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Kindly Relations Chapters 53 and 54

June 26, 2018 03:36PM
Chapter 53

The Earl of Leicester was obviously paying court to Georgiana by that point. He called at Darcy House to make his interest clear the day following the ball. He invited all three of the young ladies for a carriage ride through the park.

“It is such a clear day today that I thought you might appreciate a short ride through the park to bask in the sunshine. I have robes enough for all of you, if you are interested.”

Georgiana smiled shyly. “I am sure we would all enjoy it. May we, Elizabeth?”

Elizabeth smiled in return. “Of course. Get your wraps and get out quickly before any other visitors arrive.” While the girls were gone, she continued, “I am sure you will be careful of them all. They are all very precious to us.”

He smiled, “Of course they are. They seem very nice young ladies and quite talented. I enjoyed listening to all of them, but most of all to Miss Darcy. She is gifted.”

“Yes, we think she is. And here they are. Take care.”

Cortland was also obviously courting Louisa. He called at the Musgrove’s on a regular basis. He walked in the park occasionally with both girls discussing the various entertainments they had attended. They also spoke of favorite books.
Neither man had formally asked to court the young ladies, but everyone was enjoying becoming better acquainted and anticipated that the girls had perhaps found beaux.

Mary Beaumont was pleased to spend a morning visiting her husband’s family who had arrived in town a few days previously. “Ellen, the house looks so wonderful these days. It was nice before, but now it is quite lovely.”

Ellen Beaumont smiled, “Thank you. We did not need to do much. Mrs. Beaumont had excellent taste. There were just a few things that needed refreshing and updating.”

“I am so glad you will be here this season. We have extended family coming out again this year, so there are lots of us around again.”

“I believe your sister Mrs. Wentworth will be returning as well, won’t she?”

“Yes, she is expected soon. Father and Elizabeth already arrived. We were at an event together the other night, and it appears Elizabeth may have an admirer this year.”

“I am sure that will please her.”

At a dinner at the end of that week, Lydia found herself intrigued by one of her dinner partners. Major Fitzwilliam sat to her left, but her partner to the right was a young man named Walter Chester. He was as interested in horses as Major Fitzwilliam, so the three of them spent the entire dinner speaking of horses.

Lydia asked, “Are the qualities you look for in a horse for cavalry different than what you want in a hunter?”

Major Fitzwilliam said, “They share some attributes but differ in others.”

Chester added, “For a hunter, you need strength and stamina, jumping ability, a willingness to be obedient.”

Fitzwilliam said, “For both, they must be calm, not easily frightened by chaos and noise. The cavalry horse needs to be able to carry a larger load than a hunter.”

Chester asked, “Do you do a lot of riding, Miss Lydia?”

“When we visit my sisters, we ride more than we do at home. Father does not have a large stable. All three of my sisters do. We have visited Elizabeth and Jane every summer since their marriages which has improved my riding a great deal. We also visited Mary on our way to school at the end of the summer, but summer has really been the only time for us to do much riding. I do enjoy it, though.”

Just then, Major Fitzwilliam’s attention was claimed by his other neighbor. Chester continued with Lydia, “Carriage horses, plough horses, all of them are just wonderful. They serve different purposes but fill important needs. Of course, there are others who focus on speed. Horse races are also fascinating.”

“You must tell me about them. I have never attended one.”

At that same dinner, Mary Beaumont introduced the rest of the Beaumonts to Marianne Brandon and her family. Ellen and Marianne had a wonderful time discussing art as both had a similar view of sensibility. While the younger members of the party conversed, Mr. Beaumont said to Mrs. Dashwood, “I understand you are watching over the season for your youngest, Miss Dashwood.”

Mrs. Dashwood smiled, “Well, actually it is Marianne who is doing that. I had not planned to be here at all when she first invited Margaret. But then she and Colonel Brandon insisted that I join them as well.”

“That was very kind of them.”

“He has been a wonderful son, even offering me and Margaret a home with them. However, I find I enjoy the little cottage my cousin provided for us after the passing of Mr. Dashwood. It is now home. Perhaps I will eventually move in with the Brandons if Margaret finds herself a husband. I am not sure what my future plans are.”

“My older son lives at our estate, Edlington Beck, with his wife Ellen. My younger son Hugh lives here in town with his wife Mary. I still manage the estate, but more and more Edmund is taking over some of my responsibilities so I am free to come and visit Hugh and Mary if I choose. Do you have other children?”

“Yes, my daughter Elinore is married to a clergyman who has a living near the Brandons. When I visit the Brandons, I actually get to see both daughters. She has just delivered my first grandson.”

“Congratulations. I must say, you do look quite young to be a grandmother.” She blushed prettily at the compliment.

At Almack’s, Darcy found it was impossible to glower at all the young men who were interested in dancing with his sisters. All three were very popular. Both of the Musgrove girls were as well. There were too many men to watch. Richard Fitzwilliam and Charlotte were there helping to chaperone which helped. Fitzwilliam said, “Wills, relax. Everyone they are meeting is at least somewhat acceptable. And most of them already have an admirer, so these others are simply acquaintances.”

Darcy frowned. “So you say. We do not know which ones we should be keeping them from. What if one of them is like your brother or his friends?”

Fitzwilliam chuckled. “Those we would know. Most of them are not welcomed here. I am sure the Ladies know you well enough to not introduce any who might be here who are of that crowd.”

“Possibly so.”

“Look, nothing will happen at one dance. If one were to come calling on any of the girls, but particularly Georgiana, we would then look into him in more depth. You know we have resources to do that-we have already used them, have we not? And Georgiana already has an admirer in Leicester. He would probably chase someone off so we need do nothing.”

“I suppose you are correct, and yes. Mr. Gardiner has investigated a number of gentlemen this season. We know the ones who have called are all respectable. And, yes, it appears that some of them are already forming an attachment, and those gentlemen are acceptable.”

“Go spend some time with your wife. She can reassure you better than I.” Fitzwilliam shook his head at his cousin. “Go!”

“Fine. She is better company anyway.” Elizabeth was able to reassure him a bit so that he could stop glaring at every gentleman who came near any of the girls.

Lydia was dancing with Mr. Chester and quite enjoying herself. “I admit it is fun to dance with so many people here.”

He smiled in reply. “I would probably enjoy it more if I did not fear that your brother would gladly rip my throat out if he could.”

“He takes his duties as our guardian very seriously. I think he actually likes you, so imagine what he would be like if he did not.”

“That is terrifying. At least he speaks to me when we meet. He does not just glare at me all the time.”

“Just ignore Mr. Darcy. There are so many of us together that he cannot spend all his time worrying. My sister will not allow it.”

Georgiana was dancing that same dance with Mr. Gerlach, who seemed to be an admirer of Henrietta Musgrove’s. He had called at the Musgroves often since their first introduction. “Do you dance often when at home, Mr. Gerlach?” asked Georgiana. “You are a much better dancer than many of my partners.”

He smiled. “Thank you. For some reason, I just love dancing. I love good music. There are quarterly assemblies back home and the occasional ball. It is one reason for coming to town, either London or Bath, to have more opportunity for dancing. Do you enjoy it?”

“Most of the time. However, there are a few who could benefit from some lessons. They move the wrong direction, bump into the others around us, step on my feet, and have no conversation at all. I think it helps if you enjoy music.”

He smiled again. “The music here is always acceptable. It is not as fine as at a concert but of higher caliber than many of the musical exhibitions. I find it a very fine way to spend an evening.”

Mr. Cortland danced with both Louisa and Henrietta. He was finding himself very attracted to Louisa and wanted to know her sister better. “You must tell me what it is that you enjoy. I understand from Miss Louisa that you prefer quiet evenings at home while she prefers to be out at activities.”

Henrietta replied, “Yes, Louisa is far more lively. I like spending time with a friend or two, but she truly enjoys a crowd. She is correct that a quiet evening at home is a favorite of mine.”

Cortland said, “You two are so different but still seem to be quite close.”

“Yes, in some ways, being so different makes it easier. We do not really compete because are interests are so different.”

Over the next few days, each of the gentlemen found opportunities to call at the Darcy’s or the Musgrove’s to continue to further the growing attachments. As Darcy came to know the gentlemen even better, he started glowering less.

Margaret Dashwood had quite a few callers as well. As yet, she had not acquired a particular admirer, but she found it was fun to have so many new acquaintances. Mrs. Dashwood was pleased that one of the callers at the Brandons was Ellen Beaumont. When Mrs. Dashwood returned the call, Mr. Beaumont joined the ladies during the visit. As they spoke, Mrs. Dashwood began to consider whether it might not be time to consider romance once again. Mr. Beaumont was certainly a personable gentleman.

Elizabeth Elliot was pleased to have Sir Adam call upon her regularly. He generally arrived with Mrs. Marsh and Mrs. Raynor when they called. They had all become regular callers. He was quite attentive and seemed to converse with her almost exclusively, leaving the other ladies to converse with Sir Walter. Amanda did her best during these conversations to create some degree of interest on the part of Sir Walter. He had been rebuffed so often these past few years that it took some time for him to decide she might be worthy of consideration for becoming the next Lady Elliot. Amanda had to exert herself to get him to start thinking in that direction.

Chapter 54

One morning a few days later at breakfast, Elizabeth said to Darcy, “Jane has not yet arrived, and it appears that Louisa and Mr. Cortland will come to an agreement sometime soon. Georgiana seems to have caught the eye of the young Earl of Leicester, Lydia has an admirer in Mr. Chester, and even Henrietta is reconsidering Mr. Hayter in favor of Mr. Gerlach. Only Catherine and Miss Dashwood seem to still be searching for someone. Before we came, we could never have expected them to have already found potential matches so soon. By the time Jane gets here next week, we may have all of them already settled.”

He smiled. “I am grateful that some attachments are already forming. I am glad I had an opportunity to get to know these young men before it gets so very busy. I think I actually like them all.”

“You never expected that, did you? You must stop frowning at them all the time. I think you make them uneasy. The Earl seems to be a very decent sort.”

“It helps that he enjoys music as much as Georgiana does. They will always have that in common. Georgiana Townsend, Lady Leicester does have a nice ring to it.”

“Well, he hasn’t declared yet, but it does look promising. I think they could be very happy together.”

“I hope so. I would like all of them to find happiness such as we have.”

“Thank you. I think they are well on the way.”

Elizabeth sat quietly for a few moments. Darcy asked, “What has drawn you so far away?”

“I was thinking of Mother. I think she would be happy at the possibilities for my sisters. It seems so long since she left us-so much has changed. We have the next generation; Mary is a society matron; and all of her daughters presented. Then, Father and Cassandra have married and the threat from the entail is gone. I must say, it is wonderful that Father and Cassandra have had a little boy. Longbourn will now pass to a brother instead of some distant cousin. I am pleased Jane could stop at Longbourn on her way to London.”

“And he will have many nieces and nephews to play with as he grows up. He is a lucky little chap. Yes, much has certainly happened since her passing. Do you not think she is still aware, watching over all her girls?”

“I suppose I do. Well, it is certainly surprising to have a brother who is younger than my own child. At least Cassandra and Tom will keep Father from retreating permanently into his library. As Tom grows, Father will have to teach him about estate management. I do hope they have more children. I think it will be good for both of them.”

Darcy smiled at his wife. “I agree with you that it will be good for him. It is nice for Mrs. Bennet and her older boys that their uncle included them in his will. The boys now have a comfortable stake for their futures.”

“Yes, when Michael leaves Sandhurst, he has sufficient to purchase his commission and the other items he will need. Matthew now has enough to acquire fancier uniforms and gear, apart from any prize money he may receive. I am very pleased for them. It seems that it was their uncle’s wife who did not care to have them around the house, so he decided it would be best if he could do something for them if he were not here to do it when they needed some assistance. It sounds like he always planned to help if he could.”

“I expect you are excited to see Jane again.”

“Yes, it will be nice to have them here in town. Caroline is greatly anticipating having them stay with her. It will be fun to have all of us here in town for a few weeks. When Louisa Hurst comes at the end of May, we will all be in town for the first time in years.”

“Has it really been that long? I suppose it has.”

Just then, Georgiana, Catherine and Lydia joined them in the breakfast room. As they filled their plates and sat at the table, Lydia said, “So, what is going on today?”

Elizabeth chuckled, “We have to pay calls this morning, cards this afternoon, and Lady Fitzwilliam’s ball this evening.”

Lydia added, “I have already promised my first dance to Mr. Chester tonight. I do enjoy his company.”

Darcy smiled as Elizabeth asked, “Do you? I had thought you might. He seems to reciprocate.”

“I hope he does.”

Darcy asked, “What do you know of his home?”

Lydia replied, “It sounds lovely. It is not that far from Longbourn, in Hertfordshire. It sounds about the same size as Longbourn near a lovely little market town. His mother is very nice, too. Like Major Fitzwilliam, he is very interested in horses. I hope he decides to ask for my hand. I think I would give it as I believe you both approve of him.”

Darcy said, “Yes, we do. Well then, I will hope he calls upon me soon.”

Catherine sighed. “I hope I find someone interesting soon. Oh, I suppose they have all been interesting, but you know what I mean.”

Elizabeth said, “Yes, we do. You mean someone who resonates with your interests and seems compatible.”

“Yes, exactly. I suppose it would not be terrible to have to return for another season, but I know you do not want to host that. Mary would, though, if it comes to it.”

Elizabeth added, “So would Aunt Madeleine. But it is not yet time to worry about that. The heart of the season is just beginning.”

Georgiana added, “There is plenty of time for all of us.”

Catherine said, “That is true enough, but both of you already seem to have admirers that you prefer. I do not as yet.” She pouted a bit at that thought.

Dressing for the ball was fun as the girls had new dresses for the evening. Lady Fitzwilliam had asked them to arrive slightly early as she had news to share with them.

As they were shown into the parlor, they were surprised to see the Wentworths and Captain Fitzwilliam in attendance. As greetings were exchanged, Darcy asked, “Wentworth, Fitzwilliam, it is great to see you. When did you arrive?”

Wentworth answered, “We berthed in Plymouth a couple of weeks ago. We arrived in London last night. Lady Fitzwilliam wanted to surprise you tonight.”

Darcy answered, “Well, you certainly have.”

After the adults had exchanged greetings, the young ladies were introduced. Anne Wentworth exclaimed, “My goodness, but you have changed in just these few years we have been gone. You look lovely.”

Wentworth agreed, “Indeed you do. We are supremely lucky to be here to join you in the ball.”

Just then, Mary Musgrove arrived with her charges. She exclaimed, “Oh, Anne! How wonderful to see you again. I am so glad you are here at last. Let me reacquaint you with my sisters. They have grown so since you last saw them.”

Once again, introductions were made and all stood chatting together until other guests began to arrive. Multiple conversations were held at the same time.

Elizabeth pulled Wentworth aside. “So, how is my new brother Matthew doing?”

Wentworth smiled. “He is coming along nicely. We sent him on to Longbourn yesterday. Lady Fitzwilliam indicated that he has a new brother as well.”

“Yes, little Tom joined the family about the time you were landing, apparently. Well I know father will be glad to have him home for a while. I am pleased Matthew is doing well. We have enjoyed reading of your exploits. Congratulations.”

“Thank you. It has been an interesting time. We are home now for at least a few weeks.”

Elizabeth said, “Well, we can never see enough of Anne. I am pleased you are here in town so we can visit regularly. You must come to many of our social activities while you are here. You can help us watch over our sisters during their seasons.”

“You know we will be glad to assist.”

Mary Beaumont soon arrived. “Anne, it is so wonderful to see you again. I have been waiting to see you most impatiently.”

Anne replied, “As have I. I cannot wait to meet your little boy. You all have little ones for me to meet.” There was a sad look to her eyes as she said this.

Mary Beaumont answered, “I am sure you will too soon. Perhaps a ship is not conducive to adding little ones to the family.”

All of the girls enjoyed the ball. They all danced the night away. Catherine enjoyed the supper dance with Captain Fitzwilliam. As they sat at supper, they discussed his recent tour of the Baltic. He told stories well, and he found her to be an appreciative audience. From her reading, Catherine found that she understood the significance of much of what he shared. Before the evening was over, he requested a second dance.

Gerlach danced the supper dance with Henrietta. He requested the final dance as well as they went in to eat. “So, how do you enjoy London, Miss Musgrove?”

“I am having a wonderful time. How about you?”

“It is well enough. I enjoy it in small doses. I think I prefer the country.”

“Somerset is certainly quieter than London”

“Once spring is well underway, I always prefer to return home, even before the season is over. I love to see spring enter the gardens.”

“My mother always enjoyed our gardens at home. Do you work in them yourself or simply enjoy them?”

“I find I enjoy the work as well as the result.”

Mary Beaumont and Anne Wentworth spent quite a bit of time talking. “Oh, Anne, I am so glad you are home again. I have learned so very much since moving in with Grandmother. As I said in my letter, I now recognize how I ignored you just as Father and Elizabeth did. You never deserved their disdain.”

“I forgive you. Of course, you never really learned differently, so how could you know it was unkind? So, you are having a fun time?”

“Yes, I truly am. I have become friends with our cousins. Mary Musgrove is a particularly good friend. I know she was your attendant at your wedding, so we share that friendship. I love living here in town with so many friends about. It is never lonely or boring as it was at Kellynch.”

“I am pleased your life is going so well. We must spend more time together before Captain Wentworth is ordered out again.”

Lydia enjoyed dancing with a number of gentlemen, many of them wearing uniforms. However, she spent supper with Mr. Chester who looked fine in his dark blue coat. As they dined, he smiled at her reaction to an especially decorated uniform. “Do I detect a favoring of a man in uniform?”

She smiled at him. “I will admit that I enjoy the look of a uniform. However, I have learned that at times, that is all there is to enjoy. They look fine but have no ability to converse. Many of them would be unable to marry for many years unless their wife were to have a substantial dowry, which I do not. It is similar to you enjoying a glance at one of those fine beauties over there.” She nodded toward a knot of young women who were stunningly beautiful and the acknowledged cream of the debutante crop.

He chuckled. “Like you, I can see the merit in enjoying their looks but also find them lacking in anything resembling thought or conversation. It seems we both enjoy the scenery even if we have no desire to sample the wares on display.”

Lydia responded to his chuckle with one of her own. “Wares on display? Oh, my, as if they were shopkeepers trying to vie for our coin. I think you are right that a good conversation is more important. I have seen couples where they were unable to hold meaningful conversations and it strained the relationship.”

As they rode home after the ball, Darcy remarked, “Catherine, it seems to me that you and my cousin got along quite well.”

She blushed, “You could be right. He is certainly entertaining. I enjoyed my time with him.”

Elizabeth said, “So, maybe your worries of this morning are already in the past?”

“Possibly, but it is too soon to know.”

The three girls spent more time talking of the dance as they went up to their rooms. They congregated in Georgiana’s room to share initial perceptions. Georgiana said, “It seems Andrew is interested, Catherine. Besides being sisters, we could be cousins.”

Catherine said, “It is still too soon to know, but I think he seems promising.”

Lydia said, “Well, I think it splendid. Now we all have someone interested in us. I hope it all leads to something good.”

Kindly Relations Chapters 53 and 54

ShannaGJune 26, 2018 03:36PM

Re: Kindly Relations Chapters 53 and 54

BrigidJune 27, 2018 03:33AM



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