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Sanditon Ending

February 26, 2020 02:23AM
I just saw the final episode of Sanditon, and was very unhappy, so, here's my ending. Love it, hate it, write your own. Just one other word, my last name de la Cretaz, rhymes with "see ya latuh". The z is silent. I hope you enjoy, or at least that someone does.

Chapter 40

Charlotte had now been on her family farm for several months. The correspondence between the Parkers and her had slowed. Her life had resumed its normal pace as if Sanditon and Mr. Sidney Parker had never quite happened. There were some changes, of course. Her eldest brother, Daniel, was assuming an ever greater role in helping her father with the farm. He was always studying for some new way to improve the crops, and seemed likely to make an excellent farmer, when his time came to assume the full responsibilities of the land. Simon, her next brother, spoke of joining the army. Mr. Heywood had reached far back into his school acquaintance to find friends who might be able to help him with some preferment.

The neighbors’ son, James Strop, could almost be seen as courting her father, he spent so much time with him asking about farming and animal husbandry, things which his own father could certainly have taught him, except that her sister Allison always seemed to have some work to do in their vicinity when he was near. Charlotte felt very sympathetic and was amused by them. There would be no obstacles in their way. The parents were old friends. Allison and James had played together for hours on end as children, running all over the countryside creating adventures. There was even the remains of a tree fort they had built in the back garden. It was only now that their feelings towards each other were maturing that neither could do anything but look at the ground and blush in the other’s company.

Mr. and Mrs. Heywood saw this and smiled. There was even whispered talk of the suitability of the foal that was expected from Mr. Heywood’s favorite mare as a wedding gift. If only James could manage to assemble a sentence or two, they were sure Allison would follow and all would be well. The foal wasn’t expected for several months, so there was time.

Charlotte was sure she’d hear from the Parkers when Sidney was married, but there had been no word. The Heywoods didn’t take a London paper, but surely the marriage of such a prominent figures as the wealthy widow Campion and one of Sanditon’s own elite would be reported. Charlotte wasn’t sure if she looked forward to it as an end to her torment, or dreaded it as an end of her hopes. She knew Sidney was lost to her, but he was much in her thoughts.

“Charlotte, come here.” Her father called.

“I’ve just gotten a very pleasant letter from Mrs. Parker, asking if she might visit for a few days. It seems that Miss Lambe is unhappy at Mrs. Griffiths’, and the Parkers had thought that perhaps some time on a farm in friendly company might do her good. At least it would be a change of scene. Mrs. Parker proposes that she and her children might come here with Miss Lambe. She and the children would only stay a few days, but if we were so generous, Miss Lambe might stay longer. Well, what do you think? They’re truly your friends. We barely know the Parkers, although we certainly owe them hospitality.”

Charlotte agreed it was an excellent idea. She was very fond of all Mr. Tom Parker’s family and Miss Lambe. Privately, she hoped she would get the news she craved. Her father agreed, and had already begun composing a letter for the return post. He thought some company might liven up their lonely family dinners, especially as there would be young children in the party. 

Charlotte thought it spoke well of her father’s open temperament that when they routinely sat to dinner with a minimum of 13 people and frequently added the Strops, he saw the addition of 5 more including young children as enjoyable livening up.

It was all so quickly arranged that the Parkers and Miss Lambe were there in 3 days time. It was wonderful to see them, and it certainly did liven things up. In fact, there was such general chaos that there was no chance for private conversation for some time. The children had never seen anything so wonderful as a farm.

Their first morning on the farm, Mr. Heywood woke the Parker children while it was still dark and very quietly got them up to lead them to the sheep shed. Two ewes were lambing. Mrs. Parker and Charlotte arrived in their robes only minutes later, and they all watched. The children had been managing to control their excitement but as they looked at the 4 little ones, it was too much to ask.

“Look, Mama, that one is shy. We should name her Diana for Aunt Diana. Then this one could be Arthur, and here is Tom for Papa. That one is all black. He must be called Sidney.”

Mrs. Parker apologized for her children appropriating the lambs, but Mr. Heywood assured them that they had begun to run short of names, so these were welcome.

“However, Mrs. Parker, my daughter has spoken of all your family. I know of Arthur and Diana, and of course, you and your husband, but who is Sidney? She has never mentioned him.”

Chapter 41

That moment, looking at the newborn lambs, Charlotte realized that though Sidney Parker had never been far from her thoughts, he had weighed so heavily on her heart that she’d never brought herself to speak of him by name. Her father had just rolled all her stories of Arthur Parker and Mr. Tom Parker’s brother into one person, not realizing that there was a third brother never mentioned.

Mary Parker noticed this as well, and made a point of speaking in private to Charlotte later that day.

“We have great news of Sanditon”, she began. “The work is almost complete. In fact, things are so close to finished that Tom believes Mr. Stringer is no longer needed. While we are here with you, he has gone to London to see if he can repair the damage he feels he did to Mr. Stringer’s career. I just received news by today’s post, that he has gotten Mr. Stringer an interview with a leading firm, and has sung Mr. Stringer’s praises so high, that he’s sure they will offer him a position even better than the one he lost. Mr. Stringer must leave immediately for London.” She added with quiet pride “Tom is truly a good man.”

“Yes, he is, and his enthusiasm is irresistible. If he has spoken of Mr. Stringer with a small part of the support he shows for Sanditon, they will have to hire him”.

“Charlotte, I don’t know if anything happened between you and Sidney. I know I’d never seen him as happy as he was with you. It seemed as if the man I’d met when Tom and I were first acquainted was returning. I don’t wish to give you pain, but do you want to hear of Sidney?”

“I have heard nothing of him all these months. I assume he and Mrs. Campion are married. I hope they have renewed that love they once had. I’m not sure what else I should know”.

“They are not married, nor are they likely to be. I don’t know the details. She is still an investor in Sanditon, although she is now one of several. There is a board of directors, so Tom is not dependent on the favor of a single benefactor as he was with Lady Denham, or would have been with Mrs. Campion. It is also better perhaps to have the responsibility spread among several investors. I love Tom with all my heart, but I have had to accept that he sometimes needs help with financial decisions. 

“It is a most interesting board of directors. It is all women. There’s Mrs. Campion, of course, although she’s not the largest investor. Georgiana Lambe is now a business woman, and a significant investor. You’ll have to ask her about that. The last major investor we owe directly to you. Georgiana took it on herself to approach Lady Worcester. That Lady certainly seems to have a fondness for you. I don’t know what Georgiana told her, but she’s the greatest shareholder. Finally, when Lady Denham heard of the illustrious company now behind Sanditon, she begged permission to invest, and was graciously allowed to contribute a minor amount. Tom will no longer have to dance to her tune. You know she and Georgiana have never gotten on, but she is quite intimidated by the other ladies, and, according to Tom, tends to sit quietly and agree with everything”.

Charlotte was caught between gaping at the news of Sidney not being bound to Mrs. Campion, and laughing at the image of Lady Denham being forced to sit in silence, although she well believed it possible that Lady Worcester could put her in her place, and she suspected Mrs. Campion could do so as well. She barely knew which questions to ask first, and as Mary had assured her that she knew no details as to how these things had come to pass, she had to content herself with finding Georgiana, which she did as soon as possible.

Chapter 42

Charlotte and Georgiana finally got an opportunity to walk alone later that evening. Georgiana expressed an interest in seeing a working farm, and while the younger children were still fascinated with the new lambs and other animals, Mary pled exhaustion from getting up before dawn, keeping farmer’s hours. Mr. and Mrs. Heywood always had work to do. The younger Heywood children all had chores, which left Georgiana and Charlotte to their own amusements.

They’d barely left the house when Georgiana linked her arm in Charlotte’s. “I’d begun to think we’d never be alone. I have so much to tell you. Mr. Molyneaux …”

“Mr. Molyneux? You’ve heard from him?” cried Charlotte.

“Of course. Mr. Sidney Parker is not so powerful as he likes to think he is. He couldn’t keep us apart. Otis loves me, and we shall be married. We have to wait. Otis has decided to enter the navy, and he feels obligated to repay Mr. Parker for his gambling debts, but once that is cleared, he will come to me.”

“And in the meantime, you and he are still corresponding in secret.” Charlotte felt deeply saddened that Sidney was to be deceived again.

Georgiana hesitated. “Not exactly in secret. It’s a very strange thing about Mr. Sidney Parker. Those who have most reason to think ill of him, won’t hear a word against him. You certainly don’t seem inclined to abuse him, and Otis will not hear a word against him.”

“I have no reason to think ill of him. He saved his family from ruin at his own expense. If I was part of his sacrifice, I only hope he didn’t feel it for long” answered Charlotte.

“I wouldn’t be sure of that. Mr. Sidney Parker can be very difficult to understand” said Georgiana. Charlotte felt Georgiana’s eyes upon her, and kept her own eyes averted, lest she give away too much. Georgiana decided to continue.

“Mr. Parker never told me the extent of Otis’ debts. Nor did he mention that he’d been the one to repay them. I believe he was trying to spare me losing all my good opinion of Otis. It was ridiculous chivalry. My love for Otis is not so fickle as he imagined and the money was nothing. I could easily afford it. I could certainly afford it more easily than Mr. Parker could.

“You know, in all the years he’s been my guardian, he’s never touched my money for himself. There are many stories of guardians spending all their wards’ money or forcing their wards to marry them. Mr. Parker has grown my fortune beyond what it was when he first became my guardian. He might be cold and unfeeling, but he has been honest. Even in my room and board, he’s kept my expenses most modest. 

“It was Mr. Molyneaux who told me everything, who made me understand how much danger I was truly in. Money can make one feel immune to certain of the world’s troubles. In this instance, it made me more vulnerable to things I’d never imagined could happen. My dearest Otis cannot forgive himself for putting me in danger.

“When I contacted him to tell him I didn’t care, I had to hear from him, I couldn’t imagine living without him, he wrote to Mr. Parker. He told Mr. Parker of his plans for the Navy. He also sent him a small repayment of his debt, to show the seriousness of his intent. He then asked permission for us to correspond openly, and asked if, when he returned from the Navy, he might ask Mr. Parker for his blessing for us to be married.

“I knew nothing of this. I would have been very angry if I’d known. He took a great risk. What if Mr. Parker had refused? But his respect and gratitude for Mr. Parker seem to be too deep to allow any deceit. So, while my first letter and his first response were done in secret, every letter since then has been delivered to me, unopened, from Mr. Parker’s own hand.”

“Though it causes me pain to have been so wrong about someone I so enjoyed hating, I must confess, my father chose well in naming Sidney Parker my guardian.”

Charlotte was having great difficulty containing herself. “While all this is wonderful, and I am truly happy about you and Mr. Molyneaux, is there nothing to be told of Mr. Parker’s engagement?”

Georgiana smiled. “Patience. There is much more to come. Mr. Parker has been giving me a gift. My life in England is very hard for me. Everyone assumes I should be happy because, for the life they know, I seem to have everything. I’m rich. My appearance is exotic. There are more fools than I can count who want to marry me. They want my money, and they’ll tolerate me to get it.

“Mr. Parker has decided that the best way to protect me from having my money swindled from me is for me to know how to handle it myself. He has spoken to me of sound investments and interest rates until my head is spinning. I’ve come to realize that my fortune is a responsibility I must learn to deserve, or it will be wasted. 

“While doing this, he has spoken to me of my home, of my father, of how they knew each other, and why my father chose him. I was only 11 when my father died. I loved him as an adoring child loves a father, but I never knew the man he was. Mr. Parker has taken pains to let me know my father. I’m very grateful to him for this. I don’t feel quite so lonely when he speaks to me of my home, for I’ll never feel truly at home in England. The people are so different, the food, even the weather. I miss my home, but I’m coming to understand why he brought me here, and that England does have some things to offer I hadn’t appreciated.”

Charlotte couldn’t help but smile. It seemed possible that Mr. Sidney Parker had remembered some of their conversations. He had said he was his best self with her. Perhaps he was trying to let Georgiana see some of that.

Georgiana had more to say. As she was learning how to handle her money, she had decided she wanted to make some investments herself. She was keenly aware of how close she had come to ruin, and that her fortune was the cause, but also that without such a fortune, many women fare much worse. She wanted to help other women. Mr. Stringer’s last project in Sanditon had been to build a school for girls for her. They weren’t being taught needlepoint. They were taught reading and writing, and how to make money and to manage accounts. She wanted to be sure that none of her students would be dependent on marriage for a future. She had even helped some fallen women, and orphans of questionable parentage to find ways to earn livings. That was done very quietly, but she could understand these women, and she understood that her beloved Otis might have gone to debtors’ prison. She knew that without his education, Otis never would have spoken to her, and she never would have spoken back. Surely, these children had done nothing wrong beyond being born to parents who didn’t want them. She believed that everyone deserved a second chance. This way they could contribute to society, even pay taxes, and support others. Wasn’t that preferable to an alms house?

Finally, she came to the part of the story that interested Charlotte the most. Georgiana didn’t know how or why or even when she’d first noticed, but she had seen that Mr. Sidney Parker was increasingly unhappy. He never said anything, but she was sure he didn’t look forward to seeing Mrs. Campion. He was doing a duty, but preparing for his wedding never seemed to give him any joy. 

Georgiana had been very brave in this and had spoken to him directly. She was sure his marriage was for money as Mrs. Campion’s first marriage had been. Was it really any better for him to do this than it had been for her, and was it right that he should always be a prisoner to her fortune? Georgiana would invest in Sanditon.

Mr. Parker had protested. It was too risky. What if the investment was lost? He wouldn’t hear of it. She’d argued that she would only be investing some of her money, and even if she lost it all, she’d still have more than most people ever had. Besides, he’d been willing to risk much more of Mrs. Campion’s fortune. If it was such a poor investment, he shouldn’t be risking anyone’s money, and if it was a good investment, Georgiana wanted to be part of it. In addition, in a few months, she would be 21, and then he wouldn’t be able to stop her.

“Charlotte, you should have seen him. He offered every argument he could think of, and I countered them all. I think he was secretly proud of how well I’d learned my lessons, but he won’t admit that, or at least, I won’t ask him to admit it.

“Now Charlotte, there is one last thing that I must beg your pardon for. I used your name to gain an introduction to Lady Worcester. We hadn’t met at the regatta, but I had heard of her fondness for you, so I dared what I might not have. She was most gracious, and she does truly like you very much. She had already heard of the Sanditon fire, but she didn’t know what I conjectured, that Mr. Parker’s engagement was the result of his straitened finances. He has never said so to me, but I had seen him with you, and I believed him to have a more than casual affection for you, so nothing else made sense. Lady Worcester decided that this could not be permitted, so she offered her own backing as well as that of certain other of her friends who wished to invest through her. Mr. Tom Parker and even Mr. Sidney Parker could not refuse.

“Shortly after that, all talk of a wedding quietly stopped. Mrs. Campion left London for a month of traveling in the north. Mr. Sidney Parker has been between London and Sanditon. There is really nothing more that I can tell you.”

Chapter 43

Charlotte was amazed. She had thought that once she’d left Sanditon, she would be little thought of there except perhaps as a pleasant visitor for one season. Now she found that while she had returned to her home, a farmer’s daughter who reads books, many people, people of great note, had been working on her behalf in ways that she’d never imagined. She was humbled. She was grateful. Yet, she had no idea if any of it would make any difference. She knew that at the time she left, Sidney was attached to her, but she couldn’t know if that attachment still existed. How could it after he’d been so attached to Mrs. Campion for all those years? Surely, the time he’d spent with Mrs. Campion had reawakened his feelings for her, in spite of what Georgiana believed. More than anything else, Charlotte was confused, and wished she knew her own mind.

Two days later, Mary announced that Tom Parker would be coming that afternoon to escort her and the children home. They had both missed each other sorely, and now that the last loose ends in Sanditon were finishing, and a new season was about to begin, they looked forward to spending time together in a much more relaxed environment than they had previously experienced.

The coach arrived just before luncheon. The entire Heywood family, the Parkers, Miss Lambe, and even Mr. James Strop were there to welcome Mr. Tom Parker, who was immediately engulfed with youngsters demanding to be picked up and kissed and wanting to show him all the animals, especially the lambs named in his honor.

Behind all this, most of them barely noticed when Mr. Sidney Parker descended from the coach.

Charlotte, standing in the back with Georgiana, saw him immediately as he walked purposefully towards her.

“Miss Lambe, Miss Heywood, I hope you are both well”.

Georgiana had no difficulty in meeting his eyes and answering him “Yes, sir, it has been a most enjoyable stay”. Charlotte was more confused, and wished for some time to answer. As her parents approached, she could take shelter in performing an introduction, but her father only deepened her blushes, when, on hearing Sidney’s name, he cried out “The black sheep of the family”. Miss Lambe laughed. Charlotte wanted to look anywhere else. Sidney wrinkled his brow in confusion. Mr. Heywood quickly explained, and went on, “But it seems the young Parkers are lacking in animal husbandry skills, as Sidney has revealed himself to be a girl. No matter. She is a strong, healthy creature, who will probably produce beautiful wool for many years. Maybe even establish black sheep in my flock”.

Georgiana stopped laughing at this and immediately approached Mr. Heywood about the possibility of the Heywood farm providing wool for her school. They had been given several spinning wheels, and teaching the girls to be spinsters might give them the security she wished for them. Mr. Heywood suggested they go inside to discuss this idea.

Sidney watched silently, fascinated and admiring of this new Georgiana Lambe, an adult, and a benefactress. She would be quite a handful if Mr. Molyneaux expected to control her when he returned. Sidney approved.

Chapter 44

The Parker children had long since demanded that their father come with them to see all the new animals. There were several more since those first lambs. The other Heywoods had gone off on their usual pursuits. For the first time in many months, Sidney and Charlotte were alone.

Sidney turned his gaze to her face. She found herself fascinated by his shirt front and unable to look any higher.

“Miss Heywood, Charlotte, will you not look at me?” She saw a look of warmth in his eyes. He offered her his arm. “Perhaps, we should visit this amazing lamb”, he said quietly. Charlotte nodded and started to walk in that direction. 

“Charlotte, I seem always to owe you an apology. I would never blame you if you hated me or refused to listen to me, but I hope you will. After the fire, I was desperate to save my brother. I knew that he was in danger of losing everything, including Mary. He could have been sent to debtors’ prison by Lady Denham. Those beautiful, happy children would have been fatherless and destitute. I couldn’t allow that, and couldn’t see any satisfactory way out. I went to London, and begged Mrs. Campion to forgive me for rejecting her. She knew I didn’t love her. She realized that in fact, I was doing exactly what she had done when she got married. She said that over the years, she had realized that I had had a way of looking at her that warmed her, and she had craved that tenderness. She wanted me to look at her in that way again.

“Her husband had not been a bad man, had even cared for her in his way, but had wanted her primarily as an ornament to be displayed at his convenience. He looked at her with pride, but not with tenderness. She could barely recall a single interesting conversation with him. His death had brought her no pain, and his fortune had brought her independence. Now, she wanted to see me look at her as I had all those years ago. 

“She said that she saw that look in my eyes again at the regatta, but it wasn’t when I looked at her. It was when I looked at you.

“When I came to her after the fire, she knew I no longer loved her, but she hoped she could win my affection. Instead, she saw me a different man. I avoided her. I had no patience for wedding preparations. I didn’t care about the guest list or the fashions to be shown off. She saw me doing my duty, but without pleasure. She even became jealous of Miss Lambe, because I was making an effort to be kind to her.

“You must understand Charlotte, I was never deliberately unkind to Mrs. Campion. I genuinely tried to see the woman I had loved, and to find that love again. I had simply changed. I no longer loved the same things in a woman. “

“I am sorry, Mr. Parker. I never wished you unhappy. I understood your decision. Mrs. Campion was a beautiful woman. Mr. Tom Parker spoke of your reunion with great joy. I believed you would come to forget me. I hoped you would forget me, or that your attachment had never been deep. I was disappointed for myself. I felt your loss, but I truly believed you could be happy. You had to be happy. There had to be more than financial gain for you. Our worlds would never cross. You would have nothing to remind you of me.”

“I had everything to remind me of you” he cried. “Every word Mrs. Campion spoke was compared in my imagination to what you would say. Everyone else praised me as I was. You had demanded more. You wanted me to be better. No one had ever told me I was ill-mannered or offensive. You didn’t care to protect me. You told me what you saw. You saw me being rude. You saw Tom carried away with enthusiasm that blinded his judgement. I chose stubbornly to defend us with no care for how I treated you”.

“You only treated me as I deserved”.

“We shall not argue as to the greater fault, although I see none in you. You were speaking the truth of him and of me. He can be blind to reality. I can be hard. I love my family dearly, but we are all less than perfect. 

“Finally, when I had completely resigned myself to a loveless marriage, to feeling that I had sold myself and was no better than the women who walk the streets, Georgiana made a proposal. She would buy Mrs. Campion’s shares and set me free. I couldn’t allow that, but we finally agreed that I would approach Mrs. Campion about selling some of her shares.

“By this time, Mrs. Campion had come to the realization that our marriage would never be what she’d dreamed. She has, however, a surprising head for business and considered Sanditon a sound investment. It seemed that while neither of us desired a partnership in marriage, a partnership in business was appealing to her. We quietly ended the engagement. She traveled in the north for a while, and upon her return, had some at homes where she invited very eligible men, who amuse her more than I. It was all ridiculously civilized, and all for the best. 

“Georgiana had not finished. Without my knowledge, she sought an introduction to your friend, Lady Worcester. That lady is most warm in her support of you. I can’t imagine how Georgiana did it, but very quickly Lady Worcester and some of her friends were offering their backing as well. We couldn’t refuse them. Sanditon is now well funded, and with backers such as these, we’re bound to be overflowing with visitors. Tom is unable to control his excitement.

“Charlotte, I started by saying I’m sorry, and I must stay there. I didn’t try hard enough to find other ways to solve our problems. I grabbed at the first straw that came within reach, and didn’t look beyond it. I had grown used to being sacrificed myself. I never should have sacrificed you.

“Since then, I feel as though I’ve been manipulated by every woman I know, and I’m most grateful. Georgiana has openly campaigned for you. Lady Worcester has made it very clear where her sentiments lie. Mrs. Campion is turning a tidy profit on her investment. Tom received a letter from Mary yesterday asking him to come get her, while I received a letter from her saying that if I should happen to accompany him, she believed I would be welcome, and if I didn’t come, I was a complete fool. I would have jumped on my horse that moment had not Tom convinced me that a passionate lover arriving in the dark after the family had gone to bed was, perhaps, not the best introduction to your parents”.

Charlotte couldn’t control her laughter at such an image, and finally was able to reply, although his words had been sweet to hear, “That’s very strong language for Mary. I had no idea there were so many who would take my part. I had no idea that I even had a part for them to take”.

“My dear Charlotte, it was all about you. I had offended so many, but you saw my worth, so they all did. Now I must ask, have I offended you too badly? Was Mary right? Is there a welcome for me here?”

Charlotte could only smile, “I believe that’s possible. There is usually plenty of food served. Setting an extra place isn’t hard to arrange”.

“Miss Heywood, I would arrange to be your husband, if you consent”.

Charlotte leaned closer to him and said very softly but with a sparkle in her eye, “I believe it’s time to return to the house. My father will want to discuss that with you in person”.

Chapter 45

When the lovers neared the house, Charlotte saw Georgiana and Mary trying hard not to be seen as they looked out the window watching for them. As they entered the sitting room, everyone seemed very busy with something in their laps. Only Mrs. Heywood asked with exaggerated casualness if they’d had a pleasant walk. Then Georgiana stood silently, walked to the door of Mr. Heywood’s study and asked if Mr. Sidney Parker might have a word. As Sidney walked past her, he was quite sure she was suppressing laughter. He surrendered. Apparently, it was his fate to be manipulated by the women around him for the rest of his life. As long as they did such an excellent job, he wouldn’t object. 

He did enjoy the shocked look on her face when he handed her a letter from Mr. Molyneaux that he’d been too preoccupied with his own concerns to give her earlier. 

Mr. Heywood had been prepared by the women for what Sidney might wish to discuss. He saw no reason to withhold his consent as long as Charlotte was happy, and judging from the look on her face as she’d walked up to the house, which indeed the entire family had witnessed, he was sure of that. He loved all his children dearly. All he ever wished was that they enjoy their lives.

After that, events seemed to fly, but also to stand still and be savored. 

The open acknowledgement of Sidney and Charlotte finally gave James Strop the courage to speak an entire sentence to Allison, and since that sentence was to ask for her hand, that wedding was to happen the next month. There was no need for elaborate preparations. Allison would move next door to the Strop farm, which was a beautiful old country house, built for a large family. It had come down from Mr. Strop Senior’s parents. He had but the one son, James. It would be good to see a new family begin there. 

Mr. Heywood’s mare gave birth to a fine roan filly, which would, of course, stay with her mother for now, but the ownership was ceremoniously handed over to the bride and groom.

Allison had pled for a double wedding with Charlotte and Sidney. Lady Worcester had voiced her wish that it should be later, in July, when she would be there. Georgiana wanted a longer delay.

The letter from Otis Molyneaux had informed her that, while he had been as industrious and eager a sailor as anyone onboard ship, it had been decided that Navy life was not suitable for him, so with the recommendation of his captain and the ship’s surgeon, he was going to take a medical course in London. Then he hoped to find an apprenticeship with a doctor, and start his career in medicine.

Sidney had heard from both Mr. Molyneaux and his captain. What Mr. Molyneaux had said was true. He had worked very hard, as hard as any sailor on board under the circumstances. His only weakness was a stomach that couldn’t tolerate the sea. He was losing weight so rapidly, that the ship’s surgeon recommended his immediate return to land, but he had helped the surgeon as much as he could, and the surgeon thought he would be well suited to a medical career.
With this in mind, Georgiana was already speaking to Dr. Fuchs about taking him on as an apprentice after he had finished his course of study. Knowing how persuasive Georgiana could be, Sidney didn’t doubt of her success. They all agreed that the residents of a seaside resort, who had only one doctor to choose, and a growing population, might be more willing to accept a doctor of his color than Harley Street would, and, while no one said as much, removing him from the temptations of London’s gambling dens was also considered an advantage. 

Georgiana wanted Mr. Molyneaux at Charlotte’s wedding. She didn’t want to attend such a special ball without him, and, in July, he would still be in the middle of his studies, but when it was considered that he might be able to hire a coach for the journey, or rather Georgiana might, she relented.

The girls’ school was a great success. In addition to training spinsters, they had obtained a large loom, and were planning to weave and sell cloth. Some of the women were talking of raising money to buy a printing press. One of the students was a printer’s daughter, and had some skill in this field, so there was hope that in addition to printing books and pamphlets, they might begin a local newspaper. It wasn’t seen as ladylike for a woman to be a reporter, but the girls and women proved most efficient at gathering all the local gossip, which was always popular. People would talk to them who hesitated to speak to a man, and a local paper would increase Sanditon’s status. Miss Lambe could have given them a press, but she wanted her students to be self-sufficient, so they were selling subscriptions against the time it was all running. Lady Esther Babbington and her new sister, Sarah Babbington, were enthusiastic supporters. Lady Babbington didn’t want any woman to be faced with her choices, and while the money was her husband’s, he understood her so well, he was glad to do this, for her and for his sister also. Lady Babbington had never known a woman as a friend. She’d never enjoyed a conversation with a sister, nor known a woman who was not her competitor. Having a younger sister was an unexpected joy to her.

There was occasional news of Lord Edward Denham. He was not doing well. He had no intention of sullying his hands with anything that would earn money, so he had only his looks and charm to bargain with. His looks were deteriorating from hard drink, and his charm had taken a very bitter turn. He was in truth little better than a beggar, something Babbington did his best to hide from Esther.

Mr. Crowe had set up Clara Brereton in a house in town, where he visited her often. Everyone knew of the arrangement, and no one expected a marriage, but she hadn’t been seen in public for several months and there were rumors that a child was expected. When the babe was born, it seemed to cause a change in Crowe. He still had no obvious intention of marrying Miss Brereton, but he was heard to comment with some pride that the little girl’s eyes were the same color as his mother’s.

Chapter 46

When the day of Charlotte and Sidney’s wedding arrived, the weather was perfect, the guests were beautiful, the ceremony, in the church Charlotte had attended all her life, was everything to be wished. Everyone then got into their carriages and rode the short distance to Sanditon, where the ball and wedding dinner were such as to be talked of for years to come. Lady Worcester had lent them her cook for the occasion and they were using the grandest ballroom Sanditon had to offer. Finally, when Sidney took Charlotte’s hand to lead her in the dance, he looked at her with such warmth as she knew she would carry in her heart forever.


Sanditon Ending

Rae de la CretazFebruary 26, 2020 02:23AM

Re: Sanditon Ending

MeganFebruary 28, 2020 02:20AM

Re: Sanditon Ending

KarenteaFebruary 28, 2020 12:26AM

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