When Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the former, who had been cautious in he_raise of Mr. Bingley before, expressed to her sister just how very much sh_dmired him.
"He is just what a young man ought to be," said she, "sensible, good-humoured,
lively; and I never saw such happy manners!—so much ease, with such perfec_ood breeding!"
"He is also handsome," replied Elizabeth, "which a young man ought likewise t_e, if he possibly can. His character is thereby complete."
"I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance a second time. I did no_xpect such a compliment."
"Did not you? I did for you. But that is one great difference between us.
Compliments always take _you_ by surprise, and _me_ never. What could b_ore natural than his asking you again? He could not help seeing that you wer_bout five times as pretty as every other woman in the room. No thanks to hi_allantry for that. Well, he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leav_o like him. You have liked many a stupider person."
"Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in general. Yo_ever see a fault in anybody. All the world are good and agreeable in you_yes. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in your life."
"I would not wish to be hasty in censuring anyone; but I always speak what _hink."
"I know you do; and it is _that_ which makes the wonder. With _your_ goo_ense, to be so honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others!
Affectation of candour is common enough—one meets with it everywhere. But t_e candid without ostentation or design—to take the good of everybody'_haracter and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad—belongs to yo_lone. And so you like this man's sisters, too, do you? Their manners are no_qual to his."
"Certainly not—at first. But they are very pleasing women when you convers_ith them. Miss Bingley is to live with her brother, and keep his house; and _m much mistaken if we shall not find a very charming neighbour in her."
Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced; their behaviour at th_ssembly had not been calculated to please in general; and with more quicknes_f observation and less pliancy of temper than her sister, and with _udgement too unassailed by any attention to herself, she was very littl_isposed to approve them. They were in fact very fine ladies; not deficient i_ood humour when they were pleased, nor in the power of making themselve_greeable when they chose it, but proud and conceited. They were rathe_andsome, had been educated in one of the first private seminaries in town,
had a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, were in the habit of spending mor_han they ought, and of associating with people of rank, and were therefore i_very respect entitled to think well of themselves, and meanly of others. The_ere of a respectable family in the north of England; a circumstance mor_eeply impressed on their memories than that their brother's fortune and thei_wn had been acquired by trade.
Mr. Bingley inherited property to the amount of nearly a hundred thousan_ounds from his father, who had intended to purchase an estate, but did no_ive to do it. Mr. Bingley intended it likewise, and sometimes made choice o_is county; but as he was now provided with a good house and the liberty of _anor, it was doubtful to many of those who best knew the easiness of hi_emper, whether he might not spend the remainder of his days at Netherfield,
and leave the next generation to purchase.
His sisters were anxious for his having an estate of his own; but, though h_as now only established as a tenant, Miss Bingley was by no means unwillin_o preside at his table—nor was Mrs. Hurst, who had married a man of mor_ashion than fortune, less disposed to consider his house as her home when i_uited her. Mr. Bingley had not been of age two years, when he was tempted b_n accidental recommendation to look at Netherfield House. He did look at it,
and into it for half-an-hour—was pleased with the situation and the principa_ooms, satisfied with what the owner said in its praise, and took i_mmediately.
Between him and Darcy there was a very steady friendship, in spite of grea_pposition of character. Bingley was endeared to Darcy by the easiness,
openness, and ductility of his temper, though no disposition could offer _reater contrast to his own, and though with his own he never appeare_issatisfied. On the strength of Darcy's regard, Bingley had the firmes_eliance, and of his judgement the highest opinion. In understanding, Darc_as the superior. Bingley was by no means deficient, but Darcy was clever. H_as at the same time haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners,
though well-bred, were not inviting. In that respect his friend had greatl_he advantage. Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared, Darcy wa_ontinually giving offense.
The manner in which they spoke of the Meryton assembly was sufficientl_haracteristic. Bingley had never met with more pleasant people or prettie_irls in his life; everybody had been most kind and attentive to him; ther_ad been no formality, no stiffness; he had soon felt acquainted with all th_oom; and, as to Miss Bennet, he could not conceive an angel more beautiful.
Darcy, on the contrary, had seen a collection of people in whom there wa_ittle beauty and no fashion, for none of whom he had felt the smalles_nterest, and from none received either attention or pleasure. Miss Bennet h_cknowledged to be pretty, but she smiled too much.
Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be so—but still they admired her an_iked her, and pronounced her to be a sweet girl, and one whom they would no_bject to know more of. Miss Bennet was therefore established as a sweet girl,
and their brother felt authorized by such commendation to think of her as h_hose.