them into harmony and plenty.
The entertainment of dining at Rosings was repeated about twice a week; and, allowing for the loss of
Sir William, and there being only one card-table in the evening, every such entertainment was the
counterpart of the first. Their other engagements were few; as the style of living of the neighbourhood in
general was beyond the Collinses’ reach. This, however, was no evil to Elizabeth, and upon the whole
she spent her time comfortably enough: there were half-hours of pleasant conversation with Charlotte,
and the weather was so fine for the time of year, that she had often great enjoyment out of doors. Her
favourite walk, and where she frequently went while the others were calling on Lady Catherine, was
along the open grove which edged that side of the park where there was a nice sheltered path, which no
one seemed to value but herself, and where she felt beyond the reach of Lady Catherine’s curiosity.
In this quiet way the first fortnight of her visit soon passed away. Easter was approaching, and the week
preceding it was to bring an addition to the family at Rosings, which in so small a circle must be
important. Elizabeth had heard, soon after her arrival, that Mr. Darcy was expected there in the course of
a few weeks; and though there were not many of her acquaintance whom she did not prefer, his coming
would furnish one comparatively new to look at in their Rosings parties, and she might be amused in
seeing how hopeless Miss Bingley’s designs on him were, by his behaviour to his cousin, for whom he
was evidently destined by Lady Catherine; who talked of his coming with the greatest satisfaction, spoke
of him in terms of the highest admiration, and seemed almost angry to find that he had already been
frequently seen by Miss Lucas and herself.
His arrival was soon known at the Parsonage; for Mr. Collins was walking the whole morning within
view of the lodges opening into Hunsford Lane, in order to have the earliest assurance of it; and, after
making his bow as the carriage turned into the park, hurried home with the great intelligence. On the
following morning he hastened to Rosings to pay his respects. There were two nephews of Lady
Catherine to require them, for Mr. Darcy had brought with him a Colonel Fitzwilliam, the younger son of
his uncle Lord —— ; and, to the great surprise of all the party, when Mr. Collins returned, the gentleman
accompanied him. Charlotte had seen them from her husband’s room, crossing the road, and immediately
running into the other, told the girls what an honour they might expect, adding,—
‘I may thank you, Eliza, for this piece of civility. Mr. Darcy would never have come so soon to wait
Elizabeth had scarcely time to disclaim all right to the compliment before their approach was
announced by the doorbell, and shortly afterwards the three gentlemen entered the room. Colonel
Fitzwilliam, who led the way, was about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address most truly the
gentleman. Mr. Darcy looked just as he had been used to look in Hertfordshire, paid his compliments,
with his usual reserve, to Mrs. Collins; and, whatever might be his feelings towards her friend, met her
with every appearance of composure. Elizabeth merely courtesied to him, without saying a word.
Colonel Fitzwilliam entered into conversation directly, with the readiness and ease of a well-bred man,
and talked very pleasantly; but his cousin, after having addressed a slight observation on the house and
garden to Mrs. Collins, sat for some time without speaking to anybody. At length, however, his civility
was so far awakened as to inquire of Elizabeth after the health of her family. She answered him in the
usual way; and, after a moment’s pause, added,—
‘My eldest sister has been in town these three months. Have you never happened to see her there?’
She was perfectly sensible that he never had: but she wished to see whether he would betray any
consciousness of what had passed between the Bingleys and Jane; and she thought he looked a little
confused as he answered that he had never been so fortunate as to meet Miss Bennet. The subject was
pursued no further, and the gentlemen soon afterwards went away.
COLONEL FITZWILLIAM’S manners were very much admired at the Parsonage, and the ladies all felt
that he must add considerably to the pleasure of their engagements at Rosings. It was some days,
however, before they received any invitation thither, for while there were visitors in the house they could
not be necessary; and it was not till Easter-day, almost a week after the gentlemen’s arrival, that were
merely asked on leaving church to come there in the evening. For the last week they had seen very little
of either Lady Catherine or her daughter. Colonel Fitzwilliam had called at the Parsonage more than once
during the time, but Mr. Darcy they had only seen at church.
The invitation was accepted, of course, and at a proper hour they joined the party in Lady Catherine’s
drawing-room. Her Ladyship received them civilly, but it was plain that their company was by no means
so acceptable as when she could get nobody else; and she was, in fact, almost engrossed by her nephews,
speaking to them, especially to Darcy, much more than to any other person in the room.
Colonel Fitzwilliam seemed really glad to see them: anything was a welcome relief to him at Rosings;
and Mrs. Collins’s pretty friend had, moreover, caught his fancy very much. He now seated himself by
her, and talked so agreeably of Kent and Hertfordshire, of travelling and staying at home, of new books
and music, that Elizabeth had never been half so well entertained in that room before; and they conversed
with so much spirit and flow as to draw the attention of Lady Catherine herself, as well as of Mr. Darcy.
His eyes had been soon and repeatedly turned towards them with a look of curiosity; and that her
Ladyship, after a while, shared the feeling, was more openly acknowledged, for she did not scruple to
‘What is that you are saying, Fitzwilliam? What is it you are talking of? What are you telling Miss
Bennet? Let me hear what it is.’
‘We are speaking of music, madam,’ said he, when no longer able to avoid a reply.
‘Of music! Then pray speak aloud. It is of all subjects my delight. I must have my share in the
conversation, if you are speaking of music. There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more
true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a
great proficient. And so would Anne, if her health had allowed her to apply. I am confident that she
would have performed delightfully. How does Georgiana get on, Darcy?’
Mr. Darcy spoke with affectionate praise of his sister’s proficiency.
‘I am very glad to hear such a good account of her,’ said Lady Catherine; ‘and pray tell her from me,
that she cannot expect to excel if she does not practise a great deal.’
‘I assure you, madam, he replied, ‘that she does not need such advice. She practises very constantly.’
‘So much the better. It cannot be done too much; and when I next write to her, I shall charge her not to
neglect it on any account. I often tell young ladies that no excellence in music is to be acquired without
constant practice. I have told Miss Bennet several times that she will never play really well unless she
practises more; and though Mrs. Collins has no instrument, she is very welcome, as I have often told her,
to come to Rosings every day, and play on the pianoforte in Mrs. Jenkinson’s room. She would be in
nobody’s way, you know, in that part of the house.’
Mr. Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt’s ill-breeding, and made no answer.
When coffee was over, Colonel Fitzwilliam reminded Elizabeth of having promised to play to him; and
she sat down directly to the instrument. He drew a chair near her. Lady Catherine listened to half a song,
and then talked, as before, to her other nephew; till the latter walked away from her, and, moving with
his usual deliberation towards the pianoforte, stationed himself so as to command a full view of the fair
performer’s countenance. Elizabeth saw what he was doing, and at the first convenient pause turned to
him with an arch smile, and said,—
‘You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in all this state to hear me. But I will not be alarmed
though your sister does play so well. There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be
frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me.’
‘I shall not say that you are mistaken,’ he replied, ‘because you could not really believe me to entertain
any design of alarming you; and I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long enough to know that
you find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which, in fact, are not your own.’
Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself, and said to Colonel Fitzwilliam, ‘Your cousin will
give you a very pretty notion of me, and teach you not to believe a word I say. I am particularly unlucky
in meeting with a person so well able to expose my real character, in a part of the world where I had
hoped to pass myself off with some degree of credit. Indeed, Mr. Darcy, it is very ungenerous in you to
mention all that you knew to my disadvantage in Hertfordshire—and, give me leave to say, very
impolitic too—for it is provoking me to retaliate, and such things may come out as will shock your
relations to hear.’
‘I am not afraid of you,’ said he, smilingly.
‘Pray let me hear what you have to accuse him of,’ cried Colonel Fitzwilliam. ‘I should like to know
how he behaves among strangers.’
‘You shall hear, then—but prepare for something very dreadful. The first time of my ever seeing him in
Hertfordshire, you must know, was at a ball—and at this ball, what do you think he did? He danced only
four dances! I am sorry to pain you, but so it was. He danced only four dances, though gentlemen were
scarce; and, to my certain knowledge, more than one young lady was sitting down in want of a partner.
Mr. Darcy, you cannot deny the fact.’
‘I had not at that time the honour of knowing any lady in the assembly beyond my own party.’
‘True; and nobody can ever be introduced in a ballroom. Well, Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do I play
next? My fingers wait your orders.’
‘Perhaps,’ said Darcy, ‘I should have judged better had I sought an introduction, but I am ill qualified to
recommend myself to strangers.’
‘Shall we ask your cousin the reason of this?’ said Elizabeth, still addressing Colonel Fitzwilliam.
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