After breakfast, the girls walked to Meryton to inquire if Mr.
Wickham were returned, and to lament over his absence from
the Netherfield ball. He joined them on their entering the town,
and attended them to their aunt's where his regret and vexation,
and the concern of everybody, was well talked over. To
Elizabeth, however, he voluntarily acknowledged that the
necessity of his absence had been self-imposed.
"I found," said he, "as the time drew near that I had better not
meet Mr. Darcy; that to be in the same room, the same party
with him for so many hours together, might be more than I could
bear, and that scenes might arise unpleasant to more than
She highly approved his forbearance, and they had leisure for a
full discussion of it, and for all the commendation which they
civilly bestowed on each other, as Wickham and another officer
walked back with them to Longbourn, and during the walk he
particularly attended to her. His accompanying them was a
double advantage; she felt all the compliment it offered to
herself, and it was most acceptable as an occasion of introducing
him to her father and mother.