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Caroline's Tea (One shot, fluff)

Tasha S
February 15, 2020 11:51AM



Caroline relished the special Darjeeling tea at the Darcy town home. She took one warm sip. This tea from India was delicious - or was it from Ceylon? She was not sure. She had had a successful morning; finally getting time with the owner of Madam Dumoner’s shop off of Bond street. It was not the best shop of course; however the owners of Madam Gorimers and Madam Aerole’s did not entertain her at all. Their establishments were reserved for the real first circles of the ton.

“This tea is delicious. Some day you should tell me where you get the tea leaves …” said Caroline. Georgiana smiled as a footman entered.

While the footman talked to Georgiana, Caroline’s thoughts went back to her morning. She had been measured by Madam Dumoner herself today for a beautiful gown. To be sure she had to spend some good money the past few times to be offered Madams services. Today she bought few nice items from the shop. One of the most expensive being a pretty scarf that she had just presented to her dear friend Georgiana Darcy.

Caroline had cunningly left the price label on it. Let her friend know how precious she was to her.

Caroline took another refreshing sip before continuing,
“And Georgiana dear, Madam Dumoner is such a dear lady. I thought her taste is more refined than Gorimers. Some day allow me to accompany you to her shop. She….”

Before she could proceed, the door to the parlor opened and in walked two very beautiful girls. Caroline stopped mid-sentence and stared at them. One was tall and blonde. The other had lovely complexion and brown curls. They were very elegantly dressed. Caroline was somewhat jealous; her guard went up.

They were not announced, so clearly they were already in the house somewhere.

The blonde addressed Georgiana,
“Georgi, the new music sheets are awesome. You should play for us at tomorrow’s dinner”

“Tomorrow? There may be too many people. You know I wouldn’t want to exhibit for strangers”

The brunette exclaimed “Georgiana, where did you get that ugly scarf? It looks like something one would get at those shops on the side streets of Bond street”

The blonde one grimaced, “Yes, Georgy, please don’t tell us you are visiting the likes of Monsuier Duffys or what’s that other ghastly shop Lizzy?”

Lizzy, the brunette responded, “Don’t call me Lizzy! You mean Madam Dumoner”.

By then Georgiana – all embarrassed – remembered that she had not introduced Caroline to them.

“Anne, Sophie, let me introduce Caroline Bingley – Charles Bingley’s sister - to you. Caroline, these are my cousins Lady Sophia Fitzwilliam and Anne Elizabeth De Bourgh”

The ladies exchanged greetings with each other.

What wouldn’t I give to be friends with these two girls – and once Darcy and I marry, they will be my cousins too, thought Caroline. She was elated to be introduced, and quickly decided to forget their comment about Madam Dumoner (although it hurt her a lot). She remembered reading Lady Sophia’s engagement announcement to Viscount Didley, the heir to Duke of ___.

The girls all sat down to chat.

Anne turned to her and said,
“I understood from William that you were all in Hertfordshire for few weeks. Did you like the country around there?”

“The country was satisfactory. However, the local company was quite ghastly”

“Really? How so?”

“There were four and twenty families. All thinking too good of themselves. None worth mentioning here really”

Sophia spoke, her speech quite distinctly upperclass (to Carolines ears) “But William mentioned two families – Bennet I believe and Lucas – as quite pleasant”

“Ah well. They were the local gentry. Those families were tolerable I suppose. However they were not close to our class”

Two set of eyebrows went up at that and she saw Lady Sophia and Anne De Bourgh exchange looks. She was not sure, but perhaps Anne’s eyes were laughing at her?

Lady Sophia sat up straight and said, “They were gentry, were they not? “

Anne responded archly yet sweetly, “They were, Sophie. That is why Ms Bingley thinks they were not from her circle”.
It was said so pleasantly, that Caroline was not sure if there was an insult intended.

“Lizzy dear, Is William thinking of going back to Hertfordshire?”

“DON’T call me Lizzy. And no, he has not mentioned anything to me at least”

Georgiana giggled, “Sophie, don’t you know, only a certain somebody can call her Elizabeth or Lizzy. Not us”

“Not even you? Isnt a sister allowed that privilege?”

“Apparently not. I have not been invited to call her thus” Lady Sophia and Georgiana laughed loudly at that.

Caroline took the opportunity to casually glance at Lady Sophia’s ring finger and then started observing their jewelry surreptitiously. Both had diamond bracelets on, Anne’s clearly the larger one. Both had numerous rings and Anne wore beautiful ruby and diamond earrings.

Anne Elizabeth shot angry glances at her cousins and said,
“Now stop it, you two. Let us move on to other things – are you not expected at Didley town house this morning, Sophie?”

“I am, my dear. But I have some time before I head out there. Why don’t you all come with me?”

Caroline gave out a quiet gasp – she should love to go! Of course the invitation may not have been for her really. As she was composing her thoughts the door opened to let two other people in. Caroline’s face lit up when she saw her Darcy walk in ahead of a middle aged woman.

She smiled widely and said a few words before he could advance into the room. He seemed to have not heard. Darcy kissed the cheeks of his sister and cousins; additionally kissing Miss Anne’s hand. He just nodded at Caroline as he sat beside Anne.

Caroline was then introduced to Lady Catherine De Bourgh. Lady Catherine sat in a high back chair and surveyed the room with satisfaction. She completely ignored Caroline and quizzed her nieces and daughter,

“Are you three going to Bond street today? I have few trinkets marked out for Anne and Georgiana at ___ jewelers. And Sophie, Margaret has some set aside for you”

Anne groaned, “Mother, not again?”

“You did not like the previous selection because the rubies were too large. You should like this one, everything is per your taste. William was with me and he personally picked few items”

Anne turned to William, “Et tu, Brutus?”

“Lizzy, these are quite nice pieces. And if you don’t like them you can choose others yourself.” Turning to Georgiana he continued, “And of course I will take both of you to the Dacry family vault later in the week for additional selection”

Sophia piped in, “It would be lovely to see Aunt Anne’s pieces be worn again. She had such a liking for jewelry. And ofcourse an overall love for shopping. Anne, you are like her in that respect”

Darcy smiled, “Yes, only mother and Lizzy can send to Paris for curtains!”

“Well, both she and I looked for quality over anything else!”

Lady Catherine stated, “No one can doubt your superior taste my dear. Not just you, all of my nieces have excellent taste. Had Anne been here today, she would have been overjoyed…..”

Here Lady Catherine discreetly wiped a tear. Georgiana, closest to her, pressed her aunt’s hand lovingly.

There was silence for half minute and Lady Catherine continued tenderly, “Georgiana dear, I hope the thing you are trying to hide behind that pillow is not your scarf. You should spend more time with your cousins especially when they shop. They will guide you”

Caroline was quietly enjoying this fly-on-the-wall discussion. “Curtains from Paris”, “large rubies” “___ Jewelers”, “Darcy family vault” (Well, I will soon be owner of everything in it thought she). She didn’t quite understand the sudden reference to Mrs Darcy senior, but appreciated the love Lady Catherine seemed to have for her sister and her sisters daughter.

Presently Darcy stood up saying, “Sophie, I will escort you to Grosvenor street; I have to discuss few things with Didley. And I promised to deliver you on time today”

Lady Sophia stood up gracefully and bid adieu to all, “Ah girls, duty calls.”; she turned to go and suddenly stopped to look at Ms Bingley and said, “Goodbye Ms Bingley”.

(It was as if she and the others had forgotten that Ms Bingley was in the same room – and indeed they had)

****

“And then I felt I should leave too. But oh Louisa! It was wonderful listening to all that talk! And to think I will be one of them soon”

“My dear, I will be almost as happy as you, when the event takes place. But I do not like the way those girls insulted you and your taste.
Nevertheless, tell me did Mr Darcy talk to you at all today?”

“No…. that was the bad part of the morning. With so many guests he barely spoke to me directly”

“Then we should try to get you in his company again and very soon”, said Louisa

Suddenly another voice spoke up from the depths of the room. Mr Hurst was talking to them,
“And you accused Miss Jane Bennet of trying to do the same with your brother when she came to visit you – how are you two any different than her? You are plotting to spend time with Darcy!”

“Oh Gilbert, it is different. We and the Darcy’s are in the same circle. She is not” Said Caroline.

“I beg to differ my dear sister. And going by everything you just said, so do Darcy’s cousins”.

“I am not getting into a discussion with you about this. Louisa, it is too bad Charles is not here. When is he returning? What did his letter say”

“As always, his letter is full of blots! But I could read that he is coming back on the 26th since he does not want to miss some event. That is still too soon. Jane Bennet will be in town.”

“What event? We would know if it was an important one. And I don’t know of anything for 26th. I shall ask my friends. And forget Jane Bennet – we are not going to return her call, are we? And I hope she is not planning to visit us again”, responded Caroline carelessly.

“I have already forgotten Jane. Now the event on 26th - Surely it is not the wedding of your Lady Sophia Fitzwilliam, is it?”

“No-oh. Charles does not know them and I am sure he is not invited.”

“Just think Caro, had you been engaged, we would all be invited to it. *sigh* By the by I did not understand the part about Darcy taking his cousin to his family vault along with his sister. Why would she go? And after laughing at you too….!! YOU should be the one helping Georgiana choose the jewels. Not this Anne!” Grimaced Louisa.

“It will happen my dear, it will happen soon. Now, since I cannot visit again tomorrow we should look for other ways to run into the Darcys”

“You should visit the Darcy home in 2 days time; surely such a particular friend need not have too much time in between visits. And for the next few days let us find occasions to go to Bond street and some of the fashionable tea houses on it. Mind you, we do not need to shop. Just be seen and hopefully be able to catch the Darcy’s. What say you?” asked Lousia.

Caroline nodded enthusiastically. “Yes, yes. That is quite a good plan”.

Hurst laughed out aloud at that and returned to his newspaper. Louisa turned to him and said, “ Well if you have a better plan, please share. Help us out”

“You know Darcy is not interested in your sister. You are both wasting your time. But since you wont listen to me anyway, I’ll quietly enjoy the paper”

And so Caroline visited the Darcy house in couple days only to hear that no one was at home. She went again the next day and the next and was told each day that either they were out or not taking visitors.
She and Louisa visited Bond street religiously for many days in vain. Couple times they ducked into shops in order to avoid meeting Jane, although once they thought she may have seen them. But the Darcy’s were never seen anywhere.

And then one fine afternoon as she was having a cup of tea with Louisa and some friends at ___, she saw some of the party. She was unhappy with her tea (not as good as Darjeeling from Miss Darcy’s) and looking around the café. She spied the best table occupied by a group of fashionable men and women.

Her friend Ms Thornton nodded towards them and said,
“Ah! What a handsome group indeed. The man in black jacket is Viscount Althorp and the one next to him is the young Earl of Stevenson. His fiancée Lady Cartwright is on the other side. I am sure the others are also from the rich and entitled lot”

Miss Carteret craned her neck to look towards the group, “Yes of course, they are. I can see Viscount Milton, the Matlock heir and is that not Anne Elizabeth de Bourgh? Such a beautiful gown. She has been the talk of town last two seasons – the beautiful heiress from Kent”

“Stop drooling at her gown. I was recently introduced to her by the by. I spent some real nice time chatting with her and Lady Sophia Fitzwilliam”, preened Caroline

“Oh really, how lucky. You can introduce us to her perhaps, today? I would love to know where that dress came from. Is not Lady Sophia’s marriage sometime this week?”

“So I hear. Our brother Charles is not yet in town. Else we would have attended it with him.”

The ladies at the table were suitably impressed and looked at Caroline and Louisa with new respect.

Just then, Anne and Milton got up from their seats and started towards the door. They would pass Caroline’s table in between. As they drew near, Caroline stood up with a flourish, looked straight at Anne and smiled her best smile. However, the duo laughing together at something Milton said, went right past the table and exited through the door.

“Why Caroline, she looked through you”

“Perhaps she did not see you Caro” consoled Louisa

“Oh she did see, but overlooked her. Such are the ways of upper class gentry” sighed Ms Thornton

“Dear Caroline, do not fret over it.” Tittered Miss Carteret, “For all you know her thoughts were elsewhere. You do know she is rumored to be almost engaged to..”

“I do not want to hear anything about her! How very rude to ignore me. I visit Miss Darcy all the time (you know I am her particular friend) and run into her relatives. No one has been so discourteous ever!” fumed Caroline.

Later, when they were in the carriage heading home Louisa turned to her and said, “If I were you, I’d ban her from Pemberley for one year at least”
“Yes, that thought did cross my mind. Once I am married I will do exactly that. And now let all thoughts of that rude girl be out of our mind”

However, thoughts of Miss Anne could not leave their mind entirely. The very next morning the paper had photos of the marriage of Lady Sophia and Viscount Didley which had taken place three days ago. (and not scheduled for this week like Ms Thornton mentioned). Miss Anne Elizabeth could be seen along with young Miss Darcy and her dashing cousin Mr Darcy. They were standing next to the bride and groom. The article talked gushingly about the event, the dresses and the family jewels. Amongst all the cousins, Ms De Bourgh was mentioned as the most handsome and the richest.

Mr Hurst took the opportunity to tease Caroline with, “And I hear this is the rich and handsome girl you want to ban from Pemberley for a year!”

Caroline glared at him and didn’t respond (why did Louisa have to share so many things with Hurst?)

Later, Caroline read every word from the paper carefully; then threw it into the fire.

Let her be the richest, but she will NOT be welcome to Pemberley!

***

Mr Bingley arrived at the scheduled day and went about his business. His sisters did not bother to ask him about his important event and he did not offer any explanation. He disappeared every night and some mornings as well. It was not uncommon for him to spend time with his gentlemen friends.

The sisters did not give up visiting the Darcys’ home. On the latest visit they were denied entry yet again, with the butler knowingly saying, “At such time as this, she is very busy along with her brother. You must know of course”

They didn’t know a thing but did not want to betray it. They visited their regular haunts on Bond street and returned home.

They were unhappy about not meeting the Darcys. However they were glad about one thing – Ms Bennet did not visit again; so had not met Charles yet.

“She will be waiting for our return visit to her” giggled Caroline, “she knows the rules of not visiting too often at least”

“Especially when she is not wanted,” put in Louisa.

And Mr Hurst could not stop himself from saying, “She is a true gentlewoman and recognizes the conventions of visiting. I am not so sure about the pair of you these days. Why are you trying to get into the Darcy’s home so desperately?”

“We just want to meet our friends, that is all. We are not desperate surely!”

“Are you not? It does make me wonder. You are too obvious in your dealings with that family….Does it not make you wonder that neither Mr Darcy nor his sister have time for you ?” He left the question hanging and earned a glare or two in return.


***

Few days after Bingley’s arrival, the family was at breakfast when Mr Hurst looked up from the newspaper to say to Bingley, “It must have been quite the event! This paper cannot stop talking about it”

“Hmm? Yes, yes it was”

“And does this describe you – Mr Darcy’s close friend Mr B danced with a beautiful blonde lady. She was an unknown to this reporter however our sources say that she hails from Hertfordshire”

Both Caroline and Louisa looked up at that while Bingley replied,
“It does not have to be me. The ball was full of Darcy’s friends and relatives”

The sisters spoke almost at the same time,

“What ball?”

“Why did you not take us if Mr Darcy was to be there?”

“I was not aware that you had been invited” was Bingleys response, as he continued to eat and Hurst went back to his paper.

Caroline continued quite impatiently,
“What ball Charles? Something about the Matlocks I assume?”

“It was at the Matlock house, given by the Earl, yes”

“And do you know the Earl, to be invited?”

“My dear Caroline, I do not know the Earl. But since it was given in Darcy’s honor, he invited me”

“Why in his honor particularly?”

“Well, not just his. I mean his and Miss De Bourgh’s of course”

Hurst handed her the paper with, “Why don’t you read for yourself? There is more here than Bingley can tell you – about dresses and jewelry and everything you would want to know”

“Right now, I want to know why was it in their joint honor? What have they done?”

“Don’t be silly Caroline. They have not done anything. You know of course that they are engaged to be married. The ball was to honor their engagement and to announce it”

Louisa spluttered in her tea. Caroline went completely still for few seconds and then screamed,
“You are lying! Darcy cannot marry her. I know of no such engagement!”

Charles was taken aback by her tone,

“What? How can you not know? He was engaged all the time we were in Hertfordshire!”

“You must be joking. None of my friends have ever mentioned it and neither has Mr Darcy”

“They did not want to announce it to the world – and steal the thunder - until Lady Sophia got married but all their close friends and family knew. I knew, Hurst knew!”

“Well, we didn’t know. He did not seem like an engaged man! I find it hard to believe!” And after a few seconds, “She…she must have taken him in. She is after his money no doubt!”

Hurst who was clearly enjoying himself, laughed aloud at that and said, “Now it is you who must be joking. She has far more than any other single woman of the ton, except perhaps the Princesses of England. Rosings is a noble estate and as large as Pemberley – or so I hear. And she is the sole heiress”

“But why was he in Netherfield for so long, if he was really engaged?” asked Louisa

“Correct Louisa. There must be something wrong for him to be there. It may be that this is being forced upon him. Perhaps there is still time…” said Caroline

“Time for what?” asked a confused Charles

“Time for me to intervene of course. We – Louisa and I – think that in reality he likes ME. Above anyone else. I know I will be the ideal mistress of Pemberley to be sure”

“You cannot be serious Caroline. I did not see anything in his behavior that showed even the slightest preference to you”

“The preference was all in her mind Bingley”, quipped Hurst. Caroline ignored him and continued,

“Well in many small things – he danced with me at the assembly. He discussed his ideal woman with me. When we were discussing Miss Jane Bennet I could clearly see that he thought exactly like I did. Why, he even helped us by talking to you about it”
An incredulous Charles started to laugh now, joined by Hurst.

“Oh Caro! How can you think those were encouragements for you? You were my hostess, of course he would dance with you at the local assembly. He also danced with Louisa. And the list of accomplishments for women?” here he broke into a wide grin while Caroline prodded him along ,

“What about the list?”

“It described Ms Anne to the T. She is extremely well read, educated and has traveled. She sings and her performance on the pianoforte is ranked by Darcy as the highest he has ever seen. She is well informed about the politics of our world and abroad. Do you know, she has been to the continent twice! Sir De Bourgh was a diplomat for some time in his life. She went with him once and recently again with her mother on a tour of pleasure. After your chat about accomplished-women, Hurst and I ribbed Darcy no end. The list of accomplishments indeed!”

“And what about the discussion for Jane Bennett”

“I don’t know what you all discussed. The pieces of advice he gave me were: A> She is a gentlewoman, I am not yet a gentleman. If I was serious about buying a house, a gently bred woman would be ideal for me. And B>. I should not decide on any lady in haste. I need to be sure, take my time, marry someone I cannot live without. It was this second advice that sent me packing to London and then onwards. To introspect. Think on if I really like her and if she likes me”

Louisa spoke up,
“And why was Mr Darcy in Netherfield with us? Was he introspecting too? Perhaps he may be regretting his choice”

“No my dear Louisa. Ms De Bourgh wanted to redo parts of Dacry’s house in London. He was getting in their way. Then I begged him to come help me for a few days. So, he decided to spend some time with us. Didn’t you notice he was always writing to his fiancée and receiving letters from her. HE was impatient to quit and come back”

“Well Charles, I don’t know about the house. I visited Ms Darcy few days ago. And there were no changes then”, said a suspicious Caroline

“You must have been in Miss Darcy’s parlor. That is not altered. It seems Ms Anne is encouraging Miss Darcy to redo that room herself. But rest of the house is just beautiful now! Wait until you see it. Future Mrs Darcy’s sitting room, their formal dining room and the library look fabulous!”

“Yes, indeed! I heard about curtains from Paris” replied Miss Bingley sourly

“Again, perhaps spending Mr Darcy’s money?” piped in Louisa

“Well he will most willingly part with it. Anything to please her. He is completely besotted by Miss Anne. And as Hurst pointed out, it could very well be her money. You both should visit sometime – congratulate them and see the house!”

Neither Caroline nor Louisa responded to that; both wondering how their reception would be.

Once breakfast was done, the men went their way (Mr Hurst grinning to himself). Caroline retrieved the paper and the ladies retired to their sitting room.
As was her habit, she read the society sections of the paper completely. Often harrumphing, exclaiming and reading out aloud some titbits.

“That many people – even that German princess!”

“Hmmm… that is a weird comment – why would anyone…nevermind!”

“Her gown was from a Parisian modiste… Just like her curtains! Well don’t I wish it resembled the curtains. But *sigh* it looks quite pretty. Doesn’t it Louisa?”

“Yes dear it does! What does the paper say about Miss Darcy?”

“Ummm… lets see… here it is, Miss Georgiana Darcy wearing a pale yellow gown. She is not out yet..yada yada…. but she asked and was granted permission to invite a dozen of her closest friends. Since the parents of those friends were already attending the ball – as Lord and Lady Matlocks friends – there was no question of declining the invitation for these pre-debutant beauties. Who indeed would want to stay away from such a ball!”

“Who indeed!! What a shame Caro. I still think everything is not right”

“I agree. Perhaps we can really visit them as Charles says? Only this time let us go with him”

***

That evening during dinner at the Hurst home, Caroline broached the subject of not being invited to the ball by Georgiana.

“And here we thought we were her particular friends!”

“I am pretty sure Miss Anne must have selected these friends for her.” Said Louisa

“We have done nothing for her to dislike us!”

“Well just like Ms Bennet did nothing for you to not like her” said Mr Hurst. Louisa glared at him and said,

“We don’t dislike her! Jane Bennett is a sweet girl”

“And yet you have not returned her visit even after 3 weeks!”

“Gil Hurst, how do you know which day she visited us?”

“My dear, I was in the adjacent library working on some papers. And I have heard both of you say multiple times how you don’t want to return her call and how you have been avoiding her on London streets”

Charles grimaced at that but said nothing. (which surprised his sisters). Mr Hurst rubbed it in,

“You treated her shabbily Louisa, whatever you say. And for no real reason. You are not going to succeed keeping Charles from her, if he indeed wants her”

Caroline disagreed with Mr Hurst and said so, however Louisa looked somewhat ashamed. She continued,
“Why are we discussing her right now? I want to visit the Darcys to offer congratulations and am hoping Charles can take us there on his next visit”

“I suppose you have been denied entrance so many times now, that you think going with Charles will help” stated Mr Hurst, before turning his attention to the fish in front of him.

Charles grinned, “I’d be happy to take my sisters some time this week. But not today or tomorrow. I have other things lined up”

***

The very next day Hurst who was reading in the drawing room and half listening to his wife and sister talk (as he normally did), looked up when he heard Miss Bennets name.

“Why did she give me a strange look when I mentioned Mr Darcy’s ball?” wondered Caroline

“May be she does not remember him!”

Mr Hurst kept his book aside and said, “Did you visit her? What did you tell her about the ball?”

“Only that we loved it. How we danced with some of his famous relatives and how busy Charles was with some society beauty or other. We have to warn her off him surely! And no, we didn’t visit her, we met by chance at Mrs Langley’s home during the visiting hour”

“But ladies, why did you lie about the ball?”

“Argh… I don’t know. I just felt like saying it. How does it matter?” said Caroline

“It matters my dear sister. And it has made you look more foolish than ever before. Miss Bennet gave you a funny look because SHE was at the ball and did not remember seeing YOU! She knows you did not dance with any relatives of Darcy, because SHE danced with most of them. And Charles danced more with HER than anyone else. There you have it in a nutshell” said he.

“Honestly, what a notion. A country something going to a ball at the Earl of Matlocks indeed!”

“The country something knows Lady Matlock for many years through her aunt Mrs Gardiner. The same one you could not condescend to visit! Charles can share the details with you, if you only ask”

Caroline’s face turned red and then purple. She sat back in her chair, dejected and feeling foolish. She was not losing all battles, was she?

***

As planned, later in the week, Caroline, Louisa, Hurst and Charles were announced in the Darcy’s town house. Georgiana received the ladies in her sitting room while a butler led the men away into Mr Darcy’s newly refurbished library.

Caroline’s first words were,“Will not your brother join us dear Georgiana? We wish to congratulate him on his recent engagement”

“His engagement is not that recent. But I can send for him if you want”

“Pray do. It is not recent?”

“No-oh. To be sure cousin Anne lead him into a merry chase. She was not ready to accept him for a long long time. As you can imagine, he is over the moon since she said yes. They both are!”

“Is she – forgive the question – did you always like her?”

“Yes, yes. She has been my favorite cousin since I was a tiny girl. I am so happy she will be my sister. And you know my aunt Catherine is very affectionate, she has almost been like a mother to Will and me”

Louisa started the topic which was on their mind since the last few days, “How was the ball?”

“It was simply beautiful. I have never been to such events, since I am not out……I was enchanted by it all. Was so romantic” said Georgiana with a smile on her lips and a faraway look in her eyes.

They were interrupted here by the housekeeper with the tea tray, followed by Mr Darcy, Bingley and Hurst.

Mr Darcy bowed to the ladies and said,
“I apologize for the oversight Miss Bingley, Mrs Hurst. I have already said sorry to Mr Hurst. You should have been at the engagement ball. I had assumed my sister had your names on her list. I learnt only just now that you did not receive an invitation. I am sure Anne will be sorry when she hears about it too”

“My dear brother, was I supposed to add their names? I am so very sorry Miss Bingley. I only added some of my closest friends”, exclaimed poor Georgiana; in the process hurting them more without realizing it.

Bingley diplomatically smoothed things over by saying, “It is alright Miss Darcy, Darcy. No harm done. We shall look forward to the wedding”

Mr Darcy offered a tour of the changes to his house (perhaps as a consolation for the party). He took them through only the ground floor and just the principal rooms. Caroline and Louisa were dumb-struck by the silk and the tapestries and fine-ness of everything around them. There was comfort, elegance and beauty in each room. Definitely a lack of anything shabby; nothing was shoddily done and nothing was incomplete (there was lack of lace, Caroline noted).

Mr Darcy promised them an invitation to dinner, as soon as he was able to consult “dear Anne”.

***

The promised dinner was all that was delicious and elegant. But it left a bitter taste in Caroline’s mouth. Firstly, she was introduced to other esteemed guests as “Georgiana’s friend” or “Mr Bingley’s sister” slotting her into a minor group at the dinner. Ms De Bourgh who was acting hostess had her own friends – beautiful rich entitled ladies (and snobbish too thought Caroline) who sat on the other side of the vast drawing room. Most gentlemen were drawn naturally to that group.
Then, she saw Miss Jane Bennet enter with her uncle and aunt. She seemed to be a favorite with the hostess and was immediately included in her merry group.

To be sure Miss Anne (or Miss Elizabeth) was a gracious hostess, she often came to check on Georgiana’s friends and even conversed with Miss Bingley. But it felt as if she was performing her duty and no more. The dinner was marvelous, they had newly acquired a French cook and an Italian undercook.

After dinner Caroline was enjoying her Darjeeling tea very much and trying to court favor with Mr and Miss Darcy by praising it to the skies…. only to emerge that the tea leaves came from the Gardiners. A years worth of supply was always gifted to the Darcys for last many years.
Mr Gardiners spice and silk trade was talked about in the room and it was clear that many guests looked up to him for his knowledge on investing money. In addition, he always got the best teas from Asia and apparently many aristocratic households swore by it.

Caroline’s eyes swept through the room. Charles was spending time with Jane. Miss Anne-Elizabeth was holding court with a group and Darcy hung over her every word. Mr Hurst was eyeing Caroline from across the room grinning like a cat. Well, whether Jane would go on to be Mrs Bingley or whether Caroline would be able to visit Pemberley freely with such an elegant hostess in residence were all things for the future.

Right now her thought was on the tea – she decided she did not enjoy it after all!
SubjectAuthorPosted

Caroline's Tea (One shot, fluff)

Tasha SFebruary 15, 2020 11:51AM

Re: Caroline's Tea (One shot, fluff)

EvelynJeanFebruary 19, 2020 05:56AM

What fun!

RevaFebruary 15, 2020 01:27PM

Re: What fun!

Nance13February 17, 2020 11:43PM



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Question: how much is 20 plus 17?
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