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He took the hint, and soon began with, “This seems a very
comfortable house.

Lady Catherine, I believe, did a great deal to it when Mr. Collins
first came to Hunsford.”

“I believe she did-and I am sure she could not have bestowed her
kindness on a more grateful object.” “Mr. Collins appears very
fortunate in his choice of a wife.” “Yes, indeed; his friends may
well rejoice in his having met with one of the very few sensible
women who would have accepted him, or have made him happy if
they had. My friend has an excellent understanding-though I am
not certain that I consider her marrying Mr. Collins as the wisest
thing she ever did. She seems perfectly happy, however, and in a
prudential light it is certainly a very good match for her.” “It must
be very agreeable to her to be settled within so easy a distance of
her own family and friends.” “An easy distance, do you call it? It is
nearly fifty miles.” “And what is fifty miles of good road? Little
more than half a day’s journey.

Yes, I call it a very easy distance.” “I should never have considered
the distance as one of the advantages of the match,” cried
Elizabeth. “I should never have said Mrs. Collins was settled near
her family.” “It is a proof of your own attachment to Hertfordshire.
Anything beyond the very neighborhood of Longbourn, I suppose,
would appear far.”

As he spoke there was a sort of smile which Elizabeth fancied she
understood; he must be supposing her to be thinking of Jane and
Netherfield, and she blushed as she answered“I do not mean to say
that a woman may not be settled too near her family.

The far and the near must be relative, and depend on many
varying circumstances. Where there is fortune to make the
expenses of traveling unimportant, distance becomes no evil. But
that is not the case here. Mr. and Mrs. Collins have a comfortable
income, but not such a one as will allow of frequent journeys-and I
am persuaded my friend would not call herself near her family
under less than half the present distance.” Mr. Darcy drew his
chair a little towards her, and said, “You cannot have a right to
such very strong local attachment. You cannot have been always at
Longbourn.” Elizabeth looked surprised. The gentleman
experienced some change of feeling; he drew back his chair, took a
newspaper from the table, and, glancing over it, said, in a colder
voice“Are you pleased with Kent?” A short dialogue on the subject
of the county ensued, on either side calm and concise-and soon
put an end to by the entrance of Charlotte and her sister, just
returned from their walk. The tete-a-tete surprised them. Mr.
Darcy related the mis-
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