Lady Susan: Plot Summary – Letters 34-41 & Conclusion

Letter 34 – Mr. De Courcy to Lady Susan

Reginald De Courcy writes from ___Hotel to Lady Susan bidding farewell – the spell is removed. “I see you as you are.” He has received information from Mrs. Manwaring, an indisputable authority of her history at Langford. Lady Susan can not doubt what he alludes to. He has loved her, she can guess his present feelings, but he will not give the glory of anguish to a woman “whose affection they have never been able to gain.” Their separation is immediate and eternal.  

Letter 35 – Lady Susan to Mr. De Courcy

Lady Susan writes from Upper Seymour Street to Reginald. She is astonished and does not know what Mrs. Manwaring could possibly have told him to change his sentiments so radically. She has never concealed anything from him. She is agitated beyond expression. She needs further explanation from him and commands him to visit her immediately. She can not bear him thinking ill of her for one hour.

Letter 36 – Mr. De Courcy to Lady Susan

Reginald De Courcy write from his __ Hotel to Lady Susan irritated that she was written back asking for particulars. The stories which are generally known of her conduct during and after her husband’s life had prejudiced him against her before they met, and then her “perverted abilities,” had made him disbelieve them. Now her behavior has proved the truth of the stories even more. He is confident that the relationship between her and “the man whose family you robbed of its peace in return for the hospitality” has continued by correspondence since she left Langford, and not with his wife as she had alluded. He visits her every day encouraging him. He dares her to deny it. His own folly has endangered him. He owes his salvation entirely to another. But how is Mrs. Manwaring to be consoled?  With the truth revealed, who could she should not be surprised by his departure. He has come to his senses. He has learned to “abhor the artifices which had subdued me than to despise myself for the weakness on which their strength was founded.”

Letter 37 – Lady Susan to Mr. De Courcy

Lady Susan writes from Upper Seymour Street to Reginald. She is satisfied and will trouble him no more. Now that the relationship which was so agreeable to him a fortnight ago does not meet with his approval, she rejoices that his parent’s advice was not given in vain. His peace will come in obeying his parent’s wishes. She hopes to also survive the disappointment.

Letter 38 – Mrs. Johnson to Lady Susan Vernon 

Alicia Johnson writes from Edward Street grieved, but not surprised with her break with Reginald. He has informed her husband and will leave London immediately. She is sympathetic but can no longer associate with her. She is miserable, but her husband has threatened to move to the country if she does not comply. It is too much when there is an another alternative. Lady Susan would know that the Manwarings have separated. Mrs. Manwaring will regretfully live with them again. She frets so excessively about her husband “that perhaps she may not live long.” Miss Mainwaring is just come to town determined to get Sir James. She advises her to get him for herself. She is delighted with Mr. De Courcy. He is as handsome as Manwaring. One “cannot help loving him at first sight.” He and Mr. Johnson are the greatest friends in the world. She wished matters did not go so disagreeably. The Langford visit was unfortunate. There is no defying destiny.

Letter 39 – Lady Susan to Mrs. Johnson

Lady Susan writes from Upper Seymour Street to Alicia understanding the necessity of their separation> However, it will not end their friendship. She shares that she has never been happier. “Your husband I abhor, Reginald I despise, and I am secure of never seeing either again. Have I not reason to rejoice?” Manwaring is more devoted to her than ever. If he was at liberty, she would not resist his offer of marriage. Since his wife is living with her, she hopes she will hasten that possibility. She now realizes that she could never have married Reginald, and Frederica will not either. Tomorrow she fetches her from Churchill and she shall be Sir James’s wife. She will be unhappy and the Vernon’s will object. She regards them not. “I am tired of submitting my will to the caprices of others; of resigning my own judgment in deference to those to whom I owe no duty, and for whom I feel no respect.” She has made too many sacrifices and yielded to freely. She hopes that the next bout of gout by her husband ends more favorably. She will always be her friend.

Letter 40 – Lady De Courcy to Mrs. Vernon 

Lady De Courcy writes from Parkland to her daughter of Reginald’s return from London and his break from Lady Susan forever. He is very low and she has not been able to learn the details. “This is the most joyful hour he has ever given us since the day of his birth.” She wishes her daughter to visit as soon as possible and bring all the grand-children and dear Frederica. It has been a sad, heavy winter without Reginald, and no one from Churchill. She is hopeful that after Reginald recovers that they “we will try to rob him of his heart once more,” and anticipates an alliance with Frederica very soon. 

Letter 41 – Mrs. Vernon to Lady De Courcy 

Catherine Vernon writes from Churchill to her mother surprised beyond measure! She should be overjoyed but after all that she has seen, how can she be sure? On the same day as Reginald arrived at Parklands, they had “an unexpected and unwelcome visit from Lady Susan, looking all cheerfulness and good-humour,” seeming more the expectant bride than the rejected lover. She was affectionate and agreeable as ever, but no mention was made of her break with Reginald. She admitted to seeing him but thought that he had returned home. Her kind invitation was accepted with pleasure. She is sad to say that Frederica has left with her mother. They were thoroughly unwilling to let her go, but Lady Susan planned to live in London and wished her to study with masters there. “Mr. Vernon believes that Frederica will now be treated with affection. I wish I could think so too.” Frederica was heartbroken to leave. She asked her to write to her often. They should be always friends. She must go to town and check on her. She wished for a better prospect for the match with Reginald, but at present, it is not very likely.

Conclusion – Mrs. Vernon to Lady De Courcy

Catherine writes from Churchill to her mother. The narrator breaks in and completes the ending. “This correspondence, by a meeting between some of the parties, and a separation between the others, could not, to the great detriment of the Post Office revenue, be continued any longer.”  Mrs. Vernon’s opinion sinks even lower after learning the truth of his break from Lady Susan from her open-hearted brother. Determined to get Frederica away from her mother, she and her husband travel to London and meet with Lady Susan. She did not appear embarrassed or guilty about Reginald, was in excellent spirits, and pleased to see them. Frederica looked restrained, timid, and uncomfortable. Sir James was briefly mentioned. Lady Susan only talked about the welfare and improvement of her daughter. Mrs. Vernon was surprised and incredulous, fearing greater difficulty in accomplishing her plans. Lady Susan was however concerned if London agreed with Frederica’s health. Mrs. Vernon proposed her niece’s return to the country which Lady Susan graciously declined. Mrs. Vernon persevered, and Lady Susan continued to resist for several days until the alarm of influenza alters her consent.

Three weeks after Frederica’s return to Churchill, Lady Susan announced her betrothal to Sir James Martin. What Mrs. Vernon had suspected came to pass. Even though Lady Susan declined their offer, Frederica’s return to Churchill had always been what she desired. Frederica’s visit extends from six weeks to two months. Her mother wrote inviting her to return, but always consented to a continuation, eventually ceasing to request her return at all. Frederica stayed with the family till such time as Reginald De Courcy could be “talked, flattered, and finessed into an affection for her.” She was his within a year. If Lady Susan was happy in her second choice it would be impossible to ascertain. Who would trust her assurance? “She had nothing against her but her husband, and her conscience.”  Sir James drew a harder lot than mere folly merited. Miss Manwaring deserves they greater pity since she had spent two years allowance on clothes to secure him, only to be out maneuvered by a woman ten years older than herself.

© 2009 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose