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Mrs. Jenkinson, in whose appearance there was nothing
remarkable, and who was entirely engaged in listening to what she
said, and placing a screen in the proper direction before her eyes.
After sitting a few minutes, they were all sent to one of the
windows to admire the view, Mr. Collins attending them to point
out its beauties, and Lady Catherine kindly informing them that it
was much better worth looking at in the summer.

The dinner was exceedingly handsome, and there were all the
servants and all the articles of plate which Mr. Collins had
promised; and, as he had likewise foretold, he took his seat at the
bottom of the table, by her ladyship’s desire, and looked as if he
felt that life could furnish nothing greater. He carved, and ate, and
praised with delighted alacrity; and every dish was commended,
first by him and then by Sir William, who was now enough
recovered to echo whatever his son-inlaw said, in a manner which
Elizabeth wondered Lady Catherine could bear. But Lady
Catherine seemed gratified by their excessive admiration, and gave
most gracious smiles, especially when any dish on the table proved
a novelty to them.

The party did not supply much conversation. Elizabeth was ready
to speak when-
ever there was an opening, but she was seated between Charlotte
and Miss de Bourgh-the former of whom was engaged in listening
to Lady Catherine, and the latter said not a word to her all dinner-
time. Mrs. Jenkinson was chiefly employed in watching how little
Miss de Bourgh ate, pressing her to try some other dish, and
fearing she was indisposed. Maria thought speaking out of the
question, and the gentlemen did nothing but eat and admire.
When the ladies returned to the drawing-room, there was little to
be done but to hear Lady Catherine talk, which she did without
any intermission till coffee came in, delivering her opinion on
every subject in so decisive a manner, as proved that she was not
used to have her judgment controverted. She inquired into
Charlotte’s domestic concerns familiarly and minutely, and gave
her a great deal of advice as to the management of them all; told
her how everything ought to be regulated in so small a family as
hers, and instructed her as to the care of her cows and her poultry.
Elizabeth found that nothing was beneath this great lady’s
attention, which could furnish her with an occasion of dictating to
others. In the intervals of her discourse with Mrs. Collins, she
addressed a variety of questions to Maria and Elizabeth, but
especially to the latter, of whose connections she knew the least,
and who she observed to Mrs. Collins was a very genteel, pretty
kind of girl. She asked her, at different times, how many sisters she
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