father, she respects rank and Mr. Beaumont has little to speak of. The family is fine, but he himself is not quite what she would want. Does she note defer to your father even though he has little of sense to say?”

Mary thought for a moment. “Yes, she does, at least to some extent. She will offer a suggestion that seems entirely reasonable but if father feels it would not put him in a good light, he will brush it off. Elizabeth does the same.”

“So, I think you can see that her she has a bias to rank. She is happy to be friends with those who are not titled, but not truly intimate with them. Is that not the case with the Musgroves?”

“I suppose it is.”

“So, enjoy the friendship, but consider her advice to be somewhat suspect.”

Lady Stevenson finished with that comment as they drew up in front of the Gardiner’s. The only other visitors at the Gardiner’s were Elizabeth Darcy and Charlotte Lucas. After greetings, Lady Stevenson said to Mrs. Gardiner, “Well, we visited your brother and niece. Most informative. As long as they need to nothing to assist, they are not opposed to the wedding next week.”

All of them smiled as Mrs. Gardiner replied, “Did you expect anything different?”

Mary Elliot answered, “Not really.”

Mrs. Gardiner continued, “At least we will not have the tension and upset we had with Anne. That is a blessing for which we are most grateful. Is everything ready?”

Mary said, “Yes, my dress has some new lace and we bought our accessories. Would you mind if I attended Almack’s with you tonight? I would like to go one last time.”

Mrs. Gardiner said, “Of course you may come. Is Mr. Beaumont joining you?”

Mary answered, “He hopes to. His is awaiting a note with your response.”

Mrs. Gardiner nodded. While the others conversed, Mary penned a note which a servant was able to deliver to chambers while they visited. Shortly, he returned with an answer. Mary Elliot said, “He can join me.”

Mary Bennet said, “I am sure we can have some fun. I think Anne and Mr. Hatton are also planning one last visit before the wedding.”

Elizabeth asked, “Have you enjoyed Almack’s?”

Mary Bennet said, “Yes, it has been so much fun to see so much of fashionable society. I have met so many different people.”

Mary Elliot added, “It has been interesting to see who the Ladies introduce to us. Of course, some of the gentlemen ask for introduction, but others the Ladies select. Most of those have been quite interesting. I am glad to claim them as acquaintances. Many live here in town. Since Mr. Beaumont and I will be living here, it is nice that we will have a number of acquaintances for social occasions. We are not limited to family and as few neighbors as we have at Kellynch. I find I truly enjoy having a wide variety of acquaintance. Mary will have that more limited social group that I used to have. How strange that seems.”

Mary Bennet said, “I am sure I will find it entertaining enough.”

Elizabeth said, “I like the smaller circles in the country. Those in the city are so large that you cannot be much more than superficial acquaintances to most. I like real friendships.”

Charlotte added, “I am interested to see what we shall find in Cheshire. Major Fitzwilliam has never been to the estate, so he has no idea either.

Lady Fitzwilliam said she has visited two or three times and believes we have about two dozen families with whom to socialize. That is very much like we had in Meryton, so I should find that very comfortable.”

Mary Bennet asked, “What does Major Fitzwilliam think of exchanging the camaraderie of the army for society in Cheshire?”

Charlotte smiled. “He has said very little about that. He may not even have thought about it yet. I know he appreciates that it is close enough to Pemberley for relatively easy visits. We have not really talked of what life there will be like. Perhaps we should. However, he is definitely anticipating giving over part of the estate to horses. He wants to breed, raise, and train them for cavalry, carriages, and hunting.”

Mary Bennet said, “That sounds like it will be very interesting.”

Charlotte said, “Yes, I have ever so much to learn.”

Elizabeth asked Mary Elliot, “Are you planning to do anything with your father and sister?”

“No. We just paid our obligatory visit. They know they may join us for Sunday dinner but they never seem to enjoy it, so I doubt I will see them again before the wedding. I suppose they may be at the ball on Friday or perhaps the soirée on Saturday.”

Lady Stevenson said, “We each have our separate acquaintances. We saw them at, what, two or three events last year? I do not expect it to be any different this year. Miss Lucas, is everything well in hand for your own wedding?”

Charlotte smiled, “Yes, I believe so. My mother is quite excited to plan everything in Meryton. Lady Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth have helped me with my dress. My sister Maria is to be my attendant. She is excited to have a new dress as well. We are to begin interviews for a maid tomorrow. Miss Elliot, have you found one yet? I understand you are also looking.”

Mary Elliot smiled. “We were successful yesterday. She arrived today and will help me tonight. We will see how she does with hair that is as heavy as mine.”

Charlotte said, “It is exciting to be making all these changes in our lives, is it not? I never really thought I would have such a life as I am now gaining. I feel I have been truly blessed and am very grateful.”

Elizabeth said, “When we were younger, it was hard to imagine what life would become. I know mine is better than I had hoped.”

At Almack’s that evening, Mary Elliot received many compliments on her new hairstyle. All her friends agreed that her new maid was indeed a talented choice. Mary happily contemplated looking well on every occasion with someone to focus attention on her wardrobe such as had not happened before. It was very satisfying.

Anne and Hatton enjoyed this last week of socializing at Allmack’s. Both were popular and enjoyed many dances. Major Fitzwilliam had not escorted Anne as Charlotte could not be there. He was, instead, visiting at Darcy House for a quiet family evening. Lady Fitzwilliam had accompanied Anne without him. She sat observing the festivities with Lady Hatton and Mrs. Gardiner.

She said, “I think we have done well by our young ones, ladies. We should be pleased with ourselves.”

Lady Hatton agreed. “I, for one, am very pleased with my new daughter. She is a very fine young woman. They seem very well suited.”

Mrs. Gardiner said, “She certainly is. All of our girls have found very satisfactory gentlemen. It is very nice that Miss Lucas and Major Fitzwilliam have decided to marry. I think they are a very suitable match.”

Lady Fitzwilliam said, “Yes. I too am pleased with my new daughter. Miss Lucas will help Richard to see that there is more to life than the army offers. She will also be able to help with Georgiana when the time comes, which is an added blessing. Now Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam will not have all the responsibilities. Both couples can share. I am sure they will appreciate that. “

Lady Hatton asked, “Does that mean you plan to sponsor Miss Lucas?”

“It does. We will do so next year. I am actually looking forward to it. It will be nice for Anne to have Mr. Hatton’s help at Rosings. I think they will make a nice partnership.”

Lady Hatton said, “Yes, I think it will be good for both of them. I will look forward to visiting them once they are settled. Christopher has been informed that he will not be invited to visit. He seemed to take it somewhat philosophically. Lord Hatton told him that Lord Fitzwilliam had specifically requested that he and his fast friends not visit.”

Lady Fitzwilliam said, “It is not as if Mr. Hatton will miss any excitement at Rosings. I am sure he will not mind too much. Miss Lucas and Richard will spend part of the summer with them in Kent. They cannot move into their own home until the autumn. Anne has mentioned a shooting party after the one the Musgroves plan, so we should have a good opportunity to see them at Rosings then.”

Lady Hatton said, “Oh, good. I must get invited to that. Lord Hatton enjoys shooting, so that should work. It might be very quiet otherwise since Christopher spends little time at home. A shooting party might have interested Christopher, but we will ensure that he does not arrive uninvited.”

Mrs. Gardiner said, “Elizabeth has asked us to spend July with her in Pemberley. We were there for the wedding last summer but only for a couple of weeks. A full month sounds lovely. I know the children will enjoy it.”

While the chaperones planned the summer and autumn visits, the dancers enjoyed socializing with their friends. Mary Elliot was pleased that she had so many new acquaintances. These would be part of the social set she would invite once she had settled into the townhouse. Her friends would understand why she waited as they paid their visits to the flat. It would be so fun to continue to be so busy.

Mary Bennet and Anne were both anticipating their social lives slowing down. They enjoyed the busyness of the season but appreciated the quieter pace that would reign once they were home again. Short forays into lots of activity would be interspersed with much quieter times. They both wanted that. 

Chapter 28

Beaumont attended Mary and Lady Stevenson to meet Sir Walter and Elizabeth the next day. Sir Walter was pleased that Beaumont was handsome although not quite as handsome as Sir Walter. However, he would look good when at any family gatherings. Sir Walter delivered the signed settlement papers and the paperwork that would transfer Mary’s dowry to Beaumont’s control. He was pleased at the new connection but unhappy at the loss of income occasioned by losing Mary’s interest. Perhaps he should look about for his own heiress while they were in town this year.

Sir Walter said, “So, Mr. Beaumont, tell me about your family.” He listened quietly for perhaps five minutes as Beaumont described his family and home.

Elizabeth said, “I believe I have met the new Mrs. Beaumont. She is quite fashionable, is she not?”

Beaumont answered, “She might be. I am not really versed in fashion. All I can say is that she always looks very nice. My brother is quite happy with her and the updates she applied to our home.”

Elizabeth continued, “Will they be attending the wedding?”

“Yes, they arrive with my father the day before. They had not planned to attend the season this year, so they will only be here for about a week or two.”

Sir Walter asked, “You have a home to take Mary to after the wedding?”

“I have a small flat here in town. We will stay there until the lease is up and move into something more appropriate come summer.”

“Will your family stay with you when they come?”

Beaumont smiled. He could tell Sir Walter was trying to find out how big that flat really was.

“Oh, no,my flat is far too small to host them. They will be in the family home. They have a skeleton staff in place and will bring those they need for the week. I am sure next year they will spend more time so that Mrs. Beaumont can update it as she has Edlington Beck. It is probably as much in need of refurbishment as the house was.”

As they prepared to leave, Lady Stevenson said, “So, shall I expect to see you of a Sunday? There are even more there than last year.”

Sir Walter said, “I do not think we will trouble you. Well, we will see you at the wedding then.”

As they drove away, Beaumont said to Lady Stevenson, “I can now appreciate those questions you asked about protecting Miss Elliot from her family. They do not offer a great deal of support, do they?”

“No, they are too self-centered for that. They are not bad people, just incredibly shallow. I do not believe he has read anything but the Baronetage since leaving school. She is not much better although she does enjoy a novel on occasion and of course the fashion papers.”

Mary chuckled. “Grandmother is quite accurate. It would have been nice if they were warmer and more welcoming. I suppose for them, they were. In the future, we will likely see them only in the spring when they visit town. They will certainly have little involvement in our lives.”

Beaumont said, “I suppose that is just as well.”

They did encounter the Elliots at the soirée on Saturday. Mary was pleased that at least everyone could be civil. She wondered how awkward it had been for Anne the previous spring. She was again grateful that her father seemed to approve of Mr. Beaumont as a choice.

Mary dutifully introduced her sister to her friends Miss Lovedean and Miss Raynor. After the introductions, she said, “Both will be married soon. We have had a very successful season together.”

Elizabeth Elliot replied, “Indeed, it seems you have.” She nodded to Mary’s friends and moved away.

Elizabeth was not quite out of earshot when Miss Raynor said, “So that is your sister who is on the shelf. I can see why she has not managed to attach anyone. She cannot even hold a conversation. You are lucky to have succeeded before she arrived or Mr. Beaumont might have wondered about your suitability.”

Miss Lovedean added, “She is quite pretty, I’ll grant you, but she is getting a bit old isn’t she? I can see why she is having so little success-she cannot even make small talk.”

Elizabeth was so shocked, she almost turned back to confront them. Instead, she continued to walk away in a state of agitation. She thought, “Old? On the shelf? They are completely mistaken. How could anyone think that? She looked as fine as she always had.” She did not have a very enjoyable time at the soirée after meeting Mary’s friends.

Caroline encountered Miss Grey and Mr. Willoughby at the soirée. Besides the card party at the Gardiner’s, she had seen them two or three other times in the past few weeks. After they had been speaking for a few moments, Miss Grey mentioned, “It has been such a happy season. Mr. Willoughby and I have just come to an agreement and will be married soon.”

Caroline smiled, “How wonderful for you. You have my best wishes. I am sure you will be very happy together.”

As the two moved away, Caroline thought to herself, “You certainly deserve each other. How could anyone be happy in a relationship with so little concern for the welfare and character of the other. He has no integrity no matter how charming he is. I could have ended up in such an arrangement had not Rupert given me a hint when he did.” She moved through the crowd smiling and visiting with her acquaintances until she found Findlay. She put a hand on his sleeve and gave his arm a slight squeeze.

He turned to her and said, “Yes?”

“I have been reminded of how very lucky I am. Thank you.”

“You are most certainly welcome for whatever it is.”

She smiled. “I will tell you about what brought this thought on later when we are alone.”

At dinner with the Stevensons that Sunday, Beaumont thanked Mary’s cousins for their warm welcome. His family was not particularly close, so it was a nice change to have a grandmother, cousins, aunts and uncles welcome him to the family. “I know you will sit on the bride’s side when we wed, but truly, I feel like you are already my family and could sit on mine.”

Uncle Hugh chuckled. “If your side is sparse, perhaps we will do that to balance things out. Can’t have you feeling bereft just as you join us, can we now?”

His son James agreed. “Mrs. Stevenson and I can sit on your side with father. I am sure a few of us can help fill out the numbers.”

Mary Elliot smiled. “That sounds perfectly lovely. His family is quite small in comparison with mine. I have so very many wonderful cousins that we could fill the church on our own.”

Lady Stevenson agreed. “Quite true. I will sit behind your father and sister. The rest will assure that both sides look moderately full.

Mrs. Gardiner added, “At the very least, Mary will know how much she means to all of us.”

“Thank you, Aunt.”

The atmosphere at the Fitzwilliams was slightly more formal. Lady Milton was not there, so it was as loving, though.

Lady Fitzwilliam said, “Charlotte, my dear, I hope you will allow me to present you next season. It would give me great pleasure.”

“I am honored that you would do so. We would not need to stay for the whole season, would we?”

“No. Lord Fitzwilliam is here for Parliament, so I will be here. You and Richard could come just for a couple of weeks though.”

Charlotte said, “That sounds wonderful. Thank you. I know it can make a difference for our children.”

Charlotte turned to Anne, “I am looking forward to seeing Rosings. It sounds lovely. It should be a nice place to visit this summer.”

“I think it is. Of course, it is my home, so no surprise that I should love it. Richard has visited frequently, so he can give you any tours you might need.”

“He has just about finished all the paperwork required in resigning his commission. By our wedding, he will no longer be an active Major. Are you ready for this week?”

“I believe so. All seems to be in order.”

Elizabeth joined them. “Anne, it is such a magical time for you. I hope you are enjoying it.”

“I am indeed, Elizabeth. I am lucky my aunt and uncle could bring me to town this season.”

Elizabeth said, “If you should wish to come in the future when Wills and I are in town, you are always welcome to stay with us. I know you can stay with the Fitzwilliams, but we want to make an offer as well. We cousins must stick together, you know.”

“Thank you. We may come for a short time each year. Since uncle is in Parliament, he is always here for the season. But it is good to know we have options.”

Charlotte asked, “Elizabeth, do you expect to come every year?”

“Not really. I already dearly love Pemberley. However, putting in an appearance is probably a good idea. We will just have to see what happens each year. Of course, in a few years, we will have Georgiana to bring out and will probably spend the whole season that year. I am sure you and the Major will be here then since he shares custody with Wills. If you would like us to join you to share in your presentation, we will.”

Charlotte said, “Thank you. I would appreciate that. I am sure that we will all have an interesting time during Georgiana’s season.”

Anne added, “Particularly if all the rest of the girls come out at the same time. They are all at school together, are they not?”

Elizabeth answered, “Yes, they are. And they are having a wonderful time together, so I would guess they will choose to come out together as well. At least we have two years or so before we need worry about that.”

Kindly Relations Chapters 27 and 28

ShannaGMay 11, 2018 06:20PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 27 and 28

ShannaGMay 13, 2018 02:26AM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 27 and 28

BrigidMay 12, 2018 11:43PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 27 and 28

EvelynJeanMay 12, 2018 06:07AM


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