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Full text of "Pride and prejudice"

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Pride and prejudice 



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WALT WHITMAN has somewhere a fine and just distinc- 
tion between "loving by allowance" and ." loving wit It 
personal love!' This distinction applies to books as well 
as to men and women ; and in the case of tJie not very 
numerous authors wJio are the objects of the personal 
affection, it brings a curious consequence with it. There 
is much more difference as to their best work than in the 
case of those others who are loved " by allowance" by conven- 
tion, and because it is felt to be the right and proper thing 
to love them. And in the sect -fairly large and yet 
unusually choice of Austenians or fanites, there would 
probably be found partisans of the claim to primacy of 
almost every one of the novels. To some tJie delightful 
freshness and humour of Northanger Abbey, its com- 
pleteness, finish, and entrain, obscure tJie undoubted critical 
facts that its scale is small, and its scheme, after all, that 
of burlesque or parody, a kind in which the first rank is 
reached with difficulty. Persuasion, relatively faint in 
tone, and not enthralling in interest, has devotees who 
exalt above all the otJiers its exquisite delicacy and keeping. 
TJie catastrophe of Mansfield Park is admittedly theatrical, 
the hero and heroine are insipid, and the author has almost 



X PREFACE. 

wiekedly destroyed all romantic in f crest bv express! Y admit- 
ting tJiat Edmund only took Fanny because Mary sJiocked 
him, and tJiat Fanny migJit very likely Jiave taken Crawford 
if he had been a little more assiduous; yet t/ie matchless 
rehearsal-scenes and tJic characters of JIj-s. Morris and 
others hare secured, I believe, a considerable party for it. 
Sense and Sensibility has perhaps the fewest out-and-out 
admirers ; but it does not want them. 

I suppose, however, that the majority of at least competent 
votes would, all things considered, be divided between Emma 
and the present book ; and perhaps t/ie vulgar verdict (if 
indeed a fondness for Miss A listen be not of itself a patent 
of exemption from any possible charge of vulgarity} would 
go for Emma. // is the larger, the more varied, the more 
popular ; the author had by the time of its composition seen 
rather more of the world, and had improved her general, 
though not her most peculiar and characteristic dialogue ; 
such figures as Miss Bates, as the Eltons, cannot but 
unite the suffrages of everybody. On the. other /land, I, 
for my part, declare for Pride and Prejudice unhesitatingly. 
It seems to me the most perfect, the jnost characteristic, the 
most eminently quintessential of its authors works; and 
for this contention in such narrow space as is pen/lifted to 
me, I propose here to show cause. 

In t lie first place, the book (it may be barely necessary to 

remind the reader] was in its Jirst shape written very early, 

somewhere about 1796, when Miss Austen was barely twentv- 

one ; though it was revised and finished at Chawton some 

fifteen years later, and was not published till 1813, only 

four years before her death. I do not know whether, in 



PREFACE. xi 

this combination of tJie fresJi and vigorous projection of 
youth) and tJie critical revision of middle life, there may 
be traced the distinct superiority in point of construction, 
wJiicJi, as it seems to me, it possesses over all tJie otliers. 
The plot, though not elaborate, is almost regular enough for 
Fielding ; hardly a character, hardly an incident could be 
retrenched without loss to the story. The elopement of Lydia 
and WickJiam is not, like that of Crawford and Mrs. 
Rushworth, a coup de theatre ; it connects itself in^ the 
strictest way with the course of the story earlier, and 
brings about the denouement with complete propriety. All 
the minor passages the loves of Jane and Bingley, the 
advent of Mr. Collins, the visit to Hunsford, tJie Derby- 
shire tour Jit in after the same unostentatious, but masterly 
fashion. There is no attempt at the hide-and-seek, in-and- 
out business, which in the transactions between Frank 
Churchill and Jane Fair-fax contributes no doubt a good 
deal to the intrigue of Emma, but contributes it in a fashion 
which I do not think the best feature of that otherwise 
admirable book. Although Miss Austen always liked 
something of the misunderstanding kind, wJiiclt afforded 
her opportunities for the display of the peculiar and incom- 
parable talent to be noticed presently, she has been satisfied 
here with the perfectly natural occasions provided by the 
false account of Darcy's conduct given by WickJiam, and 
by the awkwardness (arising with equal naturalness] from 
the gradual transformation of Elizabeths own feelings 
from positive aversion to actual love. I do not know 
whether the all-grasping Jiand of tJie playwright has ever 
been laid upon Pride and Prejudice ; and I dare say that, 



xii PREFACE. 



if it were, :'v situations :csuld / ve not startling 
garish enough for the footlights, the cha: -sc/ieme too 

:lc ami delicate for pit . \ * I gi :.'lcry. But if the attempt 
-... . :./ t \ it n'oiila 7 certainly not be liampe ed by any " 
those .' ." lesses of construction, u . retimes disga;\ 
the com :n fences of ichich the : :!ist can a-rail hi ins. 
tyear it .v on the sta^ 

I think, h. :. : . ", though t/ie : '. %Jti u ill doubtless seem 
' to me : -tan one sclwol of critics > that construction 

9 

the highest merit, t'.:.'. icest gift, rf tJie * i-elist. It 
'-' '..v :tJier gifts and graces me si advantageously to the 
' eye ; and tlie -n'ant of it i~cill sometimes mar t. 

5 :iabh\ though not quite consciously to eyes 
no means ultra-critical. But a :. badly-built 

celled in patJietic or Jtumorous character, or I'cJiicJi 

:immate command of dialogue -pcrluips the 

rarest of all faculties '.could infinitely better thing 

than a faultless plot acted and told by puppets with pebbles 

in their months. And despite the ability \~cJiicJi Miss Austen 

has shoii'n in -icorking out the story, I for one should put 

Pride and Prejudice far tower if it did not contain n'/uit 

n to me the rery masterpieces of Miss Aiisteris humour 

and of her faculty of character . . ::ion masterpieces u '. 

:v indeed admit John Thorpe, the Eltons, Mrs. Xor 
and one or tn'o others to tJteir company, but li'ho, in one 
instance certainly, and pcr/iaps in others, are still superior 
to them. 

The characteristics of Miss Austen's humour are so 
subtle and delicate that they are, perhaps, at all times 
easier to apprehend than to express, and at any particular 



PREFACE. xiii 

time likely to be differently apprehended by different persons. 
To me this humour seems to possess a greater affinity, on the 
whole, to tJiat of Addison than to any otJier of the numerous 
species of this great BritisJi genus. The differences of 
scheme, of time, of subject, of literary convention, are, of 
course, obvious enough ; the difference of sex does not, 
perhaps, count for much, for there was a distinctly feminine 
element in "Mr. Spectator" and in Jane Austens genius 
tJiere was, though nothing mannisJi, much that was mascu- 
line. But the likeness of quality consists in a great num- 
ber of common subdivisions of quality demureness, extreme 
minuteness of touch, avoidance of loud tones and glaring 
effects. Also there is in both a certain not in Jut man or 
21 n amiable cruelty. It is the custom with those who judge 
grossly to contrast the good nature of Addison with the 
savagery of Swift, the mildness of Miss Austen with the 
boisterousness of Fielding and Smollett, even with the 
ferocious practical jokes that her immediate predecessor, Miss 
Burney, allowed without very much protest. Yet, both in 
Mr. Addison and in Miss Austen there is, though a re- 
strained and well-mannered^ an insatiable and ruthless 
delight in roasting and cutting up a fool. A man in the early 
eighteenth century, of course, could pusli t/iis taste further 
than a lady in the early nineteenth ; and no doubt Miss 
Austen's principles, as well as her heart, would have shrunk 
from such things as the letter from the unfortunate husband 
in the Spectator, who describes, with all the gusto and all 
the innocence in the world, how his wife and his friend 
induce him to play at blind-man s-buff. But another 
Spectator letter that of the damsel of fourteen who 



xiv PREFACE. 

wishes to marry Mr. Shapely, and assures Jicr selected 
Mentor that " he admires your Spectators mightily " 
might have been written by a rather more ladylike and 
intelligent Lydia Bennet in the days of Lydids great- 
grandmother ; while, on the other hand, some (I think 
unreasonably) have found " cynicism ' in toucJies of Miss 
Austens own, such as her satire of Mrs. Musgroves self- 
deceiving regrets over Jier son. But this word " cynical ''' 
is one of the most misused in the English language, 
especially vvJien, by a glaring and gratuitous falsification 
of its original sense, it is applied, not to rough and snarl- 
ing invective, but to gentle and oblique satire. If cynicism 
means the perception of " the other side," the sense of " the 
accepted hells beneath" the consciousness that motives are 
nearly always mixed, and that to seem is not identical wit Ji 
to be if this be cynicism, then every man and woman who 
is not a fool, who does not care to live in a fool's paradise, 
who has knowledge of nature and the world and life, is a 
cynic. And in that sense Miss Austen certainly was one. 
She may even have been one in the further sense that, like 
her own Mr. Bennet, she took an epicurean delight in dis- 
secting, in displaying, in setting at work her fools and her 
mean persons. I think she did take this delight, and I do 
not think at all the worse of her for it as a woman, while 
she was immensely the better for it as an artist. 

In respect of her art generally, Mr. Goldwin Smith has 
truly observed that " metaphor has been exhausted in de- 
picting the perfection of it, combined with the narrowness 
of her field ; " and lie has justly added that we need not 
go beyond her own comparison to the art of a miniature 



PREFACE. XV 

painter. To make this latter observation quite exact we 
must not use tJie term miniature in its restricted sense, and 
must think rather of Memling at one end of the history of 
painting and Meissonier at the other, than ofCosway or any 
of his kind. A nd I am not so certain that I should myself 
use the word " narrow " in connection with her. If her 
world is a microcosm, the cosmic quality of it is at least as 
eminent as the littleness. She does not touch what she did 
not feel herself called to paint ; I am not so sure that she 
could not have painted what she did not feel herself called 
to touch. It is at least remarkable that in two very sJiort 
periods of writing one of about tJiree years, and another 
of not much more than five she executed six capital works, 
and has not left a single failure. It is possible that the 
romantic paste in her composition zvas defective : we must 
always remember that hardly anybody born in her decode- 
that of the eighteenth-century seventies independently ex- 
hibited the full romantic quality. Even Scott required hill 
and mountain and ballad, even Coleridge metaphysics and 
German to enable them to chip the classical shell. Miss 
Austen was an English girl, brought up in a country 
retirement, at the time when ladies went back into t/ie 
house if there was a white frost which might pierce their 
kid shoes, when a sudden cold was the subject of the gravest 
fears, when their studies, their ways, tJieir conduct were 
subject to all those fantastic limits and restrictions against 
which Mary Wollstonecraft protested with better general 
sense than particular taste or judgment. Miss Austen, 
too, drew back when the white frost touched her shoes ; but 
I think she would have made a pretty good journey even in 
a black one. 



xvi PREFACE. 

For if her knowledge was not very extended, she knew 
two tilings which only genius knows. The one was Jiumamty, 
and the ot/ier was art. On the first head she could not 
make a mistake ; her men, tJiougJi limited, are true, and 
Jier women are, in the old sense, " absolute'' As to art, if 
she has never tried idealism, Jier realism is real to a degree 
which makes the false realism of our own day look merely 
dead-alive. Take almost any Frenchman, except the late M. 
de Maupassant, and watch him laboriously piling up strokes 
in the hope of giving a complete impression. You get none; 
you are lucky if, discarding two-thirds of what he gives, 
you can shape a real impression out of the rest. But with 
Miss Austen the myriad, trivial, unforced strokes build up 
the picture like magic. NotJiing is false ; nothing is super- 
fluous. When (to take the present book only} Mr. Collins 
changed his mind from Jane to Elizabeth " while Mrs. 
Bennet was stirring the fire " (and we know how Mrs. 
Bennet would have stirred the fire], when Mr. Darcy 
" brought his coffee-cup back himself," the touch in each 
case is like that of Swift " taller by the breadth of my 
nail" -which impressed the half-reluctant Thackeray with 
just and outspoken admiration. Indeed, fantastic as it 
may seem, I should put Miss Austen as near to Swift in 
some ways, as I have put her to Addison in others. 

This Swiftian quality appears in the present novel as it 
appears nowhere else in the character of the immortal, 
the ineffable J\Ir. Collins. Mr. Collins is really great ; 
far greater than anything Addison ever did, almost great 
enough for Fielding or for Swift himself. It has been 
said that no one ever was like him. But in the first 



PREFACE. xvii 

place, he was like him ; Jie is tJiere alive, imperishable, more 
real than hundreds of prime ministers and archbishops, of 
" metals, semi-metals, and distinguished philosophers? In 
the second place, it is rash, I tJtink, to conclude that an 
actual Mr. Collins was impossible or non-existent at the 
end of the eighteenth century. It is very interesting that 
we possess, in this same gallery, what may be called a 
spoiled first draught, or an unsuccessful study of him, in 
JoJm DasJiwood. The formality, the under-breeding, the 
meanness, are there ; but the portrait is only half alive, 
and is felt to be even a little unnatural. Mr. Collins is 
perfectly natural, and perfectly alive. In fact, for all 
the "miniature" tJiere is something gigantic in the way 
in which a certain side, and more than one, of Jmmanity, 
and especially eighteenth-century humanity, its Philistinism, 
its well-meaning but hide-bound morality, its formal 
pettiness, its grovelling respect for rank, its materialism, 
its selfishness, receives exhibition. I will not admit that one 
speech or one action of this inestimable man is incapable 
of being reconciled with reality, and I sJwuld not wonder 
if many of these words and actions are historically true. 

But the greatness of Mr. Collins could not have been 
so satisfactorily exhibited if his creatress had not adjusted 
so artfully to him the figures of Mr. Bennet and of Lady 
Catherine de Bourgh. The latter, like Mr. Collins him- 
self, has been charged with exaggeration. There is,perJiaps, 
a very faint shade of colour for the charge ; but it seems 
to me very faint indeed. Even now I do not think that it 
would be impossible to find persons, especially female 
persons, not necessarily of noble birth, as overbearing, as 

b 



xviii PREFACE. 

self-centred, as neglectful of good manners, as Lady Cathe- 
rine. A hundred years ago, an earl's daughter, the Lady 
Powerful (if not exactly Bountiful) of an out-of-the-way 
country parish, rich, long out of marital authority, and 
so forth, had opportunities of developing these agreeable 
characteristics which seldom present themselves now. As 
for Mr. Ben net, Miss Austen, and Mr. Darcy, and even 
Miss Elizabeth herself, were, I am inclined to think, 
rather hard on him for the " impropriety " of his conduct. 
His wife was evidently, and must always have been, 
a quite irreclaimable fool ; and unless he had shot her 
or himself there was no way out of it for a man of 
sense and spirit but the ironic. From no other point 
of view is he open to any reproach, except for an ex- 
cusable and not unnatural helplessness at the crisis of 
the elopement, and Ids utterances are the most acutely 
delightful in the consciously humorous kind in the kind 
that we laugh with, not at that even Miss Austen has 
put into the mouth of any of her characters. It is difficult 
to know whether he is most agreeable when talking to 
his wife, or when putting Mr. Collins through his paces ; 
but the general sense of the world has probably been right 
in preferring to the first rank his consolation to the former 
when she maunders over the entail, "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 sur- 
vivor ; " and Ids inquiry to his colossal cousin as to the 
compliments which Mr. Collins has just related as made 
by himself to Lady Catherine, " May I ask whether these 
pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, 



PREFACE xix 

or are the result of previous study ? " These are the 
things which give Miss Austen's readers the pleasant 
shocks, the delightful thrills, which are felt by the readers 
of Swift, of Fielding, and we may here add, of Thackeray, 
as they are felt by the readers of no other English author 
of fiction outside of these four. 

The goodness of the minor characters in Pride and 
Prejudice has been already alluded to, and it makes a 
detailed dwelling on their beauties difficult in any space, and 
impossible in this. Mrs. Bennet we have glanced at, and 
it is not easy to say whether she is more exquisitely amusing 
or more horribly true. Much the same may be said of 
Kitty and Lydia ; but it is not every author, even of 
genius, who would have differentiated with such unerring 
skill the effects of folly and vulgarity of intellect and 
disposition working upon the common weaknesses of woman 
at such different ages. With Mary, Miss Austen has 
taken rather less pains, though she has been even more 
unkind to her; not merely in the text, but, as we 
learn from those interesting traditional appendices which 
Mr. Austen Leigh has given us, in dooming her privately 
to marry " one of Mr. Philips s clerks" The habits of first 



copying and then retailing moral sentiments, of playing 
and singing too long in public, are, no doubt, grievous and 
criminal ; but perhaps poor Mary zvas rather the scapegoat 
of the sins of blue stockings in that Fordyce-belectured 
generation. It is at any rate difficult not to extend to Jier 
a share of the respect and affection (affection and respect 
of a peculiar kind; doubtless], with which one regards 
Mr. Collins, when she draws the moral of Lydia' s fall. I 



XX PREFACE. 

sometimes wish tJiat the exigencies of the story had permitted 
Miss Austen to unite these personages, and ttms at once 
achieve a notable mating" and soothe poor Mrs. Bennefs 
anguish over the entail. 

The Binglcys and the Gardiner s and the Lucases, Miss 
Darcy and Miss de Bourgli, Jane, WickJiam, and the rest, 
must pass without special comment, further than the 
remark that Charlotte Lucas (her egregious papa, though 
delightful, is just a little on the thither side of the line 
between comedy and farce] is a wonderfully clever study in 
drab of one kind, and that WickJiam (though something 
of Miss Austen's hesitation of touch in dealing with young 
men appears] is a not nmcJi less notable sketch in drab of 
another. Only genius could have made Charlotte what 
she is, yet not disagreeable ; WickJiam what he is, without 
investing him either with a cheap Don fuanish attractive- 
ness or a disgusting rascality. But the hero and the 
heroine are not tints to be dismissed. 

Darcy lias always seemed to me by far the best and most 
interesting of Miss Austen's heroes ; the only possible com- 
petitor being Henry Tilney, whose part is so slight and simple 
that it hardly enters into comparison. It has sometimes, I 
believe, been urged that his pride is unnatural at first in its 
expression and later in its yielding, while his falling in love 
at all is not extremely probable. Here again I cannot go with 
the objectors. Darcy 's own account of the way in which his 
pride had been pampered, is perfectly rational and sufficient ; 
and nothing could be, psychologically speaking, a causa verier 
for its sudden restoration to healthy conditions than the 
shock of Elizabeth's scornful refusal acting on a nature 



PREFACE. xxi 

ex hypothesi generous. Nothing in even our author is finer 
and more delicately toucJied than the change of his de- 
meanour at the sudden meeting in the grounds of 
P ember ley. Had he been a bad prig or a bad coxcomb, 
Jie migJit have been still smarting under his rejection, 
or suspicious that the girl had come husband-hunting. 
His being neither is exactly consistent with the probable 
feelings of a man spoilt in the common sense, but not really 
injured in disposition, and thoroughly in love. As for his 
being in love, Elisabeth has given as just an exposition 
of the causes of that phenomenon as Darcy lias of the 
conditions of his imregenerate state, only she has of course 
not counted in what was diie to her own personal charm. 

The secret of that charm many men and not a few 
women, from Miss Austen herself downwards, Jiave felt, 
and like most charms it is a thing rather to be felt than to 
be explained. ElizabetJi of course belongs to the allegro or 
allegra division of the army of Venus. Miss Austen was 
always provokingly chary of description in regard to her 
beauties ; and except the fine eyes, and a hint or two that 
she had at any rate sometimes a bright complexion, and was 
not very tall, we hear nothing about her looks. But her 
chief difference from other heroines of the lively type seems 
to lie first in Jier being distinctly clever almost strong- 
minded, in the better sense of that objectionable word and 
secondly in Jier being entirely destitute of ill-nature for all 
her propensity to tease and the sharpness of her tongue. 
ElizabetJi can give at least as good as she gets when sJie is 
attacked ; but she never "scratches" and she never attacks 
first. Some of the merest obsoletenesses of phrase and 



XXll PREFACE. 

manner give one or two of her early speeches a sligJii 
pert ness, but that is notliing, and when she comes to serious 
business, as in tlie great proposal scene with Dairy (which 
is, as it should be, the climax of the interest of the book), and 
in the final ladies' battle witJi Lady Catherine, she is 
unexceptionable. Then too she is a perfectly natural girl. 
She does not disguise from herself or anybody that she 
resents Darcys first ill-mannered personality with as per- 
sonal a feeling. (By the -way, the reproach that the ill- 
manners of this speech are overdone is certainly unjust ; for 
things of the same kind, expressed no doubt less stiltedly 
but more coarsely, might have been heard in more than one 
ball-room during this very year from persons w/io ought to 
have been no worse bred than Darcy^} And she lets the 
injury done to Jane and the contempt shown to the rest of 
her family aggravate this resentment in the healthiest 
war in the world. 

Still, all this does not explain her charm, wJiicJi, taking 
beauty as a common form of all heroines^ may perhaps consist 
in the addition to her playfulness, Jierwit, lie r affectionate and 
natural disposition, of a certain fearlessness very uncommon 
in heroines of her type and age. Nearly all of them would 
have been in speechless awe of the magnificent Darcy ; 
nearly all of them would have palpitated and fluttered 
at the idea of proposals, even naughty ones, from the fascinat- 
ing WickJiam. Elizabeth, witJi nothing offensive, nothing 
viraginous, nothing of the "New Woman" about her, has by 
nature what the best modern (not " new ") women have by 
education and experience, a perfect freedom from the idea 
that all men may bully her if they choose, and that most will 



PREFACE. XX111 

away with Jier if tJiey can. Though not in the least 
41 impudent and mannish grown" she lias no mere sensi- 
bility, no nasty niceness about her. The form of passion 
common and likely to seem natural in Miss Austen's day 
was so invariably connected with the display of one or the 
other, or both of these qualities, that she has not made Elisa- 
beth outwardly passionate. But I, at least, have not the 
slightest do2ibt that she would have married Darcy just as 
willingly without Pemberley as with it, and anybody who 
can read between lines will not find the lovers' conversations 
in the final chapters so frigid as they might have looked 
to the Delia Cruscans of their own day, and perhaps do look 
to the Delia Cruscans of this. 

A nd, after all, what is the good of seeking for the reason 
of charm ? it is there. There were better sense in the sad 
mechanic exercise of determining the reason of its absence 
where it is not. In the novels of the last hundred years 
tJiere are vast numbers of young ladies with whom it 
migJit be a pleasure to fall in love ; there are at least five 
with whom, as it seems to me, no man of taste and spirit can 
help doing so. Their names are, in chronological order, 
Elizabeth Bennet, Diana Vernon, Argemone Lavington, 
Beatrix Esmond, and Barbara Grant. I shoidd have been 
most in love with Beatrix and Argemone ; I should, I 
think, for mere occasional companionship, have preferred 
Diana and Barbara. But to live with and to marry, I do 
not know that any one of the four can come into competition 

with ElizabetJi. 

GEORGE SAINTSBUKY. 




&** 

lustration^. 




Frontispiece . 

Title-page . 

Dedication . 

Heading to Preface 

Heading to List of Illustrations 

Heading to Chapter I. . 

" He came down to see the place " 

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet . 

" I hope Mr. Bingley will like it" . 

"I'm the tallest" . . . . . . . 

"He rode a black horse" 

" When the party entered " . 

" She is tolerable " 

Heading to Chapter IV. 

Heading to Chapter V. . 

" Without once opening his lips " . 

Tailpiece to Chapter V. 

Heading to Chapter VI. 

" The entreaties of several " . 

" A note for Miss Bennet " . 

" Cheerful prognostics " 

" The apothecary came " 

" Covering a screen " 



PAGE 

iv 
v 

vii 

ix 

xxv 

I 

2 

5 
6 

9 
10 

12 
15 

18 

22 
2 4 
26 
27 

31 
36 
40 

43 
45 



XXVI 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



' ' Mrs. Bennet and her two youngest girls " . 

Heading to Chapter X. . 

" No, no ; stay where you are : ' . . 

" Piling up the fire" ........ 

Heading to Chapter XII. ....... 

Heading to Chapter XIII. ....... 

Heading to Chapter XIV. ....... 

' ' Protested that he never read novels " . 

Heading to Chapter XV. ...... 

Heading to Chapter XVI. ....... 

" The officers of the shire 5 ' ...... 

" Delighted to see their dear friend again " . 

Heading to Chapter XVIII 

" Such very superior dancing is not often seen "... 

" To assure you in the most animated language " . 

Heading to Chapter XX. . . ... 

" They entered the breakfast-room "..... 

Heading to Chapter XXI. ...... 

" Walked back with them " 

Heading to Chapter XXII. ....... 

' ' So much love and eloquence "...... 

" Protested he must be entirely mistaken " 
' ' Whenever she spoke in a low voice " . 

Heading to Chapter XXIV. . 

Heading to Chapter XXV. ....... 

" Offended two or three young ladies " . 

" Will you come and see me ?" ...... 

' ' On the stairs " 

"At the door" 

" In conversation with the ladies " . 

" Lady Catherine," said she, " you have given me a treasure " 

Heading to Chapter XXX. ....... 

" He never failed to inform them " ..... 

" The gentlemen accompanied him " . 

Heading to Chapter XXXI 

Heading to Chapter XXXII. 

"Accompanied by their aunt " ...... 

" On looking up ". ........ 

Heading to Chapter XXXIV 

" Hearing herself called " ....... 

Heading to Chapter XXXVI 

" Meeting accidentally in town "...... 

" His parting obeisance " ....... 



PAGE 

53 
60 

67 
69 

75 
78 
84 

87 
89 

95 

97 

1 08 

"3 

118 

132 
139 



146 

148 

154 
156 
161 
1 66 

1 68 

175 
177 
181 
189 
194 
198 
200 
209 

211 
213 

215 
221 

225 
228 
235 
243 
253 
2 5 6 

26l 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. xxvii 

PAGE 

"Dawson" ... . . 263 

" The elevation of his feelings ; ' . ..... 267 

" They had forgotten to leave any message :: ..... 270 

" How nicely we are crammed in !" ...... 272 

Heading to Chapter XL. ... .... 278 

" I am determined never to speak of it again " 283 

" When Colonel Miller's regiment went away '' .... 285 

" Tenderly flirting " ..... ... 290 

The arrival of the Gardiners ........ 294 

" Conjecturing as to the date " ..... 301 

Heading to Chapter XLIV . 318 

" To make herself agreeable to all " . . 321 

" Engaged by the river " ........ 327 

Heading to Chapter XLVI. ..... . 334 

" I have not an instant to lose" .... . . 339 

" The first pleasing earnest of their welcome " .... 345 

The Post 359 

"To whom I have related the affair" ...... 363 

Heading to Chapter XLIX . . 368 

" But perhaps you would like to read it " . . . . . 370 

" The spiteful old ladies " . 377 

" With an affectionate smile " .... . 385 

' ' I am sure she did not listen " . . . . . . 393 

" Mr. Darcy with him " ........ 404 

" Jane happened to look round " ... . . 415 

"Mrs. Long and her nieces " ....... 420 

" Lizzy, my dear, I want to speak to you "..... 422 

Heading to Chapter LVI . .431 

"After a short survey " . 434 

" But now it comes out ; ' . . . . . . . . 442 

" The efforts of his aunt " .... . - 44 

" Unable to utter a syllable " ...*... 457 

" The obsequious civility " ........ 466 

Heading to Chapter LXI 47 2 

The End ........... 476 




L 







mi > i ; 




:P 
'* III 



: 




is a truth uni- 
versal Iv acknow- 

j 

ledged, that a single man in 
possession of a good fortune 
must be in want of a wife. 

However little known the 
feelings or views of such a 
man may be on his first enter- 
ing a neighbourhood, this 

^j ^j 

truth is so well fixed in the 
minds of the surrounding 
families, that he is considered 
as the rightful property of 
some one or other of their 
daughters. 

"My dear Mr. Bennet," 
said his lady to him one 
day, l% have you heard that 
Xetherfield Park is let at last?" 

B 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not. 

" But it is," returned she ; " for Mrs. Long has just 
been here, and she told me all about it." 

Mr. Bennet made no answer. 

" Do not you want to know who has taken it ? " cried 
his wife, impatiently. 

" You want to tell me, and I have no objection to 
hearing it." 




3& Came dowr> *fo Jep TV}? />/ace 
[Copyright 1894 by George Allen.'] 

This was invitation enough. 

o 

" Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that 
Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune 
from the north of England ; that he came down on 
Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and 
was so much delighted with it that he agreed with 
Mr. Morris immediately ; that he is to take possession 
before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in 
the house by the end of next week." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 3 

" What is his name ? " 

" Bingley." 

" Is he married or single ? " 

" Oh, single, my dear, to be sure ! A single man of 
large fortune ; four or five thousand a year. What a fine 
thing for our girls ! " 

" How so ? how can it affect them ? " 

" My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, " how can you 
be so tiresome ? You must know that I am thinking of 
his marrying one of them." 

" Is that his design in settling here ? " 

" Design ? nonsense, how can you talk so ! But it is 
very likely that he may fall in love with one of them, and 
therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes." 

" I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may 
go or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps 
will be still better ; for as you are as handsome as any 
of them, Mr. Bingley might like you the best of the 
party." 

" My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my 
share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything 
extraordinary now. When a woman has five grown-up 
daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own 
beauty." 

"In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty 
to think of." 

" But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley 
when he comes into the neighbourhood." 

" It is more than I engage for, I assure you." 

" But consider your daughters. Only think what an 
establishment it would be for one of them. Sir William 
and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that 
account ; for in general, you know, they visit no new 



4 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

comers. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible 
for us to visit him, if you do not." 

" You are over scrupulous, surely. I dare say Mr. 
Bingley will be very glad to see you ; and I will send a 
few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to 
his marrying whichever he chooses of the girls though I 
must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy." 

" I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a 
bit better than the others : and I am sure she is not half 
so handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humoured as 
Lydia. But you are always giving her the preference." 

" They have none of them much to recommend them," 
replied he : " they are all silly and ignorant like other 
girls ; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than 
her sisters." 

" Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in 
such a way ? You take delight in vexing me. You have 
no compassion on my poor nerves." 

" You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for 
your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard 
you mention them with consideration these twenty years 
at least." 

" Ah, you do not know what I suffer." 

" But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many 
young men of four thousand a year come into the 
neighbourhood." 

" It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come, 
since you will not visit them." 

" Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, 
I will visit them all." 

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, 
sarcastic humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience 
of three-and-twenty years had been insufficient to 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



5 



make his wife understand his character. Her mind was 
less difficult to develope. She was a woman of mean 
understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. 
When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. 
The business of her life was to get her daughters married : 
its solace was visiting and news. 



- 

I 




{Copyright 1891 by George Allen.] 




Jf Acre JW <-n#rey cuifT fie 



\Copyright 1894 by George Allen.\ 



CHAPTER II. 

. BENNET was among the ear- 
liest of those who waited on Mr. 
Bingley. He had always intended 
to visit him, though to the last always 
assuring his wife that he should not 
go ; and till the evening after the 
visit was paid she had no know- 
ledge of it. It was then disclosed in the following manner. 
Observing his second daughter employed in trimming 
a hat, he suddenly addressed her with, 
" I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy." 
" We are not in a way to know what Mr. Bingley 
likes," said her mother, resentfully, " since we are not to 
visit." 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 7 

" But you forget, mamma," said Elizabeth, " that we 
shall meet him at the assemblies, and that Mrs. Long 
has promised to introduce him." 

" I do not believe Mrs. Long will do any such thing. 
She has two nieces of her own. She is a selfish, hypo- 
critical woman, and I have no opinion of her." 

"No more have I," said Mr. Bennet ; "and I am glad 
to find that you do not depend on her serving you." 

Mrs. Bennet deigned not to make any reply ; but, 
unable to contain herself, began scolding one of her 
daughters. 

" Don't keep coughing so, Kitty, for heaven's sake ! 
Have a little compassion on my nerves. You tear them 
to pieces." 

" Kitty has no discretion in her coughs," said her father ; 
" she times them ill." 

" I do not cough for my own amusement," replied 
Kitty, fretfully. " When is your next ball to be, Lizzy ? " 

" To-morrow fortnight." 

" Ay, so it is," cried her mother, " and Mrs. Long does 
not come back till the day before ; so, it will be impos- 
sible for her to introduce him, for she will not know him 
herself." 

" Then, my dear, you may have the advantage of your 
friend, and introduce Mr. Bingley to lier" 

" Impossible, Mr. Bennet, impossible, when I am not 
acquainted with him myself; how can you be so 
teasing ? " 

" I honour your circumspection. A fortnight's acquaint- 
ance is certainly very little. One cannot know what a 
man really is by the end of a fortnight. But if we do 
not venture, somebody else will ; and after all, Mrs. Long 
and her nieces must stand their chance ; and, therefore, 



8 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

as she will think it an act of kindness, if you decline the 
office, I will take it on myself." 

The girls stared at their father. Mrs. Bennet said only, 
" Nonsense, nonsense ! " 

" What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclama- 
tion ? " cried he. " Do you consider the forms of intro- 
duction, and the stress that is laid on them, as nonsense ? 
I cannot quite agree with you there. What say" you, 
Mary? for you are a young lady of deep reflection, I 
know, and read great books, and make extracts." 

Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew 
not how. 

"While Mary is adjusting her ideas," he continued, 
t( let us return to Mr. Bingley." 

" I am sick of Mr. Bingley," cried his wife. 

" I am sorry to hear that; but why did you not tell 
me so before? If I had known as much this morning, 
I certainly would not have called on him. It is very 
unlucky ; but as I have actually paid the visit, we cannot 
escape the acquaintance now." 

The astonishment of the ladies was just what* he 
wished that of Mrs. Bennet perhaps surpassing the rest ; 
though when the first tumult of joy was over, she began to 
declare that it was what she had expected all the while. 

" How good it was in you, my dear Mr. Bennet ! But 
I knew I should persuade you at last. I was sure you 
loved your girls too well to neglect such an acquaintance. 
Well, how pleased I am ! and it is such a good joke, too, 
that you should have gone this morning, and never said 
a word about it till now." 

" Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you choose," 
said Mr. Bennet ; and, as he spoke, he left the room, 
fatigued with the raptures of his wife. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 9 

" What an excellent father you have, girls," said she, 
when the door was shut. " I do not know how you will 
ever make him amends for his kindness ; or me either, 
for that matter. At our time of life, it is not so pleasant, 
I can tell you, to be making new acquaintances every 
day ; but for your sakes we would do anything. Lydia, 
my love, though you are the youngest, I dare say Mr. 
Bingley will dance with you at the next ball." 

" Oh," said Lydia, stoutly, " I am not afraid ; for though 
I am the youngest, I'm the tallest." 

The rest of the evening was spent in conjecturing how 
soon he would return Mr. Bennet's visit, and determining 
when they should ask him to dinner. 




' ;< V? 

^ / . 




'& YC& a 6(a.ik ficrje' 

CHAPTER III. 

OT all that Mrs. Bennet, how- 
ever, with the assistance of her 
five daughters, could ask on 
the subject, was sufficient to 
draw from her husband any 
satisfactory description of Mr. 
Bingley. They attacked him 
in various ways, with barefaced 

questions, ingenious suppositions, and distant surmises ; 

but he eluded the skill of them all ; and they were at 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. II 

last obliged to accept the second-hand intelligence of 
their neighbour, Lady Lucas. Her report was highly 
favourable. Sir William had been delighted with him. 
He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely 
agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at 
the next assembly with a large party. Nothing could 
be more delightful ! To be fond of dancing w r as a cer- 
tain step towards falling in love ; and very lively hopes 
of Mr. Bingley's heart were entertained. 

" If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled 
at Netherfield," said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, " and 
all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing 
to wish for." 

In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr. Bennet's visit, 
and sat about ten minutes with him in his library. He 
had entertained hopes of being admitted to a sight of 
the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard much ; 
but he saw only the father. The ladies were somewhat 
more fortunate, for they had the advantage of ascertain- 
ing, from an upper window, that he wore a blue coat and 
rode a black horse. 

An invitation to dinner was soon afterwards despatched ; 
and already had Mrs. Bennet planned the courses that 
were to do credit to her housekeeping, when an answer 
arrived which deferred it all. Mr. Bingley was obliged 
to be in town the following day, and consequently unable 
to accept the honour of their invitation, etc. Mrs. Bennet 
was quite disconcerted. She could not imagine what 
business he could have in town so soon after his arrival 
in Hertfordshire ; and she began to fear that he might 
always be flying about from one place to another, and never 
settled at Netherfield as he ought to be. Lady Lucas 
quieted her fears a little by starting the idea of his 



12 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



being gone to London only to get a large party for the 
ball ; and a report soon followed that Mr. Bingley was 




[Copyright 1894. by George AU 

to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen with him to 
the assembly. The girls grieved over such a number of 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 13 

ladies ; but were comforted the day before the ball by 
hearing that, instead of twelve, he had brought only six 
with him from London, his five sisters and a cousin. 
And when the party entered the assembly-room, it 
consisted of only five altogether : Mr. Bingley, his two 
sisters, the husband of the eldest, and another young 
man. 

Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike : he 
had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. 
His sisters were fine women, with an air of decided 
fashion. His brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked 
the gentleman ; but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the 
attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome 
features, noble mien, and the report, which was in general 
circulation within five minutes after his entrance, of his 
having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced 
him to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he 
was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he was 
looked at with great admiration for about half the even- 
ing, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the 
tide of his popularity ; for he was discovered to be proud, 
to be above his company, and above being pleased ; and 
not all his large estate in Derbyshire could save him from 
having a most forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and 
being unworthy to be compared with his friend. 

Mr. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with 
all the principal people in the room : he was lively and 
unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball 
closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at 
Netherfield. Such amiable qualities must speak for 
themselves. What a contrast between him and his 
friend ! Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mrs. Hurst 
and once with Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to 



14 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

an}' other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in walk- 
ing about the room, speaking occasionally to one of his 
own party. His character was decided. He was the 
proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and every- 
body hoped that he would never come there again. 
Amongst the most violent against him was Mrs. Bennet, 
whose dislike of his general behaviour was sharpened into 
particular resentment by his having slighted one of her 
daughters. 

Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of 
gentlemen, to sit down for two dances ; and during part 
of that time, Mr. Darcy had been standing near enough 
for her to overhear a conversation between him and Mr. 
Bingley. who came from the dance for a few minutes to 

o J ' 

press his friend to join it. 

" Come, Darcy," said he, " I must have you dance. I 
hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid 
manner. You had much better dance." 

" I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, 
unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. At 
such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable. Your 
sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in 
the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to 
stand up with." 

" I would not be so fastidious as you are," cried 
Bingley, " for a kingdom ! Upon my honour, I never met 
with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this even- 
ing ; and there are several of them, you see, uncommonly 
pretty." 

" You are dancing with the only handsome girl in the 
room," said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss 
Bennet. 

" Oh, she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld ! 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I 5 

But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind 
you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. 
Do let me ask my partner to introduce you." 

" Which do you mean ? " and turning round, he looked 







"JXe <s 
\Copyright 1894 by George Allen.} 



for a moment at Elizabeth, till, catching her eye, he with- 
drew his own, and coldly said, " She is tolerable : but not 
handsome enough to tempt me ; and I am in no humour 
at present to give consequence to young ladies who are 
slighted by other men. You had better return to your 



16 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your 
time with me." 

Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked 
off; and Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings 
towards him. She told the story, however, with great 
spirit among her friends ; for she had a lively, playful 
disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous. 

The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to the 
whole family. Mrs. Bennet had seen her eldest daughter 
much admired by the Netherfield party. Mr. Bingley had 
danced with her twice, and she had been distinguished by 
his sisters. Jane was as much gratified by this as her 
mother could be, though in a quieter way. Elizabeth felt 
Jane's pleasure. Mary had heard herself mentioned to 
Miss Bingley as the most accomplished girl in the neigh- 
bourhood ; and Catherine and Lydia had been fortunate 
enough to be never without partners, which was all that 
they had yet learnt to care for at a ball. They returned, 
therefore, in good spirits to Longbourn, the village where 
they lived, and of which they were the principal inhabi- 
tants. They found Mr. Bennet still up. With a book, 
he was regardless of time ; and on the present occasion 
he had a good deal of curiosity as to the event of an even- 
ing which had raised such splendid expectations. He 
had rather hoped that all his wife's views on the stranger 
would be disappointed ; but he soon found that he had 
a very different story to hear. 

" Oh, my dear Mr. Bennet," as she entered the room, 
" we have had a most delightful evening, a most excellent 
ball. I wish you had been there. Jane was so admired, 
nothing could be like it. Everybody said how well she 
looked ; and Mr. Bingley thought her quite beautiful, and 
danced with her twice. Only think of tliat, my dear : he 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I/ 

actually danced with her twice ; and she was the only 
creature in the room that he asked a second time. First 
of all, he asked Miss Lucas. I was so vexed to see him 
stand up with her ; but, however, he did not admire her 
at all ; indeed, nobody can, you know ; and he seemed 
quite struck with Jane as she was going down the dance. 
So he inquired who she was, and got introduced, and 
asked her for the two next. Then, the two third he 
danced with Miss King, and the two fourth with Maria 
Lucas, and the two fifth with Jane again, and the two 

sixth with Lizzy, and the Boulanger " 

"If he had had any compassion for me" cried her 
husband impatiently, " he would not have danced half so 
much ! For God's sake, say no more of his partners. O 
that he had sprained his ancle in the first dance ! ): 

" Oh, my dear," continued Mrs. Bennet, " I am quite 
delighted with him. He is so excessively handsome ! 
and his sisters are charming women. I never in my life 
saw anything more elegant than their dresses. I dare say 
the lace upon Mrs. Hurst's gown- 
Here she was interrupted again. Mr. Bennet protested 
against any description of finery. She was therefore 
obliged to seek another branch of the subject, and related, 
with much bitterness of spirit, and some exaggeration, the 
shocking rudeness of Mr. Darcy. 

" But I can assure you," she added, u that Lizzy does 
not lose much by not suiting his fancy ; for he is a most 
disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing. So 
high and so conceited, that there was no enduring him ! 
He walked here, and he walked there, fancying himself 
so very great ! Not handsome enough to dance with ! I 
wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him one 
of your set-downs. I quite detest the man." 

c 





CHAITKk [V. 

HEN Jane and Elizabeth were 
alone, the former, who had been 
cautious in her praise of Mr. 
Bingley before, expressed to 
her sister how very much she 
admired him. 

" He is just what a young- 
man ought to be," said she, " sensible, good-humoured, 
lively ; and I never saw such happy manners ! so much 
ease, with such perfect good breeding ! " 

" He is also handsome," replied Elizabeth, " which a 
young man ought likewise to be if he possibly can. His 
character is thereby complete." 

" I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance 
a second time. I did not expect such a compliment." 

" Did not you ? / did for you. But that is one great 
difference between us. Compliments always take you by 
surprise, and me never. What could be more natural than 
his asking you again ? He could not help seeing that you 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 19 

were about five times as pretty as every other woman in 
the room. No thanks to his gallantry for that. Well, he 
certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leave to like 
him. You have liked many a stupider person." 

" Dear Lizzy ! " 

" Oh, you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like 
people in general. You never see a fault in anybody. 
All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. I 
never heard you speak ill of a human being in my life." 

" I would wish not to be hasty in censuring anyone ; 
but I always speak what I think." 

" I know you do : and it is that which makes the 
wonder. With your good sense, to be so honestly blind 
to the follies and nonsense of others ! Affectation of can- 
dour is common enough ; one meets with it everywhere. 
But to be candid without ostentation or design, to take 
the good of everybody's character and make it still better, 
and say nothing of the bad, belongs to you alone. And 
so, you like this man's sisters, too, do you ? Their man- 
ners arc not equal to his." 

" Certainly not, at first ; but they are very pleasing 
women when you converse with them. Miss Bingley is 
to live with her brother, and keep his house ; and I am 
much mistaken if we shall not find a very charming neigh- 
bour in her." 

Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced : 
their behaviour at the assembly had not been calculated 
to please in general ; and with more quickness of obser- 
vation and less pliancy of temper than her sister, and 
with a judgment, too, unassailcd by any attention to 
herself, she was very little disposed to approve them. 
They were, in fact, very fine ladies ; not deficient in 
good-humour w r hen they were pleased, nor in the power 



20 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

of being agreeable where they chose it ; but proud and 
conceited. They were rather handsome ; had been 
educated in one of the first private seminaries in town ; 
had a fortune of twenty thousand pounds ; were in the 
habit of spending more than they ought, and of associating 
with people of rank ; and were, therefore, in every respect 
entitled to think well of themselves and meanly of others. 
They were of a respectable family in the north of 
England ; a circumstance more deeply impressed on 
their memories than that their brother's fortune and their 
own had been acquired by trade. 

Mr. Bingley inherited property to the amount of nearly 
a hundred thousand pounds from his father, who had 
intended to purchase an estate, but did not live to do it. 
Mr. Bingley intended it likewise, and sometimes made 
choice of his county ; but, as he was now provided with a 
good house and the liberty of a manor, it was doubtful to 
many of those who best knew the easiness of his temper, 
whether he might not spend the remainder of his days at 
Netherfield, and leave the next generation to purchase. 

His sisters were very anxious for his having an estate 
of his own ; but though he was now established only as a 
tenant, Miss Bingley was by no means unwilling to pre- 
side at his table ; nor was Mrs. Hurst, who had married 
a man of more fashion than fortune, less disposed to con- 
sider his house as her home when it suited her. Mr. 
Bingley had not been of age two years when he was 
tempted, by an accidental recommendation, to look at 
Netherfield House. He did look at it, and into it, 
for half an hour ; was pleased with the situation and the 
principal rooms, satisfied with what the owner said in its 
praise, and took it immediately. 

Between him and Darcy there was a very steady 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 21 

friendship, in spite of a great opposition of character. 
Bingley was endeared to Darcy by the easiness, open- 
ness, and ductility of his temper, though no disposition 
could offer a greater contrast to his own, and though 
with his own he never appeared dissatisfied. On the 
strength of Darcy's regard, Bingley had the firmest 
reliance, and of his judgment the highest opinion. In 
understanding, Darcy was the superior. Bingley was by 
no means deficient ; but Darcy was clever. He was at 
the same time haughty, reserved, and fastidious ; and his 
manners, though well bred, were not inviting. In that 
respect his friend had greatly the advantage. 'Bingley 
was sure of being liked wherever he appeared; Darcy 
was continually giving offence. 

The manner in which they spoke of the Meryton 
assembly was sufficiently characteristic. Bingley had 
never met with pleasanter people or prettier girls in his 
life ; everybody had been most kind and attentive to 
him ; there had been no formality, no stiffness ; he had 
soon felt acquainted with all the room ; and as to Miss 
Bennet, he could not conceive an angel more beautiful. 
Darcy, on the contrary, had seen a collection of people 
in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for none 
of whom he had felt the smallest interest, and from 
none received either attention or pleasure. Miss Bennet 
he acknowledged to be pretty ; but she smiled too much. 

Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be so ; but 
still they admired her and liked her, and pronounced her 
to be a sweet girl, and one whom they should not object 
to know more of. Miss Bennet was therefore established 
as a sweet girl ; and their brother felt authorized by such 
commendation to think of her as he chose. 




{Copyright 1894 y Geoi-ge Allen.} 

CHAPTER V. 




Longbourn 



iITHIN a short walk of 
lived a family with whom the Bennets 
were particularly intimate. Sir Wil- 
liam Lucas had been formerly in 
trade in Meryton, where he had 
made a tolerable fortune, and risen 
to the honour of knighthood by an address to the king 
during his mayoralty. The distinction had, perhaps, 
been felt too strongly. It had given him a disgust to 
his business and to his residence in a small market 
town ; and, quitting them both, he had removed with 
his family to a house about a mile from Meryton, 
denominated from that period Lucas Lodge ; where 
he could think with pleasure of his own importance, 
and, unshackled by business, occupy himself solely in 
being civil to all the world. For, though elated by his 
rank, it did not render him supercilious ; on the contrary, 
he was all attention to everybody. By nature inoffensive, 
friendly, and obliging, his presentation at St. James's had 
made him courteous. 

Lady Lucas was a very good kind of woman, not too 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 23 

clever to be a valuable neighbour to Mrs. Bennet. They 
had several children. The eldest of them, a sensible, 
intelligent young woman, about twenty-seven, was Eliza- 
beth's intimate friend. 

That the Miss Lucases and the Miss Bennets should 
meet to talk over a ball was absolutely necessary ; and 
the morning after the assembly brought the former to 
Longbourn to hear and to communicate. 

" You began the evening well, Charlotte," said Mrs. 
Bennet, with civil self-command, to Miss Lucas. " You 
were Mr. Bingley's first choice." 

" Yes ; but he seemed to like his second better." 

; ' Oh, you mean Jane, I suppose, because he danced 
with her twice. To be sure that did seem as .if he 
admired her indeed, I rather believe he did I heard 
something about it but I hardly know what something 
about Mr. Robinson." 

" Perhaps you mean what I overheard between him and 
Mr. Robinson : did not I mention it to you ? Mr. 
Robinson's asking him how he liked our Meryton 
assemblies, and whether he did not think there were a 
great many pretty women in the room, and which he 
thought the prettiest ? and his answering immediately to 
the last question, ' Oh, the eldest Miss Bennet, beyond a 
doubt : there cannot be two opinions on that point.' " 

"Upon my word! Well, that was very decided, 
indeed that does seem as if but, however, it may all 
come to nothing, you know." 

"My overheatings were more to the purpose than 
yours, Eliza," said Charlotte. " Mr. Darcy is not so well 
worth listening to as his friend, is he ? Poor Eliza ! to 
be only just tolerable'' 

" I beg you will not put it into Lizzy's head to be 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICK. 



vexed by his ill-treatment, for he is such a disagreeable 
man that it would be quite a misfortune to be liked by 
him. Mrs. Long told me last night that he sat close to 
her for half an hour without once opening his lips." 



i - f* 

, 




'/iff/out or.ce ofiencnp /HJ ft fa / 

\Copyright 1894 by George Alle>i.\ 

"Are you quite sure, ma'am? Is not there a little 
mistake?" said Jane. "I certainly saw Mr. Darcy 
speaking to her." 

" Ay, because she asked him at last how he liked 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 25 

Netherfield, and he could not help answering her ; but 
she said he seemed very angry at being spoke to." 

" Miss Bingley told me," said Jane, " that he never 
speaks much unless among his intimate acquaintance. 
With tJiem he is remarkably agreeable." 

" I do not believe a word of it, my dear. If he had 
been so very agreeable, he would have talked to Mrs. 
Long. But I can guess how it was ; everybody says 
that he is eat up with pride, and I dare say he had heard 
somehow that Mrs. Long does not keep a carriage, and 
had to come to the ball in a hack chaise." 

" I do not mind his not talking to Mrs. Long," said 
Miss Lucas, " but I wish he had danced with Eliza." 

" Another time, Lizzy," said her mother, " I would not 
dance with him, if I were you." 

" I believe, ma'am, I may safely promise you never to 
dance with him." 

" His pride," said Miss Lucas, " does not offend me so 
much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for 
it. One cannot wonder that so very fine a young man, 
with family, fortune, everything in his favour, should 
think highly of himself. If I may so express it, he has a 
right to be proud." 

" That is very true," replied Elizabeth, " and I could 
easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine'.' 

" Pride," observed Mary, who piqued herself upon the 
solidity of her reflections, " is a very common failing, I 
believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced 
that it is very common indeed ; that human nature is 
particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us 
who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the 
score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. Vanity 
and pride are different things, though the words are often 



26 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



used synonymously. A person may be proud without 
being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of our- 
selves ; vanity to what we would have others think of 
us." 

" If I were as rich as Mr. Darcy," cried a young Lucas, 
who came with his sisters, " I should not care how proud 
I was. I would keep a pack of foxhounds, and drink a 
bottle of wine everv day." 

* * 

" Then you would drink a great deal more than you 
ought," said Airs. Bennet ; " and if I were to see you at 
it, I should take away your bottle directly." 

The boy protested that she should not ; she continued 
to declare that she would ; and the argument ended only 
with the visit. 






CHAPTER VI. 

HE ladies of Longbourn soon waited on 
those of Netherfield. The visit was re- 
turned in due form. Miss Bennet's pleasing 
manners grew on the good- will of Mrs. 
Hurst and Miss Bingley ; and though the 
mother was found to be intolerable, and the younger sisters 
not worth speaking to, a wish of being better acquainted 
with tlieui was expressed towards the two eldest. By Jane 
this attention was received with the greatest pleasure ; 
but Elizabeth still saw superciliousness in their treatment 
of everybody, hardly excepting even her sister, and could 
not like them ; though their kindness to Jane, such as it 
was, had a value, as arising, in all probability, from the 
influence of their brother's admiration. It was generally 
evident, whenever they met, that he did admire her ; and 
to her it was equally evident that Jane was yielding to 
the preference which she had begun to entertain for him 
from the first, and was in a wav to be verv much in love ; 

* 

but she considered with pleasure that it was not likely to 
be discovered by the world in general, since Jane united 
with great strength of feeling, a composure of temper and 
an uniform cheerfulness of manner, which would guard 



28 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

her from the suspicions of the impertinent. She men- 
tioned this to her friend, Miss Lucas. 

" It may, perhaps, be pleasant," replied Charlotte, " to 
be able to impose on the public in such a case ; but it is 
sometimes a disadvantage to be so very guarded. If a 
woman conceals her affection with the same skill from 
the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing 
him ; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe 
the world equally in the dark. There is so much of 
gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is 
not safe to leave any to itself. We can all begin freely- 
a slight preference is natural enough ; but there are very 
few of us who have heart enough to be really in love 
without encouragement. In nine cases out of ten, a 
woman had better show more affection than she feels. 
Bingley likes your sister undoubtedly ; but he may never 
do more than like her, if she does not help him on." 

" But she does help him on, as much as her nature will 
allow. If /can perceive her regard for him, he must be 
a simpleton indeed not to discover it too." 

" Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane's 
disposition as you do." 

" But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not 
endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out." 

" Perhaps he must, if he sees enough of her. But 
though Bingley and Jane meet tolerably often, it is never 
for many hours together ; and as they always see each 
other in large mixed parties, it is impossible that every 
moment should be employed in conversing together. 
Jane should therefore make the most of every half hour 
in which she can command his attention. When she is 
secure of him, there will be leisure for falling in love as 
much as she chooses." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 29 

" Your plan is a good one," replied Elizabeth, " where 
nothing is in question but the desire of being well 
married ; and if I were determined to get a rich husband, 
or any husband, I dare say I should adopt it. But these 
are not Jane's feelings ; she is not acting by design. As 
yet she cannot even be certain of the degree of her own 
regard, nor of its reasonableness. She has known him 
only a fortnight. She danced four dances with him at 
Meryton ; she saw him one morning at his own house, 
and has since dined in company with him four times. 
This is not quite enough to make her understand his 
character." 

" Not as you represent it. Had she merely dined with 
him, she might only have discovered whether he had a 
good appetite ; but you must remember that four 
evenings have been also spent together and four even- 
ings may do a great deal." 

" Yes : these four evenings have enabled them to 
ascertain that they both like Vingt-un better than 
Commerce, but with respect to any other leading charac- 
teristic, I do not imagine that much has been unfolded." 

"Well," said Charlotte, "I wish Jane success with all 
my heart ; and if she were married to him to-morrow, I 
should think she had as good a chance of happiness as if 
she were to be studying his character for a twelvemonth. 
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. 
If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known 
to each other, or ever so similar beforehand, it does not 
advance their felicity in th^ least They always continue 
to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share 
of vexation ; and it is better to know as little as possible 
of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass 
your life." 



3O PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" You make me laugh, Charlotte ; but it is not sound. 
You know it is not sound, and that you would never act 
in this way yourself." 

Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley's attention to her 
sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was 
herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes 
of his friend. Mr. Darcy had at first scarcely allowed 
her to be pretty : he had looked at her without admira- 
tion at the ball ; and when they next met, he looked at 
her only to criticise. But no sooner had he made it 
clear to himself and his friends that she had hardly a 
good feature in her face, than he began to find it was 
rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful ex- 
pression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded 
some others equally mortifying. Though he had detected 
with a critical eye more than one failure of perfect 
symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledge her 
figure to be light and pleasing ; and in spite of his 
asserting that her manners were not those of the fashion- 
able world, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Of 
this she was perfectly unaware : to her he was only the 
man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had 
not thought her handsome enough to dance with. 

He began to wish to know more of her ; and, as a step 
towards conversing with her himself, attended to her 
conversation with others. His doing so drew her notice. 
It was at Sir William Lucas's, where a large party were 
assembled. 

" What does Mr. Darcy mean," said she to Charlotte, 
" by listening to my conversation with Colonel Forster ? " 

" That is a question which Mr. Darcy only can answer." 

" But if he does it any more, I shall certainly let him 
know that I see what he is about. He has a very 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 31 

satirical eye, and if I do not begin by being impertinent 
myself, I shall soon grow afraid of him." 

On his approaching them soon afterwards, though 
without seeming to have any intention of speaking, Miss 
Lucas defied her friend to mention such a subject to 




e tvf r--''f t j of SQVera\ " \.^*>pjriglit < i,i\i>\^e Allen. 






him, which immediately provoking Elizabeth to do it, 
she turned to him and said,- 

' Did not you think, Mr. Darcy, that I expressed 
myself uncommonly well just now, when I was teasing 
Colonel Forster to give us a ball at Meryton?" 

( With great energy ; but it is a subject which always 
makes a ladv energetic." 

- <j 



32 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" You are severe on us." 

"It will be Jicr turn soon to be teased," said Miss 
Lucas. " I am going to open the instrument, Eliza, and 
you knew what follows." 

" You are a very stransre creature bv wav of a friend ! 

* <_> * * 

always wanting me to play and sing before anybody 
and every bod\* ! If my vanity had taken a musical turn, 
you would have been invaluable ; but as it is, I would 
really rather not sit down before those who must be in 
the habit of hearing the very best performers." On Miss 
Lucas's persevering, however, she added, " Very well ; if 
it must be so, it must." And gravely glancing at Mr. 
Darcy, " There is a very fine old saying, which even-body 
here is of course familiar with ' Keep your breath to cool 
your porridge,'- -and I shall keep mine to swell my song." 

Her performance was pleasing, though by no means 
capital. After a song or two, and before she could reply 
to the entreaties of several that she would sing again, she 
was eagerly succeeded at the instrument by her sister 
Mary, who having, in consequence of being the only 
plain one in the family, worked hard for knowledge and 
accomplishments, was always impatient for display. 

Mary had neither genius nor taste ; and though vanity 
had given her application, it had given her likewise a 
pedantic air and conceited manner, which would have 
injured a higher degree of excellence than she had 
reached. Elizabeth, easy and unaffected, had been 
listened to with much more pleasure, though not piaying 
half so well ; and Mar}-, at the end of a long concerto, 
was glad to purchase praise and gratitude by Scotch and 
Irish airs, at the request of her younger sisters, who with 
some of the Lucases, and two or three officers, joined 
eagerly in dancing at one end of the room. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 33 

Mr. Darcy stood near them in silent indignation at 
such a mode of passing the evening, to the exclusion of 
all convers ation, and was too much engrossed by his own 
thoughts to perceive that Sir William Lucas was hi;> 
neighbour, till Sir William thus began : 

" What a charming amusement for young people thi> 
is, Mr. Darcy ! There is nothing like dancing, after all. 
I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished 
societies." 

" Certainly, sir ; and it has the advantage also of being 
in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the 
world : even* savage can dance." 

Sir William" only smiled. " Your friend performs 
delightfully," he continued, after a pause, on seeing 
Bingley join the group ; " and I doubt not that you are 
an adept in the science yourself, Mr. Darcy." 

" You saw me dance at Mervton. I believe, sir." 

J 

'' Yes, indeed, and received no inconsiderable pleasure 
from the sight. Do you often dance at St. James's ? " 

" Never, sir." 

" Do you not think it would be a proper compliment 
to the place?" 

" It is a compliment which I never pay to any place if 
I can avoid it." 

" You have a house in town, I conclude ? " 

Mr. Darcv bowed. 

j 

' I had once some thoughts of fixing in town myself, 
for I am fond of superior society; but I did not feel 
quite certain that the air of London would agree with 
Lady Lucas." 

He paused in hopes of an answer : but his companion 
was not disposed to make any; and Elizabeth at that 
instant moving towards them, he was struck with the 

D 



34 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

notion of doing a very gallant thing, and called out to 
her, 

" My dear Miss Eliza, why are not you dancing ? Mr. 
Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady to 
you as a very desirable partner. You cannot refuse to 
dance, I am sure, when so much beauty is before you." 
And, taking her hand, he would have given it to Mr. 
Darcy, who, though extremely surprised, was not un- 
willing to receive it, when she instantly drew back, and 
said with some discomposure to Sir William, 

" Indeed, sir, I have not the least intention of dancing. 
I entreat you not to suppose that I moved this way 
in order to beg for a partner." 

Mr. Darcy, with grave propriety, requested to be 
allowed the honour of her hand, but in vain. Elizabeth 
was determined ; nor -did Sir William at all shake her 
purpose by his attempt at persuasion. 

" You excel so much in the dance, Miss Eliza, that it 
is cruel to deny me the happiness of seeing you ; and 
though this gentleman dislikes the amusement in general, 
he can have no objection, I am sure, to oblige us for one 
half hour." 

" Mr. Darcy is all politeness," said Elizabeth, smiling. 

" He is, indeed : but considering the inducement, my 
dear Miss Eliza, we cannot wonder at his complaisance ; 
for who would object to such a partner ? " 

Elizabeth looked archly, and turned away. Her 
resistance had not injured her with the gentleman, and 
he was thinking of her with some complacency, when 
thus accosted by Miss Bingley, 

" I can guess the subject of your reverie." 

" I should imagine not." 

" You are considering how insupportable it would be 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 35 

to pass many evenings in this manner, in such society ; 
and, indeed, I am quite of your opinion. I was never 
more annoyed ! The insipidity, and yet the noise the 
nothingness, and yet the self-importance, of all these 
people ! What would I give to hear your strictures on 
them ! " 

" Your conjecture is totally wrong, I assure you. My 
mind was more agreeably engaged. I have been medi- 
tating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine 
eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow." 

Miss Bingley immediately fixed her eyes on his face, 
and desired he would tell her what lady had the credit 
of inspiring such reflections. Mr. Darcy replied, with 
great intrepidity , 

" Miss Elizabeth Bennet." 

" Miss Elizabeth Bennet ! " repeated Miss Bingley. " I 
am all astonishment. How long has she been such a 
favourite ? and pray when am I to wish you joy ? " 

" That is exactly the question which I expected you to 
ask. A lady's imagination is very rapid ; it jumps from 
admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment. 
I knew you would be wishing me joy." 

" Nay, if you are so serious about it, I shall consider 
the matter as absolutely settled. You will have a charm- 
ing mother-in-law, indeed, and of course she will be 
always at Pemberley with you." 

He listened to her with perfect indifference, while she 
chose to entertain herself in this manner ; and as his 
composure convinced her that all was safe, her wit flowed 
along. 



I 






\ 



v^ : 



ft 










- " 





mm 

ifjSe 

m 

. & -. \ 



[Cofyright i&i. 



CHAPTER VII. 



R. BEXXET'S propert\* con- 
sisted almost entirely in an 

j 

estate of two thousand a year, 
which, unfortunately for his 
daughters, was entailed, in de- 
fault of heirs male, on a distant 
relation ; and their mother's 




fortune, though ample for her situation in life, could but 
ill supply the deficiency of his. Her father had been an 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 37 

attorney in Meryton, and had left her four thousand 
pounds. 

She had a sister married to a Mr. Philips, who had 
been a clerk to their father and succeeded him in the 
business, and a brother settled in London in a respectable 
line of trade. 

The village of Longbourn was only one mile from 
Meryton ; a most convenient distance for the young 
ladies, who were usually tempted thither three or four 
times a week, to pay their duty to their aunt, and to a 
milliner's shop just over the way. The two youngest of 
the family, Catherine and Lydia, were particularly 
frequent in these attentions : their minds were more 
vacant than their sisters', and when nothing better 
offered, a walk to Meryton was necessary to amuse their 
morning hours and furnish conversation for the evening ; 
and, however bare of news the country in general might 
be, they always contrived to learn some from their aunt. 
At present, indeed, they were well supplied both with 
news and happiness by the recent arrival of a militia 
regiment in the neighbourhood ; it was to remain the 
whole winter, and Meryton was the head-quarters. 

Their visits to Mrs. Philips were now productive of the 
most interesting intelligence. Every day added some- 
thing to their knowledge of the officers' names and 
connections. Their lodgings were not long a secret, and 
at length they began to know the officers themselves. 
Mr. Philips visited them all, and this opened to his 
nieces a source of felicity unknown before. They could 
talk of nothing but officers ; and Mr. Bingley's large 
fortune, the mention of which gave animation to their 
mother, was worthless in their eyes when opposed to the 
regimentals of an ensign. 



38 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

After listening one morning to their effusions on this 
subject, Mr. Bennet coolly observed, 

" From all that I can collect by your manner of talk- 
ing, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. 
I have suspected it some time, but I am now convinced." 

Catherine was disconcerted, and made no answer ; but 
Lydia, with perfect indifference, continued to express her 
admiration of Captain Carter, and her hope of seeing him 
in the course of the day, as he was going the next 
morning to London. 

" I am astonished, my dear," said Mrs. Bennet, " that 
you should be so read}- to think your own children silly. 
If I wished to think slightingly of anybody's children, it 
should not be of my own, however." 

''If my children are sill};, I must hope to be always 
sensible of it." 

" Yes ; but as it happens, the}' are all of them very 
clever." 

" This is the only point, I flatter myself, on which we 
do not agree. I had hoped that our sentiments coincided 
in every particular, but I must so far differ from you 
as to think our two youngest daughters uncommonly 
foolish." 

" My dear Mr. Bennet, you must not expect such girls 
to have the sense of their father and mother. \Yhen 
the}- get to our age, I dare say they will not think about 
officers an}- more than we do. I remember the time 
when I liked a red coat myself very well and, indeed, 
so I do still at my heart ; and if a smart young colonel, 
with five or six thousand a year, should want one of my 
girls, I shall not say nay to him ; and I thought Colonel 
Forster looked very becoming the other night at Sir 
William's in his regimentals." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 39 

" Mamma," cried Lydia, " my aunt says that Colonel 
Forster and Captain Carter do not go so often to Miss 
Watson's as they did when they first came ; she sees 
them now very often standing in Clarke's library." 

Mrs. Bennet was prevented replying by the entrance of 
the footman with a note for Miss Bennet ; it came from 
Netherfield, and the servant waited for an answer. Mrs. 
Bennet's eyes sparkled with pleasure, and she was eagerly 
calling out, while her daughter read, 

" Well, Jane, who is it from ? What is it about ? What 
does he say ? Well, Jane, make haste and tell us ; make 
haste, my love." 

" It is from Miss Bingley," said Jane, and then read it 
aloud. 

" My dear friend, 

" If you are not so compassionate as to dine to-day 
with Louisa and me, we shall be in danger of hating each 
other for the rest of our lives ; for a whole day's tcte-a-tcte 
between two women can never end without a quarrel. 
Come as soon as you can on the receipt of this. My 
brother and the gentlemen are to dine with the officers. 
Yours ever, 

" CAROLINE BINGLEY." 

" With the officers ! " cried Lydia : " I wonder my aunt 
did not tell us of that'' 

" Dining out," said Mrs. Bennet ; "that is very unlucky." 

" Can I have the carriage ? " said Jane. 

" No, my dear, you had better go on horseback, because 
it seems likely to rain ; and then you must stay all night." 

" That would be a good scheme," said Elizabeth, " if 
you were sure that they would not offer to send her home." 



40 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



" Oh, but the gentlemen will have Mr. Bingley's chaise 
to go to Meryton ; and the Hursts have no horses to 
theirs." 

" I had much rather go in the coach." 

" But, my dear, your father cannot spare the horses, I 




am sure. They are wanted in the farm, Mr. Bennet, are 
not they ? " 

' They are wanted in the farm much oftener than I 
can get them." 

" But if you have got them to-day," said Elizabeth, 
" my mother's purpose will be answered." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 41 

She did at last extort from her father an acknowledg- 
ment that the horses were engaged ; Jane was therefore 
obliged to go on horseback, and her mother attended her 
to the door with many cheerful prognostics of a bad day. 
Her hopes were answered ; Jane had not been gone long 
before it rained hard. Her sisters were uneasy for her, 
but her mother was delighted. The rain continued the 
whole evening without intermission ; Jane certainly could 
not come back. 

" This was a lucky idea of mine, indeed ! ' said Mrs. 
Bennet, more than once, as if the credit of making it rain 
were all her own. Till the next morning, however, she 
was not aware of all the felicity of her contrivance. 
Breakfast was scarcely over when a servant from Nether- 
field brought the following note for Elizabeth : 

" My dearest 'Lizzie, 

" I find myself very unwell this morning, which, I sup- 
pose, is to be imputed to my getting wet through yester- 
day. My kind friends will not hear of my returning 
home till I am better. They insist also on my seeing 
Mr. Jones therefore do not be alarmed if you should 
hear of his having been to me and, excepting a sore 
throat and a headache, there is not much the matter 
with me. 

" Yours, etc." 

" Well, my dear," said Mr. Bennet, when Elizabeth had 
read the note aloud, " if your daughter should have a 
dangerous fit of illness if she should die it would be a 
comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley, 
and under your orders." 

44 Oh. I am not at all afraid of her dying. People do 



42 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

not die of little trifling colds. She will be taken good 
care of. As long as she stays there, it is all very well. 
I would go and see her if I could have the carriage." 

Elizabeth, feeling really anxious, determined to go to 
her, though the carriage was not to be had : and as she 
was no horsewoman, walking was her only alternative. 
She declared her resolution. 

" How can you be so silly," cried her mother, " as to 
think of such a thing, in all this dirt ! You will not be 
fit to be seen when you get there." 

" I shall be very fit to see Jane which is all I want." 

" Is this a hint to me, Lizzy," said her father, " to send 
for the horses ? ' : 

" No, indeed. I do not wish to avoid the walk. The 
distance is nothing, when one has a motive ; only three 
miles. I shall be back by dinner." 

" I admire the activity of your benevolence," observed 
Mary, " but every impulse of feeling should be guided by 
reason ; and, in my opinion, exertion should always be in 
proportion to what is required." 

"We will go as far as Meryton with you," said Catherine 
and Lydia. Elizabeth accepted their company, and the 
three young ladies set off together. 

" If we make haste," said Lydia, as they walked along. 
" perhaps we may see something of Captain Carter, before 
he goes." 

In Meryton they parted : the two youngest repaired to 
the lodgings of one of the officers' wives, and Elizabeth 
continued her walk alone, crossing field after field at a 
quick pace, jumping over stiles and springing over puddles, 
with impatient activity, and finding herself at last within 
view of the house, with weary ancles, dirty stockings, and 
a face glowing with the warmth of exercise. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 43 

She was shown into the breakfast parlour, where all but 
Jane were assembled, and where her appearance created 
a great deal of surprise. That she should have walked 
three miles so early in the day in such dirty weather, and 
by herself, was almost incredible to Mrs. Hurst and Miss 
Bingley ; and Elizabeth was convinced that they held 
her in contempt for it. She was received, however, very 
politely by them ; and in their brother's manners there 
was something better than politeness there was good- 
humour and kindness. Mr. Darcy said very little, and 
Mr. Hurst nothing at all. The former was divided 
between admiration of the brilliancy which exercise had 
given to her complexion and doubt as to the occasion's 
justifying her coming so far alone. The latter was 
thinking only of his breakfast. 

Her inquiries after her sister were not very favourably 
answered. Miss Bennet had slept ill, and though up, was 
very feverish, and not well enough to leave her room. 
Elizabeth was glad to be taken to her immediately ; and 
Jane, who had only been withheld by the fear of giving 
alarm or inconvenience, from expressing in her note how 
much she longed for such a visit, was delighted at her 
entrance. She was not equal, however, to much conver- 
sation ; and when Miss Bingley left them together, could 
attempt little beside expressions of gratitude for the 
extraordinary kindness she was treated with. Elizabeth 
silently attended her. 

When breakfast was over, they were joined by the 
sisters ; and Elizabeth began to like them herself, when 
she saw how much affection and solicitude they showed 
for Jane. The apothecary came ; and having examined 
his patient, said, as might be supposed, that she had 
caught a violent cold, and that they must endeavour to 



44 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



get the better of it ; advised her to return to bed, and 
promised her some draughts. The advice was followed 

readily, for the feverish 
symptoms increased, and 
her head ached acutely. 
Elizabeth did not quit 
her room for a moment, 
nor were the other ladies 
often absent ; the gentle- 
men being out, they had 
in fact nothing to do else- 
where. 

When the clock struck 
three, Elizabeth felt that 
she must go, and very 
unwillingly said so. Miss 
Bingley offered her the 
carriage, and she only 
wanted a little pressing 
to accept it, when Jane 
testified such concern at 
parting with her that 
Miss Bingley was obliged 
to convert the offer of the 
chaise into an invitation 
to remain at Netherfield 
for the present. Elizabeth 
most thankfully con- 
sented, and a servant was despatched to Longbourn, to 
acquaint the family with her stay, and bring back a 
supply of clothes. 





'couerin9 a. screen' 



CHAPTER VIII. 

T five o'clock the two ladies re- 
tired to dress, and at half-past 
six Elizabeth was summoned to 
dinner. To the civil inquiries 
which then poured in, and 
amongst which she had the 
pleasure of distinguishing the 
much superior solicitude of Mr. 
Bingley, she could not make a very favourable answer. 




46 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Jane was by no means better. The sisters, on hearing 
this, repeated three or four times how much they were 
grieved, how shocking it was to have a bad cold, and 
how excessively they disliked being ill themselves ; and 
then thought no more of the matter : and their indiffe- 
rence towards Jane, when not immediately before them, 
restored Elizabeth to the enjoyment of all her original 
dislike. 

Their brother, indeed, was the only one of the party 
whom she could regard with any complacency. His 
anxiety for Jane was evident, and his attentions to herself 
most pleasing ; and they prevented her feeling herself so 
much an intruder as she believed she was considered by 
the others. She had very little notice from any but him. 
Miss Bingley was engrossed by Mr. Darcy, her sister 
scarcely less so ; and as for Mr. Hurst, by whom Eliza- 
beth sat, he was an indolent man, who lived only to eat, 
drink, and play at cards, who, when he found her prefer 
a plain dish to a ragout, had nothing to say to her. 

When dinner was over, she returned directly to Jane, 
and Miss Bingley began abusing her as soon as she was 
out of the room. Her manners were pronounced to be 
very bad indeed, a mixture of pride and impertinence : 
she had no conversation, no style, no taste, no beauty. 
Mrs. Hurst thought the same, and added, 

" She has nothing, in short, to recommend her, but 
being an excellent walker. I shall never forget her 
appearance this morning. She really looked almost 
wild." 

"She did indeed, Louisa. I could hardly keep my 
countenance. Very nonsensical to come at all ! Why 
must she be scampering about the country, because her 
sister had a cold ? Her hair so untidy, so blowzy ! " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 47 

" Yes, and her petticoat ; I hope you saw her petticoat, 
six inches deep in mud, I am absolutely certain, and the 
gown which had been let down to hide it not doing its 
office." 

" Your picture may be very exact, Louisa," said 
Bingley ; " but this was all lost upon me. I thought 
Miss Elizabeth Bennet looked remarkably well when she 
came into the room this morning. Her dirty petticoat 
quite escaped my notice." 

" You observed it, Mr. Darcy, I am sure," said Miss 
Bingley ; " and I am inclined to think that you would 
not wish to see your sister make such an exhibition." 

" Certainly not." 

" To walk three miles, or four miles, or five miles, or 
whatever it is, above her ancles in dirt, and alone, quite 
alone ! what could she mean by it ? It seems to me to 
show an abominable sort of conceited independence, a 
most country-town indifference to decorum." 

"It shows an affection for her sister that is very 
pleasing," said Bingley. 

" I am afraid, Mr. Darcy," observed Miss Bingley, in a 
half whisper, " that this adventure has rather affected 
your admiration of her fine eyes." 

" Not at all," he replied : " they were brightened by 
the exercise." A short pause followed this speech, and 
Mrs. Hurst began again, 

" I have an excessive regard for Jane Bennet, she is 
really a very sweet girl, and I wish with all my heart 
she were well settled. But with such a father and 
mother, and such low connections, I am afraid there is 
no chance of it." 

" I think I have heard you say that their uncle is an 
attorney in Meryton ? 



48 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Yes ; and they have another, who lives somewhere 
near Cheapside." 

" That is capital," added her sister ; and they both 
laughed heartily. 

" If they had uncles enough to fill all Cheapside," 
cried Bingley, " it would not make them one jot less 
agreeable." 

" But it must very materially lessen their chance of 
marrying men of any consideration in the world," replied 
Darcy. 

To this speech Bingley made no answer ; but his 
sisters gave it their hearty assent, and indulged their 
mirth for some time at the expense of their dear friend's 
vulgar relations. 

\Yith a renewal of tenderness, however, they repaired 
to her room on leaving the dining-parlour, and sat with 
her till summoned to coffee. She was still very poorly, 
and Elizabeth would not quit her at all, till late in the 
evening, when she had the comfort of seeing her asleep, 
and when it appeared to her rather right than pleasant that 
she should go down stairs herself. On entering the draw- 
ing-room, she found the whole party at loo, and was imme- 
diately invited to join them ; but suspecting them to be 
playing high, she declined it, and making her sister the 
excuse, said she would amuse herself, for the short time 
she could stay below, with a book. Mr. Hurst looked at 
her with astonishment. 

" Do you prefer reading to cards?" said he; "that is 
rather singular." 

" Miss Eliza Bennet," said Miss Bingley, " despises 
cards. She is a great reader, and has no pleasure in 
anything else." 

" I deserve neither such praise nor such censure," cried 



PKi'DE AXD PREJUDICE. 49 

Elizabeth ; " I am not a great reader, and I have pleasure 
in man) T things." 

" In nursing your sister I am sure you have pleasure," 
said Bingley ; " and I hope it will soon be increased by 
seeing her quite well." 

Elizabeth thanked him from her heart, and then walked 
towards a table where a few books were Ivinsf. He 

j o 

immediately offered to fetch her others ; all that his 
library afforded. 

" And I wish my collection were larger for your benefit 
and my own credit; but I am an idle fellow; and 
though I have not man}*, I have more than I ever looked 
into." 

Elizabeth assured him that she could suit herself 
perfectly with those in the room. 

" I am astonished," said Miss Bingley, " that my father 
should have left so small a collection of books. "What a 
delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy !" 

"It ought to be good," he replied: "it has been the 
\vork of many generations." 

" And then you have added so much to it yourself 
you are always buying books." 

" I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library 
in such days as these." 

" Neglect ! I am sure you neglect nothing that can 
add to the beauties of that noble place. Charles, when 
you build your house, I wish it may be half as delightful 
as Pemberley." 

" I wish it mav." 

j 

" But I would really advise you to make your purchase 
in that neighbourhood, and take Pemberley for a kind of 
model. There is not a finer county in England than 
'Derbyshire." 

E 



5O PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"With all my heart: I will buy Pemberley itself, if 
Darcy will sell it." 

" I am talking of possibilities, Charles." 

" Upon my word, Caroline, I should think it more 
possible to get Pemberley by purchase than by imita- 
tion." 

Elizabeth was so much caught by what passed, as to 
leave her very little attention for her book ; and, soon 
laying it wholly aside, she drew near the card-table, and 
stationed herself between Mr. Bingley and his eldest 
sister, to observe the game. 

" Is Miss Darcy much grown since the spring?" said 
Miss Bingley: " will she be as tall as I am ?" 

" I think she will. She is now about Miss Elizabeth 
Bennet's height, or rather taller." 

" How I long to see her again ! I never met with any- 
body who delighted me so much. Such a countenance, 
such manners, and so extremely accomplished for her 
age ! Her performance on the pianoforte is exquisite." 

" It is amazing to me," said Bingley, " how young 
ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished as 
they all are." 

" All young ladies accomplished ! My dear Charles, 
what do you mean ? " 

" Yes, all of them, I think. They all paint tables, 
cover screens, and net purses. I scarcely know any one 
who cannot do all this ; and I am sure I never heard a 
young lady spoken of for the first time, without being 
informed that she was very accomplished." 

" Your list of the common extent of accomplishments," 
said Darcy, " has too much truth. The word is applied 
to many a woman who deserves it no otherwise than by 
netting a purse or covering a screen ; but I am very far" 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 51 

from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in 
general. I cannot boast of knowing more than half-a- 
dozen in the whole range of my acquaintance that are 
really accomplished." 

" Nor I, I am sure," said Miss Bingley. 

" Then," observed Elizabeth, " you must compre- 
hend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished 



woman.' 



" Yes ; I do comprehend a great deal in it." 

" Oh, certainly," cried his faithful assistant, " no one 
can be really esteemed accomplished who does not 
greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman 
must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, draw- 
ing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the 
word ; and, besides all this, she must possess a certain 
something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of 
her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will 
be but half deserved." 

" All this she must possess," added Darcy ; " and to all 
she must yet add something more substantial in the 
improvement of her mind by extensive reading." 

" I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six 
accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your 
knowing a)iy" 

" Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt 
the possibility of all this ? " 

" / never saw such a woman. / never saw such capa- 
city, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you 
describe, united." 

Mrs. I hirst and Miss Bingley both cried out against 
the injustice of her implied doubt, and were both pro- 
testing that the\- knew man}' women who answered this 
"description, when Mr. Hurst called them to order, with 



52 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

bitter complaints of their inattention to what was going 
forward. As all conversation was thereby at an end, 
Elizabeth soon afterwards left the room. 

" Eliza Bennet," said Miss Bingley, when the door was 
closed on her, " is one of those young ladies who seek to 
recommend themselves to the other sex by undervaluing 
their own ; and with many men, I daresay, it succeeds ; 
but, in my opinion, it is a paltry device, a very mean 
art." 

" Undoubtedly," replied Darcy, to whom this remark 
was chiefly addressed, " there is meanness in all the 
arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for 
captivation. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is 
despicable." 

Miss Bingley was not so entirely satisfied with this 
reply as to continue the subject. 

Elizabeth joined them again only to say that her 
sister was worse, and that she could not leave her. 
Bingley urged Mr. Jones's being sent for immediately ; 
while his sisters, convinced that no country advice could 
be of any service, recommended an express to town for 
one of the most eminent physicians. This she would 
not hear of; but she was not so unwilling to comply 
with their brother's proposal ; and it was settled that 
Mr. Jones should be sent for early in the morning, if 
Miss Bennet were not decidedly better. Bingley was 
quite uncomfortable ; his sisters declared that they were 
miserable. They solaced their wretchedness, however, 
by duets after supper ; while he could find no better 
relief to his feelings than by giving his housekeeper 
directions that even- possible attention might be paid to 
the sick ladv and her sister. 




[Copyright 1894 by George Allen.} 

CHAPTER IX. 

'LIZABETH passed the chief of the 
night in her sister's room, and in the 
morning had the pleasure of being 
able to send a tolerable answer to 
the inquiries which she very early 
received from Mr. Bingley by a 
housemaid, and some time after- 
^ wards from the two elegant ladies 
who waited on his sisters. In spite of this amendment, 




: [ FRIPE AND rRETUPICE. 

however, she requested to have a note sent to Long- 
bourn, desiring her mother to visit Jane, and form her 
own judgment of her situation. The note was immedi- 
ately despatched, and i;s c ^.itents as quickly complied 
with. Mrs. Bonnet, accompanied by her two youngest 
girls, reached Netherfield soon after the family breakfast. 

Had she found Jane in any apparent danger. Mrs. 
Bonnet would have been very miserable; but be:"_ 
satisfied on seeing her that her illness was not alarming, 
she had no wish of her recovering immediately, as her 
res; ration to health would probably remove her from 
Netherfield. She would not listen, therefore, to her 
daughter's proposal of being carried home ; neither did 
the apothecary, who arrived about the same time, think 
it at all advisable. After sitting a little while with Jane, 
on Miss Bingiey's appearance and invitation, the mother 
and three daughters all attended her into the breakfast 

.lour. Binglcy met them with hopes that Mrs. Bonnet 
had not found Miss Bonnet worse than she expected. 

" Indeed I have, sir." was her answer. " She is a great 
deal too ill to be moved. Mr. Jones says we must not 
think of moving her. \Ye must trespass a little longer 
n votir kindness." 

m 

11 Removed ! " cried Binqlev. " It must not be thought 

*z - *j 

of. My sister, I am sure, will not hear of her removal." 

" You may depend upon it, madam," said Miss Bingley, 
with cold civility, " that Miss Bennet shall receive even- 
possible attention while she remains with us." 

Mrs. Bonnet was profuse in her acknowledgments. 

" I am sure." she added. ' v if it was not for such good 

friends. I do not know what would become of her. for 

she is very ill indeed, and sutlers a vast deal, though 

with the greatest patience in the world, which is always 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 55 

the way with her, for she has, without exception, the 
sweetest temper I ever met with. I often tell my other 
girls they are nothing to her. You have a sweet room 
here, Mr. Bingley, and a charming prospect over that 
gravel walk. I do not know a place in the country that 
is equal to Netherfield. You will not think of quitting 
it in a hurry, I hope, though you have but a short lease." 

" Whatever I do is done in a hurry," replied he ; " and 
therefore if I should resolve to quit Netherfield, I should 
probably be off in five minutes. At present, however, I 
consider myself as quite fixed here." 

" That is exactly what I should have supposed of you," 
said Elizabeth. 

" You begin to comprehend me, do you ? " cried he, 
turning towards her. 

" Oh yes I understand you perfectly." 

" I wish I might take this for a compliment ; but to be 
so easily seen through, I am afraid, is pitiful." 

" That is as it happens. It does not necessarily follow 
that a deep, intricate character is more or less estimable 
than such a one as yours." 

" Lizzy," cried her mother, " remember where you are, 
and do not run on in the wild manner that you are 
suffered to do at home." 

" I did not know before," continued Bingley, immedi- 
ately, " that you were a studier of character. It must be 
an amusing study." 

" Yes ; but intricate characters are the most amusing. 
They have at least that advantage." 

" The country," said Darcy, " can in general supply 
but few subjects for such a study. In a country neigh- 
bourhood you move in a very confined and unvarying 
society." 



:; PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" But people themselves alter so much, that there is 
something new to be observed in them for ever." 

o 

" Ye?, indeed." cried Mrs. Bennet. offended by his 
manner of mentioning a count:-.- neighbourhood. %- I 

- 

- are you there is quite as much of tJiat going on in 
the countrv as in town." 

d 

Even-body was surprised : and Darcy, after looking at 
her for a moment, turned silently away. Mrs. Bennet, 
who fancied she had gained a complete victory over him, 
continued her triumph, 

I cannot see that London has any great advantage 

:r the country, for my part, except the shops and 
: places. The country is a vast deal pleasanter, is 
not it, Mr. Bingley?" 

" When I am in the country," he replied, " I never 

. -h to leave it; and when I am in town, it is pretty 
much the same. They have each their advantages, and 
I can be equally happy in either." 

Ay, that is because you have the right disposition. 
But that gentleman," looking at Darcy, " seemed to think 
the country was nothing at all." 

Indeed, mamma, you are mistaken/' said Elizabeth, 
blushing for her mother. " You quite mistook Mr. Darcy. 
He only meant that there was not such a variety of people 
to be met with in the country as in town, which you must 
a : knowledge to be true.'' 

Certainly, my dear, nobody said there were : but as 
to not meeting with many people in this neighbourhood, 
I believe there are few neighbourhoods larger. I know 

o o 

we dine with four-and-twenty famil: 

Xothir.j but concern for Elizabeth could enable 
B::t;;'ey t keep his countenance. His sister was I 

delicate, and directed her eye towards Mr. Darcy with a 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 57 

very expressive smile. Elizabeth, for the sake of saying 
something that mi^ht turn her mothers thoughts, now 

o o o 

asked her if Charlotte Lucas had been at Longbourn 
since her coming away. 

" Yes, she called yesterday with her father. What an 
agreeable man Sir William is, Mr. Bingley is not he? 
so much the man of fashion ! so genteel and so easy ! 

He has alwavs something to sav to evervbodv. That is 

. - 

my idea of good breeding : and those persons who fancy 
themselves very important and never open their mouths 
quite mistake the matter." 

" Did Charlotte dine with you ? " 

" Xo, she would go home. I fancy she was wanted 
about the mince-pies. For my part, Mr. Bingley, / 
always keep sen-ants that can do their own work : my 
daughters are brought up differently. But even-body is 
to judge for themselves, and the Lucases are a very good 
sort of girls, I assure you. It is a pity they are not 
handsome! Xot that /think Charlotte so :. _ plain; 
but then she is our particular friend." 

" She seems a very pleasant young woman," said Bingley. 

" Oh dear, yes ; but you must own she is very plain. 
Lady Lucas herself has often said so, and envied me 
Jane's beaut}-. I do not like to boast of my own chi. I 
but to be sure. Jane one does not often see anybody 
better looking. It is what evervbodv savs. I do not 

<J f -r 

trust my own partiality. When she was only fifteen 
there was a crentlemen at mv brother Gardiner's in town 

o 

so much in love with her, that my sister-in-law was sure 
he would make her an otter before we came away. But, 
however, he did not. Perhaps he thought her too young. 
However, he wrote some verses on her, and very pretty 
thev were." 



58 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" And so ended his affection," said Elizabeth, impa- 
tiently. " There has been many a one, I fancy, overcome 
in the same way. I wonder who first discovered the 
efficacy of poetry in driving away love ! " 

" I have been used to consider poetry as the food of 
love," said Darcy. 

" Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Everything 
nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a 
slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one 
good sonnet will starve it entirely away." 

Darcy only smiled ; and the general pause which 
ensued made Elizabeth tremble lest her mother should 
be exposing herself again. She longed to speak, but 
could think of nothing to say ; and after a short silence 
Mrs. Bennet began repeating her thanks to Mr. Bingley 
for his kindness to Jane, with an apology for troubling 
him also with "Lizzy. Mr. Bingley was unaffectedly civil 
in his answer, and forced his younger sister to be civil 
also, and say what the occasion required. She performed 
her part, indeed, without much graciousness, but Mrs. 
Bennet was satisfied, and soon afterwards ordered her 
carriage. Upon this signal, the youngest of her daughters 
put herself forward. The two girls had been whispering 
to each other during the whole visit ; and the result of it 
was, that the youngest should tax Mr. Bingley with 
having promised on his first coming into the country to 
give a ball at Netherfield. 

Lydia was a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen, with a 
fine complexion and good-humoured countenance ; a 
favourite with her mother, whose affection had brought 
her into public at an early age. She had high animal 
spirits, and a sort of natural self-consequence, which the 
attentions of the officers, to whom her uncle's good 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 59 

dinners and her own easy manners recommended her, 
had increased into assurance. She was very equal, there- 
fore, to address Mr. Bingley on the subject of the ball, 
and abruptly reminded him of his promise ; adding, that 
it would be the most shameful thing in the world if he 
did not keep it. His answer to this sudden attack was 
delightful to her mother's ear. 

" I am perfectly ready, I assure you, to keep my 
engagement ; and, when your sister is recovered, you 
shall, if you please, name the very day of the ball. But 
you would not wish to be dancing while she is ill ? " 

Lydia declared herself satisfied. " Oh yes it would 
be much better to wait till Jane was well ; and by that 
time, most likely, Captain Carter would be at Meryton 
again. And when you have given your ball," she added, 
" I shall insist on their giving one also. I shall tell 
Colonel Forster it will be quite a shame if he does not." 

Mrs. Bennet and her daughters then departed, and 
Elizabeth returned instantly to Jane, leaving her own 
and her relations' behaviour to the remarks of the two 
ladies and Mr. Darcy ; the latter of whom, however, 
could not be prevailed on to join in their censure of her, 
in spite of all Miss Bingley's witticisms on fine eyes. 





ing-room. 



CHAPTER X. 

HE day passed much as the day before 
had done. Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley 
had spent some hours of the morning 
with the invalid, who continued, though 
slowly, to mend ; and, in the evening, 
Elizabeth joined their party in the draw- 
The loo table, however, did not appear. Mr. 
Darcy was writing, and Miss Bingley, seated near him, 
was watching the progress of his letter, and repeatedly 
calling off his attention by messages to his sister. Mr. 
Hurst and Mr. Bingley were at piquet, and Mrs. Hurst 
was observing their game. 

Elizabeth took up some needlework, and was sufficiently 
amused in attending to what passed between Darcy and 
his companion. The perpetual commendations of the lady 
either on his hand-writing, or on the evenness of his lines, 
or on the length of his letter, with the perfect unconcern 
with which her praises were received, formed a curious 
dialogue, and was exactly in unison with her opinion of 
each. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 6l 

" How delighted Miss Darcy will be to receive bach a 
letter ! " 

He made no answer. 

" You write uncommonly fast." 

" You are mistaken. I write rather slowly." 

" How many letters you must have occasion to write 
in the course of a year ! Letters of business, too ! How 
odious I should think them ! " 

" It is fortunate, then, that they fall to my lot instead 
of to yours." 

" Pray tell your sister that I long to see her." 

" I have already told her so once, by your desire." 

" I am afraid you do not like your pen. Let me mend 
it for you. I mend pens remarkably well." 

" Thank you but I always mend my own." 

" How can you contrive to write so even ? " 

He was silent. 

"Tell your sister I am delighted to hear of her 
improvement on the harp, and pray let her know that I 
am quite in raptures with her beautiful little design for a 
table, and I think it infinitely superior to Miss Grantley's." 

" Will you give me leave to defer your raptures till I 
write again ? At present I have not room to do them 
justice." 

" Oh, it is of no consequence. I shall see her in 
January. But do you always write such charming long 
letters to her, Mr. Darcy ? " 

" They are generally long ; but whether always 
charming, it is not for me to determine." 

"It is a rule with me, that a person who can write a 
long letter with ease cannot write ill." 

" That will not do for a compliment to Darcy, Caroline," 
cried her brother, " because he does not write with ease. 



62 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

He studies too much for words of four syllables. Do 
not you, Darcy ? " 

" My style of writing is very different from yours." 

41 Oh," cried Miss Bingley, " Charles writes in the most 
careless way imaginable. He leaves out half his words, 
and blots the rest." 

" My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to 
express them ; by which means my letters sometimes 
convey no ideas at all to my correspondents." 

" Your humility, Mr. Bingley," said Elizabeth, " must 
disarm reproof." 

" Nothing is more deceitful," said Darcy, " than the 
appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of 
opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast." 

"And which of the two do you call tny little recent 
piece of modesty ? " 

"The indirect boast ; for you are really proud of your 
defects in writing, because you consider them as proceed- 
ing from a rapidity of thought and carelessness of 
execution, which, if not estimable, you think at least 
highly interesting. The power of doing anything with 
quickness is always much prized by the possessor, and 
often without any attention to the imperfection of the 
performance. When you told Mrs. Bennet this morning, 
that if you ever resolved on quitting Xetherfield you 
should be gone in five minutes, you meant it to be a sort 
of panegyric, of compliment to yourself; and yet what 
is there so very laudable in a precipitance which must 
leave very necessary business undone, and can be of no 
real advantage to yourself or anyone else ? " 

" Xay," cried Bingley, " this is too much, to remember 
at night all the foolish things that were said in the 
morning. And yet, upon my honour, I believed what I 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 63 

said of myself to be true, and I believe it at this moment. 
At least, therefore, I did not assume the character of 
needless precipitance merely to show off before the 
ladies." 

" I daresay you believed it ; but I am by no means 
convinced that you would be gone with such celerity. 
Your conduct would be quite as dependent on chance as 
that of any man I know ; and if, as you were mounting 
your horse, a friend were to say, ' Bingley, you had 
better stay till next week,' you would probably do it- 
you would probably not go and, at another word, 
might stay a month." 

" You have only proved by this," cried Elizabeth, 
"that Mr. Bingley did not do justice to his own 
disposition. You have shown him off now much more 
than he did himself." 

" I am exceedingly gratified," said Bingley, " by your 
converting what my friend says into a compliment on 
the sweetness of my temper. But I am afraid you arc 
giving it a turn which that gentleman did by no means 
intend ; for he would certainly think the better of me if, 
under such a circumstance, I were to give a flat denial, 
and ride off as fast as I could." 

" Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your 
original intention as atoned for by your obstinacy in 
adhering to it ? " 

" Upon my word, I cannot exactly explain the 
matter Darcy must speak for himself." 

" You expect me to account for opinions which you 
choose to call mine, but which I have never acknowledged. 
Allowing the case, however, to stand according to your 
representation, you must remember, Miss Bennet, that the 
friend who is supposed to desire his return to the house, 



64 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

and the delay of his plan, has merely desired it, asked 
it without offering one argument in favour of its 
propriety." 

" To yield readily easily to the persuasion of a friend 
is no merit with you." 

" To yield without conviction is no compliment to the 
understanding of either." 

" You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for 
the influence of friendship and affection. A regard for 
the requester would often make one readily yield to a 
request, without waiting for arguments to reason one 
into it. I am not particularly speaking of such a case as 
you have supposed about Mr. Bingley. We may as well 
wait, perhaps, till the circumstance occurs, before we 
discuss the discretion of his behaviour thereupon. But 
in general and ordinary cases, between friend and friend, 
where one of them is desired by the other to change a 
resolution of no very great moment, should you think ill 
of that person for complying with the desire, without 
waiting to be argued into it ? " 

"Will it not be advisable, before we proceed on this 
subject, to arrange with rather more precision the degree 
of importance which is to appertain to this request, as 
well as the degree of intimacy subsisting between the 
parties ? " 

" By all means," cried Bingley ; " let us hear all the 
particulars, not forgetting their comparative height and 
size, for that will have more weight in the argument, 
Miss Bennet, than you may be aware of. I assure you 
that if Darcy were not such a great tall fellow, in 
comparison with myself, I should not pay him half so 
much deference. I declare I do not know a more awful 
object than Darcy on particular occasions, and in 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 65 

particular places ; at his own house especially, and of a 
Sunday evening, when he has nothing to do." 

Mr. Darcy smiled ; but Elizabeth thought she could 
perceive that he was rather offended, and therefore 
checked her laugh. Miss Bingley warmly resented the 
indignity he had received, in an expostulation with her 
brother for talking such nonsense. 

" I see your design, Bingley," said his friend. " You 
dislike an argument, and want to silence this." 

" Perhaps I do. Arguments are too much like disputes. 
If you and Miss Bennet will defer yours till I am out of 
the room, I shall be very thankful ; and then you may 
say whatever you like of me." 

" What you ask," said Elizabeth, " is no sacrifice on my 
side ; and Mr. Darcy had much better finish his letter." 

Mr. Darcy took her advice, and did finish his letter. 

When that business was over, he applied to Miss 
Bingley and Elizabeth for the indulgence of some music. 
Miss Bingley moved with alacrity to the pianoforte, and 
after a polite request that Elizabeth would lead the way, 
which the other as politely and more earnestly negatived, 
she seated herself. 

Mrs. Hurst sang with her sister ; and while they were 
thus employed, Elizabeth could not help observing, as 
she turned over some music-books that lay on the 
instrument, how frequently Mr. Darcy 's eyes were fixed 
on her. She hardly knew how to suppose that she could 
be an object of admiration to so great a man, and yet 
that he should look at her because he disliked her was 
still more strange. She could only imagine, however, at 
last, that she drew his notice because there was some- 
thing about her more wrong and reprehensible, according 
to his ideas of right, than in any other person present. 

F 



66 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

The supposition did not pain her. She liked him too 
little to care for his approbation. 

After playing some Italian songs, Miss Bingley varied 
the charm by a lively Scotch air ; and soon afterwards 
Mr. Darcy, drawing near Elizabeth, said to her, 

" Do you not feel a great inclination, Miss Bennet, to 
seize such an opportunity of dancing a reel ? " 

She smiled, but made no answer. He repeated the 
question, with some surprise at her silence. 

" Oh," said she, " I heard you before ; but I could not 
immediately determine what to say in reply. You 
wanted me, I know, to say ' Yes,' that you might have 
the pleasure of despising my taste ; but I always delight 
in overthrowing those kind of schemes, and cheating a 
person of their premeditated contempt. I have, therefore, 
made up my mind to tell you that I do not want to 
dance a reel at all ; and now despise me if you dare." 

" Indeed I do not dare." 

Elizabeth, having rather expected to affront him, was 
amazed at his gallantry ; but there was a mixture of 
sweetness and archness in her manner which made it 
difficult for her to affront anybody, and Darcy had never 
been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He 
really believed that, were it not for the inferiority of her 
connections, he should be in some danger. 

Miss Bingley saw, or suspected, enough to be jealous ; 
and her great anxiety for the recovery of her dear friend 
Jane received some assistance from her desire of getting 
rid of Elizabeth. 

She often tried to provoke Darcy into disliking her 
guest, by talking of their supposed marriage, and plan- 
ning his happiness in such an alliance. 

" I hope," said she, as they were walking together in 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



the shrubbery the next day, " you will give your mother- 
in-law a few hints, when this desirable event takes place, 
as to the advantage of holding her tongue ; and if you 
can compass it, to cure the younger girls of running after 



[/ 







{Copyright 1894 _y G^ ^e Allen.'] 

the officers. And, if I may mention so delicate a subject, 
endeavour to check that little something, bordering on 
conceit and impertinence, which your lady possesses.'' 

" Have you anything else to propose for my domestic 
felicity ? " 



68 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Oh yes. Do let the portraits of your uncle and aunt 
Philips be placed in the gallery at Pemberley. Put them 
next to your great-uncle the judge. They are in the 
same profession, you know, only in different lines. As 
for your Elizabeth's picture, you must not attempt to 
have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those 
beautiful eyes ? " 

" It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression ; 
but their colour and shape, and the eyelashes, so 
remarkably fine, might be copied." 

At that moment they were met from another walk by 
Mrs. Hurst and Elizabeth herself. 

" I did not know that you intended to walk," said Miss 
Bingley, in some confusion, lest they had been overheard. 

"You used us abominably ill," answered Mrs. Hurst, 
" running away without telling us that you were coming 
out." 

Then taking the disengaged arm of Mr. Darcy, she left 
Elizabeth to walk by herself. The path just admitted three. 
Mr. Darcy felt their rudeness, and immediately said,- 

" This walk is not wide enough for our party. We had 
better go into the avenue." 

But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to 
remain with them, laughingly answered, 

" No, no ; stay where you are. You are charmingly 
grouped, and appear to uncommon advantage. The 
picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth. 
Good-bye." 

She then ran gaily off, rejoicing, as she rambled about, 
in the hope of being at home again in a day or two. 
Jane was already so much recovered as to intend leaving 
her room for a couple of hours that evening. 




\Copyi-ight 1894 by George Allen.} 

CHAPTER XL 

HEX the ladies removed after din- 
ner Elizabeth ran up to her sister, 
and seeing her well guarded from 
cold, attended her into the drawing- 
room, where she was welcomed by 
her two friends with many pro- 
fessions of pleasure ; and Elizabeth 
had never seen them so agreeable as they were during 
the hour which passed before the gentlemen appeared. 
Their powers of conversation were considerable. They 
could describe an entertainment with accuracy, relate 
an anecdote with humour, and laugh at their acquaint- 
ance with spirit. 

But when the gentlemen entered, Jane was no longer 




70 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

the first object ; Miss Bingley's eyes were instantly turned 
towards Darcy, and she had something to say to him 
before he had advanced many steps. He addressed him- 
self directly to Miss Bennet with a polite congratulation ; 
Mr. Hurst also made her a slight bow, and said he was 
" very glad ; " but diffuseness and warmth remained for 
Bingley's salutation. He was full of joy and attention. 
The first half hour was spent in piling up the fire, lest 
she should suffer from the change of room ; and she 
removed, at his desire, to the other side of the fireplace, 
that she might be farther from the door. He then 
sat down by her, and talked scarcely to anyone else. 
Elizabeth, at work in the opposite corner, saw it all with 
great delight. 

When tea was over Mr. Hurst reminded his sister-in-law 
of the card- table but in vain. She had obtained private 
intelligence that Mr. Darcy did not wish for cards, and Mr. 
Hurst soon found even his open petition rejected. She 
assured him that no one intended to play, and the silence 
of the whole party on the subject seemed to justify her. 
Mr. Hurst had, therefore, nothing to do but to stretch 
himself on one of the sofas and go to sleep. Darcy took 
up a book. Miss Bingley did the same; and Mrs. Hurst, 
principally occupied in playing with her bracelets and 
rings, joined now and then in her brother's conversation 
with Miss Bennet. 

Miss Bingley's attention was quite as much engaged 
in watching Mr. Darcy's progress through his book, as in 
reading her own ; and she was perpetually either making 
some inquiry, or looking at his page. She could not win 
him, however, to any conversation ; he merely answered 
her question and read on. At length, quite exhausted by 
the attempt to be amused with her own book, which she 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 71 

had only chosen because it was the second volume of his, 
she gave a great yawn and said, " How pleasant it is to 
spend an evening in this way ! I declare, after all, there 
is no enjoyment like reading ! How much sooner one 
tires of anything than of a book ! When I have a house 
of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent 
library." 

No one made any reply. She then yawned again, 
threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room 
in quest of some amusement ; when, hearing her brother 
mentioning a ball to Miss Bennet, she turned suddenly 
towards him and said, 

" By the bye Charles, are you really serious in medi- 
tating a dance at Netherfield ? I would advise you, 
before you determine on it, to consult the wishes of the 
present party ; I am much mistaken if there are not 
some among us to whom a ball would be rather a punish- 
ment than a pleasure." 

"If you mean Darcy," cried her brother, "he may go 
to bed, if he chooses, before it begins ; but as for the ball, 
it is quite a settled thing, and as soon as Nicholls has 
made white soup enough I shall send round my cards." 

" I should like balls infinitely better," she replied, " if 
they were carried on in a different manner ; but there is 
something insufferably tedious in the usual process of such 
a meeting. It would surely be much more rational if 
conversation instead of dancing made the order of the 
day." 

" Much more rational, my dear Caroline, I dare say ; 
but it would not be near so much like a ball." 

Miss Bingley made no answer, and soon afterwards 
got up and walked about the room. Her figure was 
elegant, and she walked well ; but Darcy, at whom it was 



72 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

all aimed, was still inflexibly studious. In the despera- 
tion of her feelings, she resolved on one effort more ; and, 
turning to Elizabeth, said, 

" Miss Eliza Ben net, let me persuade you to follow my 
example, and take a turn about the room. I assure you 
it is very refreshing after sitting so long in one attitude." 

Elizabeth was surprised, but agreed to it immediately. 
Miss Bingley succeeded no less in the real object of her 
civility : Mr. Darcy looked up. He was as much awake 
to the novelty of attention in that quarter as Elizabeth 
herself could be, and unconsciously closed his book. 
He was directly invited to join their party, but he 
declined it, observing that he could imagine but two 
motives for their choosing to walk up and down the room 
together, with either of which motives his joining them 
would interfere. What could he mean ? She was dying 
to know what could be his meaning and asked Elizabeth 
whether she could at all understand him. 

" Not at all," was her answer ; " but, depend upon it, 
he means to be severe on us, and our surest way of dis- 
appointing him will be to ask nothing about it." 

Miss Bingley, however, was incapable of disappointing 
Mr. Darcy in anything, and persevered, therefore, in 
requiring an explanation of his two motives. 

" I have not the smallest objection to explaining them," 
said he, as soon as she allowed him to speak. " You 
either choose this method of passing the evening because 
you are in each other's confidence, and have secret affairs 
to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures 
appear to the greatest advantage in walking : if the first, 
I should be completely in your way ; and if the second, 
I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire." 

" Oh, shocking ! " cried Miss Bingley. " I never heard 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 73 

anything so abominable. How shall we punish him for 
such a speech ? " 

" Nothing so easy, if you have but the inclination," 
said Elizabeth. " We can all plague and punish one 
another. Tease him laugh at him. Intimate as you 
are, you must know how it is to be done." 

" But upon my honour I do not. I do assure you that 
my intimacy has not yet taught me that. Tease calm- 
ness of temper and presence of mind ! No, no ; I feel he 
may defy us there. And as to laughter, we will not ex- 
pose ourselves, if you please, by attempting to laugh 
without a subject. Mr. Darcy may hug himself." 

" Mr. Darcy is not to be laughed at ! " cried Elizabeth. 
" That is an uncommon advantage, and uncommon I hope 
it will continue, for it would be a great loss to me to have 
many such acquaintance. I dearly love a laugh." 

" Miss Bingley," said he, " has given me credit for more 
than can be. The wisest and best of men, nay, the 
wisest and best of their actions, may be rendered 
ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke." 

" Certainly," replied Elizabeth, " there are such people, 
but I hope I am not one of tJicin. I hope I never ridicule 
what is \vise or good. Follies and nonsense, whims and 
inconsistencies, do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them 
whenever I can. But these, I suppose, are precisely what 
you are without." 

" Perhaps that is not possible for anyone. But it has 
been the study of my life to avoid those weaknesses which 
often expose a strong understanding to ridicule." 

" Such as vanity and pride." 

" Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride where 
there is a real superiority of mind pride will be always 
under good regulation." 



74 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Elizabeth turned away to hide a smile. 

" Your examination of Mr. Darcy is over, I presume," 
said Miss Bingley ; " and pray what is the result ? " 

" I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has no 
defect. He owns it himself without disguise." 

" No," said Darcy, " I have made no such pretension. 
I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of under- 
standing. My temper I dare not vouch for. It is, I 
believe, too little yielding ; certainly too little for the 
convenience of the world. I cannot forget the follies and 
vices of others so soon as I ought, nor their offences 
against myself. My feelings are not puffed about with 
every attempt to move them. My temper would perhaps 
be called resentful. My good opinion once lost is lost 
for ever." 

" That is a failing, indeed ! " cried Elizabeth. " Implac- 
able resentment is a shade in a character. But you have 
chosen your fault well. I really cannot laugh at it. You 
are safe from me." 

" There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to 
some particular evil, a natural defect, which not even the 
best education can overcome." 

" And your defect is a propensity to hate everybody." 

"And yours," he replied, with a smile, " is wilfully to 
misunderstand them." 

" Do let us have a little music," cried Miss Bingley, 
tired of a conversation in which she had no share. 
" Louisa, you will not mind my waking Mr. Hurst." 

Her sister made not the smallest objection, and the 
pianoforte was opened ; and Darcy, after a few moments' 
recollection, was not sorry for it. He began to feel the 
danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention. 





CHAPTER XII. 

N consequence of an agreement between the 
sisters, Elizabeth wrote the next morning 
to her mother, to beg that the carriage 
might be sent for them in the course of the 
day. But Mrs. Bennet, who had calculated 
on her daughters remaining at Netherfield 
till the following Tuesday, which would 
exactly finish Jane's week, could not bring 
^^ herself to receive them with pleasure before. 

Her answer, therefore, was not propitious, at least not to 
Elizabeth's wishes, for she was impatient to get home. 
Mrs. Bennet sent them word that they could not possibly 
have the carnage before Tuesday ; and in her postscript 
it was added, that if Mr. Bingley and his sister pressed 
them to stay longer, she could spare them very well. 
Against staying longer, however, Elizabeth was positively 



76 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

resolved nor did she much expect it would be asked ; 
and fearful, on the contrary, of being considered as in- 
truding themselves needlessly long, she urged Jane to 
borrow Mr. Bingley's carriage immediately, and at length 
it was settled that their original design of leaving X ether- 
field that morning should be mentioned, and the request 
made. 

The communication excited many professions of con- 
cern ; and enough was said of wishing them to stay at 
least till the following day to work on Jane ; and till the 
morrow their Coiner was deferred. Miss Bindley was 

O O ,^> J 

then sorry that she had proposed the delay ; for her 
jealousy and dislike of one sister much exceeded her 
affection for the other. 

The master of the house heard with real sorrow that 
they were to go so soon, and repeatedly tried to persuade 
Miss Bennet that it would not be safe for her that she 
was not enough recovered ; but Jane was firm where she 
felt herself to be right. 

To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence : Elizabeth 
had been at X'etherfield long enough. She attracted him 
more than he liked ; and Miss Bingley was uncivil to hci\ 
and more teasing than usual to himself. He wisely re- 
solved to be particularly careful that no sign of admira- 
tion should noi'c escape him nothing that could elevate 
her with the hope of influencing his felicity ; sensible 
that, if such an idea had been suggested, his behaviour 
during the last dav must have material weight in con- 

O O 

firming or crushing it. Steady to his purpose, he scarcely 
spoke ten words to her through the whole of Saturday : 
and though they were at one time left by themselves for 
half an hour, he adhered most conscientiously to his book, 
and would not even look at her. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 77 

On Sunday, after morning service, the separation, so 
agreeable to almost all, took place. Miss Bingley's 
civility to Elizabeth increased at last very rapidly, as 
well as her affection for Jane ; and when they parted, 
after assuring the latter of the pleasure it would always 
give her to see her either at Longbourn or Xetherfield, 
and embracing her most tenderly, she even shook hands 
with the former. Elizabeth took leave of the whole 
party in the liveliest spirits. 

They were not welcomed home very cordially by their 
mother. Mrs. Bennet wondered at their coming, and 

O " 

thought them very wrong to give so much trouble, and 
was sure Jane would have caught cold again. But their 
father, though very laconic in his expressions of pleasure, 
was really glad to see them ; he had felt their importance 
in the family circle. The evening conversation, when 
they were all assembled, had lost much of its animation, 
and almost all its sense, by the absence of Jane and 
Elizabeth. 

They found Mary, as usual, deep in the study of 
thorough bass and human nature ; and had some new 
extracts to admire and some new observations of thread- 
bare morality to listen to. Catherine and Lydia had 
information for them of a different sort. Much had been 
done, and much had been said in the regiment since the 
preceding Wednesday ; several of the officers had dined 
lately with their uncle ; a private had been flogged ; and 
it had actually been hinted that Colonel Forster was 
going to be married. 





M& 



CHAPTER XIII 




HOPE, my dear," said Mr. Bennet 
to his wife, as they were at break- 
fast the next morning, " that you 
have ordered a good dinner to-day, because I have reason 
to expect an addition to our family party." 

"Who do you mean, my dear? I know of nobody 
that is coming, I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should 
happen to call in ; and I hope my dinners are good 
enough for her. I do not believe she often sees such at 
home." 

" The person of whom I speak is a gentleman and a 
stranger." 

Mrs. Bennet's eyes sparkled. " A gentleman and a 
stranger ! It is Mr. Bingley, I am sure. Why, Jane- 
you never dropped a word of this you sly thing ! 
Well, I am sure I shall be extremely glad to see Mr. 
Bingley. But good Lord ! how unlucky ! there is not 
a bit of fish to be got to-day Lydia, my love, ring the 
bell. I must speak to Hill this moment." 

" It is not Mr. Bingley," said her husband ; " it is a 
person whom I never saw in the whole course of my 
life." 

This roused a general astonishment ; and he had the 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 79 

pleasure of being eagerly questioned by his wife and five 
daughters at once. 

After amusing himself some time with their curiosity, 
he thus explained : " About a month ago I received this 
letter, and about a fortnight ago I answered it ; for I 
thought it a case of some delicacy, and requiring early 
attention. 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." 

" Oh, my dear," cried his wife, " I cannot bear to hear 
that mentioned. Pray do not talk of that odious man. 
I do think it is the hardest thing in the world, that your 
estate should be entailed away from your own children ; 
and I am sure, if I had been you, I should have tried long 
ago to do something or other about it." 

Jane and Elizabeth attempted to explain to her the 
nature of an entail. They had often attempted it 
before : but it was a subject on which Mrs. Bennet was 
beyond the reach of reason ; and she continued to rail 
bitterly against the cruelty of settling an estate away from 
a family of five daughters, in favour of a man whom 
nobody cared anything about. 

" It certainly is a most iniquitous affair," said Mr. 
Bennet ; " and nothing can clear Mr. Collins from the 

o 

guilt of inheriting Longbourn. But if you will listen to 
his letter, you may, perhaps, be a little softened by his 
manner of expressing himself." 

" No, that I am sure I shall not : and I think it was very 
impertinent of him to write to you at all, and very hypo- 
critical. I hate such false friends. Why could not he keep 
on quarrelling with you, as his father did before him ? " 

" Why, indeed, he does seem to have had some filial 
scruples on that head, as you will hear." 



SO PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Hunsford, near Westerham, Kent, 15/7^ October. 

" Dear Sir, 

" The disagreement subsisting between yourself and 
my late honoured father always gave me much uneasi- 
ness ; and, since I have had the misfortune to lose him, I 
have frequently wished to heal the breach : but, for some 
time, I was kept back by my own doubts, fearing lest it 
might seem disrespectful to his memory for me to be on 
good terms with anyone with whom it had always 
pleased him to be at variance."- There, Mrs. Bennet.' 
" My mind, however, is now made up on the subject ; for, 
having received ordination at Easter, I have been so for- 
tunate as to be distinguished by the patronage of the 
Right Honourable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, widow of 
Sir Lewis de Bourgh, whose bounty and beneficence has 
preferred me to the valuable rectory of this parish, where 
it shall be my earnest endeavour to demean myself with 
grateful respect towards her Ladyship, and be ever 
ready to perform those rites and ceremonies which are 
instituted by the Church of England. 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 that the circumstance of my being next in the entail 
of Longbourn estate will be kindly overlooked on your 
side, and not lead you to reject the offered olive branch. 
I cannot be otherwise than concerned at being the means 
of injuring your amiable daughters, and beg leave to 
apologize for it, as well as to assure you of my readiness 
to make them every possible amends ; but of this here- 
after. If you should have no objection to receive me into 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 8 1 

your house, I propose myself the satisfaction of waiting 
on you and your family, Monday, November iSth, by 
four o'clock, and shall probably trespass on your hospi- 
tality till the Saturday se'n-night following, which I can 
do without any inconvenience, as Lady Catherine is far 
from objecting to my occasional absence on a Sunday, 
provided that some other clergyman is engaged to do the 
duty of the day. I remain, dear sir, with respectful com- 
pliments to your lady and daughters, your well-wisher 
and friend, " WILLIAM COLLINS." 

" At four o'clock, therefore, we may expect this peace- 
making gentleman," said Mr. Bennet, as he folded up the 
letter. " He seems to be a most conscientious and polite 
young man, upon my word ; and, I doubt not, will prove 
a valuable acquaintance, especially if Lady Catherine 
should be so indulgent as to let him come to us again." 

" There is some sense in what he says about the girls, 
however ; and, if he is disposed to make them any 
amends, I shall not be the person to discourage him." 

"Though it is difficult," said Jane, "to guess in what 
way he can mean to make us the atonement he thinks 
our due, the wish is certainly to his credit." 

Elizabeth was chiefly struck with his extraordinary 
deference for Lady Catherine, and his kind intention of 
christening, marrying, and burying his parishioners 
whenever it were required. 

" He must be an oddity, I think," said she. " I cannot 
make him out There is something very pompous in his 
style. And what can he mean by apologizing for being 
next in the entail ? We cannot suppose he would help it, 
if he could. Can he be a sensible man, sir? " 

" No, my dear ; I think not. I have great hopes of 

G 



82 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

finding him quite the reverse. There is a mixture of ser- 
vility and self-importance in his letter which promises 
well. I am impatient to see him." 

"In point of composition," said Mary, "his letter does 
not seem defective. The idea of the olive branch 
perhaps is not wholly new, yet I think it is well 
expressed." 

To Catherine and Lydia neither the letter nor its 
writer were in any degree interesting. It was next to 
impossible that their cousin should come in a scarlet 
coat, and it was now some weeks since they had received 
pleasure from the society of a man in any other colour. 
As for their mother, Mr. Collins's letter had done away 
much of her ill-will, and she was preparing to see him 
with a degree of composure which astonished her husband 
and daughters. 

Mr. Collins was punctual to his time, and was received 
with great politeness by the whole family. Mr. Bennet 
indeed said little ; but the ladies were ready enough to 
talk, and Mr. Collins seemed neither in need of en- 
couragement, nor inclined to be silent himself. He was 
a tall, heavy-looking young man of five-and-twenty. His 
air was grave and stately, and his manners were very 
formal. He had not been long seated before he com- 
plimented Mrs. Bennet on having so fine a family of 
daughters, said he had heard much of their beauty, but 
that, in this instance, fame had fallen short of the truth ; 
and added, that he did not doubt her seeing them all in 
due time well disposed of in marriage. This gallantry 
was not much to the taste of some of his hearers ; but 
Mrs. Bennet, who quarrelled with no compliments, 
answered most readily, 

" You are very kind, sir, I am sure ; and I wish with all 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 83 

my heart it may prove so ; for else they will be destitute 
enough. Things are settled so oddly." 

" You allude, perhaps, to the entail of this estate." 
" Ah, sir, I do indeed. It is a grievous affair to my 
poor girls, you must confess. Not that I mean to find 
fault with you, for such things, I know, are all chance in 
this world. There is no knowing how estates will go 
when once they come to be entailed." 

" I am very sensible, madam, of the hardship to my 
fair cousins, and could say much on the subject, but that 
I am cautious of appearing forward and precipitate. But 
I can assure the young ladies that I come prepared to 
admire them. At present I will not say more, but, 
perhaps, when we are better acquainted- 
He was interrupted by a summons to dinner ; and the 
girls smiled on each other. They were not the only 
objects of Mr. Collins's admiration. The hall, the 
dining-room, and all its furniture, were examined and 
praised ; and his commendation of everything would 
have touched Mrs. Bennet's heart, but for the mortifying 
supposition of his viewing it all as his own future pro- 
perty. The dinner, too, in its turn, was highly admired ; 
and he begged to know to which of his fair cousins the 
excellence of its cookery was owing. But here he was 
set right by Mrs. Bennet, who assured him, with some 
asperity, that they were very well able to keep a good 
cook, and that her daughters had nothing to do in the 
kitchen. He begged pardon for having displeased her. 
In a softened tone she declared herself not at all 
offended ; but he continued to apologize for about a 
quarter of an hour. 



CHA ER-XIV 




IURING dinner, Mr. 

Bennet scarcely spoke at all ; but 
when the servants were withdrawn, he thought it time to 
have some conversation with his guest, and therefore 
started a subject in which he expected him to shine, by 
observing that he seemed very fortunate in his patroness. 
Lady Catherine de Bourgh's attention to his wishes, and 
consideration for his comfort, appeared very remarkable. 
Mr. Bennet could not have chosen better. Mr. Collins 
was eloquent in her praise. The subject elevated him to 
more than usual solemnity of manner ; and with a most 
important aspect he protested that he had never in his 
life witnessed such behaviour in a person of rank such 
affability and condescension, as he had himself expe- 
rienced from Lady Catherine. She had been graciously 
pleased to approve of both the discourses which he had 
already had the honour of preaching before her. She had 
also asked him twice to dine at Rosings, and had sent for 
him only the Saturday before, to make up her pool of 
quadrille in the evening. Lady Catherine was reckoned 
proud by many people, he knew, but he had never seen any- 
thing but affability in her. She had always spoken to him 
as she would to any other gentleman ; she made not the 
smallest objection to his joining in the society of the 
neighbourhood, nor to his leaving his parish occasionally 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 85 

for a week or two to visit his relations. She had even 
condescended to advise him to marry as soon as he could, 
provided he chose with discretion ; and had once paid 
him a visit in his humble parsonage, where she had 
perfectly approved all the alterations he had been making, 
and had even vouchsafed to suggest some herself, some 
shelves in the closets upstairs. 

" That is all very proper and civil, I am sure," said Mrs. 
Bennet, " and I dare say she is a very agreeable woman. 
It is a pity that great ladies in general are not more like 
her. Does she live near you, sir ? " 

" The garden in which stands my humble abode is 
separated only by a lane from Rosings Park, her Lady- 
ship's residence." 

" I think you said she was a widow, sir ? has she 
any family ? " 

" She has one only daughter, the heiress of Rosings, 
and of very extensive property." 

" Ah," cried Mrs. Bennet, shaking her head, " then she 
is better off than many girls. And what sort of young 
lady is she ? Is she handsome ? " 

" She is a most charming young lady, indeed. Lady 
Catherine herself says that, in point of true beauty, Miss 
de Bourgh is far superior to the handsomest of her sex ; 
because there is that in her features which marks the 
young woman of distinguished birth. She is unfortunately 
of a sickly constitution, which has prevented her making 
that progress in many accomplishments which she could 
not otherwise have failed of, as I am informed by the 
lady who superintended her education, and who still 
resides with them. But she is perfectly amiable, and 
often condescends to drive by my humble abode in her 
little phaeton and ponies." 



86 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Has she been presented ? I do not remember her 
name among the ladies at court." 

" Her indifferent state of health unhappily prevents 
her being in town ; and by that means, as I told Lady 
Catherine myself one day, has deprived the British 
Court of its brightest ornament. 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 atten- 
tions 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." 

Mr. Bennet's expectations were fully answered. His 
cousin was as absurd as he had hoped ; and he listened 
to him with the keenest enjoyment, maintaining at the 
same time the most resolute composure of countenance, 
and, except in an occasional glance at Elizabeth, requiring 
no partner in his pleasure. 

By tea-time, however, the dose had been enough, and 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Mr. Bennet was glad to take his guest into the drawing- 
room again, and when tea was over, glad to invite him 




r\?r\ever reacC 



to read aloud to the ladies. Mr. Collins readily assented, 
and a book was produced ; but on beholding it (for 
everything announced it to be from a circulating library) 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

he started back, and, begging pardon, protested that he 
never read novels. Kitty stared at him, and Lydia 
exclaimed. Other books were produced, and after some 
deliberation he chose " Fordyce's Sermons." Lydia 
gaped as he opened the volume ; and before he had, 
with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she 
interrupted him with, 

" Do you know, mamma, that my uncle Philips talks 
of turning away Richard ? and if he does, Colonel 
Forster will hire him. My aunt told me so herself on 
Saturday. I shall walk to Meryton to-morrow to hear 
more about it, and to ask when Mr. Denny comes back 
from town." 

Lydia was bid by her two eldest sisters to hold her 
tongue ; but Mr. Collins, much offended, laid aside his 
book, and said, 

" I have often observed how little young ladies are 
interested by books of a serious stamp, though written 
solely for their benefit. It amazes me, I confess ; for 
certainly there can be nothing so advantageous to them 
as instruction. But I will no longer importune my 
young cousin." 

Then, turning to Mr. Bennet, he offered himself as his 
antagonist at backgammon. Mr. Bennet accepted the 
challenge, observing that he acted very wisely in leaving 
the girls to their own trifling amusements. Mrs. Bennet 
and her daughters apologized most civilly for Lydia's 
interruption, and promised that it should not occur 
again, if he would resume his book ; but Mr. Collins, 
after assuring them that he bore his young cousin no 
ill-will, and should never resent her behaviour as any 
affront, seated himself at another table with Mr. Bennet, 
and prepared for backgammon. 








CHAPTER XV. 

. COLLINS was not a sensible man, and 
the deficiency of nature had been but 
little assisted by education or society; the 
greatest part of his life having been spent 
under the guidance of an illiterate and 
miserly father ; and though he belonged to one of the uni- 
versities, he had merely kept the necessary terms without 
forming at it any useful acquaintance. The subjection 
in which his father had brought him up had given him 
originally great humility of manner ; but it was now a 
good deal counteracted by the self-conceit of a weak head, 
living in retirement, and the consequential feelings of 
early and unexpected prosperity. A fortunate chance had 
recommended him to Lady Catherine de Bourgh when 
the living of Hunsford was vacant ; and the respect which 
he felt for her high rank, and his veneration for her as 
his patroness, mingling with a very good opinion of 
himself, of his authority as a clergyman, and his right 
as a rector, made him altogether a mixture of pride and 
obsequiousness, self-importance and humility. 

Having now a good house and a very sufficient income, 
he intended to marry ; and in seeking a . reconciliation 
with the Longbourn family he had a wife in view, as he 



90 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

meant to choose one of the daughters, if he found them 
as handsome and amiable as they were represented by 
common report. This was his plan of amends of 
atonement for inheriting their father's estate ; and he 
thought it an excellent one, full of eligibility and suitable- 
ness, and excessively generous and disinterested on his 
own part. 

His plan did not vary on seeing them. Miss Bennet's 
lovely face confirmed his views, and established all his 
strictest notions of what was due to seniority ; and for 
the first evening she was his settled choice. The next 
morning, however, made an alteration ; for in a quarter 
of an hour's tete-a-tete with Mrs. Bennet before breakfast, 
a conversation beginning with his parsonage-house, and 
leading naturally to the avowal of his hopes, that a 
mistress for it might be found at Longbourn, produced 
from her, amid very complaisant smiles and general 
encouragement, a caution against the very Jane he had 
fixed on. " As to her younger daughters, she could 
not take upon her to say she could not positively 
answer but she did not knoiv of any prepossession ;- 
her eldest daughter she must just mention she felt it 
incumbent on her to hint, was likely to be very soon 
engaged." 

Mr. Collins had only to change from Jane to Elizabeth 
-and it was soon done done while Mrs. Bennet was 
stirring the fire. Elizabeth, equally next to Jane in 
birth and beauty, succeeded her of course. 

Mrs. Bennet treasured up the hint, and trusted that 
she might soon have two daughters married ; and the 
man whom she could not bear to speak of the day 
before, was now high in her good graces. 

Lydia's intention of walking to Meryton was not for- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 9 1 

gotten : every sister except Mary agreed to go with her ; 
and Mr. Collins was to attend them, at the request of 
Mr. Bennet, who was most anxious to get rid of him, 
and have his library to himself; for thither Mr. Collins 
had followed him after breakfast, and there he would 
continue, nominally engaged with one of the largest 
folios in the collection, but really talking to Mr. Bennet, 
with little cessation, of his house and garden at Huns- 
ford. Such doings discomposed Mr. Bennet exceedingly 
In his library he had been always sure of leisure and 
tranquillity ; and though prepared, as he told Elizabeth, 
to meet with folly and conceit in every other room in 
the house, he was used to be free from them there : his 
civility, therefore, was most prompt in inviting Mr. 
Collins to join his daughters in their walk ; and Mr. 
Collins, being in fact much better fitted for a walker 
than a reader, was extremely well pleased to close 
his large book, and go. 

In pompous nothings on his side, and civil assents on 
that of his cousins, their time passed till they entered 
Meryton. The attention of the younger ones was then 
no longer to be gained by him. Their eyes were imme- 
diately wandering up the street in quest of the officers, 
and nothing less than a very smart bonnet, indeed, or a 
really new muslin in a shop window, could recall them. 

But the attention of every lady was soon caught by a 
young man, whom they had never seen before, of most 
gentlemanlike appearance, walking with an officer on 
the other side of the way. The officer was the very 
Mr. Denny concerning whose return from London Lydia 
came to inquire, and he bowed as they passed. All 
were struck with the stranger's air, all wondered who he 
could be ; and Kitty and Lydia, determined if possible 



92 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

to find out, led the way across the street, under pretence 
of wanting something in an opposite shop, and fortunately 
had just gained the pavement, when the two gentlemen, 
turning back, had reached the same spot. Mr. Denny 
addressed them directly, and entreated permission to 
introduce his friend, Mr. Wickham, who had returned 
with him the day before from town, and, he was happy 
to say, had accepted a commission in their corps. 
This was exactly as it should be ; for the young man 
wanted only regimentals to make him completely charm- 
ing. His appearance was greatly in his favour : he had 
all the best parts of beauty, a fine countenance, a good 
figure, and very pleasing address. The introduction 
was followed up on his side by a happy readiness of 
conversation a readiness at the same time perfectly 
correct and unassuming ; and the whole party were still 
standing and talking together very agreeably, when the 
sound of horses drew their notice, and Darcy and Bingley 
were seen riding down the street. On distinguishing 
the ladies of the group the two gentlemen came directly 
towards them, and began the usual civilities. Bingley 
was the principal spokesman, and Miss Bennet the 
principal object. He was then, he said, on his way 
to Longbourn on purpose to inquire after her. Mr. 
Darcy corroborated it with a bow, and was beginning to 
determine not to fix his eyes on Elizabeth, when they 
were suddenly arrested by the sight of the stranger ; and 
Elizabeth happening to see the countenance of both as 
they looked at each other, was all astonishment at the 
effect of the meeting. Both changed colour, one looked 
white, the other red. Mr. Wickham, after a few moments, 
touched his hat a salutation which Mr. Darcy just 
deigned to return. What could be the meaning of it ? 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

It was impossible to imagine ; it was impossible not 
to long to know. 

In another minute Mr. Bingley, but without seeming 
to have noticed what passed, took leave and rode on 
with his friend. 

Mr. Denny and Mr. Wickham walked with the young 
ladies to the door of Mr. Philips's house, and then made 
their bows, in spite of Miss Lydia's pressing entreaties 
that they would come in, and even in spite of Mrs. 
Philips's throwing up the parlour window, and loudly 
seconding the invitation. 

Mrs. Philips was always glad to see her nieces ; and 
the two eldest, from their recent absence, were particularly 
welcome ; and she was eagerly expressing her surprise 
at their sudden return home, which, as their own carriage 
had not fetched them, she should have known nothing 
about, if she had not happened to see Mr. Jones's shop- 
boy in the street, who had told her that they were not 
to send any more draughts to Netherfield, because the 
Miss Bennets were come away, when her civility was 
claimed towards Mr. Collins by Jane's introduction of 
him. She received him with her very best politeness, 
which he returned with as much more, apologizing for 
his intrusion, without any previous acquaintance with 
her, which he could not help flattering himself, however, 
might be justified by his relationship to the young ladies 
who introduced him to her notice. Mrs. Philips was 
quite awed by such an excess of good breeding ; but 
her contemplation of one stranger was soon put an end 
to by exclamations and inquiries about the other, of 
whom, however, she could only tell her nieces what they 
already knew, that Mr. Denny had brought him from 
London, and that he was to have a lieutenant's com- 



94 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

mission in the shire. She had been watching him 

the last hour, she said, as he walked up and down the 
street, and had Mr. Wickham appeared, Kitty and 
Lydia would certainly have continued the occupation ; 
but unluckily no one passed the windows now except a 
few of the officers, who, in comparison with the stranger, 
were become " stupid, disagreeable fellows." Some of 
them were to dine with the Philipses the next day, and 
their aunt promised to make her husband call on Mr. 
Wickham, and give him an invitation also, if the family 
from Longbourn would come in the evening. This was 
agreed to ; and Mrs. Philips protested that they would 
have a nice comfortable noisy game of lottery tickets, 
and a little bit of hot supper afterwards. The prospect 
of such delights was very cheering, and they parted in 
mutual good spirits. Mr. Collins repeated his apologies 
in quitting the room, and was assured, with unwearying 
civility, that they were perfectly needless. 

As they walked home, Elizabeth related to Jane what 
she had seen pass between the two gentlemen ; but though 
Jane would have defended either or both, had they ap- 
peared to be wrong, she could no more explain such 
behaviour than her sister. 

Mr. Collins on his return highly gratified Mrs. Bennet 
by admiring Mrs. Philips's manners and politeness. He 
protested that, except Lady Catherine and her daughter, 
he had never seen a more elegant woman ; for she had 
not only received him with the utmost civility, but had 
even pointedly included him in her invitation for the 
next evening, although utterly unknown to her before. 
Something, he supposed, might be attributed to his 
connection with them, but yet he had never met with so 
much attention in the whole course of his life. 




CHAPTER XVI. 

no objection was made to the young 
people's engagement with their aunt, 
and all Mr. Collins's scruples of 
leaving Mr. and Mrs. Bennet for a 
single evening during his visit were 
most steadily resisted, the coach con- 
veyed him and his five cousins at a suitable hour to 
Meryton ; and the girls had the pleasure of hearing, as 
they entered the drawing-room, that Mr. Wickham had 




96 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

accepted their uncle's invitation, and was then in the 
house. 

When this information was given, and they had all 
I ..:en their seats. Air. Collins was at leisure to look around 
him and admire, and he was so much struck with the size 
and furniture of the apartment, that he declared he might 
almost have supposed hiir.-v.r~ in the small summer 
bre:. :: .~t parlour at Rosings ; a comparison that did not 
at first convey much gratification ; but when Mrs. Philips 
understood from him what Rosings was, and who was its 
proprietor, when she had listened to the description of 

onlv one of Ladv Catherine's drawing-rooms, and found 

. 

that the chimney-piece alone had cost eight hundred 

pounds, she felt all the force of the compliment, and 

would hardly have resented a comparison with the 

. :>usekeepers room. 

In describing to her all the grandeur of Ladv Catherine 

J 

and her mansion, with occasional digressions in praise 
of his own humble abode, and the improvements it was 
receiving, he was happily employed until the gentlemen 
joined them ; and he found in Mrs. Philips a very atten- 
tive listener, whose opinion of his consequence increased 
:h what she heard, and who was resolving to retail it 
. among her neighbours as soon as she could. To the 
girls, who could not listen to their cousin, and who had 
nothing to do but to wish for an instrument, and examine 
their own indifferent imitations of china on the mantel- 
piece, the interval of waiting appeared very long. It 
was over at last, however. The gentlemen did approach: 
and when Mr. Wickham walked into the room. Elizabeth 
:-.-. that she had neither been seeing him before, nor 
thir. '.-:::-. :~ of him since, with the smallest degree of 
unreasonable admiration. The officers of the shire 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



97 



were in general a very creditable, gentlemanlike set and 
the best of them were of the present party ; but Mr, 
Wickham was as far beyond them all in person, counte- 
nance, air, and walk, as tJicy were superior to the broad- 







. -- 

V".] 

faced stuffs- uncle Philips, breathing port wine, who 
followed them into the room. 

Mr. Wickham was the happy man towards whom 
almost ever\- female eye was turned, and Elizabeth was 

n 



98 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

the happy woman by whom he finally seated himself; 
and the agreeable manner in which he immediately fell 
into conversation, though it was only on its being a wet 
night, and on the probability of a rainy season, made her 
feel that the commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic 
might be rendered interesting by the skill of the speaker. 

With such rivals for the notice of the fair as Mr. 
Wickham and the officers, Mr. Collins seemed to sink 
into insignificance ; to the young ladies he certainly was 
nothing ; but he had still at intervals a kind listener in 
Mrs. Philips, and was, by her watchfulness, most 
abundantly supplied with coffee and muffin. 

When the card tables were placed, he had an oppor- 
tunity of obliging her, in return, by sitting down to 
w r hist. 

" I know little of the game at present," said he, " but I 
shall be glad to improve myself; for in my situation of 

life " Mrs. Philips was very thankful for his 

compliance, but could not wait for his reason. 

Mr. Wickham did not play at whist, and with ready 
delight was he received at the other table between 
Elizabeth and Lydia. At first there seemed danger of 
Lydia's engrossing him entirely, for she was a most 
determined talker ; but being likewise extremely fond 
of lottery tickets, she soon grew too much interested 
in the game, too eager in making bets and exclaiming 
after prizes, to have attention for anyone in particular. 
Allowing for the common demands of the game, Mr. 
Wickham was therefore at leisure to talk to Elizabeth, 
and she was very willing to hear him, though what she 
chiefly wished to hear she could not hope to be told, the 
history of his acquaintance with Mr. Darcy. She dared 
not even mention that gentleman. Her curiosity, how- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 99 

ever, was unexpectedly relieved. Mr. Wickham began 
the subject himself. He inquired how far Netherfield 
was from Meryton ; and, after receiving her answer, 
asked in a hesitating manner how long Mr. Darcy had 
been staying there. 

" About a month," said Elizabeth ; and then, unwilling 
to let the subject drop, added, " he is a man of very large 
property in Derbyshire, I understand." 

" Yes," replied Wickham ; " his estate there is a noble 
one. A clear ten thousand per annum. You could not 
have met with a person more capable of giving you 
certain information on that head than myself for I have 
been connected with his family, in a particular manner, 
from my infancy." 

Elizabeth could not but look surprised. 

" You may well be surprised, Miss Bennet, at such an 
assertion, after seeing, as you probably might, the very 
cold manner of our meeting yesterday. Are you much 
acquainted with Mr. Darcy ? " 

" As much as I ever wish to be," cried Elizabeth, 
warmly. " I have spent four days in the same house with 
him, and I think him very disagreeable." 

" I have no right to give my opinion," said Wickham, 
" as to his being agreeable or otherwise. I am not 
qualified to form one. I have known him too long and 
too well to be a fair judge. It is impossible for me 
to be impartial. But I believe your opinion of him 
would in general astonish and, perhaps, you would not 
express it quite so strongly anywhere else. Here you 
are in your own family." 

" Upon my word I say no more here than I might say 
in any house in the neighbourhood, except Netherfield. 
He is not at all liked in Hertfordshire. Everybody is 



IOO PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

disgusted with his pride. You will not find him more 
favourably spoken of by anyone." 

" I cannot pretend to be sorry," said Wickham, after a 
short interruption, " that he or that any man should not 
be estimated beyond their deserts ; but with ///;;/ I 
believe it does not often happen. The world is blinded 
by his fortune and consequence, or frightened by his 
high and imposing manners, and sees him only as he 
chooses to be seen." 

" I should take him, even on my slight acquaintance, 
to be an ill-tempered man." 

Wickham only shook his head. 

" I wonder," said he, at the next opportunity of speaking, 
" whether he is likely to be in this country much longer." 

" I do not at all know ; but I Jieard nothing of his 
going away when I was at Netherfield. I hope your 

plans in favour of the shire will not be affected by 

his being in the neighbourhood." 

" Oh no it is not for me to be driven away by Mr. 
Darcy. If he wishes to avoid seeing me he must go. 
We are not on friendly terms, and it always gives me 
pain to meet him, but I have no reason for avoiding liiui 
but what I might proclaim to all the world a sense of 
very great ill-usage, and most painful regrets at his being 
what he is. His father, Miss Bennet, the late Mr. Darcy, 
was one of the best men that ever breathed, and the 
truest friend I ever had ; and I can never be in company 
with this Mr. Darcy without being grieved to the soul by 
a thousand tender recollections. His behaviour to myself 
has been scandalous ; but I verily believe I could for- 
give him anything and everything, rather than his dis- 
appointing the hopes and disgracing the memory of his 
father." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. IOI 

Elizabeth found the interest of the subject increase, 
and listened with all her heart ; but the delicacy of it 
prevented further inquiry. 

Mr. Wickham began to speak on more general topics, 
Meryton, the neighbourhood, the society, appearing 
highly pleased with all that he had yet seen, and speak- 
ing of the latter, especially, with gentle but very intelli- 
gible gallantry. 

"It was the prospect of constant society, and good 
society," he added, " which was my chief inducement to 
enter the shire. I know it to be a most respect- 
able, agreeable corps ; and my friend Denny tempted me 
further by his account of their present quarters, and the 
very great attentions and excellent acquaintance Meryton 
had procured them. Society, I own, is necessary to me. 
I have been a disappointed man, and my spirits will not 
bear solitude. I must have employment and society. A 
military life is not what I was intended for, but circum- 
stances have now made it eligible. The church ought to 
have been my profession I was brought up for the 
church; and I should at this time have been in posses- 
sion of a most valuable living, had it pleased the gentle- 
man we were speaking of just now." 

"Indeed!" 

" Yes the late Mr. Darcy bequeathed me the next 
presentation of the best living in his gift. He was my 
godfather, and excessively attached to me. I cannot do 
justice to his kindness. He meant to provide for me 
amply, and thought he had done it ; but when the living 
fell, it was given elsewhere." 

" Good heavens ! ' ; cried Elizabeth ; " but how could 
that be ? How could his will be disregarded ? Why did 
not you seek legal redress ? " 



IO2 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" There was just such an informality in the terms of 
the bequest as to give me no hope from law. A man of 
honour could not have doubted the intention, but Mr. 
Darcy chose to doubt it or to treat it as a merely 
conditional recommendation, and to assert that I had 
forfeited all claim to it by extravagance, imprudence, in 
short, anything or nothing. Certain it is that the living 
became vacant two years ago, exactly as I was of an age 
to hold it, and that it was given to another man ; and no 
less certain is it, that I cannot accuse myself of having 
really done anything to deserve to lose it. I have a 
warm unguarded temper, and I may perhaps have some- 
times spoken my opinion of him, and to him, too freely. 
I can recall nothing worse. But the fact is, that we are 
very different sort of men, and that he hates me." 

" This is quite shocking ! He deserves to be publicly 
disgraced." 

" Some time or other he will be but it shall not be by 
me. Till I can forget his father, I can never defy or 
expose /';//." 

Elizabeth honoured him for such feelings, and thought 
him handsomer than ever as he expressed them. 

" But what," said she, after a pause, " can have been 
his motive? what can have induced him to behave so 
cruelly ? " 

" A thorough, determined dislike of me a dislike which 
I cannot but attribute in some measure to jealousy. Had 
the late Mr. Darcy liked me less, his son might have 
borne with me better ; but his father's uncommon attach- 
ment to me irritated him, I believe, very early in life. 
He had not a temper to bear the sort of competition in 
which we stood the sort of preference which was often 
given me." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 103 

" I had not thought Mr. Darcy so bad as this though 
I have never liked him, I had not thought so very ill of 
him I had supposed him to be despising his fellow- 
creatures in general, but did not suspect him of descend- 
ing to such malicious revenge, such injustice, such in- 
humanity as this ! " 

After a few minutes' reflection, however, she continued, 
" I do remember his boasting one day, at Netherfield, 
of the implacability of his resentments, of his having 
an unforgiving temper. His disposition must be dreadful." 

" I will not trust myself on the subject," replied Wick- 
ham ; " / can hardly be just to him." 

Elizabeth was again deep in thought, and after a time 
exclaimed, " To treat in such a manner the godson, the 
friend, the favourite of his father ! ' She could have 
added, " A young man, too, like you, whose very coun- 
tenance may vouch for your being amiable." But she 
contented herself with " And one, too, who had pro- 
bably been his own companion from childhood, connected 
together, as I think you said, in the closest manner." 

" We were born in the same parish, within the same 
park ; the greatest part of our youth was passed together: 
inmates of the same house, sharing the same amusements, 
objects of the same parental care. My father began life 
in the profession which your uncle, Mr. Philips, appears 
to do so much credit to ; but he gave up everything to be 
of use to the late Mr. Darcy, and devoted all his time to 
the care of the Pemberley property. He was most highly 
esteemed by Mr. Darcy, a most intimate, confidential 
friend. Mr. Darcy often acknowledged himself to be 
under the greatest obligations to my father's active 
superintendence ; and when, immediately before my 
father's death, Mr. Darcy gave him a voluntary promise 



104 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

of providing for me, I am convinced that he felt it to 
be as much a debt of gratitude to him as of affection 
to myself." 

"How strange!" cried Elizabeth. " How abominable! 
I wonder that the very pride of this Mr. Darcy has not 
made him just to you. If from no better motive, that he 
should not have been too proud to be dishonest, for 
dishonesty I must call it." 

"It is wonderful," replied Wickham ; "for almost all 
his actions may be traced to pride ; and pride has often 
been his best friend. It has connected him nearer with 
virtue than any other feeling. But we are none of us 
consistent ; and in his behaviour to me there were 
stronger impulses even than pride." 

" Can such abominable pride as his have ever done 
him good ? ' 

u Yes; it has often led him to be liberal and generous; 
to give his money freely, to display hospitality, to assist 
his tenants, and relieve the poor. Family pride, and 
filial pride, for he is very proud of what his father was, 
have done this. Not to appear to disgrace his family, to 
degenerate from the popular qualities, or lose the influence 
of the Pemberley House, is a powerful motive. He has 
also brother/}' pride, which, with some brotherly affection, 
makes him a very kind and careful guardian of his sister ; 
and you will hear him generally cried up as the most 
attentive and best of brothers." 

" What sort of a girl is Miss Darcy ? " 

He shook his head. " I wish I could call her amiable. 
It gives me pain to speak ill of a Darcy ; but she is too 
much like her brother, very, very proud. As a child, 
she was affectionate and pleasing, and extremely fond of 
me ; and I have devoted hours and hours to her amuse- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 105 

ment. But she is nothing to me now. She is a hand- 
some girl, about fifteen or sixteen, and, I understand, 
highly accomplished. Since her father's death her home 
has been London, where a lady lives with her, and super- 
intends her education." 

After many pauses and many trials of other subjects, 
Elizabeth could not help reverting once more to the first, 
and saying,- 

' I am astonished at his intimacy with Mr. Bingley. 
How can Mr. Bingley, who seems good-humour itself, 
and is, I really believe, truly amiable, be in friendship 
with such a man? How can they suit each other? Do 
you know Mr. Bingley ? " 

" Not at all." 

' He is a sweet-tempered, amiable, charming man. He 
cannot know what Mr. Darcy is." 

" Probably not ; but Mr. Darcy can please where he 
chooses. He does not want abilities. He can be a con- 
versible companion if he thinks it worth his while. 
Among those who are at all his equals in consequence, 
he is a very different man from what he is to the less 
prosperous. His pride never deserts him ; but with the 
rich he is liberal-minded, just, sincere, rational, honourable, 
and, perhaps, agreeable, allowing something for fortune 
and figure." 

The whist party soon afterwards breaking up, the 
players gathered round the other table, and Mr. Collins 
took his station between his cousin Elizabeth and Mrs. 
Philips. The usual inquiries as to his success were made 
by the latter. It had not been very great ; he had lost 
every point ; but when Mrs. Philips began to express her 
concern thereupon, he assured her, with much earnest 
gravity, that it was not of the least importance ; that he 



106 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

considered the money as a mere trifle, and begged she 
would not make herself uneasy. 

" I know very well, madam," said he, " that when 
persons sit down to a card table they must take their 
chance of these things, and happily I am not in such 
circumstances as to make five shillings any object. 
There are, undoubtedly, many who could not say the same ; 
but, thanks to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I am removed 
far beyond the necessity of regarding little matters." 

Mr. Wickham's attention was caught ; and after observ- 
ing Mr. Collins for a few moments, he asked Elizabeth 
in a low voice whether her relations were very intimately 
acquainted with the family of De Bourgh. 

"Lady Catherine de Bourgh," she replied, "has very 
lately given him a living. I hardly know how Mr. Collins 
was first introduced to her notice, but he certainly has not 
known her long." 

" You know of course that Lady Catherine de Bourgh 
and Lady Anne Darcy were sisters ; consequently that 
she is aunt to the present Mr. Darcy." 

" No, indeed, I did not. I knew nothing at all of Lady 
Catherine's connections. I never heard of her existence 
till the day before yesterday." 

" Her daughter, Miss de Bourgh, will have a very large 
fortune, and it is believed that she and her cousin will 
unite the two estates." 

This information made Elizabeth smile, as she thought 
of poor Miss Bingley. Vain indeed must be all her 
attentions, vain and useless her affection for his sister 
and her praise of himself, if he were already self-destined 
to another. 

" Mr. Collins," said she, " speaks highly both of Lady 
Catherine and her daughter ; but, from some particulars 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. IO/ 

that he has related of her Ladyship, I suspect his grati- 
tude misleads him; and that, in spite of her being his 
patroness, she is an arrogant, conceited woman." 

" I believe her to be both in a great degree," replied 
Wickham ; " I have not seen her for many years ; but I 
very well remember that I never liked her, and that her 
manners were dictatorial and insolent. She has the 
reputation of being remarkably sensible and clever ; but 
I rather believe she derives part of her abilities from her 
rank and fortune, part from her authoritative manner, 
and the rest from the pride of her nephew, who chooses 
that everyone connected with him should have an 
understanding of the first class." 

Elizabeth allowed that he had given a very rational 
account of it, and they continued talking together with 
mutual satisfaction till supper put an end to cards, and 
gave the rest of the ladies their share of Mr. Wickham's 
attentions. There could be no conversation in the noise 
of Mrs. Philips's supper party, but his manners recom- 
mended him to everybody. Whatever he said, was said 
well ; and whatever he did, clone gracefully. Elizabeth 
went away with her head full of him. She could think 
of nothing but of Mr. Wickham, and of what he had told 
her, all the way home ; but there was not time for her 
even to mention his name as they went, for neither Lydia 
nor Mr. Collins were once silent. Lydia talked inces- 
santly of lottery tickets, of the fish she had lost and the 
fish she had won ; and Mr. Collins, in describing the 
civility of Mr. and Mrs. Philips, protesting that he did 
not in the least regard his losses at whist, enumerating 
all the dishes at supper, and repeatedly fearing that he 
crowded his cousins, had more to say than he could well 
manage before the carriage stopped at Longbourn House. 



/f n't I v j w 

- 




To /ee Tneiv C/PQ>- jriencfaoai'-n' 




CHAPTER XVII. 

LIZABETH related to Jane, the next day, 
what had passed between Mr. Wickham and 
herself. Jane listened with astonishment 
and concern : she knew not how to believe 
that Mr. Darcy could be so unworthy of Mr. 
Bingley's regard ; and yet it was not in her nature to 
question the veracity of a young man of such amiable 
appearance as Wickham. The possibility of his having 
really endured such unkindness was enough to interest 
all her tender feelings ; and nothing therefore remained 
to be done but to think well of them both, to defend the 
conduct of each, and throw into the account of accident 
or mistake whatever could not be otherwise explained. 



TRIBE AND PREJUDICE. 

" They have both," said she, " been deceived, I dare 
say, in some way or other, of which we can form no 
idea. Interested people have perhaps misrepresented 
each to the other. It is, in short, impossible for us to 
conjecture the causes or circumstances which may 
have alienated them, without actual blame on either 
side." 

"Very true, indeed; and now, my dear Jane, what 
have you got to say in behalf of the interested people 
who have probably been concerned in the business ? Do 
clear them, too, or we shall be obliged to think ill of 
somebody." 

" Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not 
laugh me out of my opinion. My dearest Lizzy, do but 
consider in what a disgraceful light it places Mr. Darcy, 
to be treating his father's favourite in such a manner,- 
one whom his father had promised to provide for. It is 
impossible. No man of common humanity, no man who 
had any value for his character, could be capable of it. 
Can his most intimate friends be so excessively deceived 
in him ? Oh no." 

" I can much more easily believe Mr. Bingley's being 
imposed on than that Mr. Wickham should invent such 
a history of himself as he gave me last night ; names, 
facts, everything mentioned without ceremony. If it be 
not so, let Mr. Darcy contradict it. Besides, there was 
truth in his looks." 

" It is difficult, indeed it is distressing. One does not 
know what to think." 

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

But Jane could think with certainty on only one 
point, that Mr. Bingley, if he had been imposed on, 



I 10 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

would have much to suffer when the affair became 
public. 

The two young ladies were summoned from the 
shrubbery, where this conversation passed, by the arrival 
of some of the very persons of whom they had been 
speaking ; Mr. Bingley and his sisters came to give their 
personal invitation for the long expected ball at Nether- 
field, which was fixed for the following Tuesday. The 
two ladies were delighted to see their dear friend again, 
called it an age since they had met, and repeatedly asked 
what she had been doing with herself since their separa- 
tion. To the rest of the family they paid little attention ; 
avoiding Mrs. Bennet as much as possible, saying not 
much to Elizabeth, and nothing at all to the others. 
They were soon gone again, rising from their seats with 
an activity which took their brother by surprise, and 
hurrying off as if eager to escape from Mrs. Bennet's 
civilities. 

The prospect of the Netherfield ball was extremely 
agreeable to every female of the family. Mrs. Bennet 
chose to consider it as given in compliment to her 
eldest daughter, and was particularly flattered by re- 
ceiving the invitation from Mr. Bingley himself, instead 
of a ceremonious card. Jane pictured to herself a happy 
evening in the society of her two friends, and the atten- 
tions of their brother ; and Elizabeth thought with 
pleasure of dancing a great deal with Mr. Wickham, and 
of seeing a confirmation of everything in Mr. Darcy's 
look and behaviour. The happiness anticipated by 
Catherine and Lydia depended less on any single event, 
or any particular person ; for though they each, like 
Elizabeth, meant to dance half the evening with Mr. 
YVickham, he was by no means the only partner who 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Ill 

could satisfy them, and a ball was, at any rate, a ball. 
And even Mary could assure her family that she had no 
disinclination for it. 

" While I can have my mornings to myself," said she, 
" it is enough. I think it is no sacrifice to join occasion- 
ally in evening engagements. Society has claims on us 
all ; and I profess myself one of those who consider in- 
tervals of recreation and amusement as desirable for 
everybody." 

Elizabeth's spirits were so high on the occasion, that 
though she did not often speak unnecessarily to Mr. 
Collins, she could not help asking him whether he 
intended to accept Mr. Bingley's invitation, and if he 
did, whether he would think it proper to join in the 
evening's amusement ; and she was rather surprised to 
find that he entertained no scruple whatever on that 
head, and was very far from dreading a rebuke, either 
from the Archbishop or Lady Catherine de Bourgh, by 
venturing to dance. 

" I am by no means of opinion, I assure you," said he, 
" that a ball of this kind, given by a young man of 
character, to respectable people, can have any evil 
tendency ; and I am so far from objecting to dancing 
myself, that I shall hope to be honoured with the hands 
of all my fair cousins in the course of the evening; and I 
take this opportunity of soliciting yours, Miss Elizabeth, 
for the two first dances especially ; a preference which I 
trust my cousin Jane will attribute to the right cause, and 
not to any disrespect for her." 

Elizabeth felt herself completely taken in. She had 
fully proposed being engaged by Wickham for those 
very dances ; and to have Mr. Collins instead ! her 
liveliness had been never worse timed. There was no 



112 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

help for it, however. Mr. Wickham's happiness and her 
own was perforce delayed a little longer, and Mr. Collins's 
proposal accepted with as good a grace as she could. 
She was not the better pleased with his gallantry, from 
the idea it suggested of something more. It now first 
struck her, that she was selected from among her sisters 
as worthy of being the mistress of Hunsford Parsonage, 
and of assisting to form a quadrille table at Rosings, in 
the absence of more eligible visitors. The idea soon 
reached to conviction, as she observed his increasing 
civilities towards herself, and heard his frequent attempt 
at a compliment on her wit and vivacity ; and though 
more astonished than gratified herself by this effect of 
her charms, it was not long before her mother gave her 
to understand that the probability of their marriage was 
exceedingly agreeable to her. Elizabeth, however, did 
not choose to take the hint, being well aware that a 
serious dispute must be the consequence of any reply. 
Mr. Collins might never make the offer, and, till he did, 
it was useless to quarrel about him. 

If there had not been a Netherfield ball to prepare for 
and talk of, the younger Miss Bennets would have been 
in a pitiable state at this time ; for, from the day of the 
invitation to the day of the ball, there was such a succes- 
sion of rain as prevented their walking to Meryton once. 
No aunt, no officers, no news could be sought after ; the 
very shoe-roses for Netherfield were got by proxy. Even 
Elizabeth might have found some trial of her patience in 
weather which totally suspended the improvement of her 
acquaintance with Mr. Wickham ; and nothing less than 
a dance on Tuesday could have made such a Friday, 
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday endurable to Kitty and 
Lydia. 



x ) 

CO -Lr,' 
^- 






rniii^lr 3 ; ; 
& .' - 

v\ " \~w 




CHAPTER XVIII. 

ILL Elizabeth entered the drawing- 
room at Netherfield, and looked in 
vain for Mr. Wickham among the 
cluster of red coats there assembled, a 
doubt of his being present had never 
occurred to her. The certainty of 
meeting him had not been checked 
by any of those recollections that 
might not unreasonably have alarmed her. She had 
dressed with more than usual care, and prepared in the 
highest spirits for the conquest of all that remained un- 
subdued of his heart, trusting that it was not more than 
might be won in the course of the evening. But in an 

I 




114 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

instant arose the dreadful suspicion of his being purposely 
omitted, for Mr. Darcy's pleasure, in the Bingleys' invita- 
tion to the officers ; and though this was not exactly the 
case, the absolute fact of his absence was pronounced by 
his friend Mr. Denny, to whom Lydia eagerly applied, 
and who told them that Wickham had been obliged to 
go to town on business the day before, and was not yet 
returned ; adding, with a significant smile, 

" I do not imagine his business would have called him 
away just now, if he had not wished to avoid a certain 
gentleman here." 

This part of his intelligence, though unheard by Lydia, 
was caught by Elizabeth ; and, as it assured her that 
Darcy was not less answerable for Wickham's absence 
than if her first surmise had been just, every feeling of 
displeasure against the former was so sharpened by 
immediate disappointment, that she could hardly reply 
with tolerable civility to the polite inquiries which he 
directly afterwards approached to make. Attention, for- 
bearance, patience with Darcy, was injury to Wickham. 
She was resolved against any sort of conversation with 
him, and turned away with a degree of ill-humour which 
she could not wholly surmount even in speaking to Mr. 
Bingley, whose blind partiality provoked her. 

But Elizabeth was not formed for ill-humour ; and 
though every prospect of her own was destroyed for the 
evening, it could not dwell long on her spirits ; and, hav- 
ing told all her griefs to Charlotte Lucas, whom she had 
not seen for a week, she was soon able to make a volun- 
tary transition to the oddities of her cousin, and to point 
him out to her particular notice. The two first dances, 
however, brought a return of -distress : they were dances 
of mortification. Mr. Collins, awkward and solemn, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 115 

apologizing 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. 

She danced next with an officer, and had the refresh- 
ment of talking of Wickham, and of hearing that he was 
universally liked. When those dances were over, she 
returned to Charlotte Lucas, and was in conversation with 
her, when she found herself suddenly addressed by Mr. 
Darcy, who took her so much by surprise in his applica- 
tion for her hand, that, without knowing what she did, 
she accepted him. He walked away again immediately, 
and she was left to fret over her own want of presence of 
mind : Charlotte tried to console her. 

" I dare say you will find him very agreeable." 

" Heaven forbid ! That would be the greatest misfortune 
of all ! To find a man agreeable whom one is determined 
to hate ! Do not wish me such an evil." 

When the dancing recommenced, however, and Darcy 
approached to claim her hand, Charlotte could not help 
cautioning her, in a whisper, not to be a simpleton, and 
allow her fancy for Wickham to make her appear un- 
pleasant in the eyes of a man often times his consequence. 
Elizabeth made no answer, and took her place in the set, 
amazed at the dignity to which she was arrived in being 
allowed to stand opposite to Mr. Darcy, and reading in 
her neighbours' looks their equal amazement in beholding 
it. They stood for some time without speaking a word ; 
and she began to imagine that their silence was to last 
through the two dances, and, at first, was resolved not to 
break it ; till suddenly fancying that it would be the 
greater punishment to her partner to oblige him to talk, 



Il6 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

she made some slight observation on the dance. He 
replied, and was again silent. After a pause of some 
minutes, she addressed him a second time, with 

" It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. 
/ 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 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." 

He made no answer ; and they were again silent till 
they had gone down the dance, when he asked her if she 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I I/ 

and her sisters did not very often walk to Meryton. She 
answered in the affirmative ; and, unable to resist the 
temptation, added, " When you met us there the other 
day, we had just been forming a new acquaintance." 

The effect was immediate. A deeper shade of hauteur 
overspread his features, but he said not a word ; and 
Elizabeth, though blaming herself for her own weakness, 
could not go on. At length Darcy spoke, and in a con- 
strained manner said,- 

" Mr. Wickham is blessed with such happy manners 
as may insure his making- friends ; whether he may be 
equally capable of retaining them, is less certain." 

" He has been so unlucky as to lose your friendship," 
replied Elizabeth, with emphasis, " and in a manner 
which he is likely to suffer from all his life." 

Darcy made no answer, and seemed desirous of chang- 
ing the subject. At that moment Sir William Lucas 
appeared close to them, meaning to pass through the 
set to the other side of the room ; but, on perceiving Mr. 
Darcy, he stopped, with a bow of superior courtesy, to 
compliment him on his dancing and his partner. 

" I have been most highly gratified, indeed, my dear 
sir ; such very superior dancing is not often seen. It is 
evident that you belong to the first circles. Allow me 
to say, however, that your fair partner does not disgrace 
you : and that I must hope to have this pleasure often 
repeated, especially when a certain desirable event, my 
dear Miss Eliza (glancing at her sister and Bingley), 
shall take place. What congratulations \vill then flow 
in ! I appeal to Mr. Darcy ; but let me not interrupt 
you, sir. You will not thank me for detaining you from 
the bewitching converse of that young lady, whose bright 
eyes are also upbraiding me." 



11$ PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

The latter part of this address was scarcely heard by 
Darcy ; but Sir William's allusion to his friend seemed 
to strike him forciblv, and his eves were directed, with a 



- 




r r ~f ~ ~ r f 

Juc.% very JV0frioT" airnrrng IS n 

often seen." 
i^"/;/ ic<x| ly Gfjrge Allen.} 

very serious expression, towards Bingley and Jane, who 
were dancing together. Recovering himself, however, 
shortly, he turned to his partner, and said, 

" Sir William's interruption has made me forget what 
we were talking of 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I 19 

" I do not think we were speaking at all. Sir William 
could not have interrupted any two people in the room 
who had less to say for themselves. We have tried two 
or three subjects already without success, and what we 
are to talk of next I cannot imagine." 

" What think you of books ? ' said he, smiling. 

" Books oh no ! I am sure we never read the same, 
or not with the same feelings." 

" I am sorry you think so ; but if that be the case, there 
can at least be no want of subject. We may compare 
our different opinions." 

" Xo I cannot talk of books in a ball-room ; my head 
is always full of something else." 

" The present always occupies you in such scenes 
does it ? ' said he, with a look of doubt. 

" Yes, always," she replied, without knowing what she 
said ; for her thoughts had wandered far from the subject, 
as soon afterwards appeared by her suddenly exclaiming, 
" I remember hearing you once say, Mr. Darcy, that you 
hardly ever forgave ; that your resentment, once created, 
was unappeasable. You are very cautious, I suppose, as 
to its being created ? " 

" I am," said he, with a firm voice. 

" And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice?" 

" I hope not." 

" It is particularly incumbent on those who never 
change their opinion, to be secure of judging properly at 
first." 

" May I ask to what these questions tend ? " 

" Merely to the illustration of your character," said 
she, endeavouring to shake off her gravity. " I am 
trying to make it out." 

" And what is your success ? ' 



120 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

She shook her head. " I do not get on at all. I hear 
such different accounts of you as puzzle me exceedingly." 

" I can readily believe," answered he, gravely, " that 
reports may vary greatly with respect to me ; and I 
could wish, Miss Bennet, that you were not to sketch 
my character at the present moment, as there is reason 
to fear that the performance would reflect no credit on 
either." 

" But if I do not take your likeness now, I may never 
have another opportunity." 

" I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours," 
he coldly replied. She said no more, and they went 
down the other dance and parted in silence ; on each 
side dissatisfied, though not to an equal degree ; for in 
Darcy's breast there was a tolerably powerful feeling 
towards her, which soon procured her pardon, and 
directed all his anger against another. 

They had not long separated when Miss Bingley came 
towards her, and, with an expression of civil disdain, 
thus accosted her, 

" So, Miss Eliza, I hear you are quite delighted with 
George Wickham ? Your sister has been talking to me 
about him, and asking me a thousand questions ; and 
I find that the young man forgot to tell you, among his 
other communications, that he was the son of old 
Wickham, the late Mr. Darcy's steward. Let me recom- 
mend you, however, as a friend, not to give implicit 
confidence to all his assertions ; for, as to Mr. Darcy's 
using him ill, it is perfectly false : for, on the contrary, 
he has been always remarkably kind to him, though 
George Wickham has treated Mr. Darcy in a most 
infamous manner. I do not know the particulars, but I 
know very well that Mr. Darcy is not in the least to 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 121 

blame ; that he cannot bear to hear George Wickham 
mentioned ; and that though my brother thought he 
could not well avoid including him in his invitation to 
the officers, he was excessively glad to find that he had 
taken himself out of the way. His coming into the 
country at all is a most insolent thing, indeed, and I 
wonder how he could presume to do it. I pity you, 
Miss Eliza, for this discovery of your favourite's guilt ; 
but really, considering his descent, one could not expect 
much better." 

" His guilt and his descent appear, by your account, to 
be the same," said Elizabeth, angrily ; " for I have heard 
you accuse him of nothing worse than of being the 
son of Mr. Darcy's steward, and of that, I can assure 
you, he informed me himself." 

" I beg your pardon," replied Miss Bingley, turning 
away with a sneer. " Excuse my interference ; it was 
kindly meant." 

" Insolent girl !" said Elizabeth to herself. "You are 
much mistaken if you expect to influence me by such 
a paltry attack as this. I see nothing in it but your 
own wilful ignorance and the malice of Mr. Darcy." 
She then sought her eldest sister, who had undertaken to 
make inquiries on the same subject of Bingley. Jane 
met her with a smile of such sweet complacency, a glow 
of such happy expression, as sufficiently marked how well 
she was satisfied with the occurrences of the evening. 
Elizabeth instantly read her feelings ; and, at that moment, 
solicitude for Wickham, resentment against his enemies, 
and everything else, gave way before the hope of Jane's 
being in the fairest way for happiness. 

" I want to know," said she, with a countenance no 
less smiling than her sister's, " what you have learnt 



122 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

about Mr. Wickham. But perhaps you have been too 
pleasantly engaged to think of any third person, in 
which case you may be sure of my pardon." 

" No," replied Jane, " I have not forgotten him ; but I 
have nothing satisfactory to tell you. Mr. Bingley does 
not know the whole of his history, and is quite ignorant 
of the circumstances which have principally offended 
Mr. Darcy ; but he will vouch for the good conduct, the 
probity and honour, of his friend, and is perfectly con- 
vinced that Mr. Wickham has deserved much less atten- 
tion from Mr. Darcy than he has received ; and I am 
sorry to say that by his account, as well as his sister's, 
Mr. Wickham is by no means a respectable young man. 
I am afraid he has been very imprudent, and has 
deserved to lose Mr. Darcy's regard." 

" Mr. Bingley does not know Mr. Wickham himself." 

" No ; he never saw him till the other morning at 
Meryton." 

" This account then is what he has received from 
Mr. Darcy. - 1 am perfectly satisfied. But what does he 
say of the living? " 

" He does not exactly recollect the circumstances, 
though he has heard them from Mr. Darcy more than 
once, but he believes that it was left to him conditionally 
only." 

" I have not a doubt of Mr. Bingley 's sincerity," said 
Elizabeth warmly, " but you must excuse my not being 
convinced by assurances only. Mr. Bingley's defence of 
his friend was a very able one, I dare say ; but since he 
is unacquainted with several parts of the story, and has 
learnt the rest from that friend himself, I shall venture 
still to think of both gentlemen as I did before." 

She then changed the discourse to one more gratifying 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 123 

to each, and on which there could be no difference of 
sentiment. Elizabeth listened with delight to the happy 
though modest hopes which Jane entertained of Bingley's 
regard, and said all in her power to heighten her con- 
fidence in it. On their being joined by Mr. Bingley 
himself, Elizabeth withdrew to Miss Lucas ; to whose 
inquiry after the pleasantness of her last partner she 
had- scarcely replied, before Mr. Collins came up to them, 
and told her with great exultation, that he had just been 
so fortunate as to make a most important discover}-. 

"I have found out," said he, u by a singular acci- 
dent, that there is now in the room a near relation to 
my patroness. I happened to overhear the gentleman 
himself mentioning to the young lady who does the 
honours of this house the names of his cousin Miss 
De Bourgh, and of her mother, Lady Catherine. How 
wonderfully these sort of things occur ! Who would 
have thought of my meeting with perhaps a nephew 
of Lady Catherine de Bourgh in this assembly ! I am 
most thankful that the discovery is made in time for 
me to pay my respects to him, which I am now going 
to do, and trust he will excuse my not having clone it 
before. My total ignorance of the connection must 
plead my apology." 

" You are not going to introduce yourself to Mr. 
Darcy ? " 

" Indeed I am. I shall entreat his pardon for not 
having done it earlier. I believe him to be Lady 
Catherine's nephew. It will be in my power to assure him 
that her Ladyship was quite well yesterday se'nnight." 

Elizabeth tried hard to dissuade him from such a 
scheme ; assuring him that Mr. Darcv would consider 

fj * 

his addressing him without introduction as an impertinent 



124 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

freedom, rather than a compliment to his aunt ; that 
it was not in the least necessary there should be any 
notice on either side, and that if it were, it must belong 
to Mr. Darcy, the superior in consequence, to begin the 
acquaintance. Air. Collins listened to her with the 
determined air of following his own inclination, and 
when she ceased speaking, replied thus, 

" My dear Miss Elizabeth, I have the highest opinion 
in the world of your excellent judgment in all matters 
within the scope of your understanding, but permit 
me to say that there must be a wide difference between 
the established forms of ceremony amongst the laity and 
those which regulate the clergy ; for, give me leave 
to observe that I consider the clerical office as equal in 
point of dignity with the highest rank in the kingdom 
provided that a proper humility of behaviour is at the 
same time maintained. You must, therefore, allow me 
to follow the dictates of my conscience on this occasion, 
which lead me to perform what I look on as a point 
of duty. Pardon me for neglecting to profit by your 
advice, which on every other subject shall be my constant 
guide, though in the case before us I consider myself 
more fitted by education and habitual study to decide 
on what is right than a young lady like yourself;" and 
with a low bow he left her to attack Air. Darcy, whose 
reception of his advances she eagerly watched, and 
whose astonishment at being so addressed was very 
evident. Her cousin prefaced his speech with a solemn 
bow, and though she could not hear a word of it, she felt 
as if hearing it all, and saw in the motion of his lips 
the words " apology,' 1 " Hunsford," and " Lady Catherine 
de Bourgh." It vexed her to see him expose himself 
to such a man. Air. Darcv was eyeing him with un- 

* * o 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 125 

restrained wonder ; and when at last Mr. Collins allowed 
him to speak, replied with an air of distant civility. 
Mr. Collins, however, was not discouraged from speaking 
again, and Mr. Darcy's contempt seemed abundantly 
increasing with the length of his second speech ; and at 
the end of it he only made him a slight bow, and moved 
another way : Mr. Collins then returned to Elizabeth. 

" I have no reason, I assure you," said he, "to be dis- 
satisfied with my reception. Mr. Darcy seemed much 
pleased with the attention. He answered me with the 
utmost civility, and even paid me the compliment of 
saying, that he was so well convinced of Lady Catherine's 
discernment as to be certain she could never bestow a 
favour unworthily. It was really a very handsome 
thought. Upon the w r hole, I am much pleased with him." 

As Elizabeth had no longer any interest of her own to 
pursue, she turned her attention almost entirely on her 
sister and Mr. Bingley ; and the train of agreeable 
reflections which her observations gave birth to made her 
perhaps almost as happy as Jane. She saw her in idea 
settled in that very house, in all the felicity w r hich a 
marriage of true affection could bestow ; and she felt 
capable, under such circumstances, of endeavouring even 
to like Bingley's two sisters. Her mother's thoughts she 
plainly saw were bent the same way, and she determined 
not to venture near her, lest she might hear too much. 
When they sat down to supper, therefore, she considered 
it a most unlucky perverseness w r hich placed them within 
one of each other ; and deeply was she vexed to find 
that her mother was talking to that one person (Lady 
Lucas) freely, openly, and of nothing else but of her 
expectation that Jane w r ould be soon married to Mr. 
Bingley. It was an animating subject, and Mrs. Bennet 



126 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

seemed incapable of fatigue while enumerating the 
advantages of the match. His being such a charming 
young man, and so rich, and living but three miles from 
them, were the first points of self-gratulation ; and then 
it was such a comfort to think how fond the two sisters 
were of Jane, and to be certain that they must desire the 
connection as much as she could do. It was, moreover, 
such a promising thing for her younger daughters, as 
Jane's marrying so greatly must throw them in the way 
of other rich men ; and, lastly, it was so pleasant at her 
time of life to be able to consign her single daughters to 
the care of their sister, that she might not be obliged to 
go into company more than she liked. It was necessary 
to make this circumstance a matter of pleasure, because 
on such occasions it is the etiquette ; but no one was less 
likely than Mrs. Bennet to find comfort in staying at 
home at any period of her life. She concluded with 
many good wishes that Lady Lucas might soon be 
equally fortunate, though evidently and triumphantly 
believing there was no chance of it. 

In vain did Elizabeth endeavour to check the rapidity 
of her mother's words, or persuade her to describe her 
felicity in a less audible whisper ; for to her inexpressible 
vexation she could perceive that the chief of it was over- 
heard by Mr. Darcy, who sat opposite to them. Her 
mother only scolded her for being nonsensical. 

"What is Mr. Darcy to me, pray, that I should be 
afraid of him ? I am sure we owe him no such particular 
civility as to be obliged to say nothing he may not like 
to hear." 

" For heaven's sake, madam, speak lower. What 
advantage can it be to you to offend Mr. Darcy? You 
will never recommend yourself to his friend by so doing." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I2/ 

Nothing that she could say, however, had any influence. 
Her mother would talk of her views in the same 
intelligible tone. Elizabeth blushed and blushed again 
with shame and vexation. She could not help frequently 
glancing her eye at Mr. Darcy, though every glance con- 
vinced her of what she dreaded ; for though he was not 
always looking at her mother, she was convinced that his 
attention was invariably fixed by her. The expression 
of his face changed gradually from indignant contempt 
to a composed and steady gravity. 

At length, however, Mrs. Bennet had no more to say ; 
and Lady Lucas, who had been long yawning at the 
repetition of delights which she saw no likelihood of 
sharing, was left to the comforts of cold ham and chicken. 
Elizabeth now began to revive. But not long was the 
interval of tranquillity ; for when supper was over, 
singing was talked of, and she had the mortification of 
seeing Mary, after very little entreaty, preparing to oblige 
the company. By many significant looks and silent 
entreaties did she endeavour to prevent such a proof of 
complaisance, but in vain ; Mary would not understand 
them ; such an opportunity of exhibiting was delightful 
to her, and she began her song. Elizabeth's eyes were 
fixed on her, with most painful sensations ; and she 
watched her progress through the several stanzas with 
an impatience which was very ill rewarded at their close ; 
for Mary, on receiving amongst the thanks of the table 
the hint of a hope that she might be prevailed on to 
favour them again, after the pause of half a minute 
began another. Mary's powers were by no means fitted 
for such a display ; her voice was weak, and her manner 
affected. Elizabeth was in agonies. She looked at Jane 
to see how she bore it ; but Jane was very composedly 



128 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

talking to Bingley. She looked at his two sisters, and 
saw them making signs of derision at each other, and at 
Darcy, who continued, however, impenetrably grave. 
She looked at her father to. entreat his interference, lest 
Mary should be singing all night. He took the hint, 
and, when Mary had finished her second song, said 
aloud, 

" That will do extremely well, child. You have 
delighted us long enough. Let the- other young ladies 
have time to exhibit." 

Mary, though pretending not to hear, was somewhat 
disconcerted ; and Elizabeth, sorry for her, and sorry for 
her father's speech, was afraid her anxiety had done no 
good. Others of the party were now applied to. 

" If I," said Mr. Collins, " were so fortunate as to be 
able to sing, I should have great pleasure, I am sure, in 
obliging the company with an air ; for I consider music 
as a very innocent diversion, and perfectly compatible 
with the profession of a clergyman. I do not mean, 
however, to assert that we can be justified in devoting 
too much of our time to music, for there are certain!}' 
other things to be attended to. The rector of a parish 
has much to do. In the first place, he must make such 
an agreement for tithes as may be beneficial to himself 
and not offensive to his patron. He must write his own 
sermons ; and the time that remains will not be too much 
for his parish duties, and the care and improvement of 
his dwelling, which he cannot be excused from making 
as comfortable as possible. And I do not think it of 
light importance that he should have attentive and 
conciliatory manners towards everybody, especially 
towards those to whom he owes his preferment. I 
cannot acquit him of that duty ; nor could I think well 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 129 

of the man who should omit an occasion of testifying his 
respect towards anybody connected with the family." 
And with a bow to Mr. Darcy, he concluded his speech, 
which had been spoken so loud as to be heard by half 
the room. Many stared many smiled ; but no one 
looked more amused than Mr. Bennet himself, while his 
w r ife seriously commended Mr. Collins for having spoken 
so sensibly, and observed, in a half-whisper to Lady 
Lucas, that he was a remarkably clever, good kind of 
young man. 

To Elizabeth it appeared, that had her family made 
an agreement to expose themselves as much as they 
could during the evening, it would have been impossible 
for them to play their parts with more spirit, or finer 
success ; and happy did she think it for Bingley and her 
sister that some of the exhibition had escaped his notice, 
and that his feelings were not of a sort to be much 
distressed by the folly which he must have witnessed. 
That his two sisters and Mr. Darcy, however, should have 
such an opportunity of ridiculing her relations was bad 
enough ; and she could not determine whether the silent 
contempt of the gentleman, or the insolent smiles of the 
ladies, were more intolerable. 

The rest of the evening brought her little amusement. 
She was teased by Mr. Collins, who continued most 
perseveringly by her side ; and though he could not 
prevail with her to dance with him again, put it out of 
her power to dance with others. In vain did she entreat 
him to stand up with somebody else, and offered to 
introduce him to any young lady in the room. He 
assured her that, as to dancing, he was perfectly 
indifferent to it ; that his chief object was, by delicate 
attentions, to recommend himself to her ; and that he 

K 



130 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

should therefore make a point of remaining close to her 
the whole evening. There was no arguing upon such a 
project. She owed her greatest relief to her friend Miss 
Lucas, who often joined . them, and good-naturedly 
engaged Mr. Collins's conversation to herself. 

She was at least free from the offence of Mr. Darcy's 
further notice : though often standing within a very short 
distance of her, quite disengaged, he never came near 
enough to speak. She felt it to be the probable con- 
sequence of her allusions to Mr. Wickham, and rejoiced 
in it. 

The Longbourn party were the last of all the company 
to depart ; and by a manoeuvre of Mrs. Bennet had to 
wait for their carriage a quarter of an hour after every- 
body else was gone, which gave them time to see how 
heartily they were wished away by some of the family. 
Mrs. Hurst and her sister scarcely opened their mouths 
except to complain of fatigue, and were evidently 
impatient to have the house to themselves. They 
repulsed every attempt of Mrs. Bennet at conversation, 
and, by so doing, threw a languor over the whole party, 
which was very little relieved by the long speeches of 
Mr. Collins, who was complimenting Mr. Bingley and 
his sisters on the elegance of their entertainment, and 
the hospitality and politeness which had marked their 
behaviour to their guests. Darcy said nothing at all. 
Mr. Bennet, in equal silence, was enjoying the scene. 
Mr. Bingley and Jane were standing together a little 
detached from the rest, and talked only to each other. 
Elizabeth preserved as steady a silence as either Mrs. 
Hurst or Miss Bingley ; and even Lydia was too much 
fatigued to utter more than the occasional exclamation of 
"Lord, how tired I am !" accompanied by a violent yawn. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 131 

When at length they arose to take leave, Mrs. Bennet 
was most pressingly civil in her hope of seeing the whole 
family soon at Longbourn ; and addressed herself parti- 
cularly to Mr. Bingley, to assure him how happy he 
would make them, by eating a family dinner with them 
at any time, without the ceremony of a formal invitation. 
Bingley was all grateful pleasure ; and he readily engaged 
for taking the earliest opportunity of waiting on her 
after his return from London, whither he was obliged to 
go the next day for a short time. 

Mrs. Bennet was perfectly satisfied ; and quitted the 
house under the delightful persuasion that, allowing for 
the necessary preparations of settlements, new carriages, 
and wedding clothes, she should undoubtedly see her 
daughter settled at Netherfield in the course of three or 
four months. Of having another daughter married to 
Mr. Collins she thought with equal certainty, and with 
considerable, though not equal, pleasure. Elizabeth was 
the least dear to her of all her children ; and though the 
man and the match were quite good enough for Jicr, the 
'worth of each was eclipsed by Mr. Bingley and 
Netherfield. 




to assure you tn in* moil anirnatecf language 



CHAPTER XIX. 

next day opened a new scene at 
Longbourn. Mr. Collins made his 
declaration in form. Having resolved 
to do it without loss of time, as his 
leave of absence extended only to the 
following Saturday, and having no 
feelings of diffidence to make it distressing to himself even 
at the moment, he set about it in a very orderly manner, 
with all the observances which he supposed a regular 
part of the business. On finding Mrs. Bennet, Elizabeth, 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 133 

and one of the younger girls together, soon after break- 
fast, he addressed the mother in these words, 

" May I hope, madam, for your interest with your fair 
daughter Elizabeth, when I solicit for the honour of a 
private audience with her in the course of this morning?" 

Before Elizabeth had time for anything but a blush of 
surprise, Mrs. Bennet instantly answered,- 

"Oh dear ! Yes, certainly. I am sure 'Lizzy will be very 
happy I am sure she can have no objection. Come, Kitty, 
I want you upstairs." And gathering her work together, 
she was hastening away, when Elizabeth called out, 

" Dear ma'am, do not go. I beg you will not go. Mr. 
Collins must excuse me. He can have nothing to say to 
me that anybody need not hear. I am going away myself." 

" No, no, nonsense, Lizzy. I desire you will stay 
where you are." And upon Elizabeth's seeming really, 
with vexed and embarrassed looks, about to escape, she 
added, " Lizzy, I insist upon your staying and hearing 
Mr. Collins." 

Elizabeth would not oppose such an injunction ; and a 
moment's consideration making her also sensible that it 
would be wisest to get it over as soon and as quietly as 
possible, she sat down again, and tried to conceal, by 
incessant employment, the feelings which were divided 
between distress and diversion. Mrs. Bennet and Kitty 
walked off, and as soon as they were gone, Mr. Collins 
began, 

" Believe me, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that your 
modesty, so far from doing you any disservice, rather 
adds to your other perfections. You would have been 
less amiable in my eyes had there not been this little 
unwillingness ; but allow me to assure you that I have 
your respected mother's permission for this address. 



134 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

You can hardly doubt the purport of my discourse, 
however your natural delicacy may lead you to dissemble ; 
my attentions have been too marked to be mistaken. 
Almost as soon as I entered the house I singled you out 
as the companion of my future life. But before I am 
run away with by my feelings on this subject, perhaps it 
will be advisable for me to state my reasons for marry- 
ing and, moreover, for coming into Hertfordshire with 
the design of selecting a wife, as I certainly did." 

The idea of Mr. Collins, with all his solemn composure, 
being run away with by his feelings, made Elizabeth so 
near laughing that she could not use the short pause he 
allowed in any attempt to stop him farther, and he 
continued,- 

" My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it a 
right thing for every clergyman in easy circumstances 
(like myself) 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 ought to have mentioned earlier, that it is the 
particular advice and recommendation of the very noble 
lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness. 
Twice has she condescended to give me her opinion 
(unasked too !) on this subject ; and it was but the very 
Saturday night before I left Hunsford, between our 
pools at quadrille, while Mrs. Jenkinson was arranging 
Miss De Bourgh's footstool, that she said, ' Mr. Collins, 
you must marry. A clergyman like you must marry. 
Choose properly, choose a gentlewoman for my sake, 
and for your own ; let her be an active, useful sort of 
person, not brought up high, but able to make a small 
income go a good way. This is my advice. Find such 
a woman as soon as you can, bring her to Hunsford, and 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 135 

I will visit her.' Allow me, by the way, to observe, my 
fair cousin, that I do not reckon the notice and kindness 
of Lady Catherine de Bourgh as among the least of the 
advantages in my power to offer. You will find her 
manners beyond anything I can describe ; and your wit 
and vivacity, I think, must be acceptable to her, espe- 
cially when tempered with the silence and respect which 
her rank will inevitably excite. Thus much for my 
general intention in favour of matrimony ; it remains to 
be told why my views were directed to Longbourn 
instead of my own neighbourhood, where I assure you 
there are many amiable young women. But the fact is, 
that being, as I am, to inherit this estate after the death 
of your honoured father (who, however, may live many 
years longer), I could not satisfy myself without resolv- 
ing to choose a wife from among his daughters, that 
the loss to them might be as little as possible when the 
melancholy event takes place which, however, as I have 
already said, may not be for several years. This has 
been my motive, my fair cousin, and I flatter myself it 
will not sink me in your esteem. And now nothing 
remains for me but to assure you in the most animated 
language of the violence of my affection. To fortune I 
am perfectly indifferent, and shall make no demand of 
that nature on your father, since I am well aware that it 
could not be complied with ; and that one thousand 
pounds in the 4 per cents., which will not be yours till 
after your mother's decease, is all that you may ever be 
entitled to. On that head, therefore, I shall be uniformly 
silent : and you may assure yourself that no ungenerous 
reproach shall ever pass my lips when we are married." 

It was absolutely necessary to interrupt him now. 

" You are too hasty, sir," she cried. " You forget that 



134 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

You can hardly doubt the purport of my discourse, 
however your natural delicacy may lead you to dissemble; 
my attentions have been too marked to be mistaken. 
Almost as soon as I entered the house I singled you out 
as the companion of my future life. But before I am 
run away with by my feelings on this subject, perhaps it 
will be advisable for me to state my reasons for marry- 
ing and, moreover, for coming into Hertfordshire with 
the design of selecting a wife, as I certainly did." 

The idea of Mr. Collins, with all his solemn composure, 
being run away with by his feelings, made Elizabeth so 
near laughing that she could not use the short pause he 
allowed in any attempt to stop him farther, and he 
continued,- 

" My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it a 
right thing for every clergyman in easy circumstances 
(like myself) 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 ought to have mentioned earlier, that it is the 
particular advice and recommendation of the very noble 
lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness. 
Twice has she condescended to give me her opinion 
(unasked too !) on this subject ; and it was but the very 
Saturday night before I left Hunsford, between our 
pools at quadrille, while Mrs. Jenkinson was arranging 
Miss De Bourgh's footstool, that she said, ' Mr. Collins, 
you must marry. A clergyman Hke you must marry. 
Choose properly, choose a gentlewoman for my sake, 
and for your own ; let her be an active, useful sort of 
person, not brought up high, but able to make a small 
income go a good way. This is my advice. Find such 
a woman as soon as you can, bring her to Hunsford, and 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 135 

I will visit her.' Allow me, by the way, to observe, my 
fair cousin, that I do not reckon the notice and kindness 
of Lady Catherine de Bourgh as among the least of the 
advantages in my power to offer. You will find her 
manners beyond anything I can describe ; and your wit 
and vivacity, I think, must be acceptable to her, espe- 
cially when tempered with the silence and respect which 
her rank will inevitably excite. Thus much for my 
general intention in favour of matrimony ; it remains to 
be told why my views were directed to Longbourn 
instead of my own neighbourhood, where I assure you 
there are many amiable young women. But the fact is, 
that being, as I am, to inherit this estate after the death 
of your honoured father (who, however, may live many 
years longer), I could riot satisfy myself without resolv- 
ing to choose a wife from among his daughters, that 
the loss to them might be as little as possible when the 
melancholy event takes place which, however, as I have 
already said, may not be for several years. This has 
been my motive, my fair cousin, and I flatter myself it 
will not sink me in your esteem. And now nothing 
remains for me but to assure you in the most animated 
language of the violence of my affection. To fortune I 
am perfectly indifferent, and shall make no demand of 
that nature on your father, since I am well aware that it 
could not be complied with ; and that one thousand 
pounds in the 4 per cents., which will not be yours till 
after your mother's decease, is all that you may ever be 
entitled to. On that head, therefore, I shall be uniformly 
silent : and you may assure yourself that no ungenerous 
reproach shall ever pass my lips when we are married." 

It was absolutely necessary to interrupt him now. 

" You are too hasty, sir," she cried. " You forget that 



138 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

it into further consideration that, in spite of your mani- 
fold attractions, it is by no means certain that another 
offer of marriage may ever be made you. Your portion 
is unhappily so small, that it will in all likelihood undo 
the effects of your loveliness and amiable qualifications. 
As I must, therefore, conclude that you are not serious in 
your rejection of me, I shall choose to attribute it to 
your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according 
to the usual practice of elegant females." 

" I do assure you, sir, that I have no pretensions 
whatever to that kind of elegance which consists in 
tormenting a respectable man. I would rather be paid 
the compliment of being believed sincere. I thank you 
again and again for the honour you have done me in 
your proposals, but to accept them is absolutely impos- 
sible. My feelings in every respect forbid it. Can I 
speak plainer ? Do not consider me now as an elegant 
female intending to plague you, but as a rational creature 
speaking the truth from her heart." 

" You are uniformly charming ! " cried he, with an 
air of awkward gallantry ; " and I am persuaded that, 
when sanctioned by the express authority of both your 
excellent parents, my proposals will not fail of being 
acceptable." 

To such perseverance in wilful self-deception Elizabeth 
w r ould make no reply, and immediately and in silence 
withdrew ; determined, that if he persisted in considering 
her repeated refusals as flattering encouragement, to 
apply to her father, whose negative might be uttered in 
such a manner as must be decisive, and whose behaviour 
at least could not be mistaken for the affectation and 
coquetry of an elegant female. 





CHAPTER XX. 

R. COLLINS was not left long to 
the silent contemplation of his suc- 
cessful love ; for Mrs. Bennet, having 
dawdled about in the vestibule to 
watch for the end of the conference, 
no sooner saw Elizabeth open the 
door and with quick step pass her towards the staircase, 
than she entered the breakfast-room, and congratulated 
both him and herself in warm terms on the happy 
prospect of their nearer connection. Mr. Collins received 
and returned these felicitations with equal pleasure, and 
then proceeded to relate the particulars of their inter- 
view, with the result of which he trusted he had every 
reason to be satisfied, since the refusal which his cousin 
had steadfastly given him would naturally flow from 
her bashful modesty and the genuine delicacy of her 
character. 



140 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

This information, however, startled Mrs. Bennet : she 
would have been glad to be equally satisfied that her 
daughter had meant to encourage him by protesting 
against his proposals, but she dared not believe it, and 
could not help saying so. 

" But depend upon it, Mr. Collins," she added, " that 
Lizzy shall be brought to reason. I will speak to her 
about it myself directly. She is a very headstrong, 
foolish girl, and does not know her own interest ; but I 
will make her know it." 

" Pardon me for interrupting you, madam," cried Mr. 
Collins ; " but if she is really headstrong and foolish, I 
know not whether she would altogether be a very 
desirable wife to a man in my situation, who naturally 
looks for happiness in the marriage state. If, therefore, 
she actually persists in rejecting my suit, perhaps it were 
better not to force her into accepting me, because, if 
liable to such defects of temper, she could not contribute 
much to my felicity." 

" Sir, you quite misunderstand me," said Mrs. 
Bennet, alarmed. " Lizzy is only headstrong in such 
matters as these. In everything else she is as good- 
natured a girl as ever lived. I will go directly to Mr. 
Bennet, and we shall very soon settle it with her, I am 



sure." 



She w r ould not give him time to reply, but hurrying in- 
stantly to her husband, called out, as she entered the 
library , 

" Oh, Mr. Bennet, you are wanted immediately ; we 
are all in an 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 he will change his mind 
and not have JicrT 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 141 

Mr. Bennet raised his eyes from his book as she 
entered, and fixed them on her face with a calm uncon- 
cern, which was not in the least altered by her communi- 
cation. 

" I have not the pleasure of understanding you," said 
he, when she had finished her speech. " Of what are 
you talking ? ' 

" Of Mr. Collins and Lizzy. Lizzy declares she will 
not have Mr. Collins, and Mr. Collins begins to say that 
he will not have Lizzy." 

" And what am I to do on the occasion ? It seems a 
hopeless business." 

" Speak to Lizzy about it yourself. Tell her that you 
insist upon her marrying him." 

" Let her be called down. She shall hear my opinion." 

Mrs. Bennet rang the bell, and Miss Elizabeth was 
summoned to the library. 

" Come here, child," cried her father as she appeared. 
" I have sent for you on an affair of importance. I 
understand that Mr. Collins has made you an offer of 
marriage. Is it true ? " 

Elizabeth replied that it was. 

" Very well and this offer of marriage you have 
refused ? " 

" I have, sir." 

" Very well. We now come to the point. Your mother 
insists upon your accepting it. Is it not so, Mrs. Bennet ? " 

" Yes, or I will never see her again." 

" 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 I will never see you again 
if you do" 



142 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Elizabeth could not but smile at such a conclusion of 
such a beginning ; but Mrs. Bennet, who had persuaded 
herself that her husband regarded the affair as she wished, 
was excessively disappointed. 

" What do you mean, Mr. Bennet, by talking in this 
way? You promised me to insist upon her marrying 
him." 

" My dear," replied her husband, " I have two small 
favours to request. First, that you will allow me the free 
use of my understanding on the present occasion ; and, 
secondly, of my room. I shall be glad to have the library 
to myself as soon as may be." 

Not yet, however, in spite of her disappointment in her 
husband, did Mrs. Bennet give up the point. She talked 
to Elizabeth again and again ; coaxed and threatened her 
by turns. She endeavoured to secure Jane in her 
interest, but Jane, with all possible mildness, declined 
interfering ; and Elizabeth, sometimes with real earnest- 
ness, and sometimes with playful gaiety, replied to her 
attacks. Though her manner varied, however, her deter- 
mination never did. 

Mr. Collins, meanwhile, was meditating in solitude on 
what had passed. He thought too well of himself to 
comprehend on what motive his cousin could refuse him ; 
and though his pride was hurt, he suffered in no other 
way. His regard for her was quite imaginary ; and the 
possibility of her deserving her mother's reproach pre- 
vented his feeling any regret. 

While the family were in this confusion, Charlotte 
Lucas came to spend the day with them. She was met 
in the vestibule by Lydia, who, flying to her, cried in 
.a half whisper, " I am glad you are come, for there is 
.such fun here ! What do you think has happened this 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

morning? Mr. Collins has made an offer to Lizzy, and 
she will not have him." 

Charlotte had hardly time to answer before they were 
joined by Kitty, who came to tell the same news ; and 




They entered if\e 



sooner had they entered the breakfast-room, where 

rs. Bennet was alone, than she likewise began on the 

6 >ject, calling on Miss Lucas for her compassion, and 

entreating her to persuade her friend Lizzy to comply 

wi h the wishes of her family. " Pray do, my dear Miss 



144 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Lucas," she added, in a melancholy tone ; " for nobody is 
on my side, nobody takes part with me ; I am cruelly 
used, nobody feels for my poor nerves." 

Charlotte's reply was spared by the entrance of Jane 
and Elizabeth. 

" Ay, there she comes," continued Mrs. Bennet, " look- 
ing as unconcerned as may be, and caring no more for us 
than if we were at York, provided she can have her own 
way. But I tell you what, Miss Lizzy, if you take it 
into your head to go on refusing every offer of marriage 
in this way, you will never get a husband at all and I 
am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when 
your father is dead. / shall not be able to keep you- 
and so I warn you. I have done with you from this very 
da}-. I told you in the library, you know, that I should 
never speak to you again, and you will find me as good 
as my word. I have no pleasure in talking to undutiful 
children. Xot that I have much pleasure, indeed, in 
talking to anybody. People who suffer as I do from 
nervous complaints can have no great inclination for 
talking. Xobody can tell what I suffer ! But it is 
always so. Those who do not complain are never 
pitied." 

Her daughters listened in silence to this effusion, 
sensible that any attempt to reason with or soothe her 
would only increase the irritation. She talked on, there- 
fore, without interruption from any of them till they 
were joined by Mr. Collins, who entered with an air more 
stately than usual, and on perceiving whom, she said to 
the girls, 

" Now, I do insist upon it, that you, all of you, hold 
your tongues, and let Mr. Collins and me have a little 
conversation together." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 145 

Elizabeth passed quietly out of the room, Jane and 
Kitty followed, but Lydia stood her ground, determined 
to hear all she could ; and Charlotte, detained first by the 
civility of Mr. Collins, whose inquiries after herself and 
all her family were very minute, and then by a little 
curiosity, satisfied herself with walking to the window 
and pretending not to hear. In a doleful voice Mrs. 
Bennet thus began the projected conversation : 

" Oh, Mr. Collins ! " 

" My dear madam," replied he, " let us be for ever silent 
on this point. Far be it from me," he presently continued, 
in a voice that marked his displeasure, " to resent the 
behaviour of your daughter. Resignation to inevitable 
evils is the duty of us all : the peculiar duty of a young 
man who has been so fortunate as I have been, in early 
preferment ; and, I trust, I am resigned. Perhaps not 
the less so from feeling a doubt of my positive happiness 
had my fair cousin honoured me with her hand ; for I 
have often observed, that resignation is never so perfect 
as when the blessing denied begins to lose somewhat of 
its value in our estimation. You will not, I hope, con- 
sider me as showing any disrespect to your family, my 
dear madam, by thus withdrawing my pretensions to your 
daughter's favour, without having paid yourself and Mr. 
Bennet the compliment of requesting you to interpose 
your authority in my behalf. My conduct may, I fear, 
be objectionable in having accepted my dismission from 
your daughter's lips instead of your own ; but we are all 
liable to error. I have certainly meant well through the 
whole affair. My object has been to secure an amiable 
companion for myself, with due consideration for the ad- 
vantage of all your family ; and if my manner has been 
at all reprehensible, I here beg leave to apologize." 

L 



.^ 

"& ' '*$* 

fes 




CHAPTER XXI. 

discussion of Mr. Collins's offer 
was now nearly at an end, and 

r 

Elizabeth had only to suffer from 

^ 

the uncomfortable feelings neces- 
sarily attending it, and occasionally 
from some peeyish allusion of her 
mother. As for the gentleman himself, Jiis feelings were 
chiefly expressed, not by embarrassment or dejection, or 




I'KIDK AM) 1'KKJUDICE. 147 

by trying to avoid her, but by stiffness of manner and 
resentful silence. He scarcely ever spoke to her ; and 
the assiduous attentions which he had been so sensible 
of himself were transferred for the rest of the day to 
Miss Lucas, whose civility in listening to him was a 
seasonable relief to them all, and especially to her friend. 

The morrow produced no abatement of Mrs. Bennet's 
ill humour or ill health. Mr. Collins was also in the 
same state of angry pride. Elizabeth had hoped that 
lu's resentment might shorten his visit, but his plan did 
not appear in the least affected by it. He was always to 
have gone on Saturday, and to Saturday he still meant to 
stay. 

After breakfast, the girls walked to Meryton, to inquire 
if Mr. Wickham were returned, and to lament over his 
absence from the Netherficld ball. He joined them on 
their entering the to\vn, and attended them to their aunt's, 
where his regret and vexation and the concern of every- 
body were well talked over. To Elizabeth, however, he 
voluntarily acknowledged that the necessity of his 
absence Jiad 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 myself." 

She highly approved his forbearance ; and they had 
leisure for a full discussion of it, and for all the commen- 
dations 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 advan- 
tage : she felt all the compliment it offered to herself; 



148 



PRII>K AM; PRKJUI'I 



and it was most acceptable as an occa of introducing 
him to her father and mother. 

Soon after their return, a letter was delivered to Mi.s.s 
Bennet ; it came from Xetherfield, and was opened 
immediately. The envelope contained a sheet of elegant, 
little, hot-pressed paper, well covered with a lady's fair, 
flowing hand ; and Elizabeth saw her sister's com* 







\Cofyright 1854 by Georgt Allen.} 

nance change as she read it, and saw her dwelling 
intently on some particular passages. Jane recollected 
herself soon ; and putting the letter away, tried to join, 
with her usual cheerfulness, in the general conversation : 
but Elizabeth felt an anxiety on the subject which dr 
off her attention even from Wickham ; and no sooner 
had he and his companion taken leave, than a glance 
from Jane invited her to follow her upstairs. \Vhen 
they had gained their own room, Jane, taking out her 
letter, said, "This is from Caroline Bingley: what it 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 149 

contains has surprised me a good deal. The whole 
part\- have left Xetherfield by this time, and are on their 
wav to town ; and without any intention of coming back 

- f d> 

again. You shall hear what she says." 

She then read the first sentence aloud, which comprised 
the information of their having just resolved to follow 

^ 

their brother to town direct!}', and of their meaning to 
dine that day in Grosvenor Street, where Mr. Hurst had 
a house. The next was in these words : " ' I do not 
pretend to regret anything I shall leave in Hertfordshire 
except your society, my dearest friend ; but we will hope, 
at some future period, to enjoy many returns of that 
delightful intercourse we have known, and in the mean- 
while may lessen the pain of separation by a very frequent 
and most unreserved correspondence. I depend on you 
tor that.' To these high-flown expressions Elizabeth 
listened with all the insensibility of distrust ; and though 
the suddenness of their removal surprised her, she saw 
nothing in it really to lament : it was not to be supposed 
that their absence from Xetherfield would prevent Mr. 
Binglev's being there ; and as to the loss of their societv, 

* ' V_* 

she was persuaded that Jane must soon cease to regard 
it in the enjoyment of his. 

"It is unlucky." said she, after a short pause, "that 
vou should not be able to see vour friends before thev 

* * * 

leave the country. But may we not hope that the 
period of future happiness, to which Miss Bingley looks 
forward, max* arrive earlier than she is aware, and that 
the delightful intercourse you have known as friends will 
be renewed with vet greater satisfaction as sisters? Mr. 

V* 

Bingley will not be detained in London by them." 

" Caroline decidedly says that none of the party will 
return into 1 lertfordshire this winter. I will read it to vou. 



150 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" ' When my brother left us yesterday, he imagined 
that the business which took him to London might be 
concluded in three or four days ; but as we are certain it 
cannot be so, and at the same time convinced that when 
Charles gets to town he will be in no hurry to leave it 
again, we have determined on following him thither, that 
he may not be obliged to spend his vacant hours in a 
comfortless hotel. Many of my acquaintance are already 
there for the winter : I wish I could hear that you, my 
dearest friend, had any intention of making one in the 
crowd, but of that I despair. I sincerely hope your 
Christmas in Hertfordshire may abound in the gaieties 
which that season generally brings, and that your beaux 
will be so numerous as to prevent your feeling the loss of 
the three of whom we shall deprive you.' 

" It is evident by this," added Jane, " that he comes 
back no more this winter." 

" It is only evident that Miss Bingley does not mean 
he should? 

" Why will you think so ? It must be his own doing ; 
he is his own master. But you do not know all. I will 
read you the passage which particularly hurts me. I 
will have no reserves from you. ' Mr. Darcy is impatient 
to see his sister ; and to confess the truth, we are scarcely 
less eager to meet her again. I really do not think 
Georgiana Darcy has her equal for beauty, elegance, 
and accomplishments ; and the affection she inspires in 
Louisa and myself is heightened into something still 

J O O 

more interesting from the hope we dare to entertain 
of her being hereafter our sister. I do not know whether 
I ever before mentioned to you my feelings on this 
subject, but I will not leave the country without con- 
fiding them, and I trust you will not esteem them 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 151 

unreasonable. My brother admires her greatly already ; 
he will have frequent opportunity now of seeing her on 
the most intimate footing ; her relations all wish the 
connection as much as his own ; and a sister's partiality 
is not misleading me, I think, when I call Charles most 
capable of engaging any woman's heart. With all these 
circumstances to favour an attachment, and nothing to 
prevent it, am I wrong, my dearest Jane, in indulging the 
hope of an event which will secure the happiness of 
so many ? ' What think you of this sentence, my dear 
Lizzy?" said Jane, as she finished it. " Is it not clear 
enough ? Does it not expressly declare that Caroline 
neither expects nor wishes me to be her sister ; that she is 
perfectly convinced of her brother's indifference ; and 
that if she suspects the nature of my feelings for him she 
means (most kindly !) to put me on my guard. Can 
there be any other opinion on the subject ? " 

" Yes, there can ; for mine is totally different. Will 
you hear it ? " 

" Most willingly." 

"You shall have it in a few words. Miss Bingley sees 
that her brother is in love with you and wants him to 
marry Miss Darcy. She follows him to town in the hope 
of keeping him there, and tries to persuade you that he 
does not care about you." 

Jane shook her head. 

" Indeed, Jane, you ought to believe me. No one who 
has ever seen you together can doubt his affection ; 
Miss Bingley, I am sure, cannot : she is not such a 
simpleton. Could she have seen half as much love in 
Mr. Darcy for herself, she would have ordered her 
wedding clothes. But the case is this : we are not 
rich enough or grand enough for them ; and she is 



152 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

the more anxious to get Miss Darcy for her brother, 
from the notion that when there has been one inter- 
marriage, she may have less trouble in achieving a 
second ; in which there is certainly some ingenuity, 
and I dare say it would succeed if Miss de Bourgh 
were out of the way. But, my dearest Jane, you cannot 
seriously imagine that, because Miss Bingley tells you 
her brother greatly admires Miss Darcy, he is in the 
smallest degree less sensible of your merit than when 
he took leave of you on Tuesday ; or that it will be 
in her power to persuade him that, instead of being in 
love with you, he is very much in love with her 
friend.' 3 

" If we thought alike of Miss Bingley," replied Jane, 
" your representation of all this might make me quite 
easy. But I know the foundation is unjust. Caroline is 
incapable of wilfully deceiving anyone ; and all that I 
can hope in this case is, that she is deceived herself." 

" That is right. You could not have started a more 
happy idea, since you will not take comfort in mine : 
believe her to be deceived, by all means. You have now 
done your duty by her, and must fret no longer." 

" But, my dear sister, can I be happy, even supposing 
the best, in accepting a man whose sisters and friends 
are all wishing him to marry elsewhere?" 

" You must decide for yourself," said Elizabeth ; " and 
if, upon mature deliberation, you find that the misery of 
disobliging his two sisters is more than equivalent to the 
happiness of being his wife, I advise you, by all means, 
to refuse him." 

" How can you talk so ? " said Jane, faintly smiling ; 
" you must know, that, though I should be exceedingly 
grieved at their disapprobation, I could not hesitate." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 153 

" I did not think you would ; and that being the case, 
I cannot consider your situation with much compassion." 

" But if he returns no more this winter, my choice will 
never be required. A thousand things may arise in six 
months." 

The idea of his returning no more Elizabeth treated 
with the utmost contempt. It appeared to her merely the 
suggestion of Caroline's interested wishes ; and she could 
not for a moment suppose that those wishes, however 
openly or artfully spoken, could influence a young man 
so totally independent of everyone. 

She represented to her sister, as forcibly as possible, 
what she felt on the subject, and had soon the pleasure 
of seeing its happy effect. Jane's temper was not de- 
sponding ; and she was gradually led to hope, though the 
diffidence of affection sometimes overcame the hope, that 
Bingley w r ould return to Netherfield, and answer every 
wish of her heart. 

They agreed that Mrs. Bennet should only hear of the 
departure of the family, without being alarmed on the 
score of the gentleman's conduct ; but even this partial 
communication gave her a great deal of concern, and she 
bewailed it as exceedingly unlucky that the ladies should 
happen to go away just as they were all getting so inti- 
mate together. After lamenting it, however, at some 
length, she had the consolation of thinking that Mr. 
Bingley would be soon down again, and soon dining at 
Longbourn ; and the conclusion of all was the comfort- 
able declaration, that, though he had been invited only 
to a family dinner, she would take care to have two full 
courses. 





CHAPTER XXII. 

'HE Bennets were engaged to dine with 
the Lucases ; and again, during the chief 
of the day, was Miss Lucas so kind as 
to listen to Mr. Collins. Elizabeth took 
an opportunity of thanking her. " It 
keeps him in good humour," said she, 
" and I am more obliged to you than I can express." 

Charlotte assured her friend of her satisfaction in 
being useful, and that it amply repaid her for the little 
sacrifice of her time. This was very amiable; but 
Charlotte's kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had 
any conception of: its object was nothing less than 
to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins's addresses, 
by engaging them towards herself. Such was Miss 
Lucas's scheme ; and appearances were so favourable, 
that when they parted at night, she would have felt al- 
most sure of success if he had not been to leave Hert- 
fordshire so very soon. But here she did injustice to the 
fire and independence of his character ; for it led him to 
escape out of Longbourn House the next morning with 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 155 

admirable slyness, and hasten to Lucas Lodge to throw 
himself at her feet. He was anxious to avoid the notice 
of his cousins, from a conviction that, if they saw him 
depart, they could not fail to conjecture his design, and he 
was not willing to have the attempt known till its success 
could be known likewise ; for, though feeling almost 
secure, and with reason, for Charlotte had been tolerably 
encouraging, he was comparatively diffident since the 
adventure of Wednesday. His reception, however, was 
of the most flattering kind. Miss Lucas perceived him 
from an upper window as he walked towards the house, 
and instantly set out to meet him accidentally in the lane. 
But little had she dared to hope that so much love and 
eloquence awaited her there. 

In as short a time as Mr. Collins's long speeches would 
allow, everything was settled between them to the satis- 
faction of both ; and as they entered the house, he 
earnestly entreated her to name the day that was to make 
him the happiest of men ; and though such a solicitation 
must be waived for the present, the lady felt no inclination 
to trifle with his happiness. The stupidity with which 
he was favoured by nature must guard his courtship from 
any charm that could make a woman wish for its con- 
tinuance ; and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from 
the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, 
cared not how soon that establishment were gained. 

Sir William and Lady Lucas were speedily applied to 
for their consent ; and it was bestowed with a most joy- 
ful alacrity. Mr. Collins's present circumstances made it 
a most eligible match for their daughter, to whom they 
could give little fortune ; and his prospects of future 
wealth were exceedingly fair. Lady Lucas began directly 
to calculate, with more interest than the matter had ever 



156 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

excited before, how many years longer Mr. Bennet was 
likely to live ; and Sir William gave it as his decided 
opinion, that whenever Mr. Collins should be in posses- 




[Copyriglit 1894 by George Allen.} 



sion of the Longbourn estate, it would be highly expedient 
that both he and his wife should make their appearance 
at St. James's. The whole family in short were properly 
overjoyed on the occasion. The younger girls formed 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 157 

hopes of coming out a year or two sooner than they might 
otherwise have done ; and the boys were relieved from 
their apprehension of Charlotte's dying an old maid. 
Charlotte herself was tolerably composed. She had 
gained her point, and had time to consider of it. Her 
reflections were in general satisfactory. Mr. Collins, to 
be sure, was neither sensible nor agreeable : his society 
was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. 
But still he would be her husband. Without thinking 1 

o 

highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always 
been her object : it was the only honourable provision 
for well-educated young women of small fortune, and, 
however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their 
pleasantest preservative from want. This preservative 
she had now obtained ; and at the age of twenty-seven, 
without having ever been handsome, she felt all the good 
luck of it. The least agreeable circumstance in the busi- 
ness was the surprise it must occasion to Elizabeth 
Bennet, whose friendship she valued beyond that of any 
other person. Elizabeth would wonder, and probably 
would blame her; and though her resolution was not to 
be shaken, her feelings must be hurt by such a disappro- 
bation. She resolved to give her the information herself; 
and therefore charged Mr. Collins, when he returned to 
Longbourn to dinner, to drop no hint of what had passed 
before any of the family. A promise of secrecy was of 
course very dutifully given, but it could not be kept 
without difficulty ; for the curiosity excited by his long 
absence burst forth in such very direct questions on his 
return, as required some ingenuity to evade, and he was 
at the same time exercising great self-denial, for he was 
longing to publish his prosperous love. 

As he was to begin his journey too early on the morrow 



158 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

to see any of the family, the ceremony of leave-taking 
was performed when the ladies moved for the night ; and 
Mrs. Bennet, with great politeness and cordiality, said 
how happy they should be to see him at Longbourn again, 
whenever his other engagements might allow him to visit 
them. 

" My dear madam," he replied, " this invitation is par- 
ticularly gratifying, because it is what I have been hoping 
to receive ; and you may be very certain that I shall 
avail myself of it as soon as possible." 

They were all astonished ; and Mr. Bennet, who could 
by no means wish for so speedy a return, immediately 
said, 

" But is there not danger of Lady Catherine's disappro- 
bation here, my good sir ? You had better neglect your 
relations than run the risk of offending your patroness." 

" My dear sir," replied Mr. Collins, " I am particularly 
obliged to you for this friendly caution, and you may 
depend upon my not taking so material a step without 
her Ladyship's concurrence." 

i; You cannot be too much on your guard. Risk any- 
thing rather than her displeasure ; and if you find it 
likely to be raised by your coming to us again, which I 
should think exceedingly probable, stay quietly at home, 
and be satisfied that we shall take no offence." 

" Believe me, my dear sir, my gratitude is warmly 
excited by such affectionate attention ; and, depend up 
it, you will speedily receive from me a letter of thanks 
for this as well as for every other mark of your regard 
during my stay in Hertfordshire. As for my fair cousins, 
though my absence may not be long enough to render it 
necessary, I shall now take the liberty of wishing them 
health and happiness, not excepting my cousin Elizabeth." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 159 

With proper civilities, the ladies then withdrew ; all of 
them equally surprised to find that he meditated a quick 
return. Mrs. Bennet wished to understand by it that he 
thought of paying his addresses to one of her younger 
girls, and Mary might have been prevailed on to accept 
him. She rated his abilities much higher than anv of 

o 

the others : there was a solidity in his reflections which 
often struck her ; and though by no means so clever as 
herself, she thought that, if encouraged to read and im- 
prove himself by such an example as hers, he might 
become a very agreeable companion. But on the follow- 
ing morning every hope of this kind was done away. 
Miss Lucas called soon after breakfast, and in a private 
conference with Elizabeth related the event of the dav 

4 

before. 

The possibility of Mr. Collins's fancying himself in love 
with her friend had once occurred to Elizabeth within the 
last day or two : but that Charlotte could encourage him 
seemed almost as far from possibility as that she could 
encourage him herself; and her astonishment was con- 
sequently so great as to overcome at first the bounds of 
decorum, and she could not help crying out, 

14 En^a^ed to Mr. Collins ! mv dear Charlotte, im- 

**-* *- * 

possible ! " 

The steadv countenance which Miss Lucas had com- 

u 

manded in telling her storv q;ave wav to a momentarv 

V 1 * O - * 

confusion here on receiving so direct a reproach ; ihou_ 
as it was no more than she expected, she soon regained 
her composure, and calmly replied, 

"Why should you be surprised, my dear Eliza? Do 
you think it incredible that Mr. Collins should be able to 
procure any woman's good opinion, because he was not 
-o happy as to succeed with you ? " 



l6o PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

But Elizabeth had now recollected herself; and, mak- 
ing a strong effort for it, was able to assure her, with 
tolerable firmness, that the prospect of their relationship 
was highly grateful to her, and that she wished her all 
imaginable happiness. 

" I see what you are feeling," replied Charlotte ; " you 
must be surprised, very much surprised, so lately as Mr. 
Collins was wishing to marry you. But when you have 
had time to think it all over, I hope you will be satisfied 
with what I have done. I am not romantic, you know. 
I never was. I ask only a comfortable home ; and, con- 
sidering Mr. Collins's character, connections, and situation 
in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with 
him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the 
marriage state." 

Elizabeth quietly answered " undoubtedly ; " and, after 
an awkward pause, they returned to the rest of the family. 
Charlotte did not stay much longer ; and Elizabeth was 
then left to reflect on what she had heard. It was a lonq; 

o 

time before she became at all reconciled to the idea of so 
unsuitable a match. The strangeness of Mr. Collins's 
making two offers of marriage within three days was 
nothing in comparison of his being now accepted. She 
had always felt that Charlotte's opinion of matrimony 
was not exactly like her own ; but she could not have 
supposed it possible that, when called into action, she 
would have sacrificed every better feeling to worldly 
advantage. Charlotte, the wife of Mr. Collins, was a 
most humiliating picture ! And to the pang of a friend 
disgracing herself, and sunk in her esteem, was added 
the distressing conviction that it was impossible for that 
friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen. 



. 




fmttSilfa n? mujv PI? entirely Tn.iJTak.fn 

{Copyright 1894 y George Allen.] 



CHAPTER XXIII. 




was sitting with her 
mother and sisters, reflecting on 
what she had heard, and doubting 
whether she was authorized to men- 
tion it, when Sir William Lucas 
himself appeared, sent by his daugh- 
ter to announce her engagement to 
the family. With many compli- 
ments to them, and much self-gratulation on the prospect 
of a connection between the houses, he unfolded the 

M 



1 62 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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, bois- 
terously exclaimed, 

" Good Lord ! Sir William, how can you tell such a 
story ? Do not you know that Mr. Collins wants to marry 
Lizzy ? " 

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 know- 
ledge of it from Charlotte herself; and endeavoured to 
put a stop to the exclamations of her mother and sisters, 
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 ex- 
pected from the match, the excellent character of Mr. 
Collins, and the convenient distance of Hunsford from 
London. 

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, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 163 

were plainly deduced from the whole: one, that Elizabeth 
was the real cause of all the mischief; and the other, that 
she herself had been barbarously used by them all ; and 
on these two points she principally dwelt during the rest 
of the day. Nothing could console and nothing 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 their 
daughter. 

Mr. Bennet's emotions were much more tranquil on 
the occasion, and such as he did experience he pro- 
nounced to be of a most agreeable sort ; for it gratified 
him, he said, to discover that Charlotte Lucas, whom he 
had been used to think tolerably sensible, was as foolish 
as his wife, and more foolish than his daughter ! 

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 Miss Lucas, for Mr. Collins was only a 
clergyman ; and it affected them in no other way than as 
a piece of news to spread at Meryton. 

Lady Lucas could not be insensible of triumph on being 
able to retort on Mrs. Bennet the comfort of having a 
daughter well married ; and she called at Longbourn 
rather oftener than usual to say how happy she was, 
though Mrs. Bennet's sour looks 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 



164 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

ever subsist between them again. Her disappointment 
in Charlotte made her turn with fonder regard to her 
sister, of whose rectitude and delicacy she was sure her 
opinion could never be shaken, and for whose happiness 
she grew dailv more anxious, as Binfflev had now been 

^j j j ^ 

gone a week, and nothing was heard of his return. 

Jane had sent Caroline an early answer to her letter, 
and was counting the days 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 twelve- 

* o 

month's abode in the family 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 affection of their amiable 
neighbour, Miss Lucas, 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 marriage, that she wished it 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 men. 
Mr. Collins's return into Hertfordshire was no longer a 

o 

matter of pleasure to Mrs. Bennet. On the contrary, she 
was as much disposed to complain of it as her husband. 
It was verv strange that he should come to Longbourn 

* o o 

instead of to Lucas Lodge ; it was also very inconvenient 
and exceedingly troublesome. She hated having visitors 
in the house while her health was so indifferent, and lovers 
were of all people the most disagreeable. Such were 
the gentle murmurs of Mrs. Bennet, and they gave way 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 165 

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 Meryton of his coming no more to Nether- 
field 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 sisters would be successful in 
keeping him away. Unwilling as she was to admit an 
idea so destructive to Jane's happiness, and so dishonour- 
able to the stability of her lover, she could not prevent its 
frequently recurring. The united efforts of his two un- 
feeling sisters, and of his overpowering friend, assisted by 
the attractions of Miss Darcy and the amusements of 
London, might be too much, she feared, for the strength 
of his attachment. 

As for Jane, Jier 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 her mother, an hour 
seldom passed in which she did not talk of Bingley, ex- 
press her impatience for his arrival, or even require Jane 
to confess that if he did not come back she should 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 the 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, 



1 66 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



luckily for the others, the business of love-making re- 
lieved them from a great deal of his company. The 
chief of every day was spent by him at Lucas Lodge, 
and he sometimes returned to Longbourn only in time 




sne spcfce in a four voice 



to make an apology for his absence before the family 
went to bed. 

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 Miss Lucas 
was odious to her. As her successor in that house, she 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. l6/ 

regarded her with jealous abhorrence. Whenever Char- 
lotte came to see them, she concluded her to be anticipat- 
ing the hour of possession ; and whenever she spoke in a 
low voice to Mr. Collins, was convinced that they were 
talking of the Longbourn estate, and resolving to turn 
herself and her daughters out of the house as soon as 
Mr. Bennet was dead. She complained bitterly of all 
this to her husband. 

" Indeed, Mr. Bennet," said she, " it is very hard to 
think that Charlotte Lucas should ever be mistress of 
this house, that / should be forced to make way for her, 
and live to see her take my place in it ! ' 

" My dear, do not give way to such gloomy thoughts. 
Let us hope for better things. Let us flatter ourselves 
that / may be the survivor." 

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 
estate. 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 con- 
science to entail away an estate from one's own daughters 
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. 





CHAPTER XXIV. 

ISS BINGLEY'S letter arrived, and 
put an end to doubt The very 
first sentence conveyed the assu- 
rance of their being all settled in 
London for the winter, and con- 
cluded with her brother's regret 
at not having had time to pay his 
respects to his friends in Hert- 
fordshire before he left the country. 

Hope was over, entirely over ; and when Jane could 
attend to the rest of the letter, she found little, except 
the professed affection of the writer, that could give her 
any comfort. Miss Darcy's praise occupied the chief of 
it. Her many attractions were again dwelt on ; and 
Caroline boasted joyfully of their increasing intimacy, 
and ventured to predict the accomplishment of the wishes 
which had been unfolded in her former letter. She wrote 
also with great pleasure of her brother's being an inmate 
of Mr. Darcy's house, and mentioned with raptures some 
plans of the latter with regard to new furniture. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 169 

Elizabeth, to whom Jane very soon communicated the 
chief of all this, heard it in silent indignation. Her heart 
was divided between concern for her sister and resentment 
against all others. To Caroline's assertion of her brother's 
being partial to Miss Darcy, she paid no credit. That he 
was really fond of Jane, she doubted no more than she had 
ever done ; and much as she had always been disposed to 
like him, she could not think without anger, hardly with- 
out contempt, on that easiness of temper, that want of 
proper resolution, which now made him the slave of his 
designing friends, and led him to sacrifice his own happi- 
ness to the caprice of their inclinations. Had his own 
happiness, however, been the only sacrifice, he might 
have been allowed to sport with it in whatever manner 
he thought best ; but her sister's was involved in it, as 
she thought he must be sensible himself. It was a sub- 
ject, in short, on which reflection would be long indulged, 
and must be unavailing. She could think of nothing 
else ; and yet, whether Bingley's regard had really died 
away, or were suppressed by his friends' interference ; 
whether he had been aware of Jane's attachment, or 
whether it had escaped his observation ; whichever were 
the case, though her opinion of him must be materially 
affected by the difference, her sister's situation remained 
the same, her peace equally wounded. 

A day or two passed before Jane had courage to 
speak of her feelings to Elizabeth ; but at last, on Mrs. 
Bennet's leaving them together, after a longer irritation 
than usual about Netherfield and its master, she could 
not help saying, 

" O that my dear mother had more command over 
herself! she can have no idea of the pain she gives me 
by her continual reflections on him. But I will not 



I/O PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

repine. It cannot last long. He will be forgot, and we 
shall all be as we were before." 

Elizabeth looked at her sister with incredulous solici- 
tude, but said nothing. 

" You doubt me," cried Jane, slightly colouring 
" indeed, you have no reason. He may live in m> 
memory as the most amiable man of my acquaintance 
but that is all. I have nothing either to hope or fear 
and nothing to reproach him with. Thank God I hav( 
not that pain. A little time, therefore I shall certainl) 
try to get the better- 

With a stronger voice she soon added, " I have thi: 
comfort immediately, that it has not been more than ai 
error of fancy on my side, and that it has done no harn 
to anyone but myself." 

" My dear Jane," exclaimed Elizabeth, " you are toe 
good. Your sweetness and disinterestedness are reall) 
angelic ; I do not know what to say to you. I feel as i 
I had never done you justice, or loved you as yoi 
deserve." 

Miss Bennet eagerly disclaimed all extraordinary merit 
and threw back the praise on her sister's warm affection. 

" Nay," said Elizabeth, " this is not fair. You wish tc 
think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak il 
of anybody. / only want to think you perfect, and yoi 
set yourself against it. Do not be afraid of my running 
into any excess, of my encroaching on your privilege o 
universal good-will. You need not. There are fev 
people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom 
think well. The more I see of the world the more am ] 
dissatisfied with it ; and every day confirms my belief o 
the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the 
little dependence that can be placed on the appearance 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. \J\ 

of either merit or sense. I have met with two instances 
lately : one I will not mention, the other is Charlotte's 
marriage. It is unaccountable ! in every view it is 
unaccountable ! ' 

" My dear Lizzy, do not give way to such feelings as 
these. They will ruin your happiness. You do not 
make allowance enough for difference of situation and 
temper. Consider Mr. Collins's respectability, and Char- 
lotte's prudent, steady character. Remember that she is 
one of a large family ; that as to fortune it is a most 
eligible match ; and be ready to believe, for everybody's 
sake, that she may feel something like regard and esteem 
for our cousin." 

" To oblige you, I would try to believe almost anything, 
but no one else could be benefited by such a belief as 
this ; for were I persuaded that Charlotte had any regard 
for him, I should only think worse of her understanding 
than I now do of her heart. My dear Jane, Mr. Collins 
is a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man : you 
know he is, as well as I do ; and you must feel, as well as 
I do, that the woman who marries him cannot have a 
proper way of thinking. You shall not defend her, though 
it is Charlotte Lucas. You shall not, for the sake of one 
individual, change the meaning of principle and integrity, 
nor endeavour to persuade yourself or me, that selfish- 
ness is prudence, and insensibility of danger security for 
happiness." 

" I must think your language too strong in speaking of 
both," replied Jane; "and I hope^you will be convinced 
of it, by seeing them happy together. But enough of this. 
You alluded to something else. You mentioned two 
instances. I cannot misunderstand you, but I entreat 
you, dear Lizzy, not to pain me by thinking that person 



1/2 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

to blame, and saying your opinion of him is sunk. We 
must not be so ready to fancy ourselves intentionally 
injured. We must not expect a lively young man to be 
always so guarded and circumspect. It is very often 
nothing but our own vanity that deceives us. Women 
fancy admiration means more than it does." 

" And men take care that they should." 

" If it is designedly done, they cannot be justified ; but 
I have no idea of there being so much design in the world 
as some persons imagine." 

" I am far from attributing any part of Mr. Bingley's 
conduct to design," said Elizabeth ; " but, without schem- 
ing to do wrong, or to make others unhappy, there may 
be error and there may be misery. Thoughtlessness, 
want of attention to other people's feelings, and want of 
resolution, will do the business." 

" And do you impute it to either of those ? " 

" Yes ; to the last. But if I go on I shall displease 
you by saying what I think of persons you esteem. Stop 
me, whilst you can." 

"You persist, then, in supposing his sisters influence 
him ? " 

" Yes, in conjunction with his friend." 

" I cannot believe it. Why should they try to influence 
him ? They can only wish his happiness ; and if he is 
attached to me no other woman can secure it." 

" Your first position is false. They may wish many 
things besides his happiness : they may wish his increase 
of wealth and consequence ; they may wish him to marry 
a girl who has all the importance of money, great con- 
nections, and pride." 

" Beyond a doubt they do wish him to choose Miss 
Darcy," replied Jane ; " but this may be from better 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 173 

feelings than you are supposing. They have known her 
much longer than they have known me ; no wonder if 
they love her better. But, whatever may be their own 
wishes, it is very unlikely they should have opposed their 
brother's. What sister would think herself at liberty to 
do it, unless there were something very objectionable? 
If they believed him attached to me they would not try 
to part us ; if he were so, they could not succeed. By 
supposing such an affection, you make everybody acting 
unnaturally and wrong, and me most unhappy. Do not 
distress me by the idea. I am not ashamed of having 
been mistaken or, at least, it is slight, it is nothing in 
comparison of what I should feel in thinking ill of him 
or his sisters. Let me take it in the best light, in the 
light in which it may be understood." 

Elizabeth could not oppose such a wish ; and from this 
time Mr. Bingley's name was scarcely ever mentioned 
between them. 

Mrs. Bennet still continued to wonder and repine at his 
returning no more ; and though a day seldom passed in 
which Elizabeth did not account for it clearly, there 
seemed little chance of her ever considering it with less 
perplexity. Her daughter endeavoured to convince her 
of what she did not believe herself, that his attentions to 
Jane had been merely the effect of a common and tran- 
sient liking, which ceased when he saw her no more ; but 
though the probability of the statement was admitted at 
the time, she had the same story to repeat every day. 
Mrs. Bennet's best comfort was, that Mr. Bingley must 
be down again in the summer. 

Mr. Bennet treated the matter differently. " So, Lizzy," 
said he, one day, " your sister is crossed in love, I find. I 
congratulate her. Next to being married, a girl likes to 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

be crossed in love a little now and then. It is something 
to think of, and gives her a sort of distinction among her 
companions. When is your turn to come? You will 
hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now is your 
time. Here are officers enough at Meryton to disappoint 
all the young ladies in the country. Let Wickham be 
your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you 
creditably." 

" Thank you, sir, but a less agreeable man would satisfy 
me. We must not all expect Jane's good fortune." 

" True," said Mr. Bennet ; " but it is a comfort to think 
that, whatever of that kind may befall you, you have an 
affectionate mother who will always make the most of it." 

Mr. Wickham's society was of material service in dis- 
pelling the gloom which the late perverse occurrences 
had thrown on many of the Longbourn family. They 
saw him often, and to his other recommendations was 
now added that of general unreserve. The whole of what 
Elizabeth had already heard, his claims on Mr. Darcy, 
and all that he had suffered from him, was now openly 
acknowledged and publicly canvassed ; and everybody 
was pleased to think how much they had always disliked 
Mr. Darcy before they had known anything of the matter. 

Miss Bennet was the only creature who could suppose 
there might be any extenuating circumstances in the case 
unknown to the society of Hertfordshire : her mild and 
steady candour always pleaded for allowances, and urged 
the possibility of mistakes ; but by everybody else Mr. 
Darcy was condemned as the \vorst of men. 





CHAPTER XXV. 

FTER a week spent in professions of 
love and schemes of felicity, Mr. 
Collins was called from his amiable 
Charlotte by the arrival of Saturday. 
The pain of separation, however, 
might be alleviated on his side by 
preparations for the reception of his bride, as he had 
reason to hope, that shortly after his next return into 
Hertfordshire, the day would be fixed that was to make 
him the happiest of men. He took leave of his relations 
at Longbourn with as much solemnity as before ; wished 
his fair cousins health and happiness again, and promised 
their father another letter of thanks. 

On the following Monday, Mrs. Bennet had the pleasure 
of receiving her brother and his wife, who came, as usual, 
to spend the Christmas at Longbourn. Mr. Gardiner was 
a sensible, gentlemanlike man, greatly superior to his 
sister, as well by nature as education. The Netherfield 
ladies would have had difficulty in believing that a man 
who lived by trade, and within view of his own ware- 
houses, could have been so well-bred and agreeable. 
Mrs. Gardiner, who was several years younger than Mrs. 
Bennet and Mrs. Philips, was an amiable, intelligent, 



i;6 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

elegant woman, and a great favourite with her Long- 
bourn nieces. Between the two eldest and herself 
especially, there subsisted a very particular regard. 
They had frequently been staying with her in town. 

The first part of Mrs. Gardiner's business, on her arrival, 
was to distribute her presents and describe the newest 
fashions. When this was done, she had a less active part 
to play. It became her turn to listen. Mrs. Bennet had 
many grievances to relate, and much to complain of. 
They had all been very ill-used since she last saw her 
sister. Two of her girls had been on the point of 
marriage, and after all there was nothing in it. 

" I do not blame Jane," she continued, " for Jane would 
have got Mr. Bingley if she could. But, Lizzy ! Oh, 
sister ! it is very hard to think that she might have been 
Mr. Collins's wife by this time, had not it been for her 
own perverseness. He made her an offer in this very 
room, and she refused him. The consequence of it is, 
that Lady Lucas will have a daughter married before I 
have, and that Longbourn estate is just as much entailed 
as ever. The Lucases are very artful people, indeed, 
sister. They are all for what they can get. I am sorry 
to say it of them, but so it is. It makes me very nervous 
and poorly, to be thwarted so in my own family, and to 
have neighbours who think of themselves before anybody 
else. However, your coming just at this time is the 
greatest of comforts, and I am very glad to hear what 
you tell us of long sleeves." 

Mrs. Gardiner, to whom the chief of this news had been 
given before, in the course of Jane and Elizabeth's cor- 
respondence with her, made her sister a slight answer, 
and, in compassion to her nieces, turned the conversation. 

When alone with Elizabeth afterwards, she spoke more 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

on the subject. " It seems likely to have been a desirable 
match for Jane," said she. " I am sorry it went off. But 
these things happen so often ! A young man, such as you 
describe Mr. Bingley, so easily falls in love with a pretty 




OJfendfk<f fco-o or t fire? '\)ou.nQ 

{Copyright 1894 by George Allen.} 

girl for a few weeks, and, when accident separates them, 
so easily forgets her, that these sort of inconstancies are 
very frequent." 

" An excellent consolation in its way," said Elizabeth ; 
" but it will not do for us. We do not suffer by accident. 

N 



178 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

It does not often happen that the interference of friends 
will persuade a young man of independent fortune to 
think no more of a girl whom he was violently in love 
with only a few days before." 

" But that expression of ' violently in love ' is so hack- 
neyed, so doubtful, so indefinite, that it gives me very 
little idea. It is as often applied to feelings which arise 
only from a half hour's acquaintance, as to a real, strong 
attachment. Pray, how violent was Mr. Bingley's love ? " 

" I never saw a more promising inclination ; he was 
growing quite inattentive to other people, and wholly 
engrossed by her. Every time they met, it \vas more 
decided and remarkable. At his own ball he offended 
tw r o or three young ladies by not asking them to dance ; 
and I spoke to him twice myself without receiving an 
answer. Could there be finer symptoms ? Is not general 
incivility the very essence of love ? " 

" Oh, yes ! of that kind of love which I suppose him to 
have felt. Poor Jane ! I am sorry for her, because, with 
her disposition, she may not get over it immediately. It 
had better have happened to you, Lizzy ; you would have 
laughed yourself out of it sooner. But do you think she 
would be prevailed on to go back with us ? Change of 
scene might be of service and perhaps a little relief from 
home may be as useful as anything." 

Elizabeth was exceedingly pleased with this proposal, 
and felt persuaded of her sister's ready acquiescence. 

" I hope," added Mrs. Gardiner, " that no consideration 
with regard to this young man will influence her. We 
live in so different a part of town, all our connections are 
so different, and, as you well know, we go out so little, 
that it is very improbable they should meet at all, unless 
he really comes to see her." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 179 

" And that is quite impossible ; for he is now in the 
custody of his friend, and Mr. Darcy would no more 
suffer him to call on Jane in such a part of London ! My 
dear aunt, how could you think of it ? Mr. Darcy may, 
perhaps, have heard of such a place as Gracechurch 
Street, but he would hardly think a month's ablution 
enough to cleanse him from its impurities, were he once 
to enter it ; and, depend upon it, Mr. Bingley never stirs 
without him." 

" So much the better. I hope they will not meet at all. 
But does not Jane correspond with his sister ? She will 
not be able to help calling." 

" She will drop the acquaintance entirely." 

But, in spite of the certainty in which Elizabeth affected 
to place this point, as well as the still more interesting one 
of Bingley's being withheld from seeing Jane, she felt a 
solicitude on the subject which convinced her, on examina- 
tion, that she did not consider it entirely hopeless. It was 
possible, and sometimes she thought it probable, that his 
affection might be re-animated, and the influence of his 
friends successfully combated by the more natural influence 
of Jane's attractions. 

Miss Bennet accepted her aunt's invitation with pleasure ; 
and the Bingleys were no otherwise in her thoughts at the 
same time than as she hoped, by Caroline's not living in 
the same house with her brother, she might occasionally 
spend a morning with her, without any danger of seeing him. 

The Gardiners stayed a week at Longbourn ; and 
what with the Philipses, the Lucases, and the officers, 
there was not a day without its engagement. Mrs. 
Bennet had so carefully provided for the entertainment 
of her brother and sister, that they did not once sit down 
to a family dinner. When the engagement was for home, 



180 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

some of the officers always made part of it, of which 
officers Mr. Wickham was sure to be one ; and on these 
occasions Mrs. Gardiner, rendered suspicious by Eliza- 
beth's warm commendation of him, narrowly observed 
them both. Without supposing them, from what she 
saw, to be very seriously in love, their preference of each 
other was plain enough to make her a little uneasy ; and 
she resolved to speak to Elizabeth on the subject before 
she left Hertfordshire, and represent to her the impru- 
dence of encouraging such an attachment. 

To Mrs. Gardiner, Wickham had one means of affording 

> 

pleasure, unconnected with his general powers. About 
ten or a dozen years ago, before her marriage, she had 
spent a considerable time in that very part of Derbyshire 
to which he belonged. They had, therefore, many 
acquaintance in common ; and, though Wickham had 
been little there since the death of Darcy's father, five 
years before, it was yet in his power to give her fresher 
intelligence of her former friends than she had been in 
the way of procuring. 

Mrs. Gardiner had seen Pemberley, and known the 
late Mr. Darcy by character perfectly well. Here, con- 
sequently, was an inexhaustible subject of discourse. In 
comparing her recollection of Pemberley with the minute 
description which Wickham could give, and in bestowing 
her tribute of praise on the character of its late possessor, 
she was delighting both him and herself. On being made 
acquainted with the present Mr. Darcy's treatment of him, 
she tried to remember something of that gentleman's re- 
puted disposition, when quite a lad, which might agree 
with it ; and was confident, at last, that she recollected 
having heard Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy formerly spoken of 
as a very proud, ill-natured boy. 




.; ,, 

/!?' ' /yCf"~il-.- i -i ' 




CHAPTER XXVI. 

RS. GARDINER'S caution to Eliza- 
beth was punctually and kindly given 
on the first favourable opportunity of 
speaking to her alone : after honestly 
telling her what she thought, she thus 
went on :- 

" You are too sensible a girl, Lizzy, to fall in love 
merely because you are warned against it ; and, there- 
fore, I am not afraid of speaking openly. Seriously, I 
would have you be on your guard. Do not involve your- 
self, or endeavour to involve him, in an affection which 
the want of fortune would make so very imprudent. I 
have nothing to say against him : he is a most interesting 
young man ; and if he had the fortune he ought to have, 
I should think you could not do better. But as it is 
you must not let your fancy run away with you. You 



1 82 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

have sense, and we all expect you to use it. Your father 
would depend on your resolution and good conduct, I am 
sure. You must not disappoint your father." 
" My dear aunt, this is being serious indeed." 
" Yes, and I hope to engage you to be serious likewise." 
" Well, then, you need not be under any alarm. I will 
take care of myself, and of Mr. Wickham too. He shall 
not be in love with me, if I can prevent it." 

" Elizabeth, you are not serious now." 

7 j =* 

" I beg your pardon. I will try again. At present I am 
not in love with Mr. Wickham ; no, I certainly am not. 
But he is, beyond all comparison, the most agreeable 
man I ever saw and if he becomes really attached to 
me I believe it will be better that he should not. I see 
the imprudence of it. Oh, tJiat abominable Mr. Darcy ! 
My father's opinion of me does me the greatest honour ; 
and I should be miserable to forfeit it. My father, how- 
ever, is partial to Mr. Wickham. In short, my dear aunt, 
I should be very sorry to be the means of making any of 
you unhappy ; but since we see, every day, that where 
there is affection young people are seldom withheld, by 
immediate want of fortune, from entering into engage- 
ments with each other, how can I promise to be wiser 
than so many of my fellow-creatures, if I am tempted, or 
how am I even to know that it would be wiser to resist ? 
AIT that I can promise you, therefore, is not to be in a 
hurry. I will not be in a hurry to believe myself his first 
object. When I am in company with him, I will not be 
wishing. In short, I will do my best." 

" Perhaps it will be as well if you discourage his coming 
here so very often. At least you should not remind your 
mother of inviting him." 

" As I did the other day," said Elizabeth, with a con- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 183 

scious smile ; " very true, it will be wise in me to refrain 
from that. But do not imagine that he is always here so 
often. It is on your account that he has been so fre- 
quently invited this week. You know my mother's ideas 
as to the necessity of constant company for her friends. 
But really, and upon my honour, I will try to do what I 
think to be wisest ; and now I hope you are satisfied." 

Her aunt assured her that she was ; and Elizabeth, 
having thanked her for the kindness of her hints, they 
parted, a wonderful instance of advice being given on 
such a point without being resented. 

Mr. Collins returned into Hertfordshire soon alter it 
had been quitted by the Gardiners and Jane ; but, as he 
took up his abode with the Lucases, his arrival was no 
great inconvenience to Mrs. Bennet. His marriage was 
now fast approaching ; and she was at length so far 
resigned as to think it inevitable, and even repeatedly to 
say, in an ill-natured tone, that she " wished they might 
be happy." Thursday was to be the wedding-day, and 
on Wednesday Miss Lucas paid her farewell visit ; and 
when she rose to take leave, Elizabeth, ashamed of her 
mother's ungracious and reluctant good wishes, and sin- 
cerely affected herself, accompanied her out of the room. 
As they went down stairs together, Charlotte said, 

" I shall depend on hearing from you very often, Eliza." 

" TJiat you certainly shall." 

" And I have another favour to ask. Will you come 
and see me ? " 

" We shall often meet, I hope, in Hertfordshire." 

" I am not likely to leave Kent for some time. Promise 
me, therefore, to come to Hunsford." 

Elizabeth could not refuse, though she foresaw little 
pleasure in the visit. 



1 84 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" My father and Maria are to come to me in March," 
added Charlotte, " and I hope you will consent to be of the 
party. Indeed, Eliza, you will be as welcome to me as 
either of them." 

The wedding took place : the bride and bridegroom 
set off for Kent from the church door, and everybody 
had as much to say or to hear on the subject as usual. 
Elizabeth soon heard from her friend, and their corre- 
spondence was as regular and frequent as it ever had 
been : that it should be equally unreserved was impossible. 
Elizabeth could never address her without feeling that 
all the comfort of intimacy was over ; and, though 
determined not to slacken as a correspondent, it was for 
the sake of what had been rather than what was. Char- 
lotte's first letters were received with a good deal of 
eagerness : there could not but be curiosity to know how 
she would speak of her new home, how she would like 
Lady Catherine, and how happy she would dare pro- 
nounce herself to be ; though, when the letters were 
read, Elizabeth felt that Charlotte expressed herself on 
every point exactly as she might have foreseen. She 
wrote cheerfully, seemed surrounded with comforts, and 
mentioned nothing which she could not praise. The 
house, furniture, neighbourhood, and roads, were all to 
her taste, and Lady Catherine's behaviour was most 
friendly and obliging. It was Mr. Collins's picture of 
Hunsford and Rosings rationally softened ; and Eliza- 
beth perceived that she must wait for her own visit there, 
to know the rest. 

Jane had already written a few lines to her sister, to an- 
nounce their safe arrival in London ; and when she wrote 
again, Elizabeth hoped it would be in her power to say 
something of the Bingleys. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 185 

Her impatience for this second letter was as well re- 
warded as impatience generally is. Jane had been a week 
in town, without either seeing or hearing from Caroline. 
She accounted for it, however, by supposing that her last 
letter to her friend from Longbourn had by some accident 
been lost. 

" My aunt," she continued, " is going to-morrow into 
that part of the town, and I shall take the opportunity 
of calling in Grosvenor Street." 

She wrote again when the visit \vas paid, and she had 
seen Miss Bingley. " I did not think Caroline in spirits," 
were her words, " but she was very glad to see me, and 
reproached me for giving her no notice of my coming to 
London. I was right, therefore ; my last letter had 
never reached her. I inquired after their brother, of 
course. He \vas well, but so much engaged with Mr. 
Darcy that they scarcely ever sa\v him. I found that 
Miss Darcy was expected to dinner : I wish I could see 
her. My visit was not long, as Caroline and Mrs. Hurst 
were going out. I dare say I shall soon see them here." 

Elizabeth shook her head over this letter. It con- 
vinced her that "accident only could discover to Mr. 
Bingley her sister's being in town. 

Four \veeks passed away, and Jane saw nothing of 
him. She endeavoured to persuade herself that she did 
not regret it ; but she could no longer be blind to Miss 
Bingley's inattention. After waiting at home every 
morning for a fortnight, and inventing every evening a 
fresh excuse for her, the visitor did at last appear ; but 
the shortness of her stay, and, yet more, the alteration of 
her manner, would allow Jane to deceive herself no 
longer. The letter which she wrote on this occasion to 
her sister will prove what she felt : 



1 86 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

' My dearest 'Lizzy will, I am sure, be incapable of 
triumphing in her better judgment, at my expense, when 
I confess myself to have been entirely deceived in Miss 
Bingley's regard for me. But, my dear sister, though the 
event has proved you right, do not think me obstinate if 
I still assert that, considering what her behaviour was, 
my confidence was as natural as your suspicion. I do 
not at all comprehend her reason for wishing to be 
intimate with me ; but, if the same circumstances were 
to happen again, I am sure I should be deceived again. 
Caroline did not return my visit till yesterday ; and not 
a note, not a line, did I receive in the meantime. When 
she did come, it was very evident that she had no 
pleasure in it ; she made a slight, formal apology for not 
calling before, said not a word of wishing to see me 
again, and was, in every respect, so altered a creature, 
that when she went away I was perfectly resolved to 
continue the acquaintance no longer. I pit}*, though I 
cannot help blaming, her. She was very wrong in 
singling me out as she did ; I can safely say, that every 
advance to intimacy began on her side. But I pity her, 
because she must feel that she has been acting wrong, 
and because I am very sure that anxiety for her brother 
is the cause of it. I need not explain myself farther ; 
and though we know this anxiety to be quite needless, 
yet if she feels it, it will easily account for her behaviour 
to me ; and so deservedly dear as he is to his sister, 
whatever anxiety she may feel on his behalf is natural and 
amiable. I cannot but wonder, however, at her having 
any such fears now, because if he had at all cared about 
me, we must have met long, long ago. He knows of my 
being in town, I am certain, from something she said her- 
self ; and yet it would seem, by her manner of talking, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

as if she wanted to persuade herself that he is really 
partial to Miss Darcy. I cannot understand it. If I 
were not afraid of judging harshly, I should be almost 
tempted to say, that there is a strong appearance of 
duplicity in all this. I will endeavour to banish every 
painful thought, and think only of what will make me 
happy, your affection, and the invariable kindness of my 
dear uncle and aunt. Let me hear from you very soon. 
Miss Bingley said something of his never returning to 
Netherfield again, of giving up the house, but not with 
any certainty. We had better not mention it. I am 
extremely glad that you have such pleasant accounts 
from our friends at Hunsford. Pray go to see them, 
with Sir William and Maria. I am sure you will be 
very comfortable there. 

" Yours, etc." 

This letter gave Elizabeth some pain ; but her spirits 
returned, as she considered that Jane would no longer 
be duped, by the sister at least. All expectation from 
the brother was now absolutely over. She would not 
even wish for any renewal of his attentions. His cha- 
racter sunk on every review of it ; and, as a punishment 
for him, as well as a possible advantage to Jane, she 
seriously hoped he might really soon marry Mr. Darcy's 
sister, as, by \Vickham's account, she would make him 
abundantly regret what he had thrown away. 

Mrs. Gardiner about this time reminded Elizabeth of 
her promise concerning that gentleman, and required 
information ; and Elizabeth had such to send as might 
rather give contentment to her aunt than to herself. His 
apparent partiality had subsided, his attentions were over, 
he was the admirer of some one else. Elizabeth was 



1 88 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

watchful enough to see it all, but she could see it and 
write of it without material pain. Her heart had been 
but slightly touched, and her vanity was satisfied with 
believing that she would have been his only choice, had 
fortune permitted it. The sudden acquisition of ten 
thousand pounds was the most remarkable charm of 
the young lady to whom he was now rendering himself 
agreeable ; but Elizabeth, less clear-sighted perhaps in 
this case than in Charlotte's, did not quarrel with him 
for his wish of independence. Nothing, on the contrary, 
could be more natural ; and, while able to suppose that 
it cost him a few struggles to relinquish her, she was 
ready to allow it a wise and desirable measure for both, 
and could very sincerely wish him happy. 

All this was acknowledged to Mrs. Gardiner ; and, 
after relating the circumstances, she thus went on : u I 
am now convinced, my dear aunt, that I have never been 
much in love ; for had I really experienced that pure and 
elevating passion, I should at present detest his very 
name, and wish him all manner of evil. But my feelings 
are not only cordial towards /iitti, they are even impartial 
towards Miss King. I cannot find out that I hate her at 
all, or that I am in the least unwilling to think her a 
very good sort of girl. There can be no love in all this. 
My watchfulness has been effectual ; and though I 
should certainly be a more interesting object to all my 
acquaintance, were I distractedly in love with him, I 
cannot say that I regret my comparative insignificance. 
Importance may sometimes be purchased too dearly. 
Kitty and Lydia take his defection much more to heart 
than I do. They are young in the ways of the world, and 
not yet open to the mortifying conviction that handsome 
young men must have something to live on as well as 
the plain." 




CHAPTER XXVII. 

ITH no greater events than these in the 
Longbourn family, and otherwise diver- 
sified by little beyond the walks to 
Meryton, sometimes dirty and sometimes 
cold, did January and February pass 
away. March was to take Elizabeth to Hunsford. She 
had not at first thought very seriously of going thither ; 
but Charlotte, she soon found, was depending on the plan, 




190 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

and she ^raduallv learned to consider it herself with 

v f 

greater pleasure as well as greater certainty. Absence 
had increased her desire of seeing Charlotte again, and 
weakened her disgust of Mr. Collins. There was novelty 
in the scheme ; and as, with such a mother and such un- 
companionable sisters, home could not be faultless, a 
little change was not unwelcome for its own sake. The 

o 

journey would, moreover, give her a peep at Jane ; and, 
in short, as the time drew near, she would have been 
verv sorrv for anv delav. Evervthing, however, went on 

J + *-> 

smoothly, and was finally settled according to Charlotte's 
first sketch. She was to accompany Sir William and his 
sc :ond daughter. The improvement of spending a night 
in London was added in time, and the plan became 
as perfect as plan could be. 

The only pain was in leaving her father, who would 
certainly miss her, and who, when it came to the point, 
s little liked her going, that he told her to write to him, 
and almost promised to answer her letter. 

The farewell between herself and Mr. YVickham was 
perfectly friendly ; on his side even more. His present 
pursuit could not make him forget that Elizabeth had 
been the first to excite and to deserve his attention, the 
first to listen and to pity, the first to be admired ; and in 
his manner of bidding her adieu, wishing her even- en- 
joyment, reminding her of what she was to expect in 
Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and trusting their opinion of 
her their opinion of even-body would always coincide, 
there was a solicitude, an interest, which she felt must 
ever attach her to him with a most sincere regard ; and 
she parted from him convinced, that, whether married or 
single, he must alwavs be her model of the amiable and 



pleasing. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 191 

Her fellow-travellers the next day were not of a kind 
to make her think him less agreeable. Sir William 
Lucas, and his daughter Maria, a good-humoured girl, 
but as empty-headed as himself, had nothing to say that 
could be worth hearing, and were listened to with about 
as much delight as the rattle of the chaise. Elizabeth 
loved absurdities, but she had known Sir William's too 
long. He could tell her nothing new of the wonders of 
his presentation and knighthood ; and his civilities were 
worn out, like his information. 

It was a journey of only twenty-four miles, and they 
began it so early as to be in Gracechurch Street by noon. 
As they drove to Mr. Gardiner's door, Jane was at a 
drawing-room window watching their arrival : when they 
entered the passage, she was there to welcome them, and 
Elizabeth, looking earnestly in her face, was pleased to see 
it healthful and lovely as ever. On the stairs were a troop 
of little boys and girls, whose eagerness for their cousin's 
appearance would not allow them to wait in the drawing- 
room, and whose shyness, as they had not seen her for a 
twelvemonth, prevented their coming lower. All was joy 
and kindness. The day passed most pleasantly away ; 
the morning in bustle and shopping, and the evening at 
one of the theatres. 

Elizabeth then contrived to sit by her aunt. Their 
first subject was her sister ; and she was more grieved 
than astonished to hear, in reply to her minute inquiries, 
that though Jane always struggled to support her spirits, 
there were periods of dejection. It was reasonable, how- 
ever, to hope that they would not continue long. Mrs. 
Gardiner gave her the particulars also of Miss Bingley's 
visit in Gracechurch Street, and repeated conversations 
occurring at different times between Jane and herself, 



192 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

which proved that the former had, from her heart, given up 
the acquaintance. 

Mrs. Gardiner then rallied her niece on Wickham's 
desertion, and complimented her on bearing it so well. 

" But, my dear Elizabeth," she added, " what sort of 
girl is Miss King ? I should be sorry to think our friend 
mercenary." 

" Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matri- 
monial affairs, between the mercenary and the prudent 
motive ? Where does discretion end, and avarice begin ? 
Last Christmas you were afraid of his marrying me, 
because it would be imprudent ; and now, because he is 
trying to get a girl with only ten thousand pounds, you 
want to find out that he is mercenary." 

" If you will only tell me what sort of girl Miss King 
is, I shall know what to think." 

" She is a very good kind of girl, I believe. I know no 
harm of her." 

" But he paid her not the smallest attention till her 
grandfather's death made her mistress of this fortune ? ' 

"No why should he? If it were not allowable for 
him to gain my affections, because I had no money, what 
occasion could there be for making love to a girl whom 
he did not care about, and who was equally poor? " 

" But there seems indelicacy in directing his attentions 
towards her so soon after this event." 

" A man in distressed circumstances has not time 
for all those elegant decorums which other people 
may observe. If she does not object to it, why should 
we ? " 

"Her not objecting does not justify him. It only 
shows her being deficient in something herself sense or 
feeling." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 193 

" Well," cried Elizabeth, " have it as you choose. He 
shall be mercenary, and she shall be foolish." 

" No, Lizzy, that is what I do not choose. I should be 
sorry, you know, to think ill of a young man who has 
lived so long in Derbyshire." 

" Oh, if that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young 
men who live in Derbyshire ; and their intimate friends 
who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick 
of them all. Thank heaven ! I am going to-morrow where 
I shall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, 
who has neither manners nor sense to recommend him. 
Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all." 

" Take care, Lizzy ; that speech savours strongly of 
disappointment." 

Before they were separated by the conclusion of the 
play, she had the unexpected happiness of an invitation 
to accompany her uncle and aunt in a tour of pleasure 
which they proposed taking in the summer. 

" We have not quite determined how far it shall carry 
us," said Mrs. Gardiner ; " but perhaps, to the Lakes." 

No scheme could have been more agreeable to Elizabeth, 
and her acceptance of the invitation was most ready and 
grateful. "My dear, dear aunt," she rapturously cried," what 
delight ! what felicity ! You give me fresh life and vigour. 
Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to 
rocksand mountains ? Oh, what hours of transport we shall 
spend ! And when we do return, it shall not be like other 
travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of 
anything. We ze>///know where we have gone wew ///recol- 
lect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers, shall 
not be j umbled together in our imaginations ; nor, when we at- 
tempt todescribeany particular scene, will we beginquarrel- 
lingaboutitsrelativesituation. Let our first effusions be less 
insupportable than those of the generality of travellers." 

O 




CHAPTER XXVIII. 




object in the next day's 
journey was new and interesting to 
Elizabeth ; and her spirits were in 
a state of enjoyment ; for she had 
seen her sister looking so well as to 
banish all fear for her health, and 
the prospect of her northern tour 
was a constant source of delight. 

When they left the high road for the lane to Hunsford, 
every eye was in search of the Parsonage, and every 
turning expected to bring it in view. The paling of 
Rosings park was their boundary on one side. Elizabeth 
smiled at the recollection of all that she had heard of its 
inhabitants. 

At length the Parsonage was discernible. The garden 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 195 

sloping to the road, the house standing in it, the green 
pales and the laurel hedge, everything declared they were 
arriving. Mr. Collins and Charlotte appeared at the door, 
and the carriage stopped at the small gate, which led by 
a short gravel walk to the house, amidst the nods and 
smiles of the whole party. In a moment they were all 
out of the chaise, rejoicing at the sight of each other. 
Mrs. Collins welcomed her friend with the liveliest pleasure, 
and Elizabeth was more and more satisfied with coming, 
when she found herself so affectionately received. She 
saw instantly that her cousin's manners were not altered 
by his marriage : his formal civility was just what it had 
been ; and he detained her some minutes at the gate to 
hear and satisfy his inquiries after all her family. They 
were then, with no other delay than his pointing out the 
neatness of the entrance, taken into the house ; and as 
soon as they were in the parlour, he welcomed them a 
second time, with ostentatious formality, to his humble 
abode, and punctually repeated all his wife's offers of 
refreshment. 

Elizabeth was prepared to see him in his glory ; and 
she could not help fancying that in displaying the good 
proportion of the room, its aspect, and its furniture, he 
addressed himself particularly to her, as if wishing to 
make her feel what she had lost in refusing him. But 
though everything seemed neat and comfortable, she was 
not able to gratify him by any sigh of repentance ; and 
rather looked with wonder at her friend, that she could 
have so cheerful an air with such a companion. When 
Mr. Collins said anything of which his wife might reason- 
ably be ashamed, which certainly was not seldom, she 
involuntarily turned her eye on Charlotte. Once or twice 
she could discern a faint blush ; but in general Charlotte 



196 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

wisely did not hear. After sitting long enough to admire 
every article of furniture in the room, from the sideboard 
to the fender, to give an account of their journey, and of 
all that had happened in London, Mr. Collins invited them 
to take a stroll in the garden, which was large and well 
laid out, and to the cultivation of which he attended him- 
self. To work in his garden was one of his most respect- 
able pleasures ; and Elizabeth admired the command of 
countenance with which Charlotte talked of the health- 
fulness of the exercise, and owned she encouraged it as 
much as possible. Here, leading the way through eyery 
walk and cross walk, and scarcely allowing them an 
interval to utter the praises he asked for, every view was 
pointed out with a minuteness which left beauty entirely 
behind. He could number the fields in every direction, 
and could tell how many trees there were in the most 
distant clump. But of all the views which his garden, 
or which the country or the kingdom could boast, none 
were to be compared with the prospect of Rosings, 
afforded by an opening in the trees that bordered the 
park nearly opposite the front of his house. It was a 
handsome modern building, well situated on rising ground. 
From his garden, Mr. Collins would have led them 
round his two meadows ; but the ladies, not having shoes 
to encounter the remains of a white frost, turned back ; 
and while Sir William accompanied him, Charlotte took 
her sister and friend over the house, extremely well 
pleased, probably, to have the opportunity of showing it 
without her husband's help. It was rather small, but well 
built and convenient ; and everything was fitted up and 
arranged with a neatness and consistency, of which 
Elizabeth gave Charlotte all the credit. When Mr. Collins 
could be forgotten, there was really a great air of comfort 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 1 97 

throughout, and by Charlotte's evident enjoyment of it, 
Elizabeth supposed he must be often forgotten. 

She had already learnt that Lady Catherine was still 
in the country. It was spoken of again while they were 
at dinner, when Mr. Collins joining in, observed,- 

"Yes, Miss Elizabeth, you will have the honour of 
seeing Lady Catherine de Bourgh on the ensuing Sunday 
at church, and I need not say you will be delighted with 
her. She is all affability and condescension, and I doubt 
not but you will be honoured with some portion of her 
notice when service is over. I have scarcely any hesita- 
tion in saying that she will include you and my sister 
Maria in every invitation with which she honours us 
during your stay here. Her behaviour to my dear Char- 
lotte is charming. We dine at Rosings twice every week, 
and are never allowed to walk home. Her Ladyship's 
carriage is regularly ordered for us. I should say, one of 
her Ladyship's carriages, for she has several." 

" Lady Catherine is a very respectable, sensible woman, 
indeed," added Charlotte, " and a most attentive neigh- 
bour." 

" Very true, my dear, that is exactly what I say. She 
is the sort of woman whom one cannot regard with too 
much deference." 

The evening was spent chiefly in talking over Hert- 
fordshire news, and telling again what had been already 
written ; and when it closed, Elizabeth, in the solitude of 
her chamber, had to meditate upon Charlotte's degree of 
contentment, to understand her address in guiding, and 
composure in bearing with, her husband, and to acknow- 
ledge that it was all done very well. She had also to 
anticipate how her visit would pass, the quiet tenour of 
their usual employments, the vexatious interruptions of 



198 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



Mr. Collins, and the gaieties of their intercourse with 
Rosings. A lively imagination soon settled it all. 

About the middle of the next day, as she was in her 
room getting ready for a walk, a sudden noise below 
seemed to speak the whole house in confusion ; and, after 
listening a moment, she heard somebody running up- 




ff ^. 

Sn Conversation witfi Tfie (act(e<s 

{Copyright 1894 by George Alien.} 

stairs in a violent hurry, and calling loudly after her. 
She opened the door, and met Maria in the landing-place, 
who, breathless with agitation, cried out, 

" Oh, my dear Eliza ! pray make haste and come into 
the dining-room, for there is such a sight to be seen ! I 
will not tell you what it is. Make haste, and come down 
this moment." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 199 

Elizabeth asked questions in vain ; Maria would tell 
her nothing more ; and down they ran into the dining- 
room which fronted the lane, in quest of this wonder ; it 
was two ladies, stopping in a low phaeton at the garden 
gate. 

" And is this all ? " cried Elizabeth. " I expected at 
least that the pigs were got into the garden, and here is 
nothing but Lady Catherine and her daughter ! " 

" La ! my dear," said Maria, quite shocked at the mis- 
take, " it is not Lady Catherine. The old lady is Mrs. 
Jenkinson, who lives with them. The other is Miss De 
Bourgh. Only look at her. She is quite a little creature. 
Who would have thought she could be so thin and small ! " 

"She is abominably rude to keep Charlotte out of doors 
in all this wind. Why does she not come in ? ' 

" Oh, Charlotte says she hardly ever does. It is the 
greatest of favours when Miss De Bourgh comes in." 

" I like her appearance," said Elizabeth, struck with 
other ideas. " She looks sickly and cross. Yes, she will 
do for him very well. She will make him a very proper 
wife." 

Mr. Collins and Charlotte were both standing at the 
gate in conversation with the ladies ; and Sir William, to 
Elizabeth's high diversion, was stationed in the doorway, 
in earnest contemplation of the greatness before him, and 
constantly bowing whenever Miss De Bourgh looked that 
way. 

At length there was nothing more to be said ; the 
ladies drove on, and the others returned into the house. 
Mr. Collins no sooner saw the two girls than he began to 
congratulate them on their good fortune, which Charlotte 
explained by letting them know that the whole party was 
asked to dine at Rosings the next day. 




Gtnenne. Scucfjfie, /ou./uxve<five.n. ~m.e. a Treasure. 
{Copyright 1894 _y George Allen.} 

CHAPTER XXIX. 

R. COLLINS'S triumph, in consequence 
of this invitation, was complete. The 
power of displaying the grandeur of his 
patroness to his wondering visitors, and 
of letting them see her civility towards 
himself and his wife, was exactly what he had wished 
for ; and that an opportunity of doing it should be given 
so soon was such an instance of Lady Catherine's 
condescension as he knew not how to admire enough. 

" I confess," said he, " that I should not have been at 
all surprised by her Ladyship's asking us on Sunday to 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 2OI 

drink tea and spend the evening at Rosings. I rather 
expected, from my knowledge of her affability, that it 
would happen. But who could have foreseen such an 
attention as this ? Who could have imagined that we 
should receive an invitation to dine there (an invitation, 
moreover, including the whole party) so immediately 
after your arrival ? " 

" I am the less surprised at what has happened," 
replied Sir William, " from that knowledge of what the 
manners of the great really are, which my situation in 
life has allowed me to acquire. About the court, such 
instances of elegant breeding are not uncommon." 

Scarcely anything was talked of the whole day or 
next morning but their visit to Rosings. Mr. Collins 
was carefully instructing them in what they were to 
expect, that the sight of such rooms, so many servants, 
and so splendid a dinner, might not wholly overpower 
them. 

When the ladies were separating for the toilette, he 
said to Elizabeth, 

" Do not make yourself uneasy, my dear cousin, about 
your apparel. Lady Catherine is far from requiring 
that elegance of dress in us which becomes herself and 
daughter. I would advise you merely to put on what- 
ever of your clothes is superior to the rest there is no 
occasion for anything more. Lady Catherine will not 
think the w r orse of you for being simply dressed. She 
likes to have the distinction of rank preserved." 

While they were dressing, he came two or three times 
to their different doors, to recommend their being quick, 
as Lady Catherine very much objected to be kept waiting 
for her dinner. Such formidable accounts of her Lady- 
ship, and her manner of living, quite frightened Maria 



2O2 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Lucas, who had been little used to company ; and she 
looked forward to her introduction at Rosings with as 
much apprehension as her father had done to his pre- 
sentation at St. James's. 

As the weather was fine, they had a pleasant walk of 
about half a mile across the park. Ever} 7 park has its 
beauty and its prospects ; and Elizabeth saw much to 
be pleased with, though she could not be in such 
raptures as Mr. Collins expected the scene to inspire, 
and was but slightly affected by his enumeration of 
the windows in front of the house, and his relation of 
what the glazing altogether had originally cost Sir Lewis 
de Bourgh. 

When they ascended the steps to the hall, Maria's 
alarm was every moment increasing, and even Sir William 
did not look perfectly calm. Elizabeth's courage did not 
fail her. She had heard nothing of Lady Catherine 
that spoke her awful from any extraordinary talents or 
miraculous virtue, and the mere stateliness of money and 
rank she thought she could witness without trepidation. 

From the entrance hall, of which Mr. Collins pointed 
out, with a rapturous air, the fine proportion and finished 
ornaments, they followed the servants through an ante- 
chamber to the room where Lady Catherine, her daughter, 
and Mrs. Jenkinson were sitting. Her Ladyship, with 
great condescension, arose to receive them ; and as Mrs. 
Collins had settled it with her husband that the office of 
introduction should be hers, it was performed in a proper 
manner, without any of those apologies and thanks which 
he would have thought necessary. 

In spite of having been at St. James's, Sir William 
was so completely awed by the grandeur surrounding 
him, that he had but just courage enough to make a very 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 2O3 

low bow, and take his seat without saying a word ; and 
his daughter, frightened almost out of her senses, sat on 
the edge of her chair, not knowing which way to look. 
"Elizabeth found herself quite equal to the scene, and 
could observe the three ladies before her composedly. 
Lady Catherine was a tall, large woman, with strongly- 
marked features, which might once have been handsome. 
Her air was not conciliating, nor was her manner of 
receiving them such as to make her visitors forget their 
inferior rank. She was not rendered formidable by 
silence : but whatever she said was spoken in so authori- 
tative a tone as marked her self-importance, and brought 
Mr. Wickham immediately to Elizabeth's mind ; and, 
from the observation of the day altogether, she believed 
Lady Catherine to be exactly what he had represented. 

When, after examining the mother, in whose coun- 
tenance and deportment she soon found some resem- 
blance of Mr. Darcy, she turned her eyes on the daughter, 
she could almost have joined in Maria's astonishment at 
her being so thin and so small. There was neither in 
figure nor face an}' likeness between the ladies. Miss de 
Bourgh was pale and sickly : her features, though not 
plain, were insignificant ; and she spoke very little, 
except in a lo\v voice, to Mrs. Jenkinson, in whose 
appearance there was nothing remarkable, and who 
was entirely engaged in listening to what she said, 
and placing a screen in the proper direction before her 
eyes. 

After sitting a few minutes, they were all sent to one 
of the windows to admire the view, Mr. Collins attending 
them to point out its beauties, and Lady Catherine kindly 
informing them that it was much better worth looking at 
in the summer. 



204 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

The dinner was exceedingly handsome, and there 
were all the servants, and all the articles of plate which 
Mr. Collins had promised ; and, as he had likewise fore- 
told, he took his seat at the bottom of the table, by her- 
Ladyship's desire, and looked as if he felt that life could 
furnish nothing greater. He carved and ate and praised 
with delighted alacrity ; and every dish was commended 
first by him, and then by Sir William, who was now 
enough recovered to echo whatever his son-in-law said, 
in a manner which Elizabeth wondered Lady Catherine 
could bear. But Lady Catherine seemed gratified by 
their excessive admiration, and gave most gracious 
smiles, especially when any dish on the table proved 
a novelty to them. The party did not supply much 
conversation. Elizabeth was ready to speak whenever 
there was an opening, but she was seated between 
Charlotte and Miss de Bourgh the former of whom 
was engaged in listening to Lady Catherine, and the 
latter said not a word to her all the dinner-time. Mrs. 
Jenkinson was chiefly employed in watching how little 
Miss de Bourgh ate, pressing her to try some other dish 
and fearing she was indisposed. Maria thought speaking 
out of the question, and the gentlemen did nothing but 
eat and admire. 

When the ladies returned to the drawing-room, there 
was little to be done but to hear Lady Catherine talk, 
which she did without any intermission till coffee came 
in, delivering her opinion on every subject in so decisive 
a manner as proved that she was not used to have her 
judgment controverted. She inquired into Charlotte's 
domestic concerns familiarly and minutely, and gave her 
a great deal of advice as to the management of them all ; 
told her how everything ought to be regulated in so 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 205 

small a family as hers, and instructed her as to the 
care of her cows and her poultry. Elizabeth found that 
nothing was beneath, this great lady's attention which 
could furnish her with an occasion for dictating to 
others. In the intervals of her discourse with Mrs. 
Collins, she addressed a variety of questions to Maria 
and Elizabeth, but especially to the latter, of whose 
connections she knew the least, and who, she observed 
to Mrs. Collins, was a very genteel, pretty kind of girl. 
She asked her at different times how many sisters she 
had, whether they were older or younger than herself, 
whether any of them were likely to be married, whether 
they were handsome, where they had been educated, 
what carriage her father kept, and what had been her 
mother's maiden name? Elizabeth felt all the imperti- 
nence of her questions, but answered them very com- 
posedly. Lady Catherine then observed,- 

" Your father's estate is entailed on Mr. Collins, I 
think ? For your sake," turning to Charlotte, " I am glad 
of it ; but otherwise I see no occasion for entailing estates 
from the female line. It was not thought necessary in Sir 
Lewis de Bourgh's family. Do you play and sing, Miss 
Bennet?" 

" A little." 

" Oh then some time or other we shall be happy to 
hear you. Our instrument is a capital one, probably 
superior to- -you shall try it some day. Do your sisters 
play and sing ? " 

" One of them does." 

" Why did not you all learn ? You ought all to have 
learned. The Miss Webbs all play, and their father has 
not so good an income as yours. Do you draw ? " 

" No, not at all." 



5) 
>J 



206 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"What, none of you?"' 

" Not one." 

" That is very strange. But I suppose you had no 
opportunity. Your mother should have taken you to 
town every spring for the benefit of masters." 

" My mother would have no objection, but my father 
hates London." 

u Has your governess left you ? 

" We never had any governess.' 

" No governess ! How was that possible? Five daughters 
brought up at home without a governess ! I never heard 
of such a thing. Your mother must have been quite a 
slave to your education." 

Elizabeth could hardly help smiling, as she assured her 
that had not been the case. 

" Then who taught you ? who attended to you ? 
Without a governess, you must have been neglected." 

" Compared with some families, I believe we were ; but 
such of us as wished to learn never wanted the means. 
We were always encouraged to read, and had all the 
masters that were necessary. Those who chose to be 
idle certainly might." 

" Ay, no doubt : but that is what a governess will 
prevent ; and if I had known your mother, I should have 
advised her most strenuously to engage one. I always 
say that nothing is to be done in education without 
steady and regular instruction, and nobody but a 
governess can snve it. It is wonderful how many families 

o o *> 

I have been the means of supplying in that way. I am 
always glad to get a young person well placed out. 
Four nieces of Mrs. Jenkinson are most delightfully 
situated through my means ; and it was but the other 
day that I recommended another young person, who was 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 2O7 

merely accidentally mentioned to me, and the family are 
quite delighted with her. Mrs. Collins, did I tell you of 
Lady Metcalfe's calling yesterday to thank me? She 
finds Miss Pope a treasure. ' Lady Catherine,' said she, 
' you have given me a treasure.' Are any of your 
younger sisters out, Miss Bennet ? " 

" Yes, ma'am, all." 

" All ! What, all five out at once ? Very odd ! And 
you only the second. The younger ones out before the- 
elder are married ! Your younger sisters must be very 
young ? " 

" Yes, my youngest is not sixteen. Perhaps she is 
full young to be much in company. But "really, ma'am, 
I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters that 
they should not have their share of society and amusement, 
because the elder may not have the means or inclination 
to marry early. The last born has as good a right to 
the pleasures of youth as the first. And to be kept back 
on sucJi a motive ! I think it would not be very likely to 
promote sisterly affection or delicacy of mind." 

" Upon my word," said her Ladyship, " you give your 
opinion very decidedly for so young a person. Pray, 
what is your age ? " 

" With three younger sisters grown up," replied Eliza- 
beth, smiling, " your Ladyship can hardly expect me to 
own it." 

Lady Catherine seemed quite astonished at not re- 
ceiving a direct answer ; and Elizabeth suspected herself 
to be the first creature who had ever dared to trifle with 
so much dignified impertinence. 

" You cannot be more than twenty, I am sure, there- 
fore you need not conceal your age." 

" I am not one-and-twenty." 



208 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

When the gentlemen had joined them, and tea was 
over, the card tables were placed. Lady Catherine, Sir 
William, and Mr. and Mrs. Collins sat down to quadrille; 
and as Miss De Bourgh chose to play at cassino, the two 
girls had the honour of assisting Mrs. Jenkinson to make 
up her party. Their table was superlatively stupid. 
Scarcely a syllable was uttered that did not relate to the 
game, except when Mrs. Jenkinson expressed her fears of 
Miss De Bourgh's being too hot or too cold, or having too 
much or too little light. A great deal more passed at the 
other table. Lady Catherine was generally speaking- 
stating the mistakes of the three others, or relating some 
anecdote of herself. Mr. Collins was employed in agree- 
ing to everything her Ladyship said, thanking her for 
every fish he won, and apologizing if he thought he won 
too many. Sir William did not say much. He was 
storing his memory with anecdotes and noble names. 

When Lady Catherine and her daughter had played as 
long as the} 7 chose, the tables were broken up, the 
carnage was offered to Mrs. Collins, gratefully accepted, 
and immediately ordered. The party then gathered 
round the fire to hear Lad}- Catherine determine what 
weather they were to have on the morrow. From these 
instructions they were summoned by the arrival of the 
coach ; and with many speeches of thankfulness on 
Mr. Collins's side, and as many bows on Sir William's, 
they departed. As soon as they had driven from the 
door, Elizabeth was called on by her cousin to give her 
opinion of all that she had seen at Rosings, which, for 
Charlotte's sake, she made more favourable than it really 
was. But her commendation, though costing her some 
trouble, could by no means satisfy Mr. Collins, and he was 
very soon obliged to take her Ladyship's praise into his 
own hands. 





CHAPTER XXX. 

'IR WILLIAM stayed only a week at 
Hunsford ; but his visit was long 
enough to convince him of his daugh- 
ter's being most comfortably settled, 
and of her possessing such a husband 
and such a neighbour as were not 
often met with. While Sir W 7 illiam 
was with them, Mr. Collins devoted his mornings to 
driving him out in his gig, and showing him the country : 
but when he went away, the whole family returned to 
their usual employments, and Elizabeth was thankful 
to find that they did not see more of her cousin by the 
alteration ; for the chief of the time between breakfast 
and dinner was now passed by him either at work in the 
garden, or in reading and writing, and looking out of 
window in his own book room, which fronted the road. 

P 



210 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

The room in which the ladies sat was backwards. 
Elizabeth at first had rather wondered that Charlotte 
should not prefer the dining parlour for common use ; 
it was a better sized room, and had a pleasanter aspect : 
but she soon saw that her friend had an excellent reason 
for what she did, for Mr. Collins would undoubtedly 
have been much less in his own apartment had they sat 
in one equally lively; and she gave Charlotte credit for 
the arrangement. 

From the drawing-room they could distinguish nothing 
in the lan'e, and were indebted to Mr. Collins for the 
knowledge of what carriages went along, and how often 
especially Miss De Bourgh drove by in her phaeton, 
which he never failed coming to inform them of, though 
it happened almost every day. She not unfrequently 
stopped at the Parsonage, and had a few minutes' 
conversation with Charlotte, but was scarcely ever 
prevailed on to get out. 

Very few days passed in which Mr. Collins did not 
walk to Rosings, and not many in which his wife did not 
think it necessary to go likewise ; and till Elizabeth 
recollected that there might be other family livings to be 
disposed of, she could not understand the sacrifice of so 
many hours. Now and then they were honoured with a 
call from her Ladyship, and nothing escaped her observa- 
tion that was passing in the room during these visits. 
She examined into their employments, looked at their 
work, and advised them to do it differently; found fault 
with the arrangement of the furniture, or detected the 
housemaid in negligence ; and if she accepted any 
refreshment, seemed to do it only for the sake of finding 
out that Mrs. Collins's joints of meat were too large for 
her family. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



211 



Elizabeth soon perceived, that though this great lady 
was not in the commission of the peace for the county, 
she was a most active magistrate in her own parish, the 
minutest concerns of which were carried to her by Air. 
Collins ; and whenever any of the cottagers were disposed 








.. . 



to be quarrelsome, discontented, or too poor, she sallied 
forth into the village to settle their differences, silence 
their complaints, and scold them into harmony and 
plenty. 

The entertainment of dining at Rosings was repeated 
about twice a week ; and, allowing for the loss of Sir 
William, and there being only one card-table in the 



212 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

evening, every such entertainment was the counterpart of 
the first Their other engagements were few, as the 
style of living of the neighbourhood in general was 
beyond the Collinses' reach. This, however, was no 
evil to Elizabeth, and upon the whole she spent her time 
comfortably enough : there were half hours of pleasant 
conversation with Charlotte, and the weather was so fine 
for the time of year, that she had often great enjoyment 
out of doors. Her favourite walk, and where she 
frequently went while the others were calling on Lady 
Catherine, was along the open grove which edged that 
side of the park, where there was a nice sheltered path, 
which no one seemed to value but herself, and where she 
felt beyond the reach of Lady Catherine's curiosity. 

In this quiet way the first fortnight of her visit soon 
passed away. Easter was approaching, and the week 
preceding it was to bring an addition to the family at 
Rosings, which in so small a circle must be important. 
Elizabeth had heard, soon after her arrival, that Mr. 
Darcy was expected there in the course of a few weeks ; 
and though there were not many of her acquaintance 
whom she did not prefer, his coming would furnish one 
comparatively new to look at in their Rosings parties, 
and she might be amused in seeing how hopeless Miss 
Bingley's designs on him were, by his behaviour to his 
cousin, for whom he was evidently destined by Lady 
Catherine, who talked of his coming with the greatest 
satisfaction, spoke of him in terms of the highest 
admiration, and seemed almost angry to find that he had 
already been frequently seen by Miss Lucas and herself. 

His arrival was soon known at the Parsonage ; for Mr. 
Collins was walking the whole morning within view of 
the lodges opening into Hunsford Lane, in order to have 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



213 



the earliest assurance of it ; and, after making his bow 
as the carriage turned into the park, hurried home with 
the great intelligence. On the following morning he 
hastened to Rosings to pay his respects. There were two 




" S'/ie Qeriifemvn acccmf^an^cC him,-. 
{Copyright 1894 by George Allen.} 

nephews of Lady Catherine to require them, for Mr. 
Darcy had brought with him a Colonel Fitzwilliam, the 
younger son of his uncle, Lord - ; and, to the great 
surprise of all the party, when Mr. Collins returned, 
the gentlemen accompanied him. Charlotte had seen 
them from her husband's room, crossing the road, and 



214 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

immediately running into the other, told the girls what 
an honour they might expect, adding, 

" I may thank you, Eliza, for this piece of civility. Mr. 
Darcy would never have come so soon to wait upon me." 

Elizabeth had scarcely time to disclaim all right to the 
compliment before their approach was announced by the 
door-bell, and shortly afterwards the three gentlemen 
entered the room. Colonel Fitzwilliam, who led the way, 
was about thirty, not handsome, but in person and 
address most truly the gentleman. Mr. Darcy looked 
just as he had been used to look in Hertfordshire, paid 
his compliments, with his usual reserve, to Mrs. Collins ; 
and whatever might be his feelings towards her friend, 
met her with every appearance of composure. Elizabeth 
merely courtesied to him, without saying a word. 

Colonel Fitzwilliam entered into conversation directly, 
with the readiness and ease of a well-bred man, and 
talked very pleasantly ; but his cousin, after having 
addressed a slight observation on the house and garden 
to Mrs. Collins, sat for some time without speaking to 
anybody. At length, however, his civility was so far 
awakened as to inquire of Elizabeth after the health of 
her family. She answered him in the usual way ; and, 
after a moment's pause, added,- 

" My eldest sister has been in town these three months. 
Have you never happened to see her there ? " 

She was perfectly sensible that he never had : but she 
wished to see whether he would betray any consciousness 
of what had passed between the Bingleys and Jane ; and 
she thought he looked a little confused as he answered 
that he had never been so fortunate as to meet Miss 
Bennet. The subject was pursued no further, and the 
gentlemen soon afterwards went away. 



-*-"s^= - 

lot 





CHAPTER XXXI. 

OLONEL FITZWILLIAM'S man- 
ners were very much admired at the 
Parsonage, and the ladies all felt that 
he must add considerably to the 
pleasure of their engagements at 
Rosings. It was some days, however, 
before they received any invitation thither, for while there 
were visitors in the house they could not be necessary ; 
and it was not till Easter-day, almost a week after the 
gentlemen's arrival, that they were honoured by such an 
attention, and then they were merely asked on leaving 



church to come there in the evening. For the last week 
they had seen very little of either Lady Catherine or 
her daughter. Colonel Fitzwilliam had called at the. 



2l6 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Parsonage more than once during the time, but Mr. Darcy 
they had only seen at church. 

The invitation was accepted, of course, and at a proper 
hour they joined the party in Lady Catherine's drawing- 
room. Her Ladyship received them civilly, but it was 
plain that their company was by no means so acceptable 
as when she could get nobody else ; and she was, in fact, 
almost engrossed by her nephews, speaking to them, 
especially to Darcy, much more than to any other person 
in the room. 

Colonel Fitzwilliam seemed really glad to see them : 
anything was a welcome relief to him at Rosings ; and 
Mrs. Collins's pretty friend had, moreover, caught his 
fancy very much. He now seated himself by her, and 
talked so agreeably of Kent and Hertfordshire, of 
travelling and staying at home, of new books and music, 
that Elizabeth had never been half so well entertained in 
that room before ; and they conversed with so much 
spirit and flow as to draw the attention of Lady Catherine 
herself, as well as of Mr. Darcy. His eyes had been soon 
and repeatedly turned towards them with a look of 
curiosity ; and that her Ladyship, after a while, shared 
the feeling, was more openly acknowledged, for she did 
not scruple to call out, 

" What is that you are saying, Fitzwilliam ? What is 
it you are talking of? What are you telling Miss 
Bennet ? Let me hear what it is." 

" We were talking of music, madam," said he, when no 
longer able to avoid a reply. 

" Of music ! Then pray speak aloud. It is of all 
subjects my delight. I must have my share in the 
conversation, if you are speaking of music. There are 
few people in England, I suppose, who have more true 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural 
taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great pro- 
ficient. And so would Anne, if her health had allowed her 
to apply. I am confident that she would have performed 
delightfully. How does Georgiana get on, Darcy ? " 

Mr. Darcy spoke with affectionate praise of his sister's 
proficiency. 

" I am very glad to hear such a good account of her," 
said Lady Catherine ; " and pray tell her from me, that 
she cannot expect to excel, if she does not practise a 
great deal." 

" I assure you, madam," he replied, " that she does not 
need such advice. She practises very constantly." 

" So much the better. It cannot be done too much ; 
and when I next write to her, I shall charge her not to 
neglect it on any account. I often tell young ladies, that 
no excellence in music is to be acquired without constant 
practice. I have told Miss Bennet several times, that she 
will never play really well, unless she practises more ; 
and though Mrs. Collins has no instrument, she is very 
welcome, as I have often told her, to come to Rosings 
every day, and play on the pianoforte in Mrs. Jenkinson's 
room. She would be in nobody's way, you know, in that 
part of the house." 

Mr. Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt's ill- 
breeding, and made no answer. 

When coffee was over, Colonel Fitzwilliam reminded 
Elizabeth of having promised to play to him ; and she 
sat down directly to the instrument. He drew a chair 
near her. Lady Catherine listened to half a song, and 
then talked, as before, to her other nephew ; till the 
latter walked away from her, and moving with his usual 
deliberation towards the pianoforte, stationed himself so 



2l8 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

as to command a full view of the fair performer's 
countenance. Elizabeth saw what he was doing, and at 
the first convenient pause turned to him with an arch 
smile, and said,- 

" You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in 
all this state to hear me. But I will not be alarmed, 
though your sister does play so well. There is a stubborn- 
ness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the 
will of others. My courage always rises with every 
attempt to intimidate me." 

" I shall not say that you are mistaken," he replied, 
" because you could not really believe me to entertain 
any design of alarming you ; and I have had the pleasure 
of your acquaintance long enough to know, that you 
find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions 
which, in fact, are not your own." 

Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself, and 
said to Colonel Fitzwilliam, " Your cousin will give you a 
very pretty notion of me, and teach you not to believe a 
word I say. I am particularly unlucky in meeting with 
a person so well able to expose my real character, in a 
part of the world where I had hoped to pass myself off 
with some degree of credit. Indeed, Mr. Darcy, it is very 
ungenerous in you to mention all that you knew to my 
disadvantage in Hertfordshire and, give me leave to say, 
very impolitic too for it is provoking me to retaliate, 
and such things may come out as will shock your relations 
to hear." 

" I am not afraid of you," said he, smilingly. 

" Pray let me hear what you have to accuse him of," 
cried Colonel Fitzwilliam. " I should like to know how 
he behaves among strangers." 

" You shall hear, then but prepare for something very 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 2IQ 

dreadful. The first time of my ever seeing him in Hert- 
fordshire, you must know, was at a ball and at this ball, 
what do you think he did? He danced only four dances! 
I am sorry to pain you, but so it was. He danced only 
four dances, though gentlemen were scarce ; and, to my 
certain knowledge, more than one young lady was sitting 
down in want of a partner. Mr. Darcy, you cannot deny 
the fact." 

" I had not at that time the honour of knowing any 
lady in the assembly beyond my own party." 

"True; and nobody can ever be introduced in a ball- 
room. Well, Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do I play next ? 
My fingers wait your orders." 

" Perhaps," said Darcy, " I should have judged better 
had I sought an introduction, but I am ill-qualified to 
recommend myself to strangers." 

" Shall we ask your cousin the reason of this ? " said 
Elizabeth, still addressing Colonel Fitzwilliam. " Shall 
we ask him why a man of sense and education, and who 
has lived in the world, is ill-qualified to recommend him- 
self to strangers ? " 

" I can answer your question," said Fitzwilliam, " with- 
out applying to him. It is because he will not give him- 
self the trouble." 

" I certainly have not the talent which some people 
possess," said Darcy, " of conversing easily with those I 
have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of 
conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I 
often see done." 

" My fingers," said Elizabeth, " do not move over this 
instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many 
women's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, 
and do not produce the same expression. But then I have 



22O PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

always supposed it to be my own fault because I would 
not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do 
not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman's 
of superior execution." 

Darcy smiled and said, " You are perfectly right. You 
have employed your time much better. No one admitted 
to the privilege of hearing you can think anything wanting. 
We neither of us perform to strangers." 

Here they were interrupted by Lady Catherine, who 
called out to know what they were talking of. Elizabeth 
immediately began playing again. Lady Catherine ap- 
proached, and, after listening for a few minutes, said to 
Darcy, 

" Miss Bennet would not play at all amiss if she practised 
more, and could have the advantage of a London master. 
She has a very good notion of fingering, though her taste 
is not equal to Anne's. Anne would have been a delight- 
ful performer, had her health allowed her to learn." 

Elizabeth looked at Darcy, to see how cordially he 
assented to his cousin's praise : but neither at that moment 
nor at any other could she discern any symptom of love ; 
and from the whole of his behaviour to Miss De Bourgh 
she derived this comfort for Miss Bingley, that he might 
have been just as likely to marry her, had she been his 
relation. 

Lady Catherine continued her remarks on Elizabeth's 
performance, mixing with them many instructions on exe- 
cution and taste. Elizabeth received them with all the 
forbearance of civility ; and at the request of the gentle- 
men remained at the instrument till her Ladyship's 
carriage was ready to take them all home. 




CHAPTER XXXII. 

LIZABETH was sitting by herself the next 
morning, and writing to Jane, while Mrs. 
Collins and Maria were gone on business 
into the village, when she was startled by 
a ring at the door, the certain signal of a 
visitor. As she had heard no carriage, 
she thought it not unlikely to be Lady 
Catherine; and under that apprehension was putting 




222 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

away her half-finished letter, that she might escape all 
impertinent questions, when the door opened, and to her 
very great surprise Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Darcy only, 
entered the room. 

He seemed astonished too on finding her alone, and 
apologized for his intrusion, by letting her know that he 
had understood all the ladies to be within. 

They then sat down, and when her inquiries after 
Rosings were made, seemed in danger of sinking into total 
silence. It was absolutely necessary, therefore, to think 
of something ; and in this emergency recollecting wJien 
she had seen him last in Hertfordshire, and feeling curious 
to know what he would say on the subject of their hasty 
departure, she observed,- 

" How very suddenly you all quitted Netherfield last 
November, Mr. Darcy ! It must have been a most agree- 
able surprise to Mr. Bingley to see you all after him so 
soon ; for, if I recollect right, he went but the day before. 
He and his sisters were well, I hope, when you left 
London ? " 

" Perfectly so, I thank you." 

She found that she was to receive no other answer ; and, 
after a short pause, added,- 

" I think I have understood that Mr. Bingley has not 
much idea of ever returning to Netherfield again ? ): 

" I have never heard him say so ; but it is probable 
that he may spend very little of his time there in future. 
He has many friends, and he is at a time of life when 
friends and engagements are continually increasing." 

"If he means to be but little at Netherfield, it would be 
better for the neighbourhood that he should give up the 
place entirely, for then we might possibly get a settled 
family there. But, perhaps, Mr. Bingley did not take the 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 223 

house so much for the convenience of the neighbourhood 
as for his own, and we must expect him to keep or quit 
it on the same principle." 

" I should not be surprised," said Darcy, u if he were to 
give it up as soon as any eligible purchase offers." 

Elizabeth made no answer. She was afraid of talking 
longer of his friend ; and, having nothing else to say, was 
now determined to leave the trouble of finding a subject 
to him. 

He took the hint and soon began with, " This seems a 
very comfortable house. Lady Catherine, I believe, did 
a great deal to it when Mr. Collins first came to 
Hunsford." 

" I believe she did and I am sure she could not have 
bestowed her kindness on a more grateful object." 

" Mr. Collins appears very fortunate in his choice of a 
wife." 

" Yes, indeed ; his friends may well rejoice in his having 
met with one of the very few sensible women who would 
have accepted him, or have made him happy if they had. 
My friend has an excellent understanding though I am 
not certain that I consider her marrying Mr. Collins as 
the wisest thing she ever did. She seems perfectly happy, 
however ; and, in a prudential light, it is certainly a very 
good match for her." 

" It must be very agreeable to her to be settled within 
so easy a distance of her own family and friends." 

" An easy distance do you call it ? It is nearly fifty 
miles." 

" And what is fifty miles of good road ? Little more 
than half a day's journey. Yes, I call it a very easy 
distance." 

" I should never have considered the distance as one of 



224 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

the advantages of the match," cried Elizabeth. " I should 
never have said Mrs. Collins was settled near her 
family." 

" It is a proof of your own attachment to Hertford- 
shire. Anything beyond the very neighbourhood of 
Longbourn, I suppose, would appear far." 

As he spoke there was a sort of smile, which Elizabeth 
fancied she understood ; he must be supposing her to be 
thinking of Jane and Netherfield, and she blushed as she 
answered, 

" I do not mean to say that a woman may not be 
settled too near her family. The far and the near must 
be relative, and depend on many varying circumstances. 
Where there is fortune to make the expense of travelling 
unimportant, distance becomes no evil. But that is not 
the case here. Mr. and Mrs. Collins have a comfortable 
income, but not such a one as will allow of frequent 
journeys and I am persuaded my friend would not call 
herself near her family under less than half the present 
distance." 

Mr. Darcy drew his chair a little towards her, and 
said, " You cannot have a right to such very strong local 
attachment. You cannot have been always at Long- 
bourn." 

Elizabeth looked surprised. The gentleman experi- 
enced some change of feeling ; he drew back his chair, 
took a newspaper from the table, and, glancing over it, 
said, in a colder voice, 

" Are you pleased with Kent ? " 

A short dialogue on the subject of the country ensued, 
on either side calm and concise and soon put an end to 
by the entrance of Charlotte and her sister, just returned 
from their walk. The tete-a-tcte surprised them. Mr. 



TRIBE AND PREJUDICE. 



225 



Darcy related the mistake which had occasioned his 
intruding on Miss Bennet, and, after sitting a few 




jtf+'fr 

[Copyriglit i,"94 by Gearg-j Allen.} 

minutes longer, without saying much to anybody, went 

away. 

o 



226 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" What can be the meaning of this ? " said Charlotte, 
as soon as he was gone. " My dear Eliza, he must be in 
love with you, or he would never have called on us in 
this familiar way." 

But when Elizabeth told of his silence, it did not seem 
very likely, even to Charlotte's wishes, to be the case ; 
and, after various conjectures, they could at last only 
suppose his visit to proceed from the difficulty of finding 
anything to do, which was the more probable from the time 
of year. All field sports were over. Within doors there 
was Lady Catherine, books, and a billiard table, but 
gentlemen cannot be always within doors ; and in the 
nearness of the Parsonage, or the pleasantness of the 
walk to it, or of the people who lived in it, the two 
cousins found a temptation from this period of walking 
thither almost every day. They called at various times 
of the morning, sometimes separately, sometimes to- 
gether, and now and then accompanied by their aunt. It 
was plain to them all that Colonel Fitzwilliam came 
because he had pleasure in their society, a persuasion 
which of course recommended him still more ; and 
Elizabeth was reminded by her own satisfaction in 
being with him, as well as by his evident admiration, of 
her former favourite, George Wickham ; and though, in 
comparing them, she saw there was less captivating 
softness in Colonel Fitzwilliam's manners, she believed 
he might have the best informed mind. 

But why Mr. Darcy came so often to the Parsonage it 
was more difficult to understand. It could not be for 
society, as he frequently sat there ten minutes together 
without opening his lips ; and when he did speak, it 
seemed the effect of necessity rather than of choice a 
sacrifice to propriety, not a pleasure to himself. He 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 22/ 

seldom appeared really animated. Mrs. Collins knew not 
what to make of him. Colonel Fitzwilliam's occasionally 
laughing at his stupidity proved that he was generally 
different, which her own knowledge of him could not have 
told her ; and as she would have liked to believe this 
change the effect of love, and the object of that love 
her friend Eliza, she set herself seriously to work to find 
it out : she watched him whenever they were at Rosings, 
and whenever he came to Hunsford ; but without much 
success. He certainly looked at her friend a great 
deal, but the expression of that look was disputable. 
It was an earnest, steadfast gaze, but she often doubted 
whether there were much admiration in it, and some- 
times it seemed nothing but absence of mind. 

She had once or twice suggested to Elizabeth the 
possibility of his being partial to her, but Elizabeth 
always laughed at the idea ; and Mrs. Collins did not 
think it right to press the subject, from the danger 
of raising expectations which might only end in dis- 
appointment ; for in her opinion it admitted not of a 
doubt, that all her friend's dislike would vanish, if she 
could suppose him to be in her power. 

In her kind schemes for Elizabeth, she sometimes 
planned her marrying Colonel Fitzwilliam. He was, 
beyond comparison, the pleasantest man : he certainly 
admired her, and his situation in life was most eligible ; 
but, to counterbalance these advantages, Mr. Darcy had 
considerable patronage in the church, and his cousin could 
have none at all. 



) 




, ' ' ' V 




CHAPTER XXXIII. 

ORE than once did Elizabeth, in her ramble 
within the park, unexpectedly meet Mr. 
Darcy. She felt all the perverseness of the 
mischance that should bring him where no 
one else was brought ; and, to prevent its 
ever happening again, took care to inform him, at first, 
that it was a favourite haunt of hers. How it could 
occur a second time, therefore, was very odd ! Yet it 
did, and even the third. It seemed like wilful ill-nature, 
or a voluntary penance ; for on these occasions it \vas 
not merely a few formal inquiries and an awkward pause 
and then away, but he actually thought it necessary to 
turn back and walk with her. He never said a great 
deal, nor did she give herself the trouble of talking or of 
listening much ; but it struck her in the course of their 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 229 

third rencounter that he was asking some odd uncon- 
nected questions about her pleasure in being at Huns- 
ford, her love of solitary walks, and her opinion of Mr. 
and Mrs. Collins's happiness ; and that in speaking of 
Rosings, and her not perfectly understanding the house, 
he seemed to expect that whenever she came into Kent 
again she would be staying there too. His words seemed 
to imply it. Could he have Colonel Fitzwilliam in his 
thoughts ? She supposed, if he meant anything, he must 
mean an allusion to what might arise in that quarter. 
It distressed her a little, and she was quite glad to find 
herself at the gate in the pales opposite the Parsonage. 

She was engaged one day, as she walked, in re-perus- 
ing Jane's last letter, and dwelling on some passages 
which proved that Jane had not written in spirits, when, 
instead of being again surprised by Mr. Darcy, she saw, 
on looking up, that Colonel Fitzwilliam was meeting her. 
Putting away the letter immediately, and forcing a smile, 
she said,- 

u I did not know before that you ever walked this way." 

" I have been making the tour of the park," he replied, 
" as I generally do every year, and intended to close it 
with a call at the Parsonage. Are you going much 
farther ? " 

" No, I should have turned in a moment." 

And accordingly she did turn, and they walked 
towards the Parsonage together. 

" Do you certainly leave Kent on Saturday ? " said she. 

" Yes if Darcy does not put it off again. But I am 
at his disposal. He arranges the business just as he 
pleases." 

" And if not able to please himself in the arrangement, 
he has at least great pleasure in the power of choice. I 



230 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

do not know anybody who seems more to enjoy the 
power of doing what he likes than Mr. Darcy." 

" He likes to have his own way very well," replied 
Colonel Fitzwilliam. " But so we all do. It is only that 

^ 

he has better means of having it than many others, 
because he is rich, and man}' others are poor. I speak 
feelingh*. A younger son, you know, must be inured to 
self-denial and dependence." 

"In my opinion, the younger son of an earl can know 
very little of either. Now, seriously, what have you 
ever known of self-denial and dependence ? When have 
you been prevented by want of money from going 
wherever you chose or procuring anything you had a 
fancy for ? " 

" These are home questions and perhaps I cannot 
say that I have experienced many hardships of that 
nature. But in matters of greater weight, I may suffer 
from the want of money. Younger sons cannot marry 
where they like." 

" Unless where they like women of fortune, which I 
think they very often do." 

" Our habits of expense make us too dependent, and 
there are not many in my rank of life who can afford to 
marry without some attention to money." 

" Is this," thought Elizabeth, " meant for me ? " and she 
coloured at the idea ; but, recovering herself, said in a 
lively tone, " And pray, what is the usual price of an earl's 
younger son ? Unless the elder brother is very sickly, 
I suppose you would not ask above fifty thousand pounds." 

He answered her in the same style, and the subject 
dropped. To interrupt a silence which might make him 
fancy her affected with what had passed, she soon after- 
wards said, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 231 

" I imagine your cousin brought you down with him 
chiefly for the sake of having somebody at his disposal. 
I wonder he does not marry, to secure a lasting con- 
venience of that kind. But, perhaps, his sister does as 
well for the present ; and, as she is under his sole care, 
he may do what he likes with her." 

" No," said Colonel Fitzwilliam, " that is an advantage 
which he must divide with me. I am joined with him in 
the guardianship of Miss Darcy." 

" Are you, indeed? And pray what sort of a guardian 
do you make ? Does your charge give you much trouble ? 
Young ladies of her age are sometimes a little difficult to 
manage ; and if she has the true Darcy spirit, she may 
like to have her own way." 

As she spoke, she observed him looking at her 
earnestly ; and the manner in which he immediately 
asked her why she supposed Miss Darcy likely to give 
them any uneasiness, convinced her that she had some- 
how or other got pretty near the truth. She direct!}' 
replied,- 

" You need not be frightened. I never heard any harm 
of her ; and I dare say she is one of the most tractable 
creatures in the world. She is a very great favourite with 
some ladies of my acquaintance, Mrs. Hurst and Miss 
Bingley. I think I have heard you say that you know 
them." 

" I know them a little. Their brother is a pleasant, 
gentlemanlike man he is a great friend of Darcy's." 

" Oh yes," said Elizabeth drily " Mr. Darcy is un- 
commonly kind to Mr. Bingley, and takes a prodigious 
deal of care of him." 

" Care of him ! Yes, I really believe Darcy does take 
care of him in those points where he most wants care. 



232 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

From something that he told me in our journey hither, I 
have reason to think Bingley very much indebted to him. 
But I ought to beg his pardon, for I have no right to 
suppose that Bingley was the person meant. It was all 
conjecture." 

" What is it you mean ? " 

" It is a circumstance which Darcy of course could not 
wish to be generally known, because if it were to get round 
to the lady's family it would be an unpleasant thing." 

" You may depend upon my not mentioning it." 

" And remember that I have not much reason for 
supposing it to be Bingley. What he told me was 
merely this : that he congratulated himself on having 
lately saved a friend from the inconveniences of a most 
imprudent marriage, but without mentioning names or 
any other particulars ; and I only suspected it to be 
Bingley from believing him the kind of young man to 
get into a scrape of that sort, and from knowing them to 
have been together the whole of last summer." 

" Did Mr. Darcy give you his reasons for this inter- 
ference ? " 

" I understood that there were some very strong objec- 
tions against the lady." 

" And what arts did he use to separate them ? " 

" He did not talk to me of his own arts," said Fitz- 
william, smiling. " He only told me what I have now 
told you." 

Elizabeth made no answer, and walked on, her heart 
swelling with indignation. After watching her a little, 
Fitzwilliam asked her why she was so thoughtful. 

" I am thinking of what you have been telling me," 
said she. " Your cousin's conduct does not suit my 
feelings. Why was he to be the judge ? " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 233 

You are rather disposed to call his interference 
officious ?" 

' I do not see what right Mr. Darcy had to decide on 
the propriety of his friend's inclination ; or why, upon 
his own judgment alone, he was to determine and direct 
in what manner that friend \vas to be happy. But," she 
continued, recollecting herself, "as we know none of the 
particulars, it is not fair to condemn him. It is not to be 
supposed that there was much affection in the case." 

" That is not an unnatural surmise," said Fitzwilliam ; 
* but it is lessening the honour of my cousin's triumph 
very sadly." 

This was spoken jestingly, but it appeared to her so 
just a picture of Mr. Darcy, that she would not trust 
herself with an answer ; and, therefore, abruptly changing 
the conversation, talked on indifferent matters till they 
reached the Parsonage. There, shut into her own room, 
as soon as their visitor left them, she could think without 
interruption of all that she had heard. It was not to be 
supposed that any other people could be meant than 
those with whom she was connected. There could not 
exist in the world two men over whom Mr. Darcy could 
have such boundless influence. That he had been con- 
cerned in the measures taken to separate Mr. Bingley 
and Jane, she had never doubted ; but she had always 
attributed to Miss Bingley the principal design and 
arrangement of them. If his own vanity, however, did 
not mislead him, he was the cause his pride and caprice 
were the cause of all that Jane had suffered, and still 
continued to suffer. He had ruined for a w r hile every 
hope of happiness for the most affectionate, generous 
heart in the world ; and no one could say how lasting an 
evil he might have inflicted. 



234 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" There were some very strong objections against the 
lady," were Colonel Fitzwilliam s words ; and these strong 
objections probably were, her having one uncle who was 
a country attorney, and another who was in business in 
London. 

" To Jane herself," she exclaimed, " there could be no 
possibility of objection, all loveliness and goodness as 
she is ! Her understanding excellent, her mind improved, 
and her manners captivating. Neither could anything be 
urged against my father, who, though with some pecu- 
liarities, has abilities which Mr. Darcy himself need not 
disdain, and respectability which he will probably never 
reach." When she thought of her mother, indeed, her 
confidence gave way a little ; but she would not allow 
that any objections there had material weight with Mr. 
Darcy, whose pride, she was convinced, would receive a 
deeper wound from the want of importance in his friend's 
connections than from their want of sense ; and she was 
quite decided, at last, that he had been partly governed 
by this worst kind of pride, and partly by the wish of 
retaining Mr. Bingley for his sister. 

The agitation and tears which the subject occasioned 
brought on a headache ; and it grew so much worse 
towards the evening that, added to her unwillingness to 
see Mr. Darcy, it determined her not to attend her 
cousins to Rosings, where they were engaged to drink 
tea. Mrs. Collins, seeing that she was really unwell, did 
not press her to go, and as much as possible prevented 
her husband from pressing her ; but Mr. Collins could 
not conceal his apprehension of Lady Catherine's being 
rather displeased by her staying at home. 




CHAPTER XXXIV. 

HEN they were gone, Elizabeth, as if 
intending to exasperate herself as 
much as possible against Mr. Darcy, 
chose for her employment the exami- 
nation of all the letters which Jane 
had written to her since her being in 
Kent They contained no actual 

t 

complaint, nor was there any revival of past occurrences, 




236 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

or any communication of present suffering. But in all, 
and in almost every line of each, there was a want of that 
cheerfulness which had been used to characterize her 
style, and which, proceeding from the serenity of a mind 
at ease with itself, and kindly disposed towards every- 
one, had been scarcely ever clouded. Elizabeth noticed 
every sentence conveying the idea of uneasiness, with an 
attention which it had hardly received on the first 
perusal. Mr. Darcy's shameful boast of what misery he 
had been able to inflict gave her a keener sense of her 
sister's sufferings. It was some consolation to think that 
his visit to Rosings was to end on the day after the next, 
and a still greater that in less than a fortnight she 
should herself be with Jane again, and enabled to con- 
tribute to the recovery of her spirits, by all that affection 
could do. 

She could not think of Darcy's leaving Kent without 
remembering that his cousin was to go with him ; but 
Colonel Fitzwilliam had made it clear that he had no 
intentions at all, and, agreeable as he was, she did not 
mean to be unhappy about him. 

While settling this point, she was suddenly roused by 
the sound of the door-bell ; and her spirits were a little 
fluttered by the idea of its being Colonel Fitzwilliam 
himself, who had once before called late in the evening, 
and might now come to inquire particularly after her. 
But this idea was soon banished, and her spirits were very 
differently affected, when, to her utter amazement, she 
saw Mr. Darcy walk into the room. In a hurried manner 
he immediately began an inquiry after her health, 
imputing his visit to a wish of hearing that she were 
better. She answered him with cold civility. He sat 
down for a few moments, and then getting up walked 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 237 

about the room. Elizabeth was surprised, but said not 
a word. After a silence of several minutes, he came 
towards her in an agitated manner, and thus began :- 

"In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My 
feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to 
tell you how ardently I admire and love you." 

Elizabeth's astonishment was beyond expression. She 
stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he 
considered sufficient encouragement, and the avowal of 
all that he felt and had long felt for her immediately 
followed. He spoke well ; but there were feelings besides 
those of the heart to be detailed, and he was not more 
eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His 
sense of her inferiority, of its being a degradation, of the 
family obstacles which judgment had always opposed to 
inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed 
due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very 
unlikely to recommend his suit. 

In spite of her deeply-rooted dislike, she could not be 
insensible to the compliment of such a man's affection, 
and though her intentions did not vary for an instant, she 
was at first sorry for the pain he was to receive ; till 
roused to resentment by his subsequent language, she 
lost all compassion in anger. She tried, however, to 
compose herself to answer him with patience, when he 
should have done. He concluded with representing to 
her the strength of that attachment which in spite of all 
his endeavours he had found impossible to conquer ; and 
with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded 
by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this she 
could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable 
answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his 
countenance expressed real security. Such a circumstance 



238 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

could only exasperate farther ; and when he ceased the 
colour rose into her cheeks and she said, 

" In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established 
mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments 
avowed, however unequally they may be returned. It is 
natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could feel 
gratitude, I would now thank you. But I cannot I 
have never desired your good opinion, and you have 
certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to 
have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most 
unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short 
duration. The feelings which you tell me have long 
prevented the acknowledgment of your regard can have 
little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation." 

Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantel-piece 
with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her 
words with no less resentment than surprise. His com- 
plexion became pale with anger, and the disturbance of 
his mind was visible in every feature. He \vas struggling 
for the appearance of composure, and \vould not open 
his lips till he believed himself to have attained it. The 
pause was to Elizabeth's feelings dreadful. At length, 
in a voice of forced calmness, he said,- 

4< And this is all the reply which I am to have the 
honour of expecting ! I might, perhaps, wish to be 
informed why, with so little endeavour at civility, I am 
thus rejected. But it is of small importance." 

" I might as well inquire," replied she, " why, with so 
evident a design of offending and insulting me, you 
chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, 
against your reason, and even against your character? 
Was not this some excuse for incivility, if I u>as uncivil ? 
But I have other provocations. You know I have. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 239 

Had not my own feelings decided against you, had they 
been indifferent, or had they even been favourable, do 
you think that any consideration would tempt me to 
accept the man who has been the means of ruining, 
perhaps for ever, the happiness of a most beloved 
sister ? " 

As she pronounced these words, Mr. Darcy changed 
colour ; but the emotion was short, and he listened 
without attempting to interrupt her while she con- 
tinued,- 

" I have every reason in the world to think ill of you. 
No motive can excuse the unjust and ungenerous part 
you acted there. You dare not, you cannot deny that 
you have been the principal, if not the only means 
of dividing them from each other, of exposing one to 
the censure of the world for caprice and instability, the 
other to its derision for disappointed hopes, and involving 
them both in misery of the acutest kind." 

She paused, and saw with no slight indignation that 
he was listening with an air which proved him wholly 
unmoved by any feeling of remorse. He even looked at 
her with a smile of affected incredulity. 

" Can you deny that you have done it ? " she repeated. 

With assumed tranquillity he then replied, " I have no 
wish of denying that I did everything in my power to 
separate my friend from your sister, or that I rejoice in 
my success. Towards ///;;/ I have been kinder than 
towards myself." 

Elizabeth disdained the appearance of noticing this 
civil reflection, but its meaning did not escape, nor was 
it likely to conciliate her. 

" But it is not merely this affair," she continued, " on 
which my dislike is founded. Long before it had taken 



240 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

place, my opinion of you was decided. Your character 
was unfolded in the recital which I received many 
months ago from Mr. Wickham. On this subject, what 
can you have to say ? In what imaginary act of friend- 
ship can you here defend yourself? or under what 
misrepresentation can you here impose upon others ? " 

" You take an eager interest in that gentleman's con- 
cerns," said Darcy, in a less tranquil tone, and with a 
heightened colour. 

" Who that knows what his misfortunes have been can 
help feeling an interest in him ? " 

"His misfortunes!" repeated Darcy, contemptuously, 
" yes, his misfortunes have been great indeed." 

" And of your infliction," cried Elizabeth, with energy; 
" You have reduced him to his present state of poverty- 
comparative poverty. You have withheld the ad- 
vantages which you must know to have been designed 
for him. You have deprived the best years of his life of 
that independence which was no less his due than his 
desert. You have done all this ! and yet you can treat 
the mention of his misfortunes with contempt and 
ridicule." 

" And this," cried Darcy, as he walked with quick 
steps across the room, " is your opinion of me ! This 
is the estimation in which you hold me ! I thank you 
for explaining it so fully. My faults, according to this 
calculation, are heavy indeed ! But, perhaps," added he, 
stopping in his walk, and turning towards her, " these 
offences might have been overlooked, had not your pride 
been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that 
had long prevented my forming any serious design. 
These bitter accusations might have been suppressed, 
had I, with greater policy, concealed my struggles, and 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 24! 

flattered you into the belief of my being impelled by 
unqualified, unalloyed inclination ; by reason, by reflec- 
tion, by everything. But disguise of every sort is my 
abhorrence. Nor am I ashamed of the feelings I related. 
They were natural and just. Could you expect me to 
rejoice in the inferiority of your connections ? to con- 
gratulate myself on the hope of relations whose condition 
in life is so decidedly beneath my own ? " 

Elizabeth felt herself growing more angry every 
moment ; yet she tried to the utmost to speak with 
composure when she said, 

" You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that 
the mode of your declaration affected me in any other 
way than as it spared me the concern which I might 
have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more 
gentlemanlike manner." 

She saw him start at this ; but he said nothing, and 
she continued, 

" You could not have made me the offer of your hand 
in any possible way that would have tempted me to 
accept it." 

Again his astonishment was obvious ; and he looked at 
her with an expression of mingled incredulity and morti- 
fication. She went on, 

" From the very beginning, from the first moment, I 
may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your 
manners impressing me with the fullest belief of your 
arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the 
feelings of others, were such as to form that groundwork 
of disapprobation, on which succeeding events have built 
so immovable a dislike ; and I had not known you a 
month before I felt that you were the last man in the 
world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry." 

R 



242 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" You have said quite enough, madam. I perfectly 
comprehend your feelings, and have now only to be 
ashamed of what my own have been. Forgive me 
for having taken up so much of your time, and accept 
my best wishes for your health and happiness." 

And with these words he hastily left the room, and 
Elizabeth heard him the next moment open the front 
door and quit the house. The tumult of her mind was 
now painfully great. She knew not how to support 
herself, and, from actual weakness, sat down and cried 
for half an hour. Her astonishment, as she reflected on 
what had passed, was increased by every review of it. 
That she should receive an offer of marriage from 
Mr. Darcy ! that he should have been in love with 
her for so many months ! so much in love as to wish 
to marry her in spite of all the objections which had 
made him prevent his friend's marrying her sister, and 
which must appear at least with equal force in his 
own case, was almost incredible ! it was gratifying to 
have inspired unconsciously so strong an affection. But 
his pride, his abominable pride, his shameless avowal of 
what he had done with respect to Jane, his unpardonable 
assurance in acknowledging, though he could not justify 
it, and the unfeeling manner which he had mentioned 
Mr. Wickham, his cruelty towards whom he had not 
attempted to deny, soon overcame the pity which the 
consideration of his attachment had for a moment 
excited. 

She continued in very agitating reflections till the 
sound of Lady Catherine's carriage made her feel how 
unequal she was to encounter Charlotte's observation, 
and hurried her away to her room. 




Calfif" 




CHAPTER XXXV. 



LIZABETH awoke the next morning to 



the same thoughts and meditations which 
had at length closed her eyes. She could 
not yet recover from the surprise of what 
had happened : it was impossible to think 
of anything else ; and, totally indisposed for employment, 
she resolved soon after breakfast to indulge herself in 
afr and exercise. She was proceeding directly to her 
favourite walk, when the recollection of Mr. Darcy's 
sometimes coming there stopped her, and instead of 
entering the park, she turned up the lane which led 
her farther from the turnpike road. The park paling 
was still the boundary on one side, and she soon passed 
one of the gates into the ground. 

After walking two or three times along that part of 
the lane, she was tempted, by the pleasantness of the 
morning, to stop at the gates and look into the park. 
The five weeks which she had now passed in Kent had 
made a great difference in the country, and every day 
was adding to the verdure of the early trees. She was 



244 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

on the point of continuing her walk, when she caught a 
glimpse of a gentleman within the sort of grove which 
edged the park : he was moving that way ; and fearful of 
its being Mr. Darcy, she was directly retreating. But 
the person who advanced was now near enough to see 
her, and stepping forward with eagerness, pronounced 
her name. She had turned away ; but on hearing her- 
self called, though in a voice which proved it to be 
Mr. Darcy, she moved again towards the gate. He had 
by that time reached it also ; and, holding out a letter, 
which she instinctively took, said, with a look of haughty 
composure, " I have been walking in the grove some 
time, in the hope of meeting you. Will you do me the 
honour of reading that letter ? " and then, with a slight 
bow, turned again into the plantation, and was soon out 
of sight. 

With no expectation of pleasure, but with the strongest 
curiosity, Elizabeth opened the letter, and to her still 
increasing wonder, perceived an envelope containing 
two sheets of letter paper, written quite through, in a 
very close hand. The envelope itself was likewise full. 
Pursuing her way along the lane, she then began it. It 
was dated from Rosings, at eight o'clock in the morning, 
and was as follows : 

" Be not alarmed, madam, on receiving this letter, by 
the apprehension of its containing any repetition of those 
sentiments, or renewal of those offers, which were last 
night so disgusting to you. I write without any inten- 
tion of paining you, or humbling myself, by dwelling on 
wishes, which, for the happiness of both, cannot be too 
soon forgotten ; and the effort which the formation and 
the perusal of this letter must occasion, should have been 
spared, had not my character required it to be written 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 245 

and read. You must, therefore, pardon the freedom 
with which I demand your attention ; your feelings, I 
know, will bestow^ it unwillingly, but I demand it of your 
justice. 

" T\vo offences of a very different nature, and by no 
means of equal magnitude, you last night laid to my 
charge. The first mentioned \vas, that, regardless of the 
sentiments of either, I had detached Mr. Bingley from 
your sister, and the other, that I had, in defiance of 
various claims, in defiance of honour and humanity, 
ruined the immediate prosperity and blasted the pros- 
pects of Mr. Wickham. Wilfully and wantonly to have 
thrown off the companion of my youth, the acknowledged 
favourite of my father, a young man \vho had scarcely 
any other dependence than on our patronage, and who 
had been brought up to expect its exertion, would be a 
depravity, to which the separation of two young persons 
whose affection could be the growth of only a few w r eeks, 
could bear no comparison. But from the severity of 
that blame which was last night so liberally bestowed, 
respecting each circumstance, I shall hope to be in future 
secured, when the following account of my actions and 
their motives has been read. If, in the explanation of 
them which is due to myself, I am under the necessity of 
relating feelings which may be offensive to yours, I can 
only say that I am sorry. The necessity must be 
obeyed, and further apology would be absurd. I had 
not been long in Hertfordshire before I saw, in common 
with others, that Bingley preferred your elder sister to 
any other young woman in the country. But it was not 
till the evening of the dance at Netherfield that I had any 
apprehension of his feeling a serious attachment. I had 
often seen him in love before. At that ball, while I had 



246 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

the honour of dancing with you, I was first made ac- 
quainted, by Sir William Lucas's accidental information, 
that Binglev's attentions to vour sister had cm-en rise to a 

o * o 

general expectation of their marriage. He spoke of it as 
a certain event, of which the time alone could be 

m 

undecided. From that moment I observed mv friend's 

j 

behaviour attentive!}- ; and I could then perceive that his 
partiality for Miss Bennet was beyond what I had ever 
witnessed in him. Your sister I also watched. Her 
look and manners were open, cheerful, and engaging 
as ever, but without any symptom of peculiar regard ; 
and I remained convinced, from the evening's scrutiny, 
that though she received his attentions with pleasure, she 
did not invite them by any participation of sentiment. 
If you have not been mistaken here, / must have been in 
an error. Your superior knowledge of your sister must 
make the latter probable. If it be so, if I have been 
misled by such error to inflict pain on her, your resentment 
has not been unreasonable. But I shall not scruple to 
assert, that the serenity of your sister's countenance and 
air was such as might have given the most acute observer 
a conviction that, however amiable her temper, her heart 
was not likely to be easily touched. That I was desirous 
of believing her indifferent is certain ; but I will venture 
to sav that mv investigations and decisions are not 

- -- o 

usually influenced by my hopes or fears. I did not 
believe her to be indifferent because I wished it ; I 
believed it on impartial conviction, as truly as I wished 
it in reason. My objections to the marriage were not 
merelv those which I last ni2;ht acknowledged to have 

^ O 5 

required the utmost force of passion to put aside in 
my own case ; the want of connection could not be so 
great an evil to my friend as to me. But there were 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 247 

other causes of repugnance ; causes which, though still 
existing, and existing to an equal degree in both 
instances, I had myself endeavoured to forget, because 
they were not immediately before me. These causes 
must be stated, though briefly. The situation of your 
mother's family, though objectionable, was nothing in 
comparison of that total want of propriety so frequently, 
so almost uniformly betrayed by herself, by your three 
younger sisters, and occasionally even by your father :- 
pardon me, it pains me to offend you. But amidst 
your concern for the defects of your nearest relations, 
and your displeasure at this representation of them, let it 
give you consolation to consider that to have conducted 
yourselves so as to avoid any share of the like censure is 
praise no less generally bestowed on you and your eldest 
sister than it is honourable to the sense and disposition of 
both. I will only say, farther, that from what passed 
that evening my opinion of all parties was confirmed, 
and every inducement heightened, which could have led 
me before to preserve my friend from what I esteemed 
a most unhappy connection. He left Netherfield for 
London on the day following, as you, I am certain, 
remember, with the design of soon returning. The part 
which I acted is now to be explained. His sisters' 
uneasiness had been equally excited with my own : our 
coincidence of feeling was soon discovered ; and, alike 
sensible that no time w r as to be lost in detaching their 
brother, we shortly resolved on joining him directly in 
London. We accordingly went and there I readily 
engaged in the office of pointing out to my friend the 
certain evils of such a choice. I described and enforced 
them earnestly. But however this remonstrance might 
have staggered or delayed his determination, I do not 



248 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

suppose that it would ultimately have prevented the 
marriage, had it not been seconded by the assurance, 
which I hesitated not in giving, of your sister's indifference. 
He had before believed her to return his affection with 
sincere, if not with equal, regard. But Bingley has great 
natural modesty, with a stronger dependence on my 
judgment than on his own. To convince him, therefore, 
that he had deceived himself was no very difficult point. 
To persuade him against returning into Hertfordshire, 
when that conviction had been given, was scarcely the 
work of a moment. I cannot blame myself for having 
done thus much. There is but one part of my conduct, 
in the whole affair, on which I do not reflect with satis- 
faction ; it is that I condescended to adopt the measures 
of art so far as to conceal from him your sister's being in 
town. I knew it myself, as it was known to Miss 
Bingley ; but her brother is even yet ignorant of it. 
That they might have met without ill consequence is, 
perhaps, probable ; but his regard did not appear to me 
enough extinguished for him to see her without some 
danger. Perhaps this concealment, this .disguise, was 
beneath me. It is done, however, and it was done for 
the best. On this subject I have nothing more to say, no 
other apology to offer. If I have wounded your sister's 
feelings, it was unknowingly done ; and though the 
motives which governed me may to you very naturally 
appear insufficient, I have not yet learnt to condemn 
them. With respect to that other, more weighty accusa- 
tion, of having injured Mr. Wickham, I can only refute it 
by laying before you the whole of his connection with 
my family. Of what he has particularly accused me I am 
ignorant ; but of the truth of what I shall relate I can 
summon more than one witness of undoubted veracity. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 249 

Mr. Wickham is the son of a very respectable man, 
who had for many years the management of all the 
Pemberley estates, and whose good conduct in the 
discharge of his trust naturally inclined my father to be 
of service to him ; and on George Wickham, who was his 
godson, his kindness was therefore liberally bestowed. 
My father supported him at school, and afterwards at 
Cambridge ; most important assistance, as his own father, 
always poor from the extravagance of his wife, would 
have been unable to give him a gentleman's education. 
My father was not only fond of this young man's society, 
whose manners were always engaging, he had also the 
highest opinion of him, and hoping the church would be 
his profession, intended to provide for him in it. As for 
myself, it is many, many years since I first began to 
think of him in a very different manner. The vicious 
propensities, the want of principle, which he was careful 
to guard from the knowledge of his best friend, could not 
escape the observation of a young man of nearly the 
same age with himself, and who had opportunities of 
seeing him in unguarded moments, which Mr. Darcy 
could not have. Here again I shall give you pain to 
what degree you only can tell. But whatever may be 
the sentiments which Mr. Wickham has created, a 
suspicion of their nature shall not prevent me from 
unfolding his real character. It adds even another 
motive. My excellent father died about five years ago ; 
and his attachment to Mr. Wickham was to the last so 
steady, that in his will he particularly recommended it to 
me to promote his advancement in the best manner 
that his profession might allow, and if he took orders, de- 
sired that a valuable family living might be his as soon 
as it became vacant. There was also a legacy of one 



250 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

thousand pounds. His own father did not long survive 
mine ; and within half a year from these events Mr. 
\Vickham wrote to inform me that, having finally resolved 
against taking orders, he hoped I should not think it 
unreasonable for him to expect some more immediate 
pecuniar}- advantage, in lieu of the preferment, by which 
he could not be benefited. He had some intention, he 
added, of studying the law, and I must be aware that the 
interest of one thousand pounds would be a very in- 
sufficient support therein. I rather wished than believed 
him to be sincere ; but, at any rate, was perfectly read}' 
to accede to his proposal. I knew that Mr. Wickham 
oueht not to be a clergyman. The business was there- 

o oj 

fore soon settled. He resigned all claim to assistance in 
the church, were it possible that he could ever be in a 
situation to receive it, and accepted in return three 
thousand pounds. All connection between us seemed 
now dissolved. I thought too ill of him to invite him to 
Pemberley, or admit his society in town. In town, I 
believe, he chiefly lived, but his studying the law was 
a mere pretence ; and being now free from all restraint, 
his life was a life of idleness and dissipation. For about 
three years I heard little of him ; but on the decease of 
the incumbent of the living which had been designed for 
him, he applied to me again by letter for the presentation. 
His circumstances, he assured me, and I had no difficulty 
in believing it, were exceedingly bad. He had found the 
law a most unprofitable study, and was now absolutely 
resolved on being ordained, if I would present him to the 
living in question of which he trusted there could be 
little doubt, as he was well assured that I had no other 
person to provide for, and I could not have forgotten my 
revered father's intentions. You will hardly blame me 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 251 

for refusing to comply with this entreaty, or for resisting 
every repetition of it. His resentment was in proportion 
to the distress of his circumstances and he was doubtless 
as violent in his abuse of me to others as in his reproaches 
to myself. After this period, every appearance of ac- 
quaintance was dropped. How he lived, I know not. 
But last summer he was again most painfully obtruded 
on my notice. I must now mention a circumstance 
which I would wish to forget myself, and which no 
obligation less than the present should induce me to 
unfold to any human being. Having said thus much, I 
feel no doubt of your secrecy. My sister, who is more 
than ten years my junior, was left to the guardianship 
of my mother's nephew, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and myself. 
About a year ago, she was taken from school, and an 
establishment formed for her in London ; and last 
summer she went with the lady who presided over it 
to Ramsgate ; and thither also went Mr. Wickham, 
undoubtedly by design ; for there proved to have been a 
prior acquaintance between him and Mrs. Younge, in 
whose character we were most unhappily deceived ; and 
by her connivance and aid he so far recommended 
himself to Georgiana, whose affectionate heart retained a 
strong impression of his kindness to her as a child, that 
she was persuaded to believe herself in love and to 
consent to an elopement. She was then but fifteen, 
which must be her excuse ; and after stating her impru- 
dence, I am happy to add, that I owed the knowledge of 
it to herself. I joined them unexpectedly a day or two 
before the intended elopement; and then Georgiana, 
unable to support the idea of grieving and offending a 
brother whom she almost looked up to as a father, 
acknowledged the whole to me. You may imagine what 



252 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

I felt and how I acted. Regard for my sister's credit and 
feelings prevented any public exposure ; but I wrote to 
Mr. Wickham, who left the place immediately, and Mrs. 
Younge was of course removed from her charge. Mr. 
Wickham's chief object was unquestionably my sister's 
fortune, which is thirty thousand pounds ; but I cannot 
help supposing that the hope of revenging himself on me 
was a strong inducement. His revenge would have been 
complete indeed. This, madam, is a faithful narrative of 
every event in which we have been concerned together ; 
and if you do not absolutely reject it as false, you will, I 
hope, acquit me henceforth of cruelty towards Mr. 
Wickham. I know not in what manner, under what 
form of falsehood, he has imposed on you ; but his 
success is not perhaps to be wondered at, ignorant as 
you previously were of everything concerning either. 
Detection could not be in your power, and suspicion 
certainly not in your inclination. You may possibly 
wonder why all this was not told you last night. But I 
was not then master enough of myself to know what could 
or ought to be revealed. For the truth of everything here 
related, I can appeal more particularly to the testimony 
of Colonel Fitzwilliam, who, from our near relationship 
and constant intimacy, and still more as one of the exe- 
cutors of my father's will, has been unavoidably acquainted 
with every particular of these transactions. If your abhor- 
rence of me should make viy assertions valueless, you 
cannot be prevented by the same cause from confiding 
in my cousin ; and that there may be the possibility of 
consulting him, I shall endeavour to find some oppor- 
tunity of putting this letter in your hands in the course 
of the morning. I will only add, God bless you. 

" FITZWILLIAM DARCY." 






CHAPTER XXXVI. 

ELIZABETH, when Mr. Darcy gave her 
the letter, did not expect it to contain 
a renewal of his offers, she had formed 
no expectation at ail of its contents. 
But such as they were, it may be well 
supposed how eagerly she went through 
them, and what a contrariety of emotion 
they excited. Her feelings as she read 
were scarcely to be defined. With amazement did she 
first understand that he believed any apology to be in 
his power ; and steadfastly was she persuaded, that he 
could have no explanation to give, which a just sense 
of shame would not conceal. With a strong prejudice 



254 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

against everything he might say, she began his account 
of what had happened at Netherfield. She read with an 
eagerness which hardly left her power of comprehension ; 
and from impatience of knowing what the next sentence 
might bring, was incapable of attending to the sense of 
the one before her eyes. His belief of her sister's insen- 
sibility she instantly resolved to be false ; and his 
account of the real, the worst objections to the match, 
made her too angry to have any wish of doing him 
justice. He expressed no regret for what he had done 
which satisfied her ; his style was not penitent, but 
haughty. It was all pride and insolence. 

But when this subject was succeeded by his account of 
Mr. Wickham when she read, with somewhat clearer 
attention, a relation of events which, if true, must over- 
throw every cherished opinion of his worth, and which 
bore so alarming an affinity to his own history of himself 
her feelings were yet more acutely painful and more 
difficult of definition. Astonishment, apprehension, and 
even horror, oppressed her. She wished to discredit it 
entirely, repeatedly exclaiming, " This must be false ! 
This cannot be ! This must be the grossest falsehood ! ' 
and when she had gone through the whole letter, 
though scarcely knowing anything of the last page or 
two, put it hastily away, protesting that she would not 
regard it, that she would never look in it again. 

In this perturbed state of mind, with thoughts that 
could rest on nothing, she walked on ; but it would not 
do : in half a minute the letter was unfolded again ; and 
collecting herself as well as she could, she again began 
the mortifying perusal of all that related to Wickham, 
and commanded herself so far as to examine the meaning 
of every sentence. The account of his connection with 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 255 

the Pemberley family was exactly what he had related 
himself; and the kindness of the late Mr. Darcy, though 
she had not before known its extent, agreed equally well 
with his own words. So far each recital confirmed the 
other ; but when she came to the will, the difference was 
great. What Wickham had said of the living was fresh 
in her memory ; and as she recalled his very words, it 
was impossible not to feel that there was gross duplicity 
on one side or the other, and, for a few moments, she 
flattered herself that her wishes did not err. But when 
she read and re-read, with the closest attention, the 
particulars immediately following of Wickham's resigning 
all pretensions to the living, of his receiving in lieu so 
considerable a sum as three thousand pounds, again was 
she forced to hesitate. She put down the letter, weighed 
every circumstance with what she meant to be imparti- 
ality deliberated on the probability of each statement 
but with little success. On both sides it was only 
assertion. Again she read on. But every line proved 
more clearly that the affair, which she had believed it 
impossible that any contrivance could so represent as to 
render Mr. Darcy's conduct in it less than infamous, was 
capable of a turn which must make him entirely blame- 
less throughout the whole. 

The extravagance and general profligacy which he 
scrupled not to lay to Mr. Wickham's charge exceedingly 
shocked her ; the more so, as she could bring no proof 
of its injustice. She had never heard of him before his 

entrance into the shire militia, in which he had 

engaged at the persuasion of the young man, who, on 
meeting him accidentally in town, had there renewed a 
slight acquaintance. Of his former T ~ "of life, nothing 
had been known in Hertfordshire sm jt what he told 



256 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



himself. As to his real character, had information been 
in her power, she had never felt a wish of inquiring. 
His countenance, voice, and manner, had established 
him at once in the possession of every virtue. She tried 
to recollect some instance of goodness, some distinguished 
trait of integrity or benevolence, that might rescue him 




{Copyright 1894 by George Allen.'} 

from the attacks of Mr. Darcy ; or at least, by the pre- 
dominance of virtue, atone for those casual errors, under 
which she would endeavour to class what Mr. Darcy had 
described as the idleness and vice of many years' continu- 
ance. But no such recollection befriended her. She 
could see him instantly before her, in every charm of 
air and address, but she could remember no more sub- 
stantial good than the general approbation of the neigh- 
bourhood, and the regard which his social powers had 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 257 

gained him in the mess. After pausing on this point a 
considerable while, she once more continued to read. 
But, alas ! the story which followed, of his designs on 
Miss Darcy, received some confirmation from what had 
passed between Colonel Fitzwilliam and herself only the 
morning before ; and at last she was referred for the 
truth of every particular to Colonel Fitzwilliam himself- 
from whom she had previously received the information 
of his near concern in all his cousin's affairs and whose 
character she had no reason to question. At one time 
she had almost resolved on applying to him, but the 
idea was checked by the awkwardness of the application, 
and at length wholly banished by the conviction that 
Mr. Darcy would never have hazarded such a proposal, 
if he had not been well assured of his cousin's corrobora- 
tion. 

She perfectly remembered everything that had passed 
in conversation between Wickham and herself in their 
first evening at Mr. Philips's. Many of his expressions 
were still fresh in her memory. She was now struck 
with the impropriety of such communications to a 
stranger, and wondered it had escaped her before. She 
saw the indelicacy of putting himself forward as he had 
done, and the inconsistency of his professions with his 
conduct. She remembered that he had boasted of 
having no fear of seeing Mr. Darcy that Mr. Darcy 
might leave the country, but that he should stand his 
ground ; yet he had avoided the Netherfield ball the 
very next week. She remembered, also, that till the 
Netherfield family had quitted the country, he had told 
his story to no one but herself; but that after their 
removal, it had been everywhere discussed ; that he had 
then no reserves, no scruples in sinking Mr. Darcy's 

s 



258 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

character, though he had assured her that respect for the 
father would always prevent his exposing the son. 

How differently did everything now appear in which 
he was concerned ! His attentions to Miss King were now 
the consequence of views solely and hatefully mercenary ; 
and the mediocrity of her fortune proved no longer the 
moderation of his wishes, but his eagerness to grasp at 
anything. His behaviour to herself could now have had 
no tolerable motive : he had either been deceived with 
regard to her fortune, or had been gratifying his vanity 
by encouraging the preference which she believed she 
had most incautiously shown. Every lingering struggle 
in his favour grew fainter and fainter ; and in further 
justification of Mr. Darcy, she could not but allow that 
Mr. Bingley, when questioned by Jane, had long ago 
asserted his blamelessness in the affair ; that, proud 
and repulsive as were his manners, she had never, in the 
whole course of their acquaintance an acquaintance 
which had latterly brought them much together, and 
given her a sort of intimacy with his ways seen any- 
thing that betrayed him to be unprincipled or unjust- 
any thing that spoke him of irreligious or immoral habits ; 
-that among his own connections he was esteemed and 
valued ; that even Wickham had allowed him merit as a 
brother, and that she had often heard him speak so 
affectionately of his sister as to prove him capable of 
some amiable feeling ; that had his actions been what 
Wickham represented them, so gross a violation of 
everything right could hardly have been concealed from 
the world ; and that friendship between a person capable 
of it and such an amiable man as Mr. Bingley was 
incomprehensible. 

She grew absolutely ashamed of herself. Of neither 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 259 

Darcy nor Wickham could she think, without feeling that 
she had been blind, partial, prejudiced, absurd. 

" How despicably have I acted ! ' she cried. " I, who 
have prided myself on my discernment ! I, who have 
valued myself on my abilities ! who have often disdained 
the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my 
vanity in useless or blameless distrust. How humiliating 
is this discovery ! Yet, how just a humiliation ! Had I 
been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly 
blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly. Pleased 
with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect 
of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, 
I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven 
reason away where either were concerned. Till this 
moment, I never knew myself." 

From herself to Jane, from Jane to Bingley, her 
thoughts were in a line which soon brought to her 
recollection that Air. Darcy's explanation there had 
appeared very insufficient ; and she read it again. 
Widely different was the effect of a second perusal. 
How could she deny that credit to his assertions, in one 
instance, which she had been obliged to give in the 
other? He declared himself to have been totally un- 
suspicious of her sister's attachment ; and she could not 
help remembering what Charlotte's opinion had always 
been. Neither could she deny the justice of his descrip- 
tion of Jane. She felt that Jane's feelings, though fervent, 
were little displayed, and that there was a constant com- 
placency in her air and manner, not often united with 
great sensibility. 

When she came to that part of the letter in which her 
family were mentioned, in tones of such mortifying, yet 
merited, reproach, her sense of shame was severe. The 



260 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

justice of the charge struck her too forcibly for denial ; 
and the circumstances to which he particularly alluded, 
as having passed at the Netherfield ball, and as confirming 
all his first disapprobation, could not have made a stronger 
impression on his mind than on hers. 

The compliment to herself and her sister was not unfelt. 
It soothed, but it could not console her for the contempt 
which had been thus self-attracted by the rest of her 
family ; and as she considered that Jane's disappointment 
had, in fact, been the work of her nearest relations, and 
reflected how materially the credit of both must be hurt 
by such impropriety of conduct, she felt depressed beyond 
anything she had ever known before. 

After wandering along the lane for two hours, giving 
way to every variety of thought, reconsidering events, 
determining probabilities, and reconciling herself, as well 
as she could, to a change so sudden and so important, 
fatigue, and a recollection of her long absence, made her 
at length return home ; and she entered the house with 
the wish of appearing cheerful as usual, and the resolution 
of repressing such reflections as must make her unfit for 
conversation. 

She was immediately told, that the two gentlemen from 
Rosings had each called during her absence ; Mr. Darcy, 
only for a few minutes, to take leave, but that Colonel 
Fitzwilliam had been sitting with them at least an hour, 
hoping for her return, and almost resolving to walk after 
her till she could be found. Elizabeth could but just affect 
concern in missing him ; she really rejoiced at it. Colonel 
Fitzwilliam was no longer an object. She could think 
only of her letter. 




CHAPTER XXXVII. 

HE two gentlemen left Rosings the next 
morning ; and Mr. Collins having been 
in waiting near the lodges, to make them 
his parting obeisance, was able to bring 
home the pleasing intelligence of their 
appearing in very good health, and in as 
tolerable spirits as could be expected, 
after the melancholy scene so lately gone through at 
Rosings. To Rosings he then hastened to console Lady 
Catherine and her daughter ; and on his return brought 
back, with great satisfaction, a message from her Lady- 
ship, importing that she felt herself so dull as to make 
her very desirous of having them all to dine with her. 




262 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Elizabeth could not see Lady Catherine without recol- 
lecting that, had she chosen it, she might by this time 
have been presented to her as her future niece ; nor could 
she think, without a smile, of what her Ladyship's indig- 
nation would have been. " What would she have said ? 
how would she have behaved?" were the questions with 
which she amused herself. 

Their first subject was the diminution of the Rosings' 
part}*. " I assure you, I feel it exceedingly," said Lady 
Catherine ; " I believe nobody feels the loss of friends so 
much as I do. But I am particularly attached to these 
young men ; and know them to be so much attached to 
me ! They were excessively sorry to go ! But so they 
always are. The dear Colonel rallied his spirits tolerably 
till just at last ; but Darcy seemed to feel it most 
acutely more, I think, than last year. His attachment 
to Rosings certain!}* increases." 

Mr. Collins had a compliment and an allusion to throw 
in here, which were kindly smiled on by the mother and 
daughter. 

Lady Catherine observed, after dinner, that Miss Bennet 
seemed out of spirits ; and immediately accounting for it 
herself, by supposing that she did not like to go home 
again so soon, she added,- 

" But if that is the case, you must write to your mother 
to beg that you may stay a little longer. Mrs. Collins 
will be very glad of your company, I am sure." 

" I am much obliged to your Ladyship for your kind 
invitation," replied Elizabeth ; " but it is not in my power 
to accept it. I must be in town next Saturday." 

" Why, at that rate, you will have been here only six 
weeks. I expected you to stay two months. I told Mrs. 
Collins so before you came. There can be no occasion for 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



263 



your going so soon. Mrs. Bennet could certainly spare 
you for another fortnight." 

* L> 

" But my father cannot. He wrote last week to hurry 
my return." 




auw-Son 



{Copyright 1894 by George Allen.\ 



" Oh, your father, of course, may spare you, if your 
mother can. Daughters are never of so much conse- 
quence to a father. And if you will stay another month 
complete, it will be in my power to take one of you 
as far as London, for I am going there early in June, 



264 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

for a week ; and as Dawson does not object to the 
barouche-box, there will be very good room for one 
of you and, indeed, if the weather should happen to 
be cool, I should not object to taking you both, as you 
are neither of you large." 

" You are all kindness, madam ; but I believe we must 
abide by our original plan." 

Lady Catherine seemed resigned. " Mrs. Collins, you 
must send a servant with them. You know I always 
speak my mind, and I cannot bear the idea of two young 
women travelling post by themselves. It is highly im- 
proper. You must contrive to send somebody. I have 
the greatest dislike in the world to that sort of thing. 
Young women should always be properly guarded and 
attended, according to their situation in life. When my 
niece Georgiana went to Ramsgate last summer, I made 
a point of her having two men-servants go with her. 
Miss Darcy, the daughter of Mr. Darcy of Pemberley, 
and Lady Anne, could not have appeared with propriety 
in a different manner. I am excessively attentive to all 
those things. You must send John with the young ladies, 
Mrs. Collins. I am glad it occurred to me to mention 
it ; for it would really be discreditable to you to let them 
go alone." 

" My uncle is to send a servant for us." 

" Oh ! Your uncle ! He keeps a man-servant, does he ? 
I am very glad you have somebody who thinks of those 
things. Where shall you change horses ? Oh, Bromley, 
of course. If you mention my name at the Bell, you will 
be attended to." 

Lady Catherine had many other questions to ask 
respecting their journey ; and as she did not answer them 
all herself attention was necessary which Elizabeth 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 265 

believed to be lucky for her ; or, with a mind so occupied, 
she might have forgotten where she was. Reflection must 
be reserved for solitary hours : whenever she was alone, 
she gave way to it as the greatest relief ; and not a day 
went by without a solitary walk, in which she might 
indulge in all the delight of unpleasant recollections. 

Mr. Darcy's letter she was in a fair way of soon know- 
ing by heart. She studied every sentence ; and her 
feelings towards its writer were at times widely different. 
When she remembered the style of his address, she 
was still full of indignation : but when she considered 
how unjustly she had condemned and upbraided him, 
her anger was turned against herself; and his dis- 
appointed feelings became the object of compassion. 
His attachment excited gratitude, his general character 
respect : but she could not approve him ; nor could 
she for a moment repent her refusal, or feel the slightest 
inclination ever to see him again. In her own past beha- 
viour, there was a constant source of vexation and regret : 
and in the unhappy defects of her family, a subject of 
yet heavier chagrin. They were hopeless of remedy. 
Her father, contented with laughing at them, would 
never exert himself to restrain the wild giddiness of his 
youngest daughters ; and her mother, with manners so 
far from right herself, was entirely insensible of the evil. 
Elizabeth had frequently united with Jane in an endea- 
vour to check the imprudence of Catherine and Lydia ; 
but while they were supported by their mother's indul- 
gence, what chance could there be of improvement ? 
Catherine, weak-spirited irritable, and completely under 
Lydia's guidance, had been always affronted by their 
advice ; and Lydia, self-willed and careless, would scarcely 
give them a hearing. They were ignorant, idle, and vain. 



266 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

While there was an officer in Meryton, they would flirt 
with him ; and while Meryton was within a walk of 
Longbourn, the}' would be going there for ever. 

Anxiety on Jane's behalf was another prevailing con- 
cern ; and Mr. Darcy's explanation, by restoring Bingley 
to all her former good opinion, heightened the sense of 
what Jane had lost. His affection was proved to have 
been sincere, and his conduct cleared of all blame, unless 
any could attach to the implicitness of his confidence in 
his friend. How grievous then was the thought that, of 
a situation so desirable in every respect, so replete with 
advantage, so promising for happiness, Jane had been 
deprived, by the folly and indecorum of her own family ! 

When to these recollections was added the development 
of Wickham's character, it ma}- be easily believed that 
the happy spirits which had seldom been depressed be- 
fore were now so much affected as to make it almost 
impossible for her to appear tolerably cheerful. 

Their engagements at Rosings were as frequent during 
the last week of her stay as the}- had been at first. The 
very last evening was spent there ; and her Ladyship 
again inquired minutely into the particulars of their 
journey, gave them directions as to the best method of 
packing, and was so urgent on the necessity of placing 
gowns in the only right way, that Maria thought herself 
obliged, on her return, to undo all the work of the morn- 
ing, and pack her trunk afresh. 

When they parted, Lady Catherine, with great con- 
descension, wished them a good journey, and invited 
them to come to Hunsford again next year ; and Miss 
de Bourgh exerted herself so far as to courtesy and hold 
out her hand to both. 



ITU ^-> - 






CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

N Saturday morning Elizabeth and 
Mr. Collins met for breakfast a few 
minutes before the others appeared ; 
and he took the opportunity of 
paying the parting civilities which 
he deemed indispensably necessary. 

" I know not, Miss Elizabeth," said 
he, "whether Mrs. Collins has yet expressed her sense 
of your kindness in coming to us ; but I am very certain 
you will not leave the house without receiving her thanks 
for it. The favour of your company has been much 
felt, I assure you. We know how little there is to tempt 
anyone to our humble abode. Our plain manner of 




268 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

living, our small rooms, and few domestics, and the little 
we see of the world, must make Hunsford extremely 
dull to a young lady like yourself ; but I hope you will 
believe us grateful for the condescension, and that we 
have done everything in our power to prevent you 
spending your time unpleasantly." 

Elizabeth was eager with her thanks and assurances of 
happiness. She had spent six weeks with great enjoy- 
ment ; and the pleasure of being with Charlotte, and the 
kind attention she had received, must make her feel the 
obliged. Mr. Collins was gratified ; and with a more 
smiling solemnity replied,- 

" It gives me the greatest pleasure to hear that you 
have passed your time not disagreeably. We have 
certainly done our best ; and most fortunately having it in 
our power to introduce you to very superior society, and 
from our connection with Rosings, the frequent means of 
varying the humble home scene, I think we may flatter 
ourselves that your Hunsford visit cannot have been 
entirely irksome. Our situation with regard to Lady 
Catherine's family is, indeed, the sort of extraordinary 
advantage and blessing which few can boast. You see 
on what a footing we are. You see how continually we 
are engaged there. In truth, I must acknowledge, that, 
with all the disadvantages of this humble parsonage, 
I should not think anyone abiding in it an object of 
compassion, while they are sharers of our intimacy at 
Rosings." 

Words were insufficient for the elevation of his feel- 
ings ; and he was obliged to walk about the room, while 
Elizabeth tried to unite civility and truth in a few short 
sentences. 

" You may, in fact, carry a very favourable report of us 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 269 

into Hertfordshire, my dear cousin. I flatter myself, at 
least, that you will be able to do so. Lady Catherine's 
great attentions to Mrs. Collins you have been a daily 
witness of ; and altogether I trust it does not appear that 
your friend has drawn an unfortunate but on this point 
it will be as well to be silent. Only let me assure you, 
my dear Miss Elizabeth, that I can from my heart most 
cordially wish you equal felicity in marriage. My dear 
Charlotte and I have but one mind and one way of think- 
ing. There is in everything a most remarkable resem- 
blance of character and ideas between us. We seem to 
have been designed for each other." 

Elizabeth could safely say that it was a great happi- 
ness where that was the case, and with equal sincerity 
could add, that she firmly believed and rejoiced in his 
domestic comforts. She was not sorry, however, to 
have the recital of them interrupted by the entrance of 
the lady from whom they sprang. Poor Charlotte ! it 
was melancholy to leave her to such society ! But she 
had chosen it with her eyes open ; and though evidently 
regretting that her visitors were to go, she did not seem 
to ask for compassion. Her home and her housekeeping, 
her parish and her poultry, and all their dependent con- 
cerns, had not yet lost their charms. 

At length the chaise arrived, the trunks w r ere fastened 
on, the parcels placed within, and it was pronounced to 
be ready. After an affectionate parting between the 
friends, Elizabeth was attended to the carriage by Mr. 
Collins ; and as they walked down the garden, he was 
commissioning her with his best respects to all her family, 
not forgetting his thanks for the kindness he had received 
at Longbourn in the winter, and his compliments to Mr. 
and Mrs. Gardiner, though unknown. He then handed 



2/O 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



her in, Maria followed, and the door was on the point of 
being closed, when he suddenly reminded them, with 
some consternation, that they had hitherto forgotten to 
leave any message for the ladies of Rosings. 




" But," he added, " you will of course wish to have 
your humble respects delivered to them, with your grate- 
ful thanks for their kindness to you while you have been 
here." 

Elizabeth made no objection : the door was then allowed 
to be shut, and the carriage drove off. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 2J\ 

" Good gracious ! ' cried Maria, after a few minutes' 
silence, " it seems but a day or two since we first came ! 
and yet how many things have happened ! ); 

"A great many indeed," said her companion, with a sigh. 

" We have dined nine times at Rosings, besides 
drinking tea there twice ! How much I shall have to 
tell ! " 

Elizabeth privately added, " And how much I shall 
have to conceal ! ''' 

Their journey was performed without much conversa- 
tion, or any alarm ; and within four hours of their leaving 
Hunsford they reached Mr. Gardiner's house, where they 
were to remain a few days. 

Jane looked well, and Elizabeth had little opportunity 
of studying her spirits, amidst the various engagements 
which the kindness of her aunt had reserved for them. 
But Jane was to go home with her, and at Longbourn 
there would be leisure enough for observation. 

It was not without an effort, meanwhile, that she could 
wait even for Longbourn, before she told her sister of 
Mr. Darcy's proposals. To know that she had the power 
of revealing what would so exceedingly astonish Jane, 
and must, at the same time, so highly gratify whatever of 
her own vanity she had not yet been able to reason away, 
was suchr a temptation to openness as nothing could have 
conquered, but the state of indecision in which she re- 
mained as to the extent of what she should communicate, 
and her fear, if she once entered on the subject, of being 
hurried into repeating something of Bingley, which might 
only grieve her sister further. 



i 



- 

' 




rt^?f- 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 



WAS the second week in Ma}', in which 
the three young ladies set out together 
from Gracechurch Street for the town 
of - , in Hertfordshire ; and, as they 
drew near the appointed inn where Mr. 
Bennet's carriage was to meet them, 
they quickly perceived, in token of the 
coachman's punctuality, both Kitty and Lydia looking 
out of a dining-room upstairs. These two girls had 
been above an hour in the place, happily employed in 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 2/3 

visiting an opposite milliner, watching the sentinel on 
guard, and dressing a salad and cucumber. 

After welcoming their sisters, they triumphantly dis- 
played a table set out with such cold meat as an inn 
larder usually affords, exclaiming, "Is not this nice? is 
not this an agreeable surprise ? " 

" And we mean to treat you all," added Lydia ; " but 
you must lend us the money, for we have just spent ours 
at the shop out there." Then showing her purchases, 
" Look here, I have bought this bonnet. I do not think 
it is very pretty ; but I thought I might as well buy it as 
not. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and 
see if I can make it up any better." 

And when her sisters abused it as ugly, she added, 
with perfect unconcern, " Oh, but there were two or three 
much uglier in the shop ; and when I have bought some 
prettier-coloured satin to trim it w T ith fresh, I think it 
will be very tolerable. Besides, it will not much signify 

what one wears this summer, after the shire have 

left Meryton, and they are going in a fortnight." 

" Are they, indeed ? " cried Elizabeth, with the greatest 
satisfaction. 

" They are going to be encamped near Brighton ; and 
I do so want papa to take us all there for the summer ! 
It would be such a delicious scheme, and I dare say 
would hardly cost anything at all. Mamma would like 
to go, too, of all things ! Only think what a miserable 
summer else we shall have ! " 

" Yes," thought Elizabeth ; " that would be a delight- 
ful scheme, indeed, and completely do for us at once. 
Good Heaven ! Brighton and a whole campful of soldiers, 
to us, who have been overset already by one poor regi- 
ment of militia, and the monthly balls of Meryton ! " 

T 



2/4 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Now I have got some news for you," said Lydia, as 
they sat down to table. "What do you think? It is 
excellent news, capital news, and about a certain person 
that we all like." 

Jane and Elizabeth looked at each other, and the 
waiter was told that he need not stay. Lydia laughed, 
and said, 

" Ay, that is just like your formality and discretion. 
You thought the waiter must not hear, as if he cared ! I 
dare say he often hears worse things said than I am going 
to say. But he is an ugly fellow ! I am glad he is gone. 
I never saw such a long chin in my life. Well, but now 
for my news : it is about dear Wickham ; too good for 
the waiter, is not it ? There is no danger of Wickham's 
marrying Mary King there's for you ! She is gone down 
to her uncle at Liverpool ; gone to stay. Wickham is safe." 

"And Mary King is safe!" added Elizabeth; "safe 
from a connection imprudent as to fortune." 

" She is a great fool for going away, if she liked him." 

" But I hope there is no strong attachment on either 
side," said Jane. 

" I am sure there is not on his. I will answer for it, 
he never cared three straws about her. Who could about 
such a nasty little freckled thing ?" 

Elizabeth was shocked to think that, however incapable 
of such coarseness of expression herself, the coarseness of 
the sentiment was little other than her own breast had 
formerly harboured and fancied liberal ! 

As soon as all had ate, and the elder ones paid, the 
carriage was ordered ; and, after some contrivance, the 
whole party, with all their boxes, workbags, and parcels, 
and the unwelcome addition of Kitty's and Lydia's pur- 
chases, were seated in it. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 275 

" How nicely we are crammed in !" cried Lydia. " I 
am glad I brought my bonnet, if it is only for the fun of 
having another band-box ! Well, now let us be quite 
comfortable and snug, and talk and laugh all the way 
home. And in the first place, let us hear what has hap- 
pened to you all since you went away. Have you seen 
any pleasant men ? Have you had any flirting ? I was in 
great hopes that one of you would have got a husband 
before you came back. Jane will be quite an old maid 
soon, I declare. She is almost three-and-twenty ! Lord ! 
how ashamed I should be of not being married before 
three-and-twenty ! My aunt Philips wants you so to get 
husbands you can't think. She says "Lizzy had better 
have taken Mr. Collins ; but / do not think there would 
have been any fun in it. Lord ! how I should like to be 
married before any of you ! and then I would cJiapcron 
you about to all the balls. Dear me ! we had such a 
good piece of fun the other day at Colonel Forster's ! 
Kitty and me were to spend the day there, and Mrs. 
Forster promised to have a little dance in the evening ; 
(by-the-bye, Mrs. Forster and me are siicli friends !) and 
so she asked the two Harringtons to come : but Harriet 
was ill, and so Pen was forced to come by herself; and 
then, what do you think we did ? We dressed up Cham- 
berlayne in woman's clothes, on purpose to pass for a 
lady, only think what fun ! Not a soul knew of it, but 
Colonel and Mrs. Forster, and Kitty and me, except my 
aunt, for \ve \vere forced to borrow one of her gowns ; 
and you cannot imagine how well he looked ! When 
Denny, and W 7 ickham, and Pratt, and two or three more 
of the men came in, they did not know him in the least. 
Lord ! how I laughed ! and so did Mrs. Forster. I 
thought I should have died. And tJiat made the men 



2/6 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

suspect something, and then they soon found out what 
was the matter." 

With such kind of histories of their parties and good 
jokes did Lydia, assisted by Kitty's hints and additions, 
endeavour to amuse her companions all the way to 
Longbourn. Elizabeth listened as little as she could, but 
there was no escaping the frequent mention of Wickham's 
name. 

Their reception at home was most kind. Mrs. Bennet 
rejoiced to see Jane in undiminished beauty ; and more 
than once during dinner did Mr. Bennet say voluntarily 
to Elizabeth,- 

" I am glad you are come back, Lizzy." 

Their party in the dining-room was large, for almost 
all the Lucases came to meet Maria and hear the news ; 
and various were the subjects which occupied them : 
Lady Lucas was inquiring of Maria, across the table, 
after the welfare and poultry of her eldest daughter ; 
Mrs. Bennet was doubly engaged, on one hand collecting 
an account of the present fashions from Jane, who sat 
some \vay below her, and on the other, retailing them all 
to the younger Miss Lucases ; and Lydia, in a voice 
rather louder than any other person's, was enumerating 
the various pleasures of the morning to anybody who 
would hear her. 

" Oh, Mary," said she, " I wish you had gone with us, 
for we had such fun ! as we went along Kitty and me 
drew up all the blinds, and pretended there was nobody 
in the coach ; and I should have gone so all the \vay, if 
Kitty had not been sick ; and when we got to the George, 
I do think we behaved very handsomely, for we treated 
the other three with the nicest cold luncheon in the world, 
and if you would have gone, we would have treated you 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



277 



too. And then when we came away it was such fun ! I 
thought we never should have got into the coach. I was 
ready to die of laughter. And then we were so merry all 
the way home ! we talked and laughed so loud, that any- 
body might have heard us ten miles off!" 

To this, Mary very gravely replied, " Far be it from me, 
my dear sister, to depreciate such pleasures. They would 
doubtless be congenial with the generality of female 
minds. But I confess they would have no charms for 
me. I should infinitely prefer a book." 

But of this answer Lydia heard not a word. She 
seldom listened to anybody for more than half a minute, 
and never attended to Mary at all. 

In the afternoon Lydia was urgent with the rest of the 
girls to walk to Meryton, and see how everybody went 
on ; but Elizabeth steadily opposed the scheme. It should 
not be said, that the Miss Bennets could not be at home 
half a day before they were in pursuit of the officers. 
There was another reason, too, for her opposition. She 
dreaded seeing Wickham again, and was resolved to 
avoid it as long as possible. The comfort to her, of the 
regiment's approaching removal, was indeed beyond 
expression. In a fortnight they were to go, and once 
gone, she hoped there could be nothing more to plague 
her on his account. 

She had not been many hours at home, before she 
found that the Brighton scheme, of which Lydia had 
given them a hint at the inn, was under frequent dis- 
cussion between her parents. Elizabeth saw directly 
that her father had not the smallest intention of yielding ; 
but his answers were at the same time so vague and 
equivocal, that her mother, though often disheartened, 
had never yet despaired of succeeding at last. 





CHAPTER XL. 

LIZABETH'S impatience to acquaint Jane 
with what had happened could no longer 
be overcome ; and at length resolving to 
suppress every particular in which her 
sister was concerned, and preparing her 
to be surprised, she related to her the 
next morning the chief of the scene 
between Mr. Darcy and herself. 

Miss Bennet's astonishment was soon lessened by the 
strong sisterly partiality which made any admiration of 
Elizabeth appear perfectly natural ; and all surprise was 
shortly lost in other feelings. She was sorry that Mr. 
Darcy should have delivered his sentiments in a manner 
so little suited to recommend them ; but still more was 
she grieved for the unhappiness which her sister's refusal 
must have given him. 

" His being so sure of succeeding was wrong," said she, 
" and certainly ought not to have appeared ; but consider 
how much it must increase his disappointment.'' 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 279 

" Indeed," replied Elizabeth, " I am heartily sorry for 
him ; but he has other feelings which will probably soon 
drive away his regard for me. You do not blame me, 
however, for refusing him?" 

" Blame you ! Oh, no." 

a But you blame me for having spoken so warmly of 
Wickham ?" 

" No I do not know that you were wrong in saying 
what you did." 

" But you will know it, when I have told you what 
happened the very next day.'"' 

She then spoke of the letter, repeating the whole of 
its contents as far as they concerned George Wickham. 
What a stroke was this for poor Jane, who would 
willingly have gone through the world without believing 
that so much wickedness existed in the whole race of 
mankind as was here collected in one individual ! Nor 
was Darcy's vindication, though grateful to her feelings, 
capable of consoling her for such discovery. Most 
earnestly did she labour to prove the probability of error, 
and seek to clear one, without involving the other. 

" This will not do," said Elizabeth ; " you never will be 
able to make both of them good for anything. Take 
your choice, but you must be satisfied with only one. 
There is but such a quantity of merit between them ; 
just enough to make one good sort of man ; and of late 
it has been shifting about pretty much. For my part, I 
am inclined to believe it all Mr. Darcy's, but you shall 
do as you choose." 

It was some time, however, before a smile could be 
extorted from Jane. 

" I do not know when I have been more shocked,' 5 said 
she. " Wickham so very bad ! It is almost past belief. 



280 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

And poor Mr. Darcy ! dear Lizzy, only consider what he 
must have suffered. Such a disappointment ! and with 
the knowledge of your ill opinion too ! and having to 
relate such a thing of his sister ! It is really too dis- 
tressing, I am sure you must feel it so." 

" Oh no, my regret and compassion are all done away 
by seeing you so full of both. I know you will do him 
such ample justice, that I am growing every moment 
more unconcerned and indifferent. Your profusion makes 
me saving ; and if you lament over him much longer, my 
heart will be as light as a feather." 

" Poor Wickham ! there is such an expression of good- 
ness in his countenance ! such an openness and gentleness 
in his manner." 

" There certainly was some great mismanagement in 
the education of those two young men. One has 
got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance 
of it." 

" I never thought Mr. Darcy so deficient in the appear- 
ance of it as you used to do." 

" And yet I meant to be uncommonly clever in taking 
so decided a dislike to him, without any reason. It is 
such a spur to one's genius, such an opening for wit, to 
have a dislike of that kind. One may be continually 
abusive without saying anything just ; but one cannot be 
always laughing at a man without now and then stum- 
bling on something witty." 

" Lizzy, when you first read that letter, I am sure you 
could not treat the matter as you do now." 

" Indeed, I could not. I was uncomfortable enough, I 
was very uncomfortable I may say unhappy. And 
with no one to speak to of what I felt, no Jane to com- 
fort me, and say that I had not been so very weak, and 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 281 

vain, and nonsensical, as I knew I had ! Oh, how I 
wanted you ! " 

" How unfortunate that you should have used such 
very strong expressions in speaking of Wickham to Mr. 
Darcy, for now they do appear wholly undeserved." 

" Certainly. But the misfortune of speaking with bit- 
terness is a most natural consequence of the prejudices 
I had been encouraging. There is one point on which I 
want your advice. I want to be told whether I ought, 
or ought not, to make our acquaintance in general under- 
stand Wickham's character." 

Miss Bennet paused a little, and then replied, " Surely 
there can be no occasion for exposing him so dreadfully. 
What is your own opinion ? " 

" That it ought not to be attempted. Mr. Darcy has 
not authorized me to make his communication public. 
On the contrary, every particular relative to his sister 
was meant to be kept as much as possible to myself; 
and if I endeavour to undeceive people as to the rest of 
his conduct, who will believe me ? The general prejudice 
against Mr. Darcy is so violent, that it would be the 
death of half the good people^in Meryton, to attempt to 
place him in an amiable light. I am not equal to it. 
Wickham will soon be gone ; and, therefore, it will not 
signify to anybody here what he really is. Some time 
hence it will be all found out, and then we may laugh at 
their stupidity in not knowing it before. At present 
I will say nothing about it." 

" You are quite right. To have his errors made public 
might ruin him for ever. He is now, perhaps, sorry for 
what he has done, and anxious to re-establish a character. 
We must not make him desperate." 

The tumult of Elizabeth's mind was allayed by this 



282 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

conversation. She had got rid of two of the secrets 
which had weighed on her for a fortnight, and was cer- 
tain of a willing listener in Jane, whenever she might 
wish to talk again of either. But there was still some- 
thing lurking behind, of which prudence forbade the dis- 
closure. She dared not relate the other half of Mr. 
Darcy's letter, nor explain to her sister how sincerely 
she had been valued by his friend. Here \vas knowledge 
in which no one could partake ; and she was sensible 
that nothing less than a perfect understanding between 
the parties could justify her in throwing off this last 
encumbrance of mystery. " And then," said she, " if that 
very improbable event should ever take place, I shall 
merely be able to tell what Bingley may tell in a much 
more agreeable manner himself. The liberty of commu- 
nication cannot be mine till it has lost all its value ! " 

She was now, on being settled at home, at leisure to 
observe the real state of her sister's spirits. Jane was 
not happy. She still cherished a very tender affection 
for Bingley. Having never even fancied herself in love 
before, her regard had all the warmth of first attachment, 
and from her age and disposition, greater steadiness than 
first attachments often boast ; and so fervently did she 
value his remembrance, and prefer him to every other 
man, that all her good sense, and all her attention to the 
feelings of her friends, were requisite to check the indul- 
gence of those regrets which must have been injurious to 
her own health and their tranquillity. 

" Well, Lizzy," said Mrs. Bennet, one day, " what is 
your opinion now of this sad business of Jane's ? For 
my part, I am determined never to speak of it again to 
anybody. I told my sister Philips so the other day. 
But I cannot find out that Jane saw anything of him in 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



283 



London. Well, he is a very undeserving young man 
and I do not suppose there is the least chance in the 




^ 

Jam dete 



world of her ever getting him now. There is no talk of 
his coming to Netherfield again in the summer ; and I 
have inquired of everybody, too, who is likely to know. 



" 



284 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" I do not believe that he will ever live at Netherfield 
any more." 

" Oh, well ! it is just as he chooses. Nobody wants 
him to come ; though I shall always say that he used 
my daughter extremely ill ; and, if I was her, I would 
not have put up with it. Well, my comfort is, I am sure 
Jane will die of a broken heart, and then he will be sorry 
for what he has done." 

But as Elizabeth could not receive comfort from any 
such expectation she made no answer. 

"Well, Lizzy," continued her mother, soon afterwards, 
" and so the Collinses live very comfortable, do they ? 
Well, well, I only hope it will last. And what sort of 
table do they keep ? Charlotte is an excellent manager, 
I dare say. If she is half as sharp as her mother, she is 
saving enough. There is nothing extravagant in their 
housekeeping, I dare say." 

" No, nothing at all." 

" A great deal of good management, depend upon it. 
Yes, yes. They will take care not to outrun their in- 
come. They will never be distressed for money. Well, 
much good may it do them ! And so, I suppose, they 
often talk of having Longbourn when your father is dead. 
They look upon it quite as their own, I dare say, when- 
ever that happens." 

" It was a subject which they could not mention before 



me." 



" No ; it would have been strange if they had. But I 
make no doubt they often talk of it between themselves. 
Well, if they can be easy with an estate that is not law- 
fully their own, so much the better. 7 should be ashamed 
of having one that was only entailed on me." 




G>(o-neCJtfil7er!s repamprit 

{Copyright 1894 by George Allen.} 



CHAPTER XLI. 

HE first week of their return was soon 
gone. The second began. It was the 
last of the regiment's stay in Meryton, 
^. ^p and all the young ladies in the neigh- 
bourhood were drooping apace. The 
dejection was almost universal. The 
elder Miss Bennets alone were still 
able to eat, drink, and sleep, and pursue the usual 
course of their employments. Very frequently were 
they reproached for this insensibility by Kitty and Lydia, 




286 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

whose own misery was extreme, and who could not 
comprehend such hard-heartedness in any of the family. 

" Good Heaven ! What is to become of us ? What 
are we to do ? ' would they often exclaim in the bitter- 
ness of woe. " How can you be smiling so, Lizzy?" 

Their affectionate mother shared all their grief; she 
remembered what she had herself endured on a similar 
occasion five-and-twenty years ago. 

" I am sure," said she, " I cried for two days together 
when Colonel Miller's regiment went away. I thought I 
should have broke my heart." 

" I am sure I shall break mine" said Lydia. 

"If one could but go to Brighton!'' observed Mrs. 
Bennet. 

" Oh yes ! if one could but go to Brighton ! But papa 
is so disagreeable." 

" A little sea-bathing would set me up for ever." 

" And my aunt Philips is sure it would do me a great 
deal of good," added Kitty. 

Such were the kind of lamentations resounding per- 
petually through Longbourn House. Elizabeth tried to 
be diverted by them ; but all sense of pleasure was lost 
in shame. She felt anew the justice of Mr. Darcy's 
objections ; and never had she before been so much dis- 
posed to pardon his interference in the views of his friend. 

But the gloom of Lydia's prospect was shortly cleared 
away ; for she received an invitation from Mrs. Forster, 
the wife of the colonel of the regiment, to accompany 
her to Brighton. This invaluable friend was a very 
young woman, and very lately married. A resemblance 
in good-humour and good spirits had recommended her 
and Lydia to each other, and out of their three months' 
acquaintance they had been intimate two. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 287 

The rapture of Lydia on this occasion, her adoration 
of Mrs. Forster, the delight of Mrs. Bennet, and the mor- 
tification of Kitty, are scarce!}' to be described. Wholly 
inattentive to her sister's feelings, Lydia flew about the 
house in restless ecstasy, calling for everyone's congratu- 
lations, and laughing and talking with more violence than 
ever ; whilst the luckless Kitty continued in the parlour 
repining at her fate in terms as unreasonable as her 
accent was peevish. 

" I cannot see why Mrs. Forster should not ask vie as 
well as Lydia," said she, " though I am not her particular 
friend. I have just as much right to be asked as she 
has, and more too, for I am two years older." 

In vain did Elizabeth attempt* to make her reasonable, 
and Jane to make her resigned. As for Elizabeth her- 
self, this invitation was so far from exciting in her the 
same feelings as in her mother and Lydia, that she con- 
sidered it as the death-warrant of all possibility of 
common sense for the latter ; and detestable as such 
a step must make her, were it known, she could not help 
secretly advising her father not to let her go. She repre- 
sented to him all the improprieties of Lydia's general 
behaviour, the little advantage she could derive from 
the friendship of such a woman as Mrs. Forster, and the 
probability of her being yet more imprudent with such 
a companion at Brighton, where the temptations must 
be greater than at home. He heard her attentively, and 
then said, 

" Lydia will never be easy till she has exposed herself 
in some public place or other, and we can never expect 
her to do it with so little expense or inconvenience to her 
family as under the present circumstances." 

"If you \vere aware," said Elizabeth, " of the very great 



288 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

disadvantage to us all, which must arise from the public 
notice of Lydia's unguarded and imprudent manner, nay, 
which has already arisen from it, I am sure you would 
judge differently in the affair." 

" Already arisen !" repeated Mr. Bennet. " What ! has 
she frightened away some of your lovers ? Poor little 
Lizzy ! But do not be cast down. Such squeamish youths 
as cannot bear to be connected with a little absurdity 
are not worth a regret. Come, let me see the list of the 
pitiful fellows who have been kept aloof by Lydia's folly." 

" Indeed, you are mistaken. I have no such injuries to 
resent. It is not of peculiar, but of general evils, which I 
am now complaining. Our importance, our respectability 
in the world, must be affected by the wild volatility, the 
assurance and disdain of all restraint which mark Lydia's 
character. Excuse me, for I must speak plainly. If 
you, my dear father, will not take the trouble of checking 
her exuberant spirits, and of teaching her that her present 
pursuits are not to be the business of her life, she will 
soon be beyond the reach of amendment. Her character 
will be fixed ; and she will, at sixteen, be the most 
determined flirt that ever made herself and her family 
ridiculous ; a flirt, too, in the worst and meanest degree 
of flirtation ; without any attraction beyond youth and a 
tolerable person ; and, from the ignorance and emptiness 
of her mind, wholly unable to ward off any portion of 
that universal contempt which her rage for admiration 
will excite. In this danger Kitty is also comprehended. 
She will follow wherever Lydia leads. Vain, ignorant, 
idle, and absolutely uncontrolled ! Oh, my dear father, 
can you suppose it possible that they will not be censured 
and despised wherever they are known, and that their 
sisters will not be often involved in the disgrace?" 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 289 

Mr. Bennet saw that her whole heart was in the subject ; 
and, affectionately taking her hand, said, in reply ,- 

" Do not make yourself uneasy, my love. Wherever 
you and Jane are known, you must be respected and 
valued ; and you will not appear to less advantage for 
having a couple of or I may say, three very silly sisters. 
We shall have no peace at Longbourn if Lydia does not 
go to Brighton. Let her go, then. Colonel Forster is a 
sensible man, and will keep her out of any real mischief; 
and she is luckily too poor to be an object of prey to 
anybody. At Brighton she will be of less importance 
even as a common flirt than she has been here. The 
officers will find women better worth their notice. Let 
us hope, therefore, that her being there may teach her 
her own insignificance. At any rate, she cannot grow 
many degrees worse, without authorizing us to lock her 
up for the rest of her life." 

With this answer Elizabeth was forced to be content ; 
but her own opinion continued the same, and she left 
him disappointed and sorry. It was not in her nature, 
however, to increase her vexations by dwelling on them. 
She was confident of having performed her duty ; and to 
fret over unavoidable evils, or augment them by anxiety, 
was no part of her disposition. 

Had Lydia and her mother known the substance of 
her conference with her father, their indignation would 
hardly have found expression in their united volubility. 
In Lydia's imagination, a visit to Brighton comprised 
every possibility of earthly happiness. She saw, with the 
creative eye of fancy, the streets of that gay bathing- 
place covered with officers. She saw herself the object 
of attention to tens and to scores of them at present 
unknown. She saw all the glories of the camp : its 

U 



290 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



tents stretched forth in beauteous uniformity of lines, 
crowded with the young and the gay, and dazzling with 
scarlet ; and, to complete the view, she saw herself seated 
beneath a tent, tenderly flirting with at least six officers 
at once. 




V 



[Copyright 1894 by George Allen.'} 

Had she known that her sister sought to tear her from 
such prospects and such realities as these, what would 
have been her sensations ? They could have been 
understood only by her mother, who might have felt 
nearly the same. Lydia's going to Brighton was all 
that consoled her for the melancholy conviction of her 
husband's never intending to go there himself. 

But they were entirely ignorant of what had passed ; 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 29 1 

and their raptures continued, with little intermission, to 
the very day of Lydia's leaving home. 

Elizabeth was now to see Mr. Wickham for the last 
time. Having been frequently in company with him 
since her return, agitation was pretty well over ; the 
agitations of former partiality entirely so. She had even 
learnt to detect, in the very gentleness which had first 
delighted her, an affectation and a sameness to disgust 
and weary. In his present behaviour to herself, more- 
over, she had a fresh source of displeasure ; for the 
inclination he soon testified of renewing those attentions 
which had marked the early part of their acquaintance 
could only serve, after what had since passed, to provoke 
her. She lost all concern for him in finding herself thus 
selected as the object of such idle and frivolous gallantry ; 
and while she steadily repressed it, could not but feel the 
reproof contained in his believing, that however long, 
and for whatever cause, his attentions had been with- 
drawn, her vanity would be gratified, and her preference 
secured, at any time, by their renewal. 

On the very last day of the regiment's remaining in 
Meryton, he dined, with others of the officers, at Long- 
bourn ; and so little was Elizabeth disposed to part from 
him in good-humour, that, on his making some inquiry 
as to the manner in which her time had passed at 
Hunsford, she mentioned Colonel Fitzwilliam's and Mr. 
Darcy's having both spent three weeks at Rosings, and 
asked him if he were acquainted with the former. 

He looked surprised, displeased, alarmed ; but, with a 
moment's recollection, and a returning smile, replied, 
that he had formerly seen him often ; and, after 
observing that he was a very gentlemanlike man, asked 
her how she had liked him. Her answer was warmly in 



2Q2 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

his favour. With an air of indifference, he soon afterwards 
added, " How long did you say that he was at Rosings ? " 

" Nearly three weeks." 

" And you saw him frequently ? " 

" Yes, almost every day." 

" His manners are very different from his cousin's." 

" Yes, very different ; but I think Mr. Darcy improves 
on acquaintance." 

" Indeed ! " cried Wickham, with a look which did not 
escape her. "And pray may I ask- but checking 
himself, he added, in a gayer tone, " Is it in address that 
he improves ? Has he deigned to add aught of civility 
to his ordinary style ? for I dare not hope," he continued, 
in a lower and more serious tone, " that he is improved 
in essentials." 

" Oh, no ! ' : said Elizabeth. " In essentials, I believe, 
he is very much what he ever was." 

While she spoke, Wickham looked as if scarcely 
knowing whether to rejoice over her words or to distrust 
their meaning. There was a something in her counte- 
nance which made him listen with an apprehensive and 
anxious attention, while she added,- 

" W T hen I said that he improved on acquaintance, I did 
not mean that either his mind or manners were in a state 
of improvement ; but that, from knowing him better, his 
disposition was better understood." 

Wickham's alarm now appeared in a heightened com- 
plexion and agitated look ; for a few minutes he was 
silent ; till, shaking off his embarrassment, he turned to 
her again, and said in the gentlest of accents, 

" You, who so well know my feelings towards Mr. 
Darcy, will readily comprehend how sincerely I must 
rejoice that he is wise enough to assume even the 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 293 

appearance of what is right. His pride, in that direction, 
may be of service, if not to himself, to many others, for 
it must deter him from such foul misconduct as I have 
suffered by. I only fear that the sort of cautiousness to 
which you, I imagine, have been alluding, is merely 
adopted on his visits to his aunt, of whose good opinion 
and judgment he stands much in awe. His fear of her 
has always operated, I know, when they were together ; 
and a good deal is to be imputed to his wish of 
forwarding the match with Miss de Bourgh, which I am 
certain he has very much at heart." 

Elizabeth could not repress a smile at this, but she 
answered only by a slight inclination of the head. She 
saw that he wanted to engage her on the old subject of his 
grievances, and she was in no humour to indulge him. 
The rest of the evening passed with the appearance^ on 
his side, of usual cheerfulness, but with no further attempt 
to distinguish Elizabeth ; and they parted at last with 
mutual civility, and possibly a mutual desire of never 
meeting again. 

When the party broke up, Lydia returned with Mrs. 
Forster to Meryton, from whence they were to set out 
early the next morning. The separation between her 
and her family was rather noisy than pathetic. Kitty 
was the only one who shed tears ; but she did weep from 
vexation and envy. Mrs. Bennet was diffuse in her good 
wishes for the felicity of her daughter, and impressive in 
her injunctions that she would not miss the opportunity 
of enjoying herself as much as possible, advice which 
there was every reason to believe would be attended to ; 
and, in the clamorous happiness of Lydia herself in 
bidding farewell, the more gentle adieus of her sisters 
were uttered without being heard. 



arrival of Jnc 
yardtnerj 




CHAPTER XLII. 

AD Elizabeth's opinion been all drawn 
from her own family, she could not 
have formed a very pleasing picture 
of conjugal felicity or domestic 
comfort. Her father, captivated by 
youth and beauty, and that appear- 
ance of good-humour which youth 
and beauty generally give, had married a woman whose 
weak understanding and illiberal mind had very early in 
their marriage put an end to all real affection for her. 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 2Q5 

Respect, esteem, and confidence had vanished for ever ; 
and all his views of domestic happiness were overthrown. 
But Mr. Bennet was not of a disposition to seek comfort 
for the disappointment which his own imprudence had 
brought on in any of those pleasures which too often 
console the unfortunate for their folly or their vice. He 
was fond of the country and of books ; and from these 
tastes had arisen his principal enjoyments. To his 
wife he was very little otherwise indebted than as her 
ignorance and folly had contributed to his amusement. 
This is not the sort of happiness which a man w r ould in 
general wish to owe to his wife ; but where other powers 
of entertainment are wanting, the true philosopher will 
derive benefit from such as are given. 

Elizabeth, however, had never been blind to the 
impropriety of her father's behaviour as a husband. She 
had always seen it with pain ; but respecting his abilities, 
and grateful for his affectionate treatment of herself, she 
endeavoured to forget what she could not overlook, and 
to banish from her thoughts that continual breach of 
conjugal obligation and decorum which, in exposing his 
wife to the contempt of her own children, was so highly 
reprehensible. But she had never felt so strongly as now 
the disadvantages which must attend the children of so 

O 

unsuitable a marriage, nor ever been so fully aware of 
the evils arising from so ill-judged a direction of talents 
-talents which, rightly used, might at least have pre- 
served the respectability of his daughters, even if in- 
capable of enlarging the mind of his wife. 

When Elizabeth had rejoiced over Wickham's de- 
parture, she found little other cause for satisfaction in 
the loss of the regiment. Their parties abroad were less 
varied than before ; and at home she had a mother and 



296 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

sister, whose constant repinings at the dulness of every- 
thing around them threw a real gloom over their domestic 
circle ; and, though Kitty might in time regain her 
natural degree of sense, since the disturbers of her brain 
were removed, her other sister, from whose disposition 
greater evil might be apprehended, was likely to be 
hardened in all her folly and assurance, by a situation of 
such double danger as a watering-place and a camp. 
Upon the whole, therefore, she found, what has been 
sometimes found before, that an event to which she had 
looked forward with impatient desire, did not, in taking 
place, bring all the satisfaction she had promised herself. 
It was consequently necessary to name some other period 
for the commencement of actual felicity ; to have some 
other point on which her wishes and hopes might be 
fixed, and by again enjoying the pleasure of anticipation, 
console herself for the present, and prepare for another 
disappointment. Her tour to the Lakes was now the 
object of her happiest thoughts : it was her best 
consolation for all the uncomfortable hours which the 
discontentedness of her mother and Kitty made in- 
evitable ; and could she have included Jane in the scheme, 
every part of it would have been perfect. 

" But it is fortunate," thought she, " that I have some- 
thing to wish for. Were the whole arrangement complete, 
my disappointment would be certain. But here, by 
carrying with me one ceaseless source of regret in my 
sister's absence, I may reasonably hope to have all my 
expectations of pleasure realized. A scheme of which 
every part promises delight can never be successful ; and 
general disappointment is only warded off by the defence 
of some little peculiar vexation." 

When Lydia went away she promised to write very 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 297 

often and very minutely to her mother and Kitty ; but 
her letters were always long expected, and always very 
short. Those to her mother contained little else than 
that they were just returned from the library, where such 
and such officers had attended them, and where she had 
seen such beautiful ornaments as made her quite wild ; 
that she had a new gown, or a new parasol, which she 
would have described more fully, but was obliged to 
leave off in a violent hurry, as Mrs. Forster called her, 
and they were going to the camp ; and from her corre- 
spondence with her sister there was still less to be learnt, 
for her letters to Kitty, though rather longer, were much 
too full of lines under the words to be made public. 

After the first fortnight or three weeks of her absence, 
health, good-humour, and cheerfulness began to reappear 
at Longbourn. Everything wore a happier aspect. 
The families who had been in town for the winter came 
back again, and summer finery and summer engagements 
arose. Mrs. Bennet was restored to her usual querulous 
serenity ; and by the middle of June Kitty was so much 
recovered as to be able to enter Meryton without tears, 
an event of such happy promise as to make Elizabeth 
hope, that by the following Christmas she might be so 
tolerably reasonable as not to mention an officer above 
once a day, unless, by some cruel and malicious arrange- 
ment at the War Office, another regiment should be 
quartered in Meryton. 

The time fixed for the beginning of their northern 
tour was now fast approaching ; and a fortnight only 
was wanting of it, when a letter arrived from Mrs. 
Gardiner, which at once delayed its commencement and 
curtailed its extent. Mr. Gardiner would be prevented 
by business from setting out till a fortnight later in July, 



298 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

and must be in London again within a month ; and as 
that left too short a period for them to go so far, and see 
so much as they had proposed, or at least to see it with 
the leisure and comfort they had built on, they were 
obliged to give up the Lakes, and substitute a more 
contracted tour ; and, according to the present plan, 
were to go no farther northward than Derbyshire. In 
that county there was enough to be seen to occupy the 
chief of their three weeks ; and to Mrs. Gardiner it had a 
peculiarly strong attraction. The to\vn where she had 
formerly passed some years of her life, and where they 
were now to spend a few days, was probably as great an 
object of her curiosity as all the celebrated beauties of 
Matlock, Chatsworth, Dovedale, or the Peak. 

Elizabeth was excessively disappointed : she had set 
her heart on seeing the Lakes ; and still thought there 
might have been time enough. But it was her business 
to be satisfied and certainly her temper to be happy ; 
and all was soon right again. 

With the mention of Derbyshire, there were many 
ideas connected. It was impossible for her to see the 
word without thinking of Pemberley and its owner. 
" But surely," said she, " I may enter his county with 
impunity, and rob it of a few petrified spars, without his 
perceiving me." 

The period of expectation was now doubled. Four 
weeks were to pass away before her uncle and aunt's 
arrival. But they did pass away, and Mr. and Mrs. 
Gardiner, with their four children, did at length appear 
at Longbourn. The children, two girls of six and eight 
years old, and two younger boys, were to be left under 
the particular care of their cousin Jane, who was the 
general favourite, and whose steady sense and sweetness 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 299 

of temper exactly adapted her for attending to them 
in every way teaching them, playing with them, and 
loving them. 

The Gardiners stayed only one night at Longbourn, 
and set off the next morning with Elizabeth in pursuit of 
novelty and amusement. One enjoyment was certain- 
that of suitableness as companions ; a suitableness which 
comprehended health and temper to bear inconveniences 
-cheerfulness to enhance every pleasure and affection 
and intelligence, which might supply it among them- 
selves if there were disappointments abroad. 

It is not the object of this work to give a description 
of Derbyshire, nor of any of the remarkable places 
through which their route thither lay Oxford, Blenheim, 
Warwick, Kenilworth, Birmingham, etc., are sufficiently 
known. A small part of Derbyshire is all the present 
concern. To the little town of Lambton, the scene of 
Mrs. Gardiner's former residence, and where she had 
lately learned that some acquaintance still remained, 
they bent their steps, after having seen all the principal 
wonders of the country; and within five miles of Lamb- 
ton, Elizabeth found, from her aunt, that Pemberley was 
situated. It was not in their direct road ; nor more than 
a mile or two out of it. In talking over their route the 
evening before, Mrs. Gardiner expressed an inclination to 
see the place again. Mr. Gardiner declared his willing- 
ness, and Elizabeth was applied to for her approbation. 

" My love, should not you like to see a place of which 
you have heard so much ? " said her aunt. " A place, 
too, with which so many of your acquaintance are 
connected. Wickham passed all his youth there, you 
know." 

Elizabeth was distressed. She felt that she had no 



3<DO PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

business at Pemberley, and was obliged to assume a 
disinclination for seeing it. She must own that she was 
tired of great houses : after going over so many, she 
really had no pleasure in fine carpets or satin curtains. 

Mrs. Gardiner abused her stupidity. " If it were merely 
a fine house richly furnished," said she, " I should not 
care about it myself; but the grounds are delightful. 
They have some of the finest woods in the country." 

Elizabeth said no more ; but her mind could not 
acquiesce. The possibility of meeting Mr. Darcy, while 
viewing the place, instantly occurred. It would be 
dreadful ! She blushed at the very idea ; and thought 
it would be better to speak openly to her aunt, than to 
run such a risk. But against this there were objections ; 
and she finally resolved that it could be the last resource, 
if her private inquiries as to the absence of the family 
were unfavourably answered. 

Accordingly, when she retired at night, she asked the 
chambermaid whether Pemberley were not a very fine 
place, what was the name of its proprietor, and, with no 
little alarm, whether the family were down for the 
summer? A most welcome negative followed the last 
question ; and her alarms being now removed, she was at 
leisure to feel a great deal of curiosity to see the house 
herself; and when the subject was revived the next 
morning, and she was again applied to, could readily 
answer, and with a proper air of indifference, that she had 
not really any dislike to the scheme. 

To Pemberley, therefore, they were to go. 





CHAPTER XLIII. 

LIZ A BETH, as they drove along, 
watched for the first appearance of 
Pemberley Woods with some perturba- 
tion ; and when at length they turned 
in at the lodge, her spirits were in a 
high flutter. 

The park was very large, and con- 
tained great variety of ground. They entered it in one 
of its lowest points, and drove for some time through a 
beautiful wood stretching over a wide extent. 

Elizabeth's mind was too full for conversation, but she 
saw and admired every remarkable spot and point of 
view. They gradually ascended for half a mile, and 
then found themselves at the top of a considerable 
eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was 
instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the 
opposite side of the valley, into which the road with 



302 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome 
stone building, standing well on rising ground, and 
backed by a ridge of high woody hills ; and in front 
a stream of some natural importance was swelled into 
greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks 
were neither formal nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was 
delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature 
had done more, or where natural beauty had been so 
little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were 
all of them warm in their admiration ; and at that 
moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might 
be something ! 

They descended the hill, crossed the bridge, and drove 
to the door ; and, while examining the nearer aspect of 
the house, all her apprehension of meeting its owner 
returned. She dreaded lest the chambermaid had been 
mistaken. On applying to see the place, they were ad- 
mitted into the hall ; and Elizabeth, as they waited for 
the housekeeper, had leisure to wonder at her being where 
she was. 

The housekeeper came ; a respectable looking elderly 
woman, much less fine, and more civil, than she had any 
notion of finding her. They followed her into the dining- 
parlour. It was a large, well-proportioned room, hand- 
somely fitted up. Elizabeth, after slightly surveying it, 
went to a window to enjoy its prospect. The hill, crowned 
with wood, from which they had descended, receiving 
increased abruptness from the distance, was a beautiful 
object. Every disposition of the ground was good ; and 
she looked on the whole scene, the river, the trees scattered 
on its banks, and the winding of the valley, as far as she 
could trace it, with delight. As they passed into other 
rooms, these objects were taking different positions ; but 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 303 

from every window there were beauties to be seen. The 
rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furniture 
suitable to the fortune of their proprietor ; but Elizabeth 
saw, with admiration of his taste, that it was neither gaudy 
nor uselessly fine, with less of splendour, and more real 
elegance, than the furniture of Rosings. 

" And of this place," thought she, " I might have been 
mistress ! With these rooms I might have now been 
familiarly acquainted ! Instead of viewing them as a 
stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own, and 
welcomed to them as visitors my uncle and aunt. But, 
no," recollecting herself, " that could never be ; my uncle 
and aunt would have been lost to me ; I should not have 
been allowed to invite them." 

This was a lucky recollection it saved her from some- 
thing like regret. 

She longed to inquire of the housekeeper whether her 
master were really absent, but had not courage for it. 
At length, however, the question was asked by her uncle ; 
and she turned away with alarm, while Mrs. Reynolds 
replied, that he was ; adding, " But we expect him to- 
morrow, with a large party of friends." How rejoiced 
was Elizabeth that their own journey had not by any 
circumstance been delayed a day ! 

Her aunt now called her to look at a picture. She 
approached, and saw the likeness of Mr. Wickham, sus- 
pended, amongst several other miniatures, over the 
mantel-piece. Her aunt asked her, smilingly, how she 
liked it. The housekeeper came forward, and told them 
it was the picture of a young gentleman, the son of her 
late master's steward, who had been brought up by him 
at his own expense. " He is now gone into the army," 
she added ; "but I am afraid he has turned out very wild.'' 



304 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Mrs. Gardiner looked at her niece with a smile, but 
Elizabeth could not return it. 

" And that," said Mrs. Reynolds, pointing to another of 
the miniatures, " is my master and very like him. It 
was drawn at the same time as the other about eight 
years ago." 

" I have heard much of your master's fine person," said 
Mrs. Gardiner, looking at the picture ; " it is a handsome 
face. But, Lizzy, you can tell us whether it is like or not." 

Mrs. Reynolds' respect for Elizabeth seemed to increase 
on this intimation of her knowing her master. 

"Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy?" 

Elizabeth coloured, and said, " A little." 

" And do not you think him a very handsome gentle- 
man, ma'am ? " 

" Yes, very handsome." 

" I am sure / know none so handsome ; but in the 
gallery upstairs you will see a finer, larger picture of him 
than this. This room was my late master's favourite 
room, and these miniatures are just as they used to be 
then. He was very fond of them." 

This accounted to Elizabeth for Mr. Wickham's 'being 
among them. 

Mrs. Reynolds then directed their attention to one of 
Miss Darcy, drawn when she was only eight years old. 

" And is Miss Darcy as handsome as her brother ? " 
said Mr. Gardiner. 

" Oh, yes the handsomest young lady that ever was 
seen ; and so accomplished ! She plays and sings all day 
long. In the next room is a new instrument just come 
down for her a present from my master : she comes 
here to-morrow with him." 

Mr. Gardiner, whose manners were easy and pleasant, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 305 

encouraged her communicativeness by his questions and 
remarks : Mrs. Reynolds, either from pride or attachment, 
had evidently great pleasure in talking of her master and 
his sister. 

" Is your master much at Pemberley in the course of 
the year ? " 

" Not so much as I could wish, sir : but I dare say he 
may spend half his time here ; and Miss Darcy is always 
down for the summer months." 

" Except," thought Elizabeth, " when she goes to 
Ramsgate." 

" If your master would marry, you might see more of 
him." 

" Yes, sir ; but I do not know when that will be. I do 
not know who is good enough for him." 

Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner smiled. Elizabeth could not 
help saying, " It is very much to his credit, I am sure, 
that you should think so." 

" I say no more than the truth, and what everybody 
will say that knows him," replied the other. Elizabeth 
thought this was going pretty far ; and she listened with 
increasing astonishment as the housekeeper added, " I 
have never had a cross word from him in my life, and I 
have known him ever since he was four years old." 

This was praise of all others most extraordinary, most 
opposite to her ideas. That he was not a good-tempered 
man had been her firmest opinion. Her keenest attention 
was awakened : she longed to hear more ; and was grate- 
ful to her uncle for saying, 

" There are very few people of whom so much can be 
said. You are lucky in having such a master." 

"Yes, sir, I know I am. If I were to go through the 
world, I could not meet with a better. But I have always 

x 



306 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

observed, that they who are good-natured when children, 
are good-natured when they grow up ; and he was always 
the sweetest tempered, most generous-hearted boy in the 
world." 

Elizabeth almost stared at her. " Can this be Mr. 
Darcy ? " thought she. 

" His father was an excellent man," said Mrs. Gardiner. 

" Yes, ma'am, that he was indeed ; and his son will be 
just like him just as affable to the poor." 

Elizabeth listened, wondered, doubted, and was im- 
patient for more. Mrs. Reynolds could interest her on 
no other point. She related the subjects of the pictures, 
the dimensions of the rooms, and the price of the furniture 
in vain. Mr. Gardiner, highly amused by the kind of 
family prejudice, to which he attributed her excessive 
commendation of her master, soon led again to the 
subject ; and she dwelt with energy on his many merits, 
as they proceeded together up the great staircase, 

" He is the best landlord, and the best master," said 
she, " that ever lived. Not like the wild young men now- 
a-days, who think of nothing but themselves. There is 
not one of his tenants or servants but what will give him 
a good name. Some people call him proud ; but I am 
sure I never saw Anything of it. To my fancy, it is only 
because he does not rattle away like other young men." 

" In what an amiable light does this place him ! " 
thought Elizabeth. 

" This fine account of him," whispered her aunt as 
they walked, " is not quite consistent with his behaviour 
to our poor friend." 

" Perhaps we might be deceived." 

" That is not very likely ; our authority was too 
good." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 307 

On reaching the spacious lobby above, they were 
shown into a very pretty sitting-room, lately fitted up 
with greater elegance and lightness than the apartments 
below ; and were informed that it was but just done to 
give pleasure to Miss Darcy, who had taken a liking to 
the room, when last at Pemberley. 

" He is certainly a good brother," said Elizabeth, as 
she walked towards one of the windows. 

Mrs. Reynolds anticipated Miss Darcy's delight, when 
she should enter the room. " And this is always the way 
with him," she added. " Whatever can give his sister 
any pleasure, is sure to be done in a moment. There is 
nothing he would not do for her." 

The picture gallery, and two or three of the principal 
bed-rooms, were all that remained to be shown. In 
the former were many good paintings : but Elizabeth 
knew nothing of the art ; and from such as had been 

o 

already visible below, she had willingly turned to look 
at some drawings of Miss Darcy's, in crayons, whose 
subjects were usually more interesting, and also more 
intelligible. 

In the gallery there were many family portraits, but 
they could have little to fix the attention of a stranger. 
Elizabeth walked on in quest of the only face whose 
features would be known to her. At last it arrested her 
-and she beheld a striking resemblance of Mr. Darcy, 
with such a smile over the face, as she remembered to 
have sometimes seen, when he looked at her. She stood 
several minutes before the picture, in earnest contempla- 
tion, and returned to it again before they quitted the 
gallery. Mrs. Reynolds informed them, that it had been 
taken in his father's lifetime. 

There was certainly at this moment, in Elizabeth's 



308 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

mind, a more gentle sensation towards the original than 
she had ever felt in the height of their acquaintance. 
The commendation bestowed on him by Mrs. Reynolds 
was of no trifling nature. What praise is more valuable 
than the praise of an intelligent servant ? As a brother, 
a landlord, a master, she considered how many people's 
happiness were in his guardianship ! How much of 
pleasure or pain it was in his power to bestow ! How 
much of good or evil must be done by him ! Every idea 
that had been brought forward by the housekeeper was 
favourable to his character ; and as she stood before the 
canvas, on which he was represented, and fixed his eyes 
upon herself, she thought of his regard with a deeper 
sentiment of gratitude than it had ever raised before : 
she remembered its warmth, and softened its impropriety 
of expression. 

When all of the house that was open to general 
inspection had been seen, they returned down stairs ; 
and, taking leave of the housekeeper, were consigned 
over to the gardener, who met them at the hall door. 

As they walked across the lawn towards the river, 
Elizabeth turned back to look again ; her uncle and aunt 
stopped also ; and while the former was conjecturing as 
to the date of the building, the owner of it himself 
suddenly came forward from the road which led behind 
it to the stables. 

They were within twenty yards of each other ; and so 
abrupt was his appearance, that it was impossible to 
avoid his sight. Their eyes instantly met, and the 
cheeks of each were overspread with the deepest blush. 
He absolutely started, and for a moment seemed 
immovable from surprise ; but shortly recovering him- 
self, advanced towards the party, and spoke to Elizabeth, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 309 

if not in terms of perfect composure, at least of perfect 
civility. 

She had instinctively turned away ; but stopping on 
his approach, received his compliments with an embar- 
rassment impossible to be overcome. Had his first appear- 
ance, or his resemblance to the picture they had just 
been examining, been insufficient to assure the other two 
that they now saw Mr. Darcy, the gardener's expression 
of surprise, on beholding his master, must immediately 
have told it. They stood a little aloof while he was talk- 
ing to their niece, who, astonished and confused, scarcely 
dared lift her eyes to his face, and knew not what answer 
she returned to his civil inquiries after her family. 
Amazed at the alteration of his manner since they last 
parted, every sentence that he uttered was increasing her 
embarrassment ; and every idea of the impropriety of her 
being found there recurring to her mind, the few minutes 
in which they continued together were some of the most 
uncomfortable of her life. Nor did he seem much more 
at ease ; when he spoke, his accent had none of its usual 
sedateness ; and he repeated his inquiries as to the time 
of her having left Longbourn, and of her stay in Derby- 
shire, so often, and in so hurried a way, as plainly spoke 
the distraction of his thoughts. 

At length, every idea seemed to fail him ; and after 
standing a few moments without saying a word, he sud- 
denly recollected himself, and took leave. 

The others then joined her, and expressed their ad- 
miration of his figure ; but Elizabeth heard not a word, 
and, wholly engrossed by her own feelings, followed them 
in silence. She was overpowered by shame and vexa- 
tion. Her coming there w r as the most unfortunate, the 
most ill-judged thing in the world ! How strange must it 



310 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

appear to him ! In what a disgraceful light might it not 
strike so vain a man ! It might seem as if she had 
purposely thrown herself in his way again ! Oh ! why 
did she come ? or, why did he thus come a day before he 
was expected ? Had they been only ten minutes sooner, 
they should have been beyond the reach of his discrimi- 
nation ; for it was plain that he was that moment arrived, 
that moment alighted from his horse or his carriage. 
She blushed again and again over the perverseness of the 
meeting. And his behaviour, so strikingly altered, what 
could it mean ? That he should even speak to her was 
amazing! but to speak with such civility, to inquire after 
her family ! Never in her life had she seen his manners so 
little dignified, never had he spoken with such gentleness 
as on this unexpected meeting. What a contrast did it 
offer to his last address in Rosings Park, when he put 
his letter into her hand ! She knew not what to think, or 
how to account for it. 

They had now entered a beautiful walk by the side of 
the water, and every step was bringing forward a nobler 
fall of ground, or a finer reach of the woods to which they 
were approaching : but it was some time before Elizabeth 
\vas sensible of any of it ; and, though she answered 
mechanically to the repeated appeals of her uncle and 
aunt, and seemed to direct her eyes to such objects as 
they pointed out, she distinguished no part of the 
scene. Her thoughts were all fixed on that one spot 
of Pemberley House, whichever it might be, where 
Mr. Darcy then was. She longed to know what at that 
moment was passing in his mind ; in what manner he 
thought of her, and whether, in defiance of everything, 
she was still dear to him. Perhaps he had been civil 
only because he felt himself at ease ; yet there had been 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 311 

that in his voice, which was not like ease. Whether he 
had felt more of pain or of pleasure in seeing her, she 
could not tell, but he certainly had not seen her with 
composure. 

At length, however, the remarks of her companions 
on her absence of mind roused her, and she felt the 
necessity of appearing more like herself. 

They entered the woods, and, bidding adieu to the 
river for a while, ascended some of the higher grounds ; 
whence, in spots where the opening of the trees gave the 
eye power to wander, were many charming views of the 
valley, the opposite hills, with the long range of woods 
overspreading many, and occasionally part of the stream. 
Mr. Gardiner expressed a wish of going round the whole 
park, but feared it might be beyond a walk. With a 
triumphant smile, they were told, that it was ten miles 
round. It settled the matter ; and they pursued the 
accustomed circuit ; which brought them again, after 
some time, in a descent among hanging woods, to the 
edge of the water, and one of its narrowest parts. They 
crossed it by a simple bridge, in character with the 
general air of the scene : it was a spot less adorned than 
any they had yet visited ; and the valley, here contracted 
into a glen, allowed room only for the stream, and a 
narrow walk amidst the rough coppice-wood which 
bordered it. Elizabeth longed to explore its windings ; 
but when they had crossed the bridge, and perceived 
their distance from the house, Mrs. Gardiner, who was 
not a great walker, could go no farther, and thought only 
of returning to the carriage as quickly as possible. Her 
niece was, therefore, obliged to submit, and they took 
their way towards the house on the opposite side of the 
river, in the nearest direction ; but their progress was 



312 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

slow, for Mr. Gardiner, though seldom able to indulge 
the taste, was very fond of fishing, and was so much 
engaged in watching the occasional appearance of some 
trout in the water, and talking to the man about them, 
that he advanced but little. Whilst wandering on in 
this slow manner, they were again surprised, and 
Elizabeth's astonishment was quite equal to what it had 
been at first, by the sight of Mr. Darcy approaching 
them, and at no great distance. The walk being here 
less sheltered than on the other side, allowed them to see 
him before they met. Elizabeth, however astonished, 
was at least more prepared for an interview than before, 
and resolved to appear and to speak with calmness, if he 
really intended to meet them. For a few moments, 
indeed, she felt that he would probably strike into some 
other path. The idea lasted while a turning in the walk 
concealed him from their view ; the turning past, he was 
immediately before them. With a glance she saw that he 
had lost none of his recent civility ; and, to imitate his 
politeness, she began as they met to admire the beauty 
of the place ; but she had not got beyond the words 
"delightful," and "charming," when some unlucky 
recollections obtruded, and she fancied that praise of 
Pemberley from her might be mischievously construed. 
Her colour changed, and she said no more. 

Airs. Gardiner was standing a little behind ; and on 
her pausing, he asked her if she would do him the honour 
of introducing him to her friends. This was a stroke of 
civility for which she was quite unprepared ; and she 
could hardly suppress a smile at his being now seeking 
the acquaintance of some of those very people, against 
whom his pride had revolted, in his offer to herself. 
" What will be his surprise," thought she, " when he 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 313 

knows who they are ! He takes them now for people of 
fashion." 

The introduction, however, was immediately made ; 
and as she named their relationship to herself, she stole 
a sly look at him, to see how he bore it ; and was not 
without the expectation of his decamping as fast as he 
could from such disgraceful companions. That he was 
surprised by the connection was evident : he sustained it, 
however, with fortitude : and, so far from going away, 
turned back with them, and entered into conversation 
with Mr. Gardiner. Elizabeth could not but be pleased, 
could not but triumph. It was consoling that he should 
know she had some relations for whom there was no need 
to blush. She listened most attentively to all that passed 
between them, and gloried in every expression, every 
sentence of her uncle, which marked his intelligence, his 
taste, or his good manners. 

The conversation soon turned upon fishing ; and she 
heard Mr. Darcy invite him, with the greatest civility, 
to fish there as often as he chose, while he continued in 
the neighbourhood, offering at the same time to supply 
him with fishing tackle, and pointing out those parts of 
the stream where there was usually most sport. Mrs. 
Gardiner, who was walking arm in arm with Elizabeth, 
gave her a look expressive of her wonder. Elizabeth said 
nothing, but it gratified her exceedingly ; the compliment 
must be all for herself. Her astonishment, however, 
was extreme ; and continually was she repeating, " Why 
is he so altered ? From what can it proceed ? It cannot 
be for me, it cannot be for my sake that his manners are 
thus softened. My reproofs at Hunsford could not work 
such a change as this. It is impossible that he should 
still love me." 



314 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

After walking some time in this way, the two ladies in 
front, the two gentlemen behind, on resuming their places, 
after descending to the brink of the river for the better 
inspection of some curious water-plant, there chanced to 
be a little alteration. It originated in Mrs. Gardiner, who, 
fatigued by the exercise of the morning, found Elizabeth's 
arm inadequate to her support, and consequently pre- 
ferred her husband's. Mr. Darcy took her place by her 
niece, and they , walked on together. After a short silence 
the lady first spoke. She wished him to know that she 
had been assured of his absence before she came to the 
place, and accordingly began by observing, that his arrival 
had been very unexpected " for your housekeeper," she 
added, " informed us that you would certainly not be here 
till to-morrow ; and, indeed, before we left Bakewell, we 
understood that you were not immediately expected in 
the country." He acknowledged the truth of it all ; and 
said that business with his steward had occasioned his 
coming forward a few hours before the rest of the part}' 
with whom he had been travelling. " They will join me 
early to-morrow," he continued, "and among them are 
some who will claim an acquaintance with you, Mr. 
Bingley and his sisters." 

Elizabeth answered only by a slight bow. Her thoughts 
were instantly driven back to the time when Mr. Bingley's 
name had been last mentioned between them ; and if she 
might judge from his complexion, his mind was not very 
differently engaged. 

" There is also one other person in the party," he con- 
tinued after a pause, " who more particularly wishes to be 
known to you. Will you allow me, or do I ask too much, 
to introduce my sister to your acquaintance during your 
stay at Lambton ? " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 315 

The surprise of such an application was great indeed ; 
it was too great for her to know in what manner she 
acceded to it. She immediately felt that whatever desire 
Miss Darcy might have of being acquainted with her, 
must be the work of her brother, and without looking 
farther, it was satisfactory ; it was gratifying to know that 
his resentment had not made him think really ill of her. 

They now walked on in silence ; each of them deep in 
thought. Elizabeth was not comfortable ; that was im- 
possible ; but she was flattered and pleased. His wish of 
introducing his sister to her was a compliment of the 
highest kind. They soon outstripped the others ; and 
when they had reached the carriage, Mr. and Mrs. 
Gardiner were half a quarter of a mile behind. 

He then asked her to walk into the house but she 
declared herself not tired, and they stood together on the 
lawn. At such a time much might have been said, and 
silence was very awkward. She wanted to talk, but 
there seemed an embargo on every subject. At last she 
recollected that she had been travelling, and they talked 
of Matlock and Dovedale with great perseverance. Yet 
time and her aunt moved slowly and her patience and 
her ideas were nearly worn out before the tete-a-tete was 
over. 

On Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner's coming up they were all 
pressed to go into the house and take some refreshment ; 
but this was declined, and they parted on each side with 
the utmost politeness. Mr. Darcy handed the ladies into 
the carriage ; and when it drove off, Elizabeth saw him 
walking slowly towards the house. 

The observations of her uncle and aunt now began ; 
and each of them pronounced him to be infinitely superior 
to anything they had expected. 



3l6 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" He is perfectly well-behaved, polite, and unassuming," 
said her uncle. 

" There is something a little stately in him, to be sure," 
replied her aunt ; " but it is confined to his air, and is not 
unbecoming. I can now say with the housekeeper, that 
though some people may call him proud, / have seen 
nothing of it." 

" I was never more surprised than by his behaviour to 
us. It was more than civil ; it was really attentive ; and 
there was no necessity for such attention. His acquain- 
tance with Elizabeth was very trifling." 

" To be sure, Lizzy," said her aunt, " he is not so hand- 
some as Wickham ; or rather he has not Wickham's 
countenance, for his features are perfectly good. But 
how came you to tell us that he was so disagreeable ? " 

Elizabeth excused herself as well as she could : said 
that she had liked him better when they met in Kent 
than before, and that she had never seen him so pleasant 
as this morning. 

" But perhaps he may be a little whimsical in his 
civilities," replied her uncle. " Your great men often are ; 
and therefore I shall not take him at his word about 
fishing, as he might change his mind another day, and 
warn me off his grounds." 

Elizabeth felt that they had entirely mistaken his 
character, but said nothing. 

" From what we have seen of him," continued Mrs. 
Gardiner, " I really should not have thought that he 
could have behaved in so cruel a way by anybody as he 
has done by poor Wickham. He has not an ill-natured 
look. On the contrary, there is something pleasing about 
his mouth when he speaks. And there is something of 
dignity in his countenance, that would not give one an 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 317 

unfavourable idea of his heart. But, to be sure, the 
good lady who showed us the house did give him a 
most flaming character ! I could hardly help laughing 
aloud sometimes. But he is a liberal master, I suppose, 
and tJtaty in the eye of a servant, comprehends every 
virtue." 

Elizabeth here felt herself called on to say something 
in vindication of his behaviour to Wickham ; and, there- 
fore, gave them to understand, in as guarded a manner 
as she could, that by what she had heard from his rela- 
tions in Kent, his actions were capable of a very different 
construction ; and that his character was by no means so 
faulty, nor Wickham's so amiable, as they had been 
considered in Hertfordshire. In confirmation of this, she 
related the particulars of all the pecuniary transactions in 
which they had been connected, without actually nam- 
ing her authority, but stating it to be such as might be 
relied on. 

Mrs. Gardiner was surprised and concerned : but as 
they were now approaching the scene of her former 
pleasures, every idea gave way to the charm of recollec- 
tion ; and she was too much engaged in pointing out to 
her husband all the interesting spots in its environs, to 
think of anything else. Fatigued as she had been by the 
morning's walk, they had no sooner dined than she set 
off again in quest of her former acquaintance, and the 
evening was spent in the satisfactions of an intercourse 
renewed after many years' discontinuance. 

The occurrences of the day were too full of interest to 
leave Elizabeth much attention for any of these new 
friends ; and she could do nothing but think, and think 
with wonder, of Mr. Darcy's civility, and, above all, of his 
wishing her to be acquainted with his sister. 




! . .... 

CHAPTER XLIV. 




morning 



after 



had settled it that Mr. 
Darcy would bring his sister to visit her 
the very day after her reaching Pem- 
berley ; and was, consequently, resolved 
not to be out of sight of the inn the 
w r hole of that morning But her con- 
clusion was false ; for on the very 
their own arrival at Lambton these 



visitors came. They had been walking about the place 
with some of their new friends, and were just returned 
to the inn to dress themselves for dinino- with the same 

o 

family, when the sound of a carriage drew them to a 
window, and they saw a gentleman and lady in a curricle 
driving up the street. Elizabeth, immediately recog- 
nizing the livery, guessed what it meant, and imparted 
no small degree of surprise to her relations, by acquaint- 
ing them with the honour which she expected. Her 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 319 

uncle and aunt were all amazement ; and the embarrass- 
ment of her manner as she spoke, joined to the circum- 
stance itself, and many of the circumstances of the 
preceding day, opened to them a new idea on the 
business. Nothing had ever suggested it before, but 
they now felt that there was no other way of accounting 
for such attentions from such a quarter than by sup- 
posing a partiality for their niece. While these newly- 
born notions were passing in their heads, the perturba- 
tion of Elizabeth's feelings was every moment increasing. 
She was quite amazed at her own discomposure ; but, 
amongst other causes of disquiet, she dreaded lest the 
partiality of the brother should have said too much in 
her favour ; and, more than commonly anxious to please, 
she naturally suspected that every power of pleasing 
would fail her 

She retreated from the window, fearful of being seen ; 
and as she walked up and down the room, endeavouring 
to compose herself, saw such looks of inquiring surprise 
in her uncle and aunt as made everything worse. 

Miss Darcy and her brother appeared, and this 
formidable introduction took place. With astonishment 
did Elizabeth see that her new acquaintance was at 
least as much embarrassed as herself. Since her being at 
Lambton, she had heard that Miss Darcy was exceedingly 
proud ; but the observation of a very few minutes con- 
vinced her that she was only exceedingly shy. She 
found it difficult to obtain even a word from her beyond 
a monosyllable. 

Miss Darcy was tall, and on a larger scale than 
Elizabeth ; and, though little more than sixteen, her 
figure was formed, and her appearance womanly and 
graceful. She was less handsome than her brother, but 



320 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

there was sense and good-humour in her face, and her 
manners were perfectly unassuming and gentle. Eliza- 
beth, who had expected to find in her as acute and 
unembarrassed an observer as ever Mr. Darcy had been, 
was much relieved by discerning such different feelings. 

They had not been long together before Darcy told 
her that Bingley was also coming to wait on her ; and 
she had barely time to express her satisfaction, and 
prepare for such a visitor, when Bingley's quick step was 
heard on the stairs, and in a moment he entered the room. 
All Elizabeth's anger against him had been long done 
away ; but had she still felt any, it could hardly have 
stood its ground against the unaffected cordiality with 
which he expressed himself on seeing her again. He 
inquired in a friendly, though general, way, after her 
family, and looked and spoke with the same good- 
humoured ease that he had ever done. 

To Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner he was scarcely a less 
interesting personage than to herself. They had long 
wished to see him. The whole party before them, indeed, 
excited a lively attention. The suspicions which had 
just arisen of Mr. Darcy and their niece, directed their 
observation to\vards each with an earnest, though 

' O 

guarded, inquiry ; and they soon drew from those 
inquiries the full conviction that one of them at least 
knew what it was to love. Of the lady's sensations they 
remained a little in doubt ; but that the gentleman was 
overflowing with admiration was evident enough. 

Elizabeth, on her side, had much to do. She wanted 
to ascertain the feelings of each of her visitors, she 
wanted to compose her own, and to make herself agree- 
able to all ; and in the latter object, where she feared 
most to fail, she was most sure of success, for those to 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



321 



whom she endeavoured to give pleasure were pre- 
possessed in her favour. Bingley was ready, Georgiana 
was eager, and Darcy determined, to be pleased. 

In seeing Bingley, her thoughts naturally flew to her 




Jo 



cy> nje^f/e a.fT" 

{Copyright 1894 by George A'ten.] 



sister ; and oh ! how ardently did she long to know 
whether any of his were directed in a like manner. 
Sometimes she could fancy that he talked less than on 
former occasions, and once or twice pleased herself with 
the notion that, as he looked at her, he was trying to 
trace a resemblance. But, though this might be 
imaginary, she could not be deceived as to his behaviour 

v 



322 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

to Miss Darcy, who had been set up as a rival to Jane. 
No look appeared on either side that spoke particular 
regard. Nothing occurred between them that could 
justify the hopes of his sister. On this point she was 
soon satisfied ; and two or three little circumstances 
occurred ere they parted, which, in her anxious interpreta- 
tion, denoted a recollection of Jane, not untinctured by 
tenderness, and a wish of saying more that might lead to 
the mention of her, had he dared. He observed to her. 
at a moment when the others were talking together, and 
in a tone which had something of real regret, that it 
" was a very long time since he had had the pleasure of 
seeing her ; " and, before she could reply, he added, "It 
is above eight months. We have not met since the 26th 
of November, when we were all dancing together at 
Netherfield." 

Elizabeth was pleased to find his memory so exact ; 
and he afterwards took occasion to ask her, when 
unattended to by any of the rest, whether all her sisters 
were at Longbourn. There was not much in the question, 
nor in the preceding remark ; but there was a look and a 
manner which gave them meaning. 

It was not often that she could turn her eyes on Mr. 
Darcy himself; but whenever she did catch a glimpse she 
saw an expression of general complaisance, and in all 
that he said, she heard an accent so far removed from 
hauteur or disdain of his companions, as convinced her 
that the improvement of manners which she had yester- 
day witnessed, however temporary its existence might 
prove, had at least outlived one day. When she saw him 
thus seeking the acquaintance, and courting the good 
opinion of people with whom any intercourse a few 
months ago would have been a disgrace ; when she saw 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 323 

him thus civil, not only to herself, but to the very relations 
whom he had openly disdained, and recollected their last 
lively scene in Hunsford Parsonage, the difference, the 
change was so great, and struck so forcibly on her mind, 
that she could hardly restrain her astonishment from 
being visible. Never, even in the company of his dear 
friends at Netherfield, or his dignified relations at Rosings, 
had she seen him so desirous to please, so free from self- 
consequence or unbending reserve, as now, when no 
importance could result from the success of his endeavours, 
and when even the acquaintance of those to whom his 
attentions were addressed, would draw down the ridicule 
and censure of the ladies both of Netherfield and Rosings. 

Their visitors stayed with them above half an hour ; 
and when they arose to depart, Mr. Darcy called on his 
sister to join him in expressing their wish of seeing Mr. 
and Mrs. Gardiner, and Miss Bennet, to dinner at 
Pemberley, before they left the country. Miss Darcy, 
though with a diffidence which marked her little in the 
habit of giving invitations, readily obeyed. Mrs. Gardiner 
looked at her niece, desirous of knowing how she, whom 
the invitation most concerned, felt disposed as to its 
acceptance, but Elizabeth had turned away her head. 
Presuming, however, that this studied avoidance spoke 
rather a momentary embarrassment than any dislike of 
the proposal, and seeing in her husband, who was fond 
of society, a perfect willingness to accept it, she ventured 
to engage for her attendance, and the day after the next 
was fixed on. 

Bingley expressed great pleasure in the certainty of 
seeing Elizabeth again, having still a great deal to say to 
her, and many inquiries to make after all their Hertford- 
shire friends. Elizabeth, construing all this into a wish 



324 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

of hearing her speak of her sister, was pleased ; and on 
this account, as well as some others, found herself, when 
their visitors left them, capable of considering the last 
half hour with some satisfaction, though while it was 
passing the enjoyment of it had been little. Eager to be 
alone, and fearful of inquiries or hints from her uncle 
and aunt, she stayed with them only long enough to hear 
their favourable opinion of Bingley, and then hurried 
away to dress. 

But she had no reason to fear Mr. and Mrs. Gar- 
diner's curiosity ; it was not their wish to force her 
communication. It was evident that she was much 
better acquainted with Mr. Darcy than they had before 
any idea of; it was evident that he was very much in 
love with her. They saw much to interest, but nothing 
to justify inquiry. 

Of Mr. Darcy it was now a matter of anxiety to think 
well ; and, as far as their acquaintance reached, there was 
no fault to find. They could not be untouched by his 
politeness ; and had they drawn his character from their 
own feelings and his sen-ant's report, without any 
reference to any other account, the circle in Hertfordshire 
to which he was known would not have recognized it for 
Mr. Darcy. There was now an interest, however, in 
believing the housekeeper ; and they soon became 
sensible that the authority of a servant, who had kr.c 
him since he was four years old, and whose own manners 
indicated respectability, was not to be hastily rejected. 
Neither had anything occurred in the intelligence of 
their Lambton friends that could materially lessen its 
weight. They had nothing to accuse him of but pride ; 
pride he probably had, and if not, it would certainly be 
imputed by the inhabitants of a small market town 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 325 

where the family did not visit. It was acknowledged, 
however, that he was a liberal man, and did much good 
among the poor. 

\Yith respect to YVickham, the travellers soon found 
that he was not held there in much estimation ; for 
thousrh the chief of his concerns with the son of his 

O 

patron were imperfectly understood, it was yet a well- 
known fact that, on his quitting Derbyshire, he had left 
man}* debts behind him, which Mr. Darcy afterwards 
discharged. 

As for Elizabeth, her thoughts were at Pemberlev this 

o . 

evening more than the last ; and the evening, though as 

C5 O 7 IJ* 

it passed it seemed long, was not long enough to deter- 
mine her feelings towards one in that mansion ; and she 
lay awake two whole hours, endeavouring to make them 
out. She certainly did not hate him. No ; hatred had 
vanished long ago, and she had almost as long been 
ashamed of ever feeling a dislike against him, that could 
be so called. The respect created by the conviction of 
his valuable qualities, though at first unwillingly admitted, 
had for some time ceased to be repugnant to her feelings ; 
and it was now heightened into somewhat of a friendliei 

o 

nature bv the testimonv so hisrhlv in his favour, and 

o - 

bringing forward his disposition in so amiable a light, 
which yesterday had produced. But above all, above 
respect and esteem, there was a motive within her of 
good-will which could not be overlooked. It was grati- 
tude ; gratitude, not merely for having once loved her, 
but for loving her still well enough to forgive all the 
petulance and acrimony of her manner in rejecting him. 
and all the unjust accusations accompanying her rejec- 
tion. He who, she had been persuaded, would avoid 
her as his greatest enemv, seemed, on this accidental 



326 PRIDE AND 

meeting, most eager to preserve the acquaintance ; and 
without any indelicate display of regard, or any pecu- 
liarity of manner, where their two selves only were 
concerned, was soliciting the good opinion ot her friends, 
and bent on making her known to his sister. Such a 
change in a man of so much pride excited not only 
astonishment but gratitude for to love, ardent love, it 
must be attributed ; and, as such, its impression on 
her was of a sort to be encouraged, as bv no means 

o i 

unpleasing, though it could not be exactly defined. She 
respected, she esteemed, she was grateful to him, she felt 
a real interest in his welfare ; and she only wanted to 
know how far she wished that welfare to depend upon 
herself, and how far it would be for the happiness of both 
that she should employ the power, which her fancy told 
her she still possessed, of bringing on the renewal of his 
addresses. 

It had been settled in the evening, between the aunt 
and niece, that such a striking civility as Miss Darcy's, 
in coming to them on the verv dav of her arrival at 

o 

Pemberley for she had reached it only to a late break- 
fast ought to be imitated, though it could not be 
equalled, by some exertion of politeness on their side ; 
and, consequently, that it would be highly expedient to 
wait on her at Pemberlev the following morning. They 

* O O J 

were, therefore, to go. Elizabeth was pleased ; though 
when she asked herself the reason, she had very little to 
say in reply. 

Mr. Gardiner left them soon after breakfast. The 
fishing scheme had been renewed the day before, and a 
positive engagement made of his meeting some of the 
gentlemen at Pemberlev bv noon. 

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CHAPTER XLV. 

ONVINCED as Elizabeth now was 
that Miss Bingley's dislike of her had 
originated in jealousy, she could not 
help feeling how very unwelcome her 
appearance at Pemberley must be to 
her, and was curious to know with 



328 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

how much civility on that lady's side the acquaintance 
would now be renewed. 

On reaching the house, they were shown through the 
hall into the saloon, whose northern aspect rendered it 
delightful for summer. Its windows, opening to the 
ground, admitted a most refreshing view of the hicrh 

<-* o o 

woody hills behind the house, and of the beautiful oaks 
and Spanish chestnuts which were scattered over the 
intermediate lawn. 

In this room they were received by Miss Darcy, who 
was sitting there with Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley, and 
the lady with whom she lived in London. Georgiana's 
reception of them was very civil, but attended with 
all that embarrassment which, though proceeding from 
shyness and the fear of doing wrong, would easily give 
to those who felt themselves inferior the belief of her 
being proud and reserved. Mrs. Gardiner and her niece, 
however, did her justice, and pitied her. 

By Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley they were noticed 
only by a courtesy ; and on their being seated, a pause, 
awkward as such pauses must always be, succeeded for 
a few moments. It was first broken by Mrs. Annesley, 
a genteel, agreeable-looking woman, whose endeavour to 
introduce some kind of discourse proved her to be more 
truly well-bred than either of the others ; and between her 
and Mrs. Gardiner, with occasional help from Elizabeth, 
the conversation was carried on. Miss Darcy looked as 
if she wished for courage enough to join in it ; and some- 
times did venture a short sentence, when there was least 
danger of its being heard. 

Elizabeth soon saw that she was herself closely watched 
by Miss Bingley, and that she could not speak a word, 
especially to Miss Darcy, without calling her attention. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 329 

This observation would not have prevented her from 
trying to talk to the latter, had they not been seated at 
an inconvenient distance ; but she was not sorry to be 
spared the necessity of saying much : her own thoughts 
were employing her. She expected every moment that 
some of the gentlemen would enter the room : she wished, 
she feared, that the master of the house might be amongst 
them ; and whether she wished or feared it most, she 
could scarcely determine. After sitting in this manner 
a quarter of an hour, without hearing Miss Bingley's 
voice, Elizabeth was roused by receiving from her a cold 
inquiry after the health of her family. She answered 
with equal indifference and brevity, and the other said 
no more. 

The next variation which their visit afforded was 
produced by the entrance of servants with cold meat, 
cake, and a variety of all the finest fruits in season ; 
but this did not take place till after many a significant 
look and smile from Mrs. Annesley to Miss Darcy had 
been given, to remind her of her post. There was now 
employment for the whole party ; for though they could 
not all talk, they could all eat ; and the beautiful pyramids 
of grapes, nectarines, and peaches, soon collected them 
round the table. 

While thus engaged, Elizabeth had a fair opportunity 
of deciding whether she most feared or wished for the 
appearance of Mr. Darcy, by the feelings which prevailed 
on his entering the room ; and then, though but a moment 
before she had believed her wishes to predominate, she 
began to regret that he came. 

He had been some time with Mr. Gardiner, who, with 
two or three other gentlemen from the house, was 
engaged by the river ; and had left him only on learning 



330 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

that the ladies of the family intended a visit to Geonnana 

J o 

that morning. No sooner did he appear, than Elizabeth 
wisely resolved to be perfectly easy and unembarrassed ;- 
a resolution the more necessary to be made, but perhaps 
not the more easily kept, because she saw that the sus- 
picions of the whole party were awakened against them, 
and that there was scarcely an eye which did not watch 
his behaviour when he first came into the room. In no 
countenance was attentive curiosity so strongly marked 
as in Miss Bingley's, in spite of the smiles which over- 
spread her face whenever she spoke to one of its objects ; 
for jealousy had not yet made her desperate, and her 
attentions to Mr. Darcy were by no means over. Miss 
Darcy, on her brother's entrance, exerted herself much 
more to talk ; and Elizabeth saw that he was anxious 
for his sister and herself to get acquainted, and forwarded, 
as much as possible, every attempt at conversation on 
either side. Miss Bingley saw all this likewise ; and, in 
the imprudence of anger, .took the first opportunity of 
saying, with sneering civility, 

" Pray, Miss Eliza, are not the -shire militia re- 
moved from Meryton ? They must be a great loss to 
your family." 

In Darcy's presence she dared not mention Wickham's 
name : but Elizabeth instantly comprehended that he 
was uppermost in her thoughts ; and the various recol- 
lections connected with him gave her a moment's dis- 
tress ; but, exerting herself vigorously to repel the ill- 
natured attack, she presently answered the question in a 
tolerably disengaged tone. While she spoke, an involun- 
tary glance showed her Darcy with a heightened com- 
plexion, earnestly looking at her, and his sister over- 
come with confusion, and unable to lift up her eyes. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 33! 

Had Miss Bingley known what pain she was then 
giving her beloved friend, she undoubtedly would have 
refrained from the hint ; but she had merely intended to 
discompose Elizabeth, by bringing forward the idea of a 
man to whom she believed her partial, to make her 
betray a sensibility which might injure her in Darcy's 
opinion, and, perhaps, to remind the latter of all the 
follies and absurdities by which some part of her family 
were connected with that corps. Not a syllable had 
ever reached her of Miss Darcy's meditated elopement. 
To no creature had it been revealed, where secrecy was 
possible, except to Elizabeth ; and from all Bingley's 
connections her brother was particularly anxious to 
conceal it, from that very wish which Elizabeth had 
long ago attributed to him, of their becoming hereafter 
her own. He had certainly formed such a plan ; and 
without meaning that it should affect his endeavour to 
separate him from Miss Bennet, it is probable that it 
might add something to his lively concern for the welfare 
of his friend. 

Elizabeth's collected behaviour, however, soon quieted 
his emotion ; and as Miss Bingley, vexed and disappointed, 
dared not approach nearer to Wickham, Georgiana also 
recovered in time, though not enough to be able to 
speak any more. Her brother, whose eye she feared to 
meet, scarcely recollected her interest in the affair ; and 
the very circumstance which had been designed to turn 
his thoughts from Elizabeth, seemed to have fixed them 
on her more and more cheerfully. 

Their visit did not continue long after the question 
and answer above mentioned ; and while Mr. Darcy 
was attending them to their carriage, Miss Bingley 
was venting her feelings in criticisms on Elizabeth's 



332 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

person, behaviour, and dress. But Georgiana would not 
join her. Her brother's recommendation was enough to 
insure her favour : his judgment could not err ; and he 
had spoken in such terms of Elizabeth, as to leave 
Georgiana without the power of finding her otherwise 
than lovely and amiable. When Darcy returned to the 
saloon, Miss Bingley could not help repeating to him 
some part of what she had been saying to his sister. 

" How very ill Eliza Bennet looks this morning, 
Mr. Darcy," she cried : " I never in my life saw anyone 
so much altered as she is since the winter. She is grown 
so brown and coarse ! Louisa and I were agreeing that 
we should not have known her again." 

However little Mr. Darcy might have liked such an 
address, he contented himself with coolly replying, that 
he perceived no other alteration than her being rather 
tanned, no miraculous consequence of travelling in the 
summer. 

" For my own part," she rejoined, " I must confess that 
I never could see any beauty in her. Her face is too 
thin ; her complexion has no brilliancy ; and her features 
are not at all handsome. Her nose wants character ; 
there is nothing marked in its lines. Her teeth are 
tolerable, but not out of the common way ; and as for 
her eyes, which have sometimes been called so fine, I 
never could perceive anything extraordinary in them. 
They have a sharp, shrewish look, which I do not like 
at all ; and in her air altogether, there is a self-sufficiency 
without fashion, which is intolerable." 

Persuaded as Miss Bingley was that Darcy admired 
Elizabeth, this was not the best method of recommend- 
ing herself; but angry people are not always wise ; and 
in seeing him at last look somewhat nettled, she had all 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 333 

the success she expected. He was resolutely silent, how- 
ever ; and, from a determination of making him speak, 
she continued, 

" I remember, when we first knew her in Hertfordshire, 
how amazed we all were to find that she was a reputed 
beauty ; and I particularly recollect your saying one 
night, after they had been dining at Netherfield, 'S/ie a 
beauty ! I should as soon call her mother a wit.' But 
afterwards she seemed to improve on you, and I believe 
you thought her rather pretty at one time." 

" Yes," replied Darcy, who could contain himself no 
longer, " but that was only when I first knew her ; for it 
is many months since I have considered her as one of 
the handsomest women of my acquaintance." 

He then went away, and Miss Bingley was left to all 
the satisfaction of having forced him to say what gave 
no one any pain but herself. 

Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth talked of all that had 
occurred during their visit, as they returned, except what 
had particularly interested them both. The looks and 
behaviour of everybody they had seen were discussed, 
except of the person who had mostly engaged their 
attention. They talked of his sister, his friends, his 
house, his fruit, of everything but himself; yet Elizabeth 
was longing to know what Mrs. Gardiner thought of him, 
and Mrs. Gardiner would have been highly gratified by 
her niece's beginning the subject. 




Chapter 3TJ?VJ. 



I 




LIZABETH had been a good deal dis- 
appointed in not finding a letter from 
Jane on their first arrival at Lambton ; 
and this disappointment had been re- 
newed on each of the mornings that had 
now been spent there ; but on the third 
her repining was over, and her sister justified, by the 
receipt of two letters from her at once, on one of which 
was marked that it had been mis-sent elsewhere. Eliza- 
beth was not surprised at it, as Jane had written the 
direction remarkably ill. 

They had just been preparing to walk as the letters 
came in ; and her uncle and aunt, leaving her to enjoy 
them in quiet, set off by themselves. The one mis-sent 
must be first attended to ; it had been written five days 
ago. The beginning contained an account of all their 
little parties and engagements, with such news as the 
country afforded ; but the latter half, which was dated a 
day later, and written in evident agitation, gave more 
important intelligence. It was to this effect : 

" Since writing the above, dearest Lizzy, something has 
occurred of a most unexpected and serious nature ; but I 
am afraid of alarming you be assured that we are all 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 335 

well. What I have to say relates to poor Lydia. An 
express came at twelve last night, just as we were all gone 
to bed, from Colonel Forster, to inform us that she was 
gone off to Scotland with one of his officers ; to own the 
truth, with Wickham ! Imagine our surprise. To Kitty, 
however, it does not seem so wholly unexpected. I am 
very, very sorry. So imprudent a match on both sides ! 
But I am willing to hope the best, and that his character 
has been misunderstood. Thoughtless and indiscreet I 
can easily believe him, but this step (and let us rejoice 
over it) marks nothing bad at heart. His choice is dis- 
interested at least, for he must know my father can give 
her nothing. Our poor mother is sadly grieved. My 
father bears it better. How thankful am I, that we never 
let them know what has been said against him ; we must 
forget it ourselves. They were off Saturday night about 
twelve, as is conjectured, but were not missed till yesterday 
morning at eight. The express was sent off directly. My 
dear Lizzy, they must have passed within ten miles of us. 
Colonel Forster gives us reason to expect him here soon. 
Lydia left a few lines for his wife, informing her of their 
intention. I must conclude, for I cannot be long from my 
poor mother. I am afraid you will not be able to make 
it out, but I hardly know what I have written." 

Without allowing herself time for consideration, and 
scarcely knowing what she felt, Elizabeth, on finishing 
this letter, instantly seized the other, and opening it with 
the utmost impatience, read as follows : it had been 
written a day later than the conclusion of the first. 

" By this time, my dearest sister, you have received my 
hurried letter ; I wish this may be more intelligible, but 
though not confined for time, my head is so bewildered 
that I cannot answer for being coherent. Dearest Lizzy, 



336 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

I hardly know what I would write, but I have bad news 
for you, and it cannot be delayed. Imprudent as a 
marriage between Mr. Wickham and our poor Lydia 
would be, we are now anxious to be assured it has taken 
place, for there is but too much reason to fear they are 
not gone to Scotland. Colonel Forster came yesterday, 
having left Brighton the day before, not many hours 
after the express. Though Lydia's short letter to Mrs. 
F. gave them to understand that they were going to 
Gretna Green, something was dropped by Denny express- 
ing his belief that W. never intended to go there, or to 
marry Lydia at all, which was repeated to Colonel F., 
who, instantly taking the alarm, set off from B., intending 
to trace their route. He did trace them easily to Clapham, 
but no farther ; for on entering that place, they removed 
into a hackney-coach, and dismissed the chaise that 
brought them from Epsom. All that is known after this 
is, that they were seen to continue the London road. I 
know not what to think. After making every possible 
inquiry on that side London, Colonel F. came on into 
Hertfordshire, anxiously renewing them at all the turn- 
pikes, and at the inns in Barnet and Hatfield, but without 
any success, no such people had been seen to pass 
through. With the kindest concern he came on to Long- 
bourn, and broke his apprehensions to us in a manner 
most creditable to his heart. I am sincerely grieved for 
him and Mrs. F. ; but no one can throw any blame on 
them. Our distress, my dear Lizzy, is very great. My 
father and mother believe the worst, but I cannot 
think so ill of him. Many circumstances might make 
it more eligible for them to be married privately in 
town than to pursue their first plan ; and even if he could 
form such a design against a young woman of Lydia's 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 337 

connections, which is not likely, can I suppose her so lost 
to everything? Impossible! I grieve to find, however, that 
Colonel F. is not disposed to depend upon their marriage : 
he shook his head when I expressed my hopes, and said 
he feared W. was not a man to be trusted. My poor 
mother is really ill, and keeps her room. Could she 
exert herself, it would be better, but this is not to be 
expected ; and as to my father, I never in my life saw 
him so affected. Poor Kitty has anger for having con- 
cealed their attachment ; but as it was a matter of confi- 
dence, one cannot wonder. I am truly glad, dearest 
Lizzy, that you have been spared something of these 
distressing scenes ; but now, as the first shock is over, 
shall I own that I long for your return ? I am not so 
selfish, however, as to press for it, if inconvenient. Adieu ! 
I take up my pen again to do, what I have just told you 
I would not ; but circumstances are such, that I cannot 
help earnestly begging you all to come here as soon as 
possible. I know my dear uncle and aunt so well, that I 
am not afraid of requesting it, though I have still some- 
thing more to ask of the former. My father is going to 
London with Colonel Forster instantly, to try to discover 
her. What he means to do, I am sure I know not ; but 
his excessive distress will not allow him to pursue any 
measure in the best and safest way, and Colonel Forster 
is obliged to be at Brighton again to-morrow evening. In 
such an exigence my uncle's advice and assistance would 
be everything in the world ; he will immediately compre- 
hend what I must feel, and I rely upon his goodness." 

" Oh ! where, where is my uncle ? " cried Elizabeth, 
darting from her seat as she finished the letter, in eager- 
ness to follow him, without losing a moment of the time 
so precious ; but as she reached the door, it was opened 

Z 



338 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

by a servant, and Mr. Darcy appeared. Her pale face 
and impetuous manner made him start, and before he 
could recover himself enough to speak, she, in whose 
mind every idea was superseded by Lydia's situation, 
hastily exclaimed, " I beg your pardon, but I must 
leave you. I must find Mr. Gardiner this moment on 
business that cannot be delayed ; I have not an instant 
to lose." 

" Good God ! what is the matter ? " cried he, with more 
feeling than politeness ; then recollecting himself, " I will 
not detain you a minute ; but let me, or let the servant, 
go after Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. You are not well enough ; 
you cannot go yourself." 

Elizabeth hesitated ; but her knees trembled under her, 
and she felt how little would be gained by her attempting 
to pursue them. Calling back the servant, therefore, she 
commissioned him, though in so breathless an accent as 
made her almost unintelligible, to fetch his master and 
mistress home instantly. 

On his quitting the room, she sat down, unable to 
support herself, and looking so miserably ill, that it was 
impossible for Darcy to leave her, or to refrain from say- 
ing, in a tone of gentleness and commiseration, " Let me 
call your maid. Is there nothing you could take to give 
you present relief? A glass of wine ; shall I get you one? 
You are very ill." 

" No, I thank you," she replied, endeavouring to recover 
herself. " There is nothing the matter with me. I am 
quite well, I am only distressed by some dreadful news 
which I have just received from Longbourn." 

She burst into tears as she alluded to it, and for a few 
minutes could not speak another word. Darcy, in wretched 
suspense, could only say something indistinctly of his 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



339 



concern, and observe her in compassionate silence. At 
length she spoke again. " I have just had a letter from 




n -sYo ?iY" /o fose " 



Jane, with such dreadful news. It cannot be concealed 
from anyone. My youngest sister has left all her friends- 
has eloped ; has thrown herself into the power of of Mr. 



340 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Wickham. They are gone off together from Brighton. 
You know him too well to doubt the rest. She has no 
money, no connections, nothing that can tempt him to- 
she is lost for ever." 

Darcy was fixed in astonishment. 

" When I consider," she added, in a yet more agitated 
voice, " that / might have prevented it ! / who knew 
what he was. Had I but explained some part of it only 
some part of what I learnt, to my own family ! Had 
his character been known, this could not have happened. 
But it is all, all too late now." 

" I am grieved, indeed," cried Darcy : " grieved 
shocked. But is it certain, absolutely certain ? " 

" Oh, yes ! They left Brighton together on Sunday 
night, and were traced almost to London, but not beyond : 
they are certainly not gone to Scotland." 

" And what has been done, what has been attempted, 
to recover her ? " 

" My father has gone to London, and Jane has written 
to beg my uncle's immediate assistance, and we shall be 
off, I hope, in half an hour. But nothing can be done ; 
I know very \vell that nothing can be done. How is 
such a man to be worked on ? How are they even to 
be discovered ? I have not the smallest hope. It is 
every way horrible ! ' 

Darcy shook his head in silent acquiescence. 

" When my eyes were opened to his real character, 
oh ! had I known w r hat I ought, what I dared to do ! 
But I knew not I was afraid of doing too much. 
Wretched, wretched mistake ! ' : 

Darcy made no answer. He seemed scarcely to 
hear her, and was walking up and down the room in 
earnest meditation ; his brow contracted, his air gloomy. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 341 

Elizabeth soon observed, and instantly understood it. 
Her power was sinking ; everything must sink under 
such a proof of family weakness, such an assurance of 
the deepest disgrace. She could neither wonder nor con- 
demn ; but the belief of his self-conquest brought nothing 
consolatory to her bosom, afforded no palliation of her 
distress. It was, on the contrary, exactly calculated to 
make her understand her own wishes ; and never had 
she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as 
now, when all love must be vain. 

But self, though it would intrude, could not engross 
her. Lydia the humiliation, the misery she was bringing 
on them all soon swallowed up every private care ; and 
covering her face with her handkerchief, Elizabeth was 
soon lost to everything else ; and, after a pause of 
several minutes, was only recalled to a sense of her 
situation by the voice of her companion, who, in a manner 
which, though it spoke compassion, spoke likewise 
restraint, said, 

" I am afraid you have been long desiring my absence, 
nor have I anything to plead in excuse of my stay, but 
real, though unavailing concern. Would to Heaven that 
anything could be either said or done on my part, that 
might offer consolation to such distress ! But I will not 
torment you with vain wishes, which may seem purposely 
to ask for your thanks. This unfortunate affair will, I 
fear, prevent my sister's having the pleasure of seeing 
you at Pemberley to-day." 

" Oh, yes ! Be so kind as to apologize for us to Miss 
Darcy. Say that urgent business calls us home im- 
mediately. Conceal the unhappy truth as long as it is 
possible. I know it cannot be long." 

He readily assured her of his secrecy, again expressed 



342 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

his sorrow for her distress, wished it a happier conclusion 
than there was at present reason to hope, and, leaving 
his compliments for her relations, with only one serious 
parting look, went away. 

As he quitted the room, Elizabeth felt how improbable 
it was that they should ever see each other again on 
such terms of cordiality as had marked their several 
meetings in Derbyshire ; and as she threw a retrospective 
glance over the whole of their acquaintance, so full of 
contradictions and varieties, sighed at the perverseness 
of those feelings which would now have promoted its 
continuance, and would formerly have rejoiced in its 
termination. 

If gratitude and esteem are good foundations of 
affection, Elizabeth's change of sentiment will be neither 
improbable nor faulty. But if otherwise, if the regard 
springing from such sources is unreasonable or unnatural, 
in comparison of what is so often described as arising on 
a first interview with its object, and even before two 
words have been exchanged, nothing can be said in her 
defence, except that she had given somewhat of a trial 
to the latter method, in her partiality for Wickham, and 
that its ill success might, perhaps, authorize her to seek 
the other less interesting mode of attachment Be that 
as it may, she saw him go with regret ; and in this early 
example of what Lydia's infamy must produce, found 
additional anguish as she reflected on that wretched 
business. Never since reading Jane's second letter had 
she entertained a hope of Wickham's meaning to marry 
her. No one but Jane, she thought, could flatter herself 
with such an expectation. Surprise was the least of all 
her feelings on this development. While the contents of 
the first letter remained on her mind, she was all surprise, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 343 

all astonishment, that Wickham should marry a girl, 
whom it was impossible he could marry for money ; and 
how Lydia could ever have attached him had appeared 
incomprehensible. But now it was all too natural. For 
such an attachment as this, she might have sufficient 
charms ; and though she did not suppose Lydia to be 
deliberately engaging in an elopement, without the 
intention of marriage, she had no difficulty in believing 
that neither her virtue nor her understanding would 
preserve her from falling an easy prey. 

She had never perceived, \vhile the regiment was in 
Hertfordshire, that Lydia had any partiality for him ; 
but she was convinced that Lydia had wanted only 
encouragement to attach herself to anybody. Sometimes 
one officer, sometimes another, had been her favourite, 
as their attentions raised them in her opinion. Her 
affections had been continually fluctuating, but never 
without an object. The mischief of neglect and mistaken 
indulgence towards such a girl oh ! how acutely did 
she now feel it ! 

She was wild to be at home to hear, to see, to be 
upon the spot to share with Jane in the cares that must 
now fall wholly upon her, in a family so deranged ; a 
father absent, a mother incapable of exertion, and 
requiring constant attendance ; and though almost per- 
suaded that nothing could be done for Lydia, her uncle's 
interference seemed of the utmost importance, and till 
he entered the room the misery of her impatience was 
severe. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner had hurried back in 
alarm, supposing, by the servant's account, that their 
niece was taken suddenly ill ; but satisfying them in- 
stantly on that head, she eagerly communicated the 
cause of their summons, reading the two letters aloud, 



344 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

and dwelling on the postscript of the last with trembling 
energy. Though Lydia had never been a favourite with 
them, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner could not but be deeply 
affected. Not Lydia only, but all were concerned in it ; 
and after the first exclamations of surprise and horror, 
Mr. Gardiner readily promised every assistance in his 
power. Elizabeth, though expecting no less, thanked 
him with tears of gratitude ; and all three being actuated 
by one spirit, everything relating to their journey was 
speedily settled. They \vere to be off as soon as possible. 
" But what is to be done about Pemberley ? " cried Mrs. 
Gardiner. " John told us Mr. Darcy was here when you 
sent for us ; was it so ? " 

" Yes ; and I told him we should not be able to keep 
our engagement. That is all settled." 

" What is all settled ? " repeated the other, as she ran 
into her room to prepare. " And are they upon such 
terms as for her to disclose the real truth ? Oh, that I 
knew how it was ! " 

But wishes were vain ; or, at best, could serve only to 
amuse her in the hurry and confusion of the following 
hour. Had Elizabeth been at leisure to be idle, she 
would have remained certain that all employment was 
impossible to one so wretched as herself; but she had 
her share of business as well as her aunt, and amongst 
the rest there were notes to be written to all their friends 
at Lambton, with false excuses for their sudden departure. 
An hour, however, saw the whole completed ; and Mr. 
Gardiner, meanwhile, having settled his account at the 
inn, nothing remained to be done but to go ; and Eliza- 
beth, after all the misery of the morning, found herself, 
in a shorter space of time than she could have supposed, 
seated in the carriage, and on the road to Longbourn. 




first pkai rig earnest' ofie<.r 




CHAPTER XLVII. 
HAVE bpen thinking it over a^ain, Elizabeth.' 

^*P 

said her uncle, as they drove from the town ; 
" and really, upon serious consideration, I am 
much more inclined than I was to judge as your 
eldest sister does of the matter. It appears to 
me so very unlikely that any young man should 
form such a design against a girl who is by no 
means unprotected or friendless, and who was actually 
staying in his Colonel's family, that I am strongly 
inclined to hope the best. Could he expect that her 
friends would not step forward ? Could he expect to 
be noticed again by the regiment, after such an affront 
to Colonel Forster? His temptation is not adequate to 
the risk." 



346 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Do you really think so ? " cried Elizabeth, brightening 
up for a moment. 

" Upon my word," said Mrs. Gardiner, " I begin to be 
of your uncle's opinion. It is really too great a violation 
of decency, honour, and interest, for him to be guilty 
of it. I cannot think so very ill of Wickham. Can you, 
yourself, Lizzie, so wholly give him up, as to believe him 
capable of it ? ' 

" Not perhaps of neglecting his own interest. But of 
every other neglect I can believe him capable. If, 
indeed, it should be so ! But I dare not hope it. Why 
should they not go on to Scotland, if that had been the 
case ? " 

" In the first place," replied Mr. Gardiner, " there is no 
absolute proof that they are not gone to Scotland." 

" Oh, but their removing from the chaise into a hackney 
coach is such a presumption ! And, besides, no traces of 
them were to be found on the Barnet road." 

" Well, then, supposing them to be in London they 
may be there, though for the purpose.; of concealment, 
for no more exceptionable purpose. It is not likely that 
meney should be very abundant on either side ; and it 
might strike them that they could be more economically, 
though less expeditiously, married in London, than in 
Scotland." 

" But why all ? this secrecy ? Why any fear of detec- 
tion ? Why must their marriage be private ? Oh, no, no- 
this is not likely. His most particular friend, you see by 
Jane's account, was persuaded of his never intending to 
marry her. Wickham will never marry a woman without 
some money. He cannot afford it. And what claims 
has Lydia, what attractions has she beyond youth, health, 
and good humour, that could make him for her sake 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 347 

forego every chance of benefiting himself by marrying 
well ? As to what restraint the apprehensions of disgrace 
in the corps might throw on a dishonourable elopement 
with her, I am not able to judge ; for I know nothing of 
the effects that such a step might produce. But as to 
your other objection, I am afraid it will hardly hold good. 
Lydia has no brothers to step forward ; and he might 
imagine, from my father's behaviour, from his indolence 
and the little attention he has ever seemed to give to 
what was going forward in his family, that he would do 
as little and think as little about it, as any father could 
do, in such a matter." 

" But can you think that Lydia is so lost to everything 
but love of him, as to consent to live with him on any 
other terms than marriage ? " 

" It does seem, and it is most shocking, indeed," replied 
Elizabeth, with tears in her eyes, " that a sister's sense of 
decency and virtue in such a point should admit of doubt. 
But, really, I know not what to say. Perhaps I am not 
doing her justice. ' But she is very young : she has never 
been taught to think on serious subjects ; and for the last 
half year, nay, for a twelvemonth, she has been given up 
to nothing but amusement and vanity. She has been 
allowed to dispose of her time in the most idle and 
frivolous manner, and to adopt any opinions that came 
in her way. Since the - -shire were first quartered in 
Meryton, nothing but love, flirtation, and officers, have 
been in her head. She has been doing everything in her 
power, by thinking and talking on the subject, to give 
greater- -what shall I call it ?- -susceptibility to her 
feelings ; which are naturally lively enough. And we all 
know that Wickham has every charm of person and 
address that can captivate a woman." 



34$ FRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Rut you see that Jane." said her aunt, "' does not think 
so ill of \Vickham, as to believe him capable of the 
attempt." 

" Of whom does Jane ever think ill ? And who is there, 
whatever might be their former conduct, that she would 
believe capable of such an attempt, till it were proved 
against them ? But Jane knows, as well as I do, what 
Wickham really is. We both know that he has been 
profligate in even- sense of the word ; that he has 
neither integrity nor honour ; that he is as false and 
deceitful as he is insinuating. 3 

^5 

" And do you really know all this ? " cried Airs. 
Gardiner, whose curiosity as to the mode of her intelli- 
gence was all alive. 

" I do, indeed," replied Elizabeth, colouring. u I told 
you the other day of his infamous behaviour to Mr. 
Darcy ; and you, yourself, when last at Longbourn, heard 
in what manner he spoke of the man who had behaved 
with such forbearance and liberality towards him. And 
there are other circumstances which I am not at liberty 
which it is not worth while to relate ; but his lies about 
the whole Pemberlev family are endless. From what he 

f * 

said of Miss Darcy, I was thoroughly prepared to see a 
proud, reserved, disagreeable girl. Yet he knew to the 
contrary himself He must know that she was as amiable 
and unpretending as we have found her." 

" But does Lvdia know nothing of this ? can she be 

* o 

ignorant of what you and Jane seem so well to under- 
stand ? " 

" Oh, yes ! that, that is the worst of all. Till I was in 
Kent, and saw so much both of Mr. Darcy and his rela- 
tion Colonel Fitzwilliam, I was ignorant of the truth 
myself. And when I returned home the -shire was 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 349 

to leave Meryton in a week or fortnight's time. As that 
was the case, neither Jane, to whom I related the whole, 
nor I, thought it necessary to make our knowledge 
public ; for of what use could it apparently be to anyone, 
that the good opinion, which all the neighbourhood had 
of him, should then be overthrown ? And even when it 
was settled that Lydia should go with Mrs. Forster, the 
necessity of opening her eyes to his character never 
occurred to me. That she could be in any danger from 
the deception never entered my head. That such a con- 
sequence as this should ensue, you may easily believe 
was far enough from my thoughts." 

" When they all removed to Brighton, therefore, you 
had no reason, I suppose, to believe them fond of each 
other?" 

" Not the slightest. I can remember no symptom of 
affection on either side ; and had anything of the kind 
been perceptible, you must be aware that ours is not a 
family on which it could be thrown away. When first 
he entered the corps, she was ready enough to admire 
him ; but so we all were. Every girl in or near Meryton 
was out of her senses about him for the first two months : 
but he never distinguished her by any particular atten- 
tion ; and, consequently, after a moderate period of 
extravagant and wild admiration, her fancy for him gave 
way, and others of the regiment, who treated her with 
more distinction, again became her favourites." 

It may be easily believed, that however little of novelty 
could be added to their fears, hopes, and conjectures, on 
this interesting subject by its repeated discussion, no 
other could detain them from it long, during the whole 
of the journey. From Elizabeth's thoughts it was 
never absent. Fixed there by the keenest of all anguish, 



35O PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

self-reproach, she could find no interval of ease or for- 
getfulness. 

They travelled as expeditiously as possible ; and sleep- 
ing one night on the road, reached Longbourn by dinner- 
time the next day. It was a comfort to Elizabeth to 
consider that Jane could not have been wearied by long 
expectations. 

The little Gardiners, attracted by the sight of a chaise, 
were standing on the steps of the house, as they entered 
the paddock ; and when the carriage drove up to the 
door, the joyful surprise that lighted up their faces and 
displayed itself over their whole bodies, in a variety of 
capers and frisks, was the first pleasing earnest of their 
welcome. 

Elizabeth jumped out ; and after giving each of them 
a hasty kiss, hurried into the vestibule, where Jane, who 
came running downstairs from her mother's apartment, 
immediately met her. 

Elizabeth, as she affectionately embraced her, whilst 
tears filled the eyes of both, lost not a moment in asking 
whether anything had been heard of the fugitives. 

" Not yet," replied Jane. " But now that my dear 
uncle is come, I hope everything will be well." 

" Is my father in town ? ' ; 

" Yes, he went on Tuesday, as I wrote you word." 

" And have you heard from him often ? " 

" We have heard only once. He wrote me a few lines 
on Wednesday, to say that he had arrived in safety, and 
to give me his directions, which I particularly begged him 
to do. He merely added, that he should not write again, 
till he had something of importance to mention." 

" And my mother how is she ? How are you 

all ? " . 

* 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 351 

" My mother is tolerably well, I trust ; though her 
spirits are greatly shaken. She is upstairs, and will have 
great satisfaction in seeing you all. She does not yet 
leave her dressing-room. Mary and Kitty, thank 
Heaven ! are quite well." 

" But you how are you ? " cried Elizabeth. " You 
look pale. How much you must have gone through ! " 

Her sister, however, assured her of her being perfectly 
well ; and their conversation, which had been passing 
while Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner were engaged with their 
children, was now put an end to by the approach of the 
whole party. Jane ran to her uncle and aunt, and wel- 
comed and thanked them both, with alternate smiles and 
tears. 

When they were all in the drawing-room, the questions 
which Elizabeth had already asked were of course re- 
peated by the others, and they soon found that Jane had 
no intelligence to give. The sanguine hope of good, 
however, which the benevolence of her heart suggested, 
had not yet deserted her ; she still expected that it would 
all end well, and that every morning would bring some 
letter, either from Lydia or her father, to explain their 
proceedings, and, perhaps, announce the marriage. 

Mrs. Bennet, to whose apartment they all repaired, 
after a few minutes' conversation together, received them 
exactly as might be expected ; with tears and lamenta- 
tions of regret, invectives against the villainous conduct 
of Wickham, and complaints of her own sufferings and 
ill-usage ; blaming everybody but the person to whose 
ill-judging indulgence the errors of her daughter must 
be principally owing. 

" If I had been able," said she, " to carry my point in 
going to Brighton with all my family, this would not 



352 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

have happened : but poor dear Lydia had nobody to 
take care of her. Why did the Forsters ever let her go 
out of their sight ? I am sure there was some great 
neglect or other on their side, for she is not the kind of 
girl to do such a thing, if she had been well looked after. 
I always thought they were very unfit to have the charge 
of her ; but I was over-ruled, as I always am. Poor, dear 
child ! And now here's Mr. Bennet gone away, and I 
know he will fight Wickham, wherever he meets him, 
and then he will be killed, and what is to become of us 
all ? The Collinses will turn us out, before he is cold in 
his grave ; and if you are not kind to us, brother, I do 
not know what we shall do." 

They all exclaimed against such terrific ideas ; and 
Mr. Gardiner, after general assurances of his affection 
for her and all her family, told her that he meant to be 
in London the very next day, and would assist Mr. 
Bennet in every endeavour for recovering Lydia. 

"Do not give way to useless alarm," added he: "though 
it is right to be prepared for the worst, there is no occa- 
sion to look on it as certain. It is not quite a week 
since they left Brighton. In a few days more, we may 
gain some news of them ; and till we know that they are 
not married, and have no design of marrying, do not let 
us give the matter over as lost. As soon as I get to town, 
I shall go to my brother, and make him come home with 
me to Gracechurch Street, and then we may consult 
together as to what is to be done." 

" Oh, my dear brother," replied Mrs. Bennet, " that is 
exactly what I could most wish for. And now do, when 
you get to town, find them out, wherever they may be ; 
and if they are not married already, make them marry. 
And as for wedding clothes, do not let them wait for that, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 353 

but tell Lydia she shall have as much money as she 
chooses to buy them, after they are married. And, 
above all things, keep Mr. Bennet from fighting. Tell 
him what a dreadful state I am in that I am frightened 
out of my wits ; and have such tremblings, such flutter- 
ings all over me, such spasms in my side, and pains in 
my head, and such beatings at my heart, that I can get 
no rest by night nor by day. And tell my dear Lydia 
not to give any directions about her clothes till she has 
seen me, for she does not know which are the best ware- 
houses. Oh, brother, how kind you are ! I know you 
will contrive it all." 

But Mr. Gardiner, though he assured her again of his 
earnest endeavours in the cause, could not avoid recom- 
mending moderation to her, as well in her hopes as her 
fears ; and after talking with her in this manner till 
dinner was on table, they left her to vent all her feelings 
on the housekeeper, who attended in the absence of her 
daughters. 

Though her brother and sister were persuaded that 
there was no real occasion for such a seclusion from the 
family, they did not attempt to oppose it ; for they knew 
that she had not prudence enough to hold her tongue 
before the servants, while they waited at table, and judged 
it better that one only of the household, and the one whom 
they could most trust, should comprehend all her fears 
and solicitude on the subject. 

In the dining-room they were soon joined by Mary 
and Kitty, who had been too busily engaged in their 
separate apartments to make their appearance before. 
One came from her books, and the other from her toilette. 
The faces of both, however, were tolerably calm ; and no 
change was visible in either, except that the loss of her 

A A 



354 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

favourite sister, or the anger which she had herself in- 
curred in the business, had given something more of fret- 
fulness than usual to the accents of Kitty. As for Mary, 
she was mistress enough of herself to whisper to Eliza- 
beth, with a countenance of grave reflection, soon after 
they were seated at table, 

" This is a most unfortunate affair, and will probably 
be much talked of. But we must stem the tide of malice, 
and pour into the wounded bosoms of each other the balm 
of sisterly consolation.' 

j 

Then perceiving in Elizabeth no inclination of replying, 
she added, " Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we 
may draw from it this useful lesson : that loss of virtue 
in a female is irretrievable, that one false step involves 
her in endless ruin, that her reputation is no less brittle 
than it is beautiful, and that she cannot be too much 
guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the 
other sex." 

Elizabeth lifted up her eyes in amazement, but was too 
much oppressed to make any reply. Mary, however, 
continued to console herself with such kind of moral 
extractions from the evil before them. 

In the afternoon, the two elder Miss Bennets were able 
to be for half an hour by themselves ; and Elizabeth 
instantly availed herself of the opportunity of making 
any inquiries which Jane was equally eager to satisfy. 
After joining in general lamentations over the dreadful 
sequel of this event, which Elizabeth considered as all 
but certain, and Miss Bennet could not assert to be 
wholly impossible, the former continued the subject 
by saying, " But tell me all and everything about it 
\vhich I have not already heard. Give me further par- 
ticulars. What did Colonel Forster say ? Had they no 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 355 

apprehension of anything before the elopement took 
place ? They must have seen them together for ever." 

" Colonel Forster did own that he had often suspected 
some partiality, especially on Lydia's side, but nothing to 
give him any alarm. I am so grieved for him. His be- 
haviour was attentive and kind to the utmost. He was 
coming to us, in order to assure us of his concern, before 
he had any idea of their not being gone to Scotland : 
when that apprehension first got abroad, it hastened his 
journey." 

" And was Denny convinced that Wickham would not 
marry? Did he know of their intending to go off? Had 
Colonel Forster seen Denny himself?" 

" Yes ; but when questioned by ///;;/, Denny denied 
knowing anything of their plan, and would not give his 
real opinion about it. He did not repeat his persuasion 
of their not marrying, and from that I am inclined to 
hope he might have been misunderstood before." 

" And till Colonel Forster came himself, not one of 
you entertained a doubt, I suppose, of their being really 
married ? ' 

" How was it possible that such an idea should enter 
our brains ? I felt a little uneasy a little fearful of my 
sister's happiness with him in marriage, because I knew 
that his conduct had not been always quite right. My 
father and mother knew nothing of that ; they only felt 
how imprudent a match it must be. Kitty then owned, 
with a very natural triumph on knowing more than the 
rest of us, that in Lydia's last letter she had prepared 
her for such a step. She had known, it seems, of their 
being in love with each other many weeks." 

" But not before they went to Brighton ? " 

" No, I believe not." 



356 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" And did Colonel Forster appear to think ill of Wick- 
ham himself? Does he know his real character?" 

" I must confess that he did not speak so well of 
Wickham as he formerly did. He believed him to be 
imprudent and extravagant ; and since this sad affair 
has taken place, it is said that he left Meryton greatly in 
debt : but I hope this may be false." 

" Oh, Jane, had we been less secret, had we told what 
we knew of him, this could not have happened ! " 

" Perhaps it would have been better," replied her sister. 

" But to expose the former faults of any person, with- 
out knowing what their present feelings were, seemed 
unjustifiable." 

" We acted with the best intentions." 

" Could Colonel Forster repeat the particulars of 
Lydia's note to his wife ? " 

" He brought it with him for us to see." 

o 

Jane then took it from her pocket-book, and gave it to 
Elizabeth. These were the contents :- 
" My dear Harriet, 

" You will laugh when you know where I am gone, and 
I cannot help laughing myself at your surprise to-morrow 
morning, as soon as I am missed. I am going to Gretna 
Green, and if you cannot guess with w r ho, I shall think 
you a simpleton, for there is but one man in the world 
I love, and he is an angel. I should never be happy 
without him, so think it no harm to be off. You need 
not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do 
not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater when 
I write to them, and sign my name Lydia Wickham. 
What a good joke it will be ! I can hardly write for 
laughing. Pray make my excuses to Pratt for not keep- 
ing my engagement, and dancing with him to-night. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 357 

Tell him I hope he will excuse me when he knows all, 
and tell him I will dance with him at the next ball we 
meet with great pleasure. I shall send for my clothes 
when I get to Longbourn ; but I wish you would tell 
Sally to mend a great slit in my worked muslin gown 
before they are packed up. Good-bye. Give my love to 
Colonel Forster. I hope you will drink to our good 
journey. " Your affectionate friend, 

"LYDIA BENNET." 

" Oh, thoughtless, thoughtless Lydia ! " cried Elizabeth 
when she had finished it. " What a letter is this, to be 
written at such a moment ! But at least it shows that 
she was serious in the object of her journey. Whatever 
he might afterwards persuade her to, it was not on her 
side a scheme of infamy. My poor father ! how he must 
have felt it ! " 

" I never saw anyone so shocked. He could not speak 
a word for full ten minutes. My mother was taken ill 
immediately, and the whole house in such confusion ! " 

" Oh, Jane," cried Elizabeth, " was there a servant be- 
longing to it who did not know the whole story before 
the end of the day ? " 

" I do not know : I hope there was. But to be guarded 
at such a time is very difficult. My mother was in 
hysterics ; and though I endeavoured to give her every 
assistance in my power, I am afraid I did not do so much 
as I might have done. But the horror of what might 
possibly happen almost took from me my faculties." 

" Your attendance upon her has been too much for you. 
You do not look well. Oh that I had been with you ! you 
have had every care and anxiety upon yourself alone." 

" Mary and Kitty have been very kind, and would have 
shared in every fatigue, I am sure, but I did not think it 



358 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

right for either of them. Kitty is slight and delicate, and 
Mary studies so much that her hours of repose should not 
be broken in on. My aunt Philips came to Longbourn 
on Tuesday, after my father went away ; and was so 
good as to stay till Thursday with me. She was of great 
use and comfort to us all, and Lady Lucas has been 
very kind : she walked here on Wednesday morning to 
condole with us, and offered her services, or any of her 
daughters, if they could be of use to us." 

" She had better have stayed at home," cried Elizabeth : 
" perhaps she meant well, but, under such a misfortune as 
this, one cannot see too little of one's neighbours. Assis- 
tance is impossible ; condolence, insufferable. Let them 
triumph over us at a distance, and be satisfied." 

She then proceeded to inquire into the measures which 
her father had intended to pursue, while in town, for the 
recovery of his daughter. 

" He meant, I believe," replied Jane, " to go to Epsom, 
the place where they last changed horses, see the pos- 
tilions, and try if anything could be made out from them. 
His principal object must be to discover the number of 
the hackney coach which took them from Clapham. It 
had come with a fare from London ; and as he thought 
the circumstance of a gentleman and lady's removing 
from one carriage into another might be remarked, he 
meant to make inquiries at Clapham. If he could any- 
how discover at what house the coachman had before set 
down his fare, he determined to make inquiries there, and 
hoped it might not be impossible to find out the stand 
and number of the coach. I do not know of any other 
designs that he had formed ; but he was in such a hurry 
to be gone, and his spirits so greatly discomposed, that I 
had difficulty in finding out even so much as this." 




CHAPTER XLVIII. 

whole party were in hopes of a 
letter from Mr. Bennet the next morn- 
ing, but the post came in without 
bringing a single line from him. His 
family knew him to be, on all common 
occasions, a most negligent and dila- 
tory correspondent ; but at such a time 

they had hoped for exertion. They were forced to 

conclude, that he had no pleasing intelligence to send ; 

but even of that they would have been glad to be certain. 

Mr. Gardiner had waited only for the letters before he 

set off. 

When he was gone, they were certain at least of 




360 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

receiving constant information of what was going on ; 
and their uncle promised, at parting, to prevail on Mr. 
Bennet to return to Longbourn as soon as he could, 
to the great consolation of his sister, who considered 
it as the only security for her husband's not being killed 
in a duel. 

Mrs. Gardiner and the children were to remain in 
Hertfordshire a few days longer, as the former thought 
her presence might be serviceable to her nieces. She 
shared in their attendance on Mrs. Bennet, and was a 
great comfort to them in their hours of freedom. Their 
other aunt also visited them frequently, and always, 
as she said, with the design of cheering and heartening 
them up though, as she never came without reporting; 
some fresh instance of Wickham's extravagance or 
irregularity, she seldom went away without leaving them 
more dispirited than she found them. 

All Meryton seemed striving to blacken the man who, 
but three months before, had been almost an angel of 
light. He was declared to be in debt to every tradesman 
in the place, and his intrigues, all honoured with the title 
of seduction, had been extended into every tradesman's 
family. Everybody declared that he was the wickedest 
young man in the world ; and everybody began to find 
out that they had always distrusted the appearance of 
his goodness. Elizabeth, though she did not credit 
above half of what was said, believed enough to make 
her former assurance of her sister's ruin still more certain ; 
and even Jane, who believed still less of it, became 
almost hopeless, more especially as the time was now 
come, when, if they had gone to Scotland, which she 
had never before entirely despaired of, they must in 
all probability have gained some news of them. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 361 

Mr. Gardiner left Longbourn on Sunday ; on Tuesday, 
his wife received a letter from him : it told them, that 
on his arrival he had immediately found out his brother, 
and persuaded him to come to Gracechurch Street. 
That Mr. Bennet had been to Epsom and Clapham, 
before his arrival, but without gaining any satisfactory 
information ; and that he was now determined to inquire 
at all the principal hotels in town, as Mr. Bennet thought 
it possible they might have gone to one of them, on 
their first coming to London, before they procured 
lodgings. Mr. Gardiner himself did not expect any 
success from this measure ; but as his brother was eager 
in it, he meant to assist him in pursuing it. He added, 
that Mr. Bennet seemed wholly disinclined at present to 
leave London, and promised to write again very soon. 
There was also a postscript to this effect :- 

" I have written to Colonel Forster to desire him to 
find out, if possible, from some of the young man's 
intimates in the regiment, whether Wickham has any 
relations or connections who would be likely to know in 
what part of the town he has now concealed himself. 
If there were anyone that one could apply to, with a 
probability of gaining such a clue as that, it might be of 
essential consequence. At present we have nothing 
to guide us. Colonel Forster will, I dare say, do every- 
thing in his power to satisfy us on this head. But, on 
second thoughts, perhaps Lizzy could tell us what 
relations he has now living better than any other person." 

Elizabeth was at no loss to understand from whence 
this deference for her authority proceeded ; but it was 
not in her power to give any information of so satisfactory 
a nature as the compliment deserved. 

She had never heard of his having had any relations, 



362 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

except a father and mother, both of whom had been 
dead many years. It was possible, however, that some 

of his companions in the shire might be able to give 

more information ; and though she was not very sanguine 
in expecting it, the application was a something to look- 
forward to. 

Every day at Longbourn was now a day of anxiety ; 
but the most anxious part of each was when the post 
was expected. The arrival of letters was the first grand 
object of every morning's impatience. Through letters, 
whatever of good or bad was to be told would be 
communicated ; and every succeeding day was expected 
to bring some news of importance. 

But before they heard again from Mr. Gardiner, a 
letter arrived for their father, from a different quarter, 
from Mr. Collins ; which, as Jane had received directions 
to open all that came for him in his absence, she accord- 
ingly read ; and Elizabeth, who knew what curiosities 
his letters always were, looked over her, and read it 
likewise. It was as follows : 
" My dear Sir, 

" I feel myself called upon, by our relationship, and 
my situation in life, to condole with you on the grievous 
affliction you are now suffering under, of which we were 
yesterday informed by a letter from Hertfordshire. Be 
assured, my dear sir, that Mrs. Collins and myself 
sincerely sympathize with you, and all your respectable 
family, in your present distress, which must be of the 
bitterest kind, because proceeding from a cause which 
no time can remove. No arguments shall be wanting 
on my part, that can alleviate so severe a misfortune ; 
or that may comfort you, under a circumstance that 
must be, of all others, most afflicting to a parent's mind. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



363 



The death of your daughter would have been a blessing 
in comparison of this. And it is the more to be lamented, 
because there is reason to suppose, as my dear Charlotte 
informs me, that this licentiousness of behaviour in your 




SG uiKorn <y no.ve refcctetf ffie owtwr* '' 
\CofyrigJU 1894 by George Allen.} 

daughter has proceeded from a faulty degree of in- 
dulgence ; though, at the same time, for the consolation 
of yourself and Mrs. Bennet, I am inclined to think that 
her own disposition must be naturally bad, or she could 
not be guilty of such an enormity, at so early an age. 
Howsoever that may be, you are grievously to be pitied ; 



364 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

in which opinion I am not only joined by Mrs. Collins, 
but likewise by Lady Catherine and her daughter, to 
whom I have related the affair. They agree with me in 
apprehending that this false step in one daughter will 
be injurious to the fortunes of all the others : for who, 
as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, will 
connect themselves with such a family ? And this 
consideration leads me, moreover, to reflect, with aug- 
mented satisfaction, on a certain event of last November ; 
for had it been otherwise, I must have been involved in 
all your sorrow and disgrace. Let me advise you, then, 
my dear sir, to console yourself as much as possible, to 
throw off your unworthy child from your affection for 
ever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous 

offence. . 

I am, dear sir, etc., etc. 

Mr. Gardiner did not write again, till he had received 
an answer from Colonel Forster ; and then he had 
nothing of a pleasant nature to send. It was not known 
that Wickham had a single relation with whom he kept 
up any connection, and it was certain that he had no near 
one living. His former acquaintance had been numerous; 
but since he had been in the militia, it did not appear 
that he was on terms of particular friendship with any of 
them. There was no one, therefore, who could be 
pointed out as likely to give any news of him. And 
in the wretched state of his own finances, there was a 
very powerful motive for secrecy, in addition to his fear 
of discovery by Lydia's relations ; for it had just tran- 
spired that he had left gaming debts behind him to a 
very considerable amount. Colonel Forster believed 
that more than a thousand pounds would be necessary 
to clear his expenses at Brighton. He owed a good deal 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 365 

in the town, but his debts of honour were still more 
formidable. Mr. Gardiner did not attempt to conceal 
these particulars from the Longbourn family ; Jane 
heard them with horror. " A gamester ! " she cried. 
" This is wholly unexpected ; I had not an idea of it." 

Mr. Gardiner added, in his letter, that they might 
expect to see their father at home on the following day, 
which was Saturday. Rendered spiritless by the ill 
success of all their endeavours, he had yielded to his 
brother-in-law's entreaty that he would return to his 
family and leave it to him to do whatever occasion might 
suggest to be advisable for continuing their pursuit. 
When Mrs. Bennet was told of this, she did not express 
so much satisfaction as her children expected, considering 
what her anxiety for his life had been before. 

" What ! is he coming home, and without poor Lydia ? " 
she cried. " Sure he will not leave London before he has 
found them. Who is to fight Wickham, and make him 
marry her, if he comes away?" 

As Mrs. Gardiner began to wish to be at home, it was 
settled that she and her children should go to London 
at the same time that Mr. Bennet came from it. The 
coach, therefore, took them the first stage of their 
journey, and brought its master back to Longbourn. 

Mrs. Gardiner went away in all the perplexity about 
Elizabeth and her Derbyshire friend, that had attended 
her from that part of the world. His name had never 
been voluntarily mentioned before them by her niece ; 
and the kind of half-expectation which Mrs. Gardiner 
had formed, of their being followed by a letter from him, 
had ended in nothing. Elizabeth had received none 
since her return, that could come from Pemberley. 

The present unhappy state of the family rendered any 



366 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

9ther excuse for the lowness of her spirits unnecessary ; 
nothing, therefore, could be fairly conjectured from that, 
though Elizabeth, who was by this time tolerably well 
acquainted with her own feelings, was perfectly aware 
that, had she known nothing of Darcy, she could have 
borne the dread of Lydia's infamy somewhat better. It 
would have spared her, she thought, one sleepless night 
out of two. 

When Mr. Bennet arrived, he had all the appearance 
of his usual philosophic composure. He said as little as 
he had ever been in the habit of saying ; made no 
mention of the business that had taken him away ; and 
it was some time before his daughters had courage to 
speak of it. 

It was not till the afternoon, when he joined them at 
tea, that Elizabeth ventured to introduce the subject ; 
and then, on her briefly expressing her sorrow for what 
he must have endured, he replied, " Say nothing of that. 
Who should suffer but myself? It has been my own 
doing, and I ought to feel it." 

" You must not be too severe upon yourself," replied 
Elizabeth. 

" You may well warn me against such an evil. Human 
nature is so prone to fall into it ! No, Lizzy, let me 
once in my life feel how much I have been to blame. I 
am not afraid of being overpowered by the impression. 
It will pass away soon enough." 

" Do you suppose them to be in London ? " 

" Yes ; where else can they be so well concealed ? " 

" And Lydia used to want to go to London," added 
Kitty. 

" She is happy, then," said her father, drily ; " and her 
residence there will probably be of some duration." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 367 

Then, after a short silence, he continued, " Lizzy, I 
bear you no ill-will for being justified in your advice to 
me last May, which, considering the event, shows some 
greatness of mind." 

They were interrupted by Miss Bennet, who came to 
fetch her mother's tea. 

" This is a parade," cried he, " which does one good ; 
it gives such an elegance to misfortune ! Another day I 
will do the same ; I will sit in my library, in my night- 
cap and powdering gown, and give as much trouble as I 
can, or perhaps I may defer it till Kitty runs away." 

" I am not going to run away, papa," said Kitty, 
fretfully. " If / should ever go to Brighton, I would 
behave better than Lydia." 

" You go to Brighton ! I would not trust you so near 
it as Eastbourne, for fifty pounds ! No, Kitty, I have at 
least learnt to be cautious, and you will feel the effects 
of it. No officer is ever to enter my house again, nor 
even to pass through the village. Balls will be 
absolutely prohibited, unless you stand up with one of 
your sisters. And you are never to stir out of doors, till 
you can prove that you have spent ten minutes of every 
day in a rational manner." 

Kitty, who took all these threats in a serious light, 
began to cry. 

" Well, well," said he, " do not make yourself unhappy. 
If you are a good girl for the next ten years, I will take 
you to a review at the end of them." 



,- ^1>-J ;>J HV- . - - ..-.' 

tJJ pl^fcK- 5 r- 

? v jfflHBeH^Sa 





CHAPTER XLIX. 

WO days after Mr. Bennet's return, as 
Jane and Elizabeth were walking 
together in the shrubbery behind the 
house, they saw the housekeeper 
coming towards them, and concluding 
that she came to call them to their 
mother, went forward to meet her ; but instead of the 
expected summons, when they approached her, she said 
to Miss Bennet, " I beg your pardon, madam, for 
interrupting you, but I was in hopes you might have got 
some good news from town, so I took the liberty of 
coming to ask." 

" What do you mean, Hill ? We have heard nothing 
from town." 

" Dear madam," cried Mrs. Hill, in great astonishment, 
" don't you know there is an express come for master 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 369 

from Mr. Gardiner? He has been here this half hour, 
and master has had a letter." 

Away ran the girls, too eager to get in to have time 
for speech. They ran through the vestibule into the 
breakfast-room ; from thence to the library ; their father 
was in neither ; and they were on the point of seeking 
him upstairs with their mother, when they were met by 
the butler, who said,- 

" If you are looking for my master, ma'am, he is 
walking towards the little copse." 

Upon this information, they instantly passed through 
the hall once more, and ran across the lawn after their 
father, who was deliberately pursuing his way towards a 
small wood on one side of the paddock. 

Jane, who was not so light, nor so much in the habit 
of running as Elizabeth, soon lagged behind, while her 
sister, panting for breath, came up with him, and eagerly 
cried out,- 

" Oh, papa, what news ? what news ? have you heard 
from my uncle ? ' : 

" Yes, I have had a letter from him by express." 

" Well, and what news does it bring good or bad ? " 

" What is there of good to be expected ? " said he, 
taking the letter from his pocket ; " but perhaps you 
would like to read it." 

Elizabeth impatiently caught it from his hand. Jane 
now came up. 

" Read it aloud, 1 ' said their father, " for I hardly know 
myself what it is about." 

" Gracechurch Street, Monday, August 2. 
" My dear Brother, 

" At last I am able to send you some tidings of 
my niece, and such as, upon the whole, I hope will give 

B B 



370 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



you satisfaction. Soon after you left me on Saturday, I 
was fortunate enough to find out in what part of London 
they were. The particulars I reserve till we meet. It is 



r<TiO-~7v -^ ^~j>s 
iy^r'-,^?*^--. 
'-^,>~^^ -^A 







'J 



{Copyright 1894 ^V George Allen.] 



enough to know they are discovered : I have seen them 

both " 

" Then it is as I always hoped," cried Jane : " they are 
married ! " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 371 

Elizabeth read on : "I have seen them both. They 
are not married, nor can I find there was any intention 
of being so ; but if you are willing to perform the 
engagements which I have ventured to make on your 
side, I hope it will not be long before they are. All that 
is required of you is, to assure to your daughter, by 
settlement, her equal share of the five thousand pounds, 
secured among your children after the decease of yourself 
and my sister ; and, moreover, to enter into an engage- 
ment of allowing her, during your life, one hundred 
pounds per annum. These are conditions which, con- 
sidering everything, I had no hesitation in complying 
with, as far as I thought myself privileged, for you. I 
shall send this by express, that no time may be lost in 
bringing me your answer. You will easily comprehend, 
from these particulars, that Mr. Wickham's circumstances 
are not so hopeless as they are generally believed to be. 
The world has been deceived in that respect ; and I am 
happy to say, there will be some little money, even when 
all his debts are discharged, to settle on my niece, in 
addition to her own fortune. If, as I conclude will be 
the case, you send me full powers to act in your name 
throughout the whole of this business, I will immediately 
give directions to Haggerston for preparing a proper 
settlement. There will not be the smallest occasion for 
your coming to town again ; therefore stay quietly at 
Longbourn, and depend on my diligence and care. Send 
back your answer as soon as you can, and be careful to 
write explicitly. We have judged it best that my niece 
should be married from this house, of which I hope you 
will approve. She comes to us to-day. I shall write 
again as soon as anything more is determined on. Yours, 
etc. 'Eow. GARDINER." 



372 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"Is it possible ? " cried Elizabeth, when she had finished. 
" Can it be possible that he will marry her ? " 

" Wickham is not so undeserving, then, as we have 
thought him," said her sister. " My dear father, I con- 
gratulate you." 

" And have you answered the letter ? " said Elizabeth. 

" No ; but it must be done soon." 

Most earnestly did she then entreat him to lose no 
more time before he wrote. 

" Oh ! my dear father," she cried, " come back and write 
immediately. Consider how important every moment is 
in such a case." 

" Let me write for you," said Jane, " if you dislike the 
trouble yourself." 

" I dislike it very much," he replied ; " but it must be 
done." 

And so saying, he turned back with them, and walked 
towards the house. 

And may I ask ? " said Elizabeth ; " but the terms, 
I suppose, must be complied with." 

" Complied with ! I am only ashamed of his asking so 
little." 

" And they must marry ! Yet he is such a man." 

" Yes, yes, they must marry. There is nothing else to 
be done. But there are two things that I want very much 
to know : one is, how much money your uncle has laid 
down to bring it about ; and the other, how I am ever to 
pay him." 

" Money ! my uncle ! ' cried Jane, " what do you mean, 
sir ? " 

" I mean that no man in his proper senses would marry 
Lydia on so slight a temptation as one hundred a year 
during my life, and fifty after I am gone." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 373 

" That is very true," said Elizabeth ; " though it had 
not occurred to me before. His debts to be discharged, 
and something still to remain ! Oh, it must be my uncle's 
doings! Generous, good man, I am afraid he has distressed 
himself. A small sum could not do all this." 

" No," said her father. " Wickham's a fool if he takes 
her with a farthing less than ten thousand pounds : I 
should be sorry to think so ill of him, in the very begin- 
ning of our relationship." 

" Ten thousand pounds ! Heaven forbid ! How is half 
such a sum to be repaid ? ' 

Mr. Bennet made no answer ; and each of them, deep 
in thought; continued silent till they reached the house. 
Their father then went to the library to write, and the 
girls walked into the breakfast-room. 

" And they are really to be married ! " cried Elizabeth, 
as soon as they were by themselves. " How strange this 
is ! and for tJiis we are to be thankful. That they should 
marry, small as is their chance of happiness, and wretched 
as is his character, we are forced to rejoice ! Oh, Lydia ! " 

" I comfort myself with thinking," replied Jane, " that 
he certainly would not marry Lydia, if he had not a real 
regard for her. Though our kind uncle has done some- 
thing towards clearing him, I cannot believe that ten 
thousand pounds, or anything like it, has been advanced. 
He has children of his own, and may have more. How 
could he spare half ten thousand pounds ? " 

"If we are ever able to learn what Wickham's debts 
have been," said Elizabeth, " and how 7 much is settled on 
his side on our sister, we shall exactly know what Mr. 
Gardiner has done for them, because Wickham has not six- 
pence of his own. The kindness of my uncle and aunt can 
never be requited. Their taking her home, and affording 



374 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

her their personal protection and countenance, is such a 
sacrifice to her advantage as years of gratitude cannot 
enough acknowledge. By this time she is actually with 
them ! If such goodness does not make her miserable 
now, she will never deserve to be happy ! What a meet- 
ing for her, when she first sees my aunt ! " 

" We must endeavour to forget all that has passed on 
either side," said Jane : " I hope and trust they will yet 
be happy. His consenting to marry her is a proof, I will 
believe, that he is come to a right way of thinking. Their 
mutual affection will steady them ; and I flatter myself 
they will settle so quietly, and live in so rational a manner, 
as may in time make their past imprudence forgotten." 

" Their conduct has been such," replied Elizabeth, " as 
neither you, nor I, nor anybody, can ever forget. It is 
useless to talk of it." 

It now occurred to the girls that their mother was in 
all likelihood perfectly ignorant of what had happened. 
They went to the library, therefore, and asked their father 
whether he would not wish them to make it known to her. 
He was writing, and, without raising his head, coolly 
replied, 

" Just as you please." 

" May we take my uncle's letter to read to her? ' 

" Take whatever you like, and get away." 

Elizabeth took the letter from his writing-table, and 
they went upstairs together. Mary and Kitty were both 
with Mrs. Bennet : one communication would, therefore, 
do for all. After a slight preparation for good news, the 
letter was read aloud. Mrs. Bennet could hardly contain 
herself. As soon as Jane had read Mr. Gardiner's hope 
of Lydia's being soon married, her joy burst forth, and 
every following sentence added to its exuberance. She 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 375 

was now in an irritation as violent from delight as she 
had ever been fidgety from alarm and vexation. To 
know that her daughter would be married was enough. 
She was disturbed by no fear for her felicity, nor humbled 
by any remembrance of her misconduct. 

" My dear, dear Lydia ! " she cried : " this is delightful 
indeed ! She will be married ! I shall see her again ! 
She will be married at sixteen ! My good, kind brother ! 
I knew how it would be I knew he would manage 
everything. How I long to see her ! and to see dear 
Wickham too ! But the clothes, the wedding clothes ! I 
will write to my sister Gardiner about them directly. 
Lizzy, my dear, run down to your father, and ask him how 
much he will give her. Stay, stay, I will go myself. Ring 
the bell, Kitty, for Hill. I will put on my things in a 
moment. My dear, dear Lydia ! How merry we shall be 
together when we meet ! " 

Her eldest daughter endeavoured to give some relief to 
the violence of these transports, by leading her thoughts 
to the obligations which Mr. Gardiner's behaviour laid 
them all under. 

" For we must attribute this happy conclusion," she 
added, " in a great measure to his kindness. We are 
persuaded that he has pledged himself to assist Mr. 
Wickham with money." 

" Well," cried her mother, " it is all very right ; who 
should do it but her own uncle ? If he had not had a 
family of his own, I and my children must have had 
all his money, you know ; and it is the first time we have 
ever had anything from him except a few presents. 
Well ! I am so happy. In a short time, I shall have a 
daughter married. Mrs. Wickham ! How well it sounds ! 
And she was only sixteen last June. My dear Jane, I 



376 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

am in such a flutter, that I am sure I can't write ; so I 
will dictate, and you write for me. We will settle with 
your father about the money afterwards ; but the things 
should be ordered immediately." 

She was then proceeding to all the particulars of calico, 
muslin, and cambric, and would shortly have dictated 
some very plentiful orders, had not Jane, though with 
some difficulty, persuaded her to wait till her father was 
at leisure to be consulted. One day's delay, she observed, 
would be of small importance ; and her mother was too 
happy to be quite so obstinate as usual. Other schemes, 
too, came into her head. 

" I will go to Meryton," said she, " as soon as I am 
dressed, and tell the good, good news to my sister Philips. 
And as I come back, I can call on Lady Lucas and Mrs. 
Long. Kitty, run down and order the carriage. An air- 
ing would do me a great deal of good, I am sure. Girls, 
can I do anything for you in Meryton ? Oh ! here comes 
Hill. My dear Hill, have you heard the good news? 
Miss Lydia is going to be married ; and you shall all 
have a bowl of punch to make merry at her wedding." 

Mrs. Hill began instantly to express her joy. Elizabeth 
received her congratulations amongst the rest, and then, 
sick of this folly, took refuge in her own room, that she 
might think with freedom. Poor Lydia's situation must, 
at best, be bad enough ; but that it was no worse, she had 
need to be thankful. She felt it so ; and though, in look- 
ing forward, neither rational happiness, nor worldly 
prosperity could be justly expected for her sister, in look- 
ing back to what they had feared, only two hours ago, 
she felt all the advantages of what they had gained. 




Jfi'de/uC o/cf 

\Copyright 1894 by George Alien.} 

CHAPTER L. 



R. BENNET had very often wished, 
before this period of his life, that, 
instead of spending his whole income, 
he had laid by an annual sum, for 
the better provision of his children, 
and of his wife, if she survived him. 
He now wished it more than ever. 
Had he done his duty in that respect, Lydia need not 
have been indebted to her uncle for whatever of honour 
or credit could now be purchased for her. The satis- 
faction of prevailing on one of the most worthless young 




378 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

men in Great Britain to be her husband might then have 
rested in its proper place. 

He was seriously concerned that a cause of so little 
advantage to anyone should be forwarded at the sole 
expense of his brother-in-law ; and he was determined, 
if possible, to find out the extent of his assistance, and 
to discharge the obligation as soon as he could. 

When first Mr. Bennet had married, economy was held 
to be perfectly useless ; for, of course, they were to have 
a son. This son was to join in cutting off the entail, as 
soon as he should be of age, and the widow and younger 
children would by that means be provided for. Five 
daughters successively entered the world, but yet the son 
was to come ; and Mrs. Bennet, for many years after 
Lydia's birth, had been certain that he would. This 
event had at last been despaired of, but it was then too 
late to be saving. Mrs. Bennet had no turn for economy ; 
and her husband's love of independence had alone 
prevented their exceeding their income. 

Five thousand pounds was settled by marriage articles 
on Mrs. Bennet and the children. But in what propor- 
tions it should be divided amongst the latter depended 
on the will of the parents. This was one point, with 
regard to Lydia at least, which was now to be settled, 
and Mr. Bennet could have no hesitation in acceding to . 
the proposal before him. In terms of grateful ac- 
knowledgment for the kindness of his brother, though 
expressed most concisely, he then delivered on paper his 
perfect approbation of all that was done, and his willing- 
ness to fulfil the engagements that had been made for 
him. He had never before supposed that, could Wickham 
be prevailed on to marry his daughter, it would be done 
with so little inconvenience to himself as by the present 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 379 

arrangement. He would scarcely be ten pounds a year 
the loser, by the hundred that was to be paid them ; for, 
what with her board and pocket allowance, and the con- 
tinual presents in money which passed to her through her 
mother's hands, Lydia's expenses had been very little 
within that sum. 

That it would be done with such trifling exertion on 
his side, too, was another very welcome surprise ; for his 
chief wish at present was to have as little trouble in the 
business as possible. When the first transports of rage 
which had produced his activity in seeking her were over, 
he naturally returned to all his former indolence. His 
letter was soon despatched ; for though dilatory in un- 
dertaking business, he was quick in its execution. He 
begged to know further particulars of what he was in- 
debted to his brother ; but was too angry with Lydia to 
send any message to her. 

The good news quickly spread through the house ; and 
with proportionate speed through the neighbourhood. It 
was borne in the latter with decent philosophy. To be 
sure, it would have been more for the advantage of con- 
versation, had Miss Lydia Bennet come upon the town ; 
or, as the happiest alternative, been secluded from the 
world in some distant farm-house. But there was much 
to be talked of, in marrying her ; and the good-natured 
wishes for her well-doing, which had proceeded before 
from all the spiteful old ladies in Meryton, lost but little 
of their spirit in this change of circumstances, because 
with such a husband her misery was considered certain. 

It was a fortnight since Mrs. Bennet had been down 
stairs, but on this happy day she again took her seat at 
the head of her table, and in spirits oppressively high. 
No sentiment* of shame gave a damp to her triumph. 



380 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

The marriage of a daughter, which had been the first 
object of her wishes since Jane was sixteen, was now on 
the point of accomplishment, and her thoughts and her 
words ran wholly on those attendants of elegant nuptials, 
fine muslins, new carriages, and servants. She was busily 
searching through the neighbourhood for a proper situa- 
tion for her daughter ; and, without knowing or consider- 
ing what their income might be, rejected many as deficient 
in size and importance. 

" Have Park might do," said she, " if the Gouldings 
would quit it, or the great house at Stoke, if the drawing- 
room were larger ; but Ashworth is too far off. I could 
not bear to have her ten miles from me ; and as for 
Purvis Lodge, the attics are dreadful." 

Her husband allowed her to talk on without interrup- 
tion while the servants remained. But when the}* had 
withdrawn, he said to her, " Mrs. Bennet, before you take 
anv, or all of these houses, for vour son and daughter, let 

j -" - *j 

us come to a risrht understanding. Into otic house in 

o o 

this neighbourhood thev shall never have admittance. 

!_> * 

I will not encourage the imprudence of either, by receiv- 
ing them at Lonsrbourn." 

<- o 

A long dispute followed this declaration ; but Mr. 
Bennet was firm : it soon led to another ; and Mrs. 
Bennet found, with amazement and horror, that her 
husband would not advance a guinea to buy clothes for 
his daughter. He protested that she should receive from 
him no mark of affection whatever on the occasion. Mrs. 
Bennet could hardly comprehend it. That his anger 
could be carried to such a point of inconceivable resent- 
ment as to refuse his daughter a privilege, without which 
her marriage would scarcely seem valid, exceeded all that 
she could believe possible. She was more alive to the 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 381 

disgrace, which her want of new clothes must reflect on her 
daughter's nuptials, than to any sense of shame at her 
eloping and living with Wickham a fortnight before they 
took place. 

Elizabeth was now most heartily sorry that she had, 
from the distress of the moment, been led to make Mr. 
Darcy acquainted with their fears for her sister ; for since 
her marriage would so shortly give the proper termination 
to the elopement, they might hope to conceal its unfa- 
vourable beginning from all those who were not imme- 
diately on the spot. 

She had no fear of its spreading farther, through his 
means. There were few people on whose secrecy she 
would have more confidently depended ; but at the same 
time there was no one whose knowledge of a sister's 
frailty would have mortified her so much. Not, however, 
from any fear of disadvantage from it individually to her- 
self; for at any rate there seemed a gulf impassable 
between them. Had Lydia's marriage been concluded 
on the most honourable terms, it was not to be supposed 
that Mr. Darcy would connect himself with a family, 
\vhere to every other objection would now be added an 
alliance and relationship of the nearest kind with the 
man whom he so justly scorned. 

From such a connection she could not wonder that he 
should shrink. The wish of procuring her regard, which 
she had assured herself of his feeling in Derbyshire, could 
not in rational expectation survive such a blow as this. 
She was humbled, she was grieved ; she repented, though 
she hardly knew of what. She became jealous of his 
esteem, when she could no longer hope to be benefited 
by it. She wanted to hear of him, when there seemed the 
least chance of gaining intelligence. She was convinced 



382 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

that she could have been happy with him, when it was 
no longer likely they should meet. 

What a triumph for him, as she often thought, could he 
know that the proposals which she had proudly spurned 
only four months a^o would now have been srladly and 

J O O * 

gratefully received ! He was as generous, she doubted not, 
as the most generous of his sex. But while he was 
mortal, there must be a triumph. 

She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the 
man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. 
His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, 
would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that 
must have been to the advantage of both : by her ease 
and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his 
manners improved ; and from his judgment, information, 
and knowledge of the world, she must have received 
benefit of greater importance. 

But no such happy marriage could now teach the 
admiring multitude what connubial felicity really was. 
An union of a different tendency, and precluding the 
possibility of the other, was soon to be formed in their 
family. 

How YVickham and Lydia were to be supported in 
tolerable independence she could not imagine. But how 
little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple 
who were only brought together because their passions 
were stronger than their virtue, she could easily con- 
jecture. 

Mr. Gardiner soon wrote again to his brother. To 
Mr. Bennet's acknowledgments he briefly replied, with 
assurances of his eagerness to promote the welfare of 
any of his family ; and concluded with entreaties that 
the subject might never be mentioned to him again. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 383 

The principal purport of his letter was to inform 
them, that Mr. Wickham had resolved on quitting the 
militia. 

"It was greatly my wish that he should do so," he 
added, " as soon as his marriage was fixed on. And I 
think you will agree with me, in considering a removal 
from that corps as highly advisable, both on his account 
and my niece's. It is Mr. Wickham's intention to go 
into the Regulars ; and, among his former friends, there 
are still some who are able and willing to assist him in 
the army. He has the promise of an ensigncy in General 
-s regiment, now quartered in the north. It is an 
advantage to have it so far from this part of the kingdom. 
He promises fairly ; and I hope among different people, 
where they may each have a character to preserve, the)* 
will both be more prudent. I have written to Colonel 
Forster, to inform him of our present arrangements, and 
to request that he will satisfy the various creditors of 
Mr. Wickham in and near Brighton with assurances of 
speedy payment, for which I have pledged myself. And 
will you give yourself the trouble of carrying similar 
assurances to his creditors in Meryton, of whom I shall 
subjoin a list, according to his information ? He has given 
in all his debts ; I hope at least he has not deceived us. 
Haggerston has our directions, and all will be completed 
in a week. They will then join his regiment, unless they 
are first invited to Longbourn ; and I understand from 
Mrs. Gardiner that my niece is very desirous of seeing 
you all before she leaves the south. She is well, and 
begs to be dutifully remembered to you and her mother. 
-Yours, etc. " E. GARDINER." 
Mr. Bennet and his daughters saw all the advantages 
of Wickham's removal from the shire, as clearly as 



384 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Mr. Gardiner could do. But Mrs. Bennet was not so 
well pleased with it. Lydia's being settled in the north, 
just when she had expected most pleasure and pride in 
her company, for she had by no means given up her 
plan of their residing in Hertfordshire, was a severe dis- 
appointment ; and, besides, it was such a pity that 
Lydia should be taken from a regiment where she was 
acquainted with everybody, and had so many favourites. 

" She is so fond of Mrs. Forster," said she, " it will be 
quite shocking to send her away ! And there are several 
of the young men, too, that she likes very much. The 
officers may not be so pleasant in General -'s regi- 
ment." 

His daughter's request, for such it might be considered, 
of being admitted into her family again, before she set 
off for the north, received at first an absolute negative. 
But Jane and Elizabeth, who agreed in wishing, for the 
sake of their sister's feelings and consequence, that she 
should be noticed on her marriage by her parents, urged 
him so earnestly, yet so rationally and so mildly, to 
receive her and her husband at Longbourn, as soon as 
they were married, that he was prevailed on to think as 
they thought, and act as they wished. And their mother 
had the satisfaction of knowing, that she should be able 
to show her married daughter in the neighbourhood, 
before she was banished to the north. When Mr. Bennet 
wrote again to his brother, therefore, he sent his permis- 
sion for them to come ; and it was settled, that, as soon 
as the ceremony was over, they should proceed to Long- 
bourn. Elizabeth was surprised, however, that Wickham 
should consent to such a scheme ; and, had she consulted 
only her own inclination, any meeting with him would 
have been the last object of her wishes. 




affectionate -fmi(e 



\Copyright 1894 _y George Allen.} 



CHAPTER LI. 




sister's wedding-day arrived; and 
Jane and Elizabeth felt for her probably 
more than she felt for herself. The 

carnage was sent to meet them at , 

and they were to return in it by dinner- 
time. Their arrival was dreaded by the 
elder Miss Bennets and Jane more 
C C 



386 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

especialh;, who gave Lydia the feelings which would 
have attended herself, had s/ic been the culprit, and was 
wretched in the thought of what her sister must endure. 

o 

They came. The family were assembled in the break- 
fast-room to receive them. Smiles decked the face of 
Mrs. Bennet, as the carriage drove up to the door ; 
her husband looked impenetrably grave ; her daughters, 
alarmed, anxious, uneasy. 

Lydia's voice was heard in the vestibule ; the door 
was thrown open, and she ran into the room. Her 
mother stepped forwards, embraced her, and welcomed 
her with rapture ; gave her hand with an affectionate 
smile to Wickham, who followed his lady ; and wished 
them both joy, with an alacrity which showed no doubt 
of their happiness. 

Their reception from Mr. Bennet, to whom they then 
turned, was not quite so cordial. His countenance rather 
gained in austerity ; and he scarcely opened his lips. 
The easy assurance of the young couple, indeed, was 
enough to provoke him. 

Elizabeth was disgusted, and even Miss Bennet was 
shocked. Lydia was Lydia still ; untamed, unabashed, 
wild, noisy, and fearless. She turned from sister to 
sister, demanding their congratulations ; and when at 
length they all sat down, looked eagerly round the room, 
took notice of some little alteration in it, and observed, 
with a laugh, that it was a great while since she had been 
there. 

"Wickham was not at all more distressed than herself; 
but his manners were always so pleasing, that, had his 
character and his marriage been exactly what they ought, 
his smiles and his easy address, while he claimed their 
relationship, would have delighted them all. Elizabeth 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 387 

had not before believed him quite equal to such assurance ; 
but she sat down, resolving within herself to draw no 
limits in future to the impudence of an impudent man. 
She blushed, and Jane blushed ; but the cheeks of the 
two who caused their confusion suffered no variation of 
colour. 

There was no want of discourse. The bride and her 
mother could neither of them talk fast enough ; and 
Wickham, who happened to sit near Elizabeth, began 
inquiring after his acquaintance in that neighbourhood, 
with a good-humoured ease, which she felt very unable 
to equal in her replies. They seemed each of them to 
have the happiest memories in the world. Nothing of 
the past was recollected with pain ; and Lydia led 
voluntarily to subjects which her sisters would not have 
alluded to for the world. 

" Only think of its being three months," she cried, 
" since I went away : it seems but a fortnight, I declare ; 
and yet there have been things enough happened in the 
time. Good gracious ! when I went away, I am sure I 
had no more idea of being married till I came back 
again ! though I thought it would be very good fun 
if I was." 

Her father lifted up his eyes, Jane was distressed, 
Elizabeth looked expressively at Lydia ; but she, who 
never heard nor saw anything of which she chose to be 
insensible, gaily continued, 

" Oh, mamma, do the people hereabouts know I am 
married to-day ? I was afraid they might not ; and 
we overtook William Goulding in his curricle, so I was 
determined he should know it, and so I let down the 
side glass next to him, and took off my glove and let 
my hand just rest upon the window frame, so that he 



388 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

might see the ring, and then I bowed and smiled like 
anything." 

Elizabeth could bear it no longer. She got up and 
ran out of the room ; and returned no more, till she 
heard them passing through the hall to the dining- 
parlour. She then joined them soon enough to see 
Lydia, with anxious parade, walk up to her mother's 
right hand, and hear her say to her eldest sister, 

" Ah, Jane, I take your place now, and you must go 
lower, because I am a married woman." 

It was not to be supposed that time would give Lydia 
that embarrassment from which she had been so wholly 
free at first. Her ease and good spirits increased. She 
longed to see Mrs. Philips, the Lucases, and all their other 
neighbours, and to hear herself called " Mrs. Wickham " 
by each of them ; and in the meantime she went after 
dinner to show her ring and boast of being married to 
Mrs. Hill and the two housemaids. 

" Well, mamma," said she, when they were all returned 
to the breakfast-room, " and what do you think of my 
husband? Is not he a charming man? I am sure my 
sisters must all envy me. I only hope they may have 
half my good luck. They must all go to Brighton. 
That is the place to get husbands. What a pity it is, 
mamma, we did not all go ! ' : 

" Very true ; and if I had my will we should. But, 
my dear Lydia, I don't at all like your going such a way 
off. Must it be so ? " 

" Oh, Lord ! yes ; there is nothing in that. I shall 
like it of all things. You and papa, and my sisters, 
must come down and see us. We shall be at Newcastle 
all the winter, and I dare say there will be some balls, 
and I will take care to get good partners for them all." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 389 

" I should like it beyond anything ! ' said her mother. 

" And then when you go away, you may leave one or 
two of my sisters behind you ; and I dare say I shall get 
husbands for them before the winter is over." 

" I thank you for my share of the favour," said Eliza- 
beth ; " but I do not particularly like your way of getting 
husbands." 

Their visitors were not to remain above ten days with 
them. Mr. Wickham had received his commission before 
he left London, and he was to join his regiment at the 
end of a fortnight. 

No one but Mrs. Ben net regretted that their stay 
would be so short ; and she made the most of the 
time by visiting about with her daughter, and having 
very frequent parties at home. These parties were 
acceptable to all ; to avoid a family circle was even 
more desirable to such as did think than such as did 
not. 

Wickham's affection for Lydia was just what Eliza- 
beth had expected to find it ; not equal to Lydia's for 
him. She had scarcely needed her present observation 
to be satisfied, from the reason of things, that their 
elopement had been brought on by the strength of her 
love rather than by his ; and she would have wondered 
\vhy, without violently caring for her, he chose to elope 
with her at all, had she not felt certain that his flight 
was rendered necessary by distress of circumstances ; 
and if that were the case, he was not the young man 
to resist an opportunity of having a companion. 

Lydia was exceedingly fond of him. He was her 
dear Wickham on every occasion ; no one was to be 
put in competition with him. He did everything best 
in the world ; and she was sure he would kill more 



390 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

birds on the first of September than anybody else in the 
country. 

One morning, soon after their arrival, as she was sitting 
with her two elder sisters, she said to Elizabeth, 

" Lizzy, I never gave you an account of my wedding, I 
believe. You were not by, when I told mamma, and the 
others, all about it. Are not you curious to hear how it 
was managed ? " 

" No, really," replied Elizabeth ; " I think there cannot 
be too little said on the subject." 

" La ! You are so strange ! But I must tell you how it 
went off. We were married, you know, at St. Clement's, 
because Wickham's lodgings were in that parish. And it 
was settled that we should all be there by eleven o'clock. 
My uncle and aunt and I were to go together ; and the 
others were to meet us at the church. 

" Well, Monday morning came, and I was in such a 
fuss ! I was so afraid, you know, that something would 
happen to put it off, and then I should have gone quite 
distracted. And there was my aunt, all the time I was 
dressing, preaching and talking away just as if she was 
reading a sermon. However, I did not hear above one 
word in ten, for I was thinking, you may suppose, of my 
dear Wickham. I longed to know whether he would be 
married in his blue coat, 

" Well, and so we breakfasted at ten as usual : I 
thought it would never be over ; for, by the bye, you are 
to understand that my uncle and aunt were horrid un- 
pleasant all the time I was with them. If you'll believe 
me, I did not once put my foot out of doors, though I 
was there a fortnight. Not one party, or scheme, or 
anything ! To be sure, London was rather thin, but, 
however, the Little Theatre was open. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 391 

" Well, and so, just as the carnage came to the door, 
my uncle was called away upon business to that horrid 
man Mr. Stone. And then, you know, when once they 
get together, there is no end of it. Well, I was so 
frightened I did not know what to do, for my uncle was 
to give me away ; and if we were beyond the hour we 
could not be married all day. But, luckily, he came back 
again in ten minutes' time, and then we all set out. 
However, I recollected afterwards, that if he had been 
prevented going, the wedding need not be put off, for 
Mr. Darcy might have done as well." 

" Mr. Darcy ! " repeated Elizabeth, in utter amazement. 

" Oh, yes ! he was to come there with Wickham, you 
know. But, gracious me ! I quite forgot ! I ought not 
to have said a word about it. I promised them so faith- 
fully ! What will Wickham say? It was to be such a 
secret ! " 

" If it was to be a secret," said Jane, "say not another 
word on the subject. You may depend upon my seeking 
no further." 

" Oh, certainly," said Elizabeth, though burning with 
curiosity ; " we will ask you no questions." 

" Thank you," said Lydia ; " for if you did, I should 
certainly tell you all, and then Wickham would be so 
angry." 

On such encouragement to ask, Elizabeth was forced to 
put it out of her power, by running away. 

But to live in ignorance on such a point was impossible ; 
or at least it was impossible not to try for information. 
Mr. Darcy had been at her sister's wedding. It was 
exactly a scene, and exactly among people, where he 
had apparently least to do, and least temptation to go. 
Conjectures as to the meaning of it, rapid and wild, 



392 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

hurried into her brain ; but she was satisfied with none. 
Those that best pleased her, as placing his conduct in 
the noblest light, seemed most improbable. She could 
not bear such suspense ; and hastily seizing a sheet of 
paper, wrote a short letter to her aunt, to request an 
explanation of what Lydia had dropped, if it were com- 
patible with the secrecy which had been intended. 

" You may readily comprehend," she added, " what my 
curiosity must be to know how a person unconnected 
with any of us, and, comparatively speaking, a stranger 
to our family, should have been amongst you at such a 
time. Pray write instantly, and let me understand it 
unless it is, for very cogent reasons, to remain in the 
secrecy which Lydia seems to think necessary ; and then 
I must endeavour to be satisfied with ignorance." 

" Not that I shall, though," she added to herself, and 
she finished the letter ; " and, my dear aunt, if you do 
not tell me in an honourable manner, I shall certainly be 
reduced to tricks and stratagems to find it out." 

Jane's delicate sense of honour would not allow her to 
speak to Elizabeth privately of what Lydia had let fall ; 
Elizabeth was glad of it : till it appeared whether her 
inquiries would receive any satisfaction, she had rather 
be without a confidante. 




.-?7 sure jfi? cfi'J' not / 




CHAPTER LII. 

LIZ ABET H had the satisfaction of re- 
ceiving an answer to her letter as soon 
as she possibly could. She was no 
sooner in possession of it, than hurrying 
into the little copse, where she was least 
likely to be interrupted, she sat down 
on one of the benches, and prepared 



394 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

to be happy ; for the length of the letter convinced her 
that it did not contain a denial. 

" Gracechurch Street, Sept. 6. 
" My dear Niece, 

" I have just received your letter, and shall devote this 
whole morning to answering it, as I foresee that a little 
writing will not comprise what I have to tell you. I must 
confess myself surprised by your application ; I did not 
expect it from you. Don't think me angry, however, for 
I only mean to let you know, that I had not imagined 
such inquiries to be necessary on your side. If you do 
not choose to understand me, forgive my impertinence. 
Your uncle is as much surprised as I am ; and nothing 
but the belief of your being a party concerned would 
have allowed him to act as he has done. But if you are 
really innocent and ignorant, I must be more explicit. 
On the very day of my coming home from Longbourn, 
your uncle had a most unexpected visitor. Mr. Darcy 
called, and was shut up with him several hours. It was 
all over before I arrived ; so my curiosity was not so 
dreadfully racked as yours seems to have been. He came 
to tell Mr. Gardiner that he had found out where your 
sister and Mr. Wickham were, and that he had seen and 
talked with them both Wickham repeatedly, Lydia 
once. From what I can collect, he left Derbyshire only 
one day after ourselves, and came to town with the reso- 
lution of hunting for them. The motive professed was 
his conviction of its being owing to himself that Wick- 
ham's worthlessness had not been so well known as to 
make it impossible for any young woman of character to 
love or confide in him. He generously imputed the whole 
to his mistaken pride, and confessed that he had before 
thought it beneath him to lay his private actions open to 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 395 

the world. His character was to speak for itself. He 
called it, therefore, his duty to step forward, and en- 
deavour to remedy an evil which had been brought on by 
himself. If he had another motive, I am sure it would 
never disgrace him. He had been some days in town 
before he was able to discover them ; but he had some- 
thing to direct his search, which was more than we had ; 
and the consciousness of this was another reason for his 
resolving to follow us. There is a lady, it seems, a Mrs. 
Younge, who was some time ago governess to Miss Darcy, 
and was dismissed from her charge on some cause of dis- 
approbation, though he did not say what. She then took 
a large house in Edward Street, and has since maintained 
herself by letting lodgings. This Mrs. Younge was, he 
knew, intimatefy acquainted with Wickham ; and he went 
to her for intelligence of him, as soon as he got to town. 
But it was two or three days before he could get from her 
what he wanted. She would not betray her trust, I 
suppose, without bribery and corruption, for she really 
did know where her friend was to be found. Wickham, 
indeed, had gone to her on their first arrival in London ; 
and had she been able to receive them into her house, 
they would have taken up their abode with her. At 
length, however, our kind friend procured the wished-for 

direction. They were in Street. He saw Wickham, 

and afterwards insisted on seeing Lydia. His first object 
with her, he acknowledged, had been to persuade her to 
quit her present disgraceful situation, and return to her 
friends as soon as they could be prevailed on to receive 
her, offering his assistance as far as it would go. But he 
found Lydia absolutely resolved on remaining where she 
was. She cared for none of her friends ; she wanted no 
help of his ; she would not hear of leaving Wickham. 



396 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

She was sure they should be married some time or other, 
and it did not much signify when. Since such were her 
feelings, it only remained, he thought, to secure and 
expedite a marriage, which, in his very first conversation 
with Wickham, he easily learnt had never been his design. 
He confessed himself obliged to leave the regiment on 
account of some debts of honour which were very press- 
ing ; and scrupled not to lay all the ill consequences of 
Lydia's flight on her own folly alone. He meant to 
resign his commission immediately ; and as to his future 
situation, he could conjecture very little about it. He 
must go somewhere, but he did not know where, and he 
knew he should have nothing to live on. Mr. Darcy 
asked why he did not marry your sister at once. Though 
Mr. Bennet was not imagined to be very rich, he would 
have been able to do something for him, and his situation 
must have been benefited by marriage. But he found, in 
reply to this question, that Wickham still cherished the 
hope of more effectually making his fortune by marriage, 
in some other country. Under such circumstances, how- 
ever, he was not likely to be proof against the temptation 
of immediate relief. They met several times, for there 
was much to be discussed. Wickham, of course, wanted 
more than he could get ; but at length w r as reduced to be 
reasonable. Everything being settled between them, Mr. 
Darcy's next step was to make your uncle acquainted 
with it, and he first called in Gracechurch Street the 
evening before I came home. But Mr. Gardiner could not 
be seen ; and Mr. Darcy found, on further inquiry, that 
your father was still w r ith him, but would quit town the 
next morning. He did not judge your father to be a 
person whom he could so properly consult as your uncle, 
and therefore readily postponed seeing him till after the 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 397 

departure of the former. He did not leave his name, and 
till the next day it was only known that a gentleman had 
called on business. On Saturday he came again. Your 
father was gone, your uncle at home, and, as I said before, 
they had a great deal of talk together. They met again 
on Sunday, and then / saw him too. It was not all 
settled before Monday : as soon as it was, the express was 
sent off to Longbourn. But our visitor was very obstinate. 
I fancy, Lizzy, that obstinacy is the real defect of his 
character, after all. He has been accused of many faults 
at different times ; but this is the true one. Nothing was 
to be done that he did not do himself; though I am sure 
(and I do not speak it to be thanked, therefore say no- 
thing about it) your uncle would most readily have 
settled the whole. They battled it together for a long 
time, which was more than either the gentleman or lady 
concerned in it deserved. But at last your uncle was 
forced to yield, and instead of being allowed to be of use 
to his niece, was forced to put up with only having the 
probable credit of it, which went sorely against the grain ; 
and I really believe your letter this morning gave him 
great pleasure, because it required an explanation that 
would rob him of his borrowed feathers, and give the 
praise where it was due. But, Lizzy, this must go no 
further than yourself, or Jane at most. You know pretty 
well, I suppose, what has been done for the young people. 
His debts are to be paid, amounting, I believe, to con- 
siderably more than a thousand pounds, another thousand 
in addition to her own settled upon her, and his com- 
mission purchased. The reason why all this was to be 
done by him alone, was such as I have given above. It 
was owing to him, to his reserve and want of proper 
consideration, that Wickham's character had been so 



398 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

misunderstood, and consequently that he had been 
received and noticed as he was. Perhaps there was some 
truth in this ; though I doubt whether his reserve, or 
anybody's reserve can be answerable for the event. But 
in spite of all this fine talking, my dear Lizzy, you may 
rest perfectly assured that your uncle would never have 
yielded, if we had not given him credit for another interest 
in the affair. When all this was resolved on, he returned 
again to his friends, who were still staying at Pemberley ; 
but it was agreed that he should be in London once more 

o 

when the wedding took place, and all money matters 
were then to receive the last finish. I believe I have now 
told you everything. It is a relation which you tell me is 
to give you great surprise ; I hope at least it will not 
afford you any displeasure. Lydia came to us, and 
Wickham had constant admission to the house. He was 
exactly what he had been when I knew him in Hertford- 
shire ; but I would not tell you how little I was satisfied 
with her behaviour while she stayed with us, if I had 
not perceived, by Jane's letter last Wednesday, that her 
conduct on coming home was exactly of a piece with it, 
and therefore what I now tell you can give you no fresh 
pain. I talked to her repeatedly in the most serious 
manner, representing to her the wickedness of what she 
had done, and all the unhappiness she had brought on 
her family. If she heard me, it was by good luck, for I 
am sure she did not listen. I was sometimes quite 
provoked ; but then I recollected my dear Elizabeth and 
Jane, and for their sakes had patience with her. Mr. 
Darcy was punctual in his return, and, as Lydia im- 
formed you, attended the wedding. He dined with us 
the next day, and was to leave town again on Wednesday 
or Thursday. Will you be very angry with me, my dear 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 399 

Lizzy, if I take this opportunity of saying (what I was 
never bold enough to say before) how much I like him ? 
His behaviour to us has, in every respect, been as pleas- 
ing as when we were in Derbyshire. His understanding 
and opinions all please me ; he wants nothing but a 
little more liveliness, and that> if he marry prudently, his 
wife may teach him. I thought him very sly ; he hardly 
ever mentioned your name. But slyness seems the 
fashion. Pray forgive me, if I have been very presuming, 
or at least do not punish me so far as to exclude me 
from P. I shall never be quite happy till I have been all 
round the park. A low phaeton with a nice little pair of 
ponies would be the very thing. But I must write no 
more. The children have been wanting me this half 
hour. 

" Yours, very sincerely, 

"M. GARDINER." 

The contents of this letter threw Elizabeth into a 
flutter of spirits, in which it was difficult to determine 
whether pleasure or pain bore the greatest share. The 
vague and unsettled suspicions which uncertainty had 
produced, of what Mr. Darcy might have been doing 
to forward her sister's match which she had feared to 
encourage, as an exertion of goodness too great to be 
probable, and at the same time dreaded to be just, 
from the pain of obligation were proved beyond their 
greatest extent to be true ! He had followed them pur- 
posely to town, he had taken on himself all the trouble 
and mortification attendant on such a research ; in which 
supplication had been necessary to a woman whom he 
must abominate and despise, and where he was reduced 
to meet, frequently meet, reason with, persuade, and 



400 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

finally bribe the man whom he always most wished to 
avoid, and whose very name it was punishment to him 
to pronounce. He had done all this for a girl w r hom he 
could neither regard nor esteem. Her heart did whisper 
that he had done it for her. But it was a hope shortly 
checked by other considerations ; and she soon felt that 
even her vanity was insufficient, when required to depend 
on his affection for her, for a woman who had already 
refused him, as able to overcome a sentiment so natural as 
abhorrence against relationship with Wickham. Brother- 
in-law of Wickham ! Every kind of pride must revolt 
from the connection. He had, to be sure, done much. 
She was ashamed to think how much. But he had 
given a reason for his interference, which asked no 
extraordinary stretch of belief. It was reasonable that 
he should feel he had been wrong ; he had liberality, 
and he had the means of exercising it ; and though she 
would not place herself as his principal inducement, she 
could perhaps believe, that remaining partiality for her 
might assist his endeavours in a cause w r here her peace 
of mind must be materially concerned. It was painful, 
exceedingly painful, to know that they were under obliga- 
tions to a person who could never receive a return. They 
owed the restoration of Lydia, her character, everything 
to him. Oh, how heartily did she grieve over every 
ungracious sensation she had ever encouraged, every 
saucy speech she had ever directed towards him ! For 
herself she was humbled ; but she was proud of him,- 
proud that in a cause of compassion and honour he had 
been able to et the better of himself. She read over 

o 

her aunt's commendation of him again and again. It 
was hardly enough ; but it pleased her. She was even 
sensible of some pleasure, though mixed with regret, on 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 401 

finding how steadfastly both she and her uncle had been 
persuaded that affection and confidence subsisted between 
Mr. Darcy and herself. 

She was roused from her seat and her reflections, by 
someone's approach ; and, before she could strike into 
another path, she was overtaken by Wickham. 

" I am afraid I interrupt your solitary ramble, my dear 
sister ? " said he, as he joined her. 

" You certainly do," she replied with a smile ; " but it 
does not follow that the interruption must be unwel- 



come." 



" I should be sorry, indeed, if it were. We were always 
good friends, and now we are better." 

" True. Are the others coming out ? " 

" I do not know. Mrs. Bennet and Lydia are going in 
the carriage to Meryton. And so, my dear sister, I find, 
from our uncle and aunt, that you have actually seen 
Pemberley." 

She replied in the affirmative. 

" I almost envy you the pleasure, and yet I believe it 
would be too much for me, or else I could take it in my 
way to Newcastle. And you saw the old housekeeper, I 
suppose ? Poor Reynolds, she was always very fond of 
me. But of course she did not mention my name to 
you." 

" Yes, she did." 

" And what did she say ? '' 

" That you were gone into the army, and she was 
afraid had not turned out well. At such a distance as 
that, you know, things are strangely misrepresented." 

" Certainly," he replied, biting his lips. Elizabeth 
hoped she had silenced him ; but he soon afterwards 
said ; - 

D D 



4O2 PRIDE AXD PREJUDICE. 

" I was surprised to see Darcy in town last month. 
\Ye passed each other several times. I wonder what he 
can be doing there." 

" Perhaps preparing for his marriage with Miss de 
Bourgh," said Elizabeth. "It must be something par- 
ticular to take him there at this time of vear." 

j 

" Undoubtedly. Did vou see him while vou were at 

* * j 

Lambton ? I thought I understood from the Gardiners 
that YOU had." 

d 

" Yes ; he introduced us to his sister." 
" And do you like her ? " 
" Yen- much." 

f 

" I have heard, indeed, that she is uncommonly im- 
proved within this year or two. \Yhen I last saw her, 
she was not very promising. I am very glad you liked 
her. I hope she will turn out well." 

" I dare sav she will ; she has &ot over the most trvinsr 

* o ^ o 



age." 



" Did you go by the village of Kympton ? " 

" I do not recollect that we did." 

" I mention it because it is the living which I ousjlit to 

o O 

have had. A most delightful place ! Excellent parson- 
age-house ! It would have suited me in even- respect." 
" How should you have liked making sermons ? " 
" Exceedingly well. I should have considered it as 

o * 

part of my duty, and the exertion would soon have been 
nothing. One ought not to repine ; but, to be sure, it 
would have been such a thing for me ! The quiet, the 
retirement of such a life, would have answered all my 
ideas of happiness ! But it was not to be. Did you ever 
hear Darcy mention the circumstance when you were in 
Kent ? " 

" I Iiai'c heard from authority, which I thought as good, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 403 

that it was left you conditionally only, and at the will of 
the present patron." 

" You have ! Yes, there was something in that ; I 
told you so from the first, you may remember." 

" I did hear, too, that there was a time when sermon- 
making was not so palatable to you as it seems to be at 
present ; that you actually declared your resolution of 
never taking orders, and that the business had been 
compromised accordingly." 

" You did ! and it was not wholly without foundation. 
You may remember what I told you on that point, when 
first we talked of it." 

They were now almost at the door of the house, for 
she had walked fast to get rid of him ; and unwilling, 
for her sister's sake, to provoke him, she only said in 
reply, with a good-humoured smile, 

" Come, Mr. Wickham, we are brother and sister, you 
know. Do not let us quarrel about the past In future, 
I hope we shall be always of one mind." 

She held out her hand : he kissed it with affectionate 
gallantry, though he hardly knew how to look, and they 
entered the house. 







T a 



rcy w 



tfi 




CHAPTER LIU. 

R. WICKHAM was so perfectly satis- 
fied with this conversation, that he 
never again distressed himself, or 
provoked his dear sister Elizabeth, 
by introducing the subject of it ; 
and she was pleased to find that she 
had said enough to keep him quiet. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 405 

The day of his and Lydia's departure soon came ; and 
Mrs. Bennet was forced to submit to a separation, which, 
as her husband by no means entered into' her scheme of 
their all going to Newcastle, was likely to continue at 
least a twelvemonth. 

" Oh, my dear Lydia," she cried, " when shall we meet 
again ? " 

" Oh, Lord ! I don't know. Not these two or three 
years, perhaps." 

" Write to me very often, my dear." 

" As often as I can. But you know married women 
have never much time for writing. My sisters may 
write to me. They will have nothing else to do." 

Mr. Wickham's adieus were much more affectionate 
than his wife's. He smiled, looked handsome, and said 
many pretty things. 

" He is as fine a fellow," said Mr. Bennet, as soon 
as they were out of the house, " as ever I saw. He 
simpers, and smirks, and makes love to us all. I am 
prodigiously proud of him. I defy even Sir William 
Lucas himself to produce a more valuable son-in-law." 

The loss of her daughter made Mrs. Bennet very dull 
for several days. 

" I often think," said she, " that there is nothing so bad 
as parting with one's friends, One seems so forlorn with- 
out them." 

" This is the consequence, you see, madam, of marrying 
a daughter," said Elizabeth. " It must make you better 
satisfied that your other four are single." 

" It is no such thing. Lydia does not leave me because 
she is married ; but only because her husband's regiment 
happens to be so far off. If that had been nearer, she 
would not have gone so soon. ;; 



406 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

But the spiritless condition which this event threw her 
into was shortly relieved, and her mind opened again to 
the agitation of hope, by an article of news which then 
began to be in circulation. The housekeeper at Nether- 
field had received orders to prepare for the arrival of her 
master, who was coming down in a day or two, to shoot 
there for several weeks. Mrs. Bennet was quite in the 
fidgets. She looked at Jane, and smiled, and shook her 
head, by turns. 

" Well, well, and so Mr. Bingley is coming down, sister " 
(for Mrs. Philips first brought her the news). " Well, so 
much the better. Not that I care about it, though. He 
is nothing to us, you know, and I am sure I never want 
to see him again. But, however, he is very welcome to 
come to Netherfield, if he likes it. And who knows what 
may happen ? But that is nothing to us. You know, 
sister, we agreed long ago never to mention a word about 
it. And so, it is quite certain he is coming ? " 

" You may depend on it," replied the other, " for Mrs. 
Nichols was in Meryton last night : I saw her passing 
by, and went out myself on purpose to know the truth 
of it ; and she told me that it was certainly true. He 
comes down on Thursday, at the latest, very likely on 
Wednesday. She was going to the butcher's, she told 
me, on purpose to order in some meat on Wednesday, 
and she has got three couple of ducks just fit to be 
killed." 

Miss Bennet had not been able to hear of his coming 
without changing colour. It was many months since she 
had mentioned his name to Elizabeth ; but now, as soon 
as they were alone together, she said, 

" I saw you look at me to-day, Lizzy, when my aunt 
told us of the present report ; and I know I appeared 



TRIBE AND PREJUDICE. 407 

distressed ; but don't imagine it was from any silly cause. 
I was only confused for the moment, because I felt that 
I should be looked at. I do assure you that the news 
does not affect me either with pleasure or pain. I am 
glad of one thing, that he comes alone ; because we shall 
see the less of him. Not that I am afraid of myself, but 
I dread other people's remarks." 

Elizabeth did not know what to make of it. Had she 
not seen him in Derbyshire, she might have supposed him 
capable of coming there with no other view than what 
was acknowledged ; but she still thought him partial to 
Jane, and she wavered as to the greater probability of his 
coming there with his friend's permission, or being bold 
enough to come without it. 

" Yet it is hard," she sometimes thought, " that this 
poor man cannot come to a house, which he has legally 
hired, without raising all this speculation ! I will leave 
him to himself." 

In spite of what her sister declared, and really believed 
to be her feelings, in the expectation of his arrival, Eliza- 
beth could easily perceive that her spirits were affected 
by it. They were more disturbed, more unequal, than 
she had often seen them. 

The subject which had been so warmly canvassed 
between their parents, about a twelvemonth ago, was 
now brought forward again. 

" As soon as ever Mr. Bingley comes, my dear," said 
Mrs. Bennet, " you will wait on him, of course." 

" No, no. You forced me into visiting him last year, 
and promised, if I went to see him, he should marry one 
of my daughters. But it ended in nothing, and I will not 
be sent on a fool's errand again." 

His wife represented to him how absolutely necessary 



408 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

such an attention would be from all the neighbouring 
gentlemen, on his returning to Netherfield. 

"'Tis an etiquette I despise," said he. "If he wants 
our society, let him seek it. He knows where we live. I 
will not spend my hours in running after my neighbours 
every time they go away and come back again." 

" Well, all I know is, that it will be abominably rude if 
you do not wait on him. But, however, that shan't pre- 
vent my asking him to dine here, I am determined. We 
must have Mrs. Long and the Gouldings soon. That 
will make thirteen with ourselves, so there will be just 
room at table for him." 

Consoled by this resolution, she was the better able to 
bear her husband's incivility ; though it was very mortify- 
ing to know that her neighbours might all see Mr. 
Bingley, in consequence of it, before they did. As the 
day of his arrival drew near, 

" I begin to be sorry that he comes at all," said Jane to 
her sister. " It would be nothing ; I could see him with 
perfect indifference ; but I can hardly bear to hear it thus 
perpetually talked of. My mother means well ; but she 
does not know, no one can know, how much I suffer 
from what she says. Happy shall I be when his stay at 
Netherfield is over ! " 

" I wish I could say anything to comfort you," replied 
Elizabeth ; " but it is wholly out of my power. You must 
feel it ; and the usual satisfaction of preaching patience 
to a sufferer is denied me, because you have always so 
much." 

Mr. Bingley arrived. Mrs. Bennet, through the assis- 
tance of servants, contrived to have the earliest tidings of 
it, that the period of anxiety and fretfulness on her side 
be as long as it could. She counted the days that 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 409 

must intervene before their invitation could be sent 
hopeless of seeing him before. But on the third morning 
after his arrival in Hertfordshire, she saw him from her 
dressing-room window enter the paddock, and ride to- 
wards the house. 

Her daughters were eagerly called to partake of her 
joy. Jane resolutely kept her place at the table ; but 
Elizabeth, to satisfy her mother, went to the window- 
she looked she saw Mr. Darcy with him, and sat down 
again by her sister. 

" There is a gentleman with him, mamma," said Kitty ; 
" who can it be ? " 

" Some acquaintance or other, my dear, I suppose ; I 
am sure I do not know." 

" La ! " replied Kitty, " it looks just like that man that 
used to be with him before. Mr. what's his name that 
tall, proud man." 

" Good gracious ! Mr. Darcy ! and so it does, I vow. 
Well, any friend of Mr. Bingley's will always be welcome 
here, to be sure ; but else I must say that I hate the very 
sight of him." 

Jane looked at Elizabeth with surprise and concern. 
She knew but little of their meeting in Derbyshire, and 
therefore felt for the awkwardness which must attend 
her sister, in seeing him almost for the first time after 
receiving his explanatory letter. Both sisters were un- 
comfortable enough. Each felt for the other, and of 
course for themselves ; and their mother talked on of her 
dislike of Mr. Darcy, and her resolution to be civil to 
him only as Mr. Bingley's friend, without being heard by 
either of them. But Elizabeth had sources of uneasiness 
which could not yet be suspected by Jane, to whom she 
had never yet had courage to show Mrs. Gardiner's 



410 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

letter, or to relate her own change of sentiment towards 
him. To Jane, he could be only a man whose proposals 
she had refused, and whose merits she had undervalued ; 
but to her own more extensive information, he was the 
person to whom the whole family were indebted for the 
first of benefits, and whom she regarded herself with an 
interest, if not quite so tender, at least as reasonable and 
just, as what Jane felt for Bingley. Her astonishment at 
his coming at his coming to Netherfield, to Longbourn, 
and voluntarily seeking her again, was almost equal to 
what she had known on first witnessing his altered 
behaviour in Derbyshire. 

The colour which had been driven from her face 
returned for half a minute with an additional glow, 
and a smile of delight added lustre to her eyes, as she 
thought for that space of time that his affection and 
wishes must still be unshaken ; but she would not be 
secure. 

" Let me first see how he behaves," said she ; " it will 
then be early enough for expectation." 

She sat intently at work, striving to be composed, and 
without daring to lift up her eyes, till anxious curiosity 
carried them to the face of her sister as the servant was 
approaching the door. Jane looked a little paler ih&\ 
usual, but more sedate than Elizabeth had expected. 
On the gentlemen's appearing, her colour increased ; yet 
she received them with tolerable ease, and with a pro- 
priety of behaviour equally free from any symptom of 
resentment, or any unnecessary complaisance. 

Elizabeth said as little to either as civility would allow, 
and sat down again to her work, with an eagerness 
which it did not often command. She had ventured 
only one glance at Darcy. He looked serious as usual ; 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 411 

and, she thought, more as he had been used to look 
in Hertfordshire, than as she had seen him at Pemberley. 
But, perhaps, he could not in her mother's presence 
be what he was before her uncle and aunt. It was a 
painful, but not an improbable, conjecture. 

Bingley she had likewise seen for an instant, and in 
that short period saw him looking both pleased and 
embarrassed. He was received by Mrs. Bennet with 
a degree of civility which made her two daughters 
ashamed, especially when contrasted with the cold and 
ceremonious politeness of her courtesy and address of 
his friend. 

Elizabeth particularly, who knew that her mother 
owed to the latter the preservation of her favourite 
daughter from irremediable infamy, was hurt and dis- 
tressed to a most painful degree by a distinction so ill 
applied. 

Darcy, after inquiring of her how Mr. and Mrs. Gar- 
diner did a question which she could not answer without 
confusion said scarcely anything. He was not seated 
by her : perhaps that was the reason of his silence ; but 
it had not been so in Derbyshire. There he had talked 
to her friends when he could not to herself. But now 
several minutes elapsed, without bringing the sound 
of his voice ; and when occasionally, unable to resist the 
impulse of curiosity, she raised her eyes to his face, she 
as often found him looking at Jane as at herself, and 
frequently on no object but the ground. More thought- 
fulness and less anxiety to please, than when they last 
met, were plainly expressed. She was disappointed, and 
angry with herself for being so. 

" Could I expect it to be otherwise ? " said she. " Yet 
why did he come ? " 



412 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

She was in no humour for conversation with anyone 
but himself; and to him she had hardly courage to 
speak. 

She inquired after his sister, but could do no more. 

" It is a long time, Mr. Bingley, since you went away," 
said Mrs. Bennet. 

He readily agreed to it. 

" I began to be afraid you would never come back 
again. People did say, you meant to quit the place 
entirely at Michaelmas ; but, however, I hope it is not 
true. A great many changes have happened in the 
neighbourhood since you went away. Miss Lucas is 
married and settled : and one of my own daughters. 
I suppose you have heard of it ; indeed, you must have 
seen it in the papers. It was in the 'Times' and the 
' Courier,' I know ; though it was not put in as it ought 
to be. It was only said, ' Lately, George Wickham, 
Esq., to Miss Lydia Bennet,' without there being a 
syllable said of her father, or the place where she lived, 
or anything. It was my brother Gardiner's drawing up, 
too, and I wonder how he came to make such an awkward 
business of it. Did you see it ? " 

Bingley replied that he did, and made his congratula- 
tions. Elizabeth dared not lift up her eyes. How Mr. 
Darcy looked, therefore, she could not tell. 

" It is a delightful thing, to be sure, to have a daughter 
well married," continued her mother ; " but at the same 
time, Mr. Bingley, it is very hard to have her taken 
away from me. They are gone down to Newcastle, a 
place quite northward it seems, and there they are to 
stay, I do not know how long. His regiment is there ; 

for I suppose you have heard of his leaving the shire, 

and of his being gone into the Regulars. Thank heaven ! 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 413 

he has some friends, though, perhaps, not so many as he 
deserves." 

Elizabeth, who knew this to be levelled at Mr. Darcy, 
was in such misery of shame that she could hardly keep 
her seat. It drew from her, however, the exertion of 
speaking, which nothing else had so effectually done 
before ; and she asked Bingley whether he meant to 
make any stay in the country at present. A few weeks, 
he believed. 

" When you have killed all your own birds, Mr. Bingley,'* 
said her mother, " I beg you will come here and shoot as 
many as you please on Mr. Bennet's manor. I am sure 
he will be vastly happy to oblige you, and will save all 
the best of the coveys for you." 

Elizabeth's misery increased at such unnecessary, such 
officious attention ! Were the same fair prospect to arise 
at present, as had flattered them a year ago, everything, 
she was persuaded, would be hastening to the same 
vexatious conclusion. At that instant she felt, that years 
of happiness could not make Jane or herself amends for 
moments of such painful confusion. 

" The first wish of my heart," said she to herself, " is 
never more to be in company with either of them. Their 
society can afford no pleasure that will atone for such 
wretchedness as this ! Let me never see either one or the 
other again ! " 

Yet the misery, for which years of happiness were to 
offer no compensation, received soon afterwards material 
relief, from observing how much the beauty of her sister 
rekindled the admiration of her former lover. When 
first he came in, he had spoken to her but little, but 
every five minutes seemed to be giving her more of 
his attention. He found her as handsome as she had 



4H PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

been last year ; as good-natured, and as unaffected, 
though not quite so chatty. Jane was anxious that no 
difference should be perceived in her at all, and was 
really persuaded that she talked as much as ever ; but 
her mind was so busily engaged, that she did not always 
know when she was silent. 

When the gentlemen rose to go away, Mrs. Bennet 
was mindful of her intended civility, and they were 
invited and engaged to dine at Longbourn in a few 
days' time. 

" You are quite a visit in my debt, Mr. Bingley," she 
added ; " for when you went to town last winter, you 
promised to take a family dinner with us as soon as you 
returned. I have not forgot, you see ; and I assure 
you I was very much disappointed that you did not 
come back and keep your engagement." 

Bingley looked a little silly at this reflection, and said 
something of his concern at having been prevented bv 
business. They then went away. 

Mrs. Bennet had been strongly inclined to ask them 
to stay and dine there that day ; but, though she always 
kept a very good table, she did not think anything less 
than two courses could be good enough for a man on 
whom she had such anxious designs, or satisfy the 
appetite and pride of one who had ten thousand a year. 



fts 

M 

i 




oar).? 



CHAPTER LIV. 

S soon as they were gone, Elizabeth 
walked out to recover her spirits ; or, 
in other words, to dxvell without in- 
terruption on those subjects which 
must deaden them more. Mr. Darcy's 
behaviour astonished and vexed her. 

11 Why, if he came only to be 
silent, grave, and indifferent," said she, " did he come 
at all ? " 

She could settle it in no way that gave her pleasure. 
" He could be still amiable, still pleasing to my uncle 
and aunt, when he was in town ; and why not to me ? 




416 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

If he fears me, why come hither? If he no longer cares 
for me, why silent ? Teasing, teasing man ! I will think 
no more about him." 

Her resolution was for a short time involuntarily kept 
by the approach of her sister, who joined her with a 
cheerful look which showed her better satisfied with 
their visitors than Elizabeth. 

" Now," said she, " that this first meeting is over, I feel 
perfectly easy. I know my own strength, and I shall 
never be embarrassed again by his coming. I am glad 
he dines here on Tuesday. It will then be publicly seen, 
that on both sides we meet only as common and in- 
different acquaintance." 

" Yes, very indifferent, indeed," said Elizabeth, laugh- 
ingly. " Oh, Jane ! take care." 

" My dear Lizzy, you cannot think me so weak as 
to be in danger now." 

" I think you are in very great danger of making him 
as much in love with you as ever." 

They did not see the gentlemen again till Tuesday ; 
and Mrs. Bennet, in the meanwhile, was giving way to 
all the happy schemes which the good-humour and 
common politeness of Bingley, in half an hour's visit, 
had revived. 

On Tuesday there was a large party assembled at 
Longbourn ; and the two who were most anxiously 
expected, to the credit of their punctuality as sportsmen, 
were in very good time. When they repaired to the 
dining-room, Elizabeth eagerly watched to see whether 
Bingley would take the place which, in all their former 
parties, had belonged to him, by her sister. Her 
prudent mother, occupied by the same ideas, forbore to 
invite him to sit by herself. On entering the room, he 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 417 

seemed to hesitate ; but Jane happened to look round, 
and happened to smile : it was decided. He placed him- 
self by her. 

Elizabeth, with a triumphant sensation, looked towards 
his friend. He bore it with noble indifference ; and she 
would have imagined that Bingley had received his 
sanction to be happy, had she not seen his eyes likewise 
turned towards Mr. Darcy, with an expression of half- 
laughing alarm. 

His behaviour to her sister was such during dinner- 
time as showed an admiration of her, which, though more 
guarded than formerly, persuaded Elizabeth, that, if left 
wholly to himself, Jane's happiness, and his own, would 
be speedily secured. Though she dared not depend 
upon the consequence, she yet received pleasure from 
observing his behaviour. It crave her all the animation 

o <~> 

that her spirits could boast ; for she was in no cheerful 
humour. Mr. Darcy was almost as far from her as the 
table could divide them. He was on one side of her 
mother. She knew how little such a situation would give 
pleasure to either, or make either appear to advantage. 
She was not near enough to hear any of their discourse ; 
but she could see how seldom they spoke to each other, 
and how formal and cold \vas their manner whenever 
they did. Her mother's ungraciousness made the 
sense of what they owed him more painful to Eliza- 
beth's mind ; and she would, at times, have given 
anything to be privileged to tell him, that his kindness 
was neither unknown nor unfelt by the whole of the 
family. 

She was in hopes that the evening would afford some 
opportunity of bringing them together ; that the whole 
of the visit would not pass away without enabling them 

E E 



41 8 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

to enter into something more of conversation, than the 
mere ceremonious salutation attending his entrance. 
Anxious and uneasy, the period which passed in the 
drawing-room before the gentlemen came, was wearisome 
and dull to a degree that almost made her uncivil. She 
looked forward to their entrance as the point on which 
all her chance of pleasure for the evening must depend. 

" If he does not come to me, then" said she, " I shall 
give him up for ever." 

The gentlemen came ; and she thought he looked as if 
he would have answered her hopes ; but, alas ! the ladies 
had crowded round the table, where Miss Bennet was 
making tea, and Elizabeth pouring out the coffee, in so 
close a confederacy, that there was not a single vacancy 
near her which would admit of a chair. And on the 
gentlemen's approaching, one of the girls moved closer 
to her than ever, and said, in a whisper, 

" The men shan't come and part us, I am determined. 
We want none of them ; do we ? " 

Darcy had walked away to another part of the room. 
She followed him with her eyes, envied everyone to whom 
he spoke, had scarcely patience enough to help anybody 
to coffee, and then was enraged against herself for being 
so silly ! 

" A man who has once been refused ! How could I 
ever be foolish enough to expect a renewal of his love ? 
Is there one among the sex who would not protest 
against such a weakness as a second proposal to the 
same woman ? There is no indignity so abhorrent to their 
feelings." 

She was a little revived, however, by his bringing back 
his coffee-cup himself; and she seized the opportunity of 
saying, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 419 

" Is your sister at Pemberley still ? " 
" Yes ; she will remain there till Christmas." 
" And quite alone ? Have all her friends left her r " 
" Mrs. Annesley is with her. The others have been 
gone on to Scarborough these three weeks." 

She could think of nothing more to say ; but if he 
wished to converse with her, he might have better success. 
He stood by her, however, for some minutes, in silence ; 
and, at last, on the young lady's whispering to Elizabeth 
again, he walked away. 

When the tea things were removed, and the card 
tables placed, the ladies all rose ; and Elizabeth was then 
hoping to be soon joined by him, when all her views 
were overthrown, by seeing him fall a victim to her 
mother's rapacity for whist players, and in a few moments 
after seated with the rest of the party. She now lost 
every expectation of pleasure. They were confined for 
the evening at different tables ; and she had nothing to 
hope, but that his eyes were so often turned towards her 
side of the room, as to make him play as unsuccessfully 
as herself. 

Mrs. Bennet had designed to keep the two Netherfield 
gentlemen to supper ; but their carnage was, unluckily, 
ordered before any of the others, and she had no oppor- 
tunity of detaining them. 

" Well, girls," said she, as soon as they were left to 
themselves, " what say you to the day ? I think every- 
thing has passed off uncommonly well, I assure you. 
The dinner was as well dressed as any I ever saw. The 
venison was roasted to a turn and everybody said, they 
never saw so fat a haunch. The soup was fifty times 
better than what we had at the Lucases' last week ; and 
even Mr. Darcy acknowledged that the partridges were 



420 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



remarkably well done ; and I suppose he has two or 
three French cooks at least. And, my dear Jane, I 
never saw you look in greater beauty. Mrs. Long said 
so too, for I asked her whether you did not. And what 




* dang ancT fa 



~ntecej. 



do you think she said besides ? " Ah ! Mrs. Bennet, 
we shall have her at Netherfield at last ! ' She did, 
indeed. I do think Mrs. Long is as good a creature as 
ever lived and her nieces are very pretty behaved girls, 
and not at all handsome : I like them prodigiously." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 421 

Mrs. Bennet, in short, was in very great spirits : she 
had seen enough of Bingley's behaviour to Jane to be 
convinced that she would get him at last ; and her 
expectations of advantage to her family, when in a 
happy humour, were so far beyond reason, that she was 
quite disappointed at not seeing him there again the next 
clay, to make his proposals. 

" It has been a very agreeable day," said Miss Bennet 
to Elizabeth. " The party seemed so well selected, so 
suitable one with the other. I hope we may often meet 
again." 

Elizabeth smiled. 

" Lizzy, you must not do so. You must not suspect 
me. It mortifies me. I assure you that I have now learnt 
to enjoy his conversation as an agreeable and sensible 
young man without having a wish beyond it. I am 
perfectly satisfied, from what his manners now are, that 
he never had any design of engaging my affection. It is 
only that he is blessed with greater sweetness of address, 
and a stronger desire of generally pleasing, than any 
other man." 

" You are very cruel," said her sister, " you will not let 
me smile, and are provoking me to it every moment." 

" How hard it is in some cases to be believed ! And 
how impossible in others ! But why should you wish to 
persuade me that I feel more than I acknowledge ? " 

" That is a question which I hardly know how to 
answer. We all love to instruct, though we can teach 
only what is not worth knowing. Forgive me ; and if 
you persist in indifference, do not make me your con- 
fidante." 





CHAPTER LV. 

? FEW days after this visit, Mr. Bingley 
called again, and alone. His friend had 
left him that morning for London, but 
was to return home in ten days' time. 
He sat with them above an hour, and was 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 423 

in remarkably good spirits. Mrs. Bennet invited him to 
dine with them ; but, with many expressions of concern, 
he confessed himself engaged elsewhere. 

" Next time you call," said she, " I hope we shall be 
more lucky." 

He should be particularly happy at any time, etc., etc. ; 
and if she would give him leave, would take an early 
opportunity of waiting on them. 

" Can you come to-morrow ? " 

Yes, he had no engagement at all for to-morrow ; and 
her invitation was accepted with alacrity. 

He came, and in such very good time, that the ladies 
were none of them dressed. In ran Mrs. Bennet to her 
daughters' room, in her dressing-gown, and with her hair 
half finished, crying out, 

" My dear Jane, make haste and hurry down. He is 
come Mr. Bingley is come. He is, indeed. Make 
haste, make haste. Here, Sarah, come to Miss Bennet 
this moment, and help her on with her gown. Never 
mind Miss Lizzy's hair." 

" We will be down as soon as we can," said Jane ; " but 
I dare say Kitty is forwarder than either of us, for she 
went upstairs half an hour ago." 

" Oh ! hang Kitty ! what has she to do with it ? Come, 
be quick, be quick ! where is your sash, my dear ? " 

But whi-i her mother was gone, Jane would not be 
prevailed on to go down without one of her sisters. 

The same anxiety to get them by themselves was 
visible again in the evening. After tea, Mr. Bennet retired 
to the library, as was his custom, and Mary went upstairs 
to her instrument. Two obstacles of the five being 
thus removed, Mrs. Bennet sat looking and winking at 
Elizabeth and Catherine for a considerable time, without 



424 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

making any impression on them. Elizabeth would not 
observe her ; and when at last Kitty did, she very inno- 
cently said, " What is the matter, mamma ? What do 
you keep winking at me for ? What am I to do ? " 

" Nothing, child, nothing. I did not wink at you." 
She then sat still five minutes longer ; but unable to waste 
such a precious occasion, she suddenly got up, and saying 
to Kitty ,- 

" Come here, my love, I want to speak to you," took her 
out of the room. Jane instantly gave a look at Elizabeth 
which spoke her distress at such premeditation, and her 
entreaty that she would not give in to it. In a few minutes, 
Mrs. Bennet half opened the door and called out, 

" 'Lizzy, my dear, I want to speak with you." 

Elizabeth was forced to go. 

" \Ve may as well leave them by themselves, you know," 
said her mother as soon as she was in the hall. " Kitty 
and I are going upstairs to sit in my dressing-room." 

Elizabeth made no attempt to reason with her mother, 
but remained quietly in the hall till she and Kitty were 
out of sight, then returned into the drawing-room. 

Mrs. Bennet's schemes for this day were ineffectual 
Bingley was everything that was charming, except the 
professed lover of her daughter. His ease and cheerful- 
ness rendered him a most agreeable addition to their 
evening party ; and he bore with the ill-judge J officious- 
ness of the mother, and heard all her silly remarks with 
a forbearance and command of countenance particularly 
grateful to the daughter. 

He scarcely needed an invitation to stay supper ; and 
before he went away an engagement was formed, chiefly 
through his own and Mrs. Bennet's means, for his coming 
next morning to shoot with her husband. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 425 

After this day, Jane said no more of her indifference. 
Not a word passed between the sisters concerning Bingley ; 
but Elizabeth went to bed in the happy belief that all 
must speedily be concluded, unless Mr. Darcy returned 
within the stated time. Seriously, however, she felt 
tolerably persuaded that all this must have taken place 
with that gentleman's concurrence. 

Bingley was punctual to his appointment ; and he and 
Mr. Bennet spent the morning together, as had been 
agreed on. The latter was much more agreeable than 
his companion expected. There was nothing of presump- 
tion or folly in Bingley that could provoke his ridicule, or 
disgust him into silence ; and he was more communicative, 
and less eccentric, than the other had ever seen him. 
Bingley of course returned with him to dinner ; and in 
the evening Mrs. Bennet's invention was again at work to 
get everybody away from him and her daughter. Eliza- 
beth, who had a letter to write, went into the breakfast- 
room for that purpose soon after tea ; for as the others 
were all going to sit down to cards, she could not be 
wanted to counteract her mother's schemes. 

But on her returning to the drawing-room, when her 
letter was finished, she saw, to her infinite surprise, there 
was reason to fear that her mother had been too inge- 
nious for her. On opening the door, she perceived her 
sister and Bingley standing together over the hearth, as 
if engaged in earnest conversation ; and had this led to 
no suspicion, the faces of both, as they hastily turned 
round and moved away from each other, would have told 
it all. Their situation was awkward enough ; but Jicrs 
she thought was still worse. Not a syllable was uttered 
by either ; and Elizabeth was on the point of going away 
again, when Bingley, who as well as the other had sat 



426 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

down, suddenly rose, and, whispering a few words to her 
sister, ran out of the room. 

Jane could have no reserves from Elizabeth, where 
confidence would give pleasure ; and, instantly embracing 
her, acknowledged, with the liveliest emotion, that she 
was the happiest creature in the world. 

" Tis too much ! " she added, " by far too much. 
I do not deserve it. Oh, why is not everybody as 
happy ? " 

Elizabeth's congratulations were given with a sin- 
cerity, a warmth, a delight, which words could but poorly 
express. Every sentence of kindness was a fresh source 
of happiness to Jane. But she would not allow herself 
to stay with her sister, or say half that remained to be 
said, for the present. 

" I must go instantly to my mother," she cried. " I 
would not on any account trifle with her affectionate 
solicitude, or allow her to hear it from anyone but myself. 
He is gone to my father already. Oh, Lizzy, to know 
that what I have to relate will give such pleasure to all 
my dear family ! how shall I bear so much happiness ? ''' 

She then hastened away to her mother, who had pur- 
posely broken up the card-party, and was sitting upstairs 
with Kitty. 

Elizabeth, who was left by herself, now smiled at the 
rapidity and ease with which an affair \vas finally settled, 
that had given them so many previous months of suspense 
and vexation. 

" And this," said she, " is the end of all his friend's 
anxious circumspection ! of all his sister's falsehood and 
contrivance ! the happiest, wisest, and most reasonable 
end ! " 

In a few minutes she was joined by Bingley, whose 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 427 

conference with her father had been short and to the 
purpose. 

"Where is your sister?" said he hastily, as he opened 
the door. 

" With my mother upstairs. She will be down in a 
moment, I dare say." 

He then shut the door, and, coming up to her, claimed 
the good wishes and affection of a sister. Elizabeth 
honestly and heartily expressed her delight in the prospect 
of their relationship. They shook hands with great cor- 
diality ; and then, till her sister came down, she had to 
listen to all he had to say of his own happiness, and of 
Jane's perfections ; and in spite of his being a lover, 
Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity 
to be rationally founded, because they had for basis the 
excellent understanding and super-excellent disposition 
of Jane, and a general similarity of feeling and taste 
between her and himself. 

It was an evening of no common delight to them all ; 
the satisfaction of Miss Bennet's mind gave such a glow 
of sweet animation to her face, as made her look hand- 
somer than ever. Kitty simpered and smiled, and hoped 
her turn was coming soon. Mrs. Bennet could not give 
her consent, or speak her approbation in terms warm 
enough to satisfy her feelings, though she talked to Bingley 
of nothing else, for half an hour ; and when Mr. Bennet 
joined them at supper, his voice and manner plainly 
showed how really happy he was. 

Not a word, however, passed his lips in allusion to it, 
till their visitor took his leave for the night ; but as soon 
as he was gone, he turned to his daughter and said,- 

u Jane, I congratulate you. You will be a very happy 



woman.' 



428 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Jane went to him instantly, kissed him, and thanked 
him for his goodness. 

" You are a good girl," he replied, " and I have great 
pleasure in thinking you will be so happily settled. I 
have not a doubt of your doing very well together. Your 
tempers are by no means unlike. You are each of you so 
complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on ; so easy, 
that every servant will cheat you ; and so generous, that 
you will always exceed your income." 

" I hope not so. Imprudence or thoughtlessness in 
money matters would be unpardonable in me" 

* Exceed their income ! My dear Mr. Bennet," cried 
his wife, "what are you talking of? Why, he has four 
or five thousand a year, and very likely more." Then 
addressing her daughter, " Oh, my dear, dear Jane, I am 
so happy ! I am sure I shan't get a wink of sleep all 
night. I knew how it would be. I always said it must 
be so, at last. I was sure you could not be so beautiful 
for nothing ! I remember, as soon as ever I saw him, 
when he first came into Hertfordshire last year, I thought 
how likely it was that you should come together. Oh, 
he is the handsomest young man that ever was seen ! " 

Wickham, Lydia, were all forgotten. Jane was beyond 
competition her favourite child. At that moment she 
cared for no other. Her younger sisters soon began to 
make interest with her for objects of happiness which 
she might in future be able to dispense. 

Mary petitioned for the use of the library at Nether- 
field ; and Kitty begged very hard for a few balls there 
every winter. 

Bingley, from this time, was of course a daily visitor 
at Longbourn ; coming frequently before breakfast, and 
always remaining till after supper ; unless when some 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 429 

barbarous neighbour, who could not be enough detested, 
had given him an invitation to dinner, which he thought 
himself obliged to accept. 

Elizabeth had now but little time for conversation 
with her sister ; for while he was present Jane had no 
attention to bestow on anyone else : but she found 
herself considerably useful to both of them, in those 
hours of separation that must sometimes occur. In the 
absence of Jane, he always attached himself to Elizabeth 
for the pleasure of talking of her ; and when Bingley 
was gone, Jane constantly sought the same means of 
relief. 

" He has made me so happy," said she, one evening, 
" by telling me that he was totally ignorant of my being 
in town last spring ! I had not believed it possible." 

" I suspected as much," replied Elizabeth. " But how 
did he account for it ? " 

" It must have been his sisters' doing. They were 
certainly no friends to his acquaintance with me, which 
I cannot wonder at, since he might have chosen so much 
more advantageously in many respects. But when they 
see, as I trust they will, that their brother is happy 
with me, they will learn to be contented, and we shall be 
on good terms again : though we can never be what we 
once were to each other." 

" That is the most unforgiving speech," said Elizabeth, 
u that I ever heard you utter. Good girl ! It would vex 
me, indeed, to see you again the dupe of Miss Bingley's 
pretended regard." 

" Would you believe it, Lizzy, that when he went to 
town last November he really loved me, and nothing 
but a persuasion of my being indiffeVent would have 
prevented his coming down again ? " 



430 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" He made a little mistake, to be sure ; but it is to 
the credit of his modesty." 

This naturally introduced a panegyric from Jane on 
his diffidence, and the little value he put on his own 
good qualities. 

Elizabeth was pleased to find that he had not betrayed 
the interference of his friend ; for, though Jane had the 
most generous and forgiving heart in the world, she 
knew it was a circumstance which must prejudice her 
against him. 

" I am certainly the most fortunate creature that ever 
existed ! " cried Jane. " Oh, 'Lizzy, why am I thus 
singled from my family, and blessed above them all ? If 
I could but see you as happy ! If there were but such 
another man for you ! " 

" If you were to give me fort}- such men I never could 
be so happy as you. Till I have your disposition, your 
goodness, I never can have your happiness. No, no, 
let me shift for myself; and, perhaps, if I have very 
good luck, I may meet with another Mr. Collins in time." 

The situation of affairs in the Longbourn family could 
not be long a secret. Mrs. Bennet was privileged to 
whisper it to Mrs. Philips, and she ventured, without 
any permission, to do the same by all her neighbours in 
Meryton. 

The Bennets were speedily pronounced to be the 
luckiest family in the world ; though only a few weeks 
before, when Lydia had first run away, they had been 
generally proved to be marked out for misfortune. 




CHAPTER LVI. 




NE morning, about a week after 
Bingley's engagement with Jane 
had been formed, as he and the 
females of the family were sitting 
together in the dining-room, their 
attention was suddenly drawn to 
the window by the sound of a car- 
riage ; and they perceived a chaise 
and four driving up the lawn. It was too early in the 
morning for visitors ; and besides, the equipage did not 
answer to that of any of their neighbours. The horses 
were post ; and neither the carriage, nor the livery of 
the servant who preceded it, were familiar to them. As 



432 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

it was certain, however, that somebody was coming, 
Bingley instantly prevailed on Miss Bennet to avoid 
the confinement of such an intrusion, and walk away 
with him into the shrubbery. They both set off; and 
the conjectures of the remaining three continued, though 
with little satisfaction, till the door was thrown open, 
and their visitor entered. It was Lady Catherine de 
Bourgh. 

They were of course all intending to be surprised : 
but their astonishment was beyond their expectation ; 
and on the part of Mrs. Bennet and Kitty, though she 
was perfectly unknown to them, even inferior to what 
Elizabeth felt. 

She entered the room with an air more than usually 
ungracious, made no other reply to Elizabeth's salutation 
than a slight inclination of the head, and sat down 
without saying a word. Elizabeth had mentioned her 
name to her mother on her Ladyship's entrance, though 
no request of introduction had been made. 

Mrs. Bennet, all amazement, though flattered by having 
a guest of such high importance, received her with the 
utmost politeness. After sitting for a moment in silence, 
she said, very stiffly, to Elizabeth,- 

" I hope you are well, Miss Bennet. That lady, I 
suppose, is your mother? " 

Elizabeth replied very concisely that she was. 

" And that, I suppose, is one of your sisters ? " 

" Yes, madam," said Mrs. Bennet, delighted to speak 
to a Lady Catherine. " She is my youngest girl but 
one. My youngest of all is lately married, and my 
eldest is somewhere about the ground, walking with a 
young man, who, I believe, will soon become a part of 
the family." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 433 

" You have a very small park here," returned Lady 
Catherine, after a short silence. 

" It is nothing in comparison of Rosings, my Lady, 
I dare say ; but, I assure you, it is much larger than 
Sir William Lucas's." 

" This must be a most inconvenient sitting-room for 
the evening in summer : the windows are full west." 

Mrs. Bennet assured her that they never sat there 
after dinner ; and then added,- 

" May I take the liberty of asking your Ladyship 
whether you left Mr. and Mrs. Collins well ? " 

" Yes, very well. I saw them the night before last." 

Elizabeth now expected that she would produce a 
letter for her from Charlotte, as it seemed the only 
probable motive. for her calling. But no letter appeared, 
and she was completely puzzled. 

Mrs. Bennet, with great civility, begged her Ladyship 
to take some refreshment : but Lady Catherine very 
resolutely, and not very politely, declined eating any- 
thing ; and then, rising up, said to Elizabeth,- 

" Miss Bennet, there seemed to be a prettyish kind of 
a little wilderness on one side of your lawn. I should 
be glad to take a turn in it, if you will favour me with 
your company." 

" Go, my dear," cried her mother, " and show her 
Ladyship about the different walks. I think she will be 
pleased with the hermitage." 

Elizabeth obeyed ; and, running into her own room for 
her parasol, attended her noble guest downstairs. As 
they passed through the hall, Lady Catherine opened 
the doors into the dining-parlour and drawing-room, 
and pronouncing them, after a short survey, to be decent- 
looking rooms, walked on. 

F F 



434 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



Her carriage remained at the door, and Elizabeth saw 
that her waiting-woman was in it. They proceeded in 




\Cofyright 1.834 by George Allen.] 



silence along the gravel walk that led to the copse ; 
Elizabeth was determined to make no effort for con- 
versation with a woman who was now more than usually 



insolent and disagreeable. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 435 

" How could I ever think her like her nephew ? " said 
she, as she looked in her face. 

As soon as they entered the copse, Lady Catherine 
began in the following manner : 

u You can be at no loss, Miss Bennet, to understand 
the reason of my journey hither. Your own heart, your 
own conscience, must tell you why I come." 

Elizabeth looked with unaffected astonishment. 

" Indeed, you are mistaken, madam ; I have not been 
at all able to account for the honour of seeing you 
here." 

u Miss Bennet," replied her Ladyship, in an angry 
tone, "you ought to know that I am not to be trifled 
with. But however insincere you may choose to be, 
you shall not find me so. My character has ever been 
celebrated for its sincerity and frankness ; and in a cause 
of such moment as this, I shall certainly not depart from 
it. A report of a most alarming nature reached me two 
days ago. I was told, that not only your sister was on 
the point of being most advantageously married, but 
that you that Miss Elizabeth Bennet would, in all likeli- 
hood, be soon afterwards united to my nephew my own 
nephew, Mr. Darcy. Though I know it must be a scan- 
dalous falsehood, though I would not injure him so much 
as to suppose the truth of it possible, I instantly resolved 
on setting off for this place, that I might make my senti- 
ments known to you." 

u If you believed it impossible to be true," said Eliza- 
beth, colouring with astonishment and disdain, " I wonder 
you took the trouble of coming so far. What could your 
Ladyship propose by it ? " 

" At once to insist upon having such a report universally 
contradicted." 



436 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Your coming to Longbourn, to see me and my 
family," said Elizabeth coolly, " will be rather a con- 
firmation of it if, indeed, such a report is in existence." 

"If! do you then pretend to be ignorant of it ? 
Has it not been industriously circulated by your- 
selves ? Do you not know that such a report is spread 
abroad?" 

" I never heard that it was." 

" And can you likewise declare, that there is no founda- 
tion for it ? " 

" I do not pretend to possess equal frankness with 
your Ladyship. You may ask questions which / shall 
not choose to answer." 

" This is not to be borne. Miss Bennet, I insist on 
being satisfied. Has he, has my nephew, made you an 
offer of marriage ? " 

" Your Ladyship has declared it to be impossible." 

" It ought to be so ; it must be so, while he retains the 
use of his reason. But your arts and allurements may, 
in a moment of infatuation, have made him forget what 
he owes to himself and to all his family. You may have 
drawn him in." 

" If I have, I shall be the last person to confess it." 

" Miss Bennet, do you know who I am ? I have not 
been accustomed to such language as this. I am almost 
the nearest relation he has in the world, and am entitled 
to know all his dearest concerns." 

" But you are not entitled to know mine; nor will such 
behaviour as this ever induce me to be explicit." 

" Let me be rightly understood. This match, to which 
you have the presumption to aspire, can never take place. 
No, never. Mr. Darcy is engaged to my daughter. Now, 
what have you to say ? " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 437 

" Only this, that if he is so, you can have no reason to 
suppose he will make an offer to me." 

Lady Catherine hesitated for a moment, and then 
replied, 

" The engagement between them is of a peculiar kind, 
From their infancy, they have been intended for each 
other. It was the favourite wish of his mother, as well 
as of hers. While in their cradles we planned the union ; 
and now, at the moment when the wishes of both sisters 
would be accomplished, is their marriage to be prevented 
by a young woman of inferior birth, of no importance in 
the world, and wholly unallied to the family ? Do you 
pay no regard to the wishes of his friends to his tacit 
engagement with Miss de Bourgh ? Are you lost to 
every feeling of propriety and delicacy ? Have you not 
heard me sjy, that from his earliest hours he was destined 
for his cousin ? r ' 

" Yes ; and I had heard it before. But what is that to 
me ? If there is no other objection to my marrying your 
nephew, I shall certainly not be kept from it by knowing 
that his mother and aunt wished him to marry Miss de 
Bourgh. You both did as much as you could in planning 
the marriage. Its completion depended on others. If 
Mr. Darcy is neither by honour nor inclination confined 
to his cousin, why is not he to make another choice ? 
And if I am that choice, why may not I accept him ? " 

" Because honour, decorum, prudence nay, interest- 
forbid it. Yes, Miss Bennet, interest ; for do not expect 
to be noticed by his family or friends, if you wilfully 
act against the inclinations of all. You will be censured, 
slighted, and despised, by everyone connected with him. 
Your alliance will be a disgrace ; your name will never 
even be mentioned by any of us." 



438 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"These are heavy misfortunes," replied Elizabeth. " But 
the wife of Mr. Darcy must have such extraordinary 
sources of happiness necessarily attached to her situation, 
that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine." 

" Obstinate, headstrong girl ! I am ashamed of you ! 
Is this your gratitude for my attentions to you last 
spring? Is nothing due to me on that score? Let us 
sit down. You are to understand, Miss Bennet, that I 
came here with the determined resolution of carrying my 
purpose ; nor will I be dissuaded from it. I have not 
been used to submit to any person's whims. I have not 
been in the habit of brooking disappointment." 

" That will make your Ladyship's situation at present 
more pitiable ; but it will have no effect on me." 

" I will not be interrupted ! Hear me in silence. My 
daughter and my nephew are formed for ach other. 
They are descended, on the maternal side, from the 
same noble line ; and, on the father's, from respectable, 
honourable, and ancient, though untitled, families. Their 
fortune on both sides is splendid. They are destined for 
each other by the voice of every member of their respec- 
tive houses ; and what is to divide them ? the upstart 
pretensions of a young woman without family, connec- 
tions, or fortune! Is this to be endured? But it must 
not, shall not be ! If you were sensible of your own 
good, you would not wish to quit the sphere in which 
you have been brought up." 

" In marrying your nephew, I should not consider 
myself as quitting that sphere. He is a gentleman ; 
I am a gentleman's daughter ; so far we are equal." 

" True. You are a gentleman's daughter. But what 
was your mother ? Who are your uncles and aunts ? 
Do not imagine me ignorant of their condition." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 439 

" Whatever my connections may be," said Elizabeth, 
" if your nephew does not object to them, the)- can be 
nothing to you? 

" Tell me, once for all, are you engaged to him ? " 

Though Elizabeth would not, for the mere purpose of 
obliging Lady Catherine, have answered this question, 
she could not but say, after a moment's deliberation,- 

" I am not." 

Lady Catherine seemed pleased. 

" And will you promise me never to enter into such an 
engagement ? " 

" I will make no promise of the kind." 

" Miss Bennet, I am shocked and astonished, I ex- 
pected to find a more reasonable young woman. But do 
not deceive yourself into a belief that I will ever recede. 
I shall not go away till you have given me the assurance 
I require." 

" And I certainly never shall give it. I am not to be 
intimidated into anything so wholly unreasonable. Your 
Ladyship wants Mr. Darcy to marry your daughter ; but 
would my giving you the wished-for promise make their 
marriage at all more probable? Supposing him to be 
attached to me, would my refusing to accept his hand 
make him wish to bestow it on his cousin ? Allow me 
to say, Lady Catherine, that the arguments with which 
you have supported this extraordinary application have 
been as frivolous as the application was ill-judged. 
You have widely mistaken my character, if you think 
I can be worked on by such persuasions as these. How 
far your nephew might approve of your interference in 
his affairs, I cannot tell ; but you have certainly no right 
to concern yourself in mine. I must beg, therefore, to be 
importuned no further on the subject." 



440 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 







Not so hasty, if you please. I have by no means 
done. To all the objections I have already urged I have 
still another to add. I am no stranger to the particulars 
of your youngest sister's infamous elopement. I know it 
all ; that the young man's marrying her was a patched- 
up business, at the expense of your father and uncle. 
And is stick a girl to be my nephew's sister? Is her husband, 
who is the son of his late father's steward, to be his brother? 
Heaven and earth ! of what are you thinking ? Are the 
shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted ? " 

" You can now have nothing further to say," she resent- 
fully answered. " You have insulted me, in every possible 
method. I must beg to return to the house." 

And she rose as she spoke. Lady Catherine rose also, 
and they turned back. Her Ladyship was highly incensed. 

" You have no regard, then, for the honour and credit 
of my nephew ! Unfeeling, selfish girl ! Do you. not 
consider that a connection with you must disgrace him in 
the eyes of everybody? " 

" Lady Catherine, I have nothing further to say. You 
know my sentiments." 

41 You are then resolved to have him ? " 

" I have said no such thing. I am only resolved to act 
in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute 
my happiness, without reference to you, or to any person 
so wholly unconnected with me." 

" It is well. You refuse, then, to oblige me. You 
refuse to obey the claims of duty, honour, and gratitude. 
You are determined to ruin him in the opinion of all his 
friends, and make him the contempt of the world." 

" Neither duty, nor honour, nor gratitude," replied 
Elizabeth, " has any possible claim on me, in the present 
instance. No principle of either would be violated by my 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 441 

marriage with Mr. Darcy. And with regard to the resent- 
ment of his family, or the indignation of the world, if the 
former were excited by his marrying me, it would not give 
me one moment's concern and the world in general would 
have too much sense to join in the scorn." 

" And this is your real opinion ! This is your final 
resolve ! Very well. I shall now know how to act. Do 
not imagine, Miss Bennet, that your ambition will ever 
be gratified. I came to try you. I hoped to find you 
reasonable ; but depend upon it I will carry my point." 

In this manner Lady Catherine talked on till they were 
at the door of the carriage, when, turning hastily round, 
she added,- 

44 I take no leave of you, Miss Bennet. I send no com- 
pliments to your mother. You deserve no such attention. 
I am most seriously displeased." 

Elizabeth made no answer ; and without attempting to 
persuade her Ladyship to return into the house, walked 
quietly into it herself. She heard the carriage drive away 
as she proceeded upstairs. Her mother impatiently met 
her at the door of her dressing-room, to ask why Lady 
Catherine would not come in again and rest herself. 

" She did not choose it," said her daughter ; " she would 



go." 



" She is a very fine-looking woman ! and her calling 
here was prodigiously civil ! for she only came, I suppose, 
to tell us the Collinses were well. She is on her road some- 
where, I dare say ; and so, passing through Meryton, 
thought she might as well call on you. I suppose she 
had nothing particular to say to you, Lizzy?" 

Elizabeth was forced to give in to a little falsehood here ; 
for to acknowledge the substance of their conversation 
was impossible. 





CHAPTER LVII. 

HE discomposure of spirits which this 
extraordinary visit threw Elizabeth into 
could not be easily overcome ; nor could 
she for many hours learn to think of it 
less than incessantly. Lady Catherine, 
it appeared, had actually taken the 
trouble of this journey from Rosings 
for the sole purpose of breaking off her supposed engage- 
ment with Mr. Darcy. It was a rational scheme, to be 
sure ! but from what the report of their engagement could 
originate, Elizabeth was at a loss to imagine ; till she 
recollected that his being the intimate friend of Bingley, 
and Jier being the sister of Jane, was enough, at a time 
when the expectation of one wedding made everybody 
eager for another, to supply the idea. She had not her- 
self forgotten to feel that the marriage of her sister must 
bring them more frequently together. And her neigh- 
bours at Lucas Lodge, therefore, (for through their 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICT;. 443 

communication with the Collinses, the report, she con- 
' eluded, had reached Lady Catherine,) had only set that 
down as almost certain and immediate which sJie had 
looked forward to as possible at some future time. 

In revolving Lady Catherine's expressions, however, 
she could not help feeling some uneasiness as to the 
possible consequence of her persisting in this interference. 
From what she had said of her resolution to prevent the 
marriage, it occurred to Elizabeth that she must meditate 
an application to her nephew ; and how he might take 
a similar representation of the evils attached to a connec- 
tion with her she dared not pronounce. She knew not the 
exact degree of his affection for his aunt, or his depen- 
dence on her judgment, but it was natural to suppose that 
he thought much higher of her Ladyship than she could 
do ; and it was certain, that in enumerating the miseries 
of a marriage with one whose immediate connections were 
so unequal to his own, his aunt would address him on his 
weakest side. With his notions of dignity, he would 
probably feel that the arguments, which to Elizabeth had 
appeared weak and ridiculous, contained much good sense 
and solid reasoning. 

If he had been wavering before, as to what he should 
do, which had often seemed likely, the advice and entreat)' 
of so near a relation might settle every doubt, and deter- 
mine him at once to be as happy as dignity unblemished 
could make him. In that case he would return no more. 
Lady Catherine might see him in her way through town ; 
and his engagement to Bingley of coming again to 
Netherfield must give way. 

" If, therefore, an excuse for not keeping his promise 
should come to his friend within a fe\v days," she added, 
" I shall know how to understand it. I shall then give 



444 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

over every expectation, every wish of his constancy. If 
he is satisfied with only regretting me, when he might 
have obtained my affections and hand, I shall soon cease 
to regret him at all." 

o 

The surprise of the rest of the family, on hearing who 
their visitor had been, was very great : but they obligingly 
satisfied it with the same kind of supposition which had 
appeased Mrs. Bennet's curiosity ; and Elizabeth was 
spared from much teasing on the subject. 

The next morning, as she was going down stairs, she 
was met by her father, who came out of his library with 
a letter in his hand. 

" Lizzy," said he, " I was going to look for you : come 
into my room." 

She followed him thither ; and her curiosity to know 
what he had to tell her was heightened by the supposition 
of its being in some manner connected with the letter 
he held. It suddenly struck her that it might be from 
Lady Catherine, and she anticipated with dismay all the 
consequent explanations. 

She followed her father to the fireplace, and they both 
sat down. He then said, 

" I have received a letter this morning that has asto- 
nished me exceedingly. As it principally concerns your- 
self, you ought to know its contents. I did not know 
before that I had two daughters on the brink of matrimony. 
Let me congratulate you on a very important conquest." 

The colour now rushed into Elizabeth's cheeks in the 
instantaneous conviction of its being a letter from the 
nephew, instead of the aunt ; and she was undetermined 
whether most to be pleased that he explainedjiimself at 
all, or offended that his letter was not rather addressed 
to herself, when her father continued, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 445 

" You look conscious. Young ladies have great pene- 
tration in such matters as these ; but I think I may defy 
even your sagacity to discover the name of your admirer. 
This letter is from Mr. Collins." 

" From Mr. Collins ! and what can fie have to say ? " 

M 

" Something very much to the purpose, of course. He 
begins with congratulations on the approaching nuptials 
of my eldest daughter, of which, it seems, he has been 
told by some of the good-natured, gossiping Lucases. I 
shall not sport with your impatience by reading what he 
says on that point. What relates to yourself is as follows : 
-' Having thus offered you the sincere congratulations 
of Mrs. Collins and myself on this happy event, let me 
now add a short hint on the subject of another, of which 
we have been advertised by the same authority. Your 
daughter Elizabeth, it is presumed, will not long bear the 
name of Bennet, after her eldest sister has resigned it ; 
and the chosen partner of her fate may be reasonably 
looked up to as one of the most illustrious personages in 
this land.' Can you possibly guess, Lizzy, who is meant 
by this ? ' This young gentleman is blessed, in a peculiar 
way, with everything the heart of mortal can most 
desire, splendid property, noble kindred, and extensive 
patronage. Yet, in spite of all these temptations, let me 
warn my cousin Elizabeth, and yourself, of what evils you 
may incur by a precipitate closure with this gentleman's 
proposals, which, of course, you will be inclined to take 
immediate advantage of Have you any idea, Lizzy, 
who this gentleman is ? But now it comes out. ' My 
motive for cautioning you is as follows : We have 
reason to^imagine that his aunt, Lady Catherine de 
Bourgh, does not look on the match with a friendly eye/ 
Mr. Darcy, you see, is the man ! Now, Lizzy, I think 



446 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

I Iiai'c surprised you. Could he, or the Lucases, have 
pitched on any man, within the circle of our acquaintance, 
whose name would have given the lie more effectually to 
what they related ? Air. Darcy, who never looks at any 
woman but to see a blemish, and who probably never 
looked at you in his life ! It is admirable ! " 

Elizabeth tried to join in her father's pleasantry, but 
could only force one most reluctant smile. Never had 
his wit been directed in a manner so little agreeable 
to her. 

" Are you not diverted ? " 

" Oh, yes. Pray read on." 

" * After mentioning the likelihood of this marriage to 
her Ladyship last night, she immediately, with her usual 
condescension, expressed what she felt on the occasion ; 
when it became apparent, that, on the score of some family 
objections on the part of my cousin, she would never give 
her consent to what she termed so disgraceful a match. I 
thought it my duty to give the speediest intelligence of 
this to my cousin, that she and her noble admirer may be 
aware of what they are about, and not run hastily into a 
marriage which has not been properly sanctioned.' Air. 
Collins, moreover, adds, ' I am truly rejoiced that my 
cousin Lydia's sad business has been so well hushed up, 
and am only concerned that their living together before 
the marriage took place should be so generally known. 
I must not, however, neglect the duties of my station, or 
refrain from declaring my amazement, at hearing that 
you received the young couple into your house as soon 
as they were married. It was an encouragement of vice ; 
and had I been the rector of Longbourn, I should very 
strenuously have opposed it. You ought certainly to 
forgive them as a Christian, but never to admit them 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 447 

in your sight, or allow their names to be mentioned in 
your hearing.' That is his notion of Christian for- 
giveness ! The rest of his letter is only about his dear 
Charlotte's situation, and his expectation of a young 
olive-branch. But, Lizzy, you look as if you did not 
enjoy it. You are not going to be inissisJi, I hope, and 
pretend to be affronted at an idle report. For what do 
we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh 
at them in our turn ? " 

" Oh," cried Elizabeth, " I am exceedingly diverted. 
But it is so strange ! " 

" Yes, that is what makes it amusing. Had they fixed 
on any other man it would have been nothing ; but his 
perfect indifference and your pointed dislike make it so 
delightfully absurd ! Much as I abominate writing, I 
would not give up Mr. Collins's correspondence for any 
consideration. Nay, when I read a letter of his, I cannot 
help giving him the preference even over Wickham, much 
as I value the impudence and hypocrisy of my son-in-law. 
And pray, Lizzy, what said Lady Catherine about this 
report ? Did she call to refuse her consent ? ' 

To this question his daughter replied only with a laugh ; 
and as it had been asked without the least suspicion, she 
was not distressed by his repeating it. Elizabeth had 
never been more at a loss to make her feelings appear 
what they were not. It was necessary to laugh when she 
would rather have cried. Her father had most cruelly 
mortified her by what he said of Mr. Darcy's indifference ; 
and she could do nothing but wonder at such a want of 
penetration, or fear that, perhaps, instead of his seeing 
too little, she mi^ht have fancied too muck. 

* jf . i_j 



f 







efforts o/ aJ" aunt' 

{Copyright 1894 ^v George Allen.] 




CHAPTER LVIII. 



OF receiving any such letter of 
excuse from his friend, as Eliza- 
beth half expected Mr. Bingley 
to do, he was able to bring Darcy 
with him to Longbourn before 
many days had passed after Lad}' 
Catherine's visit. The gentlemen 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 449 

arrived early ; and, before Mrs. Bennet had time to 
tell him of their having seen his aunt, of which her 
daughter sat in momentary dread, Bingley, who wanted 
to be alone with Jane, proposed their all walking out. 
It was agreed to. Mrs. Bennet was not in the habit 
of walking, Mary could never spare time, but the remain- 
ing five set off together. Bingley and Jane, however, 
soon allowed the others to outstrip them. They lagged 
behind, while Elizabeth, Kitty, and Darcy were to enter- 
tain each other. Very little was said by either ; Kitty 
was too much afraid of him to talk ; Elizabeth was 
secretly forming a desperate resolution ; and, perhaps, he 
might be doing the same. 

They walked towards the Lucases', because Kitty- 
wished to call upon Maria ; and as Elizabeth saw no 
occasion for making it a general concern, when Kitty 
left them she went boldly on with him alone. Now was 

j 

the moment for her resolution to be executed ; and while 
her courage was high, she immediately said, 

" Mr. Darcy, I am a very selfish creature, and for the 
sake of giving relief to my own feelings care not how 
much I may be wounding yours. I can no longer help 
thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor 
sister. Ever since I have known it I have been most 
anxious to acknowledge to you how gratefully I feel it. 
Were it known to the rest of my family I should not 
have merely my own gratitude to express." 

" I am sorry, exceedingly sorry," replied Darcy, in a 
tone of surprise and emotion, " that you have ever been 
informed of what may, in a mistaken light, have given 
you uneasiness. I did not think Mrs. Gardiner was so 
little to be trusted." 

" You must not blame my aunt. Lydia's thoughtlessness 

G G 



450 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

first betrayed to me that you had been concerned in the 
matter ; and, of course, I could not rest till I knew the 
particulars. Let me thank you again and again, in the 
name of all my family, for that generous compassion 
which induced you to take so much trouble, and 
bear so many mortifications, for the sake of discovering 
them." 

" If you will thank me," he replied, " let it be for your- 
self alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you 
might add force to the other inducements which led me 
on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe 
me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought 
only of you" 

Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word. 
After a short pause, her companion added, " You are too 
generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what 
they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections 
and wishes are unchanged ; but one word from you will 
silence me on this subject for ever." 

Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common awkward- 
ness and anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to 
speak ; and immediately, though not very fluently, gave 
him to understand that her sentiments had undergone so 
material a change since the period to which he alluded, 
as to make her receive with gratitude and pleasure his 
present assurances. The happiness which this reply pro- 
duced was such as he had probably never felt before ; 
and he expressed himself on the occasion as sensibly and 
as warmly as a man violently in love can be supposed to 
do. Had Elizabeth been able to encounter his eyes, she 
might have seen how well the expression of heartfelt 
delight diffused over his face became him : but though 
she could not look she could listen ; and he told her of 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 451 

feelings which, in proving of what importance she was to 
him, made his affection every moment more valuable. 

They walked on without knowing in what direction. 
There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for 
attention to any other objects. She soon learnt that they 
were indebted for their present good understanding to 
the efforts of his aunt, who did call on him in her return 
through London, and there relate her journey to Long- 
bourn, its motive, and the substance of her conversation 
with Elizabeth ; dwelling emphatically on every ex- 
pression of the latter, which, in her Ladyship's appre- 
hension, peculiarly denoted her perverseness and assu- 
rance, in the belief that such a relation must assist her 
endeavours to obtain that promise from her nephew 
which she had refused to give. But, unluckily for her 
Ladyship, its effect had been exactly contrariwise. 

" It taught me to hope," said he, " as I had scarcely 
ever allowed myself to hope before. I knew enough of 
your disposition to be certain, that had you been abso- 
lutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have 
acknowledged it to Lady Catherine frankly and openly." 

Elizabeth coloured and laughed as she replied, " Yes, 
you know enough of my frankness to believe me capable 
of that. After abusing you so abominably to your face, 
I could have no scruple in abusing you to all your 
relations." 

" What did you say of me that I did not deserve ? For 
though your accusations were ill-founded, formed on 
mistaken premises, my behaviour to you at the time 
had merited the severest reproof. It was unpardonable. 
I cannot think of it without abhorrence." 

" We will not quarrel for the greater share of blame 
annexed to that evening," said Elizabeth. " The conduct 



452 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

of neither, if strictly examined, will be irreproachable ; 
but since then we have both, I hope, improved in civility." 

" I cannot be so easily reconciled to mysilf. The re- 
collection of what I then said, of my conduct, my manners, 
my expressions during the whole of it, is now, and has 
been many months, inexpressibly painful to me. Your 
reproof, so well applied, I shall never forget : ' Had you 
behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.' Those were 
your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, 
how they have tortured me ; though it was some time, I 
confess, before I was reasonable enough to allow their 
justice." 

" I was certainly very far from expecting them to make 
so strong an impression. I had not the smallest idea of 
their being ever felt in such a way." 

" I can easily believe it. You thought me then devoid 
of every proper feeling, I am sure you did. The turn of 
your countenance I shall never forget, as you said that I 
could not have addressed you in any possible way that 
would induce you to accept me." 

" Oh, do not repeat what I then said. These recollec- 
tions will not do at all. I assure you that I have long- 
been most heartily ashamed of it." 

Darcy mentioned his letter. " Did it," said he, " did 
it soon make you think better of me ? Did you, on read- 
ing it, give any credit to its contents ? " 

She explained what its effects on her had been, and 
how gradually all her former prejudices had been re- 
moved. 

" I knew," said he, " that what I wrote mujt give you 
pain, but it was necessary. I hope you have destroyed 
the letter. There was one part, especially the opening 
of it, which I should dread your having the power of 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 453 

reading again. I can remember some expressions which 
might justly make you hate me." 

" The letter shall certainly be burnt, if you believe it 
essential to the preservation of my regard ; but, though 
we have both reason to think my opinions not entirely 
unalterable, they are not, I hope, quite so easily changed 
as that implies." 

" When I wrote that letter," replied Darcy, " I believed 
myself perfectly calm and cool ; but I am since convinced 
that it was written in a dreadful bitterness of spirit." 

" The letter, perhaps, began in bitterness, but it did 
not end so. The adieu is charity itself. But think no 

j 

more of the letter. The feelings of the person who wrote 
and the person who received it are now so widely different 
from what they were then, that every unpleasant circum- 
stance attending it ought to be forgotten. You must 
learn some of my philosophy. Think only of the past as 
its remembrance gives you pleasure." 

" I cannot give you credit for any philosophy of the 
kind. Your retrospections must be so totally void of re- 
proach, that the contentment arising from them is not of 
philosophy, but, what is much better, of ignorance. But 
with vte, it is not so. Painful recollections will intrude, 
which cannot, which ought not to be repelled. I have 
been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in 
principle. As a child I was taught what was right , but I 
was not taught to correct my temper. I was given good 
principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. 
Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child\ 
I was spoiled by my parents, who, though good them- 
selves, (my father particularly, all that was benevolent 
and amiable,) allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to 
be selfish and overbearing, to care for none beyond my 



454 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

own family circle, to think meanly of all the rest of the 
world, to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and 
worth compared with my own. Such I was, from eight 
to eight-and-twenty ; and such I might still have been 
but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth ! What do I not 
owe you ! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, 
but most advantageous. By you, I was properly humbled. 
I came to you without a doubt of my reception. You 
showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to 
please a woman worthy of being pleased." 

" Had you then persuaded yourself that I should ? " 

" Indeed I had. What will you think of my vanity? I 
believed you to be wishing, expecting my addresses." 

" My manners must have been in fault, but not inten- 
tionally, I assure you. I never meant to deceive you, 
but my spirits might often lead me wrong. How you 
must have hated me after that evening ! " 

" Hate you ! I was angry, perhaps, at first, but my 
anger soon began to take a proper direction." 

" I am almost afraid of asking what you thought of me 
when we met at Pemberley. You blamed me for 
coming? " 

" No, indeed, I felt nothing but surprise." 

" Your surprise could not be greater than mine in being 
noticed by you. My conscience told me that I deserved 
no extraordinary politeness, and I confess that I did not 
expect to receive more than my due." 

" My object then" replied Darcy, " was to show you, 
by every civility in my power, that I was not so mean as 
to resent the past ; and I hoped to obtain your for- 
giveness, to lessen your ill opinion, by letting you see 
that your reproofs had been attended to. How soon 
any other wishes introduced themselves, I can hardly 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 455 

tell, but I believe in about half an hour after I had seen 
you." 

He then told her of Georgiana's delight in her ac- 
quaintance, and of her disappointment at its sudden 
interruption ; which naturally leading to the cause of 
that interruption, she soon learnt that his resolution of 
following her from Derbyshire in quest of her sister had 
been formed before he quitted the inn, and that his 
gravity and thoughtfulness there had arisen from no 
other struggles than what such a purpose must com- 
prehend. 

She expressed her gratitude again, but it was too 
painful a subject to each to be dwelt on farther. 

After walking several miles in a leisurely manner, and 
too busy to know anything about it, they found at last, on 
examining their watches, that it was time to be at home. 
What could have become of Mr. Bingley and Jane ? " 
was a wonder which introduced the discussion of their 
affairs. Darcy was delighted with their engagement ; 
his friend had given him the earliest information of it. 

" I must ask whether you were surprised ? " said 
Elizabeth. 

" Not at all. When I went away, I felt that it would 
soon happen." 

"That is to say, you had given your permission. I 
guessed as much." And though he exclaimed at the 
term, she found that it had been pretty much the case. 

" On the evening before my going to London," said he, 
" I made a confession to him, which I believe I ought to 
have made long ago. I told him of all that had occurred 
to make my former interference in his affairs absurd and 
impertinent. His surprise was great. He had never had 
the slightest suspicion. I told him, moreover, that I 



456 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

believed myself mistaken in supposing, as I had done, 
that your sister was indifferent to him ; and as I could 
easily perceive that his attachment to her was unabated, 
I felt no doubt of their happiness together." 

Elizabeth could not help smiling at his easy manner of 
directing his friend. 

" Did you speak from your own observation," said she, 
'' when you told him that my sister loved him, or merely 
from my information last spring ? r ' 

" From the former. I had narrowly observed her, 
during the two visits which I had lately made her here ; 
and I was convinced of her affection." 

" And your assurance of it, I suppose, carried immediate 
conviction to him." 

"It did. Bingley is most unaffectedly modest. His 
diffidence had prevented his depending on his own judg- 
ment in so anxious a case, but his reliance on mine made 
everything easy. I was obliged to confess one thing, 
which for a time, and not unjustly, offended him. I 
could not allow myself to conceal that your sister had 
been in town three months last winter, that I had known 
it, and purposely kept it from him. He was angry. 
But his anger, I am persuaded, lasted no longer than he 
remained in any doubt of your sister's sentiments. He 
has heartily forgiven me now." 

Elizabeth longed to observe that Mr. Bingley had been 
a most delightful friend ; so easily guided that his worth 
was invaluable ; but she checked herself. She re- 
membered that he had yet to learn to be laughed at, 
and it was rather too early to begin. In anticipating the 
happiness of Bingley, which of course was to be inferior 
only to his own, he continued the conversation till they 
reached the house. In the hall they parted. 





a Sy 

\Copyright 1894 by Geoygf Allen.'} 

CHAPTER LIX. 



Y dear 'Lizzy, where can you have 
been walking to ? " was a question 
which Elizabeth received from 
Jane as soon as she entered the 
room, and from all the others 
when they sat down to table. She 
had only to say in reply, that 



45 8 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

they had wandered about till she was beyond her own 
knowledge. She coloured as she spoke ; but neither that, 
nor anything else, awakened a suspicion of the truth. 

The evening passed quietly, unmarked by anything 
extraordinary. The acknowledged lovers talked and 
laughed ; the unacknowledged were silent. Darcy was 
not of a disposition in which happiness overflows in 
mirth ; and Elizabeth, agitated and confused, rather 
knew that she was happy \haxi felt herself to be so ; for, 
besides the immediate embarrassment, there were other 
evils before her. She anticipated what would be felt in 
the family when her situation became known : she was 
aware that no one liked him but Jane ; and even feared 
that with the others it was a dislike which not all his 
fortune and consequence might do away. 

At night she opened her heart to Jane. Though sus- 
picion was very far from Miss Bennet's general habits, 
she was absolutely incredulous here. 

" You are joking, Lizzy. This cannot be ! Engaged 
to Mr. Darcy ! No, no, you shall not deceive me : I 
know it to be impossible." 

" This is a wretched beginning, indeed ! My sole 
dependence was on you ; and I am sure nobody else 
will believe me, if you do not. Yet, indeed, I am in 
earnest. I speak nothing but the truth. He still loves 
me, and we are engaged." 

Jane looked at her doubtingly. " Oh, Lizzy ! it cannot 
be. I know how much you dislike him." 

" You know nothing of the matter. That is all to be 
forgot. Perhaps I did not always love him so well as I 
do now ; but in such cases as these a good memory is 
unpardonable. This is the last time I shall ever remember 
it myself.' 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 459 

Miss Bennet still looked all amazement. Elizabeth 
again, and more seriously, assured her of its truth. 

" Good heaven ! can it be really so ? Yet now I must 
believe you," cried Jane. " My dear, dear 'Lizzy, I would, 
I do congratulate you ; but are you certain forgive the 
question are you quite certain that you can be happy 
with him ? " 

" There can be no doubt of that. It is settled between 
us already that we are to be the happiest couple in the 
world. But are you pleased, Jane ? Shall you like to 
have such a brother ? ' 

" Very, very much. Nothing could give either Bingley 
or myself more delight. But we considered it, we talked 
of it as impossible. And do you really love him quite 
well enough ? Oh, 'Lizzy I do anything rather than marry 
without affection. Are you quite sure that you feel what 
you ought to do ? ' : 

" Oh, yes ! You will only think I feel more than I ought 
to do when I tell you all." 

" What do you mean ? " 

" Why, I must confess that I love him better than I do 
Bingley. I am afraid you will be angry." 

" My dearest sister, now be, be serious. I want to talk 
very seriously. Let me know everything that I am to 
know without delay. Will you tell me how long you 
have loved him ? " 

" It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly 
know when it began ; but I believe I must date it from 
my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley." 

Another entreaty that she would be serious, however, 
produced the desired effect ; and she soon satisfied Jane by 
her solemn assurances of attachment. When convinced 
on that article, Miss Bennet had nothing further to wish. 



460 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Now I am quite happy," said she, " for you will be as 
happy as myself. I always had a value for him. Were 
it for nothing but his love of you, I must always have 
esteemed him ; but now, as Bingley's friend and your 
husband, there can be only Bingley and yourself more 
dear to me. But, Lizzy, you have been very sly, very 
reserved with me. How little did you tell me of what 
passed at Pemberley and Lambton ! I owe all that I 
know of it to another, not to you." 

Elizabeth told her the motives of her secrecy. She 
had been unwilling to mention Bingley; and the unsettled 
state of her own feelings had made her equally avoid the 
name of his friend : but now she would no longer conceal 
from her his share in Lydia's marriage. All was acknow- 
ledged, and half the night spent in conversation. 

" Good gracious ! '' cried Mrs. Bennet, as she stood at a 
window the next morning, " if that disagreeable Mr. 
Darcy is not coming here again with our dear Bingley ! 
What can he mean by being so tiresome as to be always 
coming here ? I had no notion but he would go a-shoot- 
ing, or something or other, and not disturb us with his 
company. What shall we do with him ? Lizzy, you 
must walk out with him again, that he may not be in 
Bingley's way." 

Elizabeth could hardly help laughing at so convenient 
a proposal ; yet was really vexed that her mother should 
be always giving him such an epithet. 

As soon as they entered, Bingley looked at her so ex- 
pressively, and shook hands with such warmth, as left no 
doubt of his good information ; and he soon afterwards 
said aloud, " Mrs. Bennet, have you no more lanes here- 
abouts in which Lizzy may lose her way again to-day ? " 

" I advise Mr. Darcy, and Lizzy, and Kitty," said Mrs. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 461 

Bennet, "to walk to Oakham Mount this morning. It is 
a nice long walk, and Mr. Darcy has never seen the view." 

"It may do very well for the others," replied Mr. 
Bingley ; " but I am sure it will be too much for Kitty. 
Won't it, Kitty ? " 

Kitty owned that she had rather stay at home. Darcy 
professed a great curiosity to see the view from the 
Mount, and Elizabeth silently consented. As she went 
upstairs to get ready, Mrs. Bennet followed her, saying, 

" I am quite sorry, 'Lizzy, that you should be forced to 
have that disagreeable man all to yourself; but I hope 
you will not mind it. It is all for Jane's sake, you know ; 
and there is no occasion for talking to him except just 
now and then ; so do not put yourself to inconvenience." 

During their walk, it was resolved that Mr. Bennet's 
consent should be asked in the course of the evening : 
Elizabeth reserved to herself the application for her 
mother's. She could not determine how her mother 
would take it ; sometimes doubting whether all his wealth 
and grandeur would be enough to overcome her abhorrence 
of the man ; but whether she were violently set against the 
match, or violently delighted with it, it was certain that 
her manner would be equally ill adapted to do credit to 
her sense ; and she could no more bear that Mr. Darcy 
should hear the first raptures of her joy, than the first 
vehemence of her disapprobation. 

In the evening, soon after Mr. Bennet withdrew to the 
library, she saw Mr. Darcy rise also and follow him, and 
her agitation on seeing it was extreme. She did not fear 
her father's opposition, but he was going to be made 
unhappy, and that it should be through her means ; that 
s/ie, his favourite child, should be distressing him by her 
choice, should be filling him with fears and regrets in 



462 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

disposing of her, was a wretched reflection, and she sat 
in misery till Mr. Darcy appeared again, when, looking at 
him, she was a little relieved by his smile. In a few 
minutes he approached the table where she was sitting 
with Kitty ; and, while pretending to admire her work, 
said in a whisper, " Go to your father ; he wants you in 
the library." She \vas gone directly. 

Her father was walking about the room, looking grave 
and anxious. " Lizzy," said he, " what are you doing ? 
Are you out of your senses to be accepting this man ? 
Have not you always hated him ? " 

How earnestly did she then wish that her former 
opinions had been more reasonable, her expressions more 
moderate! It would have spared her from explanations and 
professions which it was exceedingly awkward to give ; 
but they were now necessary, and she assured him, with 
some confusion, of her attachment to Mr. Darcy. 

" Or, in other words, you are determined to have him. 
He is rich, to be sure, and you may have more fine clothes 
and fine carriages than Jane. But will they make you 
happy ? " 

" Have you any other objection," said Elizabeth, " than 
your belief of my indifference ? " 

" None at all. We all know him to be a proud, unplea- 
sant sort of man ; but this would be nothing if you really 
liked him." 

" I do, I do like him," she replied, with tears in her 
eyes ; " I love him. Indeed he has no improper pride. 
He is perfectly amiable. You do not know what he 
really is ; then pray do not pain me by speaking of him 
in such terms." 

" Lizzy," said her father, " I have given him my 
consent. He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 463 

should never dare refuse anything, which he conde- 
scended to ask. I now give it to you, if you are resolved 
on having him. But let me advise you to think better of 
it. I know your disposition, Lizzy. I know that you 
could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly 
esteemed your husband, unless you looked up to him as 
a superior. Your lively talents \vould place you in the 
greatest danger in an unequal marriage. You could 
scarcely escape discredit and misery. My child, let me 
not have the grief of seeing you unable to respect your 
partner in life. You know not what you are about." 

Elizabeth, still more affected, was earnest and solemn 
in her reply ; and, at length, by repeated assurances that 
Mr. Darcy was really the object of her choice, by explain- 
ing the gradual change which her estimation of him had 
undergone, relating her absolute certainty that his affec- 
tion was not the work of a day, but had stood the test of 
many months' suspense, and enumerating with energy all 
his good qualities, she did conquer her father's incredulity, 
and reconcile him to the match. 

" Well, my dear," said he, when she ceased speaking, 
" I have no more to say. If this be the case, he deserves 
you. I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to 
anyone less worthy." 

To complete the favourable impression, she then told 
him what Mr. Darcy had voluntarily done for Lydia. 
He heard her with astonishment. 

" This is an evening of wonders, indeed ! And so, 
Darcy did everything ; made up the match, gave the 
money, paid the fellow's debts, and got him his commis- 
sion ! So much the better. It will save me a world of 
trouble and economy. Had it been your uncle's doing, 
I must and would have paid him ; but these violent 



464 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

young lovers carry everything their own way. I shall 
offer to pay him to-morrow, he will rant and storm about 
his love for you, and there will be an end of the matter." 

He then recollected her embarrassment a few days 
before on his reading Mr. Collins's letter ; and after laugh- 
ing at her some time, allowed her at last to go, saying, as 
she quitted the room, "If any young men come for Mary 
or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure." 

Elizabeth's mind was now relieved from a very heavy 
weight ; and, after half an hour's quiet reflection in her 
own room, she was able to join the others with tolerable 
composure. Everything was too recent for gaiety, but 
the evening passed tranquilly away ; there was no longer 
anything material to be dreaded, and the comfort of ease 
and familiarity would come in time. 

When her mother went up to her dressing-room at 
night, she followed her, and made the important commu- 
nication. Its effect was most extraordinary ; for, on first 
hearing it, Mrs. Bennet sat quite still, and unable to utter 
a syllable. Nor was it under many, many minutes, that 
she could comprehend what she heard, though not in 
general backward to credit what w r as for the advantage 
of her family, or that came in the shape of a lover to any 
of them. She began at length to recover, to fidget about 
in her chair, get up, sit down again, wonder, and bless 
herself. 

" Good gracious ! Lord bless me ! only think ! dear 
me ! Mr. Darcy ! Who would have thought it ? And is 
it really true ? Oh, my sweetest Lizzy ! how rich and 
how great you will be ! What pin-money, what jewels, 
what carriages you will have ! Jane's is nothing to it 
nothing at all. I am so pleased so happy. Such a 
charming man ! so handsome ! so tall ! Oh, my dear 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 465 

'Lizzy ! pray apologize for my having disliked him so much 
before. I hope he will overlook it. Dear, dear Lizzy. 
A house in town ! Everything that is charming ! Three 
daughters married ! Ten thousand a year ! Oh, Lord ! 
what will become of me ? I shall go distracted." 

This was enough to prove that her approbation need 
not be doubted ; and Elizabeth, rejoicing that such an 
effusion was heard only by herself, soon went away. But 
before she had been three minutes in her own room, her 
mother followed her. 

" My dearest child," she cried, " I can think of nothing 
else. Ten thousand a year, and very likely more ! 'Tis 
as good as a lord ! And a special licence you must and 
shall be married by a special licence. But, my dearest 
love, tell me what dish Mr. Darcy is particularly fond of, 
that I may have it to-morrow r ." 

This was a sad omen of what her mother's behaviour 
to the gentleman himself might be ; and Elizabeth found 
that, though in the certain possession of his warmest 
affection, and secure of her relations' consent, there was 
still something to be wished for. But the morrow passed 
off much better than she expected ; for Mrs. Bennet 
luckily stood in such awe of her intended son-in-law, that 
she ventured not to speak to him, unless it was in her 
power to offer him any attention, or mark her deference 
for his opinion. 

Elizabeth had the satisfaction of seeing her father taking 
pains to get acquainted with him ; and Mr. Bennet soon 
assured her that he was rising every hour in his esteem. 

" I admire all my three sons-in-law highly," said he. 
" Wickham, perhaps, is my favourite ; but I think I shall 
like your husband quite as well as Jane's." 



H H 





{Copyright 1894 /y George Allen.'} 

CHAPTER LX. 

LIZABETH'S spirits soon rising to play- 
fulness again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to 
account for his having ever fallen in love 
with her. " How could you begin ? " said 
she. " I can comprehend your going on 
charmingly, when you had once made a 
beginning ; but what could set you off 



in the first place ? 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 467 

" I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or 
the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. 
I \vas in the middle before I knew that I Jiad begun." 

" My beauty you had early withstood, and as for my 
manners my behaviour to you was at least always 
bordering on the uncivil, and I never spoke to you with- 
out rather wishing to give you pain than not. Now, be 
sincere ; did you admire me for my impertinence ? " 

" For the liveliness of your mind I did." 

" You may as well call it impertinence at once. It was 
very little less. The fact is, that you were sick of civility, 
of deference, of officious attention. You were disgusted 
with the women who were always speaking, and looking, 
and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused and 
interested you, because I was so unlike them. Had you 
not been really amiable you would have hated me 
for it : but in spite of the pains you took to disguise 
yourself, your feelings were always noble and just ; and 
in your heart you thoroughly despised the persons who 
so assiduously courted you. There I have saved you 
the trouble of accounting for it ; and really, all things 
considered, I begin to think it perfectly reasonable. To 
be sure you know no actual good of me but nobody 
thinks of tJiat when they fall in love." 

" Was there no good in your affectionate behaviour to 
Jane, while she was ill at Netherfield ? " 

" Dearest Jane ! who could have done less for her ? But 
make a virtue of it by all means. My good qualities are 
under your protection, and you are to exaggerate them 
as much as possible ; and, in return, it belongs to me to 
find occasions for teasing and quarrelling with you as 
often as may be ; and I shall begin directly, by asking you 
what made you so unwilling to come to the point at last ? 



468 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

What made you so shy of me, when you first called, and 
afterwards dined here ? Why, especially, when you called, 
did you look as if you did not care about me?" 

" Because you were grave and silent, and gave me no 
encouragement." 

" But I was embarrassed." 

" And so was I." 

" You might have talked to me more when you came 
to dinner." 

;( A man who had felt less might." 

" How unlucky that you should have a reasonable 
answer to give, and" that I should be so reasonable as 
to admit it ! But I wonder how long you would have 
gone on, if you had been left to yourself. I wonder 
when you would have spoken if I had not asked you ! 
My resolution of thanking you for your kindness to 
Lydia had certainly great effect. Too inucJi^ I am afraid ; 
for what becomes of the moral, if our comfort springs 
from a breach of promise, for I ought not to have men- 
tioned the subject ? This will never do." 

" You need not distress yourself. The moral will be 
perfectly fair. Lady Catherine's unjustifiable endeavours 
to separate us were the means of removing all my doubts. 
I am not indebted for my present happiness to your 
eager desire of expressing your gratitude. I was not 
in a humour to wait for an opening of yours. My aunt's 
intelligence had given me hope, and I was determined 
at once to know everything." 

" Lady Catherine has been of infinite use, which ought 
to make her happy, for she loves to be of use. But tell 
me, what did you come down to Netherfield for ? Was 
it merely to ride to Longbourn and be embarrassed ? or 
had you intended any more serious consequences ? " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 469 

" My real purpose was to see you, and to judge, if I 
could, whether I might ever hope to make you love me. 
My avowed one, or what I avowed to myself, was to see 
whether your sister was still partial to Bingley, and if 
she were, to make the confession to him which I have 
since made." 

" Shall you ever have courage to announce to Lady 
Catherine what is to befall her ? " 

" I am more likely to want time than courage, Eliza- 
beth. But it ought to be done ; and if you will give me 
a sheet of paper it shall be done directly." 

" And if I had not a letter to write myself, I might sit 
by you, and admire the evenness of your writing, as 
another young lady once did. But I have an aunt, too, 
who must not be longer neglected." 

From an unwillingness to confess how much her 
intimacy with Mr. Darcy had been overrated, Elizabeth 
had never yet answered Mrs. Gardiner's long letter ; but 
now, having that to communicate which she knew would 
be most welcome, she was almost ashamed to find that 
her uncle and aunt had already lost three days of hap- 
piness, and immediately wrote as follows : 

" I would have thanked you before, my dear aunt, as I 
ought to have done, for your long, kind, satisfactory 
detail of particulars ; but, to say the truth, I was too 
cross to write. You supposed more than really existed. 
But now suppose as much as you choose ; give a loose 
to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible 
flight which the subject will afford, and unless you 
believe me actually married, you cannot greatly err. You 
must write again very soon, and praise him a great deal 
more than you did in your last. I thank you again and 
again, for not going to the Lakes. How could I be so 



4/0 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

silly as to wish it ! Your idea of the ponies is delightful. 
We will go round the park every day. I am the happiest 
creature in the world. Perhaps other people have said 
so before, but no one with such justice. I am happier 
even than Jane ; she only smiles, I laugh. Mr. Darcy 
sends you all the love in the world that can be spared 
from me. You are all to come to Pemberley at Christmas. 
Yours," etc. 

Mr. Darcy's letter to Lady Catherine was in a different 
style, and still different from either was what Mr. Bennet 
sent to Mr. Collins, in return for his last. 
" Dear Sir, 

" I must trouble you once more for congratulations. 
Elizabeth will soon be the wife of Mr. Darcy. Console 
Lady Catherine as w r ell as you can. But, if I were you, 
I would stand by the nephew. He has more to give. 

" Yours sincerely," etc. 

Miss Bingley's congratulations to her brother on his 
approaching marriage were all that was affectionate and 
insincere. She wrote even to Jane on the occasion, to 
express her delight, and repeat all her former professions of 
regard. Jane w r as not deceived, but she was affected.; and 
though feeling no reliance on her, could not help writing 
her a much kinder answer than she knew was deserved. 

The joy which Miss Darcy expressed on receiving 
similar information w r as as sincere as her brother's in 
sending it. Four sides of paper were insufficient to con- 
tain all her delight, and all her earnest desire of being 
loved by her sister. 

Before any answer could arrive from Mr. Collins, or 
any congratulations to Elizabeth from his wife, the 
Longbourn family heard that the Collinses were come 
themselves to Lucas Lodge. The reason of this sudden 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 4/1 

removal was soon evident. Lady Catherine had been 
rendered so exceedingly angry by the contents of her 
nephew's letter, that Charlotte, really rejoicing in the 
match, was anxious to get away till the storm was blown 
over. At such a moment, the arrival of her friend was a 
sincere pleasure to Elizabeth, though in the course of 
their meetings she must sometimes think the pleasure 
dearly bought, when she saw Mr. Darcy exposed to all 
the parading and obsequious civility of her husband. 
He bore it, however, with admirable calmness. He 
could even listen to Sir William Lucas, when he compli- 
mented him on carrying away the brightest jewel of the 
country, and expressed his hopes of their all meeting 
frequently at St. James's, with very decent composure. 
If he did shrug his shoulders, it was not till Sir William 
was out of sight. 

Mrs. Philips's vulgarity was another, and, perhaps, a 
greater tax on his forbearance ; and though Mrs. Philips, 
as well as her sister, stood in too much awe of him to 
speak with the familiarity which Bingley's good-humour 
encouraged ; yet, whenever she did speak, she must be 
vulgar. Nor was her respect for him, though it made 
her more quiet, at all likely to make her more elegant. 
Elizabeth did all she could to shield him from the frequent 
notice of either, and was ever anxious to keep him to 
herself, and to those of her family with whom he might 
converse without mortification ; and though the uncom- 
fortable feelings arising from all this took from the season 
of courtship much of its pleasure, it added to the hope of 
the future ; and she looked forward with delight to the 
time when they should be removed from society so little 
pleasing to either, to all the comfort and elegance of their 
family party at Pemberley. 



4 , - 








CHAPTER LX1. 



APPY for all her maternal feelings 
was the day on which Mrs. Bennet 
got rid of her two most deserving 



daughters. 



With what delighted 



pride she afterwards visited Mrs. 
Bingley, and talked of Mrs. Darcy, 
may be guessed. I wish I could 
say, for the sake of her family, that the accomplishment 
of her earnest desire in the establishment of so many of 
her children produced so happy an effect as to make her 
a sensible, amiable, well-informed woman for the rest of 
her life ; though, perhaps, it was lucky for her husband, 
who might not have relished domestic felicity in so un- 
usual a form, that she still was occasionally nervous and 
invariably silly. 

Mr. Bennet missed his second daughter exceedingly ; 
his affection for her drew him oftener from home than 
anything else could do. He delighted in going to Pem- 
berley, especially when he was least expected. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 473 

Mr. Bingley and Jane remained at Netherfield only a 
twelvemonth. So near a vicinity to her mother and 
Meryton relations was not desirable even to Jiis easy 
temper, or her affectionate heart. The darling wish of 
his sisters was then gratified : he bought an estate in a 
neighbouring county to Derbyshire ; and Jane and 
Elizabeth, in addition to every other source of happiness, 
were within thirty miles of each other. 

Kitty, to her very material advantage, spent the chief 
of her time with her two elder sisters. In society so 
superior to what she had generally known, her improve- 
ment was great. She was not of so ungovernable a 
temper as Lydia ; and, removed from the influence of 
Lydia's example, she became, by proper attention and 
management, less irritable, less ignorant, and less insipid. 
From the further disadvantage of Lydia's society she 
was of course carefully kept ; and though Mrs. Wickham 
frequently invited her to come and stay with her, with 
the promise of balls and young men, her father would 
never consent to her ^oinGT. 

o o 

Mary was the only daughter who remained at home ; 
and she was necessarily drawn from the pursuit of 
accomplishments by Mrs. Bennet's being quite unable to 
sit alone. Mary was obliged to mix more with the 
world, but she could still moralize over every morning 
visit ; and as she was no longer mortified by comparisons 
between her sisters' beauty and her own, it was suspected 
by her father that she submitted to the change without 
much reluctance. 

As for Wickham and Lydia, their characters suffered 
no revolution from the marriage of her sisters. He bore 
with philosophy the conviction that Elizabeth must now 
become acquainted with whatever of his ingratitude and 



474 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

falsehood had before been unknown to her ; and, in spite 
of everything, was not wholly without hope that Darcy 
might yet be prevailed on to make his fortune. The 
congratulatory letter which Elizabeth received from Lydia 
on her marriage explained to her that, by his wife at 
least, if not by himself, such a hope was cherished. The 
letter was to this effect : 
" My dear Lizzy, 

" I wish you joy. If you love Mr. Darcy half so well 
as I do my dear Wickham, you must be very happy. 
It is a great comfort to have you so rich ; and when you 
have nothing else to do, I hope you will think of us. 
I am sure Wickham would like a place at court very 
much ; and I do not think we shall have quite money 
enough to live upon without some help. Any place 
would do of about three or four hundred a year ; but, 
however, do not speak to Mr. Darcy about it, if you had 
rather not. " Yours," etc. 

As it happened that Elizabeth had much rather not, 
she endeavoured in her answer to put an end to every 
entreaty and expectation of the kind. Such relief, how- 
ever, as it was in her power to afford, by the practice of 
what might be called economy in her own private ex- 
penses, she frequently sent them. It had always been 
evident to her that such an income as theirs, under the 
direction of two persons so extravagant in their wants, 
and heedless of the future, must be very insufficient to 
their support ; and whenever they changed their quarters, 
either Jane or herself were sure of being applied to for 
some little assistance towards discharging their bills. 
Their manner of living, even when the restoration of 
peace dismissed them to a home, was unsettled in the 
extreme. The}* were always moving from place to place 



TRIBE AND PREJUDICE. 475 

in quest of a cheap situation, and always spending more 
than the} 7 ought. His affection for her soon sunk into 
indifference : hers lasted a little longer ; and, in spite 
of her youth and her manners, she retained all the claims 
to reputation which her marriage had given her. Though 
Darcy could never receive ///;// at Pemberley, yet, for 
Elizabeth's sake, he assisted him further in his profession. 
Lydia was occasionally a visitor there, when her husband 
was gone to enjoy himself in London or Bath ; and with 
the Bingleys they both of them frequently stayed so long, 
that even Bingley's good-humour was overcome, and he 
proceeded so far as to talk of giving them a hint to be gone. 

Miss Bingley was very deeply mortified by Darcy's 
marriage ; but as she thought it advisable to retain the 
right of visiting at Pemberley, she dropped all her resent- 
ment ; was fonder than ever of Georgiana, almost as 
attentive to Darcy as heretofore, and paid off every 
arrear of civility to Elizabeth. 

Pemberley was now Georgiana's home ; and the at- 
tachment of the sisters was exactly what Darcy had 
hoped to see. They were able to love each other, even 
as well as they intended. Georgiana had the highest 
opinion in the world of Elizabeth ; though at first she 
often listened with an astonishment bordering on alarm 
at her lively, sportive manner of talking to her brother. 
He, who had always inspired in herself a respect which 
almost overcame her affection, she now saw the object of 
open pleasantry. Her mind received knowledge which 
had never before fallen in her way. By Elizabeth's 
instructions she began to comprehend that a woman 
may take liberties with her husband, which a brother will 
not always allow in a sister more than ten years younger 
than himself. 



476 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



Lady Catherine was extremely indignant on the mar- 
riage of her nephew ; and as she gave way to all the 
genuine frankness of her character, in her reply to the 
letter which announced its arrangement, she sent him 
language so very abusive, especially of Elizabeth, that 
for some time all intercourse was at an end. But at 
length, by Elizabeth's persuasion, he was prevailed on 
to overlook the offence, and seek a reconciliation ; and, 
after a little further resistance on the part of his aunt, 
her resentment gave way, either to her affection for him, 
or her curiosity to see how his wife conducted herself; 
and she condescended to wait on them at Pemberley, in 
spite of that pollution which its woods had received, 
not merely from the presence of such a mistress, but the 
visits of her uncle and aunt from the city. 

With the Gardiners they were always on the most 
intimate terms. Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved 
them ; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest 
gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into 
Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them. 



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