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Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 4

April 16, 2020 02:29PM
I really shouldn’t post today because I don’t have enough of Chapter 7 written, but I will catch up. Late last week and early this week were rough, I had a lot of Skype meetings.

Hurst continues to grow in this chapter, hopefully. I planned to have the timelines merged in Chapter 8, but I keep adding things, which makes the chapters longer, and then I adjust my expected chapter breaks to accommodate. It will probably end up being 9 or 10 before they are together. There are worse things.





Chapter 4


Longbourn, Hertfordshire
Thursday, December 13, 1810


“Matilda sent an express to let us know they crossed the border into Scotland safely,” Mr. Thomas Bennet announced to his family while breaking their fast. “She anticipated another five days travel to Lochdale.”

“I am glad. Thank you for letting us know,” that man’s wife responded.

“Did she mention how many megrims she had?” his daughter Lizzy asked with a grin.

“No Lizzy, it was a short note. Apparently, she took Lydia to task as soon as they left Meryton by making her walk alongside the carriage,” he said.

“She did?” Lizzy asked, sounding impressed.

“Oh, my poor sister,” his daughter Jane said.

“No Jane,” Mrs. Bennet corrected, “in this case, it is poor Matilda. Mrs. Waldron, I must apologize to you again. I never should have let Lydia convince me she no longer needed lessons. I am so pleased you agreed to stay on and help chaperone the girls.”

“I agree,” he said. “If the true value of their dowries were ever to become known, we would be forced to flee Longbourn to escape the hordes fortune hunting second sons and scoundrels.”

“What do you mean, papa,” Lizzy asked with narrowed eyes.

“The amount is slightly larger than the neighborhood believes, my dear. After all, the funds have been invested in the four percent’s for our entire marriage and the interest has been reinvested.” He could tell Lizzy and Mary did not believe him, but thankfully no further questions were asked.

“Did Mrs. Tucker say anything else, papa,” his daughter Kitty asked.

Thankful for the change of topic, he answered, “Yes, by the time she let Lydia back in the carriage, she had blisters on her feet and was in tears. Matilda then told Lydia some hard truths. I imagine she told Lydia what happens to women who elope without the benefit of a marriage settlement and that a gentleman who is compromised into marriage, is not likely to offer a satisfactory settlement and can walk away with little damage to his reputation if a father refuses to sign.”

He noticed the surprise on Kitty’s face and was glad he took Matilda’s advice and did not continue to shield his daughters.

“But father, surely a gentleman would do what is right?” his eldest daughter asked.

“Jane dear, are you well? You look pale.”

“Yes mama, I am shocked at what papa is saying.”

His wife held Jane’s hand and said, “My dear, a gentleman would do what was right. However, you are making one big assumption.”

“What do you mean?”

“Not all men are honorable gentlemen. Is that what you meant, mama?” Mary asked.

“Yes, Mary. Jane dear, not everyone you meet will be honorable, regardless of their sex,” his wife added to Mary with a raised eyebrow. “During your season, Jane, you were escorted by Frederick, Jane, and Edmund which meant you were never alone. I am sure Matilda was with you anytime you left the house. I am right, am I not?”

“Yes, mama. Aunt Jane told me Mrs. Tucker accompanied me and my maid because I was not as familiar with London as she was.”

“That was true, Jane,” he said, “but the more accurate reason, is because London is not Meryton. The slightest impropriety, no matter the cause, if witnessed by anybody, can force a marriage and your reputation may be irrevocably ruined. We do not want any of our family to be obligated to a stranger because of gossip.”

“Mrs. Waldron, I believe it is time we give my daughters appropriate information to make them understand the world we live in,” his wife suggested.

“I agree,” he said. “You have lived with us long enough that I trust your discretion. However, feel free to ask us for clarification if you are unsure how much to divulge. I especially want you to work with Jane. She has a gentle soul but is too trusting. Maybe reading the newspaper from London will help?”

“That is a good idea, husband,” his wife said with a soft smile.

“I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to my entire family,” he said. “As you girls grew older, it was easy to hide in my study and let Mr. Miller manage the estate. Fanny, I would also like to apologize to you for making you attend assemblies without me.”

“I understand, Thomas. I let Lydia direct my actions because it was easier. I think we have made amazing progress in our marriage this past fortnight,” his wife said with a saucy grin which caused his cheeks to heat.

“Yes, my dear, and we are working very vigorously to penetrate the issues within our relationship,” he retaliated with a smirk and was pleased to see her answering blush. He looked up embarrassed when he heard Mrs. Waldron try to disguise a laugh as a cough.

~*~


Pemberley, Derbyshire
Thursday, December 13, 1810


“Next time we go to Lambton, I need to buy some red thread,” Hurst mumbled to himself while wandering the corridors of Pemberley.

The past two weeks had been the best of his life, with the exception of the short time after his marriage before Louisa’s siblings moved in. The residents of Pemberley had settled into a routine. He was waking up earlier every day as he got accustomed to country hours. He would wake up, eat breakfast, and then join Darcy, who was an early riser, in his study. When he entered the study, he would read a farming book until Darcy was done answering his correspondence. Once they were both ready, they would discuss the section Hurst had read.

They would then move to the library to be joined by the steward and his assistant, Mr. Grey and Ward, to continue planning the spring planting schedule and discussing other issues that arose. After luncheon, they would go horseback riding and Darcy mentioned starting fencing lessons when the Colonel arrived. Hurst would take a tray in his room and retire for the night while Darcy and Miss Darcy ate dinner together and spent time reading and discussing their books.

Hurst had taken copious notes, almost a quarter of the journal he used at meetings was full. After a few days, he started becoming overwhelmed. Before he decided to say something, Darcy announced he and Miss Darcy would be going to Matlock for a week. The stated reasons were to visit with their aunt and uncle because they would be spending Christmas at Pemberley and to allow Richard a ride to Pemberley in the carriage instead of on horseback during the winter. Hurst knew the truth, Darcy was simply being Darcy. Instead of mentioning how overwhelmed he looked, Darcy arranged a break. Hurst still met with the steward and his assistant, but instead of planning, they were teaching him how estate books were kept. He was amazed at Pemberley’s income. His sister-in-law would faint if she knew how much Darcy was really worth.

Hurst continued wandering the hallways looking at the paintings, sculptures, tapestries, and furniture. He was trying to figure out which part of the house he was in when he heard an ear-piercing scream that sounded like it was coming from up ahead.

“Oh, dear lord,” he said when he entered the correct room. “You must be Sally.”

“Please... help... meeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” she managed to get out between pants.

“I am embarrassed to admit that I am lost, I have not seen a staff member in over an hour,” he explained.

“Down hall... third doooooooorrrrrrrrrrr!”

Hurst saw a puddle of water appear under Sally. “I do not know anything about child birthing, but that cannot be a good sign. The third door on the left, or right?”

“Please don’t leave me,” Sally sobbed and started panting again.

“I must try to get help, but I promise I will be gone only a moment,” he said after her pain ended.

“Left,” Sally said weakly.

Hurst rushed to the third door on the left and yanked it open to find a stairwell. “Hello! Anyone! I need help on the second floor! HEEELLLPPP!!!!!!!”

Hearing Sally screaming again, Hurst returned. “I called down the servants’ stairwell for help. Pray someone heard me. What can I do? Shall I put a blanket on the floor, get a pillow from the couch, and help you down?”

“Please,” Sally said before she was gripped with another pain.

“Do you think you can get down by yourself or shall I pick you up?” Hurst asked and then lunged to catch her as the next pain was too intense. “That answers that question. I imagine being comfortable is not possible, but is this at least better?”

“Yesssssss AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!”

After her pain ended, he asked, “Do you have any idea what to expect? I have never even attended a birth in the stables. I am looking to you for guidance regardless of your experience.”

“I saw my nephews... I have an ideaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!”

He held her hand and tried to be as comforting as possible through the pain. “How did you end up by yourself in the middle of nowhere? Did you know your pains had started?”

“Mrs. Reynolds keeps me to areas of the house closed in the winter. She told me to dust and my back hurt all day. All of a suddennnnnnnn aaaahhhhhhhhhh!”

Upon hearing a gasp behind him, Hurst turned and saw a footman. “Go get Mrs. Reynolds, now, and then Sally’s husband, Wiggins. Darcy said he works in the stable.”

“Right away, sir,” the pale young man said before running out the door.

“Evan is at Matlock with the Darcy’s. I think the babe is coming, I have to push. My sister said before ahhhhhhhhhhh...”

“What do I need to do,” Hurst asked after her pain had passed. Upon seeing Sally blush, he said, “This is not the time to be modest. Both your lives are at stake.”

Sally closed her eyes and nodded. “Pull up me dress to see if the babe’s head is...” Sally said before another pain came and he could see her strain.

Without comment, Hurst did as he was told. “Oh, sweet merciful Jesus, I see hair. I am assuming I catch the babe, letting it fall to the floor does not seem right,” he muttered to himself.

“Yes,” she gasped when her pain ended. “Blanket toooooooooooo ahhhhhhhhhh.”

Hurst saw more of the head appear and knew he did not have time for a blanket. He shrugged out of his coat and managed to catch the boy child as he was born. “It is a boy, but there is something around his neck.” Acting on pure instinct, Hurst removed the cord and when the babe did not cry, he started patting his back until a robust wail was heard. “Good job, Sally, you have a son.”

“Well done, Mr. Hurst.”

Hurst turned his head and saw Mrs. Reynolds and another servant in the doorway. “How long have you been there?”

“We got here just as he was born, sir,” Mrs. Reynolds responded as she walked into the room to check on Sally. “Cook will send water up when it is heated, Aggie went for towels, and my husband sent for the midwife. Susie, go find a towel or blanket to replace Mr. Hurst’s coat.”

“Yes, Mrs. Reynolds,” the maid said with a curtsy.

“Sally, why did you not tell me your pains had begun,” Mrs. Reynolds gently admonished. “Mrs. Hansen will be very jealous. She labored for an entire day with her first child.”

“I didn’t know, ma’am. My back hurt but ‘twas normal,” Sally explained.

“Wait until Darcy hears about this,” Hurst said to himself and then started laughing with the housekeeper.

“How did you know to remove the cord and slap his back, Mr. Hurst,” Mrs. Reynolds asked.

“I have no idea. I honestly do not remember what happened. My body just reacted, if that makes sense,” he tried to explain.

“It does indeed, sir,” she answered. “If you will excuse us, we will get Sally ready to move.”

“Sally said Wiggins is with Darcy at Matlock,” Hurst said. At Mrs. Reynolds nod he continued, “Should she be alone with an infant? Could we put her in a room here so she has help if needed? I also do not like the idea of sending the young man out into the cold weather.”

Mrs. Reynolds seemed to nod her approval before answering.

“We will move Sally to a room in the servants’ quarters. We will also send the other carriage driver to Matlock with an express for Wiggins.”

“Allow me time to change my clothes and write Darcy a note,” Hurst said.

“Of course, sir, when you are done, give it to my husband. He will be writing the note to Wiggins and sending Hodges on his way,” Mrs. Reynolds informed him.

“Sally, congratulations on a successful birth. You and your son will be in my prayers tonight,” Hurst said. “Thank you, Mrs. Reynolds, for holding the express for me. I am embarrassed to admit, but I do not know exactly where I am. Could you spare someone to escort me to the main hall so I know how to get to my room?”

~*~


Matlock, Derbyshire
Thursday, December 13, 1810


Fitzwilliam Darcy, his sister Georgiana, and his cousin Richard were preparing to mount their horses when they noticed a rider approaching at a fast speed.

“This is usually not a good sign,” Richard muttered.

Darcy concurred.

“Brother, does that look like Hodges to you?”

“I believe you are correct Georgie. See, he is headed this way,” Darcy answered.

“Sir, it is not bad news. This is for you,” Hodges said as he handed him a letter. “Do you know where Wiggins be?”

“I believe so, Hodges. Give me a moment.”

Darcy,

Do not be alarmed, everything is well. I helped birth a child! Yes, you read that right, your eyes are not deceiving you.

Wiggins needs to return immediately. I was wandering around the second floor earlier today, well to be completely honest I became lost. This house is absolutely gigantic! Anyway, I was taking a stroll, enjoying the decor when I heard a scream. I found poor Sally, in the throes of childbirth, all alone. I will save the details for your arrival.

Pardon the presumption of sending this note with one of your servants, but Mrs. Reynolds had her husband working on the arrangements before I asked. Seeing how diligent of a master you are, I thought you would want to know right away too. Please let Miss Darcy know Sally and her son are doing well.

At the risk of overstepping again, I asked Mrs. Reynolds to make up a room for Sally and the babe. I did not feel right sending them out in the cold air to their cottage, alone. As I am finding to be the case, she had already given the order.

Your amazed friend,

Reginald Hurst


“Oh my,” Darcy said.

“Brother, what has happened? Hodges said it was nothing bad.”

Darcy handed the note to Georgiana and saw Richard reading it over her shoulder.

“Hodges, go to the kitchen doors and ask for Wiggins. Trade horses with me,” Darcy said as he handed the reins over. “Wiggins may leave immediately and we will attach your horse to the back of the carriage. Will you be rested enough to drive in two hours?”

“Yes sir, I will help Wiggins pack and then take a nap,” Hodges said. “It shan’t be no problem to make Pemberley before dinner.”

“Thank you, Hodges.”

“Goodness brother, I am mortified for both Sally and Mr. Hurst, yet I am extremely grateful he was able to help her,” Georgiana broke the silence.

“Baptism by fire,” Richard said. “Do you think Hurst is well?”

“He has grown a lot in a short span of time, Richard. Hurst continues to surprise and impress me. I believe he was still feeling the excitement of the situation when he wrote this note, it is almost giddy, but I think he will be fine. I remember the first time I assisted a birth in the stables, it was an amazing experience.”

“Brother, I would not let Sally know you compared the birth of her child to a foal,” his sister said with a grin.

“Come, let us put away the horses and tell Uncle and Aunt we are to leave a day early,” Darcy said as he headed to find a stable lad.

~*~


Pemberley, Derbyshire
Thursday, December 13, 1810


As he exited the carriage at Pemberley, Fitzwilliam Darcy was once again grateful for the efficiency of his staff. They had indeed left Matlock within two hours and made it to Pemberley before dinner.

“Hurst, I hear you had a boring day going over accounts with Mr. Grey,” Darcy said dryly. Hurst looked like he was walking on air.

“Come, you must see Reggie,” Hurst said excitedly before walking into the house.

Darcy looked at Mrs. Reynolds and mouthed ‘Reggie?’ but she simply shook her head and indicated they should follow Hurst.

“Apparently we are going to see Reggie,” Richard said with a chuckle.

The group followed Hurst to the servant’s quarters and into Sally’s room.

“Oh Sally, congratulations,” Georgiana said as she rushed to the bedside. “He is adorable.”

“Thank you, Miss Darcy. This is Evan Reginald Wiggins, Reggie so he dunna get confused with his father,” Sally said.

“Reginald?” Darcy asked with a glance at Hurst who was blushing furiously. “I do not believe that is a family name.”

“May I hold him?” Georgie asked.

“Miss Darcy, you are still covered in road dust,” Hurst broke in. “We would not want Reggie covered, would we?”

“Oh! You are correct Mr. Hurst, I was excited. Holding babies is my favorite part of visiting tenants.”

“We will come back down after we clean up and change into our dinner clothes, unless Sally is sleeping,” Darcy told his sister while trying to suppress a grin at Hurst’s behavior.

“I am tired,” Sally confirmed. “Mr. Hurst, you could take Reggie to the drawing room for introductions. Evan went to fetch our mothers.”

Darcy was shocked to see a look of pride crossing Hurst’s face, his chest puffing out, and his eyes becoming moist.

“It would be my pleasure, Sally. Come here, young man,” Hurst cooed to the babe while carefully picking him up.

“Hurst, would you join us for dinner tonight? Mrs. Reynolds knew we would return and had ordered a feast later than normally served,” he asked.

“She informed me mealtime would be pushed back. Yes, I am already properly attired for dinner. I will see you all shortly.”

~*~


Pemberley, Derbyshire
Thursday, December 13, 1810


“Hurst, my good man, what have you been doing to yourself? Your clothes could almost be considered baggy,” Richard Fitzwilliam announced as he walked into the drawing room. He could not believe the change in the two weeks since he had been in company with Hurst.

“Colonel, how kind of you to notice. I sent a note to Dr. Withers after I left Darcy House and he agreed to see me the next day.”

“How did you manage that? He is in such high demand, it is immensely difficult to get an appointment with him,” Richard said, impressed.

“He is a cousin of my aunt, who was a product of my grandfather’s second marriage. Dr. Withers and Aunt Phoebe were born within six months of each other and are only ten years older than me. Mark, Dr. Withers, spent his summers at our estate and they allowed me to tag along.”

“I am still amazed at the difference in just two weeks. I do believe you have lost an entire stone.”

“Mark is a great believer in the works of Scottish physician George Cheyne, who wrote about his own weight battle. Cheyne recommends eating no meat, a lot of vegetables, and drinking milk. Mark has suggested I follow his teachings for at least a month and the cook here has been understanding and added a few of the things that worked for her, such as limiting the rich sauces she is famous for,” Hurst explained. “I have also been riding each day with Darcy and walking in the park.”

“That sounds like a sensible plan,” Richard agreed. “Just be careful what types of vegetables you are eating. Too many potatoes seem to make my clothes shrink.”

“Cook said the same thing,” Hurst confirmed with a grin. “She has me eating a lot of green vegetables, eggs, and roots like carrots.”

“Now that I am here, we will add more activities. Tomorrow morning, we will run part of the park instead of walking.” Richard had decided he would do everything to aid Hurst in his transformation. If he had anything to say about it, the Bingley’s would not recognize Hurst when next in their company.

“Run?” Hurst asked. “Really, Colonel, that is unnecessary.”

“I beg to differ. Did I not mention teaching you tricks the army uses to control my waist line? I have firsthand experience with new recruits that running not only helps but it is the quickest way I have found to build stamina. When I teach you the footwork involved with fencing, you will thank me. We will start with shorter distances and alternate days between running and walking until you become accustomed to the exercise.”

“You seem quite comfortable with an infant, Mr. Hurst,” Georgie said as she entered the room. “I do believe it is my turn.”

“Mrs. Reynolds is a godsend,” Hurst responded. “I was afraid to hold him but she put him in my arms and taught me what to do.”

“I was here first Georgie, although I was a bit distracted by Hurst’s weight to truly appreciate the babe.” Richard watched as the little imp took the child from Hurst and turned to him with a huge grin on her face.

“I am sorry Richard, but as I mentioned new babes are my favorite part of tenant visits. He is so adorable,” Georgie said before looking at Hurst. “Normally I would not presume to mention a gentleman’s attire, but since Richard pointed it out, Mr. Hurst, are you wearing someone else’s clothes? They fit you ill indeed. Do you need to visit the tailor in Lambton? My brother will introduce you.”

“No Miss Darcy, these are my clothes. In fact, this is the outfit I was wearing when we left London.”

“But, how is that possible?”

Darcy walked into the room and answered his sister, “Little Star, Mr. Hurst consulted a doctor before we left London. Previously, Hurst performed no physical activity and ate and drank to excess. At Pemberley, he is riding, walking the park daily, drinking no spirits and a lot of water, and not only is he eating smaller portions, but Cook has been serving him food specifically recommended by the doctor. I could tell it was working before we left, but this last week has shown a drastic change, Hurst.”

“Thank you, Darcy. Mark told me not to be discouraged if I did not see results immediately. He said the longer I stick to it, the better. Since you left, in addition to riding after lunch for pleasure, I have been joining Ward when he inspects the estate.”

“That is a lot of exercise for your horse,” he responded.

“It is not, Colonel. Wiggins instructed the stable lads to bring me a different horse each time I rode. Wiggins says I am actually doing him a favor because he does not have to assign a lad to exercise them in the yard.”

“How are you handling the different horses?” he asked.

“Richard, Wiggins knows how much riding experience Hurst has. I am sure he had a list of acceptable horses prepared.”

“Yes, Wiggins would have taken every precaution. I am a little astounded at his foresight,” he agreed.

“Richard, would you sit with me by the fire?” Georgie asked.

“Of course, lead the way,” he said, wondering why Georgie wanted to speak with him privately.

~*~


Pemberley, Derbyshire
Thursday, December 13, 1810


Hurst was a little hesitant to see Reggie leave with Mrs. Reynolds when she announced dinner was ready, but he knew the babe needed to be returned to his mother. He and Richard followed Darcy and Miss Darcy into the smaller dining room. They had settled into a pleasant meal when he noticed Miss Darcy and the Colonel exchanging looks.

“Miss Darcy,” he said, “Do you have something to say?”

“I am impressed, Hurst,” the Colonel said. “You are becoming more observant of your surroundings. Yes, she has something to ask her brother.”

“Georgie, why do you look afraid to ask me a question?” Darcy asked, sounding hurt.

“Brother, I was hoping you would allow me to stay at Pemberley and not return to school,” Miss Darcy said.

“Not return to school? Georgiana, you cannot be serious! Mrs. Younge wrote to say you are falling behind the other students. According to her, you will need individual tutoring. She offered to be your companion this summer and suggested I locate you a house in Ramsgate to limit the distractions. I have already asked my solicitor to start looking for properties to rent,” Darcy informed his sister sternly.

Hurst was afraid Miss Darcy was going to cry when she stood up and left the room quickly.

“That was badly done, Darcy!” the Colonel shouted. “You did not even let her explain.”

“There is nothing to explain, Richard. She is not ready to leave school.”

“Darcy,” he broke in, “are you not the same person who lectured me about not making decisions without knowing all of the information? Does that not apply to your sister, more than anyone? For God’s sake man, she is not one of your servants to order about as you desire!”

Darcy looked taken aback while the Colonel was nodding.

“Hurst is right, Darcy. If this is how you regularly treat Georgie, I have some thinking to do about the future. Did you forget, Uncle George made me her guardian too? I actually listened to her, asked questions, and agreed with her.”

Hurst watched as Darcy tried to process what just happened.

“Darcy!” the Colonel shouted to get his attention focused. “Why did you not let Georgie explain?”

“There was no need,” Darcy answered. “I am not going to let her abandon school because it is proving too difficult. She needs to face problems instead of running away from them.”

“In what ways was she falling behind?” he asked.

“What do you mean, Hurst?”

“You said Mrs. Younge recommends additional tutoring. In what areas?” Hurst demanded.

“Well, she did not say, but as the headmistress, she would know,” Darcy defended himself.

“So, you took the word of a relative stranger as fact, without specific details, and did not let your sister explain her reasoning,” the Colonel asked darkly.

Hurst watched as Darcy opened and closed his mouth a few times without responding and could see the moment the truth washed over him. “I see you finally realize you have done your sister a disservice. After you offer her an apology, I dare say you owe her a pretty trinket,” he suggested.

“An expensive, shiny, trinket,” the Colonel added. “With an apology in front of me and Hurst, possibly while on your knees.”

Darcy had opened his mouth to respond when Miss Darcy walked back in with tears streaming down her face and paper in her hands.

“Here, brother, read these letters from my school friends. All three of them wrote to congratulate me on being the best student at school,” Miss Darcy said as she put the letters in front of her brother.

She returned to her seat and continued eating, while occasionally sniffling. Hurst was amazed to see it, but Darcy looked even more guilty than he had previously.

“Little Star,” Darcy said softly.

Miss Darcy refused to look up from her dinner until her brother moved to the seat next to her and tried again.

“Georgie, please look at me.”

When Miss Darcy looked up, Darcy continued.

“I am so sorry, Little Star. I will not read your personal correspondence. I should have asked you to explain why you did not want to return to school instead of taking Mrs. Younge’s letter at face value. Please, explain it to me?”

“I miss you terribly when I am at school,” Miss Darcy sniffled. “With all of the masters you hired for me, I can learn nothing more from school. I already have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and I speak French and Italian fluently. What more could they teach me? Maybe Mrs. Younge was writing to so many families, she addressed the letter incorrectly?”

“No, Little Star, unfortunately that is not the case. The letter was clearly addressed to myself and she even mentioned how Pemberley would be a distraction with how much you enjoy visiting the stables and the orangery.”

“Wait a moment, Darcy,” the Colonel broke in. “Georgie, did you ever mention the orangery to Mrs. Younge?”

“I do not think so,” Miss Darcy responded.

“It is a rather specific thing to mention, is it not Darcy?” the Colonel asked.

“But, if Miss Darcy did not tell her, how did she know?” he asked.

“Exactly, Hurst! Do you not see?” the Colonel stated. “Darcy, I do not want Georgie returning to that school. It stretches the bounds of credulity to believe that Mrs. Younge would have confused her best pupil for one so bad she needed personal tutoring. Even if Mrs. Younge heard about the orangery from another student, why did she lie to you about Georgie needing tutoring? Something else is afoot.”

“I agree, Darcy. It might be as simple as Mrs. Younge trying to find a lucrative income, free holiday, and way out of the sweltering heat and smell of London while the school is closed during the summer months, but something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” he quoted.

“Well done, Hurst,” the Colonel congratulated. “Did Darcy recommend Shakespeare in addition to farming books?”

“Yes, Richard. Hurst has been taking a dinner tray in his room most evenings and is apparently working his way through the Bard’s works,” Darcy said. “I agree with both of you. Georgiana, you will not be returning to school.”

Darcy was quiet and withdrawn for the rest of the meal. When they retired to the drawing room, he shared a look with the Colonel and nodded at Darcy.

“Darcy,” the Colonel started. “What is wrong? You already apologized to Georgie in front of us.”

“Yes, brother, I forgive you. I understand how my question would have looked to someone who is so dutiful.”

Hurst saw Darcy flinch as his sister spoke. “Come, my friend, you have been so helpful to me, allow us to be of service to you.” Darcy looked at him in anguish. “None of us are perfect. Please, allow us to help you through whatever is obviously paining you. We will not judge you.”

“Do I really order people around with a disdain for their feelings?” Darcy asked quietly.

Hurst looked at the Colonel and indicated he should speak first.

“Darcy,” the Colonel said slowly, “I am sorry to say, but given your station in life, a certain amount of arrogance that you know what is best for your servants is unavoidable. You have too many decisions to make that affect their livelihoods.”

“The Colonel is right, Darcy. Although, I will admit, when I first met you, which I now understand to be based on your shyness when meeting strangers and Miss Bingley’s predatory reaction, your manners did make me believe you were arrogant and conceited.”

“William,” said that man’s sister, “every action you take affects me in some way. I know you do not make decisions lightly and they are made with my best interest in mind. Having said that, I would like to be consulted when possible. For example, you never asked me if I liked Mrs. Younge well enough to spend an entire summer with her. Would you like it if Richard told you what part of the country you would be residing in and with whom?”

“But Georgie, caring for you is my responsibility!” Darcy said, clearly frustrated.

“No one is disputing that, Darcy. But stop and think about Miss Darcy’s question. Really think. What if the Colonel told you he rented a cottage at Ramsgate and you were to spend the summer learning estate matters from Bingley?” he asked with a grin.

“Darcy, ignore Hurst. We all like to have our own way very well, you more than others,” the Colonel added with a grin. “Think back to when you were younger. Did your father ever ask your opinion or did he direct what you did?”

Hurst could see recognition flash on Darcy’s face.

“Oh, Little Star, I am so sorry. Richard, my father did indeed ask my opinion when possible. He did not always follow my wishes, but I remember how it felt to just be asked. I will try to do better by you, Georgie. You may have to remind me when I slip into old habits.”

“Miss Darcy could always initiate the conversation,” Hurst said to Darcy before turning to her. “When your brother mentions upcoming travel, you could state your opinions.”

“That is a good idea, Mr. Hurst. Thank you,” she said with a smile.

“It works too, Georgie,” the Colonel said. “You initiated today’s conversation about not returning to school.”

“Yes, well done, Georgie,” added Darcy. “When I write to my solicitor to stop looking for properties in Ramsgate, I will ask him to start an investigation into Mrs. Younge and the school. The situation does not sit well with me.”
SubjectAuthorPosted

Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 4

LizzySApril 16, 2020 02:29PM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 4

BrigidApril 23, 2020 04:10AM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 4

LizzySApril 23, 2020 04:13AM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 4

EvelynJeanApril 16, 2020 10:29PM



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