In consequence of an agreement between
the sisters, Elizabeth wrote the next morning to their
mother, to beg that the carriage might be sent for
them in the course of the day. But Mrs. Bennet,
who had calculated on her daughters remaining at Netherfield
till the following Tuesday, which would exactly finish
Jane’s week, could not bring herself to receive
them with pleasure before. Her answer, therefore,
was not propitious, at least not to Elizabeth’s
wishes, for she was impatient to get home. Mrs.
Bennet sent them word that they could not possibly
have the carriage before Tuesday; and in her postscript
it was added, that if Mr. Bingley and his sister pressed
them to stay longer, she could spare them very well.
Against staying longer, however, Elizabeth was positively
resolved nor did she much expect it would
be asked; and fearful, on the contrary, as being considered
as intruding themselves needlessly long, she urged
Jane to borrow Mr. Bingley’s carriage immediately,
and at length it was settled that their original design
of leaving Netherfield that morning should be mentioned,
and the request made.
The communication excited many professions
of concern; and enough was said of wishing them to
stay at least till the following day to work on Jane;
and till the morrow their going was deferred.
Miss Bingley was then sorry that she had proposed
the delay, for her jealousy and dislike of one sister
much exceeded her affection for the other.
The master of the house heard with
real sorrow that they were to go so soon, and repeatedly
tried to persuade Miss Bennet that it would not be
safe for her that she was not enough recovered;
but Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right.
To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence Elizabeth
had been at Netherfield long enough. She attracted
him more than he liked and Miss Bingley
was uncivil to her, and more teasing than usual
to himself. He wisely resolved to be particularly
careful that no sign of admiration should now
escape him, nothing that could elevate her with the
hope of influencing his felicity; sensible that if
such an idea had been suggested, his behaviour during
the last day must have material weight in confirming
or crushing it. Steady to his purpose, he scarcely
spoke ten words to her through the whole of Saturday,
and though they were at one time left by themselves
for half-an-hour, he adhered most conscientiously
to his book, and would not even look at her.
On Sunday, after morning service,
the separation, so agreeable to almost all, took place.
Miss Bingley’s civility to Elizabeth increased
at last very rapidly, as well as her affection for
Jane; and when they parted, after assuring the latter
of the pleasure it would always give her to see her
either at Longbourn or Netherfield, and embracing her
most tenderly, she even shook hands with the former.
Elizabeth took leave of the whole party in the liveliest
They were not welcomed home very cordially
by their mother. Mrs. Bennet wondered at their
coming, and thought them very wrong to give so much
trouble, and was sure Jane would have caught cold again.
But their father, though very laconic in his expressions
of pleasure, was really glad to see them; he had felt
their importance in the family circle. The evening
conversation, when they were all assembled, had lost
much of its animation, and almost all its sense by
the absence of Jane and Elizabeth.
They found Mary, as usual, deep in
the study of thorough-bass and human nature; and had
some extracts to admire, and some new observations
of threadbare morality to listen to. Catherine
and Lydia had information for them of a different
sort. Much had been done and much had been said
in the regiment since the preceding Wednesday; several
of the officers had dined lately with their uncle,
a private had been flogged, and it had actually been
hinted that Colonel Forster was going to be married.