Charlotte did not stay much longer, and Elizabeth was then left to reflect on what she had heard.
Her astonishment, as she reflected on what had passed, was increased by every review of it.
Chapter 23 Elizabeth was sitting with her mother and sisters, reflecting on what she had heard, and doubting whether she was authorised to mention it, when Sir William Lucas himself appeared, sent by his daughter, to announce her engagement to the family.
"I can readily believe," answered he gravely, "that reports may vary greatly with respect to me; and I could wish, Miss Bennet, that you were not to sketch my character at the present moment, as there is reason to fear that the performance would reflect no credit on either."
There is but one part of my conduct in the whole affair on which I do not reflect with satisfaction; it is that I condescended to adopt the measures of art so far as to conceal from him your sister’s being in town.
Be that as it may, she saw him go with regret; and in this early example of what Lydia’s infamy must produce, found additional anguish as she reflected on that wretched business.
And this consideration leads me moreover to reflect, with augmented satisfaction, on a certain event of last November; for had it been otherwise, I must have been involved in all your sorrow and disgrace.
She was more alive to the disgrace which her want of new clothes must reflect on her daughter’s nuptials, than to any sense of shame at her eloping and living with Wickham a fortnight before they took place.
It soothed, but it could not console her for the contempt which had thus been self-attracted by the rest of her family; and as she considered that Jane’s disappointment had in fact been the work of her nearest relations, and reflected how materially the credit of both must be hurt by such impropriety of conduct, she felt depressed beyond anything she had ever known before.