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AFTER a week spent in professions of love and schemes of felicity,
Mr. Collins was called from his amiable Charlotte by the arrival of
Saturday. The pain of separation, however, might be alleviated on
his side, by preparations for the reception of his bride; as he had
reason to hope, that shortly after his next return into Hertfordshire,
the day would be fixed that was to make him the happiest of men.
He took leave of his relations at Longbourn with as much
solemnity as before; wished his fair cousins health and happiness
again, and promised their father another letter of thanks.

On the following Monday, Mrs. Bennet had the pleasure of
receiving her brother and his wife, who came as usual to spend the
Christmas at Longbourn.

Mr. Gardiner was a sensible, gentlemanlike man, greatly superior
to his sister, as well by nature as education. The Netherfield ladies
would have had difficulty in believing that a man who lived by
trade, and within view of his own warehouses, could have been so
well-bred and agreeable. Mrs. Gardiner, who was several years
younger than Mrs. Bennet and Mrs. Philips, was an amiable,
intelligent, elegant woman, and a great favorite with all her
Longbourn nieces. Between the two eldest and herself especially,
there subsisted a very particular regard. They had frequently been
staying with her in town.

The first part of Mrs. Gardiner’s business on her arrival was to
distribute her presents and describe the newest fashions. When this
was done she had a less ac-
tive part to play. It became her turn to listen. Mrs. Bennet had
many grievances to relate, and much to complain of. They had all
been very ill-used since she last saw her sister. Two of her girls had
been on the point of marriage, and after all there was nothing in it.
“I do not blame Jane,” she continued, “for Jane would have got Mr.
Bingley if she could. But Lizzy! oh, sister! it is very hard to think
that she might have been Mr. Collins’s wife by this time, had not it
been for her own perverseness. He made her an offer in this very
room, and she refused him. The consequence of it is, that Lady
Lucas will have a daughter married before I have, and that
Longbourn estate is just as much entailed as ever. The Lucases are
very artful people indeed, sister. They are all for what they can get.
I am sorry to say it of them, but so it is. It makes me very nervous
and poorly, to be thwarted so in my own family, and to have
neighbors who think of themselves before anybody else. However,
your coming just at this time is the greatest of comforts, and I am
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