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Kindly Relations Chapters 51 and 52

June 22, 2018 02:37PM
AN: Thanks again for the comments. I am pleased you are enjoying my world. I love when real life offers the kind of support these girls are giving each other.
Chapter 51
As he and Elizabeth were talking at breakfast the morning the next day, Darcy said, “Well, now the season begins in earnest.”

Elizabeth agreed, “It is certainly going to be very busy.”

Their days and evenings were now full of a variety of social activities. There were card parties, soirées, balls, dinners, teas, and constant visits with friends. Within a week after the presentation, the girls were already finding the activity exhausting.

Louisa said to Mary, “Do we have to be quite so busy? I would not mind a bit fewer things to do. I have never been so tired in my life.”

Mary chuckled, “Well, then, we will scale it back a bit if Henrietta agrees.”

Henrietta said, “Just a little. I do not want to be too tired to dance.”

From then on, the Musgroves attended only one or two activities if they were small ones, or only one if it was a larger affair. Both girls were happier about that. However, none of those at the Darcys were willing to scale back. When asked, Lydia had replied, “I will just sleep in a little longer. It is not as if I really need to walk in the morning when we are dancing so often.”

At a musical soirée that week, Edmund Townsend, the Earl of Leicester, was enchanted with Georgiana’s singing. He said to her, “I believe I have never heard better, even at the opera. You are truly gifted.”

“Thank you. I am sure it cannot be true that you have never heard better, but I appreciate your compliment.”

“I love good music. You have a definite talent.”

All of the girls performed well. Henrietta and Georgiana were more nervous than before because of the larger number of attendees. After the compliment from Leicester, Georgiana found that she was less upset over her performance than she had been in the past. Perhaps these evenings would not be quite the trial she anticipated.

The Findlays attended a dinner party at the Yates’ that same evening rather than the soirée. Shortly after she arrived, Caroline spotted the Brandons arriving and moved to intercept them as soon as she could.

After greetings, she said, “I suspect Mrs. Yates enjoys a bit of mischief. She has invited you, your brother and his wife, and the Willougbys. Of course, Mr. Willoughby is a good friend of Mr. Yates, so that at least makes sense. I think she wanted to see how all of behave together. I noticed her anticipation when I arrived. She must have remembered that little unpleasantness your first season in town.”

Marianne said, “Thank you for the warning. I know you are aware that I once had a tendre for Mr. Willoughby, but that is long gone by since I have a much better companion.” Behind her, Brandon smiled at them. “I can be civil with the Dashwoods, too. That also suggests that the Robert Ferrars are here as well.”

Caroline agreed. “I believe they are.”

“Ah well, as we know, politics does not always allow us to choose our companions. I will be pleasantly surprised when I encounter any of them. I will also keep in mind that Mrs. Yates is not truly a friend, not that I considered her one.”

“She also invited the Crawfords, you know, he that was involved with her sister. Apparently, they are still friends in spite of it all.”

Marianne shook her head. “At least Mr. Rushworth is not here to be invited. That would be too much.”

As Caroline visited with other acquaintances that evening, she realized that most of those present had strained relationships with at least one or more of the other attendees. She had never been overly fond of Mrs. Yates although she had thought her rather insipid at first. She must reconsider as it took a high degree of daring to have such uncomfortable relationships present for the dinner.

Marianne was quite smooth when she encountered Mrs. Willoughby a short time later. “Mrs. Willoughby, it has been quite some time since we have met. You are looking particularly well. Are you enjoying London this year?”

Mrs. Willoughby nodded graciously and replied, “Ah, Mrs. Brandon. Yes, it is quite three years since we met. You too are looking well. Yes, I am enjoying London this year. And you?”

“Oh yes. With the Colonel now in Parliament, I have decided to enjoy London again although it will be nice to get home again for the summer.” She smiled and moved away.

Across the room, Willoughby had watched the exchange with some interest. He thought Marianne was looking exceptionally beautiful while his wife was simply looking expensive. Too bad he had opted for the sure thing and gone for Miss Grey. Miss Marianne was a far livelier and more sensitive person. When Mrs. Willoughby came up to him a short time later, he acknowledged her with a smile but said nothing. Finally, she said, “It seems your old friend, Miss Marianne Dashwood that was, is having a better time in London than when she was here before.”

“I suppose that would not be hard. She was so very young before. Shall we continue to circulate amongst the guests some more? We should be going in to dinner shortly.” He refused to discuss Marianne as he still retained special feelings for her which he did not want to share with his wife.

John Dashwood saw Marianne and made an effort to accost her when his wife Fanny was busy with some of her friends. “Marianne, how are you doing? It is good to see you.”

“We are all quite well John. You know that Elinore just had a baby?”

“Yes, I sent my best wishes. I wish we could have warmer relations. I do regret the strain between us.”

“As do we, but you know your wife still disapproves of all of us. I enjoyed having a big before all this. At least I have a wonderful husband now to rely on. You know Fanny will be unhappy if she sees you talking with me. At least know that I wish you well, John.”

Caroline found herself seated next to Henry Crawford at dinner. She said, “I do not believe our paths have crossed in some time.”

Crawford agreed with her. “Yes, I spent some time improving things at my estate, Everingham, of which it was in dire need. Once things were well in hand again, I spent some time visiting Bath which is where I met my wife.”

“Have you been married long?”

“It was just over a year ago that we wed. We went on a wedding trip to Italy after our marriage, so this is our first season together here in London.”

“She seems very fashionable. I expect we will encounter you at many entertainments.”

“Yes, I expect so. The season certainly offers a great variety to keep us all busy.”

Caroline smiled, “Yes, it does. Between our political commitments and helping our sisters who are coming out this year, we have an absolutely packed schedule.”

“Were there not others in the family coming out when we first met?”

“Yes, but now our youngest sisters are in line for their turn. They mastered their presentations successfully and are at a musical soirée this evening. All of us in the extended family are providing assistance so no one has to get completely worn out with chaperone duties.”

“It is kind of you to assist.”

Caroline smiled, “Oh, in some ways I suppose it is. However, it is also great fun. Having the younger girls to bring out includes invitations to a wider variety of places and that is always fun. Also, it allows the entire family to get together. Even my sister who is staying at home will be here for a couple of weeks at the end of May. She does not enjoy town as much as I do.”

Crawford smiled in return. “In that respect, she and my wife would have nothing in common. She lives for the opportunity to shop and socialize here in town.”

Chapter 52

Mrs. Dashwood and Margaret arrived in town within a week. Both were introduced to all of Marianne’s friends. Since they had started a correspondence, Margaret was inclined to count Georgiana, the Bennets, and the Musgroves as already friends. The five came to visit almost immediately.

Lydia began, “Oh, Miss Dashwood, we are so glad you are come to join us. There is so much going on every day. We expect you to be very busy with us. Are you coming to the card party this evening?”

Marianne replied, “Yes, we are. Since they arrived yesterday, they have had some time to refresh after the travel, so we are all ready.”

Margaret added, “Marianne has kindly filled our schedule to overflowing. She even has a new dress ready for me that needed only slight modification for tonight. Tomorrow, we visit the modiste for even more dresses for both me and Mother.”

While the girls were becoming acquainted, Mrs. Dashwood met the other ladies. Mrs. Gardiner and Mrs. Findlay had joined them so that they were not all such very young matrons. Mrs. Gardiner said, “I hope you will have a wonderful time in town. I understand it has been a few years since you visited.”

Mrs. Dashwood said, “I think the girls were quite young when I came last with my husband. I have not been since his death.”

Mrs. Findlay said, “We will do all we can to ensure that you enjoy yourself. I am sure you deserve it, you’ve done such a wonderful job of raising your daughters. Mrs. Brandon is quite a delight.”

At the card party, Henrietta found a very agreeable partner in Mr. Arthur Gerlach. They found it very easy to play together and spent the time at the buffet afterwards talking of a variety of subjects. Henrietta was more interested than she had been in most of the gentlemen in part because Mr. Gerlach was also from Somerset. She still did not want to live too far from home. He was also more interesting than Charles Heyter, so perhaps she was ready to reconsider her initial choice. He could talk on a variety of subjects while Charles really only talked of his estate or sport.

The Dashwoods enjoyed meeting a wide variety of people that day. When Marianne was sitting by Mary Musgrove, she said, “It looks like the girls have become friends. And all of your sisters have introduced mine to quite a few young gentlemen.”

Mary smiled, “Should we do something similar for your mother?”

Marianne thought for a moment. “I do not know if we want to try to set her up or just let it occur somewhat more naturally. She has not even considered finding another husband since Father’s passing so many years ago.”

Mary replied, “Well, there are a number of older single gentlemen here. We must ensure that she is at least introduced. We can probably do that through encouraging different partners for different rounds.”

Everyone had a lovely time at the card party. By the time the evening was over, the girls had woven Margaret Dashwood deeply into their mutual friendship. She was encouraged and grateful to have so many friends, never having had anyone close other than her older sisters.

Mrs. Gardiner introduced Mrs. Dashwood to many of her friends, some of whom were single gentlemen of an appropriate age. Mrs. Dashwood was still a very handsome woman even if she did have daughters who were in their twenties. She could easily grace the household of any of Mrs. Gardiner’s friends.

Colonel Brandon said to Darcy, “I understand you are watching over three of these young ladies. I congratulate you on your fortitude.”

“Thank you, but I think I can only do this because of the support of Mrs. Darcy. She is simply amazing. I understand you are now helping with Mrs. Brandon’s younger sister.”

“Yes, which is why I congratulate you. The idea of watching over Miss Dashwood to see that she comes to no harm and still manages to find someone suitable is quite intimidating.”

“Well, if you wish to know about anyone in particular, Mr. Gardiner is the person to ask. As a barrister, he has access to all sorts of private investigators. We try very hard to vet all the young men we introduce to the girls. Besides my sisters, my wife’s sister is also bringing out two of her husband’s sisters. The five are those young ladies who have so soundly scooped up Miss Dashwood into their midst.”

Brandon smiled. “Marianne told me about them. They are very kind to take Margaret under their care. I am sure she will appreciate it.”

“You are also to be commended for bringing her and Mrs. Dashwood to town.”

“Marianne thought it might be good for both of them. I am sure she is correct.”

“Will your work in Parliament allow you to escort them to all these activities? If not, we would be happy to include them in our party. I am afraid I have no excuse but must attend everything. At least my cousin is doing the same.”

“Thank you. That is a handsome offer. I will accept your help when I must. Major Fitzwilliam is your cousin, is he not?”

“Yes, he shares custody of my sister with me, otherwise I might not have convinced him to leave his estate for the season. But he is as responsible for her future happiness as I am.”

Brandon smiled. “He is a good man, so I am sure you make an excellent team watching over your sister.”

At the card party, Mary Beaumont was surprised to see her friends, Mrs. Marsh and Mrs. Raynor. She exclaimed when she saw them, “It has been an age. I did not know you were in town this year.”

Letitia Raynor said, “We only just arrived. With the passing of Mr. Marsh, Amanda has come home to us. We thought this a good year to visit London again.”

Amanda Marsh chuckled, “I am once again on the hunt. We shall see what I can find this time.” All three laughed together.

Mary said, “Well, I wish you luck. If I can assist, let me know.”

Mrs. Marsh said, “I may accept your help. I have some candidates in mind.”

The next day, they all met again at a ball. Margaret Dashwood had been introduced to enough people that she was able to dance almost every dance. All of the girls were very popular and quite enjoyed themselves.

Louisa danced her allowed two dances with Cortland. As they became better acquainted, they found even more things to talk about rather than fewer. Both took this as a good sign.

Henrietta danced her two dances with Mr. Gerlach. As they chatted, she considered whether it would be worth moving slightly farther from home to have an interesting companion. Charles Heyter was a decent young man, but Gerlach was far more dynamic and interesting. She liked him well enough to encourage his attentions.

As Darcy watched Georgiana dancing with the Earl of Leicester, he said to Fitzwilliam, “I think we may need to consider Leicester as serious about Georgiana. He has been very attentive to her at every opportunity.”

Fitzwilliam looked at the couple. “She could certainly do worse. You can often tell a lot about a man by the way he treats his mother. He is quite considerate of her, and indeed of all those about him. I rather like him.”

“Hmm. I suppose you are right. He seems a decent sort.”

Mary Beaumont was surprised to encounter her father and sister. “Father, Elizabeth. I had not realized you were already in town.”

Sir Walter replied, “Hello, my dear. Yes, we arrived just yesterday and had not yet paid any calls. How are you doing?”

“We are quite well. You should come by sometime and see Hugh. He has grown so much since your visit last spring.”

Just then, her friends arrived, and Mary introduced Letitia and Amanda. After greetings, Amanda introduced the gentleman with them. “This is a family friend, Sir Adam Sinclair. Sir Adam lives in Edinburgh but is spending the season in London this year.”

Sir Walter eyed Sir Adam with a slight frown. He was handsome enough but obviously twenty years or more younger than Sir Walter. However, Elizabeth was far more pleased by the introduction than her father.

She said, “I do not believe we have met before. It is a pleasure to meet you. Do you often come to London?”

Sir Adam looked at Elizabeth with a twinkle in his eye and replied, “It has been a few years. My wife and I used to come every other year or so, but she died five years ago, and I had not felt up to the journey until this year. However, it is obvious that I have been remiss in not encountering you before. Surely you have not been here often or I am sure I would have seen you. I am sure you are far too young to have been coming regularly when my wife and I still were.”

Elizabeth preened at the compliment. After the comments about her being on the shelf from some of Mary’s friends in the past, at least this man had the good sense to realize it was not true. “We might have met in the year before your wife’s passing, so I am sorry we did not.”

Sir Adam asked her to dance as Amanda drew Sir Walter’s attention. Shortly after Sir Adam and Elizabeth took to the floor, Sir Walter and Amanda followed.

Mary looked at them in surprise. Letitia said, “Well, that bodes well.”

Mary looked at Letitia and asked, “What does?”

“Amanda decided she would like a title this time. She thought your father might do. However, she was not willing to pursue him if Miss Elliot remained home, so she sought out Sir Adam and brought him along in hopes of interesting him in your sister.”

“You’re joking!”

“I promise you, she’s quite serious. Sir Adam has been friends with the Raynors for ages. I believe your sister is just the type of woman he is seeking. He wants someone who can preside at the table, manage his home, and look decorative. He entertains extensively and wants a hostess. I believe your sister can be all that for him. Amanda could probably have had him, but she does not want to go so far north.”

Mary was still surprised. “You may be correct. I believe Elizabeth can be all that.”

Letitia said, “Well, we will see if anything ensures for either couple.”

Mary answered, “I imagine it will be interesting to watch.”

Kindly Relations Chapters 51 and 52

ShannaGJune 22, 2018 02:37PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 51 and 52

EvelynJeanJune 23, 2018 02:50AM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 51 and 52

BrigidJune 22, 2018 09:01PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 51 and 52

ShannaGJune 23, 2018 04:04AM


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