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Kindly Relations Chapters 39 and 40

June 01, 2018 05:46PM
Chapter 39

A week later, near the end of May, as Mrs. Gardiner was sitting in her parlor reading, she was surprised when the butler entered and announced, “Captain and Mrs. Wentworth have arrived, madam.”

The couple followed directly behind him, entering the room with smiles on their faces. Mrs. Gardiner said, “Anne, Captain, what a happy surprise.” She rose from her seat and hugged her niece and then shook hands with the Captain. “We had not expected to see you.”

Wentworth laughed while Anne smiled. “Frederick received a change of assignment. We are not home for long, but the timing could not be better. We can stay for Mary’s wedding, if it is still on. We found news of the passing of Mrs. Bennet when we landed two days ago.”

Tea arrived and they refreshed themselves as they continued the conversation. “Yes, it is still on. Mary is honoring her mother by fulfilling her dreams of a fabulous wedding. Have you a place to stay? You are welcome here.”

Anne answered, “I had hoped you would say that. We could have taken rooms if necessary, but I wanted to see you. You are looking well.”

“As are you both.”

Wentworth finally spoke, “Anne is an excellent sailor. We have greatly enjoyed the time in the Indies. But we are pleased to be home for a few weeks.”

Anne said, “Indeed. It seems it has been an eventful year in our family. I am anxious to see everyone.”

Mrs. Gardiner agreed. “Yes, a great deal has happened. Much of the family has returned home. However, Lord and Lady Fitzwilliam are still in town. Oh, so is your sister Mary Beaumont. Lady Stevenson is still in town. Let me send them a note.”

“You must tell me all about Mary’s new husband and all that has been happening.”

Mrs. Gardiner talked of the various weddings as she penned notes to notify the others of the arrival of the Wentworths. Thirty minutes later, Mrs. Beaumont arrived followed shortly thereafter by Lady Stevenson.

Mary said, “Oh, Anne, how wonderful it is to see you.” She rushed forward to hug her sister. Since she had never been demonstrative of affection in the past, Anne was somewhat agreeably surprised.

“It is good to see you too. You are looking well. It seems marriage agrees with you.”

“It does. I have a cozy little flat to care for. At the end of the summer, we will be moving into his townhouse once its refurbishment is complete. Are you here for long?”

“We will be returning to sea within a week after Mary Bennet’s wedding. We go directly to Portsmouth from Meryton to finish up preparations for a new assignment. Mary, this is Frederick Wentworh, my husband.”

“I am so pleased to meet you, Captain. You have made Anne so very happy. Although it is somewhat belated, welcome to the family.”

“I am pleased to meet you too, Mrs. Beaumont. We have enjoyed your letters about your season.”

“As you are my brother, please call me Mary.”

“Then you must also manage to call me Frederick.”

Mary smiled. “I will try, Frederick. Please excuse me if I forget and call you Captain, though.”

When Lady Stevenson arrived, she said, “Well, Anne, Captain, you are both looking well. What a surprise that you could visit us.” Since she was once again alone, she convinced the Wentworths to stay with her as well as travel to Meryton with her. “I suppose I am a lonely old woman now. I loved having Mary here all season. It is so much quieter with you off in your own home.”

Mary smiled, “I loved it too. But it is nice to have my own home, I must say.”

Wentworth said, “Well, then, of course we accept. While you may be alone, I cannot see you as an old woman, ma’am. You are too young for that.”

Lady Stevenson chuckled. “Ever the charmer, I see. Well, I shall enjoy having you both with me.”

Beaumont was able to get away from chambers for an hour to meet Mary’s family. He found them a distinct contrast to her father and other sister. As Mary saw him off after his brief visit, he said to her, “I would never have supposed her related to your father and Miss Elliot.”

Mary agreed. “Anne is so different. She is much more like our mother, according to everything I’ve been told. I have not spent much time with her, having been at school until this past year, but she has always been kind to me. I am grateful to have a little time with her now.”

Shortly after Beaumont left, Mary had to leave as well having a previous engagement. As she left, she said, “You may be staying with grandmother, but I want as much time with you as possible before we leave for Meryton. You must come and see my little place. Can you come tomorrow morning?”

Anne smiled. “Of course, I can. I would love to spend some time with you.”

After their visit to Gracechurch Street, the Wentworths and Lady Stevenson stopped by the Fitzwilliams to offer greetings and find out how Captain Fitzwilliam was doing. They were pleased to see Richard and meet Charlotte. As Wentworth talked to Fitzwilliam, he said, “So, you are no longer a Major?”

“I suppose people will always call me Major although I have resigned the commission and am waiting to take over on my estate in Cheshire. Mother enjoys having us here with my cousin and her husband. We all just returned from our wedding trips. They should be back shortly from paying calls.”

“We have heard of them in letters from the family of course. Congratulations on your own marriage.”

Fitzwilliam smiled, looking over at Charlotte who was speaking with the ladies. “It was quite surprising to me. I had no plans to marry, but upon meeting Charlotte, I could not resist. Here was someone who did not fawn over me but talked to me as a rational being. She is everything that is charming and practical as well. Had my mother’s aunt not left me the estate, it would have been a more difficult decision as I would not want her to follow me into the field although she was willing. How has it been with Mrs. Wentworth on ship?”

“She is an excellent sailor. Of course, there are challenges, but we have faced them together. I was surprised at how much nicer it was to have her there. I never anticipated it being such a positive experience. I had previously felt uncomfortable when transporting women but see now that they are hardier than I had given them credit.”

Fitzwilliam nodded. “It is surprising how strong women can be.”

As the men continued to speak, Charlotte and Anne became acquainted. After early pleasantries, Anne Wentworth said, “Since you were providing companionship to Elizabeth, what is she doing now?”

Charlotte smiled. “Since she is shortly to enlarge the family, I suspect she will be busy and have company enough. She did not truly need a companion. She may, perhaps, have been a bit lonely having lived for so long with so many sisters, but I think she was hoping to give me an opportunity for a social life outside of Meryton. She has ever been a thoughtful friend.”

Anne smiled. “Oh, I had not yet heard that Elizabeth is expecting. I heard about Jane of course. How fine for the Darcys. Well, she was successful if her primary purpose was to help you find a spouse.”

“Yes, she was. And since we will be living in Cheshire once we settle, we will be able to visit somewhat comfortably. It is far enough from home that I may not see Meryton as often. However, my brother is the minster in Kympton, so at least I can see him regularly. Elizabeth and I have always been good friends, so it will be nice to be within visiting distance.”

“That will be very convenient. So, are you attending Mary Bennet’s wedding?”

Charlotte smiled. “Oh, yes. Both we and the Hattons took short wedding trips so as to be ready for Mrs. Bennet’s gala wedding. Afterwards, we will join the Hattons in Rosings for a few weeks. Then we will be on to Pemberley, hopefully after Jane has safely delivered, where we can see the new Bingley. We will spend September with the Fitzwilliams up in Yorkshire, stop in at Pemberley to see the new Darcy, and then finally settle in our home in October.”

Lady Stevenson and Lady Fitzwilliam watched the conversations around them. Lady Fitzwilliam said, “I am sure you are pleased to see Mrs. Wentworth again.”

“Yes, very. It was quite the surprise. Apparently the Captain is to be posted to the Baltic to join Captain Fitzwilliam. I am pleased they could take the time to come and visit us. They can stay only until the wedding when they must return to Portsmouth. Since Mary and Anne were so close, this will be a wonderful surprise for Mary.”

Lady Fitzwilliam smiled. “You are not telling her ahead of time?”

“No, Anne wants to keep it a secret. We leave in two days, so they will have a couple of days together. I expect it will be a little crowded in Meryton just as it was for your wedding there.”

“There are fewer Fitzwilliams attending, so perhaps it will not be too bad. At least the neighbors were all wonderful hosts for the extended family.”

Lady Stevenson smile in return. “I am sure they were. I am also sure the other mothers appreciate that Mrs. Fitzwilliam and Mary have both selected from outside the Meryton circle leaving those very few eligible bachelors to their own daughters.”

Chapter 40

The Gardiners, Lady Stevenson, and the Wentworths arrived at Longbourn in the early afternoon in two carriages. Mary heard the carriages arrive and was outside to greet them.

She was shocked into silence as she saw Wentworth exit one carriage and begin to hand out Anne. Then she forgot all decorum as she squealed, “Anne! How have you been able to join us? Oh, wonderful!” She immediately rushed to her cousin to give her a hug. “It is good to see you, too Captain,” she said, almost as an afterthought.

“It is good to see you too, Miss Bennet.”

“It is Mary, remember?” she corrected.

“It is good to see you too, Mary,” he replied.

Anne added, “It certainly is. You are looking very fine, so grown up and ready to marry at seventeen now.”

Mary said, “Yes, much has changed since you left us.”

Anne said, “Well, it seems most of the changes are for the better, but I am sorry for the loss of your mother. I remember how sad I was when I lost mine.”

As they entered the house, Hill directed footmen to show them to their rooms so they could refresh. The Gardiner children and their nurse went up to the nursery. After washing up, they would go out to play to use up the energy they had suppressed while sitting in the carriage.

Anne and Mary continued their conversation in the parlor once Anne had cleaned up. “I am very pleased for Mr. Musgrove. I think your influence will be excellent. It seems he has already stretched in creating that school you wrote about. I believe you will help him to really grow and achieve something wonderful.”

Mary smiled. “It has gone beyond that, as well. Mr. Dickinson, the MP for the area, has resigned due to ill health. Mr. Musgrove has managed to win the seat in the special election. We just heard of it yesterday. It appears we will have summer and autumn in Uppercross and then return to London in January.”

Wentworth heard that last bit and said, “Congratulations, Mary, for I am sure you have helped Musgrove see where he can truly make a difference. I wonder how far he can rise.”

Mary answered, “I am not sure he has any ambitions beyond Member for now. That should give plenty of scope for creating change. But how is it that you are here and not in the West Indies?”

Anne looked over at Wentworth. “Frederick has received a new assignment and will be off to the Baltic in a couple of weeks. “

Wentworth added, “Yes, we will be joining Captain Fitzwilliam by the end of the month. Mr. Bennet, I would like to meet with young Matthew Garret to see if he is ready to sign on as midshipman. We could use one and he sounded like a likely candidate.”

Mr. Bennet smiled, “He and Michael will be in around noon for their meal and our afternoon of study. I will introduce you then.”

Wentworth smiled. “Excellent. Is he ready now, do you think?”

“I do. Michael has some ways to go before applying to Sandhurst, but I think Matthew is ready to begin his career. He is an enterprising young man with excellent understanding.”

The ladies began discussing the wedding while the gentlemen excused themselves to the quieter environs of Mr. Bennet’s study. There, they abandoned the tea for something a little stronger. Mr. Gardiner asked, “Thomas, are you ready for Mary to leave you on your own?”

Mr. Bennet smiled ruefully. “Not really, but it is time. And I will have Kitty and Lydia for our summer travel. It is still some months before I will be truly on my own. I will have plenty of time for reading then.”

Mr. Gardiner continued, “How are you really doing?”

“I still keep expecting to see Fanny. It is always a surprise to remember that she will not be there ever again. I miss her but am becoming accustomed to the change, I guess. If we were as close as when we first married, I am sure it would be much worse. However, it does seem to have left a very large hole in my life.”

Wentworth said, “You seem to be doing remarkably well, all things considered. I am sure having your other daughters here will help you through the summer.”

Mr. Bennet added, “So will the thought of the new Bingley and Darcy. We will be visiting Jane after the wedding and Pemberley as well.”

When the Garrets arrived, Mr. Gardiner vacated the study. Wentworth and Matthew were introduced and left to have their discussion in the garden while Mr. Bennet worked with Michael. After their discussion, Matthew and Wentworth left by horse to discuss his enlistment with his mother. Two hours after they began talking, Matthew joined Michael in the study for the last time.

“Captain Wentworth has agreed to take me on. I have signed enlistment papers and will spend the time until we leave preparing to sail. Mr. Bennet, thank you for all the assistance you have given. The captain says I am very well prepared and much of that is thanks to you. May I write you while I am gone?”

Mr. Bennet smiled. “I hope you will. I am not the best letter writer, but I shall try to write in return. Captain Wentworth will be a good man to begin your career under. I am sure you will do very well. Michael still has a year or two of preparation before he can start in his chosen field.”

Michael smiled, “Congratulations, Matt. I will miss you but it is very exciting. How lucky we are that the Wentworths have come for Miss Bennet’s wedding.”

Very little studying was accomplished after that. Wentworth and Mr. Gardiner joined them in the study to talk of what life at sea would be like for Matthew and of the expectations of a midshipman in the navy.

The Bingleys arrived, followed shortly thereafter by the Darcys, the girls, and then the Musgroves. Kitty and Lydia were excited to be home although they would be sharing a room so that there were enough beds for all the guests. They were excited about the new dresses Mary had arranged for them since they were to be attendants. Louisa and Henrietta were also excited about their dresses. All were in similar colors but were trimmed differently so that they could continue to wear them for special occasions after the wedding. The younger Musgroves and Gardiners were also ready to take their part in the wedding. Everyone was excited for Mrs. Bennet’s big day.

Mary Bennet particularly enjoyed all the time she had to visit with Anne. So much had happened since the Wentworth wedding that Mary could hardly believe she was still the same person Anne had helped so much. She said to her, “I am not sure any of this would have happened if you had not helped me to find some confidence. My sisters were always kind, but you were the first person who ever really encouraged me to just enjoy being myself. Thank you.”

Anne smiled, “Oh, Mary, I am so glad you have done so well for yourself. You were meant to be happy just like this.”
SubjectAuthorPosted

Kindly Relations Chapters 39 and 40

ShannaGJune 01, 2018 05:46PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 39 and 40

EvelynJeanJune 01, 2018 10:26PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 39 and 40

BrigidJune 01, 2018 07:16PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 39 and 40

ShannaGJune 01, 2018 10:18PM



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