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The Idea of Good Company

Chapter Text

Part IX.

The next day her cousin was required to see a General in town, and Georgiana walked with him to the house where he lived. After turning back, she had not been long alone before she encountered Anne. Instantly did she enquire as to whether anything had happened since their last encounter regarding her friend and Captain Wentworth.

"Nothing," Anne replied sadly, "I haven't seen him since the night of the concert. My family have forced me to have other engagements. My sister Mary and the Musgroves have arrived in town to prepare for the weddings of Louisa and Henrietta. They are to spend the evening of the 28th with us, along with Lady Dalrymple, Mr Elliot and Miss Carteret."

"From your expression I deduce that you think it will be a rather gloomy evening."

"By the sound of that guest list, can you doubt otherwise?" Anne replied with a small smile. "Actually, it is fortuitous that I ran into you. Will you come back with me and see if we can arrange for your family to come as well?"

Georgiana's features brightened instantly. "Yes, that would be wonderful. As far as I know I do not believe we have any fixed engagements for that night."

The two set off on their task and arrived promptly at Camden Place, where to their luck they found Miss Elliot and Sir Walter still at home. Georgiana found them to be exactly as her friend had described; for almost as soon as her name had been mentioned, and its connection to the illustrious Darcys of Derbyshire, did they begin to fawn over her every word and apply for her every need. Georgiana, being a guest, found it very taxing to keep her manners in check, but for the sake of her friend, she made her best to succeed.

All in all, the call lasted the rest of the morning, and Georgiana parted from her friend in the best of spirits, returning to the Crescent. At once, Sir Walter and Miss Elliot began talking of her.

"A sweet charming girl," Sir Walter pronounced her, "not at all in need of Gowland. She and her family have been staying since February? No wonder I did not see her during my rambles, out of the five and thirty ugly ones."

"What exactly is her family?" Elizabeth Elliot asked.

Anne briefly detailed their circumstances. When she had mentioned the income of Pemberley and their connection to the Matlocks, the decision was taken away from her and made Sir Walter's own.

"Oh we must pay call on them," cried he, "I do not think why we have not before."

"But Lady Dalrymple," Miss Elliot interjected, "Surely we should call upon her first and inform her that we will not be able to spend the afternoon with her?"

"Oh there is no need to do that," Sir Walter replied, "the call was not fixed."

Much to her relief, Anne thought to herself.

But an hour after luncheon did the Elliots arrive at the Royal Crescent, and Georgiana had the pleasure of spending time with her friend Anne. The two managed to separate themselves quite well from the main circle, where Sir Walter was trying to recollect- in vain -some vague but distant connection with her brother's ancestors.

Georgiana glanced at Richard, who had returned from the General, and his expression was such that she instantly commented, "You do not like Sir Walter?"

"What do you think?" He replied to her, coming to sit by her and her companion. "No slight to you, Miss Elliot, but......."

"It is a great pity that one cannot choose one relatives, is it not?" Anne guessed.

"Exactly. Though my own sometimes are hardly a comparison."

"Too true," Georgiana agreed, thinking of the Miramaxwells, and Lady Catherine. And Mr Collins.

The Elliots stayed till tea, and then parted. Darcy breathed a sigh of relief, and then apologised to his sister.

"Miss Anne is excellent," he remarked, "it is just the rest..."

"I know," Georgiana replied. "Have we been invited to the 28th?"

"Yes, was that your desire?"

"It is, else poor Anne might have to suffer it alone."

"Possibly," Richard mused, a significant look upon his face. "But it is a while to the actual date itself. And many things can happen."