Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of that time, Dominic had been standing near enough for her to overhear a conversation between him and Mr. Bingley, who came from the dance for a few minutes to press his friend to join it.
"Come, Dominic," said he, "I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance."
"I certainly shall not!" Dominic shouted "You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner! At such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable! Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with!"
"I would not be so fastidious as you are," cried Bingley, "for a kingdom! Upon my honour I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life, as I have this evening; and there are several of them, you see, uncommonly pretty."
"You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room!" Dominic shouted, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.
"Oh! she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you."
"Which do you mean?!" Dominic shouted. Turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and shouted, "She is tolerable! But not handsome enough to tempt me!"