The Dinner & Ball
Lady Hampton stood watching the tall handsome young man across the room talking and laughing with friends.
"La, but he is handsome," she thought, "I would have thought it impossible for any man to be handsomer than Fitzwilliam Darcy, but his son seems to be so."
"He is a little taller than than his father, and has those same marvelous dimples when he smiles. He looks so much like Darcy, but yet there is something differnt in his appearance."
"Yes he has his mothers eyes with those long lush lashes and her smile. An altogether satifying combination."
"Why is Caroline watching our son like a hawk?" Darcy asked Elizabeth as they walked toward the Bingley's across the room.
"Her ladyship has plans for our son, don't you know," Elizabeth laughed.
"Plans, what plans?" Darcy snapped.
"The same plan your Aunt Catherine had for you, my love, Caroline hopes for her daughter Guinevere to succeed where she failed. Lady Hampton would have her daughter Mistress of Pemberley."
Elizabeth looked at her husband in amazement, sometimes she thought he noticed only what he wished to, everyone but him seemed to be aware of Caroline's plans for a grand union between their two families.
"She did not fail to become Mistress of Pemberley," he said with a smile. "No one had a chance to attain that once I had laid eyes on you, my dear. From the first moment I saw you, I was lost to any other woman."
Elizabeth laughed, "I seem to recall that you found me tolerable but not handsome enough to suit you."
"Ah, my love, but if you had been less busy disliking me and making sport of me to your friends, you would have seen that my eyes never left you the entire evening."
"Even when you were dancing with Mrs Hurst and Miss Bingley," Lizzie asked with a grin.
"Even more so when I was dancing with the Bingley sisters," Darcy said as he brought her fingers to his lips, "even more so, my love."
"I don't think we have to worry about Lady Guinevere, seeking marriage to Will," Darcy said as he indicated the young woman speaking to the young Duke of Ester, "that young woman aspires for a title and nothing less than an earl will do for her."
"If that be the case I wish her well," Elizabeth said, "there are enough impoverished noblemen out there for her to choose from. There are far to many who are looking for wives with enough fortune to refill the family coffers."
"I would not put too much time courting the Duke though, his mother despises Caroline and will never forget that Mr. Bingley was in trade. She certainly enjoys reminding us anytime she can. Do you think perhaps she sees what Guinevere is about."
"Believe me, her grace know every move her son makes and every move any young lady makes toward him," Darcy laughed, "she will settle for nothing less than a wife with a long history of titles, poor Guinevere, she had better set her sights elsewhere."
Caroline frowned as she noticed her daughter talking with the duke.
"No, Guin," she said to herself, "he will not do his family will never contenence a union between the two of you. You must concentrate your attentions on Fitzwilliam Darcy II. You have set your sights too high my girl."
Will jumped in surprise when Lady Hampton appeared at his shoulder saying, "How well you look tonight Fitzwilliam. I wonder if I could prevail on you to escort your cousin Guinever to dinner?"
"Ahh, oh, Lady Hampton, ahh, I fear you are to late I have just asked Lady Mary Thomas to allow me to escort her down," Will stammered.
Caroline left the young people with an angry bow. She was certain that he was not being truthful, but what could she do, well maybe later, she thought, "I will make sure he stands up with her for at least one dance or my name isn't Lady Caroline Hampton."
"Oh Will, what a rogue you are," laughed Mary, "you have not asked anyone to dinner, I thought that untruth of any sort was an abhorrence to you."
"Mary, please do not tell me that you have consented to go down to dinner with anyone else," Will pleaded, "I am sorry, I just said anything to get her to leave me alone."
"Thank, you very much , sir," Mary said in mock consternation, "I should leave you to stew in your own juice and see what happens, but I shall have pity on you this time. Yes Will, I will let you be my escort to dinner. I know how much you like your dear cousin Guin."
Jane put her hands out to enclose Lizzie's. "I am so happy to see you two," she said.
"Jane Anne looks so happy Lizzy, congratulations, she will be most happy I know, this is such a fine match."
"What of Will though," Charles asked, "do none of the young ladies of his aquaintance please him. I know my sister would be most pleased if Guinevere should catch his fancy."
"Arthur and Guinevere, what in the world posessed Caroline to give her children such names."
"Ahh Charles, perhaps your sister is more of a romantic than you giver her credit for," Lizzie laughed.
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