Pride and Prejudice
By Jane Austen
‘I honour your circumspection. A fortnight’s acquaintance is certainly very little. One cannot know what a man really is by the end of a fortnight. But if WE do not venture somebody else will; and after all, Mrs. Long and her daughters must stand their chance; and, therefore, as she will think it an act of kindness, if you decline the office, I will take it on myself.’
The girls stared at their father. Mrs. Bennet said only, ‘Nonsense, nonsense!’
‘What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclamation?’ cried he. ‘Do you consider the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on them, as nonsense? I cannot quite agree with you THERE. What say you, Mary? For you are a young lady of deep reflection, I know, and read great books and make extracts.’
Mary wished to say something sensible, but knew not how.
‘While Mary is adjusting her ideas,’ he continued, ‘let us return to Mr. Bingley.’
‘I am sick of Mr. Bingley,’ cried his wife.
‘I am sorry to hear THAT; but why did not you tell me that before? If I had known as much this morning I certainly would not have called on him. It is very unlucky; but as I have actually paid the visit, we cannot escape the acquaintance now.’
The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished; that of Mrs. Bennet perhaps surpassing the rest; though, when the first tumult of joy was over, she began to declare that it was what she had expected all the while.
‘How good it was in you, my dear Mr. Bennet! But I knew I should persuade you at last. I was sure you loved your girls too well to neglect such an acquaintance. Well, how pleased I am! and it is such a good joke, too, that you should have gone this morning and never said a word about it till now.’