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were something very objectionable? If they believed him attached
to me, they would not try to part us; if he were so, they could not
succeed. By supposing such an affection, you make everybody
acting unnaturally and wrong, and me most unhappy. Do not
distress me by the idea. I am not ashamed of having been
mistakenor, at least, it is slight, it is nothing in comparison of what
I should feel in thinking ill of him or his sisters. Let me take it in
the best light, in the light in which it may be understood.”
Elizabeth could not oppose such a wish; and from this time Mr.
Bingley’s name was scarcely ever mentioned between them.

Mrs. Bennet still continued to wonder and repine at his returning
no more, and though a day seldom passed in which Elizabeth did
not account for it clearly, there seemed little chance of her ever
considering it with less perplexity. Her daughter endeavored to
convince her of what she did not believe herself, that his attentions
to Jane had been merely the effect of a common and transient
liking, which ceased when he saw her no more; but though the
probability of the statement was admitted at the time, she had the
same story to repeat every day. Mrs.

Bennet’s best comfort was that Mr. Bingley must be down again in
the summer.

Mr. Bennet treated the matter differently. “So, Lizzy,” said he one
day, “your sister is crossed in love, I find, congratulate her. Next to
being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and
then. It is something to think of, and gives her a sort of distinction
among her companions. When is your turn to come? You will
hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now is your time. Here are
cers enough at Meryton to disappoint all the young ladies in the
country. Let Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and
would jilt you creditably.” “Thank you, sir, but a less agreeable
man would satisfy me. We must not all expect Jane’s good
fortune.” “True,” said Mr. Bennet, “but it is a comfort to think that
whatever of that kind may befall you, you have an affectionate
mother who will always make the most of it.” Mr. Wickham’s
society was of material service in dispelling the gloom which the
late perverse occurrences had thrown on many of the Longbourn
family. They saw him often, and to his other recommendations was
now added that of general unreserve. The whole of what Elizabeth
had already heard, his claims on Mr.

Darcy, and all that he had suffered from him, was now openly
acknowledged and publicly canvassed; and everybody was
pleased to think how much they had always disliked Mr. Darcy
before they had known anything of the matter.
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