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Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 15

July 16, 2020 08:34PM
I have the next four chapters mapped out. I planned to get to the picnic this chapter, but it had a mind of its own. I anticipate the picnic will take all of chapter 16, chapter 17 will be the assembly, and then maybe another 2-3 more chapters before the Bingley’s arrive.








Chapter 15


Haye Park, Hertfordshire
Sunday, June 9, 1811



Reginald Hurst walked into the dining room to break his fast and was surprised to find Lord Halburn sitting with Darcy and Harold.


“Halburn, I did not expect you to arrive so soon.”


“Hurst, I feel as though I see less of you every time we meet. Congratulations my good man. It really is amazing. I saw you a week ago and now you look just as fit as Darcy and I. You must be overjoyed with your progress.”


“I saw Dr. Withers shortly after we returned to London in April and he was speechless. We definitely are more active in Meryton than we were during the season. I run every morning, we ride the countryside almost every day, and we frequently hold fencing matches to help Harold regain the strength in his arm. However, I have not lost a significant amount of weight since we arrived. The difference you noticed from this past week may be an optical illusion. The biggest change is that shortly before we left London, Darcy, the Colonel, and I agreed my waist was as trim as it is likely to get. Spending the funds to order a whole new wardrobe seemed like a wise decision for the first time since I started this journey back to good health. I had the final fittings at my tailor the day before we left town. The clothes I was wearing the last time you saw me, were purchased during my final year at Eton. My valet had been taking in the seams,” Hurst finished with a grin, while thinking that Halburn’s guess was more accurate than he would ever know.


“Now that you mention it, the style was a bit outdated and they fit you ill. If Dr. Withers figures out your secret, he could make a fortune,” Halburn told him. “I am sure the tailors will all appreciate the business.”


“It takes a lot of discipline. I have not had any spirits since Louisa passed away and my food choices have been limited,” Hurst explained. It had taken him a while to come to terms with his new eating and drinking habits. Darcy made it easy by not partaking in an after dinner drink at Pemberley. When they went to London and started accepting dinner invitations, it was much more difficult to repeatedly explain why he refused an after dinner drink.


“That would be a downside. Still, if someone is motivated, it could not hurt to try the steps you undertook.”


“That is true. I have been keeping Mark appraised of the changes I made to his original plan and I am writing everything down in my journal,” he told his friend. Wanting to redirect the conversation, Hurst observed, “You must have left London immediately upon receiving the Colonel’s note.”


“My father convinced me that travelling with Alfie as a companion and guide was a wise decision,” Halburn responded with a wry grin.


“JT!” Miss Darcy cried before hugging her cousin. “I am so very happy you are here! Aunt Phoebe decided that since your mother arrived, we should not wait to meet the community and we will be attending church services. You must meet our new Bennet and Sakville friends afterwards.”


“Georgie, let me get this out of the way immediately. I am not looking for a wife,” Halburn said firmly. “The only reason I am here, is to ensure my mother is protected. I mean absolutely no offense, gentlemen, but I know, and understand, that your sisters and mother are your first priorities, just as my mother will be mine.”


“But JT, Aunt Olivia is excited about possibly having a daughter. Can you not at least humour my aunt and meet Juliet and the other ladies?” Miss Darcy asked eagerly.


“My brother’s note rather inclined me to stay in London, not hurry to Meryton. Father had to talk me into making the trip at all. Make no mistake, Georgie, I am here for mother,” Halburn stated bluntly. “You will cease this matchmaking talk immediately or I will return to London and send our largest footman to watch over mother.”


“Lord Halburn, what a pleasure to see you,” Grace said as she entered the room on the Colonel’s arm.


“Grace, JT says he is not looking for a wife and does not want to meet Juliet or any ladies,” Miss Darcy said on a near whine.


“What is wrong with meeting our new friends, Joseph? You have no concerns meeting any of the insipid society maidens in London, who you have no intention of offering for, I might add,” Lady Matlock said as she also entered the room.


“Mother, calm down. Whether or not I marry, is my decision. Maybe I plan to let Richard’s son inherit the title,” Halburn threatened.


“Joseph!” Lady Matlock exclaimed while bringing her hand to her chest.


Hurst looked questioningly at Darcy and received a head shake that contradicted what the viscount said. Then he looked at the Colonel who was clearly enjoying the interplay between his brother and mother.


“Enough, Romeo. He is teasing, Mother. He arrived late last night and woke up early this morning, he is fatigued and cranky. Besides, if JT does not want to meet his Juliet, there is nothing we can do,” the Colonel said before turning to Grace. “Did you notice what I did there? I thought it was clever.”


“You would, naturally,” Grace said while shaking her head. “Georgie, if we want to eat before church, we should do so while the brothers continue to throw mud pies at each other. Aunt Phoebe should join us in a moment, she needed to meet with the housekeeper briefly to discuss an issue with the supper menu.”


The cook at Haye Park was exceptional, Hurst enjoyed every item she prepared specially for him. When everyone was done breaking their fast, they returned to their rooms to freshen up for church.


Hurst, Harold, and Darcy were the first to descend the stairs. They decided to wait for the rest of their party in the parlour and were discussing an estate issue when the Fitzwilliam brothers walked in escorting Miss Darcy and Grace.


“Mother and Aunt Phoebe will be down shortly,” the Colonel told them.


The party agreed to move to the front door and started to chat amiably.


Hurst, Darcy, and Harold continued the discussion about the estate matter they had been trying to solve when he heard the Colonel exclaim, “JT, you know that is not what I meant. Miss Hurst, ignore my addle-brained brother.”


“Maybe I should tell Miss Hurst about that time. You remember the one? You were five?” Halburn told his brother with narrowed eyes.


“If you do that, mother may find out what happened to her favourite settee,” the Colonel threw back.


“What about grandmother’s heirloom vase?” Halburn retorted.


“I assume you arrived on horseback with a limited wardrobe. If you do not want your clothes to accidentally fall into a fireplace, I suggest you relent.”


“In your dreams, Dickie.”


“Oh really, Halby? I could tell Darcy, Hurst, and Harold what I caught you doing in your room the first holiday you returned home from Eton. Or better yet, a few of the tales from your first year that were told to a younger, impressionable brother?”


“I think I have an idea what he caught Halburn doing,” Harold muttered with a grin causing Hurst to chuckle.


“Clayriver,” Halburn threatened.


“You would not dare! We took an oath!”


“What about my father’s estate,” Lady Matlock asked in a dangerously quiet voice from behind the brothers. “I hope you are not referring to the fire in the stables when you were both younger.”


Hurst had to purse his lips to keep from laughing at the look on the faces of Halburn and the Colonel. It was clear they were so involved in their argument that they had not heard Lady Matlock and Aunt Phoebe approach.


“A fire?” the Colonel asked, a little too innocently in Hurst’s opinion. “I do not recall a fire. I must have been very young.”


“I seem to recollect grandfather and father discussing it a few times, I believe I was six when it happened. I was also very young, but something makes me think the fire broke out in the middle of the night. Two such young children would certainly have been in the nursery sleeping under the care of their nurse,” Halburn offered.


“JT is correct, if, indeed, such a fire happened,” the Colonel added.


“There is Wiggins with my carriage and Beech is behind him with Hurst’s. Shall we depart?” Darcy asked and received grateful smiles from the Fitzwilliam brothers.


“Of course, Mr. Darcy. We would not want Lord Halburn and the Colonel to make a bad first impression on the locals of Meryton by being late to church,” Aunt Phoebe answered with a grin.


~*~



Churchyard, Meryton
Sunday, June 9, 1811



Grace Hurst had enjoyed their first service at the Meryton Church. The vicar, Mr. Rivers, was an engaging speaker whose sermons were original and thought provoking.


She could not believe how many people were attending the service. Grace had not thought Meryton so large a village. Most husbands escorted their family to a pew and then stood in the back of the sanctuary. Their party all complimented the rector on his sermon and discreetly expressed their appreciation for his conciseness which allowed them to walk out of the church twenty minutes sooner than they feared.


Aunt Phoebe and Lady Matlock had Grace’s sympathy. They had been surrounded by the neighbourhood matrons as soon as they exited the building. She quietly asked her brother, “Should we think of a reason to interrupt Aunt Phoebe’s discussion? Maybe we have to Haye Park right away to take care of a household matter?”


“No, leave them be. I know Aunt Phoebe was hoping for two weeks before the matrons started visiting, but now that Lady Matlock arrived early, she knows that would be impossible,” her brother answered.


“I do not know how mother and Lady Matlock do it and seem to enjoy themselves,” Harold said while looking at his mother. “Making small talk with people I do not know is one of the things I dislike the most about being a civilian.”


Grace was only half listening to the discussion that was going on around her. She was hoping for an opportunity to speak with the Bennet and Sakville ladies to apologize again and hopefully strengthen their budding friendship. Juliet caught her eye, smiled, and started walking towards their group with her sisters, cousins, and mother following at a short distance. Grace discreetly elbowed Georgie to indicate they were approaching.


“JT, I am excited to introduce you to Juliet and all of our new friends,” Georgie told Lord Halburn.


“Georgie, as I told you earlier, if you persist in this nonsense, I will be forced to give them a set down and return to London. You know how I detest having women thrust at me, it is insupportable. I am in no humour at present to be thrown at a young lady who must have hinted at an introduction because she was on the hunt for a single gentleman with a title. I suppose she must be tolerable for you to consider her a possible match, but it would not be enough to tempt me. It would be a punishment to be forced to talk with this group of young ladies. You had better enjoy your friendship, for you are wasting your time trying to interest me in any of them,” said Lord Halburn, with his back to the approaching ladies.


Grace closed her eyes, mortified for the second time in as many days. It was amusing, a little bit, if seen in a certain light.


“Grace,” Georgie whispered urgently, “open your eyes and say something.”


“Juliet, I was hoping to see you all after services. Would you allow me to introduce you to the newest addition to our household?” Grace greeted her friend with an apologetic look. The vindictive side of Grace’s personality enjoyed seeing Lord Halburn blanch when she spoke and then turn around quickly. She saw his eyes widen as he looked at the ladies with appreciation showing clearly on his face. She almost hoped Juliet declined the introduction. It would teach him right to let his mouth run just because he was tired and annoyed.


“Of course,” Juliet said politely with a disinterested look on her face.


Grace performed the introductions honouring the duchess’ request. She was pleased when the ladies acknowledged Lord Halburn with the slightest of nods, as if his title and handsome face meant nothing to them.


“Mr. Darcy, will you be following us to Netherfield Park immediately or do you need to pick up Reggie?” Mrs. Sakville asked.


Mr. Darcy responded, “I am so sorry...”


“Enough of that. It is impossible to control preposterous relatives. We will place blame where it is due,” Mrs. Sakville said with a hard look at Lord Halburn. “Come along girls, we must prepare for our guests. It appears they will need to stop at Haye Park to settle young Reggie.”


“How did you know that, Mrs. Sakville?” Grace asked.


“It is an old trick I learned from my grandfather, Miss Hurst. I used my eyes,” Mrs. Sakville said with a smirk and a slight nod to the left.


Grace looked to where she indicated and saw the Wiggins family walking towards Mr. Darcy’s carriage with a crying babe.


“Yes, of course, how silly of me not to have noticed,” Grace said, feeling her cheeks heat up in embarrassment.


“Mr. Darcy, with your permission, Celia has asked if Miss Darcy may ride to Netherfield in our carriage,” Mrs. Sakville asked.


Grace saw Mr. Darcy wordlessly ask Georgiana if that was acceptable before answering, “She would enjoy spending more time with your daughters, Mrs. Sakville. Thank you for the offer.”


The two parties broke up and headed towards their own carriages. As they approached the Hurst carriage at the end of the row, the Colonel could no longer control his laughter.


“Oh, JT, if you could have seen the look on your face! I wish I could sketch! I would love to have the moment immortalized,” the Colonel managed to say through his laughter.


“Wait until we are in the carriage Richard. Alfie, please stay behind to escort Lady Matlock and Lady Dobbs to Netherfield Park in my carriage,” Mr. Darcy asked his faithful servant. “With Georgie travelling with the Sakville’s, we can fit comfortably in the Hurst carriage and still maintain propriety because Mr. Hurst and Sally will be with us.”


“Right away, sir,” Alfie said before walking towards the ladies who were still chatting happily with the neighbourhood matrons.


Grace saw Mr. Darcy catch his aunt’s eye and nod towards Alfie. Lady Matlock discreetly confirmed she understood.


“JT, what on earth possessed you to speak like that about young ladies you have never met,” Mr. Darcy practically shouted at his cousin once they pulled away from the church.


“Why did nobody warn me they were walking up behind me?” Lord Halburn asked miserably.


“We should not have had to!” Mr. Darcy quickly retorted. “A gentleman would never disparage a young lady like that.”


“I only wanted to stop the matchmaking and it turned into what could possibly be the most embarrassing moment of my life.”


“Maybe Halburn should stay at Haye Park this afternoon,” Reginald suggested with a smirk.


“He should not cut and run,” Harold complained. “Not only does it reek of cowardice, but I do not want to miss the close quarter battle. I think it will be amusing to see how a society lady would deliver a broadside.”


Grace agreed with her cousin. Lord Halburn had made a mess of it. She did not want to miss being there when he was actually introduced to Juliet and found out the lady he all but accused of being mercenary was well above him in consequence.


“Richard, some of the blame should fall to you,” Mr. Darcy said with a significant look.


She also agreed with Mr. Darcy. The Colonel certainly played a part in what happened. He knew his brother was fatigued from his travels, yet he started pestering and calling him Romeo. As if that was not enough, just before Aunt Phoebe and Lady Matlock came downstairs, he started that ridiculous argument over an innocent jest.


“As much as I love to blame my young brother for every possible thing that goes wrong, I fail to see how this could be his fault,” Lord Halburn said.


“For starters, there was the note he sent,” Mr. Darcy said. “Other than ordering you here, the only thing he inferred was that there were numerous attractive and single ladies. Then this morning, you were tired from lack of sleep and he used Georgie’s opening to rile you up. Not that it is an excuse, at all, but you were upset and wanted to be left alone.”


Grace could not believe what Mr. Darcy just insinuated. Did the Colonel really not tell his brother who the Sakville’s were? She knew she was right when the Colonel gave her a big smile and a wink. He should have informed his brother about the Sakville family. She was sure Lady Matlock informed her husband.


“I will try and help you repair the damage, My Lord,” Grace said. She enjoyed the look of confusion on the Colonel’s face and raised her eyebrow at him. “I know what it is like to say things you do not really mean or the wrong thing because you do not have the information you need. Colonel, I am certainly not someone who should be casting stones, but you went too far, sir. You set the whole situation into motion.”


“I think it is a long shot, but Miss Darcy seems like the type who may try and soften their impression of you,” Harold said.


“Good, sweet, Georgie. You are right, Dobbs. Hopefully she can help them understand that I was simply frustrated,” Lord Halburn said.


“Do not get too excited,” Harold warned. “Even with Miss Darcy’s help, they still have you over the barrel. I would give them a wide berth for a while to cool down.”


“Why does Mrs. Sakville look so familiar?” Lord Halburn said to nobody in particular as the carriage pulled up to the house.


Grace wanted to tell him, but she caught Mr. Darcy’s eye and he shook his head. He was right. They would be at Netherfield shortly and the duchess could decide whether or not he should know.


“JT, it is going to take Sally a while to settle Reggie before we can go to Netherfield for our visit. Why do you not go upstairs and rest? I will have your valet wake you up shortly before we leave,” Mr. Darcy all but ordered his cousin.


“A good idea, Darcy. Thank you,” a subdued Lord Halburn replied before walking out of the room.


“Miss Hurst, would you like to take a walk in the gardens with me?” the Colonel asked hesitantly.


After retiring to her room the previous evening, she had done a lot of thinking about her own confrontation with the Sakville’s. She liked to think she came out of it an even better person than she was after her initial period of self-reflection in the parlour. What she needed right now, was time to think of gentle ways to help the Colonel see that, like hers previously, his own behavior was at times too much. She was saved from having to decline his offer by her brother’s approach.


“Grace, Darcy asked Alfie to pick up the post from my townhouse when he was in London yesterday and I was able to sort it before we broke our fast. You have a letter from your friend Clara and one from her aunt, Lady Sheldon,” her brother said while handing her two envelopes. “Mrs. Mayes told Alfie they were important. I apologize for not giving them to you right away, but I knew you were nervous enough about attending an unfamiliar church and that a few hours, on the Lord’s day, should not matter.”


Grace opened Clara’s letter first and then ripped open Lady Sheldon’s. “Mr. Darcy, may Clara visit us for a month? Please?”


“Grace, calm down. What is wrong?” Reginald asked.


“I believe I told you her parents and brother went to their estate in Scotland instead of coming to London for the season. They left her under the protection of the Sheldon’s.” Reginald nodded and she continued, “Lord Sheldon received an express that his sister was ill. Lady Sheldon asks that we allow Clara to stay with us until her family returns. Please, Mr. Darcy. Clara’s invitation to join her in London this past season allowed me to escape the marriage my father was arranging to Lord Camfield. Beyond the affection I feel for her because of our lifelong friendship, I owe her a debt I could not begin to repay. I know her parents would trust her into Aunt Phoebe’s care. The Owens estate is next to ours and Aunt Phoebe grew up with Lady Sheldon and her brother, Clara’s father.”


“Lady Dobbs is my hostess. As such, we should ask her opinion. For myself, and please do not take offense, with Mrs. Annesley vising her family, we would have three young ladies with two chaperones and five unmarried gentlemen in the house. The situation makes me rather uneasy.”


“I agree,” Reginald said. “Do not give me that look, sister. You know reputations have been ruined for less.”


Grace hated to admit it, but her brother and Mr. Darcy were right. “But we may ask Aunt Phoebe what she thinks?”


“Yes, Miss Hurst. If Lady Dobbs thinks it proper, I have no cause for concern with her taking Miss Owens under her protection. I know she would never agree to anything that would put us in a precarious position. My aunt suspected the curious matrons of Meryton would surround her and Lady Dobbs after services. She told me in advance they would go directly to Netherfield. Between the two of them, I am sure a solution can be found.”


~*~



Netherfield Park, Hertfordshire
Sunday, June 9, 1811



Lady Juliet Sakville was incensed. How dare Lord Halburn make assumptions about her based on the excitement of a young lady who was not out. To insinuate that the daughter of a duke had to beg for an introduction to a man with a title was idiotic.


“Jules, calm down, my dear,” her mother said. “I understand you are upset, but stop and think about all that you heard.”


“Oh, do not worry, mother, I am thinking about what I heard.”


“What happened?” Edmund asked.


“Mother is correct, Jules. Do you not recall how Grace introduced us and Mr. Darcy calling mother Mrs. Sakville?” Celia asked flippantly.


“Oh, this is all my fault,” Miss Darcy said with tears glistening in her eyes. “I am so very sorry.”


Juliet was surprised to hear Miss Darcy speak. In her rage, she had momentarily forgotten they had an extra passenger.


“I will ask again, what happened?” her brother asked.


“Before we explain, Miss Darcy, allow me to introduce you to my son, The Marquess of Milham Edmund Sakville. You may call him Mr. Sakville in company or Master Sakville if my husband is in residence. Edmund, I am sure you remember our trips to Pemberley. Georgiana is the daughter of Mr. Darcy.”


“It is nice to meet you, Miss Darcy. Now, please tell me what you are all referring to.”


Juliet allowed Celia to tell their brother about the encounter for the rest of the trip to Netherfield. Her mother led them to the parlour and requested refreshments.


“Miss Darcy, would you please tell us why you feel your cousin’s comment was your fault?” Edmund asked.


“My aunt, Lady Matlock, is impatient for grandchildren and is very vocal about it. JT and Richard, her sons, are very particular and both dislike typical society ladies. They respect people not for their rank, but for their good sense, intelligence, and kindness. JT was not expected until Monday so I was happy to see him this morning. I immediately told him I was eager for him to meet my new friends and then Richard walked in and started teasing him. Poor JT arrived at Haye Park very late, woke up early, and had his brother tormenting him relentlessly while we broke our fast,” Miss Darcy explained.


“I, too, have acted unthinkingly in similar situations,” Edmund said. “Being hunted for a title and having to worry about being compromised is disheartening, for sure. However, that does not absolve him of guilt. He should have vented his frustration on his brother instead of lashing out at unknown ladies.”


“I am sure you never took your anger out in such a public place or on unsuspecting parties,” Juliet said sharply. Edmund nodded at her with a smirk on his face.


“You are correct, son. I have heard stories from your father about how he was treated before he married. Knowing the circumstances surrounding Lord Halburn’s outburst may make it easier for Juliet to forgive him. Eventually, after making him grovel sufficiently, of course,” her mother grinned.


Juliet was unsure if there was enough recompense Lord Halburn could achieve to make her think kindly of him.


“JT does not know who you really are. Richard did not inform him, but he did manage to tell him about all of the unattached ladies in the area. I have also heard my brother and cousins complain about women who hound them relentlessly,” Miss Darcy added.


Georgie was clearly trying to help her cousin. Juliet could understand familial devotion and was loathe to admit it did speak well of Lord Halburn. That his young cousin apparently cared for him greatly, was not something to dismiss lightly.


“Again, I have been there,” Edmund agreed. “It becomes rather tiresome.”


“I see where you are going with this, Miss Darcy. A very tired, frustrated, and suspicious Viscount arrived in a small country village and had women immediately brought to his attention. You also know how that feels, Jules. How many times have men approached you because of your father?” her mother asked.


Juliet privately agreed with them, but she certainly was not about to let the buffoon get away scot-free though. She had to make sure her pound of flesh was carefully collected. Her mother would be upset if she took it too far. Lizzy would be a good ally. Her uncle would certainly appreciate the outlandishness of the tale when she told him and probably have a fair number of ideas. If Juliet had to describe a single familial trait she shared with her cousin and uncle, it would be that they valued being diverted by the foibles of those around them. Miss Hurst seemed like another person who would understand and help her make plans.


“Mrs. Jane! Mrs. Jane! I am so glad you are here!” Anna squealed when she ran into the parlour and gave Mrs. Sakville a hug. “You can meet William and Mr. Hurs. I want them to marry Miss Lizzy and Miss Jane so I can throw the flowers.”


Little Anna was always like a breath of fresh air, it was impossible to stay gloomy around her infectious personality. Juliet loved spending time in her company.


“From your mouth to God’s ear, Anna,” Miss Darcy told the young girl. “What did my brother tell you about discussing marriages?”


“I member, he said it was not proper. What did you mean saying to God’s ear, Miss Ana? Did you notice she has my name, Mrs. Jane? It is citing,” Anna said happily.


“Of course, I did,” mother told Anna with a grin. “What games should we play this afternoon?”


“My favouritist games are pall mall, dore and cluck1, bocatch2, and I want to play graces with Miss Grace. It would be so much fun cause they both have her name!” Anna said as she jumped up and down and clapped her hands.


Juliet heard her brother quietly chuckle and mutter ‘dore and cluck’.


“Someone is happy,” Lady Matlock said before Mrs. Nichols could announce her and Lady Dobbs.


“Can I do the ductions?” Anna asked.


“Are you acquainted with the ladies?” mother asked the little girl.


Juliet had to bite her lip to stop herself from smiling at the look of dismay that crossed Anna’s face.


“No, Mrs. Jane,” Anna said sadly.


“How about I introduce you to the ladies and you may introduce them to Edmund? They have not met him yet,” mother offered.


Juliet smiled as Anna proudly introduced Edmund to the ladies.


“Anna, Lady Matlock is my aunt and Lady Dobbs is Mr. and Miss Hurst’s aunt,” Miss Darcy stated.


“That means Lady Lock is William’s aunt too, right?”


“William? Young lady, it is highly improper for you to speak of Mr. Darcy so informally,” Lady Dobbs said. “And it is Matlock, not Lock.”


This could be a fun afternoon, Juliet thought. Staying near Anna was always amusing, but Lady Dobbs seemed to be a stickler of propriety which Anna cared for not at all.


“But he said I could,” Anna defended herself. “Mrs. Jane, did I do bad?”


“Lady Dobbs is correct, Anna. It is indeed improper to be so informal with someone who is not a relative. However, Mr. Darcy gave you leave to call him William. How about a compromise?” mother asked.


“I like to mise,” Anna stated confidently.


“You should call him Mr. William,” mother stated. “That allows for the proper respect to be shown while honouring his request too.”


Oh yes, this will be a most entertaining afternoon. Juliet caught her brother’s eye, and they shared a conspiratorial smirk.


“You are mart, Mrs. Jane. I like it when you are at field,” Anna replied.


“Anna, please ring for a maid to escort this unknown young man to the servant’s quarters. I am surprised Mrs. Nicholls did not automatically see to his comfort,” mother stated.


“I apologize madam, but I go where Miss Darcy and Ladies Matlock and Dobbs are.”


Even better, Juliet thought. Mother is not accustomed to being disobeyed, being told no by a servant was unheard of.


“My goodness, you stated that very decidedly for so young a person. What makes you think I will not ask the Sims brothers to remove you?” mother asked curiously.


“Because my master is very fastidious when it comes to the safety of those he loves. I am following his orders. If I leave, all three ladies leave with me.”


“Allow me to introduce you,” Lady Dobbs quickly interrupted their exchange. “Mrs. Sakville, this is Alfie, one of the Darcy servants. When we met, he was Mr. Darcy’s personal messenger and fencing partner. To be honest I am not entirely sure what his duties are while we are in Meryton.”


“My main duty is the protection of Miss Darcy, however, I do whatever the master asks. He makes sure I have all of the information I need to protect his sister. For example, he informed me you were from Dorset,” Alfie said significantly. “Derbyshire is landlocked. Does your estate include an ocean shoreline?”


“No, it does not,” Edmund answered clearly amused.


Juliet was surprised that Mr. Darcy would inform a servant of her families rank when mother asked for their secrecy. He must trust this young man as much as her parents trusted the Sims family. “How long have you been employed by the Darcy family?” Juliet asked.


“I was born at Pemberley. My family has served the Darcy’s for many generations.”


“Are you the young man who took lessons with Georgie and her maid? I remember Frederick was scandalized when Mr. Darcy Sr. mentioned it once,” her mother asked thoughtfully.


“Yes, I am. My full name is Alfie Reynolds, I am sure you remember my grandmother and aunt, Mrs. Reynolds and Mrs. Smythe, the housekeepers at Pemberley and Darcy House.”


“Who could forget such wonderful and efficient ladies. The Sims family has a similar place in our household,” her mother said with a grin.


“I remember Mrs. Reynolds. She was always helpful when I asked for gardening tools,” Juliet said. Now she understood why Mr. Darcy informed Alfie. She could not imagine either of her parents withholding something as significant from the Sims family.


“Alfie has begun teaching me and Grace how to defend ourselves,” Miss Darcy shared. “We have only had one lesson, but I find the subject fascinating. I never realized before how useful a stick could be.”


“What a spectacular coincidence. The Sims brothers will begin teaching my nieces the same type of lessons shortly. Nathan,” her mother addressed the elder Sims twin, “Miss Darcy and Miss Hurst will be staying at Haye Park for six months. Do you think it would be worthwhile to teach one large class instead of two smaller ones?”


“Yes, madam, I believe so. I also advise that your daughters participate too. It never hurts to refresh previous lessons and with so many young ladies living in such close proximity, we could come up with some type of discreet signal system they could use to alert others when they feel as though they need help. There is safety in numbers.”


“Also, since your daughters have already been trained, they could demonstrate certain techniques to the ladies in a way that us men could not,” Alfie added.


Juliet laughed at the look on Nathan Sims’ face. He looked impressed at first and then almost upset that he was upstaged by a younger man.


“We should invite the Lucas and Long ladies too,” Celia stated.


“What about the mothers?” Juliet asked. “What if they wanted to learn too?”


“Marvellous ideas,” Lady Dobbs said. “I never thought about needing to learn before, but I must admit I was envious when Mr. Darcy and Reginald were discussing the idea. What if you get separated from your footman?”


“I learned with my daughters and it has served me well,” her mother offered.


Mrs. Nicholls walked into the room and announced, “The Bennet carriage has been spotted with another behind it, madam.”





1 dore and cluck is really Battledore and Shuttlecock. The game is a precursor to badmitton.

2 bocatch is really Bilbocatch. The game is commonly known as cup-and-ball. It is a wooden cup with a handle that has a small ball attached by a string.
SubjectAuthorPosted

Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 15

LizzySJuly 16, 2020 08:34PM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 15

Michelle AJuly 17, 2020 03:36AM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 15

LizzySJuly 17, 2020 01:23PM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 15

Michelle AJuly 20, 2020 08:00PM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 15

AlidaJuly 17, 2020 02:19AM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Chapter 15

LizzySJuly 17, 2020 03:09AM



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