Sir Walter and the ladies depart for Bath while Anne walks up to Kellynch Lodge to stay with Lady Russell.
“We will make a very good picture,” observed Sir Walter, “arriving in Bath with four such carriage-horses. I am sure few so fine are ever seen there. I know I have never seen any.”
“People do not need to keep a span of horses in Bath,” Anne reminded him, “most of the residents of the place find it more convenient to walk.”
“Do you not suppose my father knows that?” said Elizabeth with scorn. “As it happens, most of the great, at least, do keep carriage-horses, and stables, in Bath. I think it is a great pity we are not to be allowed to have our own.”
“Mr. Shepherd advised not, because a house large enough to have stables, in Bath, would be too great an expense,” said Anne.
“That only shows how little you know about it, Anne. We are not to stint ourselves, and go into any sort of mean lodgings.”
“Oh, surely not,” cried Mrs. Clay. “My father never had any thought of Sir Walter being any thing but what is very comfortable in Bath, quite as much as at Kellynch. And I believe he knows of some very fine houses. Think of how elegantly we shall be situated! You will be, I should say. I am merely a visitor, I know. I do not forget, nor do I forget my gratitude.” She turned to Elizabeth with a tender smile.
“My dear!” exclaimed Elizabeth, with uplifted hands. “You know we think of you as quite part of the family.”
Anne, who was not accompanying them to Bath, heard this with unease, but was silent.
“Shepherd mentioned one particular house in Camden-place, that I am very eager to see,” said Sir Walter, “it is said to be large, and quite worthy of a man of consequence.”
“We might have had horses there,” said Elizabeth.
“But it was agreed that they should remain at Kellynch, where the Crofts will need them more,” said Anne gently, “and we must remember it is very good of the Crofts to allow us them to be used for this journey to Bath.”
“Good to allow us to use our very own horses! That is one beyond me, Miss Anne,” said her father sarcastically.
“I am sure we shall enjoy the ride very much, being conveyed in such comfort, indeed luxuriousness,” said Mrs. Clay hastily, “and will make a very fine entrance. Only think how the people will stare.”
“Had we better not ascend into the carriage now,” said Elizabeth. “I believe all the boxes and baskets are disposed in their places. There is nothing more to wait for.”
“There is the matter of a take-leave, I believe,” said Anne, “some of the tenants and cottagers are to walk up to the house at nine o’clock, to pay their respects.”
“It is nearly that now,” said Mrs. Clay, “by the church clock; so very nice of them. You did not think for a moment, Sir Walter, that you would be allowed to leave the neighborhood without your own people turning out to do you honour?”
“Oh really, what a bother,” said Elizabeth. “Quite unnecessary. I hope you did not ask them to do this, Anne.”
“Not I,” said Anne truthfully, not looking at Mrs. Clay. She had more than a suspicion that Mr. Shepherd had given a hint that the presence of a few cottagers would be appreciated.
Mrs. Clay seemed to confirm this with the enthusiasm of her response. “A bother! Oh, Miss Elizabeth! Surely one can only feel gratitude to those so far below you, who admire and love you and your father so excessively. You would wish to be gracious, you know, and not hurt their feelings for the world, surely. Only conceive how much they think of you!”
Elizabeth made what sounded like a contemptuous grunt, and Mrs. Clay continued. “There now, do you see? Here comes old Daddy Dodd, dear old man, and all the little Dodds. And the Bewicks, and the Stones, and Farmer Johnson, and Granny Parks. Imagine her getting out of her bed with her rheumatism! But these humble country people do almost worship you, Sir Walter.”
“More than a few are behind on their rent,” he grumbled. “Your father told me he has had trouble collecting lately.”
“I never can bear the poor,” said Elizabeth disdainfully, “I hope they will not get too near.”
“Well, close the carriage door then, my dear. We can wave to them from up here. It is wise to maintain a little distance, a little distance. There, I will bow. Good morning, Dodd, good morning, Mrs. Parks. Good health to you. Coachman, you can proceed now. Let us not prolong this scene. Go along.”
“Farewell. I will see you all when Lady Russell brings me to Bath at Christmas,” said Anne, with a wave to her father and sister, which was not returned. “Goodbye, Miss Anne,” Mrs. Clay remembered to say. The others said nothing, and the carriage drove off.
The villagers scattered, going with alacrity back to their cottages and farmyards. Anne, left alone with her thoughts, slowly began her walk up to the Lodge, where she was to stay with Lady Russell. Her work at Kellynch was done.