"I am astonished, my dear," said Mrs. Bennet, "that you should be so ready to think your own children silly. If I wished to think slightingly of any body's children, it should not be of my own, however."
"If my children are silly I must hope to be always sensible of it."
"Yes -- but as it happens, they are all of them very clever."
"This is the only point, I flatter myself, on which we do not agree. I had hoped that our sentiments
coincided in every particular, but I must so far differ from you as to think our two youngest daughters uncommonly foolish."
"My dear Mr. Bennet, you must not expect such girls to have the sense of their father and mother. -- When they get to our age, I dare say they will not think about officers any more than we do. I remember the time when I liked a red coat myself very well -- and indeed, so I do still at my heart; and if a smart young colonel, with five or six thousand a year, should want one of my girls, I shall not say nay to him; and I thought Colonel Forster looked very becoming the other night at Sir William's in his regimentals."
"Mama," cried Lydia, "my aunt says that Colonel Forster and Captain Carter do not go so often to Miss Watson's as they did when they first came; she sees them now very often standing in Clarke's library."
Mrs. Bennet was prevented replying by the entrance of the footman
with a note for Miss Bennet; it came from Netherfield, and the servant waited for an answer. Mrs. Bennet's eyes sparkled with pleasure, and she was eagerly calling out, while her daughter read, "Well, Jane, who is it from? what is it about? what does he say? Well, Jane, make haste and tell us; make haste, my love."
"It is from Miss Bingley," said Jane, and then read it aloud.
"My dear Friend,
IF you are not so compassionate as to dine today with Louisa and me, we shall be in danger of hating each other for the rest of our lives, for a whole day's tête-a-tête between two women can never end without a quarrel. Come as soon as you can on the receipt of this. My brother and the gentlemen are to dine with the officers. Yours ever,
"With the officers!" cried Lydia. "I wonder my aunt did not tell us of that."
"Dining out," said Mrs. Bennet, "that is very unlucky."