Chapter 10

673 6 2

The day passed much like the day before. Mrs Hurst and Miss Bingley had spent some hours of the morning with their sick friend. Jane continued, though slowly, to mend, and the evening Elizabeth joined the party in the drawing-room. However, the card table did not appear. Mr Darcy was writing, and Miss Bingley seated near him, was watching the progress of his letter and repeatedly called his attention away to add her own messages to the recipient, his sister. Mr Hurst and Mr Bingley were playing piquet, and Mrs Hurst was watching their game.

Elizabeth started on some needlework, and was sufficiently entertained in observing what happened between Mr Darcy and Miss Bingley. The never-ending praises of the lady, either on his writing, or the evenness of his lines, or the length of his letter, compared to the complete lack of interest to which the praises were received, formed an amusing dialogue. It unfolded in perfect symmetry to what she'd expect from each person.

"How delighted Miss Darcy will be to receive such a letter!" exclaimed Miss Bingley

He made no answer

"You write uncommonly fast"

"You are mistaken," he replied, "I write rather slowly."

"How many letters you must have to write in the course of a year! And business letters as well! I should hate them!"

"It is fortunate, then, that they fall to my lot instead of yours."

"Please tell your sister that I long to see her."

"I already have, as you previously requested"

"I'm afraid there is something amiss with your pen. Let me mend it for you, I mend pens remarkably well."

"Thank you, but I always mend my own."

"How do you manage to write so even?"

He was silent

"Tell your sister I am delighted to hear of her performance on the harp, and please let her know that I quite adore her beautiful little design for a table, and I think its infinitely superior to Miss Grantley's."

"Will you allow me to save your joys till I write again? At the moment I don't have enough space to do them justice."

"Oh! It doesn't matter too much. I shall see her in January. But do you always write such charming long letters to her, Mr Darcy?"

'They are generally long, but it is not for me to determine if they are charming."

"It is a rule of mine," explained Miss Bingley, "That a person who can write a long letter, can not write badly."

"Caroline, that will not work as a compliment for Darcy," cried her brother, "because he does not write with ease. He uses too many four syllable words. Do you not Darcy?"

"My style of writing is very different from yours" he replied

"Oh!" cried Miss Bingley, "Charles writes in the most careless way imaginable. He leaves out half his words, and blots the rest."

"My ideas flow so rapidly that I don't have time to express them. My letters then sometimes appear to be nonsense to the recipient

'Your humility Mr Bingley," said Elizabeth, "must disarm disapproval."

"Nothing is more deceitful," said Darcy, "than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast."

"And which of the two do you call my little recent piece of modesty?" asked Bingley

"The indirect boast. You are really proud of your weaknesses in writing, because you consider them to be from a quickness of thought and carelessness of execution. If not impressive, you find it at least highly interesting. The power of doing anything quickly is always prized by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance. You told Mrs. Bennet this morning that if you ever decided to leave Netherfield, you would be gone in five minutes. You meant it to be a sort of speech, a compliment to yourself. And yet what is there so praiseworthy in an impulsive decision which would certainly leave necessary business undone? And be of no advantage to yourself or anyone else?"

A Simplified Pride and PrejudiceRead this story for FREE!