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“How very ill Eliza Bennet looks this morning, Mr. Darcy,” she
cried; “I never in my life saw any one so much altered as she is
since the winter. She is grown so brown and coarse! Louisa and I
were agreeing that we should not have known her again.”
However little Mr. Darcy might have liked such an address, he
contented himself with coolly replying that he perceived no other
alteration than her being rather tanned,- no miraculous
consequence of traveling in the summer.

“For my own part,” she rejoined, “I must confess that I never could
see any beauty in her. Her face is too thin; her complexion has no
brilliancy; and her fea-
tures are not at all handsome. Her nose wants character-there is
nothing marked in its lines. Her teeth are tolerable, but not out of
the common way; and as for her eyes, which have sometimes been
called so fine, I never could perceive anything extraordinary in
them. They have a sharp, shrewish look, which I do not like at all;
and in her air altogether there is a self-sufficiency without fashion,
which is intolerable.” Persuaded as Miss Bingley was that Darcy
admired Elizabeth, this was not the best method of recommending
herself; but angry people are not always wise; and in seeing him at
last look somewhat nettled, she had all the success she expected.
He was resolutely silent, however; and, from a determination of
making him speak, she continued“I remember, when we first knew
her in Hertfordshire, how amazed we all were to find that she was
a reputed beauty; and I particularly recollect your saying one
night, after they had been dining at Netherfield, ‘She a beauty! I
should as soon call her mother a wit.’ But afterwards she seemed to
improve on you, and I believe you thought her rather pretty at one
time.” “Yes,” replied Darcy, who could contain himself no longer,
“but that was only when I first knew her, for it is many months
since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my
acquaintance.” He then went away, and Miss Bingley was left to all
the satisfaction of having forced him to say what gave no one any
pain but herself.

Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth talked of all that had occurred during
their visit, as they returned, except what had particularly interested
them both. The looks and behavior of everybody they had seen
were discussed, except of the person who had mostly engaged
their attention. They talked of his sister, his friends, his house, his
fruit-of everything but himself; yet Elizabeth was longing to know
what Mrs. Gardiner thought of him, and Mrs. Gardiner would
have been highly gratified by her niece’s beginning the subject.
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