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conceited manner, which would have injured a higher degree of
excellence than she had reached. Elizabeth, easy and unaffected,
had been listened to with much more pleasure, though not playing
half so well; and Mary, at the end of a long concerto, was glad to
purchase praise and gratitude by Scotch and Irish airs, at the
request of her younger sisters, who, with some of the Lucases, and
two or three officers, joined eagerly in dancing at one end of the

Mr. Darcy stood near them in silent indignation at such a mode of
passing the evening, to the exclusion of all conversation, and was
too much engrossed by his thoughts to perceive that Sir William
Lucas was his neighbor, till Sir William thus began, “What a
charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is
nothing like dancing after all. I consider it as one of the first
refinements of polished societies.” “Certainly, sir; and it has the
advantage also of being in vogue amongst the less polished
societies of the world. Every savage can dance.”

Sir William only smiled. “Your friend performs delightfully,” he
continued after a pause, on seeing Bingley join the group;- “and I
doubt not that you are an adept in the science yourself, Mr. Darcy.”
“You saw me dance at Meryton, I believe, sir.” “Yes, indeed, and
received no inconsiderable pleasure from the sight. Do you often
dance at St. James’s?” “Never, sir.” “Do you not think it would be a
proper compliment to the place?” “It is a compliment which I never
pay to any place if I can avoid it.” “You have a house in town, I
conclude?” Mr. Darcy bowed.

“I had once some thoughts of fixing in town myself-for I am fond
of superior society; but I did not feel quite certain that the air of
London would agree with Lady Lucas.” He paused in hopes of an
answer; but his companion was not disposed to make any; and
Elizabeth at that instant moving towards them, he was struck with
the action of doing a very gallant thing, and called out to her“My
dear Miss Eliza, why are not you dancing?- Mr. Darcy, you must
allow me to present this young lady to you as a very desirable
partner. You cannot refuse to dance, I am sure, when so much
beauty is before you.” And, taking her
hand, he would have given it to Mr. Darcy who, though extremely
surprised, was not unwilling to receive it, when she instantly drew
back, and said with some discomposure to Sir William“Indeed, sir,
I have not the least intention of dancing. I entreat you not to
suppose that I moved this way in order to beg for a partner.” Mr.
Darcy, with grave propriety, requested to be allowed the honor of
her hand, but in vain. Elizabeth was determined; nor did Sir
William at all shake her purpose by his attempt at persuasion.
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