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Kindly Relations Chapters 49 and 50

June 19, 2018 04:52PM
AN: thank you for the kind comments. I am glad you are enjoying this. It has been fun mixing in the characters from the other stories.
Chapter 49

The young ladies under Darcy’s care were pleased to be given vouchers to Almack’s. They all understood that the dances there would provide many important introductions and would signal their status in society.

The trip to the museum, which both Louisa and Henrietta wanted to see again, was a success. As they returned to the Darcy townhouse afterward, Lydia said to Louisa, “You know, a few years ago, I would never have thought such an outing could be interesting. I thought all learning was boring. Somehow, the world of things I do not know became far more interesting even as I learned more. It is funny how that worked.”

“Yes, before school, I never realized there was so much out there to know. Now, I know how little I know. One thing I know, I prefer the landscapes to portraits. I only like portraits of people I know. Speaking of which, Georgiana, how was your portrait sitting? You never told us about it.”

Georgiana frowned. “I cannot imagine how nasty it must be for those who sit for theirs here in town. At least Elizabeth and I had ours painted at Pemberley. Why it must be a family tradition, I do not understand. It is quite boring to sit there so still holding the pose. Elizabeth is far more restless than I, so it was worse for her. She hardly ever sits still. She ended up reading to me and I to her as we sat.”

Catherine chuckled, “Oh, you have them so you can hang in that long gallery. I cannot wait to see you both hanging there when next I visit. Everyone important in your family hangs there. It is like a museum in itself.”

Louisa asked, “You have a portrait?”

“Yes, as Catherine says, they mostly hang in a particular gallery at Pemberley. Elizabeth’s is hanging in Wills’ study. He sits and stares at it when he should be working.”

Elizabeth said, “So he says, in any case. So, you prefer the landscapes? I do too. I try to imagine myself visiting. I never realized there was so much variety in Britain, but there certainly seems to be. Derbyshire is certainly different from Kent or Hertfordshire.”

Henrietta said, “I like the landscapes, but I think the statues are even better. If they were in color, you could almost expect them to step off the stands.”

Mary asked, “Would you like one in the garden at Uppercross?”

Henrietta answered, “Hmm, it might be interesting depending on what type of statue it was. Well, really, I just enjoy seeing all the different things at the museum. London is so much fun.”

Mary replied, “Just wait until the season really begins after your presentation. That is when we will be busy at events every day, sometimes twice in one day.”

Lydia smiled. “I cannot wait. It will be so much fun.”

Elizabeth said, “Well, we have a few things to go to before then. And we should start the practicing so you can be graceful in those awful dresses. Louisa, have you seen Mr. Cortland lately?”

“No, but his mother came by again yesterday. She is a very quiet person but so nice. She told me all about their estate. It sounds about the same size as Uppercross but with more variety in the livestock and crops. I have never paid much attention to that, but it does sound lovely.”

Mary said, “I pay more attention now than when I was a child even though your father is the one who truly manages Uppercross. I think it is a natural occurrence to notice the estate more when one becomes responsible for those on it. Mrs. Cortland could be a very nice mother if the two of you come to an agreement. She is not one of those pushy mothers who would never give way to a daughter-in-law. Of course, neither is your mother, which I appreciate.”

The next day, Mary Musgrove hosted a card party. Both Louisa and Henrietta needed some opportunities to assist in hosting such events, and a small party was the best venue for learning. Before the guests arrived, they discussed the various games, how to help create tables that would suit the guests, and who might need to be seated father apart.

“This is just a small party and mostly friends, so there is little need to keep people separate. However, since Mrs. Brandon is one of our friends attending, it is good that we did not invite her sister Mrs. Dashwood. There was a great deal of unpleasantness between them in the past, and they are unfriends. Mrs. Brandon gets on well with almost everyone and Mrs. John Dashwood with almost no one. In spite of that, she seems to always be in company with her other sister, Mrs. Robert Ferrars. I do not care for either of them, so it was no trouble not to invite them. Mrs. Brandon has not come to town for a while, but she is a witty correspondent.”

Louisa asked, “But how do you know that?”

“In my case, their animosity became apparent during my season, and I have remembered it. Should you encounter them at a ball, you might notice that they avoid one another. At a dinner party, they do not really converse. They are civil but quite chilly. Those are the kinds of things you need to watch for and remember for future. It is the responsibility of the hostess to ensure that all of her guests are comfortable and enjoy themselves.”

Louisa and Henrietta did a good job of following Mary’s lead in helping their guests enjoy themselves. If Louisa paid slightly more attention to Mr. Cortland, that was only to be expected. When they were enjoying the refreshments after the card play, he said, “You played quite well, Miss Louisa. Do you enjoy cards?”

“They are a pleasant way to pass an afternoon. I have found it fascinating to watch others play. Their approach to cards seems to tell so much about how they approach other things in life. For example, Henrietta will not stake high, even on an excellent hand, because she is very cautious. I am a little more of a risk taker than she, but not nearly so much as those who need to gamble.”

“What else have you noticed?”

“Well, there are some who blame their partners for their poor play. There are others who risk much even on a very poor hand seemingly thinking that somehow they will manage it. As I say, it is interesting to watch the play.”

“What does my card playing tell you?”

“You study your cards and seem to remember many that have been played. You are intelligent and seem to take calculated risks in your betting. You do not bet what you cannot lose, so you are prudent. You are a good partner and make up for some of the deficiencies in your partner, but you never berate that partner. That all seems admirable.”

He smiled at her. “I hope that is indeed the person that I am. I will admit that I do seem to have a fairly good recall about what cards have been played. That makes it a bit easier to calculate what is likely to be played by the others. It is simple mathematics.”

“Really? I might want to hear more about that at a future time. It is not mathematics I have ever encountered.”

“It is known as probability.”

Marianne took a few moments to chat with Henrietta and Louisa. After a few minutes, Henrietta said, “So, when do you expect your sister, Miss Dashwood, to join you?”

“Friends of ours are bringing her in mid-March, after the presentations. I appreciate that you and the others will try to become her friends. I do not expect her to know any of the other debutantes.”

Louisa said, “We are a friendly group, so I hope she will enjoy us. Perhaps we could write her a welcome before she comes?”
Marianne smiled. “That would be lovely.”

“If you could leave her direction, I will see that each of us writes her a note and send it off,” said Henrietta. As someone who was a bit shy, she thought it would be nice for Miss Dashwood to already have friends when she arrived next month.

After the guests left, Mary ushered the girls into her sitting room while the servants cleaned up and put all the furniture back into the usual locations. She said, “Now, let us discuss the party. Tell me about what you noticed.”

Henrietta said, “I tried to notice the interactions of people like you advised. I thought everyone seemed to have a nice time with no strained relations.”

Louisa added, “I agree. I also noticed that Mr. Grier was easily upset by the play of his partner, most particularly when it was Mrs. Grier. He was at least polite when it was someone else, but her he berated quite severely when it was actually his poor play that was at fault. I did not notice anything else of note.”

Mary said, “What do we conclude?”

Henrietta said, “If Louisa is correct about Mr. Grier, no future invitations to them for card parties. Perhaps he would do better in an environment like a musical evening. I also conclude I do not want a partner who would chastise me in company. I consider it rude.”

Louisa said, “Everyone seemed to get along well, so it was a good mix of people. And that one biscuit with apples in it was the most popular. The next time you serve that, you must have a larger platter of it.”

Mary said, “I agree. We must let cook know how very popular it was.” 

Chapter 50

Darcy found the social engagements were not as onerous as he had feared. With so many helping to watch over the girls, there was always someone to keep an eye on each of them. Even Georgiana was well protected from those who were simply seeking an heiress. A few of those had requested introductions and were steered in a different direction when denied. He was particularly grateful when Charlotte and Richard Fitzwilliam arrived. Now they could share the true responsibility with him.

Finally, the day of the presentations arrived. At breakfast, Elizabeth said, “Now, dear, you must be off to your club. We are going to be very busy this morning and you will only be in the way. Also, if you are here to pass judgment, you will make Georgiana even more nervous than she already is. They will be down momentarily. I expect you to tell them that you know they will have an excellent morning and then be on your way.”

He frowned. “I had thought to be here to see you all off.”

Elizabeth smiled. “I know you had. However, after hearing their fears and worries yesterday as we practiced for one last time, I realized that they would all worry less with you gone before us. I am sorry, my dear, but I think it for the best. You still intimidate all three of them at times.”

He chuckled. “Very well. I will finish up and be on my way once I greet them today. May I be allowed to see them in their finery afterwards?”

She laughed. “Of course. We will be more than happy to see you afterwards. I am certain I will need your support, if no one else.”

When the girls arrived for breakfast, Darcy duly greeted them, wished them well, and made himself scarce. The girls were able to eat only a very small amount. All of them felt quite nervous. However, the nerves may have helped, for all of the girls were presented without mishap. The nerves did not abate until they successfully negotiated the presentation and returned to the carriages.

Once everyone had changed and composed themselves, they all gathered in the Darcy parlor. Each sponsor had managed a single young lady: Lady Fitzwilliam had sponsored Georgiana; Elizabeth had sponsored Catherine; Caroline had sponsored Lydia; Mary Musgrove had sponsored Henrietta; and Mrs. Findlay had sponsored Louisa. Although they had divided up the girls differently at the beginning, Lady Fitzwilliam had requested the opportunity to help her niece while they were still early in their practices.

Lady Fitzwilliam said, “Well, I am glad that is done. Now I can concentrate on Harriet’s confinement to see if I can assist in any way.”

Charlotte said, “Well, you will still be coming to some of the events.”

“Oh yes. I must see how all our young ladies do. However, I need not worry anymore. That is for the rest of you.”

Elizabeth said, “Yes, that is true. With so many of us to oversee everyone, I am sure our girls will all have many opportunities to find someone compatible.”

Lydia said, “You know, I think the most fun today was seeing all the different outfits. Some of them were quite peculiar.”

Catherine said, “I am glad fashions no longer follow these rules. It would be very uncomfortable. However, I want to remember all that we saw, so I am going to do a few quick sketches. I will show you when I finish.”

Elizabeth said, “I am sure we will all enjoy those.”

Mrs. Findlay said, “And yet, these were fashionable enough some years ago. But yes, our current dress is far more comfortable.”

Henrietta said, “Now that this is done, we have so much to do.”

Louisa said, “Yes, tonight is our first ball. I am so excited.”

Georgiana said, “I am a little excited but even more relieved that none of us had disasters today. I was afraid someone would trip, or step on their gown, or something like that. I admit I quite jumped when the fireworks were set off.”

Caroline said, “Yes, it is satisfying that there were no issues.”

They continued to discuss the morning for a while, but then Mary Musgrove said, “Well, I am glad it is over. Now, we must be one our way. We will see everyone tonight at the ball. I advise you young ones to get some rest while you may.”

Lady Fitzwilliam agreed. “Good advice. I will see you all later. Charlotte and I are off to visit Harriet.”

Elizabeth and her charges returned to Darcy House. Darcy was waiting when they arrived. “So, how did it go?”

Elizabeth smiled. Georgiana said, “No disasters.”

Darcy said, “I need more details than that.”

Lydia laughed and described their day. She concluded with, “So, no disasters, as Georgiana says.”

Catherine added, “I am working on some sketches of it is you’d like to see them later. I think we are all glad it went well and that the season can now being in earnest.”

Georgiana said, “Yes. Mary suggested that we should all rest a bit before tonight’s ball. We are all planning to change and follow her advice.”

The girls remained in their rooms after they changed while Elizabeth and Darcy relaxed in the library. She said, “You would be proud. Everyone acquitted themselves well. Georgiana was not overly shy nor Lydia overly bold.”

“If you are pleased, then I am pleased.”

Elizabeth smiled, “At least Richard and Charlotte are here for the first ball. I predict a very busy evening.”

Mary took her own advice and sent Henrietta and Louisa to rest once they arrived home. After the rest, they had a small meal. Mary said, “You will be working hard by dancing all night. You need some nourishment before we go, and you do not want to worry about it after you dress. Now, it is time for us to change.”

Louisa was so excited as they went to change. She said to Henrietta, “I can hardly believe it. The presentation this morning and our first real ball this evening. I am so glad Charles married Mary and opened up this new world to us.”

“Me too. I could have been happy with the prospects at Uppercross, but now, it seems the whole world is before us.”

Everyone had an excellent time at the ball, even Darcy. Although he danced only two dances with Louisa, Cortland was as attentive as propriety permitted. He also danced with Henrietta. He realized that if he continued to pursue Louisa, it was good to become better acquainted with her sister. He also danced with Mary Musgrove feeling that this would also be a good opportunity to become better acquainted.

Darcy took some comfort in dancing with his wife, their sisters, and some friends. Now that he was no longer an eligible bachelor, society seemed a little less intimidating. Elizabeth had helped that immensely. When he danced with Charlotte, he asked, “Are you glad to be back in town?”

“Oh yes. It is good to get Richard away from the horses for a time. Of course, he will worry about those who might foal while we are gone, but he has worked hard at building up his herd. He certainly has some beauties.”

Darcy agreed, “Yes, he does. Georgiana loved her new mare. I will have to remember to mention it to Richard.”

“He will be pleased. He was certain the mare would be perfect for Georgiana.”

Caroline encountered Mrs. Yates at the ball. “It is good to see you again. I hope Mrs. Yates’ health has improved.”

Mrs. Yates replied, “Yes, it has improved enough that we were able to come to town again. It is a relief that she has regained her health. Mr. Yates does not care to spend all his time at the estate. He much prefers town.”

“There is certainly more variety in activities than in the country.”

As Julia moved on, Caroline wondered what had become of Maria. Gossip had it that she had been packed off to a small country cottage with her aunt in attendance. Mrs. Yates certainly never spoke of her.

Marianne Brandon and Elizabeth sat visiting together while watching the dancing. Marianne said, “I fear I would be worried with so many charges to keep track of. Thank goodness I will only need to worry about Margaret.”

Elizabeth chuckled, “I might be more worried if there were not so many family and friends helping. When will your sister arrive?”

“Friends are bringing her in a couple of weeks.”

“If you also brought your mother, she might also find a new attachment.”

“That is true. I had not really thought about that. With us no longer at home, a new partner might be just what she needs.”

“It has made all the difference for my father, if that is any help.”

Marianne considered that a moment. “It is. Thank you. I will talk to Arthur about it and send her an invitation. I used to consider second attachments as of lesser value but have learned otherwise. I would like to see Mother happy again.”

Kindly Relations Chapters 49 and 50

ShannaGJune 19, 2018 04:52PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 49 and 50

BrigidJune 21, 2018 12:43AM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 49 and 50

EvelynJeanJune 20, 2018 06:06AM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 49 and 50

YasminJune 19, 2018 10:09PM


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