Pride and Prejudice 1995 BBC Miniseries Script -Episode 2

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I. Mr Collins

[Elizabeth goes for a walk.]

[The Bennet family dines together.]

MR BENNET: I hope, my dear, you have ordered a good dinner today because I have reason to expect an addition to our family party.

MRS BENNET: Mr Bingley! Why, Jane, you sly thing. You never dropped a word. 

[Jane looks at Elizabeth. Elizabeth raises her eyebrows in excitement.] 

MRS BENNET: Oh, and not a bit of fish to be got, oh, Lord. Lydia, my love, ring the bell. I must speak to Hill directly. 

[Lydia stands up and walks past her mother.]

MR BENNET: It is not Mr Bingley. 

[Lydia stops.] 

MR BENNET: It is a person I never saw in the whole course of my life.

LYDIA (gasps): Colonel Forster.

KITTY: Captain Carter.

LYDIA: No, I know – Denny. 

[Lydia, Kitty, and Mrs Bennet giggle. Mr Bennet looks at them sternly and Lydia sits down.]

MR BENNET: About a month ago I received this letter. And about a fortnight ago, I answered it, for I thought it was a case of some delicacy and requiring early attention. 

[Elizabeth smiles.] 

MR BENNET: It is from my cousin, Mr Collins, who when I am dead may turn you all out of this house as soon as he pleases.

MRS BENNET: Oh, my dear, pray, don't mention that odious man. I think it the hardest thing in the world that your estate should be entailed away from your own poor children. 

MR BENNET: Indeed, my dear, nothing can clear Mr Collins of the iniquitous crime of inheriting Longbourn, but if you will listen to his letter, you may be softened by his manner of expressing himself. 

[Mr Bennet puts on his glasses.] 

MR BENNET: "My dear sir, the disagreements subsisting between yourself and my late honoured father always gave me much uneasiness; and since I have had the misfortune to lose him…"

[Lydia snorts. Mr Bennet looks up sternly.]

MR BENNET: "… to lose him, I have frequently wished to heal the breech." There, Mrs Bennet. "My mind, however, now is made up on the subject…"

[Mr Bennet's voice fades into Mr Collins's voice as the scene changes to parishioners exiting a church.]

MR COLLINS: "…subject, for having received my ordination at Easter, I have been so fortunate as to be distinguished by the patronage of the Right Honourable Lady Catherine de Bourgh,"

[Mr Collins bows to Lady Catherine as she exits the church.] 

MR COLLINS: "whose bounty and beneficence has preferred me to the valuable rectory at Hunsford, where it is my earnest endeavour to demean myself with grateful respect towards her ladyship. As a clergyman, moreover, I feel it my duty to promote and establish the blessing of peace in all families within the reach of my influence; and on these grounds, I flatter myself, that my present overtures of good will are highly commendable, and will not lead you to reject the offered olive branch. I am, sir, keenly conscious of being the means of injuring your amiable daughters, and assure you of my readiness to make them every possible amends. I propose myself the satisfaction of waiting on you and your family on Monday, the eighteenth…"

[Mr Collin's modest equipage takes off and he almost loses his seat.] 

MR COLLINS: Have a care, Dawkins. "…and shall probably trespass on your hospitality till the Saturday sevenight following. I shall travel as far as the turnpike in my own modest equipage, where I hope to catch the Bromley post at thirty-five minutes past ten, and thence to Watford. From whence I shall engage a hired carriage to transport me to Longbourn, where, God willing, you may expect me by four in the afternoon."

[Mr Collin's carriage approaches Longbourn and the family comes out to greet him.] 

MR BENNET: And here he comes.

ELIZABETH: But he must be an oddity, don't you think?

MRS BENNET: Well, if he's disposed to make our girls any amends, I shan't be the person to discourage him. 

ELIZABETH: Can he be a sensible man, sir?

MR BENNET: Oh, I think not, my dear. Indeed, I have great hopes of finding him quite the reverse. 

[The carriage stops in front of them.] 

MR BENNET: Mr Collins, you are very welcome. 

[Mr Collins smiles and gets out. Elizabeth and Jane suppress their laughter as he steps down.] 

MR COLLINS: My dear Mr and Mrs Bennet. 

[Mr Collins smiles ridiculously and bows.]

[The Bennets and Mr Collins sit down to dinner.]

MR BENNET: You seem, er…very, er…er, fortunate in your patroness, sir. 

MR COLLINS: Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Indeed, I am, sir. I have been treated with such affability, such condescension, as I would never have dared to hope for. I have been invited twice to dine at Rosings Park. 

[Elizabeth tries not to laugh.]

MR BENNET: That so? Amazing, hm. 

MRS BENNET: Does she live near you, sir?

MR COLLINS: The garden, in which stands my humble abode, is separated only by a lane from Rosings Park.

MR BENNET: Only a lane, eh? Well, fancy that Lizzy. 

[Elizabeth puts down her spoon, which she was about to sip from, to hold in her laugher.]

MRS BENNET: I think you said she was a widow, sir? Has she any family? 

MR COLLINS: Oh, she has one daughter, Ma'am, the heiress of Rosings, and of very extensive property.

MRS BENNET: And has she been presented at court?

MR COLLINS (sighs): She is, unfortunately, of a sickly constitution, which unhappily prevents her being in town; and by that means, as I told Lady Catherine myself one day, she has deprived the British court of its brightest ornament. You may imagine, sir, how happy I am, on every occasion, to offer those little delicate compliments, which are always acceptable to ladies. 

[Elizabeth puts her napkin too her mouth to hide her silent laughter. Lydia groans.] 

MR BENNET: It is fortunate for you, Mr Collins, that you possess such an extraordinary talent for flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are they the result of previous study? 

[Elizabeth bursts out a snicker. Jane allows herself an amused smile.]

MR COLLINS: They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, sir. I do, sometimes, amuse myself by writing down and arranging such little compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions. But I try to give them as unstudied an air as possible.

MR BENNET: Excellent. Excellent. 

[Mr Collins smiles warmly at Jane, Mrs Bennet notices, and Jane avoids his gaze by looking down and drinking her water.] 

[Lydia and Kitty giggle as they play horseshoes. Mary walks as she reads a book. Jane and Elizabeth talk as they stroll together. Mr Collins walks with Mrs Bennet.]

MR COLLINS: I must confess myself quite overwhelmed with the charms of your daughters, Mrs Bennet.

MRS BENNET: Oh, you are very kind, sir. They are sweet girls, though I say it myself. 

MR COLLINS: Perhaps especially the eldest Miss Bennet?

MRS BENNET: Ah, yes, Jane is admired wherever she goes. But I think I should tell you, Mr Collins, I think it very likely she will be very soon engaged.


MRS BENNET: As for my younger daughters, now, if any of them…in their case I know of no prior attachment at all.


[Mr Collins scans from Kitty to Lydia, who are giggling and playing, to Mary, who is reading a book, to Jane and Elizabeth, who are lovely and laughing.]

LYDIA: We're all going to Meryton, Mamma, to see if Denny is returned from town.

MRS BENNET: Perhaps you would care for a little exercise, Mr Collins.

MR COLLINS: Indeed, I would, Mrs Bennet. 


[Lydia's smile turns to disgust, and she turns to look at Kitty.]

MR COLLINS: Cousin Elizabeth! 

[Collins hurries over to Elizabeth.] 

MR COLLINS: Would you do me the great honour of walking with me into town? 

[Jane looks at Elizabeth and then down. Elizabeth looks at Jane.]

[The Bennet girls and Mr Collins walk across a bridge into Meryton. Mr Collins is panting.]

MR COLLINS: You visit your Aunt Philips in Meryton frequently I understand, cousin?

ELIZABETH: Yes, she is very fond of company, but I'm afraid you'll find her gatherings poor affairs after the splendours of Rosings Park.

MR COLLINS: Oh, no, I think not. I believe I possess the happy knack, much to be desired in a clergyman, of adapting myself to every kind of society whether high or low. 

ELIZABETH: Ha, that is fortunate, indeed.

MR COLLINS: Yes, indeed, and though it is a gift of nature, constant study has enabled me, I flatter myself, to, to make a kind of art of it.


KITTY: There! I'm sure that is new in since Friday. Isn't it nice? Do you think I'd look well in it?

LYDIA: Not as well as me. Come on.

[Lydia tries to take Kitty's hand and lead her away, but Kitty resists.]

KITTY: No, I shan't! Jane, come here. Look at this. Jane, I am determined to have this bonnet. 

JANE: Oh, Kitty…

LYDIA: Oh, look, there's Denny!

KITTY: Where? 

LYDIA: There, look!

KITTY: Who's that with him?

LYDIA: I don't know.

KITTY: He's fearful handsome. 

LYDIA: He might be if he were in regimentals. I think a man looks nothing without regimentals. 

KITTY: They're looking over. Lizzy, is he not mightily good looking?

[Lydia takes a big breath and shouts across the street.]

LYDIA: Denny!

JANE: Lydia! 

[Lydia and Kitty wave, and Denny crosses the street with his friend.]

LYDIA: What a fine joke. 

[Denny solutes.] 

LYDIA: We thought you were still in town.

LT. DENNY: There was nothing amusing enough to hold us there. Allow me to introduce you to my good friend, George Wickham. 

[Wickham takes off his hat and bows. Denny points to the ladies in turn and the ladies curtsy.] 

LT. DENNY: Miss Bennet, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, Miss Mary Bennet, Miss Catherine Bennet, and, er, Miss Lydia Bennet. 

JANE: This is our cousin, Mr Collins. 

[The men bow.]

ELIZABETH: Do you stay long in Meryton, Mr Wickham?

MR WICKHAM: Er, all winter, I'm happy to say. I've taken a commission in Colonel Forster's regiment. 

KITTY: There, Lydia, he will be dressed in regimentals. 

[Kitty and Lydia giggle.]

LT. DENNY: And lend them much distinction, I daresay. Out swagger us all, eh, Wickham?

MR WICKHAM: Denny, you misrepresent me to these young ladies.

LYDIA: Shall you come with us to our Aunt Philips this evening, Mr Wickham?

KITTY: Oh, yes! Denny is coming, you know.

LYDIA: It's only supper and cards, but we shall have some laughs. 

MR WICKHAM: I am afraid I have not been invited by Mr. and Mrs Philips. 

LYDIA: Oh, no one cares about that sort of thing nowadays.

MR WICKHAM: Well, if Mrs Philips extended the invitation to include me…I should be delighted.

[Bingley and Darcy ride by on horses. Bingley dismounts to greet them.]

KITTY: Look, Jane, it's Mr Bingley. 

[Kitty and Lydia giggle.]

MR BINGLEY: How very fortunate! Do you know we were just on our way to Longbourn to ask after your health? 

[Elizabeth looks up at Darcy, who is about to dismount. Wickham turns to look at him and Darcy stops.]

JANE: You are very kind sir. I am quite recovered, as you see. 

MR BINGLEY: Yes, I am very glad to know it.

JANE: I hope you are still willing come and have tea with us. 

[Wickham bows, but Darcy rides on.] 

MR BINGLEY: I shall be very happy to, Miss Bennet. 

[Wickham turns back. Elizabeth contemplates their exchange.]

JANE: Aye, and then you may come with us to our Aunt Philips's. 


II. Mr Wickham's Tale

[Kitty and Lydia enter giggling.]

MR COLLINS: It is so gratifying to…

LYDIA: Oh, look, there's Denny!

KITTY: And Chamberlayne. 

MR COLLINS: …at Longbourn has afforded me with such a variety of social intercourse. 

[Mr Collins stands in a group with Mrs Philips, Jane, and Elizabeth.] 

MR COLLINS: And what a charming apartment you have here, Mrs Philips. 

Mrs Philips (flattered): Oh.

MR COLLINS: Upon my word, it reminds me greatly of a small summer breakfast room at Rosings.

MRS PHILIPS: Does it indeed, sir? I am much obliged to you, I'm sure.

JANE: I'm sure that Mr Collins wishes to pay a compliment, Aunt.

MRS PHILIPS: Does he? I see.

JANE: Rosings Park, we must understand, is very grand, indeed.

MR COLLINS: Oh, indeed, it is. Oh, my dear Madam, if you thought that I intended any slight on your excellent, and very comfortable arrangement, I am mortified. 

[Mrs Philips gives an "oh" look.] 

MR COLLINS: Rosings Park is the residence of my noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh.

MRS PHILIPS (impressed): Oh, now I understand.

MR COLLINS: The chimneypiece in the second drawing room, alone, cost eight hundred pounds.

MRS PHILIPS: Now, I see, it's clear there's no offence at all. Will you oblige me and sit down to a game of whist?

MR COLLINS: I must confess, I know little of the game, Madam. But I shall be glad to improve myself, if my fair cousin will consent to release me.

[Elizabeth smiles condescendingly at Mr Collins.]

ELIZABETH: With all my heart, sir. 

[Mr Collins and Mrs Philips smile and leave. Elizabeth raises her eyebrows to Jane, and they both chuckle inwardly. Mr Collins places a card down at the gaming table, the other gentleman smiles.]

MRS PHILIPS: Oh, Mr Collins! 

MR COLLINS: What were trumps, again?

MRS PHILIPS: Hearts, Mr Collins, hearts.


[Lydia, Kitty, and Mrs Forster are playing cards with a bunch of officers. Mr Wickham steps slowly away and sits next to Elizabeth.]

MR WICKHAM: I must confess, I thought I should never escape your younger sisters. 

ELIZABETH (laughs): They can be very determined, Lydia especially.

MR WICKHAM: But they're pleasant girls. Indeed, I find that society in Hertfordshire quite exceeds my expectations. I don't see Mr Bingley and his friends here this evening.

ELIZABETH: I think some of Mr Bingley's friends would consider it beneath their dignity.

MR WICKHAM: Really? Erm, have you known Mr Darcy long? 

[Elizabeth shakes her head.]

ELIZABETH: About a month. 

[Wickham nods.]

MR WICKHAM: I have known him all my life. We played together as children. 

[Elizabeth is confused.]


MR WICKHAM: Yes, you are surprised. Perhaps, you might have noticed the cold manner of our greeting?

ELIZABETH: I confess I did.

MR WICKHAM: Do you…Are you much acquainted with Mr Darcy?

ELIZABETH: As much as I ever wish to be. I've spent three days in the same house with him, and I find him very disagreeable.

MR WICKHAM: I fear there are few who would share that opinion…except myself. 

ELIZABETH: But he is not at all liked in Hertfordshire. Everybody is disgusted with his pride.

MR WICKHAM: Do you know…Does he intend to stay long at Netherfield?

ELIZABETH: I do not know, but hope his being in the neighbourhood will not affect your plans to stay. 

MR WICKHAM: Thank you. But it is not for me to be driven away by Mr Darcy. If he wishes to avoid seeing me, he must go. Oh, we are not on friendly terms, but I have no reason to avoid him, but one: he has done me great wrong. His father, Miss Bennet, the late Mr Darcy, was my godfather, and one of the best men that ever breathed. My father was his steward, and when he died, old Mr Darcy cared for me, erm, provided for me, loved me, I believe, as thought I were his own son. He intended me for the church, and it was my dearest wish to enter into that profession. But after he died…and the living he had promised me fell vacant, the son refused, point blank, to honour his father's promises. 

[Elizabeth is distressed.] 

MR WICKHAM: And so, you see, I have to make my own way in the world.

ELIZABETH: This is quite shocking. I had not thought Mr Darcy as bad as this. To descend to such malicious revenge, he deserves to be publicly disgraced. 

MR WICKHAM: Someday he will be, but not by me. Till I can forget his father, I can never defy or expose him. 

[Lydia's laughter catches their attention. They chuckle.]

ELIZABETH: I wonder at the pride of this man. How abominable. You are more temperate than I should be in your situation. 

MR WICKHAM: Well, I have not the resentful temper that some men have. And my situation, you know, is not so bad. At present, I have every cause for cheer. I can't bear to be idle, and my new profession gives me active employment. My fellow officers are excellent men, and now I find myself in a society as agreeable as any I have ever known. 

[Elizabeth smiles.] 

MR WICKHAM: You see, I absolutely forbid you to feel sorry for me.

[Lydia approaches.]

LYDIA: Lizzy? Lizzy, why should you feel sorry for Mr Wickham?

MR WICKHAM: Why? Because…because I have not had a dance these three months together. 

LYDIA: Oh, poor Mr Wickham! Why, you shall have one now. Mary! Mary, "The Barley Mow."

MRS PHILIPS: Oh, Mr Collins! 

[New music starts up and Elizabeth smiles as Lydia and Wickham and another couple begin to dance.]

[Jane and Elizabeth are in their nightgowns. Elizabeth sits on the bed, and Jane gets up from a chair.]

JANE: I cannot believe it, Lizzy. Mr Darcy would have far too high a respect for his father's wishes to behave in such an un-Christian way. And, Lizzy, consider, how could his most intimate friends be so deceived in him?

ELIZABETH: I could more easily imagine Mr Bingley being imposed upon, than to think that Mr Wickham could invent such a history. 

JANE: I believe you like Mr Wickham, Lizzy.

ELIZABETH: I confess I do like him. I do not see how anyone could not like him. There is something very open and artless in his manner. He feels deeply, I believe, and yet has a natural merriment and energy, despite all this. Yes, Jane, I confess I like him very much.

JANE: But, after so short an acquaintance, do you think we should believe in him so implicitly? 

ELIZABETH: How could he be doubted? He gave me all the circumstances, Jane; names, facts, and everything without ceremony. If it isn't so, let Mr Darcy contradict it. Besides, there was truth in all his looks.

JANE: It is difficult, indeed. It is distressing. One does not know what to think.

ELIZABETH: I beg your pardon; one knows exactly what to think.


III. Wholesome Conversation

[Mr Bennet pours himself a drink. The other Bennets and Mr Collins are in the drawing room.]

MRS BENNET: Oh, girls, girls! We have all been invited to a ball at Netherfield!

LYDIA: Oh, good, I love a ball!

KITTY: And so do I!

MRS BENNET: Oh, this will be a compliment to you, Jane, you know. The invitation includes you, Mr Collins. 

[Mrs Bennet and Mr Collins laugh with delight.]

ELIZABETH: But shall you accept, sir? Would it be entirely proper? Would your bishop approve? 

MR COLLINS: Your scruples do you credit, my dear cousin. But I am of the opinion that a ball of this kind, given by a man of good character to respectable people, can have no evil tendency. And I am so far from objecting to dancing myself...

[Mr Collins stands.] 

MR COLLINS: That I shall hope to be honoured with the hands of all my fair cousins during the course of the evening. And I take this opportunity of soliciting yours… 

[Mary looks hopeful, but Mr Collins leans toward Elizabeth.] 

MR COLLINS: Miss Elizabeth, for the first two dances. 

[Kitty and Lydia laugh.] 

MR COLLINS: La la da da da da da da.

[Denny and another officer push a laughing Kitty and Lydia on a two-person swing, and Mr Collins walks with Elizabeth and Wickham.]

MR COLLINS: And I daresay you will be able to imagine the scope of the whole, Mr Wickham, when I tell you that the chimneypiece, alone, in the second drawing room cost all of eight hundred pounds.

MR WICKHAM: Eight hundred pounds, sir. I hazard a guess it must be a very large one. 

MR COLLINS: It is very large, indeed, sir.

MR WICKHAM: Her ladyship is fond of a good blaze, then?


[Jane comes running up to them, a bit out of breath.]

JANE: Mr Collins! How fortunate. I must claim you for my sister, Mary. She has found a passage in Fordyce's Sermons that she cannot make out at all.

MR COLLINS: Oh, well, I--I…

JANE: I believe it is of great doctrinal import, sir.

MR COLLINS: Well…in that case.

JANE: You are very kind, sir. She is in the drawing room. 

[They bow and nod as Mr Collins leaves with Jane.]

MR WICKHAM: Mr Collins's conversation is very, erm…wholesome. 

[Elizabeth and Wickham continue walking.]

ELIZABETH: And there is plenty to be had of it, I assure you. Have you made Mr Bingley's acquaintance yet?

MR WICKHAM: No, but I am already disposed to approve of him. He's issued a general invitation to the officers for his ball at Netherfield, which has caused great joy in more than one quarter. 

[Elizabeth and Wickham chuckle.] 

MR WICKHAM: He must be a very amiable gentleman. 

ELIZABETH: Oh, yes. He is eager to approve of everyone he meets, but he is a sensible man with taste and judgement. I wonder very much how Mr Darcy could impose upon him; but he cannot know what Mr Darcy is. 

MR WICKHAM: Probably not. Mr Darcy can please what he chooses, if he thinks it's worth his while. Among his equals in wealth and consequence, he can be liberal-minded…honourable…even agreeable.

ELIZABETH: I wonder you can speak of him so tolerantly. 

MR WICKHAM: He's not wholly bad. 

[Elizabeth and Wickham see Kitty and Lydia still on the swing, but Elizabeth stops and turns to him.]

ELIZABETH: Tell me, what sort of girl is Miss Darcy?

MR WICKHAM: Well, I wish I could call her amiable. As a child, she was affectionate an pleasing, and extremely fond of me. And I have devoted hours to her amusement, but she has grown too much like her brother, very…very proud. I never see her now. Since her father's death, her home has been in London. She is but sixteen years old. Your sister Lydia's age.

ELIZABETH: Lydia is fifteen. 

[Elizabeth and Wickham watch Lydia and Kitty laughing on the swing. Kitty jumps off towards the officer in front of them. Wickham and Elizabeth chuckle and turn back to the house.]

MR WICKHAM: I was amused by your cousin's reference to Lady Catherine de Bourgh. She is Mr Darcy's aunt, you know, and her daughter, Anne, who will inherit a very large fortune, is destined to be Mr Darcy's bride. 

ELIZABETH (surprised): Really?! 

[Elizabeth thinks and chuckles.] 

ELIZABETH: Poor Miss Bingley. 

[Wickham pauses, and then chuckles.]

[Mrs Bennet enters Elizabeth's room. Elizabeth has a maid helping her get ready for the ball.]

MRS BENNET: Ah! You look very well, Lizzy. 

LYDIA (background): I hope you're not wearing that ribbon…

MRS BENNET: You'll never be as pretty as your sister, Jane, but I will say you look very well, indeed. 

ELIZABETH (amused sigh): Thank you, Mamma. 

KITTY (background): …It's a nice colour on me because I…

MRS BENNET: And I hope you will pay Mr Collins every courtesy tonight, because he has been very attentive to you.

KITTY (back ground): I think your gown is very unbecoming, too. 

[Lydia exits their room in her petticoat with a gown in her arms.]

LYDIA: Then I shall ask Lizzy. She will bear me out. 

[Lydia and her mother meet in the corridor.]

MRS BENNET: Lydia, child, what are you doing?! Go back in your room and dress yourself!

LYDIA: I have to ask Lizzy something.


[Mrs Bennet and Lydia go separate ways. Lydia enters Elizabeth's room.]

LYDIA: Lizzy, Lizzy look. 

[Lydia holds up the gown.] 

LYDIA: What do you think? Kitty says not, but I think it becomes me very well.

ELIZABETH: I wonder that you ask me then. 

LYDIA: You look very nice.

ELIZABETH: Thank you. 

LYDIA: Lizzy, I hope that you'll not keep Wickham to yourself all night. Kitty and I want to dance with him as well, you know.

ELIZABETH: I promise I shall not. Even if I wished to, I could not. I have to dance at least the first two with Mr Collins. 

[Elizabeth sighs exasperatedly.]

LYDIA: Lord, yes. He's threatened to dance with us all. 

[Mr Collins hums as he exits a room, but sees Lydia in her under dress. He is unsettled, and Lydia covers herself with her gown, giggling furiously, as they try to pass each other in the corridor. Mr Collins puts his hand to the side of his face to cover his eyes, and Lydia giggles and runs to her room. Mr Collins regains his composure for a moment as he descends the stairs, but Kitty and Lydia burst out in giggles. He stops and pulls himself together again before going down the rest of the stairs.]


IV. The Netherfield Ball

[Many carriages arrive, including the Bennets'.]

MR COLLINS: Allow me, Cousin Elizabeth. 

[Collins helps Elizabeth, who hops out, followed by a more graceful Jane. They walk up a few steps, and Elizabeth sees Mr Darcy in an upper window. Darcy looks away.] 

[Jane and Elizabeth enter with smiles. Servants help them remove their cloaks and they step into the host reception queue.]

MRS HURST: Miss Bennet. 

[The ladies curtsy.]

MISS BINGLEY: Oh, my dear Jane, how delightful to see you. And so well recovered.

MRS HURST: How pleasant to see you.

MISS BINGLEY: Louisa and I have been quite desolate without you, haven't we? Mr Hurst? 


MRS HURST: Oh, Mrs Bennet! 

[Mrs Hurst laughs delightedly and curtsies.]

MRS BENNET: Delighted

MR BINGLEY: Miss Bennet.

MRS HURST: Mr Bennet.

MISS BINGLEY: Oh, Mrs Bennet, Mr Bennet, quite delighted. Ah, and all your daughters. 

[Miss Bingley shoots a look at Mr Hurst.]

KITTY: Oh, there's Denny!

LYDIA: And Chamberlayne. 

[Lydia and Kitty leave without bothering to greet the hosts.]

MR BENNET: And, er, my cousin, Mr Collins. 

[Mr Collins bows, Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst curtsy.]

MR COLLINS: May I congratulate you on your very elegant arrangements, Madams. It puts me in mind greatly of, perhaps you have visited, Rosings Park…?

MRS HURST: Colonel Forster! Mrs Forster, enchanting. 

[Elizabeth looks around the front hall.]

MR BINGLEY: Miss Bennet. 

[Mr Bingley, who already has Jane's arm, offers his other arm to Elizabeth.]

[Bingley enters with the eldest Bennet sisters. The musicians are already playing.]

OFFICERS: Good evening, Ladies. 

[The officers bow. Elizabeth looks around the ballroom. Darcy notices Elizabeth and turns to gaze at her. She keeps searching and smiles as she catches Lt. Denny's eye. Denny approaches and bows to Elizabeth. All three bow back, and Jane and Bingley leave Elizabeth.]

LT. DENNY: Miss Bennet, you look quite remarkably well this evening.

ELIZABETH: Thank you.

LT. DENNY: I am instructed to convey to you, Miss Bennet, my friend Wickham's most particular regrets that he's been prevented from attending the ball. He's been obliged to go to town on the matter of urgent business, though I don't imagine it would have been so urgent if he'd not wished to avoid a certain gentleman. 

[Denny motions by looking over his shoulder at Darcy. Elizabeth follows his gaze. Darcy looks upset and moves. Lydia and Kitty run up to Denny with another officer.]

LYDIA: Denny, I hope you've come prepared to dance with us tonight.

LT. CHAMBERLAYNE: Forgive the intrusion, Ma'am. I would dance with both your sister at once if I could, but as it is…

LYDIA: Oh, never mind that. Come on, Denny. 

[Lydia grabs Denny's arm and drags him away. Kitty takes Denny's other arm as he leaves, and then grabs Lt. Chamberlayne's arm and drags him away as he's trying politely bow a farewell to Elizabeth. Elizabeth looks around, bored, until she spots Charlotte. Elizabeth smiles and they walk towards each other.]

ELIZABETH: Charlotte 

[They take hands and kiss each other's cheek.] 

ELIZABETH: I have so much to acquaint you with. 

[Mr Collins approaches them.]


ELIZABETH: Charlotte, may I present our cousin, Mr Collins. 

[Elizabeth motions to Charlotte.] 

ELIZABETH: My friend, Miss. Lucas.

CHARLOTTE: How do you do, sir? 

[Charlotte curtsies.]

MR COLLINS: Miss Lucas, I am, indeed, honoured to meet any friend on my fair cousin's. So many agreeable young ladies. I'm quite enraptured. 

[The music starts. Mr Collins takes Elizabeth's hand and she gives Charlotte an "Oh, great, here we go" look. Elizabeth and Mr Collins step into the dance lines and bow to each other. The dance begins and Mr Collins hops like a duck. The ladies dance next and he admires Elizabeth as she moves around gracefully. Mr Collins makes a wrong turn.]

ELIZABETH: Other way, Mr Collins. 

[Mr Collins runs into a lady and tries to get back into the dance.]

MR COLLINS: Oh, madam, a thousand …

ELIZABETH: Come, Mr Collins.

MR COLLINS: My dear cousin, I apologize. 

[Darcy witnesses the embarrassing moment and smiles in amusement as Elizabeth and Mr Collins continue dancing. Elizabeth sees his smirk and turns her face away. Darcy follows them down the line, watching the dance.]

MRS BENNET: …in fact, rather stout…Oh, yes! 

[The dance ends with Darcy still watching.]

[Dancing continues as Elizabeth gossips with Charlotte.]

CHARLOTTE: It's extraordinary. And, are you sure it's true?

ELIZABETH: Charlotte, how could it be otherwise? Every circumstance confirms it, and Mr Darcy has boasted to me himself of his resentful, implacable--

[Mr Darcy approaches them.]



[Charlotte and Elizabeth turn towards him. Darcy bows, they curtsy.]

MR DARCY: If you're not otherwise engaged, would you do me the honour of dancing the next with me, Miss Bennet?

ELIZABETH: Why, I…had not…I thank you, yes. 

[Darcy bows and leaves. Elizabeth turns away and stamps her foot.] 

ELIZABETH: Why could I not think of an excuse? Hateful man. I promised myself I would never dance with him.

CHARLOTTE: Well, he pays you a great compliment in singling you out, Lizzy. Think what you're doing. You'd be a simpleton, indeed, if you let your fancy for Wickham lead you to slight a man of…ten times his consequence. 

[The song ends, and Elizabeth goes to take her place in the next dance. The dancers bow and curtsy to their partners. Elizabeth and Darcy dance for a while without talking. They hold hands and turn clockwise around each other, then counter clockwise.]

ELIZABETH: I believe we must have some conversation, Mr Darcy. A very little will suffice. 

[Darcy and Elizabeth loop around another couple and cross in front of one another.] 

ELIZABETH: You should say something about the dance, perhaps.

[They loop and cross again.] 

ELIZABETH: I might remark on the number of couples. 

[They cross and do a square around each other. Elizabeth sighs.] 

MR DARCY: Do you talk by rule, then, when you are dancing? 

[The dancers step forward and backward in rows.]

ELIZABETH: Yes, sometimes it is best. Then we may enjoy the advantage of saying as little as possible. 

[The men and women return to the two lines. Darcy and Elizabeth turn clockwise with each other then counter clockwise, holding hands.]

MR DARCY: Do you consult your own feelings in this case, or seek to gratify mine? 

[They loop around another couple and cross.]

ELIZABETH: Both, I imagine. 

[Loop couple and cross.] 

ELIZABETH: We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we are expected to say something that will amaze the whole room. 

[They are stepp back and forward in a line.]

MR DARCY: This is no very striking resemblance of your own character, I'm sure. 

[Loop couple. Repeat dance. Back to the lines and turn clockwise with each other then counter clockwise, holding hands.] 

MR DARCY: Er, do you often walk into Meryton?

ELIZABETH: Yes, quite often. 

[Loop couple and cross.] 

ELIZABETH: When you met us, the other day, we had just been forming a new acquaintance. 

[Loop, cross, and square steps.]

MR DARCY: Mr Wickham has the happy manners that enable him to make friends. 

[Forward and backward step lines.] 

MR DARCY: Whether he is equally capable of keeping them is less certain. 

[Cross, loop; hold hands and turn clockwise with each other, then counter clockwise.]

ELIZABETH: He has been unlucky as to lose your friendship in a way he is likely to suffer from all his life. 

[Darcy and Elizabeth are on the end of their dance lines when Sir William approaches Darcy.]

SIR WILLIAM LUCAS: Allow me to congratulate you, sir. Such superior dancing is rarely to be seen. I'm sure you know your fair partner is well worthy of you. I hope to have this pleasure often repeated. Especially when a certain desirable event takes place. 

[Sir William indicates Bingley and Jane.] 

SIR WILLIAM LUCAS: Eh, Miss. Lizzy? Hmm? What congratulations will then flow in? 

[Darcy watches intensely as Jane and Bingley dance together.]


SIR WILLIAM LUCAS: Nay, Nay, I understand. I'll not detain you one moment longer from your bewitching partner, sir. A pleasure, sir! Capital, capital! 

[Sir William claps his hands. Darcy and Elizabeth begin the dance again. Hold hands, turn clockwise with each other, then counter clockwise.]

ELIZABETH: I remember hearing you once say that you hardly ever forgave; that your resentment, once created, was implacable. You are very careful, are you not, in allowing your resentment to be created?

MR DARCY: I am. 

[Loop couple. Forward and backward step lines on outside.]

ELIZABETH: And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice? 

[Stand in lines as other couples loop and cross.] 

MR DARCY: I hope not. May I ask to which these questions tend? 

[Hold hands, turn clockwise with each other, then counter clockwise.]

ELIZABETH: Merely to the illustration of your character. I am trying to make it out.

[Stand in lines as other couples loop and cross.] 

MR DARCY: And what is your success? 

ELIZABETH: I do not get on at all. I hear such different accounts of you as to puzzle me exceedingly. 

[Loop couple. Forward and backward step lines on the outside. The dancers return to starting positions and bow and curtsy as the song ends. The dance couples hold hands and Darcy leads Elizabeth off of the dance floor.]

MR DARCY: I wish, Miss Bennet, that you would not attempt to sketch my character at the present moment. [Mr Darcy lets go of her hand.] I fear the performance would reflect no credit on either of us. 

[Mr Bennet is talking to Sir William in the background; Mrs Bennet is sitting in a chair listening in to Elizabeth and Darcy's conversation.]

ELIZABETH: But if I don't take your likeness now, I may never have another opportunity. 

MR DARCY: I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours. 

[Darcy bows sharply, Elizabeth curtsies, and Darcy exits.]

V. Dinner Music

[Guests are seated and standing around dining tables filled with food. Elizabeth laughs at the end of a conversation and then walks toward Miss Bingley.]

MISS BINGLEY: So, Miss Eliza, I hear you're quite delighted with George Wickham. No doubt he forgot to tell you, among his other communications, that he is merely the son of old Wickham, the late Mr Darcy's steward. 

[Miss Bingley chuckles haughtily.] 

MISS BINGLEY: But Eliza, as a friend, let me recommend you not to give credit to all his assertions. Wickham treated Darcy in an infamous manner. 

ELIZABETH: Has he? How?

MISS BINGLEY: Don't remember the particulars, but I do know that Mr Darcy was not in the least to blame. I pity you, Eliza, for the discovery of your favourite's guilt; but, really, considering his descent, one could not expect much better.

ELIZABETH: His guilt and his descent appear, by your account, to be the same. I've heard you accuse him of being nothing worse than the son of Mr Darcy's steward, and he informed me of that himself.

MISS BINGLEY: Beg your pardon. Excuse my interference. It was kindly meant. 

[Miss Bingley walks away from Elizabeth, offended. Elizabeth sighs and heads for the punch bowl. Jane notices and follows Elizabeth.]

ELIZABETH: Insolent girl.

JANE: Lizzy.

ELIZABETH: I see nothing in her paltry attack but her own wilful ignorance in a man as Mr Darcy.

JANE: Yes, but Lizzy. Mr Bingley did say that, though he does not know the whole of the history, he fears that Mr Wickham is by no means a respectable young man.

ELIZABETH: Does he know Mr Wickham himself?

JANE: No, not at all.

ELIZABETH: Oh, well, then he has had his account from Mr Darcy! I've not the least doubt Mr Bingley's sincerity. Of course he would believe his friend, and it does him credit; but as to the other two gentlemen...

[Elizabeth shakes her head.] 

ELIZABETH: I should venture to think of them both as I did before. 

MR BINGLEY: Shall we not have some music? I have a great desire for a song. 

[Mary gets up and rushes to the piano.] 

MR BINGLEY: Caroline, can we persuade you? 

[Miss Bingley rises from her chair, but Mary rushes past and sits down at the piano.] 

MR BINGLEY: Oh, Miss. Mary Bennet, I see you have anticipated me. 

[Mary begins with poor playing skills, followed by even poorer singing.]

MARY: ♫ Slu - mber dear maid ♫

[At this Miss Bingley walks stiffly and slowly across the room, beckoning her sister with her eyes to join her. Mr Hurst pours himself some more spirits.] 

MARY: ♫ Green bows wi—i--il cover thee. ♫ 

[Miss Bingley and Mrs Hurst whisper to each other, offended. Bingley and Darcy give sidelong looks at Mary and her horrible skill.] 

MARY: ♫ Come as, breathe over for thee, where thou art late. ♫

[Mr Bennet puts his head in his hand while Mrs Bennet rocks from side to side, mouthing the words and enjoying the song, oblivious to its painful sound. Mary repeats the verses.]

JANE (whispers): Lizzy, look! 

[Mr Collins moves toward Mr Darcy to speak to him.] 

MARY: ♫ Green bows will cover thee. ♫

JANE: They haven't been introduced! Can we not prevent him?

ELIZABETH: Too late.

MR COLLINS: Mr Darcy, I have made a remarkable – I must say, an amazing discovery. I understand that you are the nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh of Rosings Park. Well, Mr Darcy, I am in the happy position of being able to inform you that her ladyship was in the best of health...

[Mr Collins pauses to think.] 

MR COLLINS: Eight days ago.

MR DARCY: I am glad to hear it. 

[Mr Darcy stands.] 

MR DARCY: Yes, and what is your name, sir?

MR COLLINS: My name is William Collins, Mr Darcy...

[Mr Darcy walks away.] 

MR COLLINS: And I have the very great honour to … well…well. 

[Mr Collins keeps nodding. Mr Darcy walks past Jane and Elizabeth to join Bingley's sisters, and makes some remark to them.]

MARY: ♫ Oh gentle maid. Green bows will cover thee. Come as, breathe over me... ♫

[Outside, a dog howls at Mary's singing, and is hushed by a servant.] 

MARY: ...where, thou oh ma-id, where thou art late. ♫ 

[Mary finishes, quite pleased with herself, and the group claps politely. Mary starts a new song.] 

MARY: ♫ My mother beads... ♫

[Elizabeth is shocked. Mr Bennet rises quickly and rushes to the piano.] 

MARY: ♫ me bind my hair with bands of rosy hue…♫

MR BENNET: You do extremely well, child. You've delighted us long enough. Let the other young ladies have time to exhibit. 

[Mr Bennet gives a wry smile. Elizabeth is upset, and Mary sadly takes off her glasses and brings her music with her. Conversation begins again.]

MR COLLINS: If I were so fortunate as to be able to sing, I should have great pleasure, I am sure, in obliging the company with an air. Indeed, I should, for...

[Mr Collins stands and walks toward the piano.] 

MR COLLINS: I consider music as a very innocent diversion...

[Miss Bingley gives Mrs Hurst a "do something!" look, and Mrs Hurst rushes to the piano to get there before Mr Collins.] 

MR COLLINS: And perfectly compatible with the profession of a clergyman. 

[Mrs Hurst sits at the piano and begins playing rapidly. Mrs Bennet talks to the Lucases with her mouth full, loud enough for the whole room to hear.]

MRS BENNET: Mr Collins is such a sensible, respectable young man, and he's taken quite a fancy to Lizzy...

[Elizabeth stares at her mother.] 

MRS BENNET: And I don't think he could find a better wife. He favoured Jane at first...

[Mr Bingley and Jane look over at her awkwardly.] 

MRS BENNET: But Bingley was there before him. 

[Darcy looks displeased.]

MRS BENNET: Now there will be a great marriage. And, of course, that will throw the girls into the path of other rich men. 

[Mrs Bennet smiles and nods.]

OFFICER: Lydia! 

[Lydia giggles as she enters with a stolen sword and two officers chasing her. Kitty is close behind.] 

OFFICER: Lydia! Lydia! 

[Lydia and the officer bump into Elizabeth, who tries not to spill her drink. The officer retrieves his sword from Lydia and she collapses ungracefully into a chair.]

LYDIA: Lord! Denny, fetch me a glass of wine. I can scarce draw breath, I'm so fat! 

[Elizabeth heaves a horrified sigh, and closes her eyes from the humiliation. Mrs Hurst finishes her song, pleased with her own playing.]


VI. A Marriage Proposal

[Birds chirp.]

[Kitty and Elizabeth enter. Elizabeth has a vase of flowers.]

KITTY: And Chamberlayne did, and then Denny again. And Lydia'd already danced with him twice. I thought Mary sang very ill. 

ELIZABETH: Oh, yes, poor Mary, but she is determined to do it.

KITTY: More for her I say. Mr Collins trod on my frock and tore it, you know.

MRS BENNET: Lizzy, my dear! Hehe, oh, Mr Collins, I'm sure there can be no objection. Haha. 

ELIZABETH: Kitty, don't leave me.

MRS BENNET: Lizzy, dear!

KITTY: Lizzy, what's the matter? It's only Mr Collins.

MRS BENNET: Come, Kitty, I want you upstairs. Mr Collins has something to say to Lizzy.

ELIZABETH: Dear Mamma, don't go. Mr Collins must excuse me; he can have nothing to say that anyone could not hear. 

[Elizabeth tries to leave, but her mother steps in the way.]

MRS BENNET: Lizzy, I insist that you stay where you are and hear Mr Collins. Come, Kitty. 

[Kitty looks at Elizabeth.] 

MRS BENNET: Come along. 

[Mrs Bennet chuckles as she closes the door, and pauses to listen before leaving. Elizabeth moves away from Collins as he steps forward. She fiddles with the vase.]

MR COLLINS: Believe me, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that your modesty adds to your other perfections. But you can hardly doubt the object of my discourse, however your feminine delicacy may lead you to dissemble. For, as almost as soon as I entered the house, I singled you out as the companion of my future life. 

[Elizabeth tries not to laugh.] 

MR COLLINS: But before I am run away by my feelings on this subject, perhaps it would be advisable for me to state my reasons for marrying.

ELIZABETH: Mr Collins…


[Mr Collins holds up his hand to quiet her. Elizabeth sits.] 

MR COLLINS: My reasons for marrying are - first, that I think it a right thing for every clergyman to set the example of matrimony in his parish. Secondly, that I am convinced it will add very greatly to my happiness. And thirdly, which perhaps I should have mentioned first, [Elizabeth chuckles silently and shakes her head.] that it is the particular recommendation of my noble patroness, Lady Catherine de Bourgh. "Mr Collins," she said, "you must marry. Choose properly," she said, "Choose a gentle woman, for my sake; and for your own, let her be an active, useful sort of person, not brought up too high. Find such a woman as soon as you can. Bring her to Hunsford and I will visit her." And your wit, and vivacity, I think, must be acceptable to her when tempered with the silence and respect, which her rank will inevitably excite. Heh, yes, but so much for my general intention in favour of matrimony, now as to my particular choice. My dear cousin, being as I am to inherit all this estate after the death of your father, I could not satisfy myself, without resolving to choose a wife from among his daughters. And now, nothing remains [Mr Collins gets down on his knee in front of her.] but to assure you in the most animated language, of the violence of my affections.

ELIZABETH: Mr Collins, please…

MR COLLINS: To fortune I am perfectly indifferent. I am well aware that, heh, one-thousand pounds and four percent is all you may ever be entitled to, but rest assured, I shall never reproach on that score when we are married. 

[Elizabeth is a little upset.]

ELIZABETH: You are too hasty, sir. You forget that I have made no answer, and let me do so now. I thank you for your compliments. 

[Mr Collins nods.] 

ELIZABETH: I am very sensible of the honour of your proposals, but it is impossible for me to accept them. 

[Mr Collins is surprised. He stands and chuckles.]

MR COLLINS: I am by no means discouraged. Indeed, not. I understand that it is usual for young ladies to reject the addressed of the man they secretly mean to accept when he first applies for their favour.

[Elizabeth's mouth is open in shock.] 

MR COLLINS: And, therefore, I shall hope, my dear cousin, to lead you to the altar before long.

ELIZABETH: Upon my word, your hope is an extraordinary one in view of my declaration! I was perfectly serious in my refusal. You could not make me happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in the world who could make you so.

MR COLLINS: My dear Miss Elizabeth, my situation in life, my connection with the noble family of de Bourgh are circumstances highly in my favour. You should consider that it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made to you. 

[Elizabeth stands and turns away.] 

MR COLLINS: You cannot be serious in your rejection. I must attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by suspense in the usual manner of elegant females.

ELIZABETH: I assure you, sir, that I have no pretensions to the kind of elegance, which consists in tormenting a respectable man. I thank you for the honour of your proposals, but to accept them is absolutely impossible. My feelings forbid it in every respect. Can I speak plainer?

MR COLLINS: You are uniformly charming. 

[Elizabeth gives a frustrates sigh, turns on her heal and marches over to the door. She opens it and marches off.] 

MR COLLINS: And I am persuaded that when sanctioned by your excellent parents, m…[Elizabeth is out of sight.]…my proposals…will not fail of being…acceptable. 

[Mr Collins is sweating and wipes his brow.]

[Mrs Bennet enters. Mr Bennet is reading.]

MRS BENNET: Oh! Mr Bennet. You are wanted immediately. We are all in uproar. You must come and make Lizzy marry Mr Collins; for she vows she will not have him, and if you do not make haste, Mr Collins will change his mind, and he will not have her.

MR BENNET: I have not the pleasure of understanding you. Of what are you talking?

MRS BENNET: Of Mr Collins and Lizzy! Lizzy declares, she will not have Mr Collins, and Mr Collins begins to say he will not have Lizzy.

MR BENNET: Well, what am I to do on the occasion? Seems a hopeless business. 

[Mr Bennet goes back to reading his book.]

MRS BENNET: Oh, speak to Lizzy about it yourself. Tell her you insist upon her marrying him. 

[Mr Bennet sets his book down.] 

MR BENNET: Let her come in. 

[Mr Bennet takes of his glasses, and Mrs Bennet goes to open the door.]

MRS BENNET: Lizzy! Lizzy, your father wishes to speak to you. 

[Elizabeth marches in and looks at her father. Mrs Bennet closes the door. Mr Bennet stands.]

MR BENNET: Come here, my child. 

[Mr Bennet and Elizabeth walk over to the wall, and Lizzy folds her arms in front of her.] 

MR BENNET: I, erm, I understand Mr Collins has made you an offer of marriage. It is true? 

ELIZABETH: Yes, sir.

MR BENNET: Right, very well. And, er, this offer of marriage you have refused?


MR BENNET: I see. Ahem, right. Well, here we come to the point. Your mother...

[Mr Bennet clasps his hands behind his back.]

MR BENNET: Insists on your accepting it. Is it not so, Mrs Bennet?

MRS BENNET: Yes, or I will never see her again.

MR BENNET: Well, an unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day, you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr Collins, and, er, I will never see you again…if you do.

MRS BENNET: Oh, Mr Bennet! 

[Elizabeth looks at her father. Mr Bennet returns to his chair. Elizabeth clasps her hands behind her back and raises her eyebrows as Mrs Bennet "cries" and sits in a chair.]

[Lydia and Kitty walk out of the house in travelling clothes and purses.]

MRS BENNET: Sit down, Miss. Lizzy! I am sick of what you always do to…

LYDIA: Why Charlotte, what do you do here?

CHARLOTTE: I am come to see Elizabeth. 

[Kitty and Lydia giggle.]

KITTY: Mrs. Collins has made Lizzy an offer, and what do you think? She won't have him. 

CHARLOTTE: Then I am very sorry for him, though I couldn't say I'm surprised.

MRS BENNET: …if you do not Miss. Lizzy, I will never speak to you again! 

[Charlotte, Kitty, and Lydia turn to look at the house.]

[Elizabeth sits at the table and her mother opens the door to speak to Mr. Collin's who runs way.]

MR COLLINS: I do not wish…

MRS BENNET: Mr Collins, hehe.

MR COLLINS: …to discuss the matter any longer, Madam.

MRS BENNET: Mr Collins, wait!

MR COLLINS: It is too…


KITTY: Mamma's beside herself. He says he won't stay another night.

CHARLOTTE: I wonder, should I invite him to dine with us this evening?

LYDIA: Aye, do, do. Take him away and feed him, for he has been in high dudgeon all morning. 

[Kitty and Lydia giggle as they walk away. Charlotte pauses to think before entering the house. 

[Mr Collins put on his travelling clothes as Charlotte waits for him.] 

MRS BENNET: Oh, Mr Collins!

MR COLLINS: I am resigned. Resignation is never so perfect as when the blessing denied begins to lose somewhat of its value in our estimation. 

[Mrs Bennet sniffs.] 

MR COLLINS: Until tomorrow, then, Madam. 

[Mr Collins bows and she nods.] 

MR COLLINS: I take my leave. 

[Mr Collins and Charlotte exit and Mrs Bennet waves at them with her handkerchief.]

MRS BENNET: Oh, Mr Collins! 

[Mrs Bennet cries.]

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