“You are here for some time, I hear,” Mr. Bennet said, “I should hope the Corps can spare you for the winter.”
“Yes, sir, for as long as the militia are quartered at Meryton.”
“Very good. I have been confined to my library long enough; now that I have some sensible company, perhaps I shall once again safely remind myself of the layout of my own house.”
Elizabeth was not so fortunate as Jane, who was able to hide her smile as Temperantia arrived to make her own introductions and sent the household staff into an uproar by landing in their lady’s roses.
Only after great complaint from their lady mother did Jane and Elizabeth return to their closets, returning some time later in such costume as might befit their sisters, who did not, after all, have to regularly stand astride a dragon. “I would rather that we sit with your Temperantia,” Elizabeth confided to her sister, once the company had settled into a game of Rummy, “For I suspect the conversation would be vastly improved.”
Jane could not help but agree, although her seat beside their mother prevented her from answering to any satisfaction.
“Oh, but I am sure you understand, my dear Eliza,” Charlotte looked more serene in her new state than she ever had aboard Valerianis, “I am making an eminently sensible decision in accepting your cousin’s suit, for I have spent my chance at promotion and cannot hope to advance to Captain in the Corps before I am eight-and-twenty at the least. Mr. Kilby is more than deserving of my post besides.”
“I rather mourn the loss of my closest friend than of my lieutenant," Elizabeth was surprised to find she meant it, despite the time she was now going to have to spend talking her high-tempered partner back into form, "I shall gladly visit you when you are settled, should you send word and I am not occupied on the continent."
“Far be it from me, madam, to speak of any of his Majesty’s corps with anything less than the admiration their bravery deserves,” Elizabeth said stiffly, “But I must advise Lydia to act with more decorum in the presence of the regiment. I have after all served with them, in my time as a Second Lieutenant aboard Captain Hargrove’s Perscitus, and know far more of their proclivities than I hope she has had cause to discover.”