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not to visit.” “But you forget, mamma,” said Elizabeth, “that we
shall meet him at the assemblies, and that Mrs. Long has promised
to introduce him.” “I do not believe Mrs. Long will do any such
thing. She has two nieces of her own. She is a selfish, hypocritical
woman, and I have no opinion of her.” “No more have I,” said Mr.
Bennet; “and I am glad to find that you do not depend on her
serving you.” Mrs. Bennet deigned not to make any reply, but,
unable to contain herself, began scolding one of her daughters.
“Don’t keep coughing so, Kitty, for Heaven’s sake! Have a little
compassion on my nerves. You tear them to pieces.” “Kitty has no
discretion in her coughs,” said her father; “she times them ill.”

“I do not cough for my own amusement,” replied Kitty fretfully.
“When is your next ball to be, Lizzy?” “To-morrow fortnight.”
“Aye, so it is,” cried her mother, “and Mrs. Long does not come
back till the day before; so it will be impossible for her to introduce
him, for she will not know him herself.” “Then, my dear, you may
have the advantage of your friend, and introduce Mr. Bingley to
her.” “Impossible, Mr. Bennet, impossible, when I am not
acquainted with him myself; how can you be so teasing?” “I honor
your circumspection. A fortnight’s acquaintance is certainly very
little. One cannot know what a man really is by the end of a
fortnight. But if we do not venture somebody else will; and after
all, Mrs. Long and her nieces must stand their chance; and,
therefore, as she will think it an act of kindness, if you decline the
office, I will take it on myself.” The girls stared at their father. Mrs.
Bennet said only, “Nonsense, nonsense!” “What can be the
meaning of that emphatic exclamation?” cried he. “Do you
consider the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on
them, as nonsense? I cannot quite agree with you there. What say
you, Mary? for you are a young lady of deep reflection, I know,
and read great books and make extracts.” Mary wished to say
something very sensible, but knew not how.

“While Mary is adjusting her ideas,” he continued, “let us return to
Mr. Bingley.” “I am sick of Mr. Bingley,” cried his wife.

“I am sorry to hear that; but why did not you tell me so before? If I
had known as much this morning I certainly would not have called
on him. It is very unlucky; but as I have actually paid the visit, we
cannot escape the acquaintance now.” The astonishment of the
ladies was just what he wished; that of Mrs. Bennet perhaps
surpassing the rest; though, when the first tumult of joy was over,
she began to declare that it was what she had expected all the

“How good it was in you, my dear Mr. Bennet! But I knew I should
persuade you at last. I was sure you loved your girls too well to
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