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only of five all together,Mr. Bingley, his two sisters, the husband of
the eldest, and another young man.
Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a
pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. His sisters
were fine women, with an air of decided fashion. His brother-in-
law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked the gentleman; but his friend Mr.
Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person,
handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in
general circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his
having ten thousand a-year. The gentlemen pronounced him to be
a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was
much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with
great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a
disgust which turned the tide of his popularity; for he was
discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and above being
pleased; and not all his large estate in Derbyshire could then save
him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and
being unworthy to be compared with his friend.
Mr. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with all the
principal people in the room; he was lively and unreserved,
danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early, and
talked of giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable qualities
must speak for themselves. What a contrast between him and his
friend! Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mrs. Hurst and once with
Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to any other lady, and
spent the rest of the evening in walking about the room, speaking
occasionally to one of his own party. His character was decided.
He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and
everybody hoped that he would never come there again. Amongst
the most violent against him was Mrs. Bennet, whose dislike of his
general behavior was sharpened into particular resentment by his
having slighted one of her daughters.
Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen, to
sit down for two dances; and during part of that time, Mr. Darcy
had been standing near enough for her to overhear a conversation
between him and Mr. Bingley, who came from the dance for a few
minutes, to press his friend to join it.
“Come, Darcy,” said he, “I must have you dance. I hate to see you
standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much
better dance.” “I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it,
unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an
assembly as this it would be insupportable.
Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the
room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with.”