Old Friends and New Fancies

Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil G. Brinton

Book: Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil G. Brinton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sybil G. Brinton
Tags: Jane Austen Fan Lit
to point out to her that owing to my connection with the family I could not enter into the details of its affairs."
He paused again, and Fitzwilliam forced himself to say: "I am obliged to you for doing what you could, though I feared it might not be of much avail."
"True enough, I thought it was not going to be, but just at the end, her ladyship said, evidently with much resentment: 'There must be something in all this, though you deny it. Why should Mrs. Ferrars and Miss Steele concoct a story to tell me? Why should it be in their interest to vilify Miss Crawford? There was no reason why they should make the worst of what they had heard.' So, of course, in reply to that, I simply told her the truth: 'My dear Lady Catherine,' I said, 'you ask why; the reason is, as everyone knows, that Mrs. Ferrars was anxious to secure Colonel Fitzwilliam for her sister, and both the ladies were very much disappointed when he paid attention to Miss Crawford instead.' Why, Colonel, you are looking quite annoyed; don't trouble to protest, my dear sir; between friends, you know, it is not necessary."
"I wish you would confine yourself to talking of things you know something about, Mr. Yates," broke out the Colonel in extreme vexation; "this is not one of them."
"Nonsense, my good sir; not know anything about it! I could not fail to see what was before my very eyes. Before ever we started for your aunt's reception last night, Mrs. Ferrars and her sister were talking of you in a manner as to make me expect that it would be you who would be in attendance on Miss Steele all the evening--or at all events, that that was what she hoped for. Of course, I said not a word, but I could see that things turned out very differently. And if that were not enough, Ferrars himself told me all about it during the evening, of Miss Steele's fancy, and what they had planned, and so on. Really, I can hardly suppose that being as they are, such friends of Lady Catherine's, she should not have had some idea of it."
Fitzwilliam had not thought that anything was needed to complete his disgust and annoyance where the whole Ferrars party was concerned; but his tale of gossip and vulgar intrigue had that effect, and he was conscious of a strong desire to get rid of his visitor and hear no more of the whole nauseous affair. He rose, and again thanked Mr. Yates coldly for the trouble he had taken, and that gentleman, too courteous not to take the hint, rose also, though with evident unwillingness to end the conversation, and, drawing near the fire, stretched out a foot towards the blaze, and continued: "But I must not leave you with the impression that Lady Catherine was not convinced. On the contrary, I am inclined to think she eventually was, for her manner quite changed after what I had told her; she seemed first astonished at it, and showed considerable incredulity and indignation, asking how anyone dared to think or say such a thing, though, as I explained to her, sorry though I was to have given her any unpleasing intelligence, the idea did not emanate from me. Upon that, she became calmer and seemed to be reflecting, then thanked me and asked to be excused, requesting me, if I was going back to the lodgings, to send Mrs. Ferrars and Miss Steele to her at once. I was not particularly anxious to be her messenger, and I fancy she saw this, for she called me back and said that it did not signify, she would write to them instead."
"I have gathered," said Fitzwilliam, "that Mr. Ferrars did not accompany you on this occasion."
"Oh, Lord, no! I should have mentioned that at first, but it escaped me. No, I could not persuade him to come. I fancy he had private information that his wife did not wish it."
"It was a pity, as he might have confirmed your statements, and afforded further proof to Lady Catherine," observed Colonel Fitzwilliam.
"He might have said something, no doubt, but I hardly think he would have succeeded if I had failed," was Mr. Yates's complacent reply. "My

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