Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Charlotte's Spoiler Part Two: Mr. Bennet Intervenes

Warning: If you plan to read Holidays at Pemberley, or Third Encounters: A Tale of Less Pride and Prejudice Concludes and want the romance to retain a modicum of suspense and surprise, please do not read this post.

Yesterday I provided a glimpse into a brokenhearted (if she'll only admit it) Miss Lucas. Today I'd like to begin the mending process. I have already shared some of this. Mr. Bennet first declares his intention to interfere in the excerpt contained in the post My Mr. Bennet, and Mrs. Hendley (sister to my hero, David Westover) brings Charlotte to task in the post Meeting Cordelia Hendley. The following short exchange takes place in the time between those two, when Mr. Bennet confronts Mr. Westover at the Twelfth Night ball:

Mr. Bennet was pleased to find himself seated beside Mr. Westover, with whom he had been hoping to speak. The conversation began on scientific subjects, of a style Mr. Bennet was sure would gain his neighbor’s attention, and when the man was quite in his element, rhapsodizing on the effects of local river erosion, he interrupted the speech with this diversion: “Miss Lucas told me of your great knowledge of such matters, Mr. Westover. You have secured yourself a warm admirer in that lady.”

David nearly choked on his food. “I have?”

“Do you not know it? I was under the impression that the two of you spent a great deal of time together when she was a guest at Pemberley last year.”

“Indeed, we did, but I had no notion our friendship would be recalled after she returned to her own home and interests,” he said modestly.

“Well, that is quite possibly true, as I have not heard her mention you these many months,” he noted with satisfaction that the hopeful rector’s face fell.  “Do not fret over it, sir! I’m sure she will return again one day, and then your intercourse is sure to resume as before.”

He shook his head. “I fear Miss Lucas will never again be at ease in my company. I said something at which she may have taken offense before her departure, and we never did resolve the matter. If she were to come visit, the kindest thing for me to do might be retreat to my family home.”

“Nonsense! Charlotte Lucas is one of the most practical ladies I have ever known, and I assure you, Mr. Westover, that I have known a great many more than I ever cared to. She would not allow mere misunderstanding to determine her sentiments towards another. Explain yourself and all will be right. It’s amazing what straightforward conversation, unhindered by societal nonsense, can often accomplish.”

The rector looked doubtful, and before Mr. Bennet could stop her, the little known lady to his left demanded his attention. There was nothing to be done but let the matter go. For now, he knew as much as he needed.

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