WHEN Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the former, who had been cautious
in her praise of Mr. Bingley before, expressed to her sister how very
much she admired him.


“He is just what a young man ought to be,” said she, “sensible, good
humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners! — so much ease,
with such perfect good


“He is also handsome,” replied Elizabeth, “which a young man ought
likewise to be, if he possibly can. His character is thereby


“I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance a second time. I
did not expect such a


“Did not you? I did for you. But that is one great difference between
us. Compliments always take you by surprise, and me never. What could be
more natural than his asking you again? He could not help seeing that
you were about five times as pretty as every other women in the room. No
thanks to his
for that. Well, he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leave to
like him. You have liked many a stupider person.”


“Dear Lizzy!”


“Oh! you are a great deal too
you know, to like people in general. You never see a fault in any body.
All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you
speak ill of a human being in my life.”


“I would wish not to be hasty in
any one; but I always speak what I think.”


“I know you do; and it is that which makes the wonder. With your good
sense, to be honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others!
Affectation of
is common enough; — one meets it every where. But to be
or design — to take the good of every body’s character and make it
still better, and say nothing of the bad — belongs to you alone. And
so, you like this man’s sisters too, do you? Their manners are not equal
to his.”


“Certainly not; at first. But they are very pleasing women when you
converse with them. Miss Bingley is to live with her brother and keep
his house; and I am much mistaken if we shall not find a very charming
neighbour in her.”


Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced. Their behaviour
at the assembly had not been calculated to please in general; and with
more quickness of observation and less
of temper than her sister, and with a judgment, too,
by any attention to herself, she was very little disposed to approve
them. They were in fact very fine ladies, not deficient in good humour
when they were pleased, nor in the power of being agreeable where they
chose it; but proud and conceited.


They were rather handsome, had been educated in one of the first
in town, had a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, were in the habit of
spending more than they ought, and of associating with people of rank;
and were therefore in every respect entitled to think well of
themselves, and meanly of others. They were of a respectable family in
the north of England; a circumstance more deeply impressed on their
memories than that their brother’s fortune and their own had been
acquired by trade.


Mr. Bingley
property to the amount of nearly an hundred thousand pounds from his
father, who had intended to purchase an estate, but did not live to do
it. — Mr. Bingley intended it likewise, and sometimes made choice of
his county; but as he was now provided with a good house and the liberty
of a
it was doubtful to many of those who best knew the easiness of his
temper, whether he might not spend the
of his days at Netherfield, and leave the next generation to


His sisters were very anxious for his having an estate of his own;
but though he was now established only as a
Miss Bingley was by no means unwilling to preside at his table, nor was
Mrs. Hurst, who had married a man of more fashion than fortune, less
disposed to consider his house as her home when it suited her. Mr.
Bingley had not been of age two years, when he was tempted by an
accidental recommendation to look at Netherfield House. He did look at
it and into it for half an hour, was pleased with the situation and the
principal rooms, satisfied with what the owner said in its praise, and
took it immediately.


Between him and Darcy there was a very
friendship, in spite of a great opposition of character. — Bingley was
to Darcy by the easiness, openness,
of his temper, though no disposition could offer a greater contrast to
his own, and though with his own he never appeared dissatisfied. On the
strength of Darcy’s regard Bingley had the firmest reliance, and of his
judgment the highest opinion. In understanding, Darcy was the superior.
Bingley was by no means deficient, but Darcy was clever. He was at the
same time
reserved, and
and his manners, though well bred, were not inviting. In that respect
his friend had greatly the advantage. Bingley was sure of being liked
wherever he appeared; Darcy was continually giving offence.


The manner in which they spoke of the Meryton assembly was
sufficiently characteristic. Bingley had never met with pleasanter
people or prettier girls in his life; everybody had been most kind and
attentive to him, there had been no formality, no
he had soon felt acquainted with all the room; and as to Miss Bennet, he
could not
an angel more beautiful. Darcy, on the contrary, had seen a collection
of people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for none of
whom he had felt the smallest interest, and from none received either
attention or pleasure. Miss Bennet he acknowledged to be pretty, but she
smiled too much.


Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be so — but still they
admired her and liked her, and pronounced her to be a sweet girl, and
one whom they should not object to know more of. Miss Bennet was
therefore established as a sweet girl, and their brother felt
by such commendation to think of her as he chose.


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