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Kindly Relations Chapters 45 and 46

June 12, 2018 04:21PM
Chapter 45

Louisa and Henrietta had an interesting conversation with the Ladies as they were interviewed for admission to Almack’s fabled balls. Louisa was even able to bring up some of the information she had learned in the reading and discussion the previous evening. Both girls were a little nervous, but at the end, they were granted admittance to Almack’s. When they were finally in the carriage on the way to the museum, Henrietta said, “This was one of the more important things we needed besides the presentation, wasn’t it?”

Mary agreed. “Yes, it was. You see, not everyone is permitted to enter Almack’s. The Ladies want to ensure that all who do are the right sort of people. It is quite exclusive. Just being there sends a message of your worth and importance without saying a word. The Ladies will introduce you to a variety of appropriate and respectable young men. Many women have met their future husbands there. It helps form an anchor to our weekly activities.”

Louisa said, “I am sure the dances will be lots of fun.”

Mary said, “That too. It is a good start for our season. However, keep in mind that the refreshments are not the best. Have a little something to eat before we go.”

The girls found the museum fascinating. Neither had had much opportunity for such cultural pursuits except on school outings. As they were looking at one painting, Henrietta said, “I can see why you think this might give us additional topics of conversation. This is certainly different from our art classes at school.”

While they were at the museum, Mary was surprised to see an acquaintance from a few years before. “Mrs. Yates, how nice to see you again.”

Julia Yates looked at Mary and replied, “Oh, yes, Miss Bennet. How are you?”

“It is now Mrs. Musgrove. I am quite well. It is lovely to see you in town again. May I introduce my sisters, Miss Musgrove and Miss Louisa Musgrove?”

They all curtsied and exchanged greetings. Then Julia said, “I am afraid I quite lost touch with most of my acquaintances from a couple of years ago. Mr. Yates and I have been visiting family-his mother was quite ill.”

“I hope she is better.”

“Yes, she has finally recovered. We will be able to enjoy town this season. Are you in town for the entire season?”

“Yes. Mr. Musgrove is in Parliament, and we are hosting his sisters for the season. I am sure we will encounter you often.”

Julia agreed and they each continued on their separate ways.

Once Julia had moved on, Henrietta asked, “Is she a particular friend?”

Mary replied, “No, just an acquaintance. Mrs. Findlay actually spent a great deal of time with her and her sister a couple of years ago, but she has not been around since her marriage. Her sister made an error in judgment which I believe Mrs. Yates found quite embarrassing. As a result, she and Mr. Yates stayed away until some other scandal became more interesting. It is of no account now.”

Louisa asked, “Do scandals often keep people away?”

Mary considered, “It depends on a number of things. Some do not care about scandals. I think some actually enjoy them. Let us talk of more pleasant things.”

The next day, they joined others of their circle at Gracechurch Street to spend the morning sewing. Both girls listened quietly as the matrons gossiped while they worked at their sewing. As they drove back home afterward, Mary said, “You both know we do such charitable work at home as well as here. Here, there are so many needs that even if all the women of the ton spent their spare time sewing, we could never satisfy them all. However, we must do what we can. It also offers you an opportunity to develop closer friendships. Your mother and I do this at Uppercross. I know have not yet, but you should consider it in the future now that you are adults. I think you will find that your other friends are doing the same.”

Henrietta said, “Georgiana did write of going with Elizabeth. I do not think Lydia or Catherine did, though.”

Mary said, “I know they went a few times in the autumn, but once the winter set in, they stopped. With Mrs. Bennet increasing, they did not want to travel in the cold.”

Louisa said, “Besides being charitable, it gives us something to keep us busy. There are times when that is very needed.”

Mary laughed, “That is true enough. However, you will likely only sew at the circle meetings or occasionally on a quiet morning through the season.”

They stopped by to visit Lady Harriet on their way home. She was approaching her confinement and had restricted her outings. As they entered the parlor, Mary said, “You are looking well. How are you feeling?”

Harriet laughed. “I feel as big as a house. The baby is very active, so I do not get quite as much sleep as I would like. However, there is not much time left. We expect the new arrival in just a few weeks. I think Rory is excited that there will be someone to play with at home eventually. He does enjoy that there are now a few other cousins who are old enough to play. Otherwise, he seems to play with the youngest Gardiners.”

Mary said, “Well, we missed you at the sewing circle.”

“You must tell me all the gossip I missed.”

They all laughed. Over tea and biscuits, all three girls told the stories that had been shared that morning. Finally, Harriet said, “Well, I did not miss much. Still, it is early in the season. I am pleased for you that you can attend Almack’s. You have been to a few things, so far. Have you met anyone interesting yet?”

Henrietta said, “Not really. But we are improving our conversational skills.”

Louisa added, “And Mary is helping us broaden our perspectives so we can talk knowledgably on more topics.”

Harriet said, “Good. From my experience, you don’t man want men who can converse only of sport or gambling. I find they become boring. But you must decide that for yourselves. I am sorry I will not be watching you in your efforts. The timing of our new babe could have been a little better.”

Henrietta said, “Oh, but we will be able to see the baby. If it had been later, we might not ever be in town again to see him or her.”

“Then you must be sure to come and visit once I am fit for company again.”

Mary said, “You know we will be back. You are too good a friend to avoid simply because of the imminent arrival of the newcomer.”

Harriet laughed. “Most of our friends would prefer not to know about the new arrival. However, Mrs. Brandon visited yesterday. I am pleased the Colonel was elected to Parliament. Now she has an excuse to be here for the season.”

Louisa asked, “Does one need an excuse?”

Harriet said, “No, but Mrs. Brandon did not enjoy London in her first venture to town. She had some unpleasant memories and preferred to remain at home, at least at first. She enjoyed last year when they finally returned for a month. But with his new position, she will be here for more of the season and should be able to enjoy herself more. She also said her younger sister will be joining her in March.”

Mary said, “And now she has a great many friends. When she came that first time, she was dependent on the friends of her hostess, many of whom were not quite to her taste. Yes, she told me the same. I hope to introduce her sister to our circle of friends so that she will not be as alone as her sister was during her first visit to town.”

Henrietta asked, “I am sure we will all have a good time with her. At least, we will try to welcome her and make friends. Lady Harriet, do you like London?”

“Yes, I do. Of course, my husband is busy here, but we could spend more time in the country if we wished. We do visit family in the summer, but otherwise, I like it here. I believe Mrs. Beaumont feels the same. There is always someplace to go, something interesting to see, and usually good music available almost any evening. That is seldom true when we visit outside town unless our hostess is musical.”

Henrietta continued, “But what about the noise? It seems amazingly noisy to me. It is never quiet.”

Harriet thought for a moment. “That is true. However, I think one becomes accustomed to the noise and ceases to be aware of it after a time. I admit that I seldom notice it these days. I believe Mrs. Gardiner would tell you the same thing. I guess I am now a city girl at heart.”

Chapter 46

By the time the Darcys arrived in London, Darcy was not sure he could face the upcoming months. The more he thought about the season, the more he wanted to return to Pemberley. True, Elizabeth would help immensely, but still. Was Georgiana really ready to marry and be on her own? What about Catherine and Lydia. They all seemed so very young.

As they were washing up after arriving in London, Elizabeth said, “I do not think you will find this as terrible as you are anticipating.”

Darcy asked, “Why do you say that?”

“It is obvious you are dreading rather than anticipating this season. It has been clearly bothering you more each day of the journey, particularly after we added my sisters this morning. You will not need to attend every activity-plenty of family can assist me with everyone. You can choose which events you want to see and avoid the rest.”

He looked a little sheepish. “But, I must watch over the girls. It is my responsibility.”

She shook her head. “No, it is ours, and our family shares it. Come to things because you want to. Except in rare cases, you do not need to go to everything. At least you will not be the center of attention this time. And, with two sisters alongside, Georgiana will not be the only one under scrutiny. She takes comfort that she shares this with my sisters and Mary’s. Having the five together takes a lot of the pressure off her. She no longer dreads this as she once did. And Mary has written that we may have a sixth girl to help out as well, a Margaret Dashwood.”

“My head knows you are correct but my heart disagrees. It is hard to think of Georgiana as ready to marry. And now we have another one to worry about?”

“Georgiana has been out for six months and been quite successful in Derbyshire. There is no need for her to marry yet if she does not find someone agreeable. She can wait until she chooses. Thanks to your support, so can my sisters. Henrietta already has someone she might choose at home, and Mary has already said Louisa can return again next year if she wants, so all five of them have the option to truly enjoy the season without feeling like they must find someone right away. And you need not worry about Miss Dashwood. Her sister, Mrs. Brandon, will take care of that. We will simply help.”

“That offers at least a little comfort. I suppose there is something to be said for a group of us working together.”

“We are not yet receiving today so we have a chance to relax after the trip. The Musgroves will call tomorrow as will the rest of the family. Your aunt is having a little soiree the next day, so we will see those who do not call then. Today, you can just enjoy yourself-at least as much as you can with the girls giggling and speculating about what will happen in London. Mary’s note says they are at the museum today, so at least Henrietta and Louisa will have something interesting to share when they call. I am going to check on the girls. Why don’t you go enjoy some solitude in your library?”

He squeezed her hand and kissed her cheek. “How is it you know me so well, Mrs. Darcy?”

She smiled. “It might have something to do with how much I love you, Mr. Darcy.”

He smiled in return. “Very well, I shall be in the library should you need me.”

Elizabeth found the three girls in Georgiana’s room looking through her gowns as they were unpacked. As she entered the room, she heard Lydia say, “Oh, now that one is quite spectacular.”

Georgiana giggled. “I wore it at our harvest ball. Even though it is so fancy, it was still quite comfortable. It is very ornamented. Elizabeth thought it should make a statement at my first grand ball.”

Elizabeth added, “Indeed she did. I had heard speculation that I might try to keep you down or minimize your importance in our life. I felt a dress such as this would quash such speculation and showcase how very important you are in our lives. Besides, you look so pretty in it.”

Georgiana looked shocked. “There were people who thought you and Wills would not properly help me come out?”

Elizabeth smiled. “Oh yes. They assumed we would want to keep you at home to keep from having to give up your dowry. Quite foolish, of course, but you know how gossips are. They assume others will act as they would themselves in such a situation.”

Lydia laughed. “They obviously do not know you at all. However, they might be right that Mr. Darcy would not want Georgiana to go away, not because of the money, just because.”

They all laughed. Elizabeth said, “You know, you can call him Wills or Fitzwilliam as Georgiana and I do.”

Catherine said, “Not yet. He is still so formidable most of the time, I cannot imagine calling him by his given name. After living here with him a bit, I imagine it will become more natural.”

Georgiana said, “He is really very nice. You will see.”

Lydia said, “You are probably correct. After all, Elizabeth likes him, and he has been very kind to offer to have us here with you, and he was always very kind when we visited. He is just so intimidating.”

By the time the girls had examined all of Georgiana’s clothing, their own was also unpacked. Together, they all retired to the drawing room for tea and continued conversation. Darcy left the library to join them for an hour.

As they settled, Darcy commented, “So, I understand we are to attend a soirée at my aunt’s tomorrow. Do we know anything about what is planned?”

Elizabeth smiled, “Oh, yes. She has indicated that, this early in the season, she would like to see all the girls exhibit their skills at music. It will be a small group, only about thirty to forty people, so will give them all a chance to perform with less pressure than will happen later in the season. She wants all of them to be quite ready when the time comes.”

Darcy looked at the three girls. He knew Georgiana was prepared-she practiced every day. “Catherine and Lydia, are you ready?”

Catherine answered, “Mostly. We will, of course, practice both this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Since I am not much of a singer and Lydia is, we decided that she would sing and I accompany her, at least these first few times. I will also accompany Georgiana although we need to practice as it has been some months since we were together.”

Elizabeth smiled. “Supporting each other that way will be a way to ease some of the anxiety, I suspect. When we finish our tea, perhaps you should begin that practicing.”

Georgiana said, “Oh, yes, please. As Catherine says, it has been some months. We practiced a lot at school, but I do not want to look a fool tomorrow.”

Lydia laughed. “Oh, Georgiana, you could never look a fool. You are simply too talented for that.”

Elizabeth asked, “Would the three of you like to attend the museum as the Musgroves are today? I believe we could next week, if you’d like.”

The girls looked at each other, smiled simultaneously, and Lydia replied, “Yes, we would. It should be interesting and one more thing to talk of at these social things. As you said, the more conversation we have, the more fun we will find. That was certainly true in Meryton and will probably be even more so here.”

Darcy smiled. “Excellent. Well, off to practice. Elizabeth and I will consult our calendars and schedule it for next week. Perhaps the Musgroves can join us.”

The girls excused themselves to practice shortly thereafter. Once they left, Elizabeth rose from her seat and moved over to take Darcy’s hand. "You are looking somewhat more relaxed.”

“False bravado,” he smiled. “I do not think I shall relax until we are back in Pemberley. At least I can rely on you for some support. Whatever would I do without you?”

She smiled in return. “I hope we never need to find out. I am glad Charlotte and Richard can join us in March. I know you will feel better with him helping to watch over her. He can reassure you when you are deciding whether or not to allow a relationship for her.”

“I only want her to be happy.”

“Of course, but you also want to protect her and keep her safe. I understand it will be hard to stand back and watch. It will be good practice for when our own are old enough to follow this same process.”

“Do not even talk of that. It does not bear thinking about.”

Kindly Relations Chapters 45 and 46

ShannaGJune 12, 2018 04:21PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 45 and 46

EvelynJeanJune 13, 2018 04:46PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 45 and 46

BrigidJune 12, 2018 04:45PM


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