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Darcy, though she had not before known its extent, agreed equally
well with his own words. So far each recital confirmed the other;
but when she came to the will, the difference was great. What
Wickham had said of the living was fresh in her memory, and as
she recalled his very words, it was impossible not to feel that there
was gross duplicity on one side or the other; and, for a few
moments, she flattered herself that her wishes did not err. But
when she read and reread with the closest attention, the particulars
immediately following of Wickham’s resigning all pretensions to
the living, of his receiving in lieu so considerable a sum as three
thousand pounds, again was she forced to hesitate. She put down
the letter, weighed every circumstance with what she meant to be
impartiality-deliberated on the probability of each statement-but
with little success. On both sides it was
only assertion. Again she read on; but every line proved more
clearly that the affair, which she had believed it impossible that
any contrivance could so represent as to render Mr. Darcy’s
conduct in it less than infamous, was capable of a turn which must
make him entirely blameless throughout the whole.

The extravagance and general profligacy which he scrupled not to
lay to Mr.

Wickham’s charge, exceedingly shocked her; the more so, as she
could bring no proof of its injustice. She had never heard of him
before his entrance into the __shire Militia, in which he had
engaged at the persuasion of the young man who, on meeting him
accidentally in town, had there renewed a slight acquaintance. Of
his former way of life nothing had been known in Hertfordshire
but what he told himself. As to his real character, had information
been in her power, she had never felt a wish of inquiring. His
countenance, voice, and manner had established him at once in the
possession of every virtue. She tried to recollect some instance of
goodness, some distinguished trait of integrity or benevolence, that
might rescue him from the attacks of Mr. Darcy; or at least, by the
predominance of virtue, atone for those casual errors under which
she would endeavor to class what Mr. Darcy had described as the
idleness and vice of many years’ continuance. But no such
recollection befriended her. She could see him instantly before her,
in every charm of air and address; but she could remember no
more substantial good than the general approbation of the
neighborhood, and the regard which his social powers had gained
him in the mess. After pausing on this point a considerable while,
she once more continued to read. But, alas! the story which fol-
lowed, of his designs on Miss Darcy, received some confirmation
from what had passed between Colonel Fitzwilliam and herself
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