Thursday, April 29, 2010

In the Parlor

 (Previously)

In one of the roomy and elegant parlors in the Fitzwilliam's house, Mr.Landish sat with a face full of placid yet sometimes enthusiastic smiles. Anne and Catherine sat on two chairs separated by a small table, on the other side of Mr.Landish. They appeared restless, but with extreme politeness, waited for their aunt to come down.

"I am so glad to find you ladies in," began Mr.Landish. "I did hear from your uncle that you were to be out today, but I thought I might find you back at this hour. Indeed, I am quiet satisfied with my success. You see, I was so pleased with our conversation when I last came, that I had to give myself the pleasure again, very soon," he continued, addressing both of them, but looking particularly at Catherine, who merely nodded and smiled slightly.

"Thank you for your compliments. Do you reside in London much longer, Mr.Landish, or are you returning to Devonshire soon?" inquired Catherine, in an attempt to distract him from her sister's expressions of impatience.

"Uh, yes, I do. In a fortnight, to be exact. And, uh, when do you ladies return to Hunsford?"

"We have no exact time, but we will not be here for more than 2 months, at all events. My father is here to take the place of another minister, here in a London church."

"Ah, yes, he told me so much himself. Well, I do hope that you," again looking attentively at her, " have a very enjoyable stay."

"I am sure we shall," she replied graciously, in her head adding "if you would leave us be!".  Of course she was all smiles outwardly, and almost started from her placid politeness when her aunt softly entered in.

"Indeed, Mr.Landish, you must forgive me. I am afraid that my child will not nap without my being there with her till she falls asleep. I am sorry to have kept you waiting."

"Oh, no ma'am. It has been a pleasure with these young ladies to amuse me." Anne thought that the last thing they had been doing was amusing him, but kept silent. Her aunt was now engaged in full conversation with Mr.Landish, and her sister and she made their escape when her aunt engrossed him in viewing some engravings.

They almost ran through the hallway, their arms clasped together. Their parent's were not at home, and the maid told them that the gentleman was still in the parlor. Anne reached for the doorknob with her cold hand, her pale face assuming an expression almost as cold as Catherine's. She opened the door.
By a window on the left side of the bright room, stood a tall, manly figure, his back turned towards them. At the sound of the opening door, he turned, showing a handsome face, at that moment as pale as his sisters'.

to be continued....

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My visit part 1

The next morning I was a little late in waking. Lottie our maid brought me breakfast in bed, a treat for me! With a sigh and a smile I put away my book and ate a few more bites. Liza came up from a walk in the garden,
"Good morning Lizzy! How are you?"
I gave her smile, "I'm fine Liza."
Liza looked at me with a little frown, but said nothing.
"Lottie!" I called.
"Yes miss?" Lottie came in from Becka's room, which adjoined our room.
"Can you get out my warmest stockings?"
"Yes miss."
I walked to my closet and pulled out my dark Velvet red dress, holding it for Liza to see I asked
"Is it alright?"
"Yes dear, but where are you going?"
I answered as I pulled the dress on, "You remember my friend Miss More?"
"The um...oh! Miss More the unmarried lady that you visit when we are in London right?"
"Yes that one."
Lottie came with my stockings and I slipped them on my cold toes. Sitting down at my dressing table I brushed my matted hair, till the red-gold cruels shown. Then I took the sides of my hair and pulled it back, securing it with a gold pin.
Lottie then came with my plaid jacket and boots, after putting these on I stood up and made for the door
"Lizzy?"
I stooped and turned, "Yes?"
She ran over to me and gave my a tight hug, 'Remember I'm always here. To talk with you."
I drew back a little then smiled, "I'm fine Liza, nothing is wrong with me. I have to go now." Hugging her back I ran out and into the streets of London.


(to be continued)

Monday, April 26, 2010

No, but there is...

 (Previously)

The girls were in the carriage with their aunt and eldest cousin Maria in minutes.Before they left, Anne had left her letter with her uncle's man, as Colonel Fitzwilliam had directed her to do. For some time afterward 's she was silent. Her aunt observed this, and putting her hand affectionately on her lap, she said,
"I am sure your brother cannot fail to answer your letter, he thinks of his sisters most affectionately, I am sure." Anne smiled and returned her aunt's caresses. Catherine looked uncomfortable and put her head very nearly entirely out the carriage window. Maria, not entirely comprehending the situation, merely sat silently smilingly, looking very much like her mother.

They soon drew up in front of a store, and continued to do that over and over, until their aunt had made all her purchases. The sisters were enthralled by busy London, and the riches they saw in the stores were admired and exclaimed upon most enthusiastically. Though every now and then, Catherine would say something about "how useless and frivolous those tings were", and how "fleeting the material things in life are", or something in the way of religious philosophy. But she was intrigued, none the less, and soon threw off all pretense off indifference under the weight of her enjoyment.

For a very few hours they wandered the stores and square, but their aunt did not want to spend too much time away from baby Ally, so they were evetually on their way home. When they arrived, Anne ran in and asked the butler if there was any letter's or notes for her.
"No madam," he replied.
Anne looked dissapointed and leaned her back  against the wall.
"But there is a gentleman in the parlor."
Anne was roused. She asked the butler who was he.
"I do not know ma'am. But here is his card." He handed her a small card. Quite contrary to his expectations, she turned quite pale, and, to his relief, Catherine came at that moment and said,
"Anne, whatever is the matter!"
Anne turned to her sister, and handed her the card.
Catherine said faintly,"Oh, its William." She was paler than her sister, and they were about to run into the parlor with her , when the butler opened the door and announced,
"Mr.Landish"
That gentleman came in, and with an enthusiastic smile, made a deep bow. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unanswered Questions

I was awoken from my slumber with a jolt. Mama was shaking me, trying to wake me from my sleep, and Maria was staring out the window, exclaiming at the size of the buildings she saw.
"Oh, look at that one! It's four stories! I never thought their could be a building so tall! And our townhouse... oh, I can just imagine how grand it must be!" Maria lay back with a dreamy look on her face.
"Dear..." Mama began. "Er... Your father decided that it would be best for us to stay at the inn while we await for our house to be..." she paused. "Ready."
Just at that moment the horses were reined to a stop in front of a rather shabby-looking building.
"You mean, I have to sleep in there?!" Maria gasped, looking with haughty disdain at the inn at which we had just stopped.
"Yes dear," Mama replied. "But I'm sure it will only be for a short while. Close your mouth, Maria." Maria snapped it shut. "That's better," Mama cooed. "You wouldn't want to appear as a codfish in front of any fine gentleman, now would you?"
But Maria wasn't fully convinced. "What chance do we have of finding wealthy gentlemen here?" she asked, clearly doubting that gentleman of high class ever graced the inns with their presence.
I smiled. I clearly remembered the story of how Uncle Darcy found Aunt Lizzy where she was staying at an inn. That was when my aunt had just learned of Mama's elopement. Clearly, if a gentleman wanted to visit Maria, he wouldn't let the rather shabby abode in which she was housed stop him - of that I was sure.
Luckily, Maria seemed to be more calm now. She fixed the ribbon on her bonnet and said with a smile, "Well, if any gentleman wishes to visit me, he will have to come to me." She spoke as if she could read the thoughts that had just run through my head.
Just then the coachman peeked into the carriage.
"Ma'am," he said, addressing Mama. "Mr. Wickham said to direct the servants to carry the luggage and he asked me," this said with an air of importance, "to escort you ladies to your rooms."
Maria and Mama didn't speak.
"Ladies?" the man questioned.
Still no response.
"Um... yes, of course, that would be lovely," I said quickly, seeing how my sister and mother were quite frozen in shock. "Thank you," I added to the coachman rather quickly, wondering what could be so shocking as to hold my mother's and sister's gaze for so long.
"Maria? Mama?"
Maria answered by fainting right then.

"Maria? Maria? Dear, are you quite alright?" Mama was getting to be nearly frantic now.
Maria's eyes blinked open. I could see them rolling sickeningly for a second, and then she suddenly seemed to remember where she was.
"Mama? What - what am I doing on the ground?" Now that she was awake, all of my sister's disdain seem to return.
"You - you fainted," Mama gasped. "And I don't know what I would have done without you!" At this, Mama began to weep. "Don't - don't you ever do that to me again! I was worried to death!"
"Mama, it's alright," I said in a soothing voice. "Maria is fine, see?"
"Yes, yes, I can see, I have eyes, don't I?"
"Of course you have eyes, Mama. I only meant -"
"Oh, never mind what you meant, child," Mama said. "Maria is fine, and there is no need for you to worry about your sister so." As if I had been the one in need of consolation! I swallowed the urge to smile.
"Get me off of the ground!" Maria said, interrupting my train of thought. With the help of two housemaids who had come out to help with the luggage, and the coachman, we were able to successfully lift her into the inn, up the stairs, into the room she and I were to share, and finally, onto one of the beds. Once there, Mama exited to her own room that she was to share with Papa, and the housemaids left with a rather apologetic smile.
When the room was finally empty, I turned to Maria, who was lounging like a queen on her bed.
"Whatever made you faint, Maria?" I asked her. "Did - did something frighten you?"
"No, no, do you think I would faint at that?" Maria questioned, a bit of color coming into her formerly pale cheeks.
"I don't. But if you could tell me what made you and Mama... um, freeze up so, then perhaps I could help you!"
"Nothing is wrong now. It was a matter of little importance that bares no relevance now," Maria said coldly.
And with that, I had to be content.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

" My Dear William"

...How are you? My father tells me you are in town. I have been well, since I saw you last. I can hardly believe it was two years ago. How does your study go? I suppose becoming a lawyer is no easy task- you must have many laws to memorize. I am glad to be in London- father says that you ask how Cathy and I do here. Well, we have hardly been here four days, but I like it very much. My aunt's house is always pleasant, and all our dear cousins are so charming. I have only attended one evening party, which my uncle hosted, but I am soon to attend a ball, which will be my coming out. I do not know when, but perhaps you can be there. Oh, I have so much to say to you, but a letter will not do. I long to see you! Please, my dear brother, say you will come and see us!

most affectionately,
your sister, 
Anne

 After she had sealed her letter, she held her face in her hands and sat at the desk thinking for many minutes. The separation broke her heart- "Why did papa insist that brother Will must become a clergyman?! And why did Will have to refuse and go off to become a lawyer instead!? Would he come? She hadn't seen him since he left the house against father's wishes and declared he'd never come back. That was almost three years ago- was he still angry? Father wasn't, she  was sure. He seemed sorry for all of it, and wished for reconciliation. Oh, and mama was almost sick with the joy and pain of seeing her first born son again!"

Her thoughts were interupted by Catherine entering their little sitting room.
"My aunt says we must go with her, to assist her in her shopping this morning- why, Anne!" Catherine exclaimed in the midst of her sentence,seeing Anne's face covered in tears. "What is the matter?" she asked, going and kneeling by her.
"Oh, nothing," Anne replied, wiping her face with both hands, and endeavoring to smile.She looked at her sister and said, "I have just written William."
"Oh." Catherine looked cold.

"I know you don't forgive him for leaving- but you must, Cathy. He might come see us, surely, after he recieves my letter, he will be more willing. Don't you see? Their is hope for reconciliation!"
"Our brother does not- I don't- he left us, why should we make the effort to reconcile?"
"Oh, Cathy, I know you are hurt. I am-this has broken my heart as well, but I know that I cannot hold it against him, for we all err, and if he is sorry and willing to change things, we should accept him. He is our brother, and no anger or separation will change that."

"It may not for you, but it does for me!" Catherine was angry. "Why," she began to sob, "he left without a word to me, after- after- after what we were to each other. That is not brotherly, and I cannot forgive him!" She sat on a chair and hid her face in her dress.
"Oh, Cathy, dear, please, don't be so distressed- please, I didn't know you were so affected." She put her arms around her sister, and continued to comfort her. After a few minutes, Catherine was more composed. She smiled and hugged her sister back.

"Why did you not speak of your feelings to me?," implored Anne. They were now sitting on their bed, wrapped in each other's arms.
"I did not want to speak of- Will."
"Do you- can you really no forgive him?"
"I will- I will try. I do love him, and what you said is very true. He is our brother, and nothing can change that. If he does come, I will- I might forgive him. But if he does not come, I fear I may never be able to."
"I hope, I pray he will come. I am sure- after what father told us of how he acted and what he said when he met them in the street, I am almost certain that he is not as angry as he was. Though I am afraid he is just as determined to go his own way," she said smilingly. Catherine laughed.
"My dears, I must be leaving within the next five minutes! Are you ready to accompany me?" called their Aunt Maria from below.
"We are coming!" cried Anne, as she and Catherine jumped up- she to grab her letter and her cloak, and Catherine to run downstairs.

To be continued...
(Previously)

What Lizzy did

Sleeping came very easy for me that night, as soon as I laid down my head down, I felt my eyes close and my whole self relax. It was around midnight when I awoke again. A thought had come to me. I sat up in bed, a smile played around my lips.
"Lizzy," I whispered, "you silly girl! How selfish you have been! Thinking only of your self!"
I rested my head against the bed board, "You who are called smart and sensible, have been most foolish!" I gave a low laugh, "Lizzy you must stop!" I commanded myself.
"Think of Liza and Bekah, they came here to have fun and help Auntie, not to worry about you. Come now, promise to stop."
I took a deep breath, and promised myself. A happiness filled me, "Lizzy you were not made to pity your self." I said a little to loud. Liza turned over in bed and mumbled, "Lizzy?"
"Yes?"
"Are you alright?"
"Yes, dear I'm fine."
"Then go to sleep."
"I will. Liza?"
"Yes?"
"Good night!"
"Good night Lizzy."
And I fell asleep once more.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Morning's Discussion...

 of the evening party's guest's was an entertaining one, and enabled Anne and Catherine to empty their minds of the affair in a way which every young lady feels necessary to adopt after such an event. The morning after the party, they sat together in the sitting room, each busied with needlework and embroidery, and Catherine began by saying,

"Were you not delighted, Anne, with Mrs.Westing? I found her a woman of good sense, kindness, and elegance. Did you not?"

Anne paused her sewing to re-thread her needle. She then placed her work in her basket, and from her chair  to a settee, where she lay down comfortably. She could not both be productive with her hands and her voice. "Besides," she thought to herself, "I have been working for an hour already, and auntie's house is supposed to be a time of refreshment". She lay there (or sat, according to the height or excitement of their discourse), for the rest of the conversation.
 
"I do agree with you, Cathy, except that I found a certain something in her, that seemed to separate her from the others, in a way that I could not distinguish to be positive. Never the less, I did find her kind."

"I think it might be a bit too early to be speaking of  'certain somethings'. We are too inexperienced, and it all may amount to 'certain nothings'. Our society has been very limited, and we have not had the necessary time for observation of those who are fond of these circles."

"Indeed, Cathy, I do not think that our lower situation so far as money goes has impaired our power of judgment," Anne said laughingly. "But I do not intend to dislike her, indeed I do not. But let us change the subject- I think you were particularly pleased, as I was, with Mr.Landish and his attentions to you during the evening?" Anne said this without affectation.

"I did observe his politeness towards me, but I think he was equally attentive to every lady there- and he cannot help each lady at each necessary moment, therefore he may unintentionally attend one lady more than the others," replied her sister, with a slight blush.

"Very true, I will remember that in future. But,none the less, it is not wise to form opinions or even expectations on so short an acquaintance. "

"Indeed. None the less, I found Mr.Landish a very pleasant man, and papa vastly enjoyed his company."

"Ah, yes. That is a good sign- perhaps of a patient and easy character," Anne said, smilingly slightly. Her sister looked up from her work with a disapproving look. "Speaking of father," Anne continued, now looking a bit uncomfortable, and rising, walked to the window and stood there, " he is yet to give us his opinion of the guest's. He and mama should be back from shopping soon."

"Perhaps," Catherine now appeared to be fully engrossed in her work.

"Mr.Hamlington appears to be a very gentlemanly man. Mrs.Cammins, whom I sat next to at dinner, told me that he is very wealthy, and lives in a mansion not very far from London. He has only a mother and younger sister.His father died soon after he became of age, and so he was left the inheritance."

"How singular! and unfortunate! But at least he was old enough that he and his mother and sister were not left destitute, or in a state lower than that they were born in. But how is Mrs.Cammins aware of these affairs?"

"Indeed, very true. Oh,  Mrs.Cammins is a friend of Mrs.Hamlington's, 'a dear friend' , she said. Oh,and Sir and Lady Carter, who sat on my other side, are also acquainted with the Hamlington's. Oh my, were the Carter's not all elegance? And what they said of Miss de Burgh!? I cannot believe it, but of course it must be true. We will ask mama if she knows of it- papa will most likely unite Sir Nilson and she in marriage. I still am in shock. What shall papa say? Presuming he does not know of it, which of course he must not,  because we would have heard of it. But why would Lady Catherine not tell our father and mother? Why should it be secret?"

"I do not know- I cannot tell you. Though Lady Catherine is on such terms with us as few other people can boast, she is not on our level, therefore perhaps thinks it unnecessary to inform us of any changes affecting her family. Think of it- has she ever informed us of anything before?"

"Yes, every thing of significance that happens with her nephew, Mr.Darcy, and his family."

"Yes, but this is a different matter. It may be a matter of embarrassment for her, that her daughter is above 5 and thirty, and not married."

"Very true, I had thought of that." Anne looked out of the window, and saw her parent's coming out of her uncle's carriage. Mr.Collins entered the house very swiftly, and called his daughter's downstairs. They looked at each other with some surprise, and immediately went to their father.

To Be Continued...
(Previously)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Maria's Sister

The carriage shook and rattled as we bumped along the windy road to London. I would have taken out my sketchbook and done a sketch in charcoals, but I feared that the drawing would smudge dreadfully with all the bouncing. Instead, I turned my attention to Maria, who was talking animatedly to Mama about what awaited all of us in London... or rather, what awaited her in London. She seemed to have this rather odd impression that Leland Smith loved her; had always loved her. As the days wore on, her fancies grew more and more ridiculous. Lee would be waiting for her in London; he would have missed her dreadfully; he would sweep her into his arms and proclaim his love for her.
"And then," Maria added. "I will execute a perfectly-timed faint, falling into his arms, to show him I am totally in control of my feminine delicacies."
I didn't quite know what she meant, and I don't think she did either, but I rather got the impression that Maria thought it sounded elegant to tack that onto the end of her long-winded speech.
But even Mama seemed to think it was time to curb Maria's enthusiasm a bit.
"Dear," she began. "Um... you have only met Leland once... and... I don't think he could have such strong emotions for you so quickly, seeing how he barely knows you."
"But Mama," Maria replied pertly. "It wouldn't take more than one meeting for a gentleman with knowledge to fall head over heals in love with me. They would see how I simply outshine all of the other girls, so they would use their heads and go after me."
It took all of my self-control not to laugh out loud at this remark of Maria's. Even so, a giggle escaped me, and Maria turned to look at me with scorn.
"It's just too bad you won't follow Mama's instructions, Evelyn," she replied cooly. "You could really make a lovely marriage. But instead, you spend all your time with your nose in a book, or sketching outdoors!" Maria laughed scornfully. "I guess you'll just die an old maid."
Mama interjected here.
"Maria!" she said. "You know you should not tease your sister so! I know that she is not as beautiful as you are, but that is no reason to behave so rudely."
Maria smirked at me. Mama had succeeded in subconsciously snubbing me in a way even she hadn't thought of. My sister couldn't be more pleased.
I decided to think of other things. I was greatly pleased to be going to London for one reason and one reason only: to visit with my cousins. Lively Liza, with her quick smile and ready laugh, was bound to be laughing about something when I came. And I was eager to discuss books with my quiet cousin, Lizzy. She and I had a great deal in common, and if it weren't for Liza and Bekah, we would spend all our time reading together.
Maria was now sleeping, leaning against a pillow on Mama's shoulder. Though Mama calls Maria her 'little beauty,' it is not quite true. Maria has curly, straw-colored hair. Her dark green eyes are thought to be alluring, but that is mostly due to the fact that she powders and paints them until they are no longer her own - just a mask she has chosen to paint on her face. In fact, she would be very beautiful if she just accepted her own, natural beauty. She looks a good deal like cousin Lizzy, but because she chooses to paint her face with makeup in order to outshine other girls whom she believes to be her "rivals," the contrast between the two is stark.
I suddenly realized something I had never thought of. Poor Maria. She was pampered and spoiled, allowed to paint herself up with powders and such, all because she was under the impression that she was not beautiful. It seemed a very sad place in which to be.
I immediately resolved to try to encourage my sister not to be so... forward. Perhaps, with improvement, Maria could become a beautiful young lady, one whom people enjoyed being around.
With my intentions resolved, I settled back against the carriage and closed my eyes. Slumber seemed to descend on me as the carriage lulled me to sleep...

The Evening Party

 (Previously)

Colonel Fitzwilliam's house, a large and comfortable one, was decked with lanterns, chandeliers, and the dining room with glass plates and cups. Anne and Catherine, who had seen things more grand at Lady Catherine de Burgh's, but had not experienced them, were delighted. Anne, though she was excited before the event, was calm and ladylike, and the only proof of her pleasure was her lovely smile, which could hardly not be seen on her face. Her sister, though rather unlike her, was also pleased, and her smile was seen almost as often as her sister's. Though Catherine was more like her father, she did not necessarily have his way of patronizing or talking constantly. This made her more like her mother and sister, though Anne was more open tempered.
The two girls sat on a sofa in the parlor by the fire, and were animatedly discussing their surroundings and what was to take place.
"Anne, I am quite nervous!" Catherine cried in a low voice to her sister,though they were alone in the room. "Do you think they will think poorly of us? Or that we are poorly?"
"Indeed, I have entertained such doubts myself, dear Cathy," and here she paused and held her sister's hand, while looking at the carpet.She presently added, "But only entertained, you see, for they can only be founded on fear and inferiority, not on truth. Our father is a gentleman, and a clergyman, and we are his daughter's.I can see no reason why anyone who is not proud or conceited themselves, can belittle us in area's where there is nothing to be belittled."
"Very true-as soon as father informs them of our patroness, Lady Catherine, they will perhaps be more willing to accept us into their circles, for a time."

Anne was about to say something, but they heard their Uncle in the hall, and the front door was thrown open, as a carriage came along the front of the building.The girls waited and listened as greetings were exchanged, and they heard their fathers frequent yet small and short laugh. Before they could guess what party had arrived, a woman dressed in all elegance walked in. Behind her came a man who appeared to be her husband, also fashionably dressed. Anne and Catherine rose, and their aunt came in and began introductions.
Approching her nieces, she said-
"Dear Sir and Lady Carter, these are my nieces. The eldest, Anne Collins, and her younger sister, Catherine, named after Lady Catherine de Burgh. Anne, Catherine, Sir Carter and his wife, Lady Carter."
The girls made low curtsies, and Sir Carter and his wife bowed, curtsied, and smiled. Mrs.Fitzwilliam entreated them to be seated, and then Anne and Catherine did the same, while their aunt went back into the hall.

"I understand," began Lady Carter, with a kind smile and look at Anne,"that you reside at Rosings Parsonage in Hunsford? I have been there, once many years ago, and it is quite lovely. Lady Catherine de Burgh is a very wealthy woman, and so my family knew, of course, of her." Here the lady smiled and looked at her husband, who had been nodding pleasantly now and then.
"Yes, indeed. Her grounds are extensive. We are soon to go there, for my wife's brother, Sir Nilson, is to soon be married to her daughter, Anne."
Anne and Catherine had merely nodded in acquiescence, until this last part, which quite startled them. They had often seen Anne de Burgh, but rarely conversed with her and had thought her too old and sickly to be married. But they had seen a  carriage there quite often during the months preceding their departure, but had never heard anything about it. However, now was not the time to marvel at this turn of events. Their uncle was ushering in a young but almost middle aged looking man. Their uncle exited the room almost as soon as he had exited it. The young man approached them and bowed to Sir and Lady Carter, addressed a few inquiries as to their health and the health of their children, then turned towards Anne and her sister.

 He bowed, and they rose and curtsied.
"Your uncle thinks me such a close friend, that he left me at liberty to introduce myself. Pray, excuse me. I am Mr.Landish. You," looking with quiet admiration into Anne's face,"must be Miss Collins. And you," turning to Catherine and smiling widely, "are Miss Catherine. My friend informed me well, so that I might not make a mistake in your names." The girls smiled politely,and he continued to speak with them and the Carter's- of their home and life, and what they thought of London. They found that he resided in Devonshire, but was in London on business every spring through the summer. They had little time to find out more of him, or even the Carter's, before more guests arrived. In the course of the evening, they were introduced to Mr.and Mrs.Cammins, Mr.Dolshen, and Mrs.Westing. These were kind people, and very attentive, especially Mrs.Westing. About an hour after they were all comfortable, what Mrs.Fitzwilliam called "the last guest" arrived. He was a man who looked very young, but could not be less than 20. His name was Mr.Hamlington, and he was all apologies for his tardiness, which the Fitzwilliam's entirely overlooked, and merely asked everyone to the dining room.

To be continued...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

At the Fitzwilliam's

 (Previously)

 Anne woke up in a pretty and prettily furnished room in her Aunt Maria's house. Her sister lay next to her sleeping. They (Anne, her sister and parent's) had arrived at Colonel Fitzwilliam's house in London late the previous night, and Mrs.Collin's sister had attended them, feeding and settling them in adjoining rooms.
Anne was looking forward to seeing her cousin's, and even more so to speaking with her aunt about arrangement's. She thought it would be some day's before she could attend an evening party, so made plans to spend time with her cousin's and find out who was in town in the  meanwhile.
She had donned a shawl and was sitting on a window seat overlooking the street. Lovely dark purple curtains shielded her from view of the people traveling the road and sidewalk, though she could see them through the fabric. Leaning her head on the wall, she wasn't aware of what a pretty picture she made in her white nightgown and brunette hair, with her blue eyes bright and shining.None the less, though, her sister greeted her with censure, of the playful kind.

"Charlotte Anne, what are you doing? Shouldn't we be dressing? My aunt will soon have breakfast on the table."
"Oh, Cathy, you startled me. I was merely giving myself time to fully awaken."
"Indeed- I've never seen you look so awake," Catherine said, with a smile and a little run to hug her sister.
"I shall take that as a complement. You look well yourself- oh, I wish you come to the balls  too," she said with a sigh. Presently she added, "I find it hard to think of anything else- I am trying to be modest about it, as I am a clergyman's daughter, and should act accordingly- but, I am still so delighted!"
"You know very well I couldn't possibly, and besides, I don't know how to dance very well. Besides, should I attend balls merely because I look well this morning? I will be going to the evening parties, though."
"Oh, Of course I didn't mean that, you willful girl," Anne said laughing. "Yes, and I shall enjoy them all the more with you there. I think it will do you good to socialize-it will do us both good...I think I hear our cousins awake. Let us dress!"

The girls were soon descending the stairs of their cousin's house, and found their way to the breakfast room, which was fairly easy because of the noise coming from that place.As they entered, their cousins ran toward them.

"Oh! Cousin Anne, Cousin Cathy! We are so glad to see you!" exclaimed the oldest of the four children, Maria.
"Indeed we are," said a little boy, whose name was Charlie. He held up his 7 year old face for a kiss. Both girls pleasantly gave one to him, and to all the cousins, from Maria to the baby Ally. They then sat down to eat, and greeted their parent's and aunt and uncle.

"Did you sleep well, my dears? Its a lovely morning, which is a sign of a good sleep for beautiful young ladies," said their aunt smilingly.
"Thank you aunt. My sleep was very satisfactory. I have often found that sleep is a necessary remedy for tired travelers.Though an excited mind is a difficult obstacle to overcome- though I suffer from no such ailment."
Mr.Collins was roused at once from the silence he had until now been lost in- anything in the way of praise or observation of human life never failed to catch his attention.
"Indeed, indeed it is, my daughter," he agreed. Turning to his sister-in-law, he added, "Is she not a most wise and lovely specimen of those women who observe life?"
Mrs.Fitzwilliam looked confused, but nodded her head in agreement and smiled her small but charming smile.

"And what of you, Anne? Are you prepared to attend an evening party tonight? It will be a small one, given here, in honor of all of you.  Do you not think that is capital?" asked their uncle.
"Oh, Uncle! You are too kind! Is he not mama? I shall be more than happy to attend!" exclaimed Anne.
"Yes, you are too kind, brother," Mrs.Collins said, thanking him with a smile. "Such an evening party will be most appropriate as a way of introducing Anne before she attends a ball."
"Indeed, too kind.We accept your invitation and the honor you bestow upon us, most humbly. May I ask, who is to be attending this most prestigious event?"
"Now now, William, it is to be small party, I assure you," replied Colonel Fitzwilliam calmly, "There is to be some of my friends from my days in the army, and their families. My wife has also invited one or two of her friends.I can vouch for their amiability, and we shall have a pleasant time. Now, if you will excuse me, I have some letters to attend to," he concluded by bowing to each of his guests,and exiting the room.

Anne spent the rest of the day speaking with her aunt and amusing her cousins, while Catherine perused her uncle's library. The party was not until 6 o'clock, and Mrs.Collins and her sister assisted Anne and her sister in choosing suitable dresses.

To be continued...

Supper

As soon as Liza saw Lizzy's red face, stained with dried up tears she knew it must have been about Captain Milton. Liza knew her sister so well. She walked up to her and put her arm around Lizzy's waist. "Lizzy, dear, what's wrong?"
Lizzy looked at Liza in surprise, as if she didn't know what Liza was talking about. "N-nothing, dear sister. I was just washing my face and hands for supper."
"Lizzy," Liza began. "I know that something is wrong. What is it?" Lizzy didn't answer. "Is it Captain Milton?" Lizzy shot a look of disapproval at Liza. "Oh, Lizzy. I knew it!"
"Shh, Liza. Stop it," Lizzy said, blushing, yet feeling angry.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Lizzy. I wasn't being very sensitive to your feelings. Are you alright? Seriously, now. No lies."
Lizzy pulled Liza away from the dining room, where there were other people eating and chatting. "Liza, I have mixed feelings. I-" They were cut off by Lee.
"Girls, it's time to eat," Lee said. He saw the mischievous look on Liza's face. "Liza, what kind of mischief are you up to now?"
"N-nothing, dear Lee. Come, now, Lizzy. It's time for supper." Liza took her sister's hand and pulled Lizzy along behind her. Lee followed along and took his seat, next to Liza. "Lee, don't sit so close. Move your chair over," Liza said, complaining. She always felt as if she never had enough room at the table. Liza wasn't one for being in tight places. Lee rolled his eyes, sighed and moved his chair a bit further away.
"Liza, put your napkin in your lap before you ruin that beautiful dress," Lee commanded.
"Lee, why is it you always treat me like such a child? I am nineteen years old. Please. I'm not a child anymore," Liza said, a bit frustrated, but she put her napkin in her lap anyway. "Oh, and thank you for the compliment."
Lee blushed. "W-what compliment? I didn't-"
"Oh yes you did," Liza said, smiling. "You said this was a beautiful dress," Liza said, pointing to her dress.
Lee wouldn't look Liza in the eyes. "Yes. I said the dress was beautiful. I never said that it was you whom I was referring to."
Liza giggled. "Lee, lest you forget, I never mentioned you saying that, either." Lee met Liza's gaze. Liza chuckled and ate a spoonful of her soup. Lee looked away and did the same.
"Oh," Liza said, putting down her spoon and turning to Lee. "I was wondering, I mean, we were wondering, the girls and I would like to go into town tomorrow. Would you like to accompany us, Lee?"
"I'd be more than happy. After all, I was sent with you to watch over you, for your father," Lee answered in a very sophisticated way.
"Oh, Lee, you don't have to act as if it's your duty to spend time with us. Will you come as a friend? Not a guardian?" Liza said, putting on her pleading face.
Lee chuckled. "As you wish, malady." Liza laughed and turned to Bekah who was sitting next to her.
"He's coming," Liza said in Bekah's ear.
"Oh great, now we have to deal with him telling us all about the art of dancing, or something grown-up, such as that," Bekah said, laughing. Liza laughed too. Lee wondered why they were, and who they were laughing at.
"Oh, Bekah. He promised to come as a friend, so at least we don't have to worry about him telling us what we should and shouldn't do."
"Liza, you know he's going to do that anyway," Bekah replied. The girls laughed again, then regained their composure. Liza had been wondering about a certain gentleman for a few days. She had to ask.
"Bekah," Liza whispered. "Do you think that Mr. Bryant will be here, in London?"
Bekah smiled, knowing this was coming. "Oh, Liza, you must stop thinking about him. Remember, he's with another woman."
Liza felt sad, but shook her head in agreement. "Yes. You're right, dear Bekah. I must get him off my mind."
Bekah smiled. "But, I did hear from one of Captain Milton's friends that Milton has a dear friend coming to join him here, any day." Liza perked up and her face lit like a candle.
"Oh, Bekah, do you think it could be-" Liza said, a bit louder.
"Shh, Liza. Lower your voice," Bekah said, but not too firmly.
"Oh right."
"But," Bekah said, taking her cousin's hand. "I do believe it might be Mr. Bryant." Liza smiled and sat up straight in her chair, with pleasure. Then she turned and finished her supper.

Lizzy's thoughts

As soon as we got to our town house I ran straight to my room. Throwing off my coat and bonnet I threw myself on the bed. Covering my face with my hands I thought.
Why did I act like that? There is no reason for it! It was simply not rational. How is it that Captain Milton can cause such confusion?
Then a horrid thought struck me, I am I in love? Blushing my thoughts screamed, NO! I AM not in love! It can not be so.
Getting up I went to my toilet table and looked myself in the mirror. One by one I took the pins that held my bun fast. My golden-red curls framed around my face. Twisting my hands I thought some more.
You must change your behavior Lizzy! My thoughts said fiercely, You can not arouse gossip.
I looked at the gold chain my mother had given me on my sixteenth birthday.
What would mother do if she were me?
"Lizzy! Come down for dinner?" Liza called.
"Coming!" I answered. I stood up and opened up the door, running out I joined the rest at the table.

Leaving

It was a competition.
It was titled See How Fast You Can Pack Your Trunk, and I was losing.
But soon our maid, Betsy, entered the room to relieve me.
"I'm really going to miss you, honey," she said as she set my trunk to rights.
I leaned my head on Betsy old, thin shoulder. "I know. And I really wish I could stay. It's just..."
"You must follow your mother's bidding, dear. And you're doing the right thing by listening to her without a complaint. Remember the fifth commandment."
I leaned my head on the bedpost and slumped over a bit.
"Are you alright, honey? You don't look so good." Betsy's voice was slightly alarmed.
"Oh, I'm fine. I don't know what it is - I just haven't felt myself these past few days. Perhaps it's all the worry over this trip."
"You need a good sleep tonight, dear."
"I know. But I don't see how I'm going to get one, rattling around in a carriage."
"You need a good sleep," Betsy repeated. "I'll see if Mrs. Wickham can put you in a softer part of the carriage." She finished folding my garments and closed the trunk lid. The door shut softly behind her.
I flopped on the bed and lay for about ten minutes. I thought on the last few days.
I hadn't really had time to watch the sunrise ever since that one day a week ago. Mama and Maria had gotten me up at dawn, but not to view the horizon. Rather, they wished that I spend my time shopping in the city with them. Mama was determined that we should not be outshined by our wealthy cousins, and Maria is in full agreement. As for myself, I don't really worry about that sort of thing. All the time Mama spends on our frills and gowns and laces and sashes seems ridiculous.
"Eva! Evelyn, come! We are to leave soon, and we cannot be late!" Maria dashed into my room the minute the words left Mama's mouth.
"Did you hear that, Eva? You must come! Goodness, won't it be so fine in London, with all those gentleman swirling around us?"
I opened my mouth for a reply, but she didn't give me a chance. "And when that darling boy Leland Smith sees me - why, he'll just fall head over heels in love with me! Don't you agree?"
I once more tried to speak, but she cut me off. "Oh, there's Mama! Come, Eva!" And with that, she skipped out of the room.
This was getting to be a very frustrating situation.
I peeked out the window and saw that the carriage had arrived at the door. Papa was helping Mama in, who was fixing the ribbon on her bonnet. Maria was doing the same, and taking occasional peeks into a small pocket mirror to check if her feather was straight.
Sarah, our young housemaid, came to help carry my trunk to the carriage. She smiled at me sadly, as if to say she was sad to see me go, but didn't speak a word.
Once we were all squished into the small carriage, the driver flicked the whip and the horses started off. I glanced back at our house and saw Becky waving sadly.
"Stop!" I cried. "Stop the carriage!"
Mama and Papa looked at me with alarm, but I didn't answer their unspoken questions. Instead, I climbed out of the carriage and ran back to the house. I ran into Betsy's arms, to give her one last hug. 
"I'll never forget you, Betsy. I won't forget you."
She kissed my hair, than pushed me forward. "Go. They are all waiting for you."
Climbing back into the carriage, I saw Maria staring at me, as if to say "I can't believe you ran back to hug a maid." 
I ignored her disdain and once more turned to look back out the carriage window. Betsy was growing smaller and smaller, far off in the distance. I repeated the words I had spoken to her not one minute ago.
"I won't forget you."

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Sunrise

The morning was beckoning me and I had to oblige. Slipping from between my bedclothes, I crept out of the room, so as not to disturb my sister, who was still sleeping. I stepped out onto the porch that was right off of my bedroom and took a deep breath of the clean morning air.  It was slightly chilly, and for a second I wished for my dressing gown, which I had left lying on a chair. But for nothing would I have gone back indoors. The wind blew my dark ringlets into my eyes, and I brushed them quickly to the side.
Oh, how lovely it is, I thought.
Mama and Papa, it seemed, were enjoying a rather enthusiastic disagreement in their room down the hall. I could hear the voices rising and falling, changing swiftly. I sighed. Why can they not see that life would be much easier if they did not argue? I thought to myself. It seemed that my parents were discussing whether or not to go to London. I didn't see Maria slip out, but suddenly her voice was mingled in with theirs, sweet and persuasive.
But the morning was too lovely to waste on arguing, or even thinking about arguments. I turned my attention to the horizon, where the sun was just starting to rise. The dusky clouds were rising, the sun was peeking out, and the horizon was a light pink. It was a gorgeous sight to behold. Every morning when I could, I would wake early and watch the sunrise. There was just something so soothing in the thought of a brand-new day, open to what ever I chose to make of it.
Suddenly the voices grew louder, and I strained my ears to hear what was being said. The few words I could pick out were "London," "gentlemen," and "fortune." I shook my head sadly. It would have been so lovely if I could just travel to London in the way that my cousins did: to see the sights, enjoy the food, without a thought of marriage or money. They were so lucky; they didn't have a mother who was constantly thinking of their marriages. Then I stopped myself. Grandmama was just like Mama to Aunt Jane and Aunt Lizzy, and yet they didn't let it bother them. In fact, they both ended up marrying fine, wealthy gentleman - but they didn't really do anything to try to attract them. I straightened my shoulders and looked once more to the sunrise. The day seemed a little brighter.
It seemed to me that the voices had stopped. I perked up my ears, but I couldn't hear a word. Then I heard a door slamming shut violently and giddy, girlish squeals.
My bedroom door banged open, and Maria ran in gasping.
"Eva! Eva, come here! Oh you'll never guess... oh, Papa is so kind... oh it's just so wonderful...!" Maria was gasping for air as she attempted to tell me her news.
"Maria, calm down! What is it?"
"Papa... Papa has decided that we... we are to go to London!"
My heart started beating at twice it's normal speed.

In the Carriage

"How much Captain Milton's manners have changed since we first met him! I am coming to believe that James was right." I commented as Captain Milton's carriage took us to Uncle Darcy's house.

Liza laughed. "I know! What was James right about?"

"Well, he said that he thought that Captain Milton's behavior would change after being in society for a few months. I was doubtful, but it has proven true! But really, it's only been three weeks since the ball at the Smiths. I wonder if he's going under the same transformation as your father did way back when." I said playfully. Liza and I laughed together, but then I saw that Lizzy was not enjoying the conversation.

"Oh, Lizzy, I'm sorry! I wasn't trying to pain you. We'll not talk about it anymore." I apologized. Lizzy smiled gratefully at me while Liza gave her a reconciliatory hug.
"Thank you." she said quietly.

"Let's talk about something pleasant." I suggested. "How much do you two know about the town house that Uncle Darcy owns?"

"Not much," Liza replied. "except that it is in a very fashionable part of town. It was our grandfather's before, and is very old and stately. My mother has been trying to describe it to us, but I think we'll have to see it with our own eyes first."

"My father owns a house in town, near your father's. I've never been there either, although my brother has before. Father used to be in town often on business, and took Richard -at the boy's insistence- along as a traveling companion for safety." All of us smiled, Richard was well liked and respected, but often took his role as oldest son so seriously that it bordered on humorous.

"Richard is a dear fellow." Lizzy piped up. She was looking much better, her color was returning. "It's been too long since we've seen him."

"Speaking of your family," Liza said, with a trace of slyness, "how's your family friend, James? Wasn't he planning on coming to town soon."

I felt my face turning a little red against my will. "Yes, but I don't know when. He said at least a fortnight. Do you know when our first party is scheduled?"

Liza said she didn't know, and just then we pulled up in front of Uncle Darcy's house. It was more splendid then any of us really were prepared for. As the coachman helped us out, all three of us stared up in awe. The entire front of the house was stone. Huge pillars were on either side of the door, which was made of fine, dark wood. Each of the stone blocks under the windows was carved with elegant scrolls. I could only imagine how the inside looked. I got shivers up my spine, and knew that I was in for the time of my life here in London.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What we did first

It was decided after we moved from the inn to our much nicer town house that we would go shopping. It did not take long for us to re-pack our trunks and ready them for moving. Aunt Georgie said she would accompany the luggage and take a nap, but we could go and have fun.
Liza and I stood arm in arm as we waved till the carriage was out of sight. As soon as we could see it no more the three of us girls tied our bonnets and on off we went.
“What are you going to get Liza?” I asked.
“I was thinking of trimming for my bonnet.”
“The one for the wedding?” Bekah asked.
“Yes that one.”
The shop was a small one, but it had good prices, and soon we trying on hats and looking at ribbons.
I pulled out a purple silk ribbon and pined it on my hat.
“What do you think?” I asked the others.
“Turn around Lizzy.” Liza commanded.
I did so slowly, and then I stopped my mouth opened with surprise.
“It looks wonderful Lizzy,” Liza told me as she turned back to her own things.
It took a few seconds to calm myself, then I hurried to Liza. Taking her arm I rested my head on her shoulder. She turned to me alarmed, “Lizzy dear what is it?”
“Captain Milton is here.” I said in a whisper.
“He is?” Liza said with eyes wide.
“What is it girls?” Bekah had just come over.
“Lizzy has just seen Captain Milton.”
“Oh,” Bekah said, “Lizzy do fill ill? You’re as pale as a ghost!”
“You don’t look well.” Liza confirmed.
“Maybe I should go back with Aunt, but…” I hesitated, “Is he still out there?”
Liza looked for a second then answered, “I can’t see him.”
“Alright." I agreed to leave.
Taking me by the arm Liza led me outside. Bekah hurried after us and took my other arm.
“I’m sorry Liza, truly I am.”
“Oh don’t worry Lizzy!” Liza said with a laugh.
“Liza!” Bekah said with a start. We looked to see what caused this, and it was none other than Captain Milton, standing right in front of us.
He bowed, “Miss Darcy, Miss Bingley, and Miss Lisbeth.”
We curtsied, and not knowing what to say we stood there mute.
“Are you going somewhere?” He asked.
“My sister Lizzy is not well, we are taking her home.” Liza answered.
The captain looked alarmed,
“I’m sorry, may I offer you my carriage?”
“Oh no…” I began, but Bekah cut me off with, “Yes thank you captain.”
“Very well, I’ll call it.” And off he went.
As soon as he was out of sight I said, “Bekah?!”
“Lizzy it will be fine and it will be shorter.”
“Oh.” Was all I said. Captain Milton was back in a matter of minutes with his carriage.
“Hanson will take you home and then return to me. He is a good driver, you have no need to worry.” The captain said as he helped us in.
“Are you not coming?” Liza asked.
“No, I have other matters to attend.”
“Oh, well thank you then.”
“Your welcome. I hope you feel better Miss Lisbeth.” He looked at me with something in his blue eyes.
I manged a small smile.
“Good day then.” And Captain Milton left us.
The carriage moved slowly though the streets of London, and I rested my head on the door.
“See Lizzy, what did I tell you?” Bekah said with a smooth of her skirt that set us all laughing till we reached home.

Leaving Derbyshire

Dear Journal,


For the first time in my life that I remember, I am leaving Derbyshire. I'm very excited, but a little apprehensive. At least I'm not going by myself. Having my cousins, aunt and uncle and adopted aunt there will make the change much easier.


I apologize for the messiness of my handwriting. I'm bumping along in a carriage with my cousins as we head to London. It's pretty tight in here, so I think I'll stop writing and read instead.


~Rebekah~

I slipped my journal and pen into my traveling bag and took out a book. My cousins were dozing off, and after a few chapters, I felt like sleeping myself. Before I knew it, I was being awakened by my uncle, and we were in London! It was late in the evening, which prevented me from getting a good look around me.

The next morning, I woke up late because of our traveling. I saw that my trunk had been brought into my room. After glancing around, I saw with pleasure that there was a little closet in one corner, perfect for my clothes. I picked out a dress to wear for the day, and began to unpack.

In Lady Catherine's Carriage

"Anne-Anne! Are you ready, my dear? Catherine- are these your bags?", called their mother from downstairs.

"Yes, they are mother! Anne is not ready yet," replied Catherine.

"Well, hurry along, girls!"

Upstairs, Anne was hurriedly packing some small items into her third suitcase. Lady Catherine de Burgh had provided her with more than enough for her coming out. Her packing took long, with all the gowns and evening dresses, and Catherine stood by, exclaiming at the time every minute or so.

"Cathy, please stop! I am going as fast as I can! If you would help, instead of rush-"

"My dears, please  do not argue! It is extremely unladylike! What would Lady Catherine say!" entreated their exasperated father from below. "And hurry, we shall be late! Lady Catherine's carriage arrives in five minutes to take us to Bromley, and from there to London! How good is our benefactress!...", he continued, becoming so overwhelmed with gratitude that he walked quickly into the garden.The sisters looked at each other and Anne smiled. Catherine's face, very much like her father's , was serious.

Finally, the trunks were placed in the carriage when it arrived, and they were soon sitting in the carriage, still in view of the parsonage. Their mother smiled. Anne imagined it must be a relief to her to leave this place for a while, and she was sure she was hoping to see her dear old friend, Elizabeth Darcy.

"Mama," she began, " Is it certain that Mrs.Darcy is to be in London?"

"No, my dear, it is not. But whether she is or not, I am glad to go."

"Perhaps some family member of hers is there, Mr.Darcy say, and he will invite you there, so you can see her! I do so hope it will be so."

"My dear daughter, we are not going to London to socialize. We are going to fufill our duties as servant's of the Lord."

"That is true, father. But there are so many people we have never met, and you and mother have not seen for a long time, and it would be lovely to do so. And I am to come out- I am so grateful to *Aunt Maria, and Colonel Fitzwilliam, of course, for assisting us with that. Mama, did you ever think that your own sister would marry Lady Catherine's nephew? I mean, he and Mr.Darcy are such friends, or so you've told me, Mama. I am so glad they live in London- it will be so much pleasanter to stay with them than at an in. They are still  to visit us this winter, as they do every year, Mama?"

"I hope so, my dear. Shall you be glad to see your cousin's as well?"

"Of course, though they are younger than I. They are such dears."

"I cannot read with you chattering so,  Anne. Could you please quiet down? You're like a schoolgirl- if anyone should be chattering so, it should be me. But I am not in such a hurry to leave our humble parsonage and Rosings Park as you are."

"I know you aren't. You're like father, and I am like Mama."

"But considerably more talkative," added her father, half smiling.

Anne sat back in the elegant carriage and smiled at her father. She felt that she knew better than anyone what adventures were to be had, and though she was of a quiet type, she did not enjoy their exceedingly quiet life, and was ready for something she had never experienced before. She thought once of Mr.Reading, but put him out of her mind, and read the book she had brought along for the 3 hour drive to Bromley.

To be continued...

*Maria is pronounced as if it was spelled Mariah. This is Charlotte Lucases younger sister, who visited her in the company of her father and Elizabeth Bennet when she was first married to Mr.Collins. Maria married Colonel Fitzwilliam about four years afterward.

To London or Not to London?

"Pleeeease, Papa?" my sister Maria begged. She was known for her talents in the way of persuasion and manipulation, but she was not getting very far here.
"Absolutely not," Papa replied. I could see a slight smile on his face, but the beginnings of parental guidance hid behind his eyes.
"But why, Papa?" Maria asked, a frown on her pretty face.
"For one reason, and one reason only. I do not wish to send you to London only so you can flirt with Leland Smith!"
"Papa..." Maria began petulantly, with a slight pout. "You know that is not why I wish to go to London. I simply would love to visit my cousins, the Darcys, and Rebekah Bingley, who have planned a trip there. In fact," she paused to glance at the clock. "They should be there already. What a good joke it would be if we showed up, too!"
"I don't think they would enjoy that, my dear," Papa stated. "They have a slight... aversion to you, though why they ever would avoid you, I cannot think. I just don't..."
"My dear," Mama interrupted. "Why on earth are you so against us going to London? After all," with a slight glance at me, "you would not wish to take away from the girls their one change to find an eligible husband, now would you?"
"I would not," Papa said. "But-"
"Oh, never mind your worries!" Mama interjected again. "The girls and I will be fine on our own. You can stay at home, Wickham, though I will be desolate without you."
At this Papa's eyes snapped.
"I most certainly will not let you go to London by yourselves!" he said. "It is far, far too dangerous. We will discuss this matter later. Girls?"
Maria and I looked up.
"Go to bed now. Your mother and I have some discussing to do."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Are we really here?"

"Lizzy, can you believe it?" Liza said, squeezing her sister's hand. "We're really here! In London!" Liza plopped down on the bed at the Inn they were staying at. Lizzy giggled and sat on the edge of the bed, beside Liza.
"I know. When I was little I used to dream of walking the streets of London, and now I'm here," Lizzy said, closing a book she had brought along.
Liza stood from the bed and made her way over to her luggage, sitting in the wardrobe. She held up a pretty, light pink dress with little flowers sewn onto the hem. "What do you think, Lizzy? Is this a good dress for our first day in London?"
Lizzy giggled and shook her head enthusiastically. "Oh, Liza, it's absolutely perfect! And, what do you think about this one?" Lizzy asked her sister, holding up a light brown and black, checkered dress that looked comfortably perfect for a day full of walking.
"Lizzy, it is superb!" The girls spun around in circles, laughing and having a grand time, until they heard a knock on the door. "Come in," Liza said, straightening up her hair.
Bekah peeked in the door. "Am I interrupting anything?"
Lizzy waved her cousin to come on in, "Oh no, we were just picking out our outfits for the day. Bekah, what do you plan on wearing?"
She smiled and fluffed her blue, cotton dress. "I plan on wearing this. Do you like it?"
Liza and Lizzy exchanged glances. "It's perfect," Lizzy said, walking up to her cousin, and linking arms with her. Liza did the same. "What shall we do on our first day out?"
Bekah giggled. "Maybe we should go shopping."
"Or, maybe we could take a long walk in the beautiful, crisp weather," Liza said, spinning the girls around. The all giggled.
Lizzy gave a chuckle. "Shopping sounds good. So does taking a walk. Perhaps we'll do both!" It was decided.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Introducing Evelyn Grace Wickham

How are you doing today? My name is Evelyn Grace Wickam, but most of my close friends just call me Eva. My mother is the infamous Lydia Bennet Wickam, notorious for eloping with my father, George Wickam. Mama seems to feel that the attention she received after the elopement (in my mind, bad attention) is lovely, but I feel otherwise. Anyone will tell you by looking at my mother and I that we are related; we could be twins. I have her same ringlets (although mine are several shades darker) and gray/green eyes. However, I sometimes feel that we could not be more opposite in personality. I love the outdoors, I love reading, and I am quiet. My mother considers me a great beauty, and she is anxious to have me wed to a gentleman of extensive fortune... but that is what I despise. Sometimes I wish I had been born plain - if it would just make Mama leave me to choose my own future husband.

Papa is distant towards me - when he is home, which is not often. He is most commonly to be found a great distance from our house, traveling for "his work" as he says. Perhaps if he were around more often I would be able to have a better relationship with him, perhaps we would be able to understand each other better. Alas, that is not likely to happen soon. "It's is not so easy for the leopard to change his spots."

Aunt Lizzy and Aunt Jane are positively lovely. I wish I was their daughter - perhaps like Cousin Bekah or Lizzy and Liza. That would be wonderful; there is just something about my aunts, Auntie Jane especially, that makes you want to pour your heart out to them. They comfort me in my times of turmoil, when I feel like I utterly despise my mother. They grew up with Mama, so they understand how I feel.

Alright, I fear I will wear out my welcome by going on much longer. You know all that you need to know about me - I will let you figure out the rest. Thank you for taking the time to read my story!

Love,

Monday, April 5, 2010

The wheels are a'rolling

I looked out the window of the carriage upon the moors. IT was almost midnight and Liza lay against me sleeping. I smiled at Bekah, who had just put down a book.
"Do you think we will be there soon Auntie?" I asked my Aunt Georgina who sat next Bekah.
"I don't know dear," she answered, "I hope soon." She added to herself.
I perused my lips then went back to looking out the window. The moors flew past, barely see able. The moon was hidden in dark rain clouds, and a sharp wind blew. I looked at my family again and said in a sad voice.
'It’s going to rain."
"Yes I believe so." Bekah said, neither of them noticed my tone. In her sleep Liza mumbled something. I put my arm around her and sat, my eyes clouded over as I thought.
"Go to sleep dear." Aunt Georgie advised. So, feeling there was nothing else to do, I closed my eyes, trying to sleep.
With a jolt I awoke.
"Here we are dears." Aunt Georgie said, gently shaking Bekah who was also asleep.
"Liza." I whispered.
"Hum...?" She mumbled.
"We are here dearest."
"In London?"
"Yes, come we must go into the inn."
Liza sat up and rubbed her eyes and got out of the carriage. I juped out and put my arm around my sister. The roads of London were muddy as usual. A young porter held a torch which was not nearly enough light. I looked up at the inn. It was tall and newly white-washed.
"It looks nice." I said to myself.
"What Lizzy?" Liza asked me, barely awake.
"Nothing, let's go inside." She nodded.
Soon we were in warm beds, I lay awake for sometime after the others had gone to sleep.
"Well, here we are." I said, and went to sleep.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Fortnight to Consider

Previously..

A bright but windy morning, Catherine ran (in an unladylike manner) down the stairs from her room and into the breakfast room. Anne was still grooming- she always took longer than Catherine, but was never unladylike or disheveled, so her parents excused the amount of time her grooming required.

"Father, father, its been a fortnight- have you decided-whether we are to go to London or not?!", she eagerly inquired of Mr.Collins, as he sat placidly eating his meats.

"My dear, more ladylike behavior would be appropriate. I'm sure Lady Catherine would not approve.", he reprimanded, with a deeply disappointed  nod.

"Never mind what Lady Catherine de Bourgh thinks- it is simply unacceptable in the house, my dear.", her mother stated with a look at her father and a slight smile at Catherine.

Anne walked in  at this moment, and bidding her family members, "Good morning" with a smile, sat down and began to help herself to breakfast. She was as anxious as Catherine, but thought it best to allow her father to inform them of his decision in his timing.Catherine was now seated, and both girls looked almost impatiently at their father now and then. He deliberately ate his meal, but eventually placed his napkin on the table and leaned back.

"My dear daughters, my thought process, when considering whether we should reside in London for a time or no, was very-complex. As you must know, there are many aspects to be taking into consideration. Your mother's health, the parsonage keeping, if the man who is to take my place is of reputable character and competence, expenses, and the fact that the length of our journey may tax Lady Catherine de Bourgh's loneliness and opinion..."

" Mr.Collins, I hardly think Lady Catherine would mind- I'm sure she would not have recommended us to go if she were against it- she will not be lonely without us, I am sure.", Mrs.Collins said softly, looking down at  her plate.

"Oh, uh, um, well, my dear, I disagree. But, nonetheless, I have thought deeply about this, and am convinced that we should go. As a minister, I feel it is my responsibility to take the place of another minister- and to give the young man that is taking my place some experience as a clergyman, as he so desires.", he replied. As he concluded, he smiled and his face beamed.

"I think that is very sensible, my dear. And I think my health, and our daughter's manners in society, would be improved by this trip." Mrs.Collins looked satisfied, and rose to leave the table. " Shall we talk privately about arrangements, Mr.Collins? We shall have to visit Lady Catherine this evening."



"Oh Catherine! I am so pleased about father's decision! Are you not simply delighted?!", asked Anne, as they began their usual walk directly after breakfast.

"I don't find so much pleasure in these things as you do, but yes, I am pleased. Father's reason's for going impressed me very much. Were they not godly?"

"Yes. But I must confess, mother's health has worried me-", she began, but paused, as they came face to face with a young  gentleman, also walking in the woods.

"Oh, Mr.Reading, how are you?", inquired Anne (with a curtsy) of the pleasant and plain looking young man,as the sisters stopped in front of him.

He bowed and smiled at both of them. "Miss Collins, Miss Catherine! I am so pleased to run into you.I am very well, thank you. And how are you both?"

"Very well, thank you Mr.Reading. Anne, I am going to pick some wildflowers by that rock- will you excuse me, Mr.Reading?", Catherine said. Anne looked at her with a reluctant expression, her face shielded by her bonnet when she turned sideways.

"Of course", Anne and Mr.Reading replied at once. They laughed, and the slightest hint of a blush could be found on Anne's fair face.

" So, Miss Collins, are your parents in good health? I was just on my way to your house to reply to the note your father sent me this morning."

"Oh, yes, they are quite well. I-I was just saying to my sister that I am worried about my mother's health, though she is fine. You see, as you  probably know, we are going to London, and I hope the trip will benefit her.", replied Anne,with nothing more than politeness and a slight smile. He noticed her attitude, and said

"Well, I must meet your father. Please excuse me.", and he bowed and walked past her. She looked behind her with a raised brow, and then turned and joined her sister. She was surprised he took her hints.

"Anne, whatever is the matter with you?", asked Catherine, as her sister knelt beside her.

"Whatever is the matter with you? Leaving me alone with Mr.Reading!?", Anne replied with indignation.

"I thought I was being considerate. I thought you liked Mr.Reading?"

"I do, but not in the way you think."

"But why ever not? He is very nice, and admires you. He is quite eligible."

"I am not interested in marrying a clergyman, not to mention one below middle class."

"You always have thought too much of material things, father says so. Truly, what are your prospects of finding a man above middle class?"

"Well, perhaps, if we socialize in London..."

"Ah, so you are changing your behavior towards Mr.Reading because you don't want him to have "false hopes", just in case you meet someone in London? Someone as good, but more wealthy?"

"No, not at all-", she thought for a moment, then sighed. "I suppose that is what I am doing. I don't want to be cruel, or caniving, but I must do it. Do you think I am wrong?"

"Yes, I suppose so- as long as you don't accept Mr.Reading (if he ever asks you after your behavior today) when we come back from London, just because no one better came along and asked you.", Catherune replied, with a warning look.

"I hope I would not be so base- three things would keep me from doing such a thing- integrity,consistency, and whether or not I love him. Which I do not, of course.", she said with a blush at the latter statement and anxious look at the first.

"That is wise and well said.You may not think I know of human dynamics, because I spend so much time "pouring over theology", as you and mother say, but within the human spirit is an instinct for these things, if we would only hold on to it from birth."

"You are right, Catherine.And this situation is the perfect example.", Anne smiled and took her sister's arm as they stood up and began their walk home. "I hope Mr.Reading is gone by now."

Catherine looked at her teasingly, and leaned her head on her sister's shoulder. The two sister's sauntered along, partly to enjoy the lovely weather, and to give Mr.Reading enough time to walk home.

To be continued....