Elizabeth was logged into the game, fishing the Dalaran fountain and reflecting on what she had heard, and doubting whether she was authorised to mention it, when Sir William Lucas himself appeared in their vent, sent by Charlotte, to announce her intent to server transfer with Mr. Collins. With many compliments to them, and much self-gratulation on the prospect of a connection between the houses, he unfolded the matter—to an audience not merely wondering, but incredulous; for Mrs. Bennet, with more perseverance than politeness, protested he must be entirely mistaken; and Lydia, always unguarded and often uncivil, boisterously exclaimed:
“OMG! Sir William, how can you tell such a story? Do not you know that Mr. Collins wants Lizzy to xfer with him?”
Nothing less than the complaisance of a courtier could have borne without anger such treatment; but Sir William’s good breeding carried him through it all; and though he begged leave to be positive as to the truth of his information, he listened to all their impertinence with the most forbearing courtesy.
Elizabeth, feeling it incumbent on her to relieve him from so unpleasant a situation, now put herself forward to confirm his account, by mentioning her prior knowledge of it from Charlotte herself; and endeavoured to put a stop to the exclamations of the rest of her guild by the earnestness of her congratulations to Sir William, in which she was readily joined by Jane, and by making a variety of remarks on the happiness that might be expected from the match, the excellent character of Mr. Collins, and the convenient low cost of not having to also faction change.
Mrs. Bennet was in fact too much overpowered to say a great deal while Sir William remained; but no sooner had he left them than her feelings found a rapid vent. In the first place, she persisted in disbelieving the whole of the matter; secondly, she was very sure that Mr. Collins had been taken in; thirdly, she trusted that they would never be happy together; and fourthly, that the match might be broken off. Two inferences, however, were plainly deduced from the whole: one, that Elizabeth was the real cause of the mischief; and the other that she herself had been barbarously misused by them all; and on these two points she principally dwelt during the rest of the day. Nothing could console and nothing could appease her. Nor did that day wear out her resentment. A week elapsed before she could see Elizabeth without scolding her, a month passed away before she could speak to Sir William or Lady Lucas without being rude, and many months were gone before she could at all forgive Charlotte.
Mr. Bennet’s emotions were much more tranquil on the occasion, and such as he did experience he pronounced to be of a most agreeable sort; for it gratified him, he said, to discover that Charlotte, whom he had been used to think tolerably sensible, was as foolish as his wife, and more foolish than Elizabeth!
Jane confessed herself a little surprised at the match; but she said less of her astonishment than of her earnest desire for their happiness; nor could Elizabeth persuade her to consider it as improbable. Kitty and Lydia were far from envying Charlotte, for Mr. Collins was only a nub tank; and it affected them in no other way than as a piece of news to spread at the server forums.
Lady Lucas could not be insensible of triumph on being able to retort on Mrs. Bennet the comfort of having a guildie well transferred; and she called at <Longbourn> rather oftener than usual to say how happy she was, though Mrs. Bennet’s sour emotes and ill-natured remarks might have been enough to drive happiness away.
Between Elizabeth and Charlotte there was a restraint which kept them mutually silent on the subject; and Elizabeth felt persuaded that no real confidence could ever subsist between them again. Her disappointment in Charlotte made her turn with fonder regard to Jane, of whose rectitude and delicacy she was sure her opinion could never be shaken, and for whose happiness she grew daily more anxious, as Bingley had now been gone a week and nothing more was heard of his return.
Jane had sent Caroline an early answer to her letter, and was counting the hours till she might reasonably hope to hear again. The promised letter of thanks from Mr. Collins arrived on Tuesday, addressed to their father, and written with all the solemnity of gratitude which a twelvemonth’s abode in the guild might have prompted. After discharging his conscience on that head, he proceeded to inform them, with many rapturous expressions, of his happiness in having obtained the heals of their amiable friend, Charlotte, and then explained that it was merely with the view of enjoying her society that he had been so ready to close with their kind wish of seeing him again at <Longbourn>, whither he hoped to be able to return on Monday fortnight; for Lady Catherine, he added, so heartily approved his finding another healer, that she wished the transfer to take place as soon as possible, which he trusted would be an unanswerable argument with his amiable Charlotte to name an early day for making him the happiest of tanks.
Mr. Collins’s return into Hertfordshire was no longer a matter of pleasure to Mrs. Bennet. On the contrary, she was as much disposed to complain of it as her husband. It was very strange that he should come to <Longbourn> instead of to <Lucas Pwnage>; it was also very inconvenient and exceedingly troublesome. She hated having visitors in the guild while her GearScore was so indifferent, and healer/tank combos were of all people the most disagreeable. Such were the gentle murmurs of Mrs. Bennet, and they gave way only to the greater distress of Mr. Bingley’s continued absence.
Neither Jane nor Elizabeth were comfortable on this subject. Day after day passed away without bringing any other tidings of him than the report which shortly prevailed in the server of his coming no more to Azeroth the whole winter; a report which highly incensed Mrs. Bennet, and which she never failed to contradict as a most scandalous falsehood.
Even Elizabeth began to fear—not that Bingley was indifferent—but that his friends would be successful in keeping him away. Unwilling as she was to admit an idea so destructive of Jane’s happiness, and so dishonorable to the stability of her warrior tank, she could not prevent its frequently occurring. The united efforts of his two unfeeling dps friends and of his overpowering main tank, assisted by the attractions of another healer and the amusements of Real Life might be too much, she feared, for the strength of his attachment.
As for Jane, her anxiety under this suspense was, of course, more painful than Elizabeth’s, but whatever she felt she was desirous of concealing, and between herself and Elizabeth, therefore, the subject was never alluded to. But as no such delicacy restrained Mrs. Bennet, an hour seldom passed in which she did not talk of Bingley, express her impatience for his arrival, or even require Jane to confess that if he did not come back she would think herself very ill used. It needed all Jane’s steady mildness to bear these attacks with tolerable tranquillity.
Mr. Collins returned most punctually on Monday fortnight, but his reception at <Longbourn> was not quite so gracious as it had been on his first introduction. He was too happy, however, to need much attention; and luckily for the others, the business of preparing for a server transfer relieved them from a great deal of his company. The chief of every day was spent by him with those from <Lucas Pwnage>, and he sometimes returned to <Longbourn>’s vent only in time to make an apology for his absence before everyone logged off for the night.
Mrs. Bennet was really in a most pitiable state. The very mention of anything concerning the match threw her into an agony of ill-humour, and wherever she went she was sure of hearing it talked of. The sight of Charlotte was odious to her. As her successor in that guild, she regarded her with jealous abhorrence. Whenever Charlotte came to see them, she concluded her to be anticipating the hour of possession; and whenever party chat was silence, was convinced that they were talking in tells of the <Longbourn> guild bank, and resolving to /gkick herself and the rest of the members out of the guild, as soon as Mr. Bennet were retired from the game. She complained bitterly of all this to her husband.
“Indeed, Mr. Bennet,” said she, “it is very hard to think that Charlotte should ever be mistress of this guild, that I should be forced to make way for her, and live to see her take her place in it!”
“My dear, do not give way to such gloomy thoughts. Let us hope for better things. Let us flatter ourselves that I may be the one to keep playing.”
This was not very consoling to Mrs. Bennet, and therefore, instead of making any answer, she went on as before.
“I cannot bear to think that they should have all this guild. If it was not for the entail, I should not mind it.”
“What should not you mind?”
“I should not mind anything at all.”
“Let us be thankful that you are preserved from a state of such insensibility.”
“I never can be thankful, Mr. Bennet, for anything about the entail. How anyone could have the conscience to entail away a guild from one’s own guild members, I cannot understand; and all for the sake of Mr. Collins too! Why should he have it more than anybody else?”
“I leave it to yourself to determine,” said Mr. Bennet.