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Kindly Relations Chapters 37 and 38

May 29, 2018 03:53PM
Chapter 37

At the end of April when the Elliot’s were attending their final dinner party for the year, Elizabeth was careful to spend some time talking with Mr. Dudley. His parents had required that he stay in town and not join his friends at the races. He had encountered Miss Elliot at three or four venues and had been relatively attentive. However, he had found out from Edmund Beaumont that the Elliot dowry was not very significant. He was no longer interested in knowing her pursuing her for more than an acquaintance.

Elizabeth Elliot and Dudley were speaking of a musical evening they had attended earlier that week when they were interrupted by Lady Milton. “Ah, Mr. Dudley, I am surprised to see you still in town.” Looking archly at Elizabeth, she continued, “Has someone convinced you to reform your ways and abandon the gaming of our friends?”

He chuckled, “Yes, but it was my father. I have forsaken gaming this season because the pater demanded my attendance at a number of important family events. However, the company at some has at least made it not durance vile.”

Elizabeth thought that was a compliment to her but was not sure what durance vile might be. However, Lady Milton understood both, “Yes, I can see that Miss Elliot company would make your sentence less onerous. When are you released from servitude?”

Dudley said, “Next week. Miss Elliot will be returning to Somerset, and I am to be given release by my father.”

They talked a while longer before Elizabeth excused herself to talk with another acquaintance. As she was not quite out of ear shot, Lady Milton asked, “Are you enjoying your flirting with someone so obviously on the shelf? You could have her eating out of your hand if you tried just a little harder.”

He replied, “It has been amusing. She may be getting old, but she still looks pretty good. I had hoped for a dalliance since she is definitely not a young debutante, but it has been a diversion in any case. She refused to understand any of my hints about a more intimate relationship. What of you? Have you found someone to entertain you while Milton is gone?”

She smirked, “Perhaps.”

Elizabeth was incensed. How dare they make sport of her that way? She had thought Dudley was seriously interested. Of course, he did not yet have any sort of title, so perhaps he had not really been worth her potential interest.

At Longbourn, as Mary sorted through her mother’s things, she frequently found herself subject to tears at thoughts of her mother. Mrs. Hill said to her, “You just take as much time and tears as you need, Miss Mary.”

“Oh, Mrs. Hill, it is just the thought of all that she will miss. She worked so hard on my wedding. She won’t see any of her grandchildren nor my other sisters’ seasons.”

“Do you not think she will be watching from heaven?”

“Do you think so?”

“Of course she will.”

“I had not really considered. Well, it is time for me to get to work. Thank you for having these trunks brought up. My sisters can review them when they come in June to accept or reject my suggestions on who gets what.”

“Matthew and Michael will collect them as you fill them and can bring more. Just let me know what you need if you need more.”

For the next few weeks, Mary would spend part of each morning in her mother’s room, sorting things into various trunks based on what she thought her sisters might appreciate. Mary gave most of the clothing to Mrs. Phillips who was of a similar size and coloring. When she had everything packed, she took the clothing over to her aunt.

“I know Mother would have liked you to have her things. You always admired them, and they will look very well on you.”

“Thank you, Mary, that is very kind of you. Are you sure none of you wants them?”

“No, they will do better for you than any of us. How are you managing?”

“I miss Fanny very much. However, I am glad you convinced me to join the sewing circle. Having something to keep me busy has helped. I am glad you are still coming, too. Seeing you also helps.”

“I agree having something to do does help.”

“There will be more changes which will help divert attention. The militia will be here shortly. They will be arriving within the month and staying for six or so.”

Mary smiled. “I am sure the single women will appreciate that.”

Mrs. Phillips answered that smile. “So will the rest of us. A man in uniform always looks fine. They will provide a change of society for all of us. Once I am out of mourning, I am sure I will enjoy them.”

“I am not sure I can be bothered to participate, but you must once you feel able. I am sure it will help you feel a little better.”

Mrs. Phillips smiled at Mary. “Yes, a little society is always entertaining and comforting.”

They spent the rest of the morning looking through the dresses Mary had brought and discussing the wedding. As they were finishing, Mary said, “You know, since Mother already had her dress begun, perhaps you want to wear it to the wedding. I know the dressmaker is holding it waiting our decision.”

“Now, that is a lovely idea. Thank you Mary.”

“Then, I will see the dressmaker and have her prepare it for you. You must call upon her so she can fit you.”

“I will.”

Mary arrived home to find the Garret boys having their lunch. She handed the basket of jam and jelly that her aunt had given her to Cook. “Mrs. Phillips has received so many, she thought we could use these.”

Cook smiled. “We’ve received many too, but yes, with feeding these young men, can’t have too much jam or jelly.”

Matthew smiled. After swallowing, he said, “Can you blame us when the cooking is so good?”

Cook smiled as Michael added, “We have never had better, even at Grandfather’s.”

Matthew added, “Even if we didn’t have the opportunity for tutoring from Mr. Bennet, working here in the morning would be worth it just to have the food.

Cook said, “Well, you boys are certainly nice to say so. It isn’t terribly fancy, but it is tasty.”

Mary agreed, “I certainly think so. So, what are you boys studying with Father now?”

She spent the next quarter hour with them discussing their studies as they finished their meal. They were impressed at her understanding and knowledge. She was pleased at how busy they kept her father in the afternoons. He had no time to fret about what life would bring. He was busy enough to just take each day as it came.

Mary spent the most of the afternoon writing letters. She informed each of her sisters about what she had set aside for them in the trunks, talked of her aunt, the militia coming to town, and how their father was managing. She also wrote to Musgrove detailing all that she had been doing and how much she missed him. She then spent the time until the boys left reading having realized that she had been neglecting her own intellect as she dealt with her grief.

At dinner, Mary and Mr. Bennet discussed the recent developments in the war. She knew he would be more interested in that than the things she had been doing.

At the end of April, when Mary received her next letter from Musgrove, she knew she would reply immediately.

Dear Mary,

How wonderful it is to be able to write that, dear Mary. It will be even better to be able to say it after June. The school is doing wonderfully well. One fellow has already found a job as a clerk in Bath. His success spurs the others on to even more effort. We are so pleased.
Progress on the house is significant since I left for London. The new addition is all framed, roofed, and clad. Windows are in, and painting is completed. I think you will like it; I certainly do. We are almost finished reupholstering with the material you sent. It looks quite fine.
Do you remember William Dickinson from our shooting party? He is our Member in Parliament. Well, I was working with him in town and just received a letter from him. He is ailing and has decided to retire. He would like me to stand for his seat. I could not do so without consulting you first. Should you like me to be a Member and us to live in town half the year? Please let me know as soon as you can. He has not yet submitted his resignation as he is awaiting my response. ...

Mary smiled as she read the first part of the letter trying to imagine what the renovations to the cottage looked like. She was surprised at the idea of Musgrove standing for Parliament. She had heard Caroline talk of the social responsibilities of a wife of a Member. Would she like that? Before coming to London the previous year, the answer would have been a resounding No! However, now, maybe it would be fun. It would certainly be interesting. After some consideration, she wrote back in the affirmative asking what she could do to help. She also wrote Caroline to get more details about what her involvement was. At supper, she shared the information with her father. They had a far ranging discussion about politics which both truly enjoyed.

When Mary received her next letter from Lady Stevenson, she was surprised at the contents. Lady Stevenson offered to have Mary and Musgrove live with her when in town should he be successful in his bid.

Her letter said…I find that I have enjoyed having the company when Mary Elliot was here and would enjoy having the two of you join me. James and I have always enjoyed politics, particularly his years in Parliament, so this would give me a feeling of being involved again….

Mary quickly accepted feeling that now that they had a place to live in town, he must surely obtain that seat. They would know at the end of May when the election was held.

The next week, Elizabeth sent letters to all and sundry informing that she was following in Jane’s footsteps and should be adding to the family in September. It was an exciting announcement to receive while all were awaiting news of Louisa Hurst’s confinement. Elizabeth had finally decided she did not want to wait any longer to share her news. 

Chapter 38

During the first week of May, the Findlays attended a card party at the Rushworth’s. While Caroline was visiting with Miss Bertram as both were not currently playing, she asked, “How is your brother doing? I hear he was quite ill.”

“Yes, he suffered a great deal but is finally on the mend. My cousin was there to help nurse him. I am no good in a sick room myself being quite delicate, so I did not return home.”

Caroline looked at her in surprise. “How fortunate that your cousin was there to assist.”

“Oh, at first she was away with her family, but she was quickly brought home to help nurse Tom. She is very useful at that sort of thing. He is fine now.”

“You are lucky you were not required to return home.”

Julia considered that. “I suppose I am. I am grateful Maria has allowed me to spend the season with her in town. It has been quite a change from Mansfield. I have been having so much fun.”

As they changed seats to play the next hand, Caroline noticed the particular attention that Mr. Henry Crawford was paying to Mrs. Rushworth. She could also see that Rushworth was a little uncomfortable with that attention but could do little to gain his wife’s attention.

One of her table mates that round was Miss Crawford. Caroline asked, “Are you enjoying your visit to town this year?”

Miss Crawford replied, “Yes, although I will admit it was slightly more interesting when Mr. Edmund Bertram was still in town. He returned home shortly after his brother took ill and does not expect to return. We had expected to come to an agreement before he was so unexpectedly called away.”

“Do you not have a sister who lives near them in Northamptonshire?”

“Yes, her husband is the local minister. It was how Henry and I met the Bertrams last autumn when we were staying with my sister.”

“Well, since you have family there, you will not have to wait until next year to see Mr. Edmund Bertram again.”

“No. I expect Henry and I will return to my sister’s as the season winds down. We can then finalize our plans for the future.”

Caroline looked over at him where he was once again flirting with Mrs. Rushworth. “He does seem to enjoy London.”

“Yes, the company in town is always quite stimulating,” said Miss Crawford with something of a smirk.
Caroline nodded her head in understanding. She attended to her cards while thinking about Mr. Crawford’s flirtation with Mrs. Rushworth.

As the Findlays drove home that afternoon, Caroline said, “Rupert, I have come to the realization that I am not quite as sophisticated as I thought.”

He looked puzzled. “You are not? Why do you say that?”

“Because I find the obvious flirtation between Mrs. Rushworth and Mr. Crawford to be shocking. Most of the others did not even seem to notice it. I was saddened for Mr. Rushworth. I know there are circles who think nothing of infidelity and take it easily in stride. Apparently, I am not capable of doing so. I think fidelity is important.”

He smiled. “Then you are in luck since we are in agreement on that. I think I am glad Mother did not come today. She has always frowned on such diversions, but I must say I am pleased you agree with her.”

“I had never given it much thought before. I suppose those in unhappy relationships feel free to look for emotional support where they can find it.”

About a week later, Caroline was surprised enough by an article in the paper to exclaim aloud, “Oh, my goodness!”

Findlay asked, “What is so surprising?”

“Listen to this: it was with infinite concern the newspaper had to announce to the world a matrimonial fracas in the family of Mr. R. of Wimpole Street; the beautiful Mrs. R., whose name had not long been enrolled in the lists of Hymen, and who had promised to become so brilliant a leader in the fashionable world, having quitted her husband’s roof in company with the well-known and captivating Mr. C., the intimate friend and associate of Mr. R., and it was not known even to the editor of the newspaper whither they were gone. This is the Rushworths and Mr. Crawford that we were discussing after we attended that card party there just last week.”

“Oh, yes, we did. Crawford is the man who was paying her so much attention?”

“Yes, he was the one. His regard for her was rather blatant.”

“Such a pity. Well, the ton must have its scandals. I assume this will be the topic of the day. It will be hard for the Bertrams and Rushworth, I suspect.”

Caroline agreed, “Mr. Rushworth is not overly bright but is quite welcoming and eager to please. He did not deserve to have a public humiliation like this.”

Although little else appeared in the papers, Caroline did hear many more details as she paid her calls over the next few days. Miss Bertram had apparently eloped and married their friend Mr. Yates in order to avoid returning home to the scandal. The elopement happened the same day the news of the departure of Mrs. Rushworth appeared in the paper. Within two or three days, Mr. Rushworth had fled London for the happier environs of Sotherton. Mr. and Mrs. Yates did not appear in town again that season. Mr. Rushworth would sue for divorce.

At a dinner later in the week, Caroline heard updates on the other big scandal of note. Mrs. Ailes, a friend of Mrs. Jennings, said to her, “Have you heard the latest disappointment of Mrs. Ferrars?” Mrs. Ailes was no friend to Mrs. Ferrars and enjoyed talking of Mrs. Ferrars’ trials.

Caroline replied, “Why no, I have not. Has something new occurred?”

Mrs. Ailes smiled in anticipation, “Why yes. Mr. Robert, her favorite, tried to convince Miss Lucy Steele to give up his brother. She finally agreed to do so, exchanging one brother for the other, but only after Mrs. Ferrars had already settled much of Mr. Edmund Ferrars’ inheritance on Mr. Robert. Now that he was independent, he found Miss Lucy attractive and eloped with her. And Mr. Edmund Ferrars has come to an agreement with Miss Dashwood who had apparently gained his heart some time back. Mrs. Ferrars, senior, is beside herself that both of her sons should wed without her approval.”

“But how will Mr. Ferrars support a wife since Mr. Robert has his inheritance.”

“Colonel Brandon has given him a living which will allow them to live quite simply. And Mrs. Ferrars has relented enough to give him something, although not what he is due. Mrs. Lucy Ferrars is certainly the minx, contriving to hide the first engagement and marrying the other brother instead. I declare, she is certainly a piece of baggage. At least Mr. Ferrars was steadfast even though his heart apparently was no longer engaged.”

Caroline said, “What a shocking business. I wonder at Mrs. Ferrars rewarding the younger and trusting him to do as she proposed. He must have seen what happened with his brother and took what he could when he could. It certainly makes me grateful we did not have to suffer any such misfortunes in our courting.”

As she thought about these scandals, she could see that the newest chapter in the Ferrar’s saga would replace some of the interest in Mrs. Rushworth’s elopement. One scandal could move the other out of the conversations of many. She was grateful that none of them were particularly close friends. She remembered back to the card party at the Gardiners where Miss Marianne Dashwood had been so upset with Mr. Willoughby. The Dashwoods had definitely had a difficult visit to town. They had seemed like nice young women. She hoped they would find some happiness now.

The next day, they finally heard from Sussex that Louisa was safely delivered of a daughter. Although Hurst had wanted to name her Louisa, they had finally decided on Eleanor after the late Mrs. Bingley and their older sister who had died in childhood. Mrs. Bingley had been gone many years, and young Eleanor had died when she was eight and Louisa six. Caroline was pleased at this remembrance of her mother and sister.

When Bingley received word of the birth, he said to Jane, “Isn’t that just like Louisa? Rather than naming her daughter after herself, she has honored our mother and sister.”

Jane agreed, “She is a very thoughtful sister. So, I assume young Eleanor is doing well?”

“Yes, the letter says mother and daughter are both doing well. So our little one, Eleanor, and now the Darcys will have cousins to play with when we get together. It is too bad we are so far from Sussex, but if Caroline has children, they should be able to play with the Hurst’s. How are you feeling?”

“I am doing very well. We still have more than two months to go, so traveling to Longbourn in a couple of weeks should not be too much of a trial. I do feel a bit clumsy, but it is not too much yet.”

He looked a little anxious. “And everything is in readiness?”

“Yes. The nursery is now ready; we have clothing; and your nanny is to join us when we return from the wedding. I have decided we will not have a wet nurse. I want to feed the baby myself. I know it is not fashionable, but it seems to help them be healthier. We were not planning on any journeys for a while, in any case, so it should bother no one. Father wants to bring my sisters to see us and will also visit Pemberley. Maybe he could visit Elizabeth first and us after the baby arrives.”

“That seems a good plan.”

A similar conversation occurred in Pemberley at the receipt of the news of the arrival of Eleanor Hurst. After talking about babies for a while, Darcy said, “You know, I wonder if it would be easier for you to travel to Longbourn with the Bingleys while I go on to Bath and collect Georgiana? Of course, I would enjoy your company, and you no longer have the nausea, but do you really want to travel so far?”

“Are you also collecting Lydia and Catherine or is Father going?”

“He agreed that it would be helpful for me to bring them all if I were willing. He does not mind going, but he and Mary are trying to get everything prepared for the wedding. He says he has become far more involved than he ever expected.”

“You are correct that it might be easier for me with a shorter trip. I suspect we will both be uncomfortable, but we should weather it just fine. You do not need to worry-at least not more than you already do.”

She smiled, knowing that her husband had been doing a great deal of worrying. She refused to stay in the house but continued to walk in the gardens daily. She continued to visit the tenants, her neighbors, and attend to whatever needed doing. She had no intention of being an invalid until her delivery no matter how much he might fret.

“I do very well, you know. I am in excellent health. Both the doctor and the midwife have confirmed that all is well. Women have babies every day, and most do just fine. I would rather travel with you than Jane. So, when do we leave?”

Back in London, Mary Beaumont had the opportunity to celebrate with her friend Leticia Lovedean on that beautiful May morning, she became Mrs. Raynor. Later, at the breakfast to celebrate, Leticia said to Mary, “This has been such fun. Whenever we come back to London, I will be sure to call upon you. At least Mr. Marsh and Miss Raynor have decided to marry from home, so there is no pressing need to return. But in any case, you will be sure to correspond, won’t you?”

Mary smiled, “Of course I will. You must tell me all about your new home and life in the country. I will tell you about whatever is going on in the city as well as my family. Next up, of course, is Mary Bennet’s wedding in just a couple of weeks.”

“It is so sad about her mother, isn’t it? I am glad she is not postponing the wedding.”

“Mrs. Bennet had made all the plans, so they are honoring her by holding this wedding of her dreams. At least all of us have found someone compatible and will be well settled. It is what we each hoped for at the beginning of the season.”

“Yes, according to Mama, it has been highly successful. My new Mother considers this successful since we are now wed. She is so very nice. I like her very much, which is a good thing since we will be living together.”

“Yes, it is good. She seems a very fine person. I am so happy for you. I have never had such a good friend before. I am as happy for you as I am for myself.”

“Thank you, Mary. I think we will both have wonderful lives in our new situations.”
SubjectAuthorPosted

Kindly Relations Chapters 37 and 38

ShannaGMay 29, 2018 03:53PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 37 and 38

BrigidMay 29, 2018 05:56PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 37 and 38

ShannaGMay 29, 2018 10:08PM



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