Louisa has finally healed enough to go home to Uppercross…
Louisa clutched at Captain Benwick’s hand while the luggage was being loaded onto the chaise, a tear coursing down each cheek. “What if my parents will not approve our marriage? I could not bear it!” The captain stroked her hand gently. “Do not worry my dear Louisa. Your Mama and Papa only want you to be happy. Surely they will not deny our love? I am not a rich man, but I have some prize money…enough to start us out in life at least.”
Louisa sniffed and dabbed at her eyes with her handkerchief. “I cannot bear the suspense of waiting for their answer!” Even through her distress she thought of the warnings her mother had given her two daughters about how much gentlemen disliked weepy and red-eyed young ladies, so she blinked the tears away and tried to compose herself.
Glancing up at the bustling figures of the Harvilles, Benwick lowered his voice and patted her hand gently. “Do you have the letter in your reticule, my dear?” Louisa nodded and felt through the soft reticule to make sure that the thick crackle of the paper was still there. “Yes, I have it…and I will give it to my Papa as soon as we reach Uppercross.” Benwick squeezed her small fingers and dropped her hand when Mrs. Harville began looking around the now bare sitting room, looking for forgotten items.
Finally, after Captain Harville finished stowing the last bags on the back of the chaise and tightened down the ropes securing them the Harvilles and Louisa mounted the steps of the chaise. Benwick folded up the steps and told the driver to proceed. He raised his hand in farewell, while Louisa craned her neck to watch him as long as she could see him. She sighed and settled back for the long drive.
The Harvilles were very assiduous in their attentions to Louisa, keeping the coach to a comfortable pace for riding and stopping frequently for rest and refreshments. Still, by the time they reached the big house at Uppercross she felt that she must be as pale as she could possibly be, and she stumbled when she stepped down from the carriage. Her father was right there with a helping hand and, indeed, scooped her up and carried her up to the room she shared with Henrietta so she could have a rest before dinner was called in an hour or so.
Before Mr. Musgrove could turn and leave her room, Louisa clutched his hand. “Papa! Please wait a moment! I have something for you…it-it’s from Captain Benwick for you!” He gave her a quizzical look before accepting the missive. “Hmmm. I wondered why Benwick was not with you. Perhaps this will explain?” Louisa blushed and turned her eyes down. “Yes Papa.” He slowly opened the seal on the letter and read Benwick’s message.
After reading through the letter twice he looked up at Louisa, a small smile on his lips. “Have you accepted him, my dear Louisa?” She nodded, then broke out in a wide smile. “Yes Papa. He was so kind while I was ill. And seeing him with the Harvilles make me realize what a good man he is. I know that you have not known him long and I don’t know how much prize money he has made…we never talked about such things. But he is valued by Captain Wentworth and Captain Harville and has a career in the navy to go back to as soon as he gets a new ship. I could never tire of spending time with him and I have gained a great respect for the navy.”
Mr. Musgrove folded the letter. “I will talk to your mother before we give you our answer, my dear, but he seems a very good man. His letter gives me the information I need about whether he can support a wife and he seemed a respectable and responsible man when we were in Lyme with you. My only concern is that it has not been long since he lost his fiancée. I want to be sure that he is not mistaken in his feelings for you because he is sad and lonely. It is easy to mistake liking for love in that situation, my dear.”
Louisa took her father’s hand. “Papa, I have spent more time with Captain Harville than his fiancée ever did, with his short periods on shore and long months of service in the navy. I am sure. If you give your permission I will send him an express and he will come here as quickly as he can…you can get to know him here in Uppercross over Christmas.” He kissed her on the forehead said, “Don’t worry my dear. If you love him we will not deny you. Now you lie down and rest until it is time to dress for dinner. You must be very tired after traveling so far.”
She sighed and embraced him. “Thank you, Papa! I know I will be happy with him.”
An hour before dinner Mrs. Musgrove came in to wake Louisa. “My dear Louisa! I am so happy for you my dear girl! Captain Benwick will be a charming husband! Perhaps you and Henrietta could be married together. How delightful that would be! Send your message to the Captain and tell him to come as soon as he can. I long to greet him as my future son-in-law!”
Louisa, who still looked pale after her long day, embraced her Mama and said, “Oh Mama! He is the most delightful young man of my acquaintance! I am so happy!” She then burst into tears. Her mama chuckled and said, “This is not a time for weeping, Louisa!” She giggled through her tears and gave her a crooked smile. “I am just so happy, Mama!”
Choosing Ingredients for Anne’s Soap
We’re down to the final element for Anne’s special soap – the ingredients. Here are your options:
1. Camomille powder – The gentle calming properties of this powder lend itself perfectly to Anne’s calm, gentle nature
2. Ground pomegranate seeds – for exfoliation
3. Aloe vera concentrate – for it’s healing properties
4. Coconut oil – extremely light fragrance, adds extra smooth feel to soap. Very soothing and moisturizing to the skin.
Be sure to visit a post with Rafflecopter this week and follow the directions there to enter for the drawing. Two winners will be announced on Sunday, February 1st.
Want to refresh your memory with Jane’s Austen’s original work? Read Persuasion on Austen variations HERE.