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thoughts; and the various recollections connected with him gave
her a moment’s distress; but exerting herself vigorously to repel the
ill-natured attack, she presently answered the question in a
tolerably disengaged tone. While she spoke, an involuntary glance
showed her Darcy, with an heightened complexion, earnestly
looking at her, and his sister overcome with confusion, and unable
to lift up her eyes. Had Miss Bingley known what pain she was
then giving her beloved friend, she undoubtedly would have
refrained from the hint; but she had merely intended to
discompose Elizabeth, by bringing forward the idea of a man to
whom she believed her partial, to make her betray a sensibility
which might injure her in Darcy’s opinion, and, perhaps, to remind
the latter of all the follies and absurdities by which some part of
her family were connected with that corps. Not a syllable had ever
reached her of Miss Darcy’s meditated elopement. To no creature
had it been revealed, where secrecy was possible, except to
Elizabeth; and from all Bingley’s connections her brother was
particularly anxious to conceal it, from that very wish which
Elizabeth had long ago attributed to him, of their becoming
hereafter her own. He had certainly formed such a plan, and
without meaning that it should effect his endeavor to separate him
from Miss Bennet, it is probable that it might add something to his
lively concern for the welfare of his friend.

Elizabeth’s collected behavior, however, soon quieted his emotion;
and as Miss Bingley, vexed and disappointed, dared not approach
nearer to Wickham,
Georgiana also recovered in time, though not enough to be able to
speak any more. Her brother, whose eye she feared to meet,
scarcely recollected her interest in the affair, and the very
circumstance which had been designed to turn his thoughts from
Elizabeth seemed to have fixed them on her more, and more

Their visit did not continue long after the question and answer
above mentioned; and while Mr. Darcy was attending them to their
carriage, Miss Bingley was venting her feelings in criticisms on
Elizabeth’s person, behavior, and dress.

But Georgiana would not join her. Her brother’s recommendation
was enough to ensure her favor; his judgment could not err, and he
had spoken in such terms of Elizabeth as to leave Georgiana
without the power of finding her otherwise than lovely and
amiable. When Darcy returned to the saloon, Miss Bingley could
not help repeating to him some part of what she had been saying to
his sister.
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