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that. But do not imagine that he is always here so often. It is on
your account that he has been so frequently invited this week.

You know my mother’s ideas as to the necessity of constant
company for her friends. But really, and upon my honor, I will try
to do what I think to be the wisest; and now I hope you are

Her aunt assured her that she was, and Elizabeth having thanked
her for the kindness of her hints, they parted; a wonderful instance
of advice being given on such a point, without being resented.

Mr. Collins returned into Hertfordshire soon after it had been
quitted by the Gardiners and Jane; but as he took up his abode
with the Lucases, his arrival was no great inconvenience to Mrs.
Bennet. His marriage was now fast approaching, and she was at
length so far resigned as to think it inevitable, and even repeatedly
to say, in an ill-natured tone, that she “wished they might be
happy.” Thursday was to be the wedding day, and on Wednesday
Miss [Lucas] paid her farewell visit; and when she rose to take
leave, Elizabeth, ashamed of her mother’s ungracious and reluctant
good wishes, and sincerely affected herself, accompanied her out
of the room. As they went down stairs together, Charlotte said“I
shall depend on hearing from you very often, Eliza.” “That you
certainly shall.” “And I have another favor to ask. Will you come
and see me?” “We shall often meet, I hope, in Hertfordshire.” “I
am not likely to leave Kent for some time. Promise me, therefore, to
come to Hunsford.” Elizabeth could not refuse, though she foresaw
little pleasure in the visit.

“My father and Maria are to come to me in March,” added
Charlotte, “and I hope you will consent to be of the party. Indeed,
Eliza, you will be as welcome to me as either of them.” The
wedding took place: the bride and bridegroom set off for Kent
from the church door, and everybody had as much to say, or to
hear, on the subject as usual. Elizabeth soon heard from her friend;
and their correspondence was as regular and frequent as it had
ever been; that it should be equally unreserved was impossible.
Elizabeth could never address her without feeling that all the
comfort of intimacy was over, and though determined not to
slacken as a correspondent, it was for the sake of what had been,
rather than what was. Charlotte’s first letters were received with a
good deal of eagerness; there could not but be curiosity to know
how she would speak of her new home, how she would like Lady
Catherine, and how happy she would dare pronounce herself to be;
though, when the letters were read, Elizabeth felt that Charlotte
expressed herself on every point exactly as she might have
foreseen. She wrote cheerfully, seemed surrounded with comforts,
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