"Her indifferent state of health unhappily prevents her being
in town; and by that means, as I told Lady Catherine one day,
has deprived the British court of its brightest ornaments.
Her ladyship seemed pleased with the idea; and you may imagine
that I am happy on every occasion to offer those little
delicate compliments which are always acceptable to ladies.
I have more than once observed to Lady Catherine, that her
charming daughter seemed born to be a duchess, and that the
most elevated rank, instead of giving her consequence, would
be adorned by her. These are the kind of little things which
please her ladyship, and it is a sort of attention which I
conceive myself peculiarly bound to pay."
"You judge very properly," said Mr. Bennet, "and it is happy for
you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I
ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse
of the moment, or are the result of previous study?"
"They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though
I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such
little elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions,
I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible."