Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 7

  • Sir William stayed only a week at Hunsford, but his visit was long enough t_onvince him of his daughter's being most comfortably settled, and of he_ossessing such a husband and such a neighbour as were not often met with.
  • While Sir William was with them, Mr. Collins devoted his morning to drivin_im out in his gig, and showing him the country; but when he went away, th_hole family returned to their usual employments, and Elizabeth was thankfu_o find that they did not see more of her cousin by the alteration, for th_hief of the time between breakfast and dinner was now passed by him either a_ork in the garden or in reading and writing, and looking out of the window i_is own book-room, which fronted the road. The room in which the ladies sa_as backwards. Elizabeth had at first rather wondered that Charlotte shoul_ot prefer the dining-parlour for common use; it was a better sized room, an_ad a more pleasant aspect; but she soon saw that her friend had an excellen_eason for what she did, for Mr. Collins would undoubtedly have been much les_n his own apartment, had they sat in one equally lively; and she gav_harlotte credit for the arrangement.
  • From the drawing-room they could distinguish nothing in the lane, and wer_ndebted to Mr. Collins for the knowledge of what carriages went along, an_ow often especially Miss de Bourgh drove by in her phaeton, which he neve_ailed coming to inform them of, though it happened almost every day. She no_nfrequently stopped at the Parsonage, and had a few minutes' conversatio_ith Charlotte, but was scarcely ever prevailed upon to get out.
  • Very few days passed in which Mr. Collins did not walk to Rosings, and no_any in which his wife did not think it necessary to go likewise; and til_lizabeth recollected that there might be other family livings to be dispose_f, she could not understand the sacrifice of so many hours. Now and then the_ere honoured with a call from her ladyship, and nothing escaped he_bservation that was passing in the room during these visits. She examine_nto their employments, looked at their work, and advised them to do i_ifferently; found fault with the arrangement of the furniture; or detecte_he housemaid in negligence; and if she accepted any refreshment, seemed to d_t only for the sake of finding out that Mrs. Collins's joints of meat wer_oo large for her family.
  • Elizabeth soon perceived, that though this great lady was not in commission o_he peace of the county, she was a most active magistrate in her own parish,
  • the minutest concerns of which were carried to her by Mr. Collins; an_henever any of the cottagers were disposed to be quarrelsome, discontented,
  • or too poor, she sallied forth into the village to settle their differences,
  • silence their complaints, and scold them into harmony and plenty.
  • The entertainment of dining at Rosings was repeated about twice a week; and,
  • allowing for the loss of Sir William, and there being only one card-table i_he evening, every such entertainment was the counterpart of the first. Thei_ther engagements were few, as the style of living in the neighbourhood i_eneral was beyond Mr. Collins's reach. This, however, was no evil t_lizabeth, and upon the whole she spent her time comfortably enough; ther_ere half-hours of pleasant conversation with Charlotte, and the weather wa_o fine for the time of year that she had often great enjoyment out of doors.
  • Her favourite walk, and where she frequently went while the others wer_alling on Lady Catherine, was along the open grove which edged that side o_he park, where there was a nice sheltered path, which no one seemed to valu_ut herself, and where she felt beyond the reach of Lady Catherine'_uriosity.
  • In this quiet way, the first fortnight of her visit soon passed away. Easte_as approaching, and the week preceding it was to bring an addition to th_amily at Rosings, which in so small a circle must be important. Elizabeth ha_eard soon after her arrival that Mr. Darcy was expected there in the cours_f a few weeks, and though there were not many of her acquaintances whom sh_id not prefer, his coming would furnish one comparatively new to look at i_heir Rosings parties, and she might be amused in seeing how hopeless Mis_ingley's designs on him were, by his behaviour to his cousin, for whom he wa_vidently destined by Lady Catherine, who talked of his coming with th_reatest satisfaction, spoke of him in terms of the highest admiration, an_eemed almost angry to find that he had already been frequently seen by Mis_ucas and herself.
  • His arrival was soon known at the Parsonage; for Mr. Collins was walking th_hole morning within view of the lodges opening into Hunsford Lane, in orde_o have the earliest assurance of it, and after making his bow as the carriag_urned into the Park, hurried home with the great intelligence. On th_ollowing morning he hastened to Rosings to pay his respects. There were tw_ephews of Lady Catherine to require them, for Mr. Darcy had brought with hi_ Colonel Fitzwilliam, the younger son of his uncle Lord ——, and, to the grea_urprise of all the party, when Mr. Collins returned, the gentleme_ccompanied him. Charlotte had seen them from her husband's room, crossing th_oad, and immediately running into the other, told the girls what an honou_hey might expect, adding:
  • "I may thank you, Eliza, for this piece of civility. Mr. Darcy would neve_ave come so soon to wait upon me."
  • Elizabeth had scarcely time to disclaim all right to the compliment, befor_heir approach was announced by the door-bell, and shortly afterwards th_hree gentlemen entered the room. Colonel Fitzwilliam, who led the way, wa_bout thirty, not handsome, but in person and address most truly th_entleman. Mr. Darcy looked just as he had been used to look i_ertfordshire—paid his compliments, with his usual reserve, to Mrs. Collins,
  • and whatever might be his feelings toward her friend, met her with ever_ppearance of composure. Elizabeth merely curtseyed to him without saying _ord.
  • Colonel Fitzwilliam entered into conversation directly with the readiness an_ase of a well-bred man, and talked very pleasantly; but his cousin, afte_aving addressed a slight observation on the house and garden to Mrs. Collins,
  • sat for some time without speaking to anybody. At length, however, hi_ivility was so far awakened as to inquire of Elizabeth after the health o_er family. She answered him in the usual way, and after a moment's pause,
  • added:
  • "My eldest sister has been in town these three months. Have you never happene_o see her there?"
  • She was perfectly sensible that he never had; but she wished to see whether h_ould betray any consciousness of what had passed between the Bingleys an_ane, and she thought he looked a little confused as he answered that he ha_ever been so fortunate as to meet Miss Bennet. The subject was pursued n_arther, and the gentlemen soon afterwards went away.