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Even More Consequences From A Call - Epilogue

December 04, 2020 06:31AM
Here we are. At the end of the story. It blows my mind to think that a one-shot turned into a 32 chapter book, 34 if you count the prologue and epilogue. The story ended with a staggering 193,071 words and my Word master document is 478 pages long.


Hyde Park, London
June 1822

Reginald Hurst stood in Hyde Park near the Grosvenor Gate where he had arranged to meet a large group of family and close friends for a picnic on the grass, as they did often during the season. As he spoke with a group of husbands, he watched as his wife of ten years sat on a blanket and his children played nearby with a staggering number of nannies and maids. The pleasant scene made him smile contentedly.

His marriage had been as close to perfect as possible. Arguments and disagreements were few and far between. Their first child, Ernest Thomas, was nine years old and named after his grandfathers. Next came Elizabeth Jane, who was seven years old and named after her godmother and mother. Then the twins made their appearance. William Reginald and Phoebe Madeline were precocious four-year-olds who had turned the Hurst household on its end. His family was always loud and boisterous, and he loved every moment they spent together making memories.

He and Jane were looked upon as an oddity by London society. It was not often that parents of the first circles spent so much time with their children. He looked at William and Elizabeth and had to correct his previous thought. Outside of his close friends and family, it was not a common occurrence.

The size of Darcy the family matched his own, except they did not have a set of twins. The eldest Darcy son, Bennet Reginald, was a week younger than his Hurst cousin. There were also two more sons, George and Richard, and a daughter, Anne. Little Miss Darcy, at three years old, was the undisputed princess of her loyal Pemberley subjects, with the exception of her mother and Mrs. Reynolds. Her father and brothers hated to see her unhappy and did anything she asked . At first, Reginald feared Anne would turn into an uncontrollable harridan, but Jane and Elizabeth both assured him that would never be allowed to happen. He trusted his friends to keep Anne from becoming wild.

Then there were Grace and Richard, who were parents to three children, one son and two daughters. His nephew, Michael William, was a few months older than his Hurst and Darcy cousins. His nieces, Olivia and Catherine, were doted on by their parents, particularly Richard who was wrapped around their precious fingers.

Robert and Charlotte Trevor, The Earl and Countess of Palmrich, had three children, two sons and a daughter. Their eldest son, Alfred Richard, was a month older than Ernest. Their daughter, Maria Charlotte, was followed by Lucius Robert. The Trevor household was run very efficiently and as frugally as possible, without potentially starting rumours that their coffers were low. Robert had never expected to ascend to the title and Charlotte had been unsure she would ever marry. The Trevor’s made a pact early in their marriage to save as much of their annual income as possible to ensure their younger children were all able to make their own way in the world and did not have to marry with money as a consideration.

Matthew and Clara Rogers, now the Earl and Countess of Warfolk, had two sons, Owen and Joshua. Owen was born two weeks after Ernest and his brother arrived three years later.

Joseph and Juliet Fitzwilliam, the Viscount and Viscountess Milham, started courting two months after the infamous visit of Miss Ibbot and married later that autumn. Juliet had decided that she made JT wait long enough for forgiveness, that there was no reason to stretch out their courtship. They had one son, Maxwell Michael, and two daughters, Celia and Mary. Maxwell was a year and a half younger than Reginald’s eldest son, Ernest.

Harold and Celia Dobbs married four weeks after JT and Juliet. Their eldest daughter, Jane, was seven and their son, James, was five. Aunt Phoebe lived in their dowager house, by choice, and doted on her grandchildren. The current Viscount and Viscountess Dobbs remained childless. Harold thought it fitting that either he or his son James was likely to ascend to the title his father previously held.

Mark and Anne Withers married before the 1812 season started and went on a tour of the southern coast for three weeks. Their first daughter, Catherine, was born two years after they married. Mark had confided in them that he was careful to practice methods he was aware of to prevent pregnancy until he was confident Anne was strong enough to survive the ordeal. Their son, Lewis, was born three years after his elder sister.

Reginald had been embarrassed to admit it in front of everyone, but the birth of the twins had been hard on his dear Jane. He had asked Mark for specific details, in private, that would allow time for his wife’s body, and his nerves, to heal. Jane had initially understood, and agreed, with his decision to attempt to delay another pregnancy, however, four months ago she had told him, nearly begged, with tears streaming down her face, that she wanted more children. He was powerless to deny his dear wife’s request.

The Marquess and Marchioness of Brundel, John and Mary Sutton, became engaged two weeks into Mary’s first season and married six weeks later. Their son, Anthony, was born before the first anniversary of their wedding, and three daughters had followed in rapid succession.

To the surprise of nobody, Edmund Sakville started to circumspectly court Georgianna Darcy the summer after she turned seventeen. What did surprise all of them, except William, was when he dropped to one knee after the supper set of her coming out ball and proposed. They had a daughter, a son, and The Marchioness was with child again.

Lord Rupert Kenney was the third son of The Duke of Arnox. He met Lydia Bennet during her second season, and they had a whirlwind romance. When he married, his father gifted him an estate worth £12,000 and a townhouse in London. They were well matched, both preferred London to the country, and enjoyed philanthropic endeavours. The couple had a son and a daughter.

Walter Camfield was a gentleman farmer with an estate twenty miles from Longbourn. He was a distant cousin of the infamous Earl of Camfield and, as the heir presumptive, was expected to ascend to the title before long. The current earl was very ill and a degenerate who had been exiled from polite society by King George IV ten years earlier for attempting to compromise one of his natural born daughters for her dowry. The king also threatened to strip him of his estate and start the process of revoking his title if he was ever seen in London again.

Kitty and Lydia were out riding, with Allan following at a reasonable distance, when they met Walter under unusual circumstances. Kitty came over a rise and almost trampled a body that was laying on the ground. Thankfully, her years of riding experience, and an exceptionally well-trained horse, allowed her to avoid an accident. The sisters convinced Allan they would be safe for a short period of time and sent him to the nearest tenant house for assistance before he continued to Meryton for Mr. Jones.

Walter was brought to Longbourn in the tenant’s cart and convalesced there for almost two months until he could walk on the leg he had broken, with assistance. In that time, he became well known to the entire family and he and Kitty had fallen in love. They had a daughter and at dinner the previous evening had announced that Kitty was increasing.

Reginald felt very blessed with his friends and family. They were all good, decent people who cared about their families and managed their estates and fortunes responsibly. They saw everyone, except when pregnancy prohibited travel, in town for the season and they took turns hosting the family Christmas celebration.

He was glad there were so many boys similar in age that would be able to enjoy most of their life’s experiences together, including attending Eton in a few years. Not only would they have each other to lean upon at school, but, if his father-in-law finally convinced his mother-in-law, the Bennet twins would be a year ahead of them.

“What thought has placed that expression on your face, Reginald?” William asked.

“I was thinking about how many of the boys are close in age and will be attending Eton shortly. I am wondering if Head Master Keate would allow us to rent a house for them to live in.”

“That is an interesting suggestion,” JT responded. “I have no idea if it has ever been done before. I would feel more comfortable knowing Maxwell was living with his cousins and friends while being overseen by our servants.”

“It might be prudent to have my father broach the subject,” Edmund suggested.

“Have him discuss the situation with my father, first. If two Dukes were to write letters indicating that they wanted their sons, nephews, and grandsons to live together, perhaps it would sway the decision,” John mentioned.

“I wish my son was older,” Mark said. “It would be very comforting to have Lewis living with his cousins.”

“I have an idea,” Rupert Kenney announced.

“Please, do share,” Reginald encouraged his brother-in-law with a smile.

“Including my father, with three Dukes making the request, and offering to donate the house to Eton after their family members graduate, with the understanding that in the future all of our relatives would be placed there first, how could the Head Master say no?” Rupert answered smugly.

“I should have known it would involve a donation,” Walter snorted.

“It is a good suggestion,” he said with a smile. To change the subject before they started teasing each other further, he announced, “I received another letter from Bingley.”

“I am surprised a letter did not arrive for me too,” William said, looking hurt. “Did his wife safely deliver? Have there been any updates about Mrs. Smith’s state of affairs?”

“Bingley is the proud father of a son, his wife is doing well, and his daughter is in love with her new brother,” he responded.

“And the former Miss Bingley?” JT asked.

“There is nothing new to share,” he answered.

“Her confidence man of a husband, Mr. Smith, very original identity by the way, took the £5,000 Bingley released to him upon their marriage, left, and has not been seen again for over nine years,” William added.

“That was an expensive mistake,” Harold commented.

“What do you mean, confidence man?” Walter asked.

“Pardon me, Walter, I did not realize you had never heard the story,” he apologized. “You know I was married to the sister of William’s good friend?”

“Yes, I heard all about the Bingleys. I lived in Hertfordshire, not India,” that man responded with a grin.

He shook his head and continued, “Shortly after they arrived in Missouri, Miss Bingley was trying to force her way into the high society, such as it is, of St. Charles by bandying about the amount of her dowry, an impressive £20,000.”

“I know it should not, but her guile still astonishes me,” Richard said. “I clearly remember her dowry was less than half that figure.”

“Yes, it was down to £8,000 when they left,” William confirmed. “Had they refused to depart the country, I am sure the courts would have awarded the rest of her dowry to the Bennet’s in recompense for the attempted compromise of Jane.”

“Attempted compromise?” Rupert asked with wide eyes. “I have not heard that story before.”

“Later,” JT assured him with a nod.

“Let me guess. This confidence man targeted her, expecting a big pay day?” Walter asked. “I imagine he was not happy when he found out the true amount.”

“He was not,” he confirmed. “Quite frankly, I am surprised Mr. Smith did not refuse to marry her when it was disclosed. Bingley said the man made a public spectacle of their courtship and it would have turned out very badly for their family if he withdrew, even more so than her being abandoned.”

“Perhaps he was desperate and decided £5,000 would allow him to make a new beginning?” Mark offered.

“It seems you are correct,” William responded. “Bingley’s investigator lost Mr. Smith’s trail a few towns away. They believe he made for the eastern coast.”

“They will never find him,” Richard announced with confidence. “I am sure Mr. Smith had a new name, back story, and physical appearance before he left St. Charles.”

“In my experience, tricksters like him always do,” Harold agreed.

“How is the little puppy getting along with his wife?” Richard asked.

“Perfectly well,” he responded.

“Bingley’s wife is an only child. Her mother died bringing her into this world and her father, who owns the most successful law firm in the area, gave her everything she ever asked for her entire life,” William explained.

“I bet I can guess what happened this time,” Harold said with a grin. “She saw the malleable little boy, figured him out right away, and made him think proposing to her was his idea. Once she had him in her sights, he did not stand a chance.”

“From what I could tell, that was the gist of it,” he agreed. “She has taken over their entire marriage, and her father’s house. When they married, Bingley said his wife made her father move out of the master suite so they could use the rooms. Her reasoning was that she was his heir, and it was better for them to start their marriage where they would end up.”

“You said she runs their entire marriage,” Mark pointed out. “Does that include their finances?”

“Yes, she insisted,” William said. “Bingley is involved to a certain extent. She does occasionally discuss some of their investment opportunities with him, to get a male point of view, and he does need to meet with the people who would refuse to deal with a woman. Otherwise, he was very pleased to turn the responsibilities over to her. Bingley spends his days playing with his daughter, at his clubs, or in gentlemanly pursuits.”

“How did she handle the former Miss Bingley?” JT asked with a devilish grin.

“Apparently, it was a very short-lived battle,” he grinned. “Miss Bingley gave the housekeeper an order one time, and she was bundled off to her own establishment the same day.”

“That she could afford on her remaining £3,000 without any assistance from her brother or sister-in-law,” stated William.

“Was she ever legally married?” Walter asked, after the laughter had died down.

“That is a really good question,” William said thoughtfully. “If his name is not Mr. Smith, and Bingley could prove it, I think the marriage could be annulled instead of petitioning the courts for a divorce on the grounds of abandonment, which would likely not be granted.”

“Excuse me, Mr. Darcy.”

“Yes, Anna.”

“I apologize for interrupting, sir, but your children wanted me to ask if you would come play with them.”

“We are almost done catching up, Anna. Tell them I will be along shortly,” William told his children’s under-nanny with a smile.

“Very well, sir.”

“Anna,” he said before she could walk away.

“Yes, Mr. Hurst.”

“Alfie was by the ladies helping to set up the food. You could ask him to help you keep the younger children entertained,” he stated with a smile.

“A very good idea, sir,” Anna responded with a calculating smile before walking towards the food to find Alfie.

Anna had enjoyed, and thrived, at school. When she graduated, the Darcy’s made her an under-nanny for their children, who she thought of as family. They ensured she trained and practiced with Alfie and the other footmen who served in that capacity as inconspicuous guards. Anna would be Little Miss Darcy’s maid when the time was right and would accompany her when she started taking solo walks or rides around Pemberley.

“That was mean,” Harold said with a half smile.

“How long do you think Alfie will hold out?” JT asked with a wicked grin.

“Not long now,” Richard answered with a smirk. “Anna is of an age to marry. I would not be surprised if she did not drag him to the altar during services one Sunday and calmly inform the vicar that he was to marry them immediately.”

“How is Reggie doing with his studies, Reginald?” Harold asked him.

“Very well. There is no question he will be ready for Eton in a year. We may make him wait a year and enter with the Bennet twins and his younger brother, but I have been trying to convince Sally that he needs a year by himself first,” he responded.

“I think we finally convinced Wiggins,” William added.

“You will make sure he is in the house with our boys?” Richard asked.

“Of course,” William responded, sounding offended. “What do you take me for, Richard? The boy has grown up with our sons, why would we separate them at school?”

“He is also very intelligent. Mr. Bennet noticed how quick he was to learn things, and started directing his education at an early age,” he informed the group. “He will do very well at Eton. I believe Wiggins and Sally are nervous because he would be the first person in either of their families to receive a formal education.”

“That makes sense,” Mark said. “If you think it will help, I would be willing to discuss it with them. They should not let their fear hold their son back. With the size of our extended family, we can assist the lad in whatever profession he chooses. Just because he is the son of a servant, does not mean he needs to become one himself. Allowing him to receive an education, gives him a chance to be anything he wants. I would also add that housing him with our sons will afford him protection from the other students.”

“William, speaking of a servant’s son, have you had any more packages show up from Wickham?” Richard asked.

“No,” William answered.

Mid-season in the year of 1812, William had been called to the stables of Darcy House regarding an emergency situation. When he arrived, he found a bedraggled group of eleven people. There were two men, three women, and six children.

The men introduced themselves as soldiers who had been captured in France during the war and later broken out of prison by none other than Mr. Wickham. When they escaped the prison, Wickham led them to a nearby barn, gave them money, and tasked them with escorting nine war refugees to Darcy House in London. The ladies had all helped Wickham in some way during his mission to rescue the soldiers and had wanted a better life. The children were orphans that Wickham had come across during his travels. The men had reported to their London commanders and William had found places for the women around Pemberley and families to take in the children.

From what little information the former General was able to gather, Wickham was often ordered to assess situations that had the capacity to become a danger to the throne of England. Wickham had quickly proven himself extremely adept at intelligence work and became one of the most successful foreign operatives in the kingdom.

Throughout the years, William had a staggering amount of people turn up at his houses, sometimes alone and oftentimes as a group, carrying a letter from Mr. Wickham explaining the situation and asking for help. The people were given work that fit their skills and, when needed, the orphaned children found homes.

Reginald and William kept the information concerning most of the arrivals to themselves and used the code word of ‘package’ when talking outside of their studies. They did explain to Harold, Richard, and JT what had occurred once when Wickham sent a group of twenty ladies that had been rescued from various situations in a short period of time. It took the combined resources of all five friends to find suitable placements for them.

“Hopefully the need for his services has dwindled,” Richard said.

“That is my hope too. I would like to meet my reformed former friend one day,” William stated with a smile.

“My wife sent me over here to send you young men to play with your children,” his cousin, Arnold Fielding, said.

Reginald was surprised five years ago when his bachelor second cousin had convinced the former Mrs. Verdier to marry him. They had welcomed a son a year after their marriage and a daughter two years later.

“Cousin Arnold is right, gentlemen. I am going to check on my wife first, I will meet you shortly,” he said before he walked away from the group.

Reginald suspected Jane was with child again. All of the signs were there, and it made him worry for her health. Although, if he was being honest, Jane looked extremely healthy and glowed like when she had carried Ernest.

The past ten years had seen a significant improvement in the relationship he and Grace had with their parents. His parents had both apologized for how they acted while the siblings were growing up and asked to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives. It had taken a while for Reginald and Grace to believe that their reformation was sincere. Truly, they made much better grandparents than they had ever done as parents.

When Jane announced she was pregnant for the second time, his parents begged them to move to Whitemeadow and take over running the estate so that they could spend their remaining years doting on their grandchildren. A year after he took over all management of the estate, he had increased the income by almost £3,000 a year, most of it was saved by cutting out unnecessary expenses and finding new buyers for their goods. When he announced the increase at dinner, Reginald’s father told him he was proud of him for managing the estate more effectively than he had ever been capable of doing. That one statement had gone a long way in easing his reservations about whether or not his parents’ change of heart was genuine.

He sat down next to his wife and quietly asked, “Jane, are you feeling well?”

“Yes, my love. Everything is simply perfect,” she responded with a happy smile on her face and her hand on her abdomen. “I just received confirmation that in a few months we can expect the arrival of another consequence.”

I hope you enjoyed the story.

I do have an idea and a basic plot outline for my next posting. It is going to be cannon, not nearly as long, with fewer characters, and contain a reversal of situations. Mrs. B sends Jane to Netherfield in the carriage and Darcy, Bingley, and Hurst go to dine with the officers on horseback.

I will not start posting the next one until it’s completely written, hopefully just after the new year. I felt horrible when I went almost a month without posting and skipping last week because we were on vacation and getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Even More Consequences From A Call - Epilogue

LizzySDecember 04, 2020 06:31AM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Epilogue

JubelleDecember 06, 2020 02:31AM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Epilogue

EvelynJeanDecember 04, 2020 10:14PM

Re: Even More Consequences From A Call - Epilogue

NobukoDecember 04, 2020 12:10PM


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