Neither of us said anything of a chance of seeing one another again, though Captain Howard did express something of wanting to see me. I shared a secret hope of meeting him once more. He was a quiet sort, but when he did speak, it was certainly worth listening. His knowledge in literature, politics, history, science appeared superb, and I wondered how he happened to be such a lowly soldier with such intelligence, manners, and lingering in excellent society such as the party at Lord Ectary's.
I remained silent and thoughtful as I left his side to venture to the gathering of my family, preparing for our departure. A Mr. Griffen was at my cousin's side, impressing us with his excellent, smooth politeness. No one appeared to know who he was or where he came from, though overall he was a completely impressive figure. I was extraordinarily curious of who he was, though I suspected that she and Marianne, walking with locked arms, would share such information with one another that evening.
We all squeezed inside, I seated between Elizabeth and Edward. My younger sister gazed out the window longingly, and I know of who she thought-Charles Baker. I could see she abhorred him in a way, though she said nothing and showed nothing to no one of her feelings. I could tell she did not enjoy herself at his side, or during their conversations. I felt something of a pity for both of them; Charles loved her, I knew. But no, she did not love him. I could understand reasons and her disappointment. Gently, I took her hand from her lap and clasped it with my fingers. Elizabeth turned her eyes to me, wide and shadowy. I half smiled and she returned the gesture, before looking back toward the window.
Sighing, I glanced to Edward. Mother was chattering contently with Marianne about the party, and I took the moment to ask Edward of his acquaintance with Captain Howard.
"I have met him briefly before," began Edward in something of an undertone. "Interesting man, from the few words that I have heard from him."
I paused, waiting for more. He grinned before continuing, "He was the middle son of a Lord Howard-disowned."
"Disowned? Why?" I felt a sinking feeling inside me. Why? What was I hoping of him?
Edward shrugged, "I know not-that is just what I heard." He appeared bemused, "Do you have a liking for Captain Howard?"
Mother perked up, catching his words, "Who? What?"
"Captain Howard. A new acquaintance of mine; he danced with Margaret," Edward replied before I could open my mouth. I lowered my eyes as everyone else's were drawn to me.
"Ahhhh," Mother raised her eyebrow. "I know nothing of him." She seemed to toss aside the topic easily as she moved to another, "Too bad Mr. Mitchell was not here. He would've danced with you. Though he is not one for parties. Not doubt we will see him tomorrow."
I reddened slightly, turning further away from the conversation. Mother was convinced Mr. Mitchell fancied me, but I was not so sure. He was older than me, somewhat weathly, and lingered at my side sometimes. Our family had known him for the longest time and he was a kind man. I knew not much of his past, but found his company pleasing. As I younger girl, I feared I had fallen for him, yet when he did not return such affection, I felt something of a heartbreak and turned my attention elsewhere.
Thoughts ate quietly away at me throughout the way home, and as I lay myself in bed that night, darkness and quiet seemed to increase the intensity of those thoughts. Restless, my mind lingered on Captain Howard and my Mother's mention of Mr. Mitchell. Pulling the blankets under the chin, I closed my eyes and drifted away into the memory of the Captain's brilliant blue eyes as we danced.