She danced the first two dances with Mr. Collins, who was
awkward and solemn, apologising instead of attending, and often moving wrong without being aware of it, gave her all the shame and misery which a disagreeable partner for a couple of dances can give. The moment of her release from him was ecstasy.
When she finally danced with Darcy, it was at first an awkward silence which she broke with making a "slight observation of the dance" to which he remained quiet still. After that, she insisted in making him talk and it went like:
It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy.—I talked about the dance, and you ought to make some kind of remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples."
He smiled, and assured her that whatever she wished him to say should be said.
"Very well.—That reply will do for the present.—Perhaps by and by I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones.—But now we may be silent."
"Do you talk by rule then, while you are dancing?"
"Sometimes. One must speak a little, you know. It would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour together, and yet for the advantage of some, conversation ought to be so arranged as that they may have the trouble of saying as little as as possible."
"Are you consulting your own feelings in the present case, or do you imagine that you are gratifying mine?"
"Both," replied Elizabeth archly; "for I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds.—We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the eclat of a proverb."
"This is no very striking resemblance of your own character, I am sure," said he. "How near it may be to mine, I cannot pretend to say.—You think it a faithful portrait undoubtedly."
"I must not decide on my own performance."
This was the moment when she found the opportunity to mention Mr. Wickham's acquaintance to try to find out why the two men are such enemies.