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MISS BINGLEY’S letter arrived, and put an end to doubt. The very
first sentence conveyed the assurance of their being all settled in
London for the winter, and concluded with her brother’s regret at
not having had time to pay his respects to his friends in
Hertfordshire before he left the country.

Hope was over, entirely over; and when Jane could attend to the
rest of the letter, she found little, except the professed affection of
the writer, that could give her any comfort. Miss Darcy’s praise
occupied the chief of it. Her many attractions were again dwelt on,
and Caroline boasted joyfully of their increasing intimacy, and
ventured to predict the accomplishment of the wishes which had
been unfolded in her former letter. She wrote also with great
pleasure of her brother’s being an inmate of Mr. Darcy’s house,
and mentioned with raptures some plans of the latter with regard
to new furniture.

Elizabeth, to whom Jane very soon communicated the chief of all
this, heard it in silent indignation. Her heart was divided between
concern for her sister, and resentment against all others. To
Caroline’s assertion of her brother’s being partial to Miss Darcy she
paid no credit. That he was really fond of Jane, she doubted no
more than she had ever done; and much as she had always been
disposed to like him, she could not think without anger, hardly
without contempt, on that easiness of temper, that want of proper
resolution, which now made him the slave of his designing friends,
and led him to sacrifice his own happiness to the caprice of
their inclinations. Had his own happiness, however, been the only
sacrifice, he might have been allowed to sport with it in whatever
manner he thought best, but her sister’s was involved in it, as she
thought he must be sensible himself. It was a subject, in short, on
which reflection would be long indulged, and must be unavailing.
She could think of nothing else; and yet whether Bingley’s regard
had really died away, or were suppressed by his friends’
interference; whether he had been aware of Jane’s attachment, or
whether it had escaped his observation; whatever were the case,
though her opinion of him must be materially affected by the
difference, her sister’s situation remained the same, her peace
equally wounded.

A day or two passed before Jane had courage to speak of her
feelings to Elizabeth; but at last, on Mrs. Bennet’s leaving them
together, after a longer irritation than usual about Netherfield and
its master, she could not help saying, “Oh, that my dear mother
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