For, though elated by his rank, it did not render him supercilious; on the contrary, he was all attention to everybody.
The wisest and the best of men—nay, the wisest and best of their actions—may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke.
As for my fair cousins, though my absence may not be long enough to render it necessary, I shall now take the liberty of wishing them health and happiness, not excepting my cousin Elizabeth.
But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes.
The sudden acquisition of ten thousand pounds was the most remarkable charm of the young lady to whom he was now rendering himself agreeable; but Elizabeth, less clear-sighted perhaps in this case than in Charlotte’s, did not quarrel with him for his wish of independence.
When the engagement was for home, some of the officers always made part of it—of which officers Mr. Wickham was sure to be one; and on these occasion, Mrs. Gardiner, rendered suspicious by Elizabeth’s warm commendation, narrowly observed them both.
On reaching the house, they were shown through the hall into the saloon, whose northern aspect rendered it delightful for summer.
Mr. Wickham was the happy man towards whom almost every female eye was turned, and Elizabeth was the happy woman by whom he finally seated himself; and the agreeable manner in which he immediately fell into conversation, though it was only on its being a wet night, made her feel that the commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic might be rendered interesting by the skill of the speaker.
Again she read on; but every line proved more clearly that the affair, which she had believed it impossible that any contrivance could so represent as to render Mr. Darcy’s conduct in it less than infamous, was capable of a turn which must make him entirely blameless throughout the whole.
Lady Catherine had been rendered so exceedingly angry by the contents of her nephew’s letter, that Charlotte, really rejoicing in the match, was anxious to get away till the storm was blown over.
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She was not rendered formidable by silence; but whatever she said was spoken in so authoritative a tone, as marked her self-importance, and brought Mr. Wickham immediately to Elizabeth’s mind; and from the observation of the day altogether, she believed Lady Catherine to be exactly what he represented.
Rendered spiritless by the ill-success of all their endeavours, he had yielded to his brother-in-law’s entreaty that he would return to his family, and leave it to him to do whatever occasion might suggest to be advisable for continuing their pursuit.
His ease and cheerfulness rendered him a most agreeable addition to their evening party; and he bore with the ill-judged officiousness of the mother, and heard all her silly remarks with a forbearance and command of countenance particularly grateful to the daughter.
The present unhappy state of the family rendered any other excuse for the lowness of her spirits unnecessary; nothing, therefore, could be fairly conjectured from that, though Elizabeth, who was by this time tolerably well acquainted with her own feelings, was perfectly aware that, had she known nothing of Darcy, she could have borne the dread of Lydia’s infamy somewhat better.
She had scarcely needed her present observation to be satisfied, from the reason of things, that their elopement had been brought on by the strength of her love, rather than by his; and she would have wondered why, without violently caring for her, he chose to elope with her at all, had she not felt certain that his flight was rendered necessary by distress of circumstances; and if that were the case, he was not the young man to resist an opportunity of having a companion.