``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 have not time to express them -- by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents.''
``Your humility, Mr. Bingley,'' said Elizabeth, ``must disarm reproof.''
``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?''
``The indirect boast; -- for you are really proud of your defects in writing, because you consider them as proceeding from a rapidity of thought and carelessness of execution, which if not estimable, you think at least highly interesting. The power of doing any thing with quickness is always much prized by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance. When you told Mrs. Bennet this morning that if you ever resolved on quitting Netherfield you should be gone in five minutes, you meant it to be a sort of panegyric, of compliment to yourself -- and yet what is there so very laudable in a precipitance which must leave very necessary business undone, and can be of no real advantage to yourself or any one else?''
``Nay,'' cried Bingley, ``this is too much, to remember at night all the foolish things that were said in the morning. And yet, upon my honour, I believed what I said of myself to be true, and I believe it at this moment. At least, therefore, I did not assume the character of needless precipitance merely to shew off before the ladies.''
``I dare say you believed it; but I am by no means convinced that you would be gone with such celerity. Your conduct would be quite as dependant on chance as that of any man I know; and if, as you were mounting your horse, a friend were to say, "Bingley, you had better stay till next week," you would probably do it, you would probably not go -- and, at another word, might stay a month.''
``You have only proved by this,'' cried Elizabeth, ``that Mr. Bingley did not do justice to his own disposition. You have shewn him off now much more than he did himself.''
``I am exceedingly gratified,'' said Bingley, ``by your converting what my friend says into a compliment on the sweetness of my temper. But I am afraid you are giving it a turn which that gentleman did by no means intend; for he would certainly think the better of me, if under such a circumstance I were to give a flat denial, and ride off as fast as I could.''
``Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your original intention as atoned for by your obstinacy in adhering to it?''
``Upon my word I cannot exactly explain the matter; Darcy must speak for himself.''
``You expect me to account for opinions which you chuse to call mine, but which I have never acknowledged. Allowing the case, however, to stand according to your representation, you must remember, Miss Bennet, that the friend who is supposed to desire his return to the house, and the delay of his plan, has merely desired it, asked it without offering one argument in favour of its propriety.''
``To yield readily -- easily -- to the persuasion of a friend is no merit with you.''
``To yield without conviction is no compliment to the understanding of either.''
``You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for the influence of friendship and affection. A regard for the requester would often make one readily yield to a request without waiting for arguments to reason
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