Darcy, after inquiring of her how Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner did, a question which she could not answer
without confusion, said scarcely anything. He was not seated by her: perhaps that was the reason of his
silence; but it had not been so in Derbyshire. There he had talked to her friends when he could no to
herself. But now several minutes elapsed, without bringing the sound of his voice; and when
occasionally, unable to resist the impulse of curiosity, she raised her eyes to his face, she as often found
him looking at Jane as at herself, and frequently on no object but the ground. More thoughtfulness and
less anxiety to please, than when they last met, were plainly expressed. She was disappointed, and angry
with herself for being so.
‘Could I expect it to be otherwise? said she. ‘Yet why did he come?’
She was in no humour for conversation with any one but himself; and to him she had hardly courage to
She inquired after his sister, but could do no more.
‘It is a long time, Mr. Bingley, since you went away,’ said Mrs. Bennet.
He readily agreed to it.
‘I began to be afraid you would never come back again. People did sat, you meant to quit the place
entirely at Michaelmas; but, however, I hope it is not true. A great many changes have happened in the
neighbourhood since you went away. Miss Lucas is married and settled: and one of my own daughters. I
suppose you have heard of it; indeed, you must have seen it in the papers. In was in the Times and the
Courier, I know; though it was not put in as it ought to be. It was only said, “Lately, George Wickham,
Esq., to Miss Lydia Bennet,” without there being a syllable said of her father, or the place where she
lived, or anything. It was my brother Gardiner’s drawing up, too, and i wonder how he came to make
such an awkward business of it. Did you see it?’
Bingley replied that he did, and made his congratulations. Elizabeth dared not lift up her eyes. How
Darcy looked, therefore, she could not tell.
‘It is a delightful thing, to be sure, to have a daughter well married,’ continued her mother; ‘but at the
same time, Mr. Bingley, it is very hard to have her taken away from me. They are gone down to
Newcastle, a place quite northward it seems, and there they are to stay, I do not know how long. His
regiment is there; for I suppose you have heard of his leaving the ——shire, and of his being gone into
the Regulars. Thank heaven! he has some friends, though, perhaps, not so many as he deserves.’
Elizabeth, who knew this to be levelled at Mr. Darcy, was in such misery of shame that she could hardly
keep her seat. It drew from her, however, the exertion of speaking, which nothing else has so effectually
done before; and she asked Bingley whether he meant to make any stay in the country at present. A few
weeks, he believed.
‘When you have killed all your own birds, Mr. Bingley, said her mother, ‘I beg you will come here and
shoot as many as you please on Mr. Bennet’s manor. I am sure he will be vastly happy to oblige you, and
will save all the best of the coveys for you.’
Elizabeth’s misery increased at such unnecessary, such officious attention! Were the same fair prospect
to arise at present, as had flattered them a year ago, everything, she was persuaded, would be hastening to
the same vexatious conclusion. At that instant she felt that years of happiness could not make Jane or
herself amends for moments of such painful confusion.
‘The first wish of my heart,’ said to herself, ‘is never more to be in company with either of them. Their
society can afford no pleasure that will atone for such wretchedness as this! Let me never see either one
or the other again!’
Yet the misery, for which years of happiness were to offer no compensation, received soon afterwards
material relief, from observing how much the beauty of her sister rekindled the admiration of her former
lover. When first he came in, he had spoken to her but little; but every five minutes seemed to be giving
her more of his attention. He found her as handsome as she had been last year; as good-natured, and as
unaffected, though not quite so chatty. Jane was anxious that no different should be perceived in her at
all, and was really persuaded that she talked as much as ever; but her mind was so busily engaged, that
she did not always know when she was silent.
When the gentlemen rose to go away, Mrs. Bennet was mindful of her intended civility, and they were
invited and engaged to dine at Longbourn in a few days’ time.
‘You are quite a visit in my debt, Mr. Bingley,’ she added; ‘for when you went to town last winter, you
promised to take a family dinner with us as soon as you returned. I have not forgot, you see; and I assure
you I was very much disappointed that you did not come back and keep your engagement.’
Bingley looked a little silly at this reflection, and said something of his concern at having been
prevented by business. They then went away.
Mrs. Bennet had been strongly inclined to ask them to stay and dine there that day; but, though she
always kept a very good table, she did not think anything less than two courses could be good enough for
a man on whom she had such anxious designs, or satisfy the appetite and pride of one who had ten
thousand a year.
AS soon as they were gone, Elizabeth walked out to recover her spirits; or, in other world, to dwell
without interruption on those subjects that must deaden them more. Mr. Darcy’s behaviour astonished
and vexed her.
‘Why, if he came only to be silent, grave, and indifferent,’ said she, ‘did he come at all?’
She could settle it in no way at all that gave her pleasure.
‘He could be still amiable, still pleasing, to my uncle and aunt, when he was in town; and why not to
me? If he fears me, why come higher? If he no longer cares for me, why silent? Teasing, teasing man! I
will think no more about him.’
Her resolution was for a short time involuntarily kept by the approach of her sister, who joined her with
a cheerful look which showed her better satisfied with their visitors than Elizabeth.
‘Now,’ said she, ‘that this first meeting is over, I feel perfectly easy. I know my own strength, and I
shall never be embarrassed again by his coming. I am glad he dines here on Tuesday. It will then be
publicly seen that on both sides we meet only as common and indifferent acquaintance.’
‘Yes, very indifferent indeed,’ said Elizabeth, laughingly. ‘Oh, Jane! take care.’
‘My dear Lizzy, you cannot think me so weak as to be in danger now.’
‘I think you are in very great danger of making him as much in love with you as ever.’
They did not see the gentlemen again till Tuesday; and Mrs. Bennet, in the meanwhile, was giving way
to all the happy schemes which the good-humour and common politeness of Bingley, in half an hour’s
visit, had revived.
On Tuesday there was a large party assembled at Longbourn; and the two who were most anxiously
expected, to the credit of their punctuality as sportsmen, were in very good time. When they repaired to
the dining-room, Elizabeth eagerly watched to see whether Bingley would take the place which, in all
their former parties, had belonged to him, by her sister. Her prudent mother, occupied by the same ideas,
forbore to invite him to sit by herself. On entering the room, he seemed to hesitate; but Jane happened to
look round, and happened to smile: it was decided. He placed himself by her.
Elizabeth, with a triumphant sensation, looked towards his friend. He bore it with noble indifference;
and she would have imagined that Bingley had received his sanction to be happy, had she not seen his
eyes likewise turned towards Mr. Darcy, with an expression of half-laughing alarm.
His behaviour to her sister was such during dinner-time as showed an admiration of her, which, though
more guarded than formerly, persuaded Elizabeth that, if left wholly to himself, Jane’s happiness, and his
own, would be speedily secured. Though she dared not depend upon the consequence, she yet received
pleasure from observing his behaviour. It gave her all the animation that her spirits could boast; for she
was in no cheerful humour. Mr. Darcy was almost as far from her as the table could divide them. He was
on one side of her mother. She knew how little such a situation would give pleasure to either, or make
either appear to advantage. She was not near enough to hear any of their discourse; but she could see how
seldom they spoke to each other, and how formal and cold was their manner whenever they did. Her
mother’s ungraciousness made the sense of what they owed him more painful to Elizabeth’s mind; and
she would, at times, have given anything to be privileged to tell him that his kindness was neither
unknown nor unfelt by the whole of the family.
She was in hopes that the evening would afford some opportunity of bringing them together; that the
whole of the visit would not pass away without enabling them to enter into something more of
conversation than the mere ceremonious salutation attending his entrance. Anxious and uneasy, the
period which passed in the drawing-room before the gentlemen came was wearisome and dull to a degree
that almost made her uncivil. She looked forward to their entrance as the point on which all her chance of
pleasure for the evening must depend.
‘If he does not come to me, then,’ said she, ‘I shall give him up for ever.’
The gentlemen came; and she thought he looked as if he would have answered her hopes; but, alas! the
ladies had crowded round the table, where Miss Bennet was making tea and Elizabeth pouring out the
coffee, in so close a confederacy, that there was not a single vacancy near her which would admit of a
chair. And on the gentlemen’s approaching, one of the girls moved closer to her than ever, and said, in a
‘The men shan’t come and part us, I am determined. We want none of them; do we?’
Darcy had walked away to another part of the room. She followed him with her eyes, envied every one
to whom he spoke, had scarcely patience enough to help anybody to coffee, and then was enraged against
herself for being so silly!
‘A man who has once been refused! How could I ever be foolish enough to expect a renewal of his
love? Is there one among the sex who would not protest against such a weakness as a second proposal to
the same woman? There is no indignity so abhorrent to their feelings.’
She was a little revived, however, by his bringing back his coffee-cup himself; and she seized the
opportunity of saying,—
‘Is your sister at Pemberley still?’
‘Yes; she will remain there till Christmas.’
‘And quite alone? Have all her friends left her?’
‘Mrs. Annesley is with her. The others have been gone on to Scarborough these three weeks.’
She could think of nothing more to say; but if he wished to converse with her, he might have better
success. He stood by her, however, for some minutes, in silence; and, at last, on the young lady’s
whispering to Elizabeth again, he walked away.
When the tea things were removed, and the card-tables placed, the ladies all rose, and Elizabeth was
then hoping to be soon joined by him, when all her views were overthrown by seeing him fall a victim to
her mother’s rapacity for whist-players, and in a few moments after seated with the rest of the party. She
now lost every expectation of pleasure. They were confined for the evening at different tables, and she
had nothing to hope, but that his eyes were so often turned towards her side of the room as to make him
play as unsuccessfully as herself.
Mrs. Bennet had designed to keep the two Netherfield gentlemen to supper; but their carriage was,
unluckily, ordered before any of the others, and she had no opportunity of detaining them.
‘Well, girls,’ said she, as soon as they were left to themselves, ‘what say you to the day? I think
everything has passed off uncommonly well, I assure you. The dinner was as well dressed as any I ever
saw. The venison was roasted to a turn—and everybody said they never saw so fat a haunch. The soup
was fifty times better than what we had at the Lucases’ last week; and even Mr. Darcy acknowledged
that the partridges were remarkably well done; and I suppose he has two or three French cooks at least.
And, my dear Jane, I never saw you look in greater beauty. Mrs. Long said so too, for I asked her
whether you did not. And what do you think she said besides? “Ah! Mrs. Bennet, we shall have her at
Netherfield at last!” She did, indeed. I do think Mrs. Long is as good a creature as ever lived—and her
nieces are very pretty behaved girls, and not at all handsome: I like them prodigiously.’
Mrs. Bennet, in short, was in very great spirits: she had seen enough of Bingley’s behaviour to Jane to
be convinced that she would get him at last; and her expectations of advantage to her family, when in a
happy humour, were so far beyond reason, that she was quite disappointed at not seeing him there again
the next day to make his proposals.
‘It has been a very agreeable day,’ said Miss Bennet to Elizabeth. ‘The party seemed so well selected,
so suitable one with the other. I hope we may often meet again.’
‘Lizzy, you must not do so. You must not suspect me. It mortifies me. I assure you that I have now
learnt to enjoy his conversation as an agreeable and sensible young man without having a wish beyond it.
I am perfectly satisfied, from what his manners now are, that he never had any design of engaging my
affection. It is only that he is blessed with greater sweetness of address, and a stronger desire of generally
pleasing, than any other man.’
‘You are very cruel,’ said her sister; ‘you will not let me smile, and are provoking me to it every
‘How hard it is in some cases to be believed! And how impossible in others! But why should you wish
to persuade me that I feel more than I acknowledge?’
‘That is a question which I hardly know how to answer. We all love to instruct, though we can teach
only what is not worth knowing. Forgive me; and if you persist in indifference, do not make me your
A FEW days after this visit, Mr. Bingley called again, and alone. His friend had left him that morning for
London, but was to return home in ten days’ time. He sat with them above an hour, and was in
remarkably good spirits. Mrs. Bennet invited him to dine with them; but, with many expressions of
concern, he confessed himself engaged elsewhere.
‘Next time you call,’ said she, ‘I hope we shall be more lucky.’
He should be particularly happy at any time, etc., etc.; and if she would give him leave, would take an
early opportunity of waiting on them.
‘Can you come to-morrow?’
Yes, he had no engagement at all for to-morrow; and her invitation was accepted with alacrity.
He came, and in such very good time that the ladies were none of them dressed. In ran Mrs. Bennet to
her daughter’s room, in her dressing gown, and with her hair half-finished, crying out,—
‘My dear Jane, make haste and hurry down. He is come—Mr. Bingley is come. He is, indeed. Make
haste, make haste. Here, Sarah, come to Miss Bennet this moment, and help her on with her gown. Never
mind Miss Lizzy’s hair.’
‘We will be down as soon as we can,’ said Jane, ‘but I daresay Kitty is forwarder than either of us, for
she went upstairs half an hour ago.’
‘Oh! hang Kitty! what has she to do with it? Come, be quick, be quick! where is your sash, my dear?’
But when her mother was gone, Jane would not be prevailed on to go down without one of her sisters.
The same anxiety to get them by themselves was visible again in the evening. After tea, Mr. Bennet
retired to the library, as was his custom, and Mary went upstairs to her instrument. Two obstacles of the
five being thus removed, Mrs. Bennet sat looking and winking at Elizabeth and Catherine for a
considerable time, without making any impression on them. Elizabeth would not observe her; and when
at last Kitty did, she very innocently said, ‘What is the matter, mamma? What do you keep winking at me
for? What am I to do?’
‘Nothing, child, nothing. I did not wink at you.’ She then sat still five minutes longer; but, unable to
waste such a precious occasion, she suddenly got up, and saying to Kitty.—
‘Come here, my love, I want to speak to you,’ took her out of the room. Jane instantly gave a look at
Elizabeth which spoke her distress at such premeditation, and her entreaty that she would not give in to
it. In a few minutes, Mrs. Bennet half opened the door and called out,—
‘Lizzy, my dear, I want to speak with you.’
Elizabeth was forced to go.
‘We may as well leave them by themselves, you know,’ said her mother as soon as she was in the hall.
‘Kitty and I are going upstairs to sit in my dressing-room.’
Elizabeth made no attempt to reason with her mother, but remained quietly in the hall till she and Kitty
were out of sight, then returned into the drawing-room.
Mrs. Bennet’s schemes for this day were ineffectual. Bingley was everything that was charming, except
the professed lover of her daughter. His ease and cheerfulness rendered him a most agreeable addition to
their evening party; and he bore with the ill-judged officiousness of the mother, and heard all her silly
remarks with a forbearance and command of countenance particularly grateful to the daughter.
He scarcely needed an invitation to stay to supper; and before he went away an engagement was
formed, chiefly through his own and Mrs. Bennet’s means, for his coming next morning to shoot with her
After this day, Jane said no more of her indifference. Not a word passed between the sisters concerning
Bingley; but Elizabeth went to bed in the happy belief that all must speedily be concluded, unless Mr.
Darcy returned within the stated time. Seriously, however, she felt tolerably persuaded that all this must
have taken place with that gentleman’s concurrence.
Bingley was punctual to his appointment; and he and Mr. Bennet spent the morning together, as had
been agreed on. The latter was much more agreeable than his companion expected. There was nothing of
presumption or folly in Bingley that could provoke his ridicule, or disgust him into silence; and he was
more communicative, and less eccentric, than the other had ever seen him. Bingley of course returned
with him to dinner; and in the evening Mrs. Bennet’s invention was again at work to get everybody away
from him and her daughter. Elizabeth, who had a letter to write, went into the breakfast-room for that
purpose soon after tea; for as the others were all going to sit down to cards, she could not be wanted to
counteract her mother’s schemes.
But on her returning to the drawing-room, when her letter was finished, she saw, to her infinite surprise,
there was reason to fear that her mother had been too ingenious for her. On opening the door, she
perceived her sister and Bingley standing together over the hearth, as if engaged in earnest conversation;
and had this led to no suspicion, the faces of both, as they hastily turned round and moved away from
each other, would have told it all. Their situation was awkward enough; but hers she thought was still
worse. Not a syllable was uttered by either; and Elizabeth was on the point of going away again, when
Bingley, who as well as the other had sat down, suddenly rose, and, whispering a few words to her sister,
ran out of the room.
Jane could have no reserves from Elizabeth, where confidence would give pleasure; and instantly
embracing her acknowledged, with the liveliest emotion, that she was the happiest creature in the world.
‘’Tis too much!’ she added, ‘by far too much. I do not deserve it. Oh, why is not everybody as happy?’
Elizabeth’s congratulations were given with a sincerity, a warmth, a delight, which words could but
poorly express. Every sentence of kindness was a fresh source of happiness to Jane. But she would not
allow herself to stay with her sister, or say half that remained to be said, for the present.
‘I must go instantly to my mother,’ she cried. ‘I would not on any account trifle with her affectionate
solicitude, or allow her to hear it from any one but myself. He is gone to my father already. Oh, Lizzy, to
know that what I have to relate will give such pleasure to all my dear family; how shall I bear so much
She then hastened away to her mother, who had purposely broken up the card party, and was sitting
upstairs with Kitty.
Elizabeth, who was left by herself, now smiled at the rapidity and ease with which an affair was finally
settled, that had given them so many previous months of surprise and vexation.
‘And this,’ said she, ‘is the end of all his friend’s anxious circumspection! of all his sister’s falsehood
and contrivance! the happiest, wisest, and most reasonable end!’
In a few minutes she was joined by Bingley, whose conference with her father had been short and to the
“Where is your sister?’ said he hastily, as he opened the door.
‘With my mother upstairs. She will be down in a moment, I daresay.’
He then shut the door, and, coming up to her, claimed the good wishes and affection of a sister.
Elizabeth honestly and heartily expressed her delight in the prospect of their relationship. They shook
hands with great cordiality; and then, till her sister came down, she had to listen to all he had to say of his
own happiness, and of Jane’s perfections; and in spite of his being a lover, Elizabeth really believed all
his expectations of felicity to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the excellent
understanding and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste
between her and himself.
It was an evening of no common delight to them all; the satisfaction of Miss Bennet’s mind gave such a
glow of sweet animation to her face, as made her look handsomer than ever. Kitty simpered and smiled,
and hoped her turn was coming soon. Mrs. Bennet could not give her consent, or speak her approbation,
in terms warm enough to satisfy her feelings, though she talked to Bingley of nothing else for half an
hour; and when Mr. Bennet joined them at supper, his voice and manner plainly showed how really
happy he was.
Not a word, however, passed his lips in allusion to it, till their visitor took his leave for the night, but as
soon as he was gone, he turned to his daughter and said,—
‘Jane, I congratulate you. You will be a very happy woman.’
Jane went to him instantly, kissed him, and thanked him for his goodness.
‘You are a good girl,’ he replied, ‘and I have great pleasure in thinking you will be so happily settled. I
have not a doubt of your doing very well together. Your tempers are by no means unlike. You are each of
you so complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so easy, that every servant will cheat you; and
so generous, that you will always exceed your income.’
‘I hope not so. Imprudence or thoughtlessness in money matters would be unpardonable in me.’
‘Exceed their income! My dear Mr. Bennet,’ cried his wife, ‘what are you talking of? Why, he has four
or five thousand a year, and very likely more.’ Then addressing her daughter, ‘Oh, my dear, dear Jane, I
am so happy! I am sure I shan’t get a wink of sleep all night. I knew how it would be. I always said it
must be so, at last. I was sure you could not be so beautiful for nothing! I remember, as soon as ever I
saw him, when he first came into Hertfordshire last year, I thought how likely it was that you should
come together. Oh, he is the handsomest young man that ever was seen!’
Wickham, Lydia, were all forgotten. Jane was beyond competition her favourite child. At that moment
she cared for no other. Her younger sisters soon began to make interest with her for objects of happiness
which she might in future be able to dispense.
Mary petitioned for the use of the library at Netherfield; and Kitty begged very hard for a few balls
there every winter.
Bingley, from this time, was of course a daily visitor at Longbourn; coming frequently before breakfast,
and always remaining till after supper; unless when some barbarous neighbour, who could not be enough
detested, had given him an invitation to dinner, which he thought himself obliged to accept.
Elizabeth had now but little time for conversation with her sister; for while he was present Jane had no
attention to be stow on any one else: but she found herself considerably useful to both of them in those
hours of separation that must sometimes occur. In the absence of Jane, he always attached himself to
Elizabeth for the pleasure of talking of her; and when Bingley was gone, Jane constantly sought the same
means of relief.
‘He has made me so happy,’ said she, one evening, ‘by telling me that he was totally ignorant of my
being in town last spring! I had not believed it possible.’
‘I suspected as much,’ replied Elizabeth. ‘But how did he account for it?’
‘It must have been his sisters’ doing. They were certainly no friends to his acquaintance with me, which
I cannot wonder at, since he might have chosen so much more advantageously in many respects. But
when they see, as I trust they will, that their brother is happy with me, they will learn to be contented,
and we shall be on good terms again: though we can never be what we once were to each other.’
‘That is the most unforgiving speech,’ said Elizabeth, ‘that I ever heard you utter. Good girl! It would
vex me, indeed, to see you again the dupe of Miss Bingley’s pretended regard.’
‘Would you believe it, Lizzy, that when he went to town last November he really loved me, and nothing
but a persuasion of my being indifferent would have prevented his coming down again?’
‘He made a little mistake, to be sure; but it is to the credit of his modesty.’
This naturally introduced a panegyric from Jane on his diffidence, and the little value he put on his own
Elizabeth was pleased to find that he had not betrayed the interference of his friend; for, though Jane
had the most generous and forgiving heart in the world, she knew it was a circumstance which must
prejudice her against him.
‘I am certainly the most fortunate creature that ever existed!’ cried Jane. ‘Oh, Lizzy, why am I thus
singled from my family, and blessed above them all? If I could but see you as happy! If there were but
such another man for you!’
‘If you were to give me forty such men I never could be so happy as you. Till I have your disposition,
your goodness. I never can have your happiness. No, no, let me shift for myself; and, perhaps, if I have
very good luck, I may meet with another Mr. Collins in time.’
The situation of affairs in the Longbourn family could not be long a secret. Mrs. Bennet was privileged
to whisper it to Mrs. Philips, and she ventured, without any permission, to do the same by all her
neighbours in Meryton.
The Bennets were speedily pronounced to be the luckiest family in the world; though only a few weeks
before, when Lydia had first run away, they had been generally proved to be marked out for misfortune.
ONE morning, about a week after Bingley’s engagement with Jane had been formed, as he and the
females of the family were sitting together in the dining-room, their attention was suddenly drawn to the
window by the sound of a carriage; and they perceived a chaise and four driving up the lawn. It was too
early in the morning for visitors, and besides, the equipage did not answer to that of any of their
neighbours. The horses were post; and neither the carriage, nor the livery of the servant who preceded it,
was familiar to them. As it was certain, however, that somebody was coming, Bingley instantly prevailed
on Miss Bennet to avoid the confinement of such an intrusion, and walk away with him into the
shrubbery. They both set off, and the conjectures of the remaining three continued, though with little
satisfaction, till the door was thrown open, and their visitor entered. It was Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
They were of course all intending to be surprised: but their astonishment was beyond their expectation;
and on the part of Mrs. Bennet and Kitty, though she was perfectly unknown to them, even inferior to
what Elizabeth felt.
She entered the room with an air more than usually ungracious, made no other reply to Elizabeth’s
salutation than a slight inclination of the head, and sat down without saying a word. Elizabeth had
mentioned, her name to her mother on her Ladyship’s entrance, though no request of introduction had
Mrs. Bennet, all amazement, though flattered by having a guest of such high importance, received her
with the utmost politeness. After sitting for a moment in silence, she said, very stiffly, to Elizabeth,—
‘I hope you are well, Miss Bennet. That lady, I suppose, is your mother?’
Elizabeth replied very concisely that she was.
‘And that, I suppose, is one of your sisters?’
‘Yes, madam,’ said Mrs. Bennet, delighted to speak to a Lady Catherine. ‘She is my youngest girl but
one. My youngest of all is lately married, and my eldest is somewhere about the ground, walking with a
young man, who, I believe, will soon become a part of the family.’
‘You have a very small park here,’ returned Lady Catherine, after a short silence.
‘It is nothing in comparison of Rosings, my Lady, I daresay; but I assure you it is much larger than Sir
‘This must be a most inconvenient sitting-room for the evening in summer; the windows are full west.’
Mrs. Bennet assured her that never sat there after dinner; and then added,—
‘May I take the liberty of asking your Ladyship whether you left Mr. and Mrs. Collins well?’
‘Yes, very well. I saw them the night before last.’
Elizabeth now expected that she would produce a letter for her from Charlotte, a it seemed the only
probable motive for her calling. But no letter appeared, and she was completely puzzled.
Mrs. Bennet, with great civility, begged her Ladyship to take some refreshment: but Lady Catherine
very resolutely, and not very politely, declined eating anything; and then, rising up, said to Elizabeth,—
‘Miss Bennet, there seemed to be a prettyish kind of a little wilderness on one side of your lawn. I
should be glad to take a turn in it, if you will favour me with your company.’
‘Go, my dear,’ cried her mother, ‘and show her Ladyship about the different walks. I think she will be
pleased with the hermitage.’
Elizabeth obeyed; and, running into her own room for her parasol, attended her noble guest downstairs.
As they passed through the hall, Lady Catherine opened the doors into the dining-parlour and
drawing-room, and pronouncing them, after a short survey, to be decent-looking rooms, walked on.
Her carriage remained at the door, and Elizabeth saw that her waiting-woman was in it. They proceeded
in silence along the gravel walk that led to the copse: Elizabeth was determined to make no effort for
conversation with a woman who was now more than usually insolent and disagreeable.
‘How could I ever think her like her nephew?’ said she, as she looked in her face.
As soon as they entered the copse, Lady Catherine began in the following manner:—
‘You can be at no loss, Miss Bennet, to understand the reason of my journey hither. Your own heart,
your own conscience, must tell you why I come.’
Elizabeth looked with unaffected astonishment.
‘Indeed, you are mistaken, madam; I have not been at all able to account for the honour of seeing you
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