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With Just a Little Guidance Chapters 3 and 4

April 15, 2015 03:55PM
AN: Thanks for the comments and appreciation. It always helps. Thanks to JA as I borrowed her words quite liberally in these sections.

Chapter 3

When Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the former, who had been cautious in her praise of Mr. Bingley while with the entire family, expressed to her sister how very much she admired him.

“He is just what a young man ought to be,” said she, “sensible, good humored, lively; and I never saw such happy manners; so much ease, with such perfect good breeding!”

“He is also handsome,” replied Elizabeth, “which a young man ought likewise to be, if he possibly can. His character is complete.”

“I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance a second time. I did not expect such a complement.”

“Did you not? I did for you. But that is one great difference between us. Compliments always take you by surprise and me never. What could be more natural than his asking you again? He could not help seeing that you were about five times as pretty as every other woman in the room. No thanks to his gallantry for that. Well, he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leave to like him. You have liked many a stupider person.”

“Dear Lizzy!”

“Oh! You are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in general. You never see a fault in any body. All the world is good and agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in my life.”

“I would wish not to be hasty in censuring any one; but I always speak what I think.”

“I know you do; and it is that which makes the wonder. With your good sense, to be honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! And so, you like this man’s sisters too, do you? Their manners are not equal to his.”

“Certainly not, at first. But they are very pleasing women when you converse with them. I am much mistaken if we shall not find them charming neighbors while we are here.”

Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced. Their behavior at the assembly had not been calculated to please in general; and with more quickness of observation and less pliancy of temper than her sister, and with a judgment, too, unassailed by any attention to herself, she was very little disposed to approve them. They were in fact very fine ladies, not deficient in good humor when they were pleased, nor in the power of being agreeable where they chose it; but proud and conceited. They were rather handsome, had been educated in one of the first private seminaries in town, had a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, were in the habit of spending more than they ought, and of associating with people of rank; and were therefore in every respect entitled to think well of themselves, and meanly of others. They were of a respectable family in the north of England; a circumstance more deeply impressed on their memories than that their brother's fortune and their own had been acquired by trade.

Jane then asked, “And what did you think of Mr. Darcy?”

Elizabeth said, “He is quite reserved but pleasant enough. He became animated when we talked of his home, Pemberley. Otherwise, he was quite circumspect. It will not be a trial to visit with him while I am still here. He seems quite knowledgeable. Miss Bingley seems very interested in him. Although he danced with her only once, she seemed to spend much of her time clutching his arm or following his movements with her eyes.”

Jane smiled and replied, “You may be right. I did notice her interest in him, even when we were talking. I think they will all be a nice addition to Meryton society.”

“I give you my leave to enjoy them.”

Mr. Bingley inherited property to the amount of nearly an hundred thousand pounds from his father, who had intended to purchase an estate, but did not live to do it. Mr. Bingley intended it likewise, and sometimes made choice of his county; but as he was now provided with a good house and the liberty of a manor, it was doubtful to many of those who best knew the easiness of his temper, whether he might not spend the remainder of his days at Netherfield, and leave the next generation to purchase.

His sisters were very anxious for his having an estate of his own; but though he was now established only as a tenant, Miss Bingley was by no means unwilling to preside at his table, nor was Mrs. Hurst, who had married a man of more fashion than fortune, less disposed to consider his house as her home when it suited her. Mr. Bingley had been looking for an estate for some years, when he was tempted by an accidental recommendation to look at Netherfield House. He did look at it and into it for half an hour, was pleased with the situation and the principal rooms, satisfied with what the owner said in its praise, and took it immediately.

Between him and Darcy there was a very steady friendship, in spite of a great opposition of character. Bingley was endeared to Darcy by the easiness, openness, ductility of his temper, though no disposition could offer a greater contrast to his own, and though with his own he never appeared dissatisfied. On the strength of Darcy's regard Bingley had the firmest reliance, and of his judgment the highest opinion. In understanding, Darcy was the superior. Bingley was by no means deficient, but Darcy was clever. He was at the same time haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well bred, were not inviting. In that respect his friend had greatly the advantage. Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared; Darcy was continually giving offence and would have done so at the assembly but for the prior acquaintance with Lady Stanford and Jane.

The manner in which they spoke of the Meryton assembly was sufficiently characteristic. Bingley had never met with pleasanter people or prettier girls in his life; everybody had been most kind and attentive to him, there had been no formality, no stiffness; he had soon felt acquainted with all the room; and as to Mrs. Nelson, he could not conceive an angel more beautiful. Darcy had little to say although he had enjoyed his evening well enough. Mrs. Nelson he acknowledged to be pretty.

Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be so, but still they admired her and liked her, and pronounced her to be a sweet girl, and one whom they should not object to know more of. Mrs. Nelson was therefore established as a sweet girl, and their brother felt authorized by such commendation to think of her as he chose.

Chapter 4

Within a short walk of Longbourn lived a family with whom the Bennets were particularly intimate. Sir William Lucas had been formerly in trade in Meryton, where he had made a tolerable fortune and risen to the honor of knighthood by an address to the King during his mayoralty. The distinction had perhaps been felt too strongly. It had given him a disgust to his business and to his residence in the small market town; and quitting the both, he had removed with his family to a house about a mile from Meryton, denominated from that period Lucas Lodge, where he could think with pleasure of his own importance, and, unshackled by business, occupy himself solely in being civil to all the world. For though elated by his rank, it did not render him supercilious; on the contrary, he was all attention to everybody. By nature inoffensive, friendly and obliging, his presentation at St. James’s had made him courteous. Luckily for his family finances, his oldest son John, at twenty-two had been able to assume responsibilities for said business and contributed much of the income to the family coffers. He lived on the rest in his own abode in town near the business.

Lady Lucas was a very good kind of woman, although not too clever. They had several children, the eldest, a sensible, intelligent young woman about twenty-seven, was Elizabeth’s intimate friend. That all the ladies would meet to talk over a ball was absolutely necessary; and the morning after the assembly brought the former to Longbourn to do so.

“Charlotte, you were Mr. Bingley’s first choice. How did you find him?” began Lady Stanford.

“He was very pleasant, but he seemed to enjoy his second choice much better.” At this remark, Jane blushed and all laughed.

Lady Lucas replied, “Well, he did dance you with twice, Jane.”

Jane smiled, “I too found him very pleasant.”

Charlotte added, “And Mr. Darcy was also pleasant, although much more reserved than Mr. Bingley.”

Elizabeth replied, “Yes. He does not seem to enjoy company very much.”

Lady Stanford added, “In town, he has been known to stalk the perimeter much like a guard patrolling his assigned territory. He is much pursued by the mamas of the Ton and must take great care. I believe he danced more at this assembly than in some balls he has attended in the past.”

“Well, I thought him well-informed and enjoyed my set with him,” said Elizabeth. “However, I did not find Mr. Bingley’s sisters as pleasant, although Jane liked them well enough.”

The visit continued in this amiable fashion, with all agreed that the gentlemen were fine, with the exception of Mr. Hurst as he had not made himself known to anyone.

Lady Stanford, Jane, Elizabeth and Kitty soon waited upon the ladies of Netherfield. Mrs. Nelson’s pleasing manners grew on the good will of Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley. Miss Bingley was all that was kindness to Lady Stanford and Jane, but had not much to say to Kitty or Elizabeth. Lady Stanford still saw the superciliousness in their treatment of everybody, so that she could not really like them. Their almost kindness to Jane she attributed to the influence of their brother’s admiration. It was generally evident whenever they met, that he did admire Jane. It was also apparent that Jane was yielding to a preference for him although she was still quite reserved in her manner.

This visit led to others between the families during which Miss Bingley learned of the less desirable relations of the late Mrs. Bennet. She quickly heard of the uncle who was a local solicitor, definitely not as highly ranked as a barrister would be. During one visit, she also learned of an uncle in trade who lived on Gracechurch Street. When asked the location of Gracechurch Street, Elizabeth was quick to answer, “Oh, it is near my uncle’s offices, near Cheapside.” Jane was surprised by this description, as her uncle’s offices were actually nearer the exchange at Cornhill, not so near Cheapside. However, this was an answer calculated to show Miss Bingley’s true regard to Jane.

The response was all that Elizabeth expected, but Jane did not see the withdrawal that was evident to everyone else. From this point, it was all Miss Bingley’s desire to diminish her brother’s growing regard for Mrs. Nelson as not worthy of his regard. Miss Bingley never bothered to ask where Mrs. Nelson or Mrs. Raynor lived. She assumed they were forced to live with their father due to their lack of family finances. Neither did she ask anything about their husbands’ families. Since she never spoke with the locals, she was not likely to learn any of those missing details. Jane’s natural reserve meant she would never share those details as they seemed to her to be boasting.

After the enlightening visit, Miss Bingley felt she needed to correct her brother’s impression of Mrs. Nelson. She was no longer a suitable potential companion for her brother.

“Charles, Mrs. Nelson is very sweet, but you must think carefully. She has uncles in trade. We are trying to move up, not back down. It will reflect poorly on Louisa and me should you decide to court her. You must not create any expectations.”

Bingley looked at her in consternation and said, “She is the daughter of a gentleman, which is more than we are. How can you think she would be undesirable because of the connections of her mother?”

Caroline continued, “Trade is trade. Her mother was not a gentlewoman. You must not pursue her.”

“I must do what I think best. I have not yet decided about courting her, but I will know her better. You will not dissuade me, no matter what you say. After all, our mother was not a gentlewoman either. Does that mean I should disavow you?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Caroline turned to Mr. Darcy and asked, “What say you? Does it not materially lessen her status to have relatives in trade? They have an uncle who is a solicitor in Meryton and another who lives somewhere near Cheapside.”

Bingley replied, “If she had uncles enough to fill all Cheapside, it would not make her one jot less agreeable.”

Darcy added, “But it might have lessened her chance of marrying a man of any consideration in the world. I believe her marriage to Mr. Nelson negates that consideration, though.”

Caroline looked triumphant at what she saw as his agreement. She did not understand how Mr. Nelson could negate anything. Mr. Darcy mentally shook his head with some bemusement. Mr. Nelson had been of a higher rank than Bingley, which was why Miss Bingley was unacquainted with him. Mr. Raynor had been the same. He chose not to disabuse Miss Bingley of her erroneous beliefs, but was careful to take Bingley aside and make him aware of the true status of the object of his affection.

At local dinners and card parties for the next week, Bingley continued to pay attention to Mrs. Nelson in an effort to get to know her better. He was rewarded for his efforts by an increase in the number of smiles sent his way and the warmth of her eyes as they spoke together. They truly came to life when he determined to host a ball the next month at Netherfield. Caroline observed this with growing dismay, Louisa with indifference, and Darcy with interest. However, his interest more and more was being drawn to Mrs. Nelson’s sister, Elizabeth Raynor.

With Just a Little Guidance Chapters 3 and 4

ShannaGApril 15, 2015 03:55PM

Re: With Just a Little Guidance Chapters 3 and 4

Debra McApril 18, 2015 08:18PM

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RoxeyApril 16, 2015 04:11AM

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AdelaideApril 16, 2015 02:00PM

Re: With Just a Little Guidance Chapters 3 and 4

Lucy J.April 16, 2015 01:33AM

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