"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.