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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen


149

and I remained convinced from the eveningís scrutiny, that though
she received his attentions with pleasure, she did not invite them
by any participation of sentiment. If you have not been mistaken
here, I must have been in an error. Your superior knowledge of
your sister must make the latter probable.- If it be so, if I have been
misled by such error to inflict pain on her, your resentment has not
been unreasonable. But I shall not scruple to assert, that the
serenity of your sisterís countenance and air was such as might
have given the most acute observer a conviction that, however
amiable her temper, her heart was not likely to be easily touched.
That I was desirous of believing her indifferent is certain-but I will
venture to say that my investigations and decisions are not usually
influenced by my hopes or fears.

I did not believe her to be indifferent because I wished it;- I
believed it on impartial conviction, as truly as I wished it in reason.
My objections to the marriage were not merely those which I last
night
acknowledged to have required the utmost force of passion to put
aside, in my own case; the want of connection could not be so great
an evil to my friend as to me. But there were other causes of
repugnance;- causes which, though still existing, and existing to an
equal degree in both instances, I had myself endeavored to forget,
because they were not immediately before me. These causes must
be stated, though briefly. The situation of your motherís family,
though objectionable, was nothing in comparison of that total want
of propriety so frequently, so almost uniformly betrayed by herself,
by your three younger sisters, and occasionally even by your
father.

Pardon me. It pains me to offend you. But amidst your concern for
the defects of your nearest relations, and your displeasure at this
representation of them, let it give you consolation to consider that,
to have conducted yourselves so as to avoid any share of the like
censure, is praise no less generally bestowed on you and your
eldest sister, that it is honorable to the sense and disposition of
both. I will only say farther that from what passed that evening,
my opinion of all parties was confirmed, and every inducement
heightened which could have led me before to preserve my friend
from what I esteemed a most unhappy connection. He left
Netherfield for London, on the day following, as you, I am certain,
remember, with the design of soon returning.

ďThe part which I acted is now to be explained. His sistersí
uneasiness had been equally excited with my own; our coincidence
of feeling was soon discovered, and, alike sensible that no time was
to be lost in detaching their brother, we shortly resolved on joining
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