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luckless Kitty continued in the parlor repining at her fate in terms
as unreasonable as her accent was peevish.

“I cannot see why Mrs. Forster should not ask me as well as
Lydia,” said she, “though I am not her particular friend. I have just
as much right to be asked as she has, and more too, for I am two
years older.” In vain did Elizabeth attempt to make her reasonable,
and Jane to make her resigned. As for Elizabeth herself, this
invitation was so far from exciting in her the
same feelings as in her mother and Lydia, that she considered it as
the death warrant of all possibility of common sense for the latter;
and detestable as such a step must make her were it known, she
could not help secretly advising her father not to let her go. She
represented to him all the improprieties of Lydia’s general
behavior, the little advantage she could derive from the friendship
of such a woman as Mrs. Forster, and the probability of her being
yet more imprudent with such a companion at Brighton, where the
temptations must be greater than at home. He heard her
attentively, and then said“Lydia will never be easy till she has
exposed herself in some public place or other, and we can never
expect her to do it with so little expense or inconvenience to her
family as under the present circumstances.” “If you were aware,”
said Elizabeth, “of the very great disadvantage to us all which
must arise from the public notice of Lydia’s unguarded and
imprudent manner-nay, which has already arisen from it, I am
sure you would judge differently in the affair.” “Already arisen?”
repeated Mr. Bennet. “What, has she frightened away some of your
lovers? Poor little Lizzy! But do not be cast down. Such squeamish
youths as cannot bear to be connected with a little absurdity are not
worth a regret. Come, let me see the list of pitiful fellows who have
been kept aloof by Lydia’s folly.” “Indeed you are mistaken. I have
no such injuries to resent. It is not of peculiar, but of general evils,
which I am now complaining. Our importance, our re-
spectability in the world must be affected by the wild volatility, the
assurance and disdain of all restraint which mark Lydia’s
character. Excuse me,- for I must speak plainly. If you, my dear
father, will not take the trouble of checking her exuberant spirits,
and of teaching her that her present pursuits are not to be the
business of her life, she will soon be beyond the reach of
amendment. Her character will be fixed, and she will, at sixteen, be
the most determined flirt that ever made herself and her family
ridiculous;- a flirt, too, in the worst and meanest degree of
flirtation; without any attraction beyond youth and a tolerable
person; and, from the ignorance and emptiness of her mind,
wholly unable to ward off any portion of that universal contempt
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