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Reynolds could interest her on no other point. She related the
subjects of the pictures, the dimensions of the rooms, and the price
of the furniture, in vain. Mr.
Gardiner, highly amused by the kind of family prejudice to which
he attributed her excessive commendation of her master, soon led
again to the subject; and she dwelt with energy on his many merits
as they proceeded together up the great staircase.
“He is the best landlord, and the best master,” said she, “that ever
lived; not like the wild young men now-a-days, who think of
nothing but themselves. There is not one of his tenants or servants
but what will give him a good name. Some people call him proud;
but I am sure I never saw anything of it. To my fancy, it is only
because he does not rattle away like other young men.” “In what
an amiable light does this place him?” thought Elizabeth.
“This fine account of him,” whispered her aunt as they walked, “is
not quite consistent with his behavior to our poor friend.” “Perhaps
we might be deceived.” “That is not very likely; our authority was
too good.” On reaching the spacious lobby above they were shown
into a very pretty sitting-room, lately fitted up with greater
elegance and lightness than the apartments below; and were
informed that it was but just done to give pleasure to Miss Darcy,
who had taken a liking to the room when last at Pemberley.
“He is certainly a good brother,” said Elizabeth, as she walked
towards one of the windows.
Mrs. Reynolds anticipated Miss Darcy’s delight, when she should
enter the room. “And this is always the way with him,” she added.
“Whatever can give his sister any pleasure is sure to be done in a
moment. There is nothing he would not do for her.”
The picture-gallery, and two or three of the principal bedrooms,
were all that remained to be shown. In the former were many good
paintings; but Elizabeth knew nothing of the art: and from such as
had been already visible below, she had willingly turned to look at
some drawings of Miss Darcy’s, in crayons, whose subjects were
usually more interesting, and also more intelligible.
In the gallery there were many family portraits, but they could
have little to fix the attention of a stranger. Elizabeth walked on in
quest of the only face whose features would be known to her. At
last it arrested her-and she beheld a striking resemblance of Mr.
Darcy, with such a smile over the face as she remembered to have
sometimes seen when he looked at her. She stood several minutes
before the picture, in earnest contemplation, and returned to it
again before they quitted the gallery. Mrs. Reynolds informed
them that it had been taken in his father’s lifetime.