Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Excerpt from Chapter 46
"Oh! where, where is my uncle?" cried Elizabeth, darting from
her seat as she finished the letter, in eagerness to follow him,
without losing a moment of the time so precious; but as she
reached the door it was opened by a servant, and Mr. Darcy
appeared. Her pale face and impetuous manner made him start,
and before he could recover himself to speak, she, in whose
mind every idea was superseded by Lydia's situation, hastily
exclaimed, "I beg your pardon, but I must leave you. I must
find Mr. Gardiner this moment, on business that cannot be
delayed; I have not an instant to lose."
"Good God! what is the matter?" cried he, with more feeling
than politeness; then recollecting himself, "I will not detain you
a minute; but let me, or let the servant go after Mr. and Mrs.
Gardiner. You are not well enough; you cannot go yourself."
Elizabeth hesitated, but her knees trembled under her and she
felt how little would be gained by her attempting to pursue them.
Calling back the servant, therefore, she commissioned him,
though in so breathless an accent as made her almost unintelligible,
to fetch his master and mistress home instantly.
On his quitting the room she sat down, unable to support
herself, and looking so miserably ill, that it was impossible
for Darcy to leave her, or to refrain from saying, in a tone
of gentleness and commiseration, "Let me call your maid. Is
there nothing you could take to give you present relief? A
glass of wine; shall I get you one? You are very ill."
"No, I thank you," she replied, endeavouring to recover herself.
"There is nothing the matter with me. I am quite well; I am
only distressed by some dreadful news which I have just
received from Longbourn."