Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Excerpt from Chapter 31
When coffee was over, Colonel Fitzwilliam reminded Elizabeth
of having promised to play to him; and she sat down directly to
the instrument. He drew a chair near her. Lady Catherine
listened to half a song, and then talked, as before, to her other
nephew; till the latter walked away from her, and making with
his usual deliberation towards the pianoforte stationed himself
so as to command a full view of the fair performer's countenance.
Elizabeth saw what he was doing, and at the first convenient
pause, turned to him with an arch smile, and said:
"You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in all this state
to hear me? I will not be alarmed though your sister does play
so well. There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to
be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at
every attempt to intimidate me."
"I shall not say you are mistaken," he replied, "because you
could not really believe me to entertain any design of alarming
you; and I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long
enough to know that you find great enjoyment in occasionally
professing opinions which in fact are not your own."
Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself, and said to
Colonel Fitzwilliam, "Your cousin will give you a very pretty
notion of me, and teach you not to believe a word I say. I am
particularly unlucky in meeting with a person so able to expose
my real character, in a part of the world where I had hoped to
pass myself off with some degree of credit. Indeed, Mr. Darcy,
it is very ungenerous in you to mention all that you knew to my
disadvantage in Hertfordshire--and, give me leave to say, very
impolitic too--for it is provoking me to retaliate, and such
things may come out as will shock your relations to hear."
"I am not afraid of you," said he, smilingly.