Heir of Rosings Park Chapter 7-the correct one!

Heir of Rosing Park iconSmall Tom, the butler, knows better than to get in Mary’s way, but is Col. Fitzwilliam equally wise?

 

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 Chapter 7

A se’nnight! For a full se’nnight she had held her tongue, patiently giving Colonel Fitzwilliam the opportunity to prove that he had not only heard her, but that he had also taken the advice to heart and was going to do something useful with it.

Mr. Michaels said he might have difficulty in taking suggestions, particularly from a woman. Mary ground her teeth hard. That had not been the correct thing to say at that particular moment. Not at all. But he had said it and at least now probably would not suggest it again. Ever. However true it might be.

If he was too stubborn to listen to advice, then he deserved whatever he endured. But the rest of them did not. And it was for their sake she would intervene.

Small Tom opened the door for her and dodged out of her way. Wise servant that he was, he had already learned when she was not to be gainsaid and did not even make a show of it.

Lady Catherine’s shrill muttering filtered from the small parlor. “How dare he! Who does he think he is? Telling me I do not know my own business.”

Oh, she was in a foul mood, almost as bad as Mary’s. And it was Fitzwilliam’s fault.

This must stop. How many times had she already warned the stubborn man? Lady Catherine was beyond reason. Arguing with her would do not good. Reminding her that she was forgetting things and confused only made things worse. Yet he insisted on doing both, regularly.

No more.

The office door was closed, but no matter. She flung it open and marched inside.

When it had been used by Lady Catherine, the room had been immaculate—granted that probably meant that no real work was ever accomplished within its walls, but at least it was respectable. Now it looked—and smelt—like a public house near closing hour.

Michaels and Fitzwilliam jumped to their feet, jaws dropping as the door slammed the wall behind her.

“What did you think you were doing?” She stopped directly in front of Fitzwilliam’s imposing desk.

“Excuse me, Miss Bennet.” He scowled—probably an expression that worked on lesser officers. He could never have withstood Papa if that was the worst he had to offer.

“You heard me. Do not play stupid. You know exactly what I am talking about. I have discussed this with you before, on multiple occasions.” She slapped the small space on the desk not occupied with papers, journals and empty glasses.

“Mary?” Why did Michaels look so surprised?

“How dare you march in here—” Fitzwilliam slowly rose and leaned forward on the desk.

She matched his posture. “And how dare you go on expecting that I will placate Lady Catherine when you will not do me the courtesy of doing as I have asked you.”

“You have no place to be instructing me as to what I should be doing.”

“Perhaps I do not. You then, all wise and knowing officer of His Majesty’s service, are free to apply your knowledge and understanding to the management of your relations. I shall be very happy to go and mind my own business.” She tossed her head and turned on her heel and strode out.

“Wait! Wait!” Heavy footfalls, two sets of them, pelted after her.

She continued on. Small Tom flung the front door open and stood aside as she marched into the bright afternoon sun. The footfalls continued behind her.

“Miss Bennet, please!” Fitzwilliam ran up beside her.

“Mary, stop, please.” Michaels touched her arm.

She stopped and stared at him.

Michaels flinched.

Perhaps he had not seen her wear that expression before. Given his eyes, he probably did not wish to see it again.

Good.

“For you, I will pause. What do you wish of me, Mr. Michaels?” She balanced her hands on her hips and tapped her foot.

“Good Lord, talk some sense into your woman, Michaels!” Fitzwilliam shook his head.

Arrogant, insulting—

Michaels’ face colored, and he pulled his shoulders back. “Excuse me, sir. She is not lacking in any sense. I would have you address her with proper respect. She is not your servant, nor Lady Catherine’s. Have you forgotten that she is a gentlewoman and the sister of your cousin’s wife?”

Fitzwilliam shrank back a mite and clutched his head. “Yes, yes of course, you are right. I have forgotten myself.”

Mary whirled on him. He had tried that recalcitrant expression once too often. “Indeed you have sir, and this is not the first time.”

“This has happened before?” Michaels glowered first at her, then at Fitzwilliam. “You never mentioned this in your letters, Mary.”

“To what point? There was nothing you could do about it from London.”

“Still I would rather have known.” His face hardened into something she would not have dared argue with. “You have indeed overstepped yourself. sir.  I will not accept—”

“You are hardly in a position to be making demands, Michaels, or have your forgotten you work for me?”  There was the arrogant officer back once more.

“Colonel Fitzwilliam, I am currently employed as the steward of Rosings, but I am not your servant. I am a professional man and I will be treated with the respect  due me, as will my betrothed. If you cannot, or will not afford us that, then you are free to find yourself another steward. The quarter is nearly over.  We may part ways at that time easily enough.”

“Are you threatening me, Michaels?”

Did he realize clenching his fists only made him look like a small boy who was not getting his way?

“By no means. I have no need to threaten. I am merely informing you of what I shall do if you continue on the track you are taking.”

“You are informing me you would leave your position?”

“Pray do not take offense, but you are in greater need of my services than I am of this position.  I entertained several offers, including Pemberley, before taking this position at Mr. Darcy’s insistence. I am quite certain that I can find another position easily enough, particularly with his connections.” Michaels cocked his eyebrow with deceptive calm. The tiny twitch beside his other eye revealed he was inwardly seething.

“You will remember your place.”

She clasped her hands tight behind her back. Slapping her forehead now would only exacerbate his temper.

“Perhaps you should remember yours, Colonel. It is not an enviable one, considering the condition of this estate’s affairs.”

“I will not be spoken to in this manner.”

“And I will not either. Good day, Colonel.” Michaels took Mary’s arm and half led, half dragged her away.

Thankfully, she was a very good walker and could maintain his breakneck pace toward the parsonage. At the outskirts of the glebe lands, he slowed to a more normal walking pace.

“Did you mean what you told him?”

“I always say what I mean, Mary. Always. I have had quite enough of this Fitzwilliam family. I will not tolerate being treated like a servant by them. I am a professional, and frankly one of the best in my profession—at least according Mr. Darcy. It will not take me very long to find another position should I desire it.”

“Do you?”

He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “Honestly, the challenge of bringing Rosings out of ruin intrigues me and tests me like nothing else I can imagine. I would like to have that success to my credit. I want to do this, but not at the cost of my .self-respect. I will not behave as Collins does, or, forgive me, your father.”

“So what will you do?” It would be nice if he asked her opinion. She certainly had one. But perhaps that would be asking too much.

“The colonel has had too much to drink this morning. I must consider that his response has been addled by drink. Often, I have found that he recants once he has had time to regain his wits. I should prefer to give him that time to reconsider his rash words before I make a decision.”

“That seems sound.” It did. It made a great deal of sense. It was even what she might have said herself.

Had she been asked.

But she had not been.

 

So what do you think about Mr. Michaels’ response> Tell me in the comments.


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24 comments

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    • Carol on May 25, 2017 at 11:31 am
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    Mr. Michaels and Mary both have guts. Lady Catherine has practically destroyed Rosings, and Colonel Fitzwilliam isn’t helping matters. If Darcy’s opinion about Michaels is true, Colonel Fitzwilliam could be up a creek without sufficient help to recover Rosings from total loss. Would serve him right to lose everything. Proved they both are not afraid to speak their mind.

    1. Kind of nice to write Mary with a backbone for a change! I’m having fun with it!

    • Glynis on May 25, 2017 at 11:42 am
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    Well, I don’t like to say, but I still seem to have missed chapter 7. The first one was Chapter 6 and this is Chapter 8.
    I assume 7 has Mary’s thoughts on dealing with Lady C and from this one it looks like the Colonel ignored them.
    I wish that Michaels would ask her opinion on things instead of just quoting his own as Mary seems to be put out by his attitude which is not a good basis for marriage although he does seem to love her.
    Well we shall see. Thankyou for sharing.

    1. You’ve got the right one, sorry, it was mislabeled. I think I have it fixed now. I’m afraid that Mr. Michaels is very much a man of his time. Sigh.

    • Liziris on May 25, 2017 at 11:43 am
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    I like it that Mr. Michaels supports Mary without a question.
    And maybe Coll. Fitzwilliam will come to his senses, when he realizes that without Mr. Michaels and Mary he doesn’t stand a chance of saving Rosings and himself from ruin.

    1. Michaels does have some very good qualities, doesn’t he. Hopefully Fitzwilliam will see them.

    • Catherine on May 25, 2017 at 11:56 am
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    Some people will learn (by example, by instruction, by guidance). Some people will *only* learn the hard way. Some people won’t even learn in that dire fashion. Lady C is most definitely in the last category, and the Colonel seems to be taking that tack as well but might manage to eek out the second. Perhaps Michaels will be in the first? His unquestioning support of Mary, and his love for her, are surely worth trying to get through to him. However, love and support are NOT the same as respect, and that seems to be lacking, or rudimentary, or at very least in serious need of reinforcing and shoring up.

    1. I think you’ve got it in a nutshell, Catherine. Although Lady Catherine’s dementia does account for some of this, I’d say Fitzwilliam stubbornness accounts for a great deal a well.

    • Katherine Schmitt on May 25, 2017 at 3:52 pm
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    I doubt that Mr. Michaels has a written contract with Col. Fitzwilliam. That said, Michaels’ sense of professionalism creates his level of specific performance that might be otherwise written into a contract. In his more grounded moments, I believe the Colonel understands this. I also believe that Michaels will insist on respect and boundaries be discussed before he takes new assignments.
    Furthermore, respect must be earned. It cannot be commanded or demanded. I confess I am unclear as to Mary’s annoyance. I probably missed something. Just an additional comment about what can or cannot be commanded, Respect in a relationship is crucial. I know this is set in Regency England, but I think it’s crucial that couples get respect issues out in the open before signing the church register.

    1. I totally agree with you regarding respect. It is important today and it was important then. I think in some ways it was more challenging to work out then because of the very different social roles of men and women and the different expectations of each, especially in marriage. A woman could expect to be respected in her home and about issues of managing the household. Beyond that though, it could be a very different situation.

    • Sheila L. Majczan on May 25, 2017 at 6:20 pm
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    Huzzah! for Mary and for Michaels. I admire their backbone…even if it does come to having to seek a new position. Fitzwilliam needs an excellent steward and Michaels need a wife who sees when and where her husband might be taken advantage of. Michaels is a professional, i.e., a CPA of today. Thanks for the correcting of the post.

    1. The analogy is a good one, Sheila, he would have handled all the books, but he would also be an expert in agriculture, contracts and even setting tenant disputes. He really was a highly skilled professional.

  1. Whoa. Fitswilluam needs to think hard about his options.

    1. Yes, he does!

  2. I think I missed Mary’s recommendations on how to deal with Lady Catherine. What set her off to barge in like that?

    1. Actually, you didn’t miss anything. I didn’t that part of the scene. 8o

    • Mary on May 26, 2017 at 6:00 pm
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    Mary seems to still labor under the notion that she must wait for Mr. Michaels to ask for her opinion before she offers it. Due to her coping skills from her youth?
    As a younger woman growing up she avoided having her own opinions rudely dismissed outright by her family by simply quoting other authority figures. It’s a common escape: “If people don’t like what I say, then I will quote others. And if they don’t like what I quote, it is not an attack on me, it’s an attack on the person I quoted. And the person I quoted has enough credibility and receives enough respect in society in general that if the person listening to me doesn’t agree, I can feel safe becase I’m quoting someone that is generally respected by many respected people.”
    I think her experience with her family has made it hard for her to trust anyone with her own opinion unless they specifically solicit it. She learned early in her life that it was not emotionally safe to offer her own opinons. She is now transferring her distrust of her family’s response to her ideas to her relationship with Mr. Michaels.
    His surprise that she had not told him of her previous run-ins with the Colonel indicates that Mr. Michaels expects that she will feel free to tell him what is in her mind and heart. Clearly, she does not understand that it is safe and helpful for her to do so. Her reticence is understandable due to her experiences with her family. However, until she understands that Mr. Michaels is not her family and Is open to hearing her ideas, and until Mr. Michaels understands that she doesn’t feel safe volunteering her ideas and, at the same time, is unhappy when she is not specifically asked, they are going to continue to have communication problems.

    1. That is a fabulous and very accurate analysis of Mary’s character! Thank you!

        • Mary on June 1, 2017 at 10:46 pm
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        If my understanding was accurate it is because you portrayed it well.

        1. 🙂

    • Carole in Canada on May 26, 2017 at 6:26 pm
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    Go Miss Mary! The Colonel is need of a dressing down and removal from strong drink! Mr. Michaels is aware of Mr Bennet’s actions towards his daughters, that I would think he would need to revisit, in his mind, Mary’s actions at this point. What has pushed her beyond her patience and the deeper question of what is Mary expecting from him. They need to talk more, but he certainly stood up for her as well as himself. The Colonel is like an angry lion with a thorn in his…paw.

    1. That sums it all up pretty well, Carole! Thanks!

    • Carol B on May 27, 2017 at 1:05 pm
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    I feel like there is something missing before this chapter and we have leapt ahead in time. Along with the other commenters, I’m not sure what advice Mary has given to Colonel Fitzwilliam on Lady Catherine. I’m also not clear what role Mary has in respect to Lady Catherine – is she a companion or such? And why is it expected that Mary be the one to placate her and not others? (I thought her situation was to be Charlotte’s helper and companion not Lady Catherine’s.) If its been seven nights since the last chapter – how did Lady Catherine react to Mr. Collin’s news and what did the midwife say about Charlotte? And what happened to delay Mr. Michaels to dinner at the Collins in the last chapter?

    1. There has been a small leap in time. Mary is helping Fitzwilliam to find a companion for Lady Catherine. In the meantime, she is helping to manage Lady Catherine as a favor to her cousin Collins and her cousin by marriage, Fitzwilliam. She is also helping Charlotte with her pregnancy.

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