"Let me first see how he behaves," said she; "it will then be early enough for expectation."
She sat intently
at work, striving
to be composed, and without daring to lift up her eyes, till anxious curiosity carried them to the face of her sister as the servant was approaching the door. Jane looked a little paler than usual, but more sedate
than Elizabeth had expected. On the gentlemen's appearing, her colour increased; yet she received them with tolerable
ease, and with a propriety of behaviour equally free from any symptom
of resentment or any unnecessary complaisance
Elizabeth said as little to either as civility would allow, and sat down again to her work, with an eagerness
which it did not often command. She had ventured only one glance at Darcy. He looked serious, as usual; and, she thought, more as he had been used to look in Hertfordshire, than as she had seen him at Pemberley. But, perhaps he could not in her mother's presence
be what he was before her uncle and aunt. It was a painful, but not an improbable
Bingley, she had likewise seen for an instant, and in that short period saw him looking both pleased and embarrassed. He was received by Mrs. Bennet with a degree of civility which made her two daughters ashamed, especially when contrasted with the cold and ceremonious
politeness of her curtsey
and address to his friend.
, who knew that her mother owed to the latter the preservation
of her favourite daughter from irremediable infamy
, was hurt and distressed to a most painful degree by a distinction so ill applied.
Darcy, after enquiring of her how Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner did, a question which she could not answer without confusion, said scarcely any thing. He was not seated by her; perhaps that was the reason of his silence; but it had not been so in Derbyshire. There he had talked to her friends, when he could not to herself. But now several minutes elapsed
without bringing the sound of his voice; and when occasionally, unable to resist the impulse
of curiosity, she raised he eyes to his face, she as often found him looking at Jane as at herself, and frequently on no object but the ground. More thoughtfulness
and less anxiety to please, than when they last met, were plainly
expressed. She was disappointed, and angry with herself for being so.
"Could I expect it to be otherwise!" said she. "Yet why did he come?"
She was in no humour for conversation with any one but himself; and to him she had hardly courage to speak.
She enquired after his sister, but could do no more.
"It is a long time, Mr. Bingley, since you went away," said Mrs. Bennet.
"I began to be afraid you would never come back again. People did say you meant to quit the place entirely at Michaelmas; but, however, I hope it is not true. A great many changes have happened in the neighbourhood, since you went away. Miss Lucas is married and settled. And one of my own daughters. I suppose you have heard of it; indeed, you must have seen it in the papers. It was in the Times and the Courier, I know; though it was not put in as it ought to be. It was only said, "Lately, George Wickham, Esq. to Miss Lydia Bennet," without there being a syllable
said of her father, or the place where she lived, or any thing. It was my brother Gardiner's drawing up too, and I wonder how he came to make such an awkward
business of it. Did you see it?"