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Chapter 2

  • Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr. Bingley. He ha_lways intended to visit him, though to the last always assuring his wife tha_e should not go; and till the evening after the visit was paid she had n_nowledge of it. It was then disclosed in the following manner. Observing hi_econd daughter employed in trimming a hat, he suddenly addressed her with:
  • "I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy."
  • "We are not in a way to know  _what_  Mr. Bingley likes," said her mothe_esentfully, "since we are not to visit."
  • "But you forget, mamma," said Elizabeth, "that we shall meet him at th_ssemblies, and that Mrs. Long promised to introduce him."
  • "I do not believe Mrs. Long will do any such thing. She has two nieces of he_wn. She is a selfish, hypocritical woman, and I have no opinion of her."
  • "No more have I," said Mr. Bennet; "and I am glad to find that you do no_epend on her serving you."
  • Mrs. Bennet deigned not to make any reply, but, unable to contain herself,
  • began scolding one of her daughters.
  • "Don't keep coughing so, Kitty, for Heaven's sake! Have a little compassion o_y nerves. You tear them to pieces."
  • "Kitty has no discretion in her coughs," said her father; "she times the_ll."
  • "I do not cough for my own amusement," replied Kitty fretfully. "When is you_ext ball to be, Lizzy?"
  • "To-morrow fortnight."
  • "Aye, so it is," cried her mother, "and Mrs. Long does not come back till th_ay before; so it will be impossible for her to introduce him, for she wil_ot know him herself."
  • "Then, my dear, you may have the advantage of your friend, and introduce Mr.
  • Bingley to  _her_."
  • "Impossible, Mr. Bennet, impossible, when I am not acquainted with him myself;
  • how can you be so teasing?"
  • "I honour your circumspection. A fortnight's acquaintance is certainly ver_ittle. One cannot know what a man really is by the end of a fortnight. But i_we_  do not venture somebody else will; and after all, Mrs. Long and he_aughters must stand their chance; and, therefore, as she will think it an ac_f kindness, if you decline the office, I will take it on myself."
  • The girls stared at their father. Mrs. Bennet said only, "Nonsense, nonsense!"
  • "What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclamation?" cried he. "Do yo_onsider the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on them, a_onsense? I cannot quite agree with you  _there_. What say you, Mary? For yo_re a young lady of deep reflection, I know, and read great books and mak_xtracts."
  • Mary wished to say something sensible, but knew not how.
  • "While Mary is adjusting her ideas," he continued, "let us return to Mr.
  • Bingley."
  • "I am sick of Mr. Bingley," cried his wife.
  • "I am sorry to hear  _that_ ; but why did not you tell me that before? If _ad known as much this morning I certainly would not have called on him. It i_ery unlucky; but as I have actually paid the visit, we cannot escape th_cquaintance now."
  • The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished; that of Mrs. Benne_erhaps surpassing the rest; though, when the first tumult of joy was over,
  • she began to declare that it was what she had expected all the while.
  • "How good it was in you, my dear Mr. Bennet! But I knew I should persuade yo_t last. I was sure you loved your girls too well to neglect such a_cquaintance. Well, how pleased I am! and it is such a good joke, too, tha_ou should have gone this morning and never said a word about it till now."
  • "Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you choose," said Mr. Bennet; and, as h_poke, he left the room, fatigued with the raptures of his wife.
  • "What an excellent father you have, girls!" said she, when the door was shut.
  • "I do not know how you will ever make him amends for his kindness; or me,
  • either, for that matter. At our time of life it is not so pleasant, I can tel_ou, to be making new acquaintances every day; but for your sakes, we would d_nything. Lydia, my love, though you  _are_  the youngest, I dare say Mr.
  • Bingley will dance with you at the next ball."
  • "Oh!" said Lydia stoutly, "I am not afraid; for though I  _am_  the youngest,
  • I'm the tallest."
  • The rest of the evening was spent in conjecturing how soon he would return Mr.
  • Bennet's visit, and determining when they should ask him to dinner.