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Full text of "Pride and prejudice"


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PRIDE AND 
PREJUDICE 

BY 

JANE AUSTEN 



ILLUSTRATED 




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EJAN 2 9 1991 



LONDON 
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & CO, 

LIMITED 



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I 



I 




PEIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



CHAPTER I. 




? is a truth universally acknowledged, 
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 entering a neigh- 
borhood, this 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, "have you heard that Netherfield Park 
is let at last? " 

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. 



6 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" 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." 

This was invitation enough. 

"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." 

"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 faHm love with one 
of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon 
as he comes." 



^ 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



" 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 neighborhood." 

" 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-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 




8 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

not a bit better than the others ; and I am sure she 
is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good- 
humored 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 igno- 
rant, 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 re- 
spect 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 neighborhood." 

" 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 park 
sarcastic humor, reserve, and caprice, that th 
experience of three-and-twenty years had bee? 
insufficient to make his wife understand his char- | 
acter. Her mind was less difficult to develop. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 9 

She was a woman of mean understanding, little in- 
formation, and uncertain temper. When she was 
discontented, she fancied herself nervous. The 
business of her life was to get her daughters mar- 
riedj its solace was visiting and news. 






CHAPTER n. 

Mb. Bennet was among the earliest 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 even- 
ing after the visit was paid she had no knowledge 
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. Bing- 
ley likes," said her mother, resentfully, " since 
we are not to visit." 

"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 hypocritical woman, and I have no opinion 
of her." 

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



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 11 

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," re- 
plied 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 impossible 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 her." 

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

"I honor your circumspection. A fortnight's 
acquaintance is certainly very little. One cannot 
know what a man really is by the end of a fort- 
night. But if we do not venture, somebody else 
will; and after all, Mrs. Long and her nieces must 
stand their chance; and therefore, as she will 
think it an act of kindness, if you decline the 
office, I will take it on myself." 



12 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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

"What can be the meaning of that emphatic 
exclamation?" cried he. "Do you consider the 
forms of introduction, 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 con- 
tinued, " let us return to Mr. Bingley." 

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

" I am sorry to hear that; but why did not you 
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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 13 

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. 

"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 acquaintance 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 conjectur- 
ing how soon he would return Mr. Bennet's visit, 
and determining when they should ask him to 
dinner. 



CHAPTER in. 

Not all that Mrs. Bennet, however, 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 atfonlrfld fri m in various wavs. — w ith bare- 
faced questions, ingenious suppositions, and dis- 
tant surmises ; but he eluded the skill of them all, 
and they were at last obliged to accept the second- 
hand intelligence of their neighbor, Lady Lucas. 
Her report was highly favorable. Sir William 
had been delighted with him. He was quite 
young, wonderfully handsome, extremely agree- 
able, 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 
was a certain 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 mar- 
ried, I shall have nothing to wish for." 



/ 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 15 

In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr. Ben- 
net'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 ascertaining, 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 house- 
keeping, 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 honor 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 Nether- 
field as he ought to be. Lady Lucas quieted her 
fears a little by starting the idea of his being gone 
to London only to get a large party for the ball ; 
and a report soon followed that Mr. Bingley was 
to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen with 
him to the assembly. The girls grieved over such 
a number of ladies; but were comforted the day 
before the ball by hearing that, instead of twelve, 



16 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 all together, — Mr. Bingley, his two sisters, the 
husband of the eldest, and another young man. 

Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentleman- 
like; 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 feat- 
ures, 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 evening, till his 
1 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 
then save him from having a most forbidding, dis- 
agreeable 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 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 17 

angry that the ball closed so early, and talked of 
giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable 
qualities must speak for themselves. What a con- 
trast between him and his friend! Mr. Darcy 
danced only once with Mrs. Hurst and once with 
Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to any 
other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in 
walking 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 everybody hoped that he would never 
come there again. Amongst the most violent 
against him was Mrs. Bennet, whose dislike of his 
general behavior 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 conver- 
sation between him and Mr. Bingley, who came 
from the dance for a few minutes to press his friend 
to join it. 

"Come, Darcy," said he, "I must have you 
dance. I hate to see you standing about by your- 
self 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 
VOL. i. — 2 



18 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 honor, I 
never met with so many pleasant girls in my life 
as I have this evening; 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! 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 part- 
ner to introduce you." 

"Which do you mean?" and turning round, 
he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till, catching 
her eye, he withdrew his own, and coldly said: 
" She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to 
tempt me; and I am in no humor at present to 
give consequence to young ladies who are slighted 
by other men. You had better return to your 
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 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 19 

cordial feelings towards him. She told the story, 
however, with great spirit among her friends ; fo"FA 
she had a lively, playful disposition, which de- i 
lighted in anything ridiculous. 

The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to 
the whole family. Mrs. Bennet had seen her 
eldest daughter much admired hy 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 men- 
tioned to Miss Bingley as the most accomplished 
girl in the neighborhood; and Catherine and 
Lydia had been fortunate enough to be never 
without partners, which was all that they had yet 
learned 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 inhabitants. 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 evening 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 






20 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 that, my dear: he 
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, how- 
ever, 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. Oh that he had sprained 
his ankle 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 — " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 21 

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 rude- 
ness of Mr. Darcy. 

"But I can assure you," she added, "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 




CHAPTER IV. 

When Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the for- 
mer, 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-humored, 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 nattered by his asking me 
to dance a second time. I did not expect such a 
compliment." 

" Did not you? I 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 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 



/ 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 23 

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 any 
one; 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 candor 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 manners are 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 neighbor in 
her." 

Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not con 
vinced: their behavior at the assembly had not 
been calculated to please in general; and with 



24 PKIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

more quickness of observation and less pliancy of 
temper than her sister, and with a judgment, too, 
unassailed by any attention to herself, she was 
very little disposed to approve them. They were, 

rin fact, very fine ladies; not deficient in good- 
humor when they were pleased, nor in the power 
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 Eng- 
land; 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 -»f his 
temper, whether he might not spend the remainder 
of his days at Netherfield, and leave the next 
generation to purchase. 



TEIDE AND PREJUDICE. 25 

His sisters were very anxious for his having an 
estate of his own; but though he was now es- 
tablished only as a tenant, Miss Bingley was by 
no means unwilling to preside 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 \ 
friendship, in spite of a great opposition of char- 
acter. Bingley was endeared to Darcy by the 
easiness, openness, and ductility of his temper, 
though no disposition could offer a greater con- 
trast 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 i 
understanding, Darcy was the superior. Bingley j 
was by no means deficient ; but Darcy was clever, j 
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 



26 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

liked wherever lie 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 j 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 pro- 
nounced 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 commen- 
dation to think of her as he chose. 



CHAPTER V. 

Within a short walk of Longbourn lived a family 
with whom the Bennets were particularly inti- 
mate. Sir William Lucas had been formerly in 
trade in Meryton, where he had made a tolerable 
fortune, and risen to the honor of knighthood by 
an address to the king during his mayoralty. 
J?he distinction had, perhaps, been felt too 
strongly. It had given him a disgust to his busi- 
ness 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 im- 
portance, 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 courteo us. 

Lady Lucas was a very good kmcTof woman, not 
too clever to be a valuable neighbor to Mrs. Ben- 
net. They had several children. The eldest of 



28 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

them — a sensible, intelligent young woman, about 
twenty-seven — was Elizabeth'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." 

u 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 ques- 
tion, ' Oh, the eldest Miss Bennet, beyond a doubt ; 
there cannot be two opinions on that point.' " 

"Upon my word! Well, that was very de- 
cided, indeed; that does seem as if — But, how- 
ever, it may all come to nothing, you know." 

"My overhearings were more to the purpose 



\ / 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 29 

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 vexed by his ill-treatment, for he is such a dis- 
agreeable 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." 

"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 
"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 ac- 
quaintance. With them he is remarkably agree- 
able." 

" 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; every- 
body 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." 



30 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

u Another time, Lizzy," said her mother, " 1 
would not dance with him, if I were you." 

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

"His pride," said Miss Lucas, "does not of- 
fend 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 favor, 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. Van- 
ity and pride are different things, though the 
words are often used synonymously. A person 
may be proud without being vain. Pride relates 
more to our opinion of ourselves; 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 31 

should not care how proud I was. I would keep 
a pack of foxhounds, and drink a bottle of wine 
every day." 

"Then you would drink a great deal more than 
you ought/' said Mrs. 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 ar- 
gument ended only with the visit. 



CHAPTEK VL 

The ladies of Longbourn soon waited on those of 
Netherfield. The visit was returned 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 them was 
expressed towards the two eldest. By Jane this 
attention was received with the greatest pleasure; 
but Elizabeth still saw superciliousness in theii 
treatment of everybody, hardly excepting even 
her sister, and could not like them; though thei* 
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 evi- 
dent, 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 way 
to be very 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 33 

and an uniform cheerfulness of manner, which 
would guard her from the suspicions of the imper- 
tinent. She mentioned this to her friend, Miss 
Lucas. 

"It may, perhaps, be pleasant," replied Char- 
lotte, "to he 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 affec- 
tion 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 encour- 
agement. 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 I 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 endeavor to conceal ft. he must find it out." 
VOL. i. — 3 



34 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

¥ 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 em- 
ployed in conversing together. Jane should there- 
fore 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.' ' 

"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 feel- 
ings; 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 dauces 
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 evenings may do a great 
de a l. ,, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 35 

"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 characteristic, 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 the least. They 
always continue to grow sufficiently unlike after- 
wards 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." 

"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 attentions 
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 admiration at the ball ; and 
when they next met, he looked at her only to criti- 
cise. But no sooner had he made it clear to himself 




r 



36 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 expression 
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 acknowl- 
edge her figure to be light and pleasing; and in 
spite of his asserting that her manners were not 
those of the fashionable 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, at- 
tended 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 satirical eye, and if I do not begin by be- 
ing impertinent myself, I shall soon grow afraid 
ii him." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 37 

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

"Did not you think, Mr. Darcy, that I ex- 
pressed 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 lady energetic." 

"You are severe on us." 

"It will be her turn soon to be teased," said 
Miss Lucas. "I am going to open the instru- 
ment, Eliza, and you know what follows." 

"You are a very strange creature by way of a 
friend! — always wanting me to play and sing be- 
fore anybody and everybody! If my vanity had 
taken a musical turn, you would have been invalu- 
able; 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 ]V[ A ss 
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 everybody here is of course fa- 
miliar with, — 'Keep your breath to cool your 
porridge, ' — and I shall keep mine to swell my 
song." 



38 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 accom- 
plishments, was always impatient for display. 
r~ Mary had neither genius nor taste; and though 
i vanity had given her application, it had given her 
likewise a pedantic air and conceited manner, 
which would have injured a higher degree of ex- 
cellence than she had reached. Elizabeth, easy 
and unaffected, had been listened to with much 
more pleasure, though not playing half so well; 
and Mary, 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 sis- 
ters, who with some of the Lucases, and two or 
three officers, joined eagerly in dancing at one 
end of the room. 

'Mr. Darcy stood near them in silent indignation 
at such a mode of passing the evening, to the ex- 
clusion of all conversation, and was too much 
engrossed by his own thoughts to perceive that Sir 
William Lucas was his neighbor, till Sir William 
thus began : — 

" What a charming amusement for young peo- 
ple this is, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like 



PBIDE AND PREJUDICE. 39 

dancing, after all. I consider it as one of the first 
refinements of polished societies." 

" Certainly, sir; and it has the advantage also 
of heing in vogue amongst the less polished socie- 
ties of the world : every savage can dance. ' ' 

Sir William only smiled. " Yonr friend per- 
forms 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 Meryton, I believe, 
sir." 

"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 compli- 
ment 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. Darcy bowed. 

"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 com- 
panion was not disposed to make any; and, Eliza- 
beth at that instant moving towards them, he was 



40 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

struck with the 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 unwilling 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 honor 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 induce- 
ment, my dear Miss Eliza, we cannot wonder at 
his complaisance; for who would object to such a 
partner? " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 41 

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 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 meditating 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 Bing- 
ley. "I am all astonishment. How long has 
she been such a favorite? and pray when am I to 
wish you joy?" 

"That is exactly the question which I expected 



42 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 charming 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. 




! 



CHAPTER VII. 

Mb. Bennet's property consisted almost entirely 
in an estate of two thousand a year, which, un- 
fortunately 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 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 j| 
their sisters', and when nothing better offered, | 
walk to Meryton was necessary to amuse their 
morning hours and furnish conversation for the 




44 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 
neighborhood; it was to remain the whole winter, 
and Meryton was the head-quarters. 
J( Their visits to Mfs. Philips were now produc- 
' tive of the most interesting intelligence. Every 
day added something 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 anima- 
tion to their mother, was worthless in their eyes 
when opposed to the regimentals of an ensign. 

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

" From all that I can collect by your manner of 
talking, 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 an- 
swer; but Lydia, with perfect indifference, con- 
tinued to express her admiration of Captain 
Carter, and her hope of seeing him in the course 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 45 

of the day, as he was going the next morning to 
London. 

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

"If my children are silly, I must hope to he 
always sensible of it." 

"Yes; but as it happens, they 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. When they get to our age, I dare say 
they will not think about officers any 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." 

"Mamma," cried Lydia, "my aunt says that 
Colonel Forster and Captain Carter do not go so 



46 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

often to Miss Watson's as they did when they first 
came j 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 ser- 
vant waited for an answer. Mrs. Bennet's eyes 
sparkled with pleasure, and she was eagerly call- 
ing 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 j make haste, my love." 

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

My dear Friend, — If you are not so compassion- 
ate 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 tite-ii-tete 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, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 47 

because it seems likely to rain ; and then you must 
stay all night." 

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

" Oh, but the gentlemen will have Mr. Bing- 
ley'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 Eliza- 
beth, "my mother's purpose will be answered." 

She did at last extort from her father an ac- 
knowledgment that the horses were engaged; Jane 
was therefore obliged to go on horseback, and her 
mother attended her to the door with many cheer- 
ful 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 



48 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

morning, however, she was not aware of all the 
felicity of her contrivance. Breakfast was scarcely 
over when a servant from Netherfield brought the 
following note for Elizabeth : — 

My dearest Lizzy, — I find myself very unwell this 
morning, which, I suppose, is to be imputed to my getting 
wet through yesterday. 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." 

"Oh, I am not at all afraid of her dying. 
People do 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! 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 49 

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, 
u 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 com- 
pany, 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 re- 
paired 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 ankles, dirty stockings, and 
a face glowing with the warmth of exercise. 

She was shown into the breakfast-parlor, where 

VOL. I. — 4 



50 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

all but Jane were assembled, and where her ap- 
pearance 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 al- 
most 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 goo^-humor and kindness. Mr. Darcy said 
very little, and Mr. Hurst nothing at all. The 
former was divided between admiration of the bril- 
liancy which exercise had given to her complexion 
and doubt as to the occasion's justifying her com- 
ing so far alone. The latter was thinking only of 
his breakfast. 

Her inquiries after her sister were not very fa- 
vorably 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 incon- 
venience, from expressirg in her note how much 
she longed for such a visit, was delighted at her 
entrance. She was not equaJ, however, to much 
conversation: 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. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 51 

When breakfast was over, they were joined by 
the sisters; and Elizabeth began to like them her- 
self, when she saw how much affection and solici- 
tude 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 endeavor to 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 gentlemen being out, they had in fact 
nothing to do elsewhere. 

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 Nether- 
field for the present. Elizabeth most thankfully 
consented, and a servant was despatched to Long- 
bourn, to acquaint tlio family with her stay, and 
bring back a supply of clothes. 






CHAPTER Vm. 

At five o'clock the two ladies retired 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 distinguish- 
ing the much superior solicitude of Mr. Bingley, 
she could not make a very favorable answer. 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 mat- 
ter : and their indifference 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 compla- 
cency. 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, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 53 

by whom Elizabeth 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! n 

"Yes, and her petticoat; I hope you saw her 
petticoat, six incbes 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." 



54 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" 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 ankles 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 in- 
difference 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 adven- 
ture has rather affected your admiration of her 
fine eyes." 

"Not at all," he replied: "they were bright- 
ened 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? " 

"Yes; and they have another who lives some- 
where near Cheapside." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 55 

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

" If they had uncles enough to fill all Cheap- 
side," 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. 

With a renewal of tenderness, however, they re- 
paired to her room on leaving the dining-parlor, 
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 downstairs herself. On entering the 
drawing-room, she found the whole party at loo, 
and was immediately 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." 




■ 



56 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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

" I deserve neither such praise nor such cen- 
sure," cried Elizabeth; "lam not a great reader, 
and I have pleasure in many 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 
lying. He 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 fel- 
low; and though I have not many, I have more 
than I ever looked into." 

Elizabeth assured him that she could suit her- 
self 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 work of many generations." 

"And then you have added so much to it your- 
self, — you are always buying books." 

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



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 57 

"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 may." 

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

"With all my heart: I will buy Pemberley it- 
self, 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 imitation." 

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. Bing- 
ley 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 Eliz- 
abeth Bennet's height, or rather taller." 

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



58 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"It is amazing to me," said Bingley, "how 
young ladies can have patience to be so very ac- 
complished 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 accomplish- 
ments," 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 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 com- 
prehend a great deal in your idea of an accom- 
plished 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 59 

music, singing, drawing, 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 sub- 
stantial in the improvement of her mind by exten~ 
sive reading.' ' 

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

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

" I never saw such a woman. I never saw such 
capacity and taste and application and elegance 
as you describe united." 

Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley both cried out 
against the injustice of her implied doubt, and 
were both protesting that they knew many women 
who answered this description, when Mr. Hurst 
called them to order, with 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 



60 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

other sex by undervaluing their own; and with 
many men I dare say 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, M 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, recom- 
mended 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 wretched- 
ness, however, by duets after supper, while he 
could find no better relief to his feelings than by 
giving his housekeeper directions that every pos- 
sible attention might be paid to the sick lady and 
her sister. 



CHAPTER IX. 

Elizabeth 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 in- 
quiries which she very early received from Mr. 
Bingley by a housemaid, and some time afterwards 
from the two elegant ladies who waited on his 
sisters. In spite of this amendment, however, 
she requested to have a note sent to Longbourn, 
desiring her mother to visit Jane, and form her 
own judgment of her situation. The note was im- 
mediately despatched, and its contents as quickly 
complied with. Mrs. Bennet, accompanied by 
her two youngest girls, reached Netherfield soon 
after the family breakfast. 

Had she found Jane in any apparent danger, 
Mrs. Bennet would have been very miserable; but 
being satisfied on seeing her that her illness was 
not alarming, she had no wish of her recovering 
immediately, as her restoration 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 



• 



62 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

advisable. After sitting a little while with Jane, 
on Miss Bingley's appearance and invitation, the 
mother and three daughters all attended her into 
the breakfast-parlor. Bingley met them with 
hopes that Mrs. Bennet had not found Miss 
Bennet 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. We must 
trespass a little longer on your kindness." 

"Removed!" cried Bingley. "It must not 
be thought 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 every possible attention while she 
remains with us." 

Mrs. Bennet was profuse in her acknowledgments. 

"I am sure," she added, "if it was not for such 
good friends, I do not know what would become of 
her, for she is very ill indeed, and surfers a vast 
deal, though with the greatest patience in the 
world, which is always 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 63 

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 min- 
utes. 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, 
immediately, "that you were a studier of char- 
acter. 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 neighborhood you move in a very confined 
and unvarying society." 



64 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"But people themselves alter so much that 
there is something new to be observed in them 
forever.' ' 

"Yes, indeed," cried Mrs. Bennet, offended by 
his manner of mentioning a country neighborhood. 
"I assure you there is quite as much of that going 
on in the country as in town." 

Everybody was* surprised; and Darcy, after 
looking at her for a moment, turned silently away. 
Mrs. Bennet, who fancied she had gained a com- 
plete victory over him, continued her triumph. 

"I cannot see that London has any great ad- 
vantage over the country, for my part, except the 
shops and public places. The country is a vast 
deal pleasanter, is not it, Mr. Bingley? " 

"When I am in the country," he replied, "I 
never wish 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 dis 
position. 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 acknowl- 
edge to be true." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 65 

"Certainly, my dear, nobody said there were; 
but as to not meeting with many people in this 
neighborhood, I believe there are few neighbor 
hoods larger. I know we dine with four-and- 
twenty families." 

Nothing but concern for Elizabeth could enable 
Bingley to keep his countenance. His sister was 
less delicate, and directed her eye towards Mr. 
Darcy with a very expressive smile. Elizabeth, 
for the sake of saying something that might turn 
her mother's thoughts, now 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 always something 
to say to everybody. 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? " 

"No; she would go home. I fancy she was 
wanted about the mince-pies. For my part, Mr. 
Bingley, I always keep servants that can do their 
own work; my daughters are brought up differ- 
ently. But everybody 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! 
vol. i. — 5 






66 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Not that I think Charlotte so very 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 beauty. I do not like to boast 
of my own child ^ but to be sure, Jane — one does 
not often see anybody better looking. It is what 
everybody says. I do not trust my own partiality. 
When she was only fifteen there was a gentleman 
at my brother Gardiner's in town so much in love 
with her, that my sister-in-law was sure he would 
make her an offer 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 they were." 

"And so ended his affection," said Elizabeth, 
impatiently. "There has been many a one, I 
fancy, overcome in the same way. I wonder who 
first ^s^vgrej^jyifi.. .efficacy of poetry in driving 
'sway love! " 

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

"Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Every- 
thing 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." 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 67 

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 gra- 
ciousness; 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-humored coun- 
tenance ; a favorite with her mother, whose affec- 
tion 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 offi- 
cers, to whom her uncle's good dinners and her 
own easy manners recommended her, had increased 
into assurance. She was very equal, therefore, to 
address Mr. Bingley on the subject of the ball, 



68 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

and abruptly reminded him of his promise; add- 
ing 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 recov- 
ered, you shall, i£ 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 ' behavior 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. 



/ 






CHAPTER X. 



The 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 con- 
tinued, though slowly, to mend; and in the 
evening Elizabeth joined their party in the draw- 
ing-room. The loo table, however, did not ap- 
pear. 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. Bing- 
ley 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. 

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




W 



70 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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.'? 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 71 

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

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

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

1 ' My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time 
to express them ; by which means my letters some- 
times 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 my little 
recent piece of modesty? " 

"The indirect boast; for you are really proud of 
your defects in writing, because you consider them 
as proceeding from a rapidity of thought and care- 
lessness 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 a,ny 



*m 



*.- 



72 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

attention to the imperfection of the performance. 
When you told Mrs. Bennet this morning, that 
if you ever resolved on quitting Netherfield 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 pre- 
cipitance which must leave very necessary busi- 
ness undone, and can be of no real advantage to 
yourself or any one else?" 

"Nay," cried Bingley, "this is too much to 
remember at night all the foolish things that were 
said in the morning. And yet, upon my honor, I 
believed what I said of myself to be true, and I 
believe it at this moment. At least, therefore, 
I did not assume the character of needless precipi- 
tance merely to show off before the ladies." 

"I dare say 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 Eliza- 
beth, "that Mr. Bingley did not do justice to his 
own disposition. You have shown him off now 
much more than he did himself." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 73 

"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 are 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, and the 
delay of his plan, has merely desired it, asked it 
without offering one argument in favor 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 noth- 
ing for the influence of friendship and affection. 
A regard for the requester would often make one 



74 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

readily yield to a request, without waiting for ar- 
guments to reason one into it. I am not particu- 
larly speaking of such a case as you have supposed 
about Mr. Bingley. We may as well wait, per- 
haps, till the circumstance occurs, before we dis- 
cuss the discretion of his behavior 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 compara- 
tive 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 defer- 
ence. I declare I do not know a more awful 
object than Darcy on particular occasions and in 
particular places; at his own house especially, 
and of a Sunday evening, when he has nothing 
to do." 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 75 

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 ex- 
postulation 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 sacri- 
fice 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 Eliza- 
beth 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 



76 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 ad- 
miration 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 a 
something about her more wrong and reprehensi- 
ble, according to his ideas of right, than in any 
other person present. 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 not you feel a great inclination, Miss Ben- 
net, 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 1 
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 



PEIDE AND PREJUDICE. 77 

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 mix- 
ture 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 in dis- 
liking her guest, by talking of their supposed 
marriage, and planning his happiness in such an 
alliance. 

"I hope," said she, as they were walking to- 
gether in 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 the officers. 
And, if I may mention so delicate a subject, en- 
deavor to check that little something, bordering 
on conceit and impertinence, which your lady 






78 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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

" Oh, yes. Do let the portraits of your uncle 
and aunt Philips be placed in the gallery at Pem- 
berley. Put them next to your great-uncle the 
judge. They are in the same profession, you 
know, only in different lines. As for your Eliza- 
beth'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 color 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 rude- 
ness, 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, — 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



79 



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

She then ran gayly 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 hoars 
that evening. 






/ 



CHAPTER XI. 

When the ladies removed after dinner, 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 professions of pleasure; and Elizabeth had 
never seen them so agreeable as they were during 
the hour which passed before the gentlemen ap- 
peared. Their powers of conversation were consid- 
erable. They could describe an entertainment 
with accuracy, relate an anecdote with humor, and 
laugh at their acquaintance with spirit. 

But when the gentlemen entered, Jane was no 
longer the first object; Miss Bingley's eyes were 
instantly turned towards Darcy, and she had some- 
thing to say to him before he had advanced many 
steps. He addressed himself directly to Miss Ben- 
net 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 at- 
tention. 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 81 

other side of the fireplace, that she might be 
farther from the door. He then sat down by her, 
and talked scarcely to any one 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 per- 
petually either making some inquiry or looking 
at his page. She could not win him, however, to 
any conversation; he merely answered her ques- 
tion and read on. At length, quite exhausted by 
the attempt to be amused with her own book, 
which she had only chosen because it was tha 
second volume of his, she gave a great yawn and 
VOL. i. — 6 




82 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

said: "How pleasant it is to spend an evening in 
this way! I declare, after all, there is no enjoy- 
ment 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 Jbook, 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 by, Charles, are you really serious in 
meditating a dance at Netherfield? I would ad- 
vise 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 punishment 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." 

"T should like balls infinitely better," she re- 
plied, "if they were carried on in a different man- 
ner; but there is something insufferably tedious in 
the usual process of such a meeting. It would 
surely be much more rational if conversation in- 
stead of dancing made the order of the day." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 83 

u 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 after- 
wards got up and walked about the room. Her 
figure was elegant, and she walked well; but 
Darcy, at whom it was all aimed, was still inflexi- 
bly studious. In the desperation of her feelings 
she resolved on one effort more; and turning to 
Elizabeth, said, — 

"Miss Eliza Bennet, 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 imme- 
diately. 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, ob- 
serving that he could imagine but two motives for 
their choosing to walk up and down the room to- 
gether, with either of which motives his joining 
them would interfere. What could he mean? 
She was dying to know what could be his mean- 
ing, and asked Elizabeth whether she could at all 
understand him. 

"Not at all," was her answer; "but, depend 



K 



84 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

upon it, he means to be severe on us, and our 
surest way of disappointing him will be to ask 
nothing about it." 

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

"I have not. the smallest objection to explain- 
ing them," said he, as soon as she allowed hini to 
speak. " You either choose this method of pass- 
ing 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 anything so abominable. How shall 
we punish him for such a speech?" 

" Nothing so easy, if you have but the inclina- 
tion, " 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 honor I do not. I do assure you 
that my intimacy has not yet taught me that. 
Tease calmness of temper and presence of mind! 
No, no; I feel he may defy us there. And as to 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 85 

laughter, we will not expose 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 acquaint- 
ance. I dearly love a laugh." 

u Miss Bingley," said he, u 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." 

u Certainly, " replied Elizabeth, "there are such*^ 
people, but I hope I am not one of them. I hope 
I never ridicule what is wise or good. Eollies 
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 any one. But 
it has been the study of my life to avoid those 
weaknesses which often expose a strong under- 
standing 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." 

Elizabeth turned away to hide a smile. 



86 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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

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

.. "No," said Darcy, "I have made no such pre- 
f tension. I have faults enough, but they are not, I 
hope, of understanding. My temper I dare not 
vouch for. It is, I believe, too little yielding j 
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 forever." 

"That is a failing, indeed! " cried Elizabeth. 
"Implacable 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 ten- 
dency 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 87 

Biugley, tired of a conversation in which she had 
no share. " Louisa, you will not mind my wak- 
ing 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. 

In consequence of an agreement between the sis- 
ters, 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 carriage before Tues- 
day; 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 
resolved, — nor did she much expect it would be 
asked; and fearful, on the contrary, of being con- 
sidered as intruding 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 Netherfield that 
morning should be mentioned, and the request 
made. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 89 

The communication excited many professions of 
concern; and enough was said of wishing them to 
stay at least till the following day to work on 
Jane j and till the morrow their going was de- 
ferred. Miss Bingley was 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 Netherfield long enough. 
She attracted him more than he liked; and Miss 
Bingley was uncivil to her, and more teasing than 
usual to himself. He wisely resolved to be par- 
ticularly careful that no sign of admiration should 
now escape him, — nothing that could elevate her 
with the hope of influencing his felicity; sensible 
that if such an idea had been suggested, his be- 
havior during the last day must have material 
weight in confirming 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 haif an 



90 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

hour, he adhered most conscientiously to his book, 
and would not even look at her. 

On Sunday, after morning service, the separa- 
tion, 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 Netherfield, 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 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 threadbare morality to listen to. Catherine 
and Lydia had information for them of a different 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



91 



sort. Much had been done and much had been 
said in the regiment since the preceding Wednes- 
day; 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. 




CHAPTER XIII. 

"I hope, my dear ; " said Mr. Bennet to his wife, 
as they were at breakfast 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 no- 
body 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 ex- 
tremely 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." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 93 

This roused a general astonishment; and he had 
the 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 favor of a man whom nobody cared 
anything about. 

"It certainly is a most iniquitous affair," said 
M* Bennet; "and nothing can clear Mr. Collins 
from the guilt of inheriting Longbourn. But if 



94 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 hypocritical. 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." 

Hunsford, near Westerham, Kent, 15th October. 
Dear Sir, — The disagreement subsisting between 
yourself and my late honored father always gave me much 
uneasiness ; 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, fear- 
ing lest it might seem disrespectful to his memory for me 
to be on good terms with any one with whom it had al- 
ways pleased him to be at variance. [" There, Mrs. 
Bennet 1 "] My mind, however, is now made up op the 
subject; for, having received ordination at Easter, I 
have been so fortunate as to be distinguished by the 
patronage of the Right Honorable 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 endeavor to 
demean myself with grateful respect towards her Lady- 
ship, and be ever ready to perform those rites and cere- 
monies 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 95 

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 over- 
looked 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 hereafter. If you should have no objection to re- 
ceive me into your house, I propose myself the satisfac- 
tion of waiting on you and your family, Monday, Novem- 
ber 18th, by four o'clock, and shall probably trespass on 
your hospitality till the Saturday se'nnight 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 compliments 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 ac- 
quaintance, 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 



96 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

in what way he can mean to make us the atone- 
ment he thinks our due, the wish is certainly to 
his credit." 

Elizabeth was chiefly struck with his extraor- 
dinary 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 finding him quite the reverse. There is 
a mixture of servility 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 was 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 color. As for their mother, Mr. 
Collins's letter had done away much of her ill-will, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 97 

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 encouragement, 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 compli- 
mented 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 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 
VOL. i. — 7 



98 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 for- 
ward 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 property. 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 con- 
tinued to apologize for about a quarter of an hour. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

During 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 ex- 
pected him to shine, by observing that he seemed 
very fortunate in his patroness. Lady Catherine 
de Bourgh's attention to his wishes and consider- 
ation 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 pro- 
tested that "he had never in his life witnessed 
such behavior in a person of rank, — such aff a bi li ty 
and condescension, as he had himself experienced 
from Lady Catherine. She had been graciously 
pleased to approve of both the discourses which he 
had already had the honor 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 anything 



100 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 neighborhood, nor to his leaving 
his parish occasionally 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? " 

u The garden in which stands my humble abode 
is separated only by a lane from Rosings Park, her 
Ladyship'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, 
1 ' 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 101 

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 mak- 
ing that progress in many accomplishments which 
she could not otherwise have failed of, as I am 
informed by the lady who superintended her educa- 
tion, 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." 

"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 de- 
prived the British Court of its brightest orna- 
ment. Her Ladyship seemed pleased with the 
idea; and you may imagine that I am happy on 
every occasion to offer those little delicate compli- 
ments 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 






102 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 nattering with delicacy. May I ask 
whether these pleasing attentions 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 com- 
pliments 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, main- 
taining at the same time the most resolute com- 
posure 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 Mr. Bennet was glad to take his guest into 
the drawing-room again, and when tea was over, 
glad to invite him 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) he started back, 



t>RIDE AttD PREJUDICE. 103 

and begging pardon, protested that he never read 
novels. Kitty stared at him, and Lydia exclaimed. 
Other books were produced, and after some delib- 
eration 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 ad- 
vantageous 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 daugh- 
ters apologized most civilly for Lydia' s interrup* 



/ 



104 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

tion, 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 behavior 
as any affront, seated himself at another table with 
Mr. Bennet, and prepared for backgammon. 



CHAPTER XV. 

Mr. Collins was not a sensible man, and the de- 
ficiency 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 illiter- 
ate and miserly father; and though he belonged 
to one of the universities, 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 pa- 
troness, 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 




106 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

reconciliation with the Longbourn family he had 
a wife in view, as he meant to choose one of the 
daughters, if he found them as handsome and 
amiable as they were represented by common re- 
port. This was his plan of amends — of atone- 
ment — for inheriting their father's estate; and 
he thought it an excellent one, full of eligibility 
and suitableness, and excessively generous and dis- 
interested on his own part. 

His plan did not vary on seeing them. Miss 
Bennet's lovely face confirmed his views, and es- 
tablished 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 at his hopes that a mis- 
tress for it might be found at Longbourn, pro- 
duced 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 coulcl not take upon her to say, — 
she could not positivelj^answer, — but she did not 
know 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 Jan3 to 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 107 

El izabeth ; and it was soon done, — done while 
Mrs. Bennet was stirring the fire. Elizabeth> 
equally next to Jane in birth and beauty, sue 
ceeded 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 
forgotten. 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 col- 
lection, but really talking to Mr. Bennet, with 
little cessation, of his house and garden at Huns- 
ford. Such doings discomposed Mr. Bennet ex- 
ceedingly../ In his library he had been always 
sure of leisure and tranquillity; and though pre- 
pared, 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. Col- 
lins, being in fact much better fitted for a walker 
than a reader, was extremely well pleased to close 
his large book and go. 



, 



108 PKIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

In pompous nothings on his side, and civil as- 
sents 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 bj' 
him. Their eyes were immediately wandering up 
in 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 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 gen- 
tlemen, 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 regi- 
mentals to make him completely charming. His 
appearance was greatly in his favor: he had all 



M 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 109 

the best parts of beauty, a fine countenance, a good 
figure, and very pleasing address. The introduc- 
tion was followed up on his side by a happy readi- 
ness of conversation, — a readiness at the same 
time perfectly correct and unassuming; and the 
whole party were still standing and talking to- 
gether 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 civili- 
ties. 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 Eliza- 
beth, happening to see the countenance of both as 
they looked at each other, was all astonishment at 
the effect of the meeting. Both changed color; 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? 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. 



110 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 parlor 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 ex- 
pressing 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 introduc- 
tion 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 
nattering himself, however, might be justified by 
his relationship to the young ladies who intro- 
duced 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Ill 

what they already knew, that Mr. Denny had 
brought him from London, and that he was to 

have a lieutenant's commission 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 cer- 
tainly have continued the occupation; but un- 
luckily no one passed the windows now except 
a few of the officers, who, in comparison with the 
stranger, were become ' ' stupid, disagreeable fel- 
lows." 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 eveniug. This was 
agreed to; and Mrs. Philips protested that they 
would have a nice comfortable noisy game of lot- 
tery tickets, and a little bit of hot supper after- 
wards. 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 gentle- 
men; but though Jane would have defended either 
or both, had they appeared to be wrong, she could 
no more explain such behavior than her sister. 

Mr. Collins on his return highly gratified Mrs. 



112 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Eennet by admiring Mrs. Philips's manners and 
politeness. He protested that, except Lady Cath- 
erine and her daughter, he had never seen a more 
elegant woman; for she had not only received him 
with the utmost civility, hut had even pointedly 
included him in her invitation for the next even- 
ing, 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. 

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

When this information was given, and they had 
all taken their seats, Mr. Collins was at leisure to 
look around him and admire ; and he was so much 
struck with the size and furniture of the apart- 
ment, that he declared he might almost have sup- 
posed himself in the small summer breakfast-parlor 
at Rosings, — a comparison that did not at first con- 
vey 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 only one of Lady Catherine's draw- 
ing-rooms, and found that the chimney-piece alone 
had cost eight hundred pounds, — she felt all the 
vol. i. — 8 



114 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

force of the compliment, and would hardly have 
resented a comparison with the housekeeper's 
room. 

In describing to her all the grandeur of Lady 
Catherine and her mansion, with occasional digres- 
sions 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 attentive listener, 
whose opinion of his consequence increased with 
what she heard, and who was resolving to retail it 
all among her neighbors 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 instru* 
ment, and examine their own indifferent imita- 
tions of china on the mantelpiece, 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 
felt that she had neither been seeing him before, 
nor thinking of him since, with the smallest de- 
gree of unreasonable admiration. The officers of 

the shire were in general a very creditable, 

gentlemanlike set, and the best of them were of 
the present party j but Mr. Wickham was as far 
beyond them all in person, countenance, air, and 
walk, as they were superior to the broad-faced 
stuffy uncle Philips, breathing port wine, who 
followed them into the room. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 115 

Mr. Wickham was the happy man towards whom 
almost every female eye was turned, and Elizabeth 
was the happy woman by whom he finally seated 
himself; and the agreeable manner in which he 
immediately fell in conversation, though it was 
only on its being a wet night and on the probabil- 
ity of a rainy season, made her feel that the com- 
monest, 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 inter- 
vals 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 
opportunity of obliging her, in return, by sitting 
down to whist. 

"I know little of the game at present,' ' said 
he, N 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 



116 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 any one in particular. Allow- 
ing for the common demands of the game, Mr. 
Wickham was therefore at leisure to talk to Eliza- 
beth ; 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, however, was unex- 
pectedly relieved. Mr. Wickham began the sub- 
ject himself. He inquired how far Netherfield 
was from Meryton; and after receiving her an- 
swer, asked in a hesitating manner how long Mr. 
Darcy had been staying there. 

" About a month,' l 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 capa- 
ble 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 
each an assertion, after seeing, as you probably 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 117 

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 Eliza- 
beth, 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 be- 
lieve your opinion of him would in general aston- 
ish — 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 neighborhood, 
except Netherfield. He is not at all liked in 
Hertfordshire. Everybody is disgusted with his 
pride. You will not find him more favorably 
spoken of by any one." 

"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 him I believe it does not often happen. 
The world is blinded by his fortune and conse- 
quence, or frightened by his high and imposing 
manners, and sees him only as he chooses to be 



118 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" I should take him, even on my slight acquaint- 
ance, to be an ill-tempered man." Wickham only 
shook his head. 

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

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

hope your plans in favor of the shire will 

not be affected by his being in the neighbor- 
hood.",/ 

" 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 him but what I might pro- 
claim 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 recollec- 
tions. His behavior to myself has been scanda- 
lous; but I verily believe I could forgive him 
anything and everything, rather than his disap- 
pointing the hopes and disgracing the memory 
of his father." 

Elizabeth found the interest of the subject in- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 119 

crease, 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 neighborhood, the society, 
— appearing highly pleased with all that he had 
yet seen, and speaking of the latter, especially, 
with gentle but very intelligible 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 respectable, agreeable corps ; and my 
friend Denny tempted me further by his account 
of their present quarters, and the very great atten- 
tions and excellent acquaintance Meryton had pro- 
cured 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 circumstances have now made it 
eligible. The church ought to have been my pro- 
fession, — I was brought up for the church ; and I 
should at this time have been in possession 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 



120 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 disre- 
garded? Why did not you seek legal redress? " 

"There was just such an informality in the 
terms of the bequest as to give me no hope from 
law. A man of honor 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 my- 
self of having really done anything to deserve to 
lose it. I have a warm, unguarded temper, and I 
may perhaps have sometimes 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 him." 

Elizabeth honored him for such feelings, and 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 121 

th'ught him handsomer than ever as he expressed 
thim. 

1 But what," said she, after a pause, "can 
ha^e been his motive? what can have induced him 
to bhave so cruelly? " 

"A. thorough, determined dislike of me, — a dis- 
like- vhich 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 Jib father's uncommon attachment to me irri- 
tated im, I believe, very early in life. He had 
not a emper to bear the sort of competition in 
wh'Vi we stood, — the sort of preference which 
was often given me." 

"J 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 descending to such malicious 
revenge, such injustice, such inhumanity as 
this!" 

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

"I will not trust myself on the subject," re- 
plied Wickham; "I can hardly be just to him." 
Elizabeth was again deep in thought, and after 






122 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

a time exclaimed: "To treat in such a manneivhe 
godson, the friend, the favorite of his fathe ! " 
She could have added: "A young man, too, ike 
you, whose very countenance may vouch for our 
being amiable. " But she contented herself vith: 
"And one, too, who had probably been his own 
companion from childhood, connected togeth r, as 
I think you said, in the closest manner." 

"We were born in the same parish, with n the 
same park; the greatest part of our youth, was 
passed together : inmates of the same hous,*, shar- 
ing the same amusements, objects of t\e same 
parental care. My father began life in 01$ pro- 
fession which your uncle, Mr. Philips, appear.\o 
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 super- 
intendence; and when, immediately before my 
father's death, Mr. Darcy gave him a voluntary 
promise 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 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 123 

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 al- 
most all his actions may be traced to pride ; and 
pride has often been his best friend. It has con- 
nected him nearer with virtue than any other feel- 
ing. But we are none of us consistent; and in his 
behavior to me there were stronger impulses even 
than pride." 

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

"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 brotherly 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 r irl 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, — 



124 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 amusement. 
But she is nothing to me now. She is a handsome 
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 superintends 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- 
humor itself, and is, I really believe, truly ami- 
able, 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 conversable 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, honorable, and, 
perhaps, agreeable, — allowing something for for- 
tune and figure." 



PBIDE AND PREJUDICE. 125 

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 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 shil- 
lings 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 
observing 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 



126 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Bourgh and Lady Anne Darcy were sisters; con- 
sequently 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 that he has related of her Lady- 
ship, I suspect his gratitude misleads him, and 
that, in spite of her being his patroness, she is an 
i aj^ogant, 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 be- 
lieve she derives part of her abilities from her 
rank and fortune, part from her authoritative man- 
ner, and the rest from the pride of her nephew, 



V, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 127 

who chooses that every one connected with him 
should have an understanding of the first class." 

Elizabeth allowed that he had given a very na- 
tional 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 he 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, done grace- 
fully. 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 was once silent. Lydia talked 
incessantly 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 sup- 
per, and repeatedly fearing that he crowded his 
cousins, had more to say than he could well man- 
age before the carriage stopped at Longbourn 
House. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Elizabeth 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 ensured 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 other- 
wise explained. 

"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 cir- 
cumstances which may have alienated them, with- 
out actual blame on either side." 

"Very true, indeed; and now, nry dear Jane, 
what have you got to say in behalf of the in 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 129 

terested 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 
favorite 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 im- 
posed on, would have much to suffer when the 
affair became public. 

The two young ladies were summoned from the 
VOL. i. — 9 




130 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 Netherfield, which was fixed for 
the following Tuesday. The two ladies were de- 
lighted 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 pos- 
sible, 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 ex- 
tremely agreeable to every female of the family. 
Mrs. Bennet chose to consider it as given in com- 
pliment to her eldest daughter, and was particu- 
larly flattered by receiving 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. Wick- 
ham, and of seeing a confirmation of everything ic 
Mr. Darcy's look and behavior. The happiness 
anticipated by Catherine and Lydia depended lest 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 131 



:m any single event or any particular person; for 
though they each, like Elizabeth meant to dance 
half the evening with Mr. Wickham, he was by 
no means the only partner who 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 occasionally in evening engagements. So- 
ciety has claims on us all; and I profess myself 
one of those who consider intervals 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 invi- 
tation, 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 Arch- 
bishop 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 ob- 
jecting to dancing myself, that I shall hope to be 



132 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

honored with the hands of all my fair cousins in 
the course of the evening; and I take this oppor- 
tunity 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 in- 
stead! — her liveliness had been never worse 
timed. There was no help for it, however. Mr. 
Wickham's happiness and her own were 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 
i 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 con- 
viction, 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 ef- 
fect 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 



I 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 133 

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 pre- 
pare 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 succession of rain as pre- 
vented 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 Tues- 
day could have made such a Friday, Saturday, 
Sunday, and Monday endurable to Kitty and 
Lydia. 




CHAPTER XVIII. 

Till Elizabeth entered the drawing-room at Neth- 
erneld, 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 unsubdued of his heart, trusting that it 
was not more than might be won in the course of 
the evening. But in an instant arose the dreadful 
suspicion of his being purposely omitted, for Mr. 
Darcy's pleasure, in the Bingleys' invitation to 
the officers; and though this was not exactly the 
case, the absolute fact of his absence was pro- 
nounced 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." 



PKIDE AND PREJUDICE. 135 

This part of his intelligence, though unheard 
6y Lydia, was caught by Elizabeth ; and as it as- 
sured 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 disappoint- 
ment, 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, were injury to 
Wickham. She was resolved against any sort of 
conversation with him, and turned away with a 
degree of ill-humor which she could not wholly 
surmount even in speaking to Mr.'Bingley, whose 
blind partiality provoked her. 

But Elizabeth was not formed for ill-humor j 
and though every prospect of her own was de- 
stroyed for the evening, it could not dwell long 
on her spirits; and having told all her griefs to 
Charlotte Lucas, whom she had not seen for a 
week, she was soon able to make a voluntary 
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, apologizing instead of at- 
tending, 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 



136 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

can give. The moment of her release from him 
was ecstasy. 

She danced next with an officer, and had the re- 
freshment 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 her- 
self suddenly addressed by Mr. Darcy, who took 
her so much by surprise in his application for her 
hand, that, without knowing what she did, she ac- 
cepted him. He walked away again immediately, 
and she was left to fret over her own want of pres- 
ence 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 unpleasant in the eyes of a 
man of ten 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 neighbors' looks their equal amaze- 
ment in beholding it. They stood for some time 



PRIDE AND PREJJDICE. 137 

without speaking a word; and she began to ima- 
gine that their silence was to list 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, 
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. I talked about the dance, and you ought 
to make some kind of remark on the size of the 
room or the number of couples." 

He smiled, and assured her that whatever she 
wished him to say should be said. 

"Very well; that reply will do for the present. 
Perhaps, by and by, I may observe that private 
balls are much pleasanter than public ones; but 
now we may be silent." 

" Do you talk by rule, then, while you are 
dancing? " 

" Sometimes. One must speak a little, you 
know. It would look odd to be entirely silent for 
half an hour together; and yet, for the advantage 
of some, conversation ought to be so arranged as 
that they may have the trouble of saying as little 
as possible." 

"Are you consulting your own feelings in the 
present case, or do you imagine that you are grati- 
fying mine?" 



138 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"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 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 her- 
self for her own weakness, could not go on. At 
length Darcy spoke, and in_a constrained manner 
said, — 

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



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 139 

"He has been so unlucky as to lose your friend- 
ship," 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 
changing the subject. At that moment Sir Wil- 
liam 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), 
1 ' shall take place. What congratulations will 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." 

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



140 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

towards Bingley and Jane, who were dancing to- 
gether. Recovering himself, however, shortly, he 
turned to his partner, and said, — 

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

"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 with- 
out success, and what we are to talk of next I can- 
not imagine. 7 ' 

u What think you of books? M 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." 

"No, 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 sup- 
pose, as to its being created?" 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 141 

"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, endeavoring to shake off her gravity. 
"I am trying to make it out." 

" And what is your success? " 

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 per- 
formance 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, 







142 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

which soon procured her pardon, and directed all 
his anger against another. 

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

"So, Miss Eliza, I hear you are quite de- 
lighted with George Wickham? Your sister has 
been talking to* me about him, and asking me a 
thousand questions; and 1 find that the young 
man forgot to tell you, among his other commu- 
nications, 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 im- 
plicit 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 remark- 
ably 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 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 in- 
vitation 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 in- 
solent thing, indeed, and I wonder how he could 
presume to do it. I pity you, Miss Eliza, for 
this discovery of your favorite's guilt; but really, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 143 

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 stew- 
ard, and of that, I can assure you, he informed 
me himself." 

"I beg your pardon," replied Miss Bingley, 
fcurning away with a sneer. "Excuse my inter- 
ference; it was kindly meant." 

"Insolent girl!" said Elizabeth to herself. 
"You are much mistaken if you expect to in- 
fluence 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 in- 
quiries 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 occur- 
rences 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 counte- 
nance no less smiling than her sister's, "what 
you have learned about Mr. Wickham. But per- 



144 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

haps 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. Binglej^ does not know the whole of his his- 
tory, and is quite ignorant of the circumstances 
which have principally offended Mr. Darcy; but 
he will vouch for the good conduct, the probity 
and honor, of his friend, and is perfectly con- 
vinced that Mr. Wickham has deserved much less 
attention 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. I am perfectly satisfied. But 
what does he say of the living?" 

"He does not exactly recollect the circum- 
stances, 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, " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 145 

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 learned 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 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 confidence in it. On 
their being joined by Mr. Bingley himself, Eliza- 
beth 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 discovery. 

"I have found out," said he, "by a singular 
accident, 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 honors 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 Cath< 
vol. i. — 10 



146 TRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

erine 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 done it before. My total ignorance of the 
connection must plead my apology." 

11 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. Darcy would 
consider his addressing him without introduc- 
tion as an impertinent 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. Mr. 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 understand- 
ing, but permit me to say that there must be r 



V 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 147 

wide difference between the established forms of 
ceremony amongst the laity and those which regu- 
late 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 behavior is at 
the same time maintained. You must therefore 
allow me to follow the dictates of my conscience 
on this occasion, which leads 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; M and 
with a low bow he left her to attack Mr. Darcy, 
whose reception of his advances she eagerly 
watched, and whose astonishment at being so ad- 
dressed 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," "Hunsford," and " Lady Catherine 
de Bourgh." It vexed her to see him expose him- 
self to such a man. Mr. Darcy was eying him 
with unrestrained 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. 




148 PEIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 dissatisfied 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 favor un- 
worthily. It was really a very handsome thought. 
Upon the whole, 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 observa- 
tions 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 which a mar- 
riage of true affection could bestow; and she felt 
capable, under such circumstances, of endeavoring 
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 un- 
lucky perverseness which placed them within one of 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 149 

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 would be soon married 
to Mr. Bingley. It was an animating subject, 
and Mrs. Bennet 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 endeavor to check the 



150 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 overheard 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." 

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 convinced her of what 
she dreaded ; v for though he was not always look- 
ing at her mother, she was convinced that his 
attention was invariably fixed by her. The ex- 
pression of his face changed gradually from indig- 
nant 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 151 

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 endeavor 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 be- 
gan her song. Elizabeth's eyes were fixed on her 
with most painful sensations, and she watched her 
progress through the several stanzas with an im- 
patience 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 favor 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. Eliza- 
beth was in agonies. She looked at Jane to see 
how she bore it; but Jane was very composedly 
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 sing- 
ing all night. He took the hint, and when Mary 
had finished her second song, said aloud, ■ — 



152 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"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 some- 
what 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 certainly 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 com- 
fortable 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. 1 
cannot acquit him of that duty; nor could I think 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 153 

well 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 wife 
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 rela- 
tions was bad enough; and she could not deter- 
mine 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 






154 fa PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 indiffer- 
ent to it; that his chief object was, by delicate 
attentions, to recommend himself to her; and that 
he should therefore make a point of remaining 
close to her the whole evening. There was no 
arguing upon such a project. She owed her great- 
est 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 disen- 
gaged, he never came near enough to speak. She 
felt it to be the probable consequence of her allu- 
sions 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 everybody 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 com- 
plain of fatigue, and were evidently impatient to 
have the house to themselves. They repulsed 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.' 155 

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 behavior 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 excla- 
mation of "Lord, how tired I am! " accompanied 
by a violent yawn. 

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 particularly to Mr. Bingley, to 
assure him how happy he would make them by eat- 
ing 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, 



156 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

allowing for the necessary preparations of settle- 
ments, 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 consid- 

rerable, 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 her, the worth of each was eclipsed by 
Mr. Bingley and Netherfield. 









CHAPTER XIX. 

The next day opened a new scene at Longbourn. 
Mr. Collins made his declaration in form. Hav- 
ing 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, Eliza- 
beth, and one of the younger girls together, soon 
after breakfast, he addressed the mother in these 
words, — 

"May I hope, madam, for your interest with 
your fair daughter Elizabeth, when I solicit for 
the honor 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 hasten- 
ing away, when Elizabeth called out, — 



158 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

u 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 sen- 
sible 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 feel- 
ings which were divided between distress and di- 
version. 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 dis- 
service, 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. 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 mis- 
taken. Almost as soon as I entered the house I 
singled you out as the companion of my future 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

life. But before I am run away with by my feel- 
ings on this subject, perhaps it will be advisable 
for me to state my reasons for marrying — 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 further; 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 con- 
vinced it will add very greatly to my happiness; 
and thirdly, which perhaps I ought to have men- 
tioned earlier, that it is the particular advice and 
recommendation of the very noble lady whom I 
have the honor of calling patroness. Twice has 
si.:? condescended to give me her opinion (unasked 
too!) on this subject; and it was but the very Sat- 
urday night before I left Hunsford — between our 
pools at quadrille, while Mrs. Jenkinson was ar- 
ranging 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 







160 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

good way. This is my advice. Find such a 
woman as soon as you can, bring her to Hunsford, 
and 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 any- 
thing I can describe ; and • your wit and vivacity 
I think must be acceptable to her, especially 
when tempered with the silence and respect which 
her rank will inevitably excite. Thus much for 
my general intention in favor of matrimony; it re- 
mains to be told why my views were directed to 
Longbourn instead of my own neighborhood, 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 honored father (who, 
however, may live many years longer), I could not 
satisfy myself without resolving 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 noth- 
ing 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, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 16l 

since I am well aware that it could not be com- 
plied with; and that one thousand pounds in the 
four 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 I have made no answer. Let me do it 
without further loss of time. Accept my thanks 
for the compliment you are paying me. I am very 
sensible of the honor of your proposals, but it is im- 
possible for me to do otherwise than decline them." 

"I am not now to learn," replied Mr. Collins, 
with a formal wave of the hand, " that it is usual 
with young ladies to reject the addresses of the 
man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he 
first applies for their favor; and that sometimes 
the refusal is repeated a second or even a third 
time. I am, therefore, by no means discouraged 
by what you have just said, and shall hope to lead 
you to the altar erelong." 

"Upon my word, sir," cried Elizabeth, "your 
hope is rather an extraordinary one after my dec- 
laration. I do assure you that I am not one of 
those young ladies (if such young ladies there are) 
who are so daring as to risk their happiness on the 
vol. i. — 11 



162 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

chance of being asked a second time. I am per- 
fectly serious in my refusal. You could not make 
me happy, and I am convinced that I am the last 
woman in the world who would make you so. 
Nay, were your friend Lady Catherine to knew 
me, I am persuaded she would find me in every re- 
spect ill qualified for the situation." 

" Were it certain that Lady Catherine would 
think so," said Mr. Collins, very gravely, — "but 
I cannot imagine that her Ladyship would at all 
disapprove of you. And you may be certain that 
when I have the honor of seeing her again I shall 
speak in the highest terms of your modesty, 
economy, and other amiable qualifications." 

"Indeed, Mr. Collins, all praise of me will be 
unnecessary. You must give me leave to judge 
for myself, and pay me the compliment of believing 
what I say. I wish you very happy and very rich, 
and by refusing your hand, do all in my power to 
prevent your being otherwise. In making me the 
offer, you must have satisfied the delicacy of your 
feelings with regard to my family, and may take 
possession of Longbourn estate whenever it falls, 
without any self-reproach. This matter may be 
considered, therefore, as finally settled." And 
rising as she thus spoke, she would have quitted 
the room, had not Mr. Collins thus addressed her: 

"When I do myself the honor of speaking to 
you next on the subject, I shall hope to receive a 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 163 

more favorable answer than you have now given 
me; though I am far from accusing you of cruelty 
at present, because I know it to be the established 
custom of your sex to reject a man on the first ap- 
plication, and perhaps you have even now said as 
much to encourage my suit as would be consistent 
with the true delicacy of the female character.' ' 

"Really, Mr. Collins, " cried Elizabeth, with 
some warmth, "you puzzle me exceedingly. If 
what I have hitherto said can appear to you in the 
form of encouragement, I know not how to express 
my refusal in such a way as may convince you of 
its being one." 

"You must give me leave to flatter myself, my 
dear cousin, that your refusal of my addresses are 
merely words of course. My reasons for believing 
it are briefly these: It does not appear to me 
that my hand is unworthy your acceptance, or that 
the establishment I can offer would be any other 
than highly desirable. My situation in life, my 
connections with the family of De Bourgh, and 
my relationship to your own are circumstances 
highly in my favor; and you should take it into 
further consideration, that, in spite of your mani- 
fold attractions, it is by no means certain that an- 
other 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 



164 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 preten- 
sions whatever to that kind of elegance which con- 
sists in tormenting a respectable man. I would 
rather be paid the compliment of being believed 
sincere. I thank you again and again for the 
honor you have done me in your proposals, but to 
accept them is absolutely impossible. My feelings 
in every respect forbid it. Can I speak plainer? 
Do not consider me now as an elegant female in- 
tending to plague you, but as a rational creature 
speaking the truth from her heart.' * 

"You are uniformly charming! n 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 would 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 behavior at least 
could not be mistaken for the affectation and 
coquetry of an elegant female. 



CHAPTER XX. 

Mr. Collins was not left long to the silent con' 
templation of his successful love ; for Mrs. Bennet, 
having dawdled about in the vestibule to watch 
for the end of the conference, no sooner saw Eliza- 
beth open the door and with quick step pass her 
towards the staircase, than she entered the break- 
fast-room, and congratulated both him and herself 
in warm terms on the happy prospect of their 
nearer connection. Mr. Collins received and re- 
turned these felicitations with equal pleasure, and 
then proceeded to relate the particulars of their in- 
terview, 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. 

This information, however, startled Mrs. Ben- 
net : she would have been glad to be equally satis- 
fied that her daughter had meant to encourage him 
by protesting against his proposals; but she dared 
not to 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 



166 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 alto- 
gether be a very desirable wife to a man in my sit- 
uation, who naturally looks for happiness in the 
marriage state. If therefore she actually persists 
in rejecting my s-uit, 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 would not give him time to reply, but 
hurrying instantly 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 her." 

Mr. Bennet raised his eyes from his book as she 
entered, and fixed them on her face with a calm 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 167 

unconcern which was not in the least altered by 
her communication. 

"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, Eliza- 
beth. From this day you must be a stranger to 




168 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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." 

Elizabeth could not but smile at such a con- 
clusion of such a beginning; but Mrs. Bennet, 
who had persuaded herself that her husband re- 
garded 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 favors 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 disappoint- 
ment in her husband, did Mrs. Bennet give up the 
point. She talked to Elizabeth again and again; 
coaxed and threatened her by turns. She endeav- 
ored to secure Jane in her interest; but Jane, 
with all possible mildness, declined interfering; 
and Elizabeth sometimes with real earnestness and 
sometimes with playful gayety, replied to her at- 
tacks. Though her manner varied, however, her 
determination never did. 

Mr. Collins, meanwhile, was meditating in soli- 
tude on what had passed. He thought too well of 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 169 

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 prevented his 
feeling any regret. 

While the family were in this confusion, Char- 
lotte 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 morning? Mr. Col- 
lins 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 no sooner had they entered the break- 
fast-room, where Mrs. Bennet was alone, than she 
likewise began on the subject, calling on Miss 
Lucas for her compassion, and entreating her to 
persuade her friend Lizzy to comply with the 
wishes of all her family. "Pray do, my dear 
Miss 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 oi 
Jane and Elizabeth. 

"Ay, there she comes," continued Mrs. Bennet, 



170 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"looking 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. I shall not be able to keep you, — 
and so I warn you. I have done with you from 
this very day. 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. Not 
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 talk- 
ing. Nobody 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 effu- 
sion, sensible that any attempt to reason with or 
soothe her would only increase the irritation. She 
talked on, therefore, 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. 171 

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 pretend- 
ing 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 behavior of your 
daughter. Resignation td iaeivitable 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 honored 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 estima- 
tion. You will not, I hope, consider me as show- 
ing am disrespect to your family, my dear madam, 
by thus withdrawing my pretensions to your daugh- 
ter's favor, without having paid yourself and Mr. 
Bennet the compliment of requesting you to inter- 
pose your authority in my behalf. My conduct 



172 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



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 com- 
panion for myself, with due consideration for the 
advantage of all your family; and if my manner 
has been at all reprehensible, I here beg leave to 
apologize." Hb 



CHAPTER XXI. 

The discussion of Mr. Collins's offer was now 
nearly at an end, and Elizabeth had only to suffer 
from the uncomfortable feelings necessarily attend- 
ing it, and occasionally from some peevish allusion 
of her mother. As for the gentleman himself, his 
feelings were chiefly expressed, not by embarrass- 
ment or dejection, or by trying to avoid her, but 
by stiffness of manner, and resentful silence. He 
scarcely ever spoke to her; and the assiduous at- 
tentions 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 humor or ill health. Mr. Collins 
was also in the same state of angry pride. Eliza- 
beth had hoped that his 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 la- 



174 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

ment over his absence from the Netherfield ball. 
He joined them on their entering the town, and 
attended them to their aunt's, where his regret 
and vexation and the concern of everybody were 
well talked over. To Elizabeth, however, he vol- 
untarily acknowledged that the necessity of his 
absence had been' self-imposed. 

"I found, " said he, "as the time drew near, 
that I had better not meet Mr. Darcy; that to 
be in the same room, the same party with him for 
so many hours together, might be more than I 
could bear, and that scenes might arise unpleasant 
to more than myself.' ' 

She highly approved his forbearance; and they 
had leisure for a full discussion of it, and for all 
the commendations 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 accompany- 
ing them was a double advantage : she felt all the 
compliment it offered to herself; and it was most 
acceptable as an occasion of introducing him to 
her father and mother. 

Soon after their return a letter was delivered to 
Miss Bennet: it came from Netherfield, 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 countenance change as 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 175 

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 
drew 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. When they had gained their own room, 
Jane, taking out her letter, said: " This is from 
Caroline Bingley; what it contains has surprised 
nie a good deal. The whole party have left Neth- 
erfield by this time, and are on their way to town, 
and without any intention of coming back again. 
You shall hear what she says." 

She then read the first sentence aloud, which 
comprised the information of their having just re- 
solved to follow their brother to town directly, 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 re- 
turns 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 for that." 

To these high-flown expressions Elizabeth lis- 
tened with all the insensibility of distrust; and 



176 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

though the suddenness of their removal surprised 
her, she saw nothing in it really to lament: it was 
not to he supposed that their ahsence from Nether 
field would prevent Mr. Bingley's heing there; and 
as to the loss of their society, she was persuaded 
that Jane must soon cease to regard it in the en- 
joyment of his. 

"It is unlucky," said she, after a short pause, 
"that you should not be able to see your friends 
before they leave the country. But may we not 
hope that the period of future happiness to which 
Miss Bingley looks forward may arrive earlier 
than she is aware, and that the delightful inter- 
course you have known as friends will be renewed 
with yet greater satisfaction as sisters? Mr. Bing- 
ley will not be detained in London by them." 

"Caroline decidedly says that none of the party 
will return into Hertfordshire this winter. I will 
read it to you." 

" When my brother left us yesterday, he imagined that 
the business which took him to London might be con- 
cluded 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 gayeties 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 177 

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 par- 
ticularly hurts me. I will have no reserves from 
you." 

" Mr. Darcy is impatient to see his sister ; and to con- 
fess 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 height- 
ened into something still 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 confiding them, and I trust you will not esteem 
them unreasonable. My brother admires her greatly al- 
ready ; 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 par- 
tiality is not misleading me, I think, when I call Charles 
most capable of engaging any woman's heart. With all 
these circumstances to favor 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?" 

VOL. I. — 12 



178 PRIDE A^D PREJUDICE. 

"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 the more anxious to 
get Miss Darcy for her brother, from the notion 
that when there has been one intermarriage, she 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 179 

may have less trouble in achieving a second; in 
which there is certainly some ingenuity, iand I 
dare say it would succeed if Miss de Bourgh were 
out of the way. But, my dearest Jane, you can- 
not 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." 

" 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 deceiv- 
ing any one ; 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 



180 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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." 

"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 every one. 

She represented to her sister, as forcibly as pos- 
sible, what she felt on the subject, and had soon 
the pleasure of seeing its happy effect. Jane's 
temper was not desponding; and she was gradually 
led to hope, though the diffidence of affection 
sometimes overcame the hope, that Bingley would 
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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 181 

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 ex- 
ceedingly 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 comfortable declaration that though 
he had been invited only to a family dinner, she 
would take care to have two full courses. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

The 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 humor/' said she, M 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 ami- 
able; 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 favorable that 
when they parted at night, she would have felt 
almost sure of success if he had not been to leave 
Hertfordshire so very soon. But here she did 
injustice to the fire and independence of his char- 
acter; for it led him to escape out of Longbourn 
House the next morning with admirable slyness, 
and hasten to Lucas Lodge to throw himself at 
her feet. He was anxious to avoid the notice of 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 183 

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 acci- 
dentally 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. Collinses long speeches 
would allow, everything was settled between them 
to the satisfaction 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 favored by nature must guard his 
courtship from any charm that could make a woman 
wish for its continuance ; and Miss Lucas, who ac- 
cepted 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 ap- 



184 PRIDE AtfD PREJUDICE. 

plied to for their consent; and it was bestowed 
with a most joyful alacrity. Mr. Collins's present 
circumstances made it a most eligible match for 
their daughter, to whom they could give little for- 
tune; and his prospects of future wealth were 
exceedingly fair. Lady Lucas began directly to 
calculate, with more interest than the matter had 
ever 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 possession 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 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 com- 
posed. 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 highly either of men or of matrimony, 
marriage had always been her object: it was 
the only honorable provision for well-educated 
young women of small fortune, and, however 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 185 

uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleas- 
antest preservative from want. This preserva- 
tive 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 agree- 
able circumstance in the business 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 disapprobation. 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 ques- 
tions 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 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 polite- 
ness and cordiality, said how happy they should 
be to see him at Longbourn again, whenever 



186 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

his other engagements might allow him to visit 
them. 

"My dear madam," he replied, " this invitation 
is particularly 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 
disapprobation here, my good sir? You had better 
neglect your relations than run the risk of offend- 
ing your patroness." 

"My dear sir," replied Mr. Collins, "I am 
particularly obliged to you for this friendly cau- 
tion, and you may depend upon my not tak- 
ing so material a step without her Ladyship's 
concurrence." 

"You cannot be too much on your guard. Bisk 
anything 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 upon it, you will speedily receive 
from me a letter of thanks for this as well as for 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



187 



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." 

With proper civilities, the ladies then withdrew; 
all of them equally surprised to find that he medi- 
tated a quick return. Mrs. Bennet wished to un- 
derstand by it that he thought of paying his ad- 
dresses to one of her younger girls, and Mary 
might have been prevailed on to accept him. She 
rated his abilities much higher than any of 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 encour- 
aged to read and improve himself by such an ex- 
ample as hers, he might become a very agreeable 
companion. But on the following morning every 
hope of this kind was done away. Miss Lucas 
called soon after breakfast, and in a private con- 
ference with Elizabeth related the event of the 
day before. 

The possibility of Mr. Collins's fancying himself 
in love with her friend had once occurred to Eliza- 
beth 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 consequently so great as 






. 



188 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

to overcome at first the bounds of decorum, and 
she could not help crying out, — 

"Engaged to Mr. Collins! my dear Charlotte, 
impossible!" 

The steady countenance which Miss Lucas had 
commanded in telling her story gave way to a 
momentary confusion here on receiving so direct 
a reproach; though, 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, be- 
cause he was not so happy as to succeed with 

you?" 

But Elizabeth had now recollected herself; and 
making 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 considering Mr. 
Collins's character, connections, and situation in 
life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 189 

with liiin 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 long time before 
she became at all reconciled to the idea of so un- 
suitable a match. The strangeness of Mr. Colli ns's 
making two offers of marriage within three days 
was nothing in comparison of his being now ac« 
cepted. She had always felt that Charlotte's opin- 
ion 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. Char- 
lotte the wife of Mr. Collins was a most hu- 
miliating picture! And to the pang of a friend 
disgracing herself and sunk in her esteem, was 
added the distressing conviction that it was im- 
possible for that friend to be tolerably happy in 
the lot she had chosen. 




.# 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

Elizabeth was sitting with her mother and 
sisters, reflecting on what she had heard, and 
doubting whether she was authorized to mention 
it, when Sir William Lucas himself appeared, sent 
by his daughter to announce her engagement to 
the family. With many compliments to them, 
and much self-gratulation on the prospect of a 
connection between the houses, he unfolded the 
matter, — to an audience not merely wondering, 
but incredulous : for Mrs. Bennet, with more perse- 
verance than politeness, protested he must be en- 
tirely mistaken; and Lydia, always unguarded and 
often uncivil, boisterously 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. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 191 

Elizabeth, feeling it incumbent on her to relieve 
him from so unpleasant a situation, now put her- 
self forward to confirm his account, by mentioning 
her prior knowledge of it from Charlotte herself ; 
and endeavored 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 J^'.ae, and by making a 
variety of remarks on the happiness that might be 
expected from the match, the excellent character 
of Mr. Collins, . and the convenient 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 be left them than her feelings 
found a rapid vent. In the first place, she per- 
sisted 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 infer- 
ences, however, 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 noth- 
ing appease her. Nor did that day wear out her 
resentment. A week elapsed before she could see 



192 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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. Ifc, 

Mr. Bennet's emotions were much more tran- 
quil on the occasion, and such as he did expe- 
rience he pronounced lm 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 smnrised 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 othei 
than as a piece of news to spread at Merytoi^H| 

Lady Lucas could not be insensible of triumph 
on being able to retort on Mrs. Bennet the com- 
fort 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 193 

subject; and Elizabeth felt persuaded that no real 
confidence could ever subsist between them again. 
Her disappointment in Charlotte made her turn 
with fonder regard to her sister, of whose rectitude 
and delicacy she was sure her opinion could never 
be shaken, and for whose happiness she grew 
daily more anxious, as Bingley had now been gone 
a week, and nothing 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- 
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 neighbor, 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 argu- 
ment with his amiable Charlotte to name an early 
day for making him the happiest of men . 
Vol. i. — 13 



194 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Mr. Collins's return into Hertfordshire was no 
longer a matter of pleasure to Mrs. Bennet. On 
the contrary, she was as much disposed to com- 
plain of it as her husband. It was very strange 
that he should come to Longbourn instead of to 
Lucas Lodge ; it was also very inconvenient and 
exceedingly troublesome. She hated having vis- 
itors in the house while her health was so indiffer- 
ent, and lovers were of all people the most disa- 
greeable. Such were the gentle murmurs of Mrs. 
Bennet, and they gave way only to the greater 
distress of Mr. Bingley's continued absence. 

Neither Jane nor Elizabeth was comfortable 
on this subject. Day after day passed away with- 
out bringing any other tidings of him than the 
report which shortly prevailed in Meryton of his 
coming no more to Netherfield 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 Bing- 
ley was indifferent, but that his sisters would be 
successful in keeping him away. Unwilling as 
she was to admit an idea so destructive of Jane's 
happiness, and so dishonorable to the stability of 
her lover, she could not prevent its frequently 
recurring. The united efforts of his two unfeeling 
sisters and of his overpowering friend, assisted by 
the attractions of Miss Darcy and the amusements 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 195 

of London, might be too much, she feared, for the 
strength of his attachment. 

As for Jane, her anxiety under this suspense 
was, of course, more painful than Elizabeth's; 
but whatever she felt she was desirous of conceal- 
ing, 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 re- 
quire 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, luckily for the 
others, the business of love-making relieved 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 
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-humor, and 
wherever she went she was sure of hearing it 



m 



196 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

talked of. The sight of Miss Lucas was odious to 
her. As her successor in that house, she regarded 
her with jealous abhorrence. Whenever Charlotte 
came to see them, she concluded her to be an- 
ticipating the hour of possession; and whenever 
she spoke in a low voice to Mr. Collins, was con- 
vinced that they were talking of the Longbourn 
estate, and resolving to turn herself and her daugh- 
ters 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 I 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 I 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." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 197 

" I never can be thankful, Mr. Bennet, for any- 
thing about the entail. How any one could have 
the conscience 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. 



- 




i 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

Miss Bingley's letter arrived, and put an end to 
doubt. The very first sentence conveyed the as- 
surance of their being all settled in London for the 
winter, and concluded with her brother's regret 
at not having had time to pay his respects to 
his friends in Hertfordshire 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 attrac- 
tions 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. 

Elizabeth, to whom Jane very soon communi- 
cated the chief of all this, heard it in silent indig- 
nation. Her heart was divided between concern 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 199 

r 

for her sister and resentment against all others. 
To Caroline's assertion of her brother's being par- 
tial 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 without 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 happiness 
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 what- 
ever manner he thought best; but her sister's was 
involved in it, as she thought he must be sensible 
himself. It was a subject, 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 friend's interfer- 
ence; whether he had been aware of Jane's attach- 
ment, or whether it had escaped his observation; 
whatever 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 



r 



200 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

irritation than usual about Netherfield and its 
master, she could not help saying, — 

" Oh 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 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 
solicitude, but said nothing. 

"You doubt me," cried Jane, slightly coloring; 
" indeed you have no reason. He may live in my 
memory as the most amiable man of my acquaint- 
ance, but that is all. I have nothing either 
to hope or fear, and nothing to reproach him 
with. Thank God, I have not that pain. A little 
time, therefore — I shall certainly try to get the 
better — " 

With a stronger voice she soon added: "I have 
this comfort immediately, that it has not been 
more than an error of fancy on my side, and that 
it has done no harm to any one but myself." 

"My dear Jane," exclaimed Elizabeth, "you 
are too good. Your sweetness and disinterested- 
ness are really angelic; I do not know what to say 
to you. I feel as if I had never done you justice, 
or loved you as you deserve." 

Miss Bennet eagerly disclaimed all extraor- 
dinary merit, and threw back the praise on her 
sister's warm affection. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 201 

"Nay," said Elizabeth, "this is not fair. 
You wish to think all the world respectable, and 
are hurt if I speak ill of anybody. I only want to 
think you perfect, and you set yourself against it. 
Do not be afraid of my running into any excess, 
of my encroaching on your privilege of universal 
good-will. You need not. There are few people 1 
whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I ' 
think well. The more I see of the world the more 
am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms 
my belief of the inconsistency of all human char- 
acters, and of the little dependence that can be 
placed on the appearance of either merit or sense. 
I have met with two instances lately: one I 
will not mention; the other is Charlotte's mar- 
riage. It is unaccountable, — in every view it is 
unaccountable! " 

"My dear Lizzie, do not give way to such feel- 
ings 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 Charlotte'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 






202 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 endeavor to persuade yourself or me, that 
selfishness is prudence, and insensibility of dan- 
ger 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 Lizzie, not to pain me by thinking that per- 
son 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." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 203 

"If it is designedly done, they cannot be justi- 
fied; 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 scheming 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 dis- 
please 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 impor- 
tance of money, great connections, and pride." 

"Beyond a doubt they do wish him to choose 
Miss Darcy," replied Jane; "but this may be 
from better feelings than you are supposing. They 



204 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 be- 
lieved 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 un- 
happy. 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 re- 
pine 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 endeavored 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 j but though the probability of the statement 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 205 

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 be- 
ing married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a 
little now and then. It is something to think of, 
and gives her a sort of distinction among her com- 
panions. 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 J 
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 dispelling 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 al- 






206 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

ready heard, his claims on Mr. Darcy, and all that 
he had suffered from him was now openly acknowl- 
edged and publicly canvassed; and everybody was 
pleased to think how much they had always dis- 
liked Mr. Darcy before they had known anything 
of the matter. 

Miss Bennet was the only creature who could 
suppose there might be any extenuating circum- 
stances in the case unknown to the society of 
Hertfordshire : her mild and steady candor always 
pleaded for allowances, and urged the possibility 
of mistakes ; but by everybody else Mr. Darcy was 
condemned as the worst of men. 



CHAPTEE XXV. 

After 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 allevi- 
ated on his side by preparations for the recep- 
tion 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 Long- 
bourn. Mr. Gardiner was a sensible, gentleman- 
like 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 




208 PRIDE AND PP^JUDxCE. 

than Mrs. Bennet and Mrs. Philips, was an amia- 
ble, intelligent, elegant woman, and a great fa- 
vorite with her Longbourn 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 be- 
came 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 perverse- 
ness. 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 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 209 

thwarted so in my own family, and to have neigh- 
bors 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 correspondence 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 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 hap- 
pen so often ! A young man, such as you describe 
Mr. Bingley, so easily falls in love with a pretty 
girl for a few weeks, and, when accident separates 
them, so easily forgets her, that these sort of in- 
constancies are very frequent." 

"An excellent consolation in its way," said 
Elizabeth; " but it will not do for us. We do not 
suffer by accident. 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 hackneyed, so doubtful, so indefinite, that it 
gives me very little idea. It is as often applied 
vol. i. — 14 




210 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

to feelings which arise only from a half hour's ac- 
quaintance 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 hy her. Every time they met, it 
was more decided and remarkable. At his own 
ball he offended two or three young ladies hy 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 any thing.' ' 

Elizabeth was exceedingly pleased with this 
proposal, and felt persuaded of her sister's ready 
acquiescence. 

" I hope," added Mrs. Gardiner, "that no con- 
sideration with regard to this young man will in- 
fluence 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 211 

improbable they should meet at all, unless he 
really comes to see her." 

" 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." 

u 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 sub- 
ject which convinced her, on examination, that she 
did not consider it entirely hopeless. It was pos- 
sible, and sometimes she thought it probable, that 
his affection might be re-animated, and the influ- 
ence 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, 



212 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

by Caroline's not living in the same house with 
her brother, she might occasionally spend a morn- 
ing with her, without any danger of seeing him. 

The Gardiners stayed a week at Longbourn ; and 
what with the Philipses, the Lucases, and the offi* 
cers, there was not a day without its engagement. 
Mrs. Bennet had so carefully provided for the en- 
tertainment of her brother and sister, that they 
did not once sit down to a family dinner. When 
the engagement was for home, some of the officers 
always made part of it, of which officers Mr. Wick- 
ham was sure to be one; and on these occasions 
Mrs. Gardiner, rendered suspicious by Elizabeth's 
warm commendation of him, narrowly observed 
them both. Without supposing them, from what 
she saw, to be very seriously in love, their prefer- 
ence of each other was plain enough to make her a 
little uneasy; and she resolved to speak to Eliza- 
beth on the subject before she left Hertfordshire, 
and represent to her the imprudence of encourag- 
ing 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 com- 
mon; and though Wickham had been little there 
since the death of Darcy's father, five years before, 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 213 

it was yet in his power to give her fresher intelli- 
gence 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, consequently, 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 some- 
thing of that gentleman's reputed 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. 




CHAPTER XXVI. 

Mrs. Gardiner's caution to Elizabeth was punc- 
tually and kindly given on the first favorable op- 
portunity 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 therefore I am not afraid of speaking openly. 
Seriously, I would have you ue on your guard. 
Do not involve yourself, or endeavor 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 
i s — you must not let your fancy run away with 
you. You have sense, and we all expect you to 
use it. Your father would depend on your resolu- 
tion 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." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 215 

" 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." 

"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 com- 
parison, 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 im- 
prudence of it. Oh, that abominable Mr. Darcy! 
My father's opinion of me does me the greatest 
honor, and I should be miserable to forfeit it. 
My father, however, 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 
engagements 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 wisdom to resist? All 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 



216 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 conscious 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 frequently invited this week. 
You know iriy mother's ideas as to the necessity of 
constant company for her friends. But really, and 
upon my honor, 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 Eliza- 
beth, having thanked her for the kindness of her 
hints, they parted, — a wonderful instance of ad- 
vice being given on such a point without being 
resented. 

Mr. Collins returned into Hertfordshire soon 
after it had been quitted by the Gardiners and 
Jane; but as he took up his abode with the Lu- 
cases, his arrival was no great inconvenience to 
Mrs. Bennet. His marriage was now fast ap- 
proaching; 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 wed- 
ding-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 sincerely affected her- 



HIIDE AND PREJUDICE. 217 

self, accompanied her out of the room. As they 
went downstairs together, Charlotte said, — 

"I shall depend on hearing from you very often, 
Eliza." 

" That you certainly shall." 

"And I have another favor 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. 

"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 bride- 
groom set off for Kent from the church door, and 
everybody had as much to say or to hear on the sub- 
ject as usual. Elizabeth soon heard from her 
friend, and their correspondence 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 de- 
termined not to slacken as a correspondent, it was 
for the sake of what had been rather than what 
was. Charlotte's first letters were received with a 
good deal of eagerness: there could not but be 



218 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

curiosity to know how she would speak of her new 
home, how she would like Lady Catherine, and 
how happy she would dare pronounce 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, neighborhood, and roads 
were all to her taste, and Lady Catherine's be- 
havior was most friendly and obliging. It was 
Mr. Collins's picture of Hunsford and E-osings 
rationally softened; and Elizabeth 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 announce their safe arrival in London; 
and when she wrote again, Elizabeth hoped it 
would be in her power to say something of the 
Bingleys. Her impatience for this second letter 
was as well rewarded 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." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 219 

She wrote again when the visit was 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 was well, 
but so much engaged with Mr. Darcy that they scarcely 
ever saw 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 
convinced her that accident only conld discover to 
Mr. Bingley her sister's being in town. 

Four weeks passed away, and Jane saw nothing 
of him. She endeavored to persuade herself that 
she did not regret it; but she could no longer be 
blind to Miss Bingley's inattention. After wait- 
ing at home every morning for a fortnight, and in- 
venting 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: — 

My dearest Lizzy will, I am sure, be incapable of tri- 
umphing 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 



220 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

if I still assert that, considering what her behavior 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 mean time. 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 acquaint- 
ance no longer. I pity, 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 further ; and though we know this anxiety 
to be quite needless, yet if she feels it, it will easily ac- 
count for her behavior 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 herself ; and yet it would seem, by 
her manner of talking, as if she wanted to persuade her- 
self 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. But I will endeavor 
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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 221 

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 ac- 
counts 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 ex- 
pectation from the brother was now absolutely over. 
She would not even wish for any renewal of his at- 
tentions. His character sunk on every review of 
it ; and, as a punishment for him, as well as a pos- 
sible advantage to Jane, she seriously hoped he 
might really soon marry Mr. Darcy's sister, as, by 
Wickham's account, she would make him abun- 
dantly regret what he had thrown away. 

Mrs. Gardiner about this time reminded Eliza- 
beth 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 ad- 
mirer of some one else. Elizabeth was 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 



222 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

acquisition of ten thousand pounds was the most 
remarkable charm of the young lady to whom he 
was now rendering himself agreeable; but Eliza- 
beth, 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: — 

" 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 him, 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 ob- 
ject to all my acquaintance, were I distractedly in love 
with him, I cannot say that I regret my comparative in- 
significance. 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 convic- 
tion that handsome young men must have something to 
live on, as well as the plain." 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

With no greater events than these in the Long- 
bourn family, and otherwise diversified 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 de- 
pending on the plan, and she gradually learned to 
consider it herself with greater pleasure as well as 
greater certainty. Absence had increased her de- 
sire 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 journey would, moreover, give her a peep at 
Jane ; and in short, as the time drew near, she would 
have been very sorry for any delay. Everything, 
however, went on smoothly, and was finally settled 
according to Charlotte's first sketch. She was to 
accompany Sir William and his second daughter. 
The improvement of spending a night in London 
was added in time, and the plan became perfect as 
plan could be. 



224 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

The only pain was in leaving her father, who 
would certainly miss her, and who, when it came 
to the point, so 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. Wickham 
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 every enjoy- 
ment, reminding her of what she was to expect in 
Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and trusting their 
opinion of her — their opinion of everybody — 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 always be her model of the amiable and 
pleasing. 

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- 
humored 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 225 

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 watch- 
ing 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, pre- 
vented their coming lower. All was joy and kind- 
ness. 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 dejec- 
tion. It was reasonable, however, 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 conversa- 
tions occurring at different times between Jane 
vol. i. — 15 



226 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

and herself, which proved that the former had, 
from her heart, given up the acquaintance. 

Mrs. Gardiner then rallied her niece on Wick- 
ham'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 
matrimonial 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 allow 
able 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? " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 227 

"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 her- 
self, — sense or feeling." 

"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 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 manner nor sense to recommend him. 
Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, \ 
after all." -> 

"Take care, Lizzy; that speech savors 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 



228 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 feli- 
city! You give me fresh life and vigor. Adieu 
to disappointment and spleen. What are men to 
rocks and mountains? Oh, what hours of trans- 
port we shall spend! And when we do return, it 
shall not be like ether travellers, without being 
able to give one accurate idea of anything. We 
will know where we have gone, — we will recollect 
what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers 
shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations ; 
nor, when we attempt to describe any particular 
scene, will we begin quarrelling about its relative 
situation. Let our first effusions be less insupport- 
able than those of the generality of travellers." 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

Every 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 con- 
stant source of delight. 

When they left the high-road for the lane to 
Hunsford, every eye was in search of the Parson- 
age, 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 sloping to the road, the house standing in 
it, the green pales, and the laurel hedge, — every- 
thing 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 



230 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 inqui- 
ries 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 parlor, 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 
reasonably be ashamed, which certainly was not 
seldom, she involuntarily turned her eye on Char- 
lotte. Onco or twice she could discern a faint 
blush; but in general Charlotte wisely did not 
hear. After sitting long enough to admire every 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 231 

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 culti- 
vation of which he attended himself. To work in 
his garden was one of his most respectable pleas- 
ures; and Elizabeth admired the command of 
countenance with which Charlotte talked of the 
healthfulness of the exercise, and owned she en- 
couraged it as much as possible. Here, leading 
the way through every 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 be- 
hind. He could number the fields in every direc- 
tion, 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 Rosin gs, afforded by an open- 
ing in the trees that bordered the park nearly oppo- 
site 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 accom- 
panied him, Charlotte took her sister and friend 




232 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

over the house, extremely well pleased, probably, 
to have the opportunity of showing it without hei 
husband's help. It was rather small, but well 
built and convenient j 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 throughout; and by 
Charlotte's evident enjoyment of it, Elizabeth 
supposed he must be often forgotten. 

She had already learned that Lady Catherine 
was still in the country. It was spoken of again 
while they were at dinner, when Mr. Collins, join- 
ing in, observed, — 

"Yes, Miss Elizabeth, you will have the honor 
of seeing Lady Catherine de Bourgh on the ensu- 
ing 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 
honored with some portion of her notice when 
service is over. I have scarcely any hesitation in 
saying that she will include you and my sister 
Maria in every invitation with which she honors 
us during your stay here. Her behavior to my 
dear Charlotte is charming. We dine at Rosings 
twice every week, and are never allowed to walk 
home. Her Ladyship's carriage is regularly or- 
dered for us. I should say, one of her Ladyship's 
carriages, for she has several." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 233 

"Lady Catherine is a very respectable, sensible 
woman, indeed," added Charlotte, "and a most 
attentive neighbor." 

"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 
Hertfordshire news, and telling again what had 
been already written; and when it closed, Eliza- 
beth, in the solitude of her chamber, had to medi- 
tate upon Charlotte's degree of contentment, to 
understand her address in guiding, and composure 
in bearing with her husband, and to acknowledge 
that it was all done very well. She had also to 
anticipate how her visit would pass, — the quiet 
tenor of their usual employments, the vexatious 
interruptions of Mr. Collins, and the gayeties of 
their intercourse with Rosings. A lively imagina- 
tion 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 confu- 
sion; and after listening a moment, she heard 
somebody running upstairs 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 



r 



234 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

be seen! I will not tell you what it is. Make 
haste, and come down this moment." 

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 ex- 
pected 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 mistake, "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 favors 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 j and Sir 




PittDE AND PREJUDICE. 235 

William, to Elizabeth's high diversion, was sta- 
tioned in the coorway, 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. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

Mr. Collinses triumph, in consequence of this 
invitation, was complete. The power of display- 
ing the grandeur of his patroness to his wonder- 
ing 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 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, more- 
over, 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 al- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 237 

lowed me to acquire. About the court such in- 
stances 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 be- 
comes herself and daughter. I would advise you 
merely to put on whatever of your clothes is supe- 
rior to the rest; there is no occasion for anything 
more. Lady Catherine will not think the worse 
of you for being simply dressed. She likes to I 
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 ob- 
jected to be kept waiting for her dinner. Such 
formidable accounts of her Ladyship and her man- 
ner of living quite frightened Maria Lucas, who 
had been little used to company; and she looked 
forward to her introduction at Kosings with as 
much apprehension as her father had done to hia 
presentation at St. James's. 



238 PRIDE AKD PREJUDICE. 

As the weather was fine, they had a pleasant 
walk of about half a mile across the park. Every 
park has its beauty and its prospects ; and Eliza- 
beth saw much to be pleased with, though she 
could not be in such raptures as Mr. Collins ex- 
pected 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, i 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 miracu- 
lous 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 propor- 
tion and finished ornaments, they followed the ser- 
vants through an antechamber to the room where 
Lady Catherine, her daughter, and Mrs. Jenkinson 
were sitting. Her Ladyship, with great conde- 
scension, arose to receive them; and as Mrs. Col- 
lins had settled it with her husband that the 
office of introduction should be hers, it was per- 
formed in a proper manner, without any of those 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 239 

apologies and thanks which he would have thought 
necessary. 

In spite of having been at St. James's, Sir Wil- 
liam was so completely awed by the grandeur sur- 
rounding him, that he had but just courage enough 
to make a very low bow, and take his seat without 
saying a word; and his daughter, frightened al- 
most 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 what- 
ever she said was spoken in so authoritative 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 
countenance and deportment she soon found some 
resemblance 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 



240 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

any 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 low voice, to Mrs. Jenkinson, 
in whose appearance there was nothing remark- 
able, 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. 

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 foretold, 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 241 

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 dinner-time. Mrs. Jen- 
kinson 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 Cath- 
erine 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 
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 va- 
riety of questions to Maria and Elizabeth, but es- 
pecially to the latter, of whose connections she 
knew the least, and who, she observed to Mrs. 
vol. i. — 16 



J 



242 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 impertinence of her ques- 
tions, but answered them very composedly. 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." 

" What, none of you? " 
one. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 243 

"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." 

"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 as- 
sured 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 ne- 
cessary. 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 en- 
gage one. I always say that nothing is to be done 
in education without steady and regular instruc- 
tion, and nobody but a governess can give it. It 
is wonderful how many families I have been the 



244 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 per- 
son, who was 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 yo?;nger 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 j 
back on such 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 245 

your opinion very decidedly for so young a person. 
Pray, what is your age?" 

" With three younger sisters grown up," replied 
Elizabeth, smiling, "your Ladyship can hardly 
expect me to own it." 

Lady Catherine seemed quite astonished at not 
receiving 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; 
therefore you need not conceal your age." 

"I am not one-and-twenty." 

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 casino, the two girls had the 
honor 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 ex- 
pressed 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 
agreeing to everything her Ladyship said, thank- 
ing her for every fish he won, and apologizing if 






246 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 they chose, the tables were 
broken up, the carriage was offered to Mrs. Col- 
lins, gratefully accepted, and immediately ordered. 
The party then gathered round the fire to hear 
Lady 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 favorable than it really was. But her commen- 
dation, though costing her some trouble, could by 
no means satisfy Mr. Collins; and he was very 
eoon obliged to take her Ladyship's praise into 
his own hands. 



CHAPTEE XXX. 

Sir William stayed only a week at Hunsford; 
but his visit was long enough to convince him 
of his daughter's being most comfortably settled, 
and of her possessing such a husband and such a 
neighbor as were not often met with. While Sir 
William was with them, Mr. Collins devoted his 
mornings to driving him out in his gig and show- 
ing 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 gar- 
den, or in reading and writing, and looking out of 
window in his own book-room, which fronted the 
road. The room in which the ladies sat was back- 
wards. Elizabeth at first had rather wondered 
that Charlotte should not prefer the dining-parlor 
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 



248 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

equally lively; and she gave Charlotte credit for 
the arrangement. 

From the drawing-room they could distinguish 
nothing in the lane, 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' conver- 
sation with Charlotte, but was scarcely ever pre- 
vailed 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 un- 
derstand the sacrifice of so many hours. Now and 
then they were honored with a call from her Lady- 
ship, and nothing escaped her observation that was 
passing in the room during these visits. She ex- 
amined 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. 

Elizabeth soon perceived that though this great 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE: 249 

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 Mr. Collins ; and whenever 
any of the cottagers were disposed to be quarrel- 
some, 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 evening, every such entertain- 
ment was the counterpart of the first. Their other 
engagements were few; as the style of living of 
the neighborhood in general was beyond the Col- 
linses' 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 
favorite 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. 



250 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 behavior to his cousin, for whom he was evi- 
dently 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 the earliest assurance of it; 
and after making his bow as the carriage turned 
into the park, hurried home with the great intel- 
ligence. On the following morning he hastened 
to E-osings to pay his respects. There were two 
nephews of Lady Catherine to require them, for 
Mr. Darcy had brought with him a Colonel Fitz- 
william, the younger son of his uncle, Lord ; 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 251 

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 immediately running 
into the other, told the girls what an honor 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 an- 
nounced 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 to- 
wards 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 



252 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

Colonel Fitzwilliam's manners 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 honored by such an atten- 
tion, 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 Parsonage more than once dur- 
ing 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 en- 
grossed by her nephews, speaking to them, espe- 



254 PRIDE AftD PREJUDICE. 

cially 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 hy her, and talked so agreeably of 
Kent and Hertfordshire, of travelling and staying 
at home, of new hooks 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 Lady- 
ship 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 are speaking 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 enjoyment of music than myself, 
or a better natural taste. If I had ever learned, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 255 

I should have heen a great proficient. And so 
would Anne, if her health had allowed her to 
apply. I am confident that she would have per- 
formed 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 Eosings 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. 



) 



0r £ t>^ 






256 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

When coffee was over, Colonel Fitzwilliam re- 
minded Elizabeth of having promised to play to 
him; and she sat down directly to the instrument. 
He drew a chair near her. Lady Catherine lis- 
tened 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 as to 
command a full view of the fair performer's coun- 
tenance. 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 com- 
ing in all this state to hear me. But I will not 
be alarmed, though your sister does play so well. 
There is a stubbornness about me that never can 
bear to be frightened at the will of others. My 

(courage always rises with every attempt to intimi- 
date 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, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 257 

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 some- 
thing very dreadful. The first time of my ever 
seeing him in Hertfordshire, 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 honor of know- 
ing any lady in the assembly beyond my own 
party. " 

"True; and nobody can ever be introduced in 
vol. i. — 17 



258 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



V* 



/> 






v 






a ball-room. Well, Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do 
I play next? My fingers wait your orders." 

" Perhaps," said Darcy, "I should have jadged 
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 Fitz- 

william. " Shall we ask him why a man of sense 

and education, and who has lived in the world, is 

^iU-qualified to recommend himself to strangers?" 

n^ V I can answer your question," said Fitzwilliam, 

t-jf^" without applying to him. It is because he will 

^ not give himself 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 inter- 
ested 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 ex- 
pression. But then I have 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. 



.-!■■ 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 259 

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 approached, 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 delightful per- 
former, 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 
behavior to Miss de Bourgh she derived this com- 
fort 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 Eliza- 
beth's performance, mixing with them many in- 
structions on execution and taste. Elizabeth 
received them with all the forbearance of civility; 
and at the request of the gentlemen remained at 
the instrument till her Ladyship's carriage was 
ready to take them all home. 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

Elizabeth was sitting by herself the next morn- 
ing, 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 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 when 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, — 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 261 

"How very suddenly you all quitted Netherfield 
last November, Mr. Darcy! It must have been a 
most agreeable 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 an 
swer; 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 neighborhood 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 house so 
much for the convenience of the neighborhood 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, "if 
he were to give it up as soon as any eligible pur- 
chase offers." 

Elizabeth made no answer. She was afraid of 



262 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 cer- 
tain that I consider her marrying Mr. Collins as 
the wisest thing she ever did. She seems per- 
fectly 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." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 263 

" I should never have considered the distance as 
one of the advantages of the match," cried Eliza- 
beth. "I should never have said Mrs. Collins 
was settled near her family." 

"It is a proof of your own attachment to Hert- 
fordshire. Anything beyond the very neighbor- 
hood of Longbourn, I suppose, would appear 
far." 

As he spoke, there was a sort of smile, which 
Elizabeth fancied she understood; he must be sup- 
posing 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 jour- 
neys; 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 Longbourn." 

Elizabeth looked surprised. The gentleman ex- 
perienced some change of feeling; he drew back 



264 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 
§eon put an end to by the entrance of Charlotte 
and her sister, just returned from their walk. 
The tete-a-tete surprised them. Mr. Darcy related 
the mistake which had occasioned his intruding 
on Miss Bennet, and after sitting a few minutes 
longer without saying much to anybody, went 
away. 

"What can be the meaning of this?" said 

Charlotte, as soon as he was gone. "My dear 

j 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 265 

called at various times of the morning, sometimes 
separately, sometimes together, 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 Eliza- 
beth was reminded by her own satisfaction in 
being with him, as well as by his evident admi- 
ration, of her former favorite, 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 Par- 
sonage 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 seldom 
appeared really animated. Mrs. Collins knew not 
what to make of him. Colonel Eitzwilliam's occa- 
sionally 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 E-osings and 



266 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

whenever lie came to Hunsford, but without much 
success. He certainly looked at her friend a great 
deal, but the expression of that look was dis- 
putable. It was an earnest, steadfast gaze; but 
she often doubted whether there were much admi- 
ration in it, and sometimes it seemed nothing but 
absence of mind. 

She had once or twice suggested to Elizabeth 
the possibility of his being partial to her, but Eliz- 
abeth always laughed at the idea; and Mrs. Col- 
lins did not think it right to press the subject, 
from the danger of raising expectations which 
might only end in disappointment; 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 some- 
times 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. 



/ 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

More 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 
jare to inform him, at first, that it was a favorite 
haunt of hers. How it could occur a second time, 
therefore, *was very odd! Yet it did, and even a 
third. It seemed like wilful ill-nature or a volun- 
tary penance; for on these occasions it was 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 third rencounter 
that he was asking some odd unconnected ques- 
tions, — about her pleasure in being at Hunsford, 
her love of solitary walks, and her opinion of Mr. 
and Mrs. Collins's happiness; and that in speak- 
ing of Rosings, and her not perfectly understand- 
ing the house, he seemed to expect that whenever 
she came into Kent again, she would be staying 



268 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 quar- 
ter. 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- 
perusing 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, — 

"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 in- 
tended 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 busi- 
ness just as he pleases." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 269 

"And if not able to please himself in the ar- 
rangement, he has at least great pleasure in the 
power oi choice. I 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 many 
others are poor. I speak feelingly. 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 de- 
pendence? 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." 



270' PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Is this, " thought Elizabeth, " meant for me? " 
and she colored at the idea; but recovering her- 
self, 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 afterwards said, — 

"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 convenience 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 immedi- 
ately asked her why she supposed Miss Darcy 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 271 

likely to give them any uneasiness, convinced her 
that she had somehow or other got pretty near the 
truth. She directly 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 favorite 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, dryly; "Mr. Darcy 
is uncommonly 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. 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." 



272 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"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 incon- 
veniences of a most imprudent marriage, but with- 
out mentioning names or any other particulars; 
and I only suspected it to be Bingley, from be- 
lieving 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 
interference? " 

"I understood that there were some very strong 
objections against the lady?" 

"And what arts did he use to separate them? M 
"He did not talk to me of his own arts," said 
Fitzwilliam, 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? " 
"You are rather disposed to call his interfer- 
ence officious?" 

"I do not see what right Mr. Darcy had to de- 
cide on the propriety of his friend's inclination} 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 273 

or why, upon his own judgment alone, he was to 
determine and direct in what manner that friend 
was to be happy. But," she continued, recollect- 
ing herself, "as we know none of the particulars, 
it is not fair to condemn him. It is not to be sup- 
posed that there was much affection in the case." 

"That is not an unnatural surmise," said Fitz- 
william; "but it is lessening the honor 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 wifch an answer; and therefore, 
abruptly changing the conversation, talked on in- 
different matters till they reached the Parsonage. 
There, shut into her own room, as soon as their 
visitor left them, she could think without inter- 
ruption 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 concerned 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 
vol. i. — 18 



274 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

ruined for a while 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. 

"There were some very strong objections against 
the lady," were Colonel Fitzwilliam's words; and 
these strong objections probably were, her hav- 
ing 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 loveli- 
ness 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 con- 
nections 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 occa 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 275 

sioned brought on a headache; and it grew so 
much worse towards 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. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE 



PART SECOND 




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PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 




CHAPTER I. 

HEN they were gone, Elizabeth, as if 
intending to exasperate herself as much 
as possible against Mr. Darcy, chose 
for her employment the examination of 
all the letters which Jane had written to her since 
her being in Kent. They contained no actual 
complaint, nor was there any revival of past occur- 
rences, 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, proceed- 
ing from the serenity of a mind at ease with itself, 
a ad 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 






6 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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, agree- 
able 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 hur- 
ried 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 about the room. Eliza- 
beth was surprised, but said not a word. After a 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 7 

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, colored, 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 op- 
posed 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 compas- 
sion in anger. She tried, however, to compose 
herself to answer him with patience, when he 
should have done. He concluded with represent- 



8 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

ing to her the strength of that attachment which 
in spite of all his endeavors he had found impos- 
sible 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 favorable answer. He 
spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his counte- 
nance expressed real security. Such a circum- 
stance could only exasperate further ; and when he 
ceased, the color 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 any one. 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 acknowledg- 
ment 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 sur- 
prise. His complexion became pale with anger. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 9 

and the disturbance of his mind was visible in 
every feature. He was struggling for the appear- 
ance of composure, and would 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, — 

"And this is all the reply which I am to have 
the honor of expecting! I might, perhaps, wish 
to be informed why, with so little endeavor 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 in- 
civility, if I was uncivil? But I have other provo- 
cations. You know I have. Had not my own 
feelings decided against you, had they been indif- 
ferent, or had they even been favorable, do you 
think that any consideration would tempt me to 
accept the man who has been the means of ruining, 
perhaps forever, the happiness of a most beloved 
sister?" 

As she pronounced these words, Mr. Darcy 
changed color; but the emotion was short, and he 
listened without attempting to interrupt her while 
she continued, — 

"I have every reason in the world to think ill 



10 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

of you. No motive can excuse the unjust and un- 
generous 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 him I 
have been kinder than towards myself." 

Elizabeth disdained the appearance of noticing 
this civil reflection; but its meaning did not es- 
cape, nor was it likely to conciliate her. 

"But it is not merely this affair," she con- 
tinued, "on which my dislike is founded. Long 
before it had taken place, my opinion of you was 
decided. Your character was unfolded in the re- 
cital which I received many months ago from Mr. 
Wickham. On this subject, what can you have to 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 11 

say? In what imaginary act of friendship can you 
here defend yourself, or under what misrepresen- 
tation can you here impose upon others?" 

" You take an eager interest in that gentleman's 
concerns,' ' said Darcy, in a less tranquil tone and 
with a heightened color. 

"Who that knows what his misfortunes have 
been can help feeling an interest in him?" 

"His misfortunes! " repeated Darcy, contempt- 
uously, — "yes, his misfortunes have been great 
indeed." — I 

"And of your infliction," cried Elizabeth, with / 
energy. "You have reduced him to his present 
state of poverty, — comparative poverty. You have 
withheld the advantages 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 in- 
deed! \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 



12 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 flattered you into the belief of 
my being impelled by unqualified, unalloyed incli- 
nation; by reason, by reflection, 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 re- 
joice in the inferiority of your connections, — to 
congratulate 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 in 
credulity and mortification. She went on, — 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 13 

"From the very beginning, from the first mo- 
ment, 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 immova- 
ble 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.' ' 

" You have said quite enough, madam. I per- 
fectly 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 aston- 
ishment, 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 



14 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 in which he had mentioned Mr. Wickham, 
his cruelty towards whom he had not attempted to 
deny, soon overcame the pity which the considera- 
tion 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. 



CHAPTER II. 

Elizabeth 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 im- 
possible to think of anything else; and, totally 
indisposed for employment, she resolved soon after 
breakfast to indulge herself in air and exercise. 
She was proceeding directly to her favorite 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 pleasant 
ness 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 on the point of con- 
tinuing her walk, when she caught a glimpse of a 
gentleman within the sort of grove which edged 



16 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

the park: he was moving that way; and fearful 
of its being Mr. Darcy, she was directly retreat- 
ing. But the person who advanced was now near 
enough to see her, and stepping forward with 
eagernftw^ ^onounced her name. She had turned 
away; but on hearing herself 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: U I have been walking in the grove 
some time, in the hope of meeting you. Will you 
do me the honor of reading that letter? P and then, 
with a slight bow, turned again into the planta- 
tion, 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 morn- 
ing, 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 o» 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 17 

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 
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. 

Two offences of a very different nature, and by no 
means of equal magnitude, you last night laid to my 
charge. The first mentioned was 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 honor and humanity, ruined 
the immediate prosperity and blasted the prospects of 
Mr. Wickham. Wilfully and wantonly to have thrown 
off the companion of my youth, the acknowledged fa- 
vorite of my father, a young man who had scarcely any 
other dependence than on our patronage, and who had 
been brought up to expect its exertion, would be a de- 
pravity to which the separation of two young persons 
whose affection could be the growth of only a few weeks 
could bear no comparison. But from the severity of that 
blame which was last night so liberally bestowed, respect- 
ing each circumstance, I shall hope to be in future se- 
cured, 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 

VOL. II. — 2 







18 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

that I had any apprehension of his feeling a serious at- 
tachment. I had often seen him in love before. At that 
ball, while I had the honor of dancing with you, I was 
first made acquainted, by Sir William Lucas's accidental 
information, that Bingley's attentions to your sister had 
given rise to a general expectation of their marriage. 
He spoke of it as a certain event, of which the time alone 
could be undecided. From that moment I observed my 
friend's behavior attentively ; 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 senti- 
ment. If you have not been mistaken here, I 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 amia- 
ble 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 say that my investiga- 
tions and decisions are not usually influenced by my 
hopes or fears. I did not believe her to be indifferent 
because I wished it; I believed it on impartial convic- 
tion, as truly as I wished it in reason. 

My objections to the marriage were not merely those 
which I last night acknowledged to have 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 19 

friend as to me. But there were other causes of repug- 
nance, — causes which, though still existing, and existing 
to an equal degree in both instances, I had myself en- 
deavored to forget, because they were not immediately 
before me. These causes must be stated, though briefly. 
The situation of your mother's family, though objectiona- 
ble, was nothing in comparison of that total want of pro- 
priety 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 near- 
est 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 honorable to the sense and dis- 
position of both. I will only say, further, that from what 
passed that evening my opinion of all parties was con- 
firmed, and every inducement heightened, which could 
have led me before to preserve my iriend from what I 
esteemed a most unhappy connection. He left Nether- 
field for London on the day following, as you, I am cer- 
tain, 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 was 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 
suppose that it would ultimately have prevented the mar- 
riage, had it not been seconded by the assurance, which 



20 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

I hesitated not in giving, of your sister's io4iff££ence/ He 
had before believed her to return his affection with sin- 
cere, 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 Bing- 
ley; 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 thig 
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 gov- 
erned me may to you very naturally appear insufficient, 
I have not yet learned to condemn them. 

With respect to that other, more weighty accusation, 
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. 
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 ; 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 21 

and on George Wickham, who was his godson, his kind- 
ness was therefore liberally bestowed. My father sup- 
ported 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, in- 
tended 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. Wick- 
ham was to the last so steady that in his will he particu- 
larly recommended it to me to promote his advancement 
in the best manner that his profession might allow, and 
if he took orders, desired that a valuable family living 
might be his as soon as it became vacant. There was 
also a legacy of one thousand pounds. His own father 
did not long survive mine ; and within half a year from 
these events Mr. Wickham wrote to inform me that, hav- 
ing finally resolved against taking orders, he hoped I 
should not think it unreasonable for him to expect some 
more immediate pecuniary advantage, in lieu of the pre- 
ferment, by which he could not be benefited. He had 



22 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

some intention, he added, of studying the law, and I must 
be aware that the interest of one thousand pounds would 
be a very insufficient support therein. I rather wished 
than believed him to be sincere ; but, at any rate, was 
perfectly ready to accede to his proposal. I knew that 
Mr. Wickham ought not to be a clergyman. The busi- 
ness was therefore 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 re- 
turn 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 presenta- 
tion. 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 for- 
gotten my revered father's intentions. You will hardly 
blame me 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 nis reproaches to myself. After this period every 
appearance of acquaintance was dropped. How he lived, 
I know not. But last summer he was again most pain- 
fully obtruded on my notice. 

I must now mention a circumstance which I would wish 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 23 

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 Fitz- 
william, and myself. About a year ago, she was taken 
from school, and an establishment formed for her in Lon- 
don ; and last summer she went with the lady who pre- 
sided 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 de- 
ceived ; and by her connivance and aid he so far recom- 
mended 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 fif- 
teen, which must be her excuse ; and after stating her 
imprudence, I am happy to add that I owed the knowl- 
edge of it to herself. I joined them unexpectedly a day 
or two before the intended elopement ; and then Georgi- 
ana, unable to support the idea of grieving and offending 
a brother whom she almost looked up to as a father, ac- 
knowledged the whole to me. You may imagine what 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 



24 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

not absolutely reject it as false, you will, I hope, acquit 
me henceforth of cruelty towards Mr. Wickham. 1 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 every- 
thing concerning either. Detection could not be in your 
power, and suspicion certainly not in your inclination. 
Tou may possibly wonder why all this was not told you 
ast 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 par- 
ticularly to the testimony of Colonel Fitzwilliam, who, 
from our near relationship and constant intimacy, and 
still more as one of the executors of my father's will, has 
been unavoidably acquainted with every particular of 
these transactions. If your abhorrence of me should 
make my 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 en- 
deavor to find some opportunity of putting this letter in 
your hands in the course of the morning. I will only 
add, God bless you. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy. 



CHAPTER III. 

If 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 all of its con- 
tents. But such as they were, it may be well sup- 
posed how eagerly she went through them, and 
what a contrariety of emotion they excited. Her 
feelings as she read were scarcely to be denned. 
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 
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 know- 
ing what the next sentence might bring, was in- 
capable of attending to the sense of the one before 
her eyes. His belief of her sister's insensibility 
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 



26 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

done which satisfied her; his style was not peni- 
tent, 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 overthrow 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, apprehen- 
sion, 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 un- 
folded again; and collecting herself as well as she 
could, she again began the mortifying perusal of 
all that related to Wickham, and commanded her- 
self so far as to examine the meaning of every 
sentence. The account of his connection with 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, 



PKIDE AND PREJUDICE. 27 

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 fol- 
lowing 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 impartiality, 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 
blameless 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 



28 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

militia, in which he had engaged at the persuasion 
of the young man who, on meeting him accident- 
ally in town, had there renewed a slight acquaint- 
ance. Of his former way of life, nothing had been 
known in Hertfordshire but what he told 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 estab- 
lished 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 from the at- 
tacks of Mr. Darcy ; or at least, by the predominance 
of virtue, atone for those casual errors under which 
she would endeavor to class what Mr. Darcy had 
described as the idleness and vice of many years' 
continuance. But no such recollection befriended 
her. She could see him instantly before her, in 
every charm of air and address ; but she could re- 
member no more substantial good than the general 
approbation of the neighborhood, and the regard 
which his social powers had 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 her- 
self only the morning before; and at last she was 
referred for the truth of every particular to Colonel 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 29 

Fitzwilliam himself, — from whom she had previ- 
ously 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 applica- 
tion, and at length wholly banished by the con- 
viction that Mr. Darcy would never have hazarded 
such a proposal, if he had not been well assured 
of his cousin's corroboration. 

She perfectly remembered everything that had 
passed in conversation between Wickham and her- 
self 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 coun- 
try, he had told his story to no one but herself, 
but that after their removal it had been every- 
where discussed; that he had then no reserves, no 
scruples in sinking Mr. Darcy's character, though 



m 



30 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

he had assured her that respect for the father 
would always prevent his exposing the son. 

[How differently did everything now appear in 
hich 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 behavior 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 favor 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 re- 
pulsive as were his manners, she had never, in 
the whole course of their acquaintance, — an ac- 
quaintance which had latterly brought them much 
together, and given her a sort of intimacy with 
his ways, — seen anything that betrayed him to 
be unprincipled or unjust, anything that spoke 
him of irreligious or immoral habits; that among 
his own connections he was esteemed and valued, 
—5 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 capa- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 31 

ble 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 friend- 
ship between a person capable of it and such an 
amiable man as Mr. Bingley was incomprehensible. 

She grew absolutely ashamed of herself. Of 
neither 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 candor of my 
sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blame- 
less 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 
was 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 Mr. Darcy's explanation there 
had appeared very insufficient; and she read it 



32 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 heen 
obliged to give in the other? He declared himself 
to have been totally unsuspicious 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 description of 
Jane. She felt that Jane's feelings, though fer- 
vent, were little displayed, and that there was a 
constant complacency 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 terms of 
euch mortifying yet merited reproach, her sense 
of shame was severe. The justice of the charge 
struck her too forcibly for denial ; and the circum- 
stances 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 



PRIDE ANT PREJUDICE. 33 

depressed beyond anything she had ever known 
before. 

After wandering along the lane for two hours, 
giving way to every variety of thought, reconsider- 
ing events, determining probabilities, and recon- 
ciling herself, as well as she could, to a change so 
sudden and so important, fatigue, and a recollec- 
tion 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 gentle- 
men 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 ob- 
ject. She could think only of her letter. 



vol. n. — 3 



CHAPTER IV. 

The two gentlemen left Rosings the next morn- 
ing; 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 re- 
turn brought back, with great satisfaction, a mes- 
sage from her Ladyship, importing that she felt 
herself so dull as to make her very desirous of 
having them all to dine with her. 

Elizabeth could not see Lady Catherine without 
recollecting 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 indignation would have been. 
"What would she have said? How would she 
have behaved? " were questions with which she 
amused herself. 

Their first subject was the diminution of the 
Rosings' party. "I assure you, I feel it exceed- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 35 

ingly, " 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 at- 
tachment to Rosings certainly 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 immedi- 
ately 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 your going so soon. 



36 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Mrs. Bennet could certainly spare you for .Miother 
fortnight." 

"But my father cannot. He wrote last week to 
hurry my return.' ' 

" Oh, your father, of course, may spare you, if 
your mother can. Daughters are never of so much 
consequence 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, for a week; and as 
Dawson does not object to the barouche-box, there 
will be very good room for one of you — and, in- 
deed, 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. Col- 
lins, 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 improper. 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 at- 
tended, according to their situation in life. When 
my niece Georgiana went to Ramsgate last sum- 
mer, I made a point of her having two men-ser- 
vants go with her. Miss Darcy, the daughter of 



i 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 37 

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 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 
knowing 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: 



38 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

but when she considered how unjustly she had 
condemned and upbraided him, her anger was 
turned against herself; and his disappointed feel- 
ings became the object of compassion. His at- 
tachment 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 behavior 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, con- 
tented with laughing at them, would never exert 
himself to restrain the wild giddiness of his young- 
est 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 endeavor to check the imprudence of 
Catherine and Lydia; but while they were sup- 
ported by their mother's indulgence, what chance 
could there be of improvement? Catherine, weak- 
spirited, irritable, and completely under Lydia' s 
guidance, had been always affronted by their ad- 
vice; and Lydia, self-willed and careless, would 
scarcely give them a hearing. They were ignorant, 
idle, and vain. While there was a» officer in 
Meryton, they would flirt with him; and while 
Meryton was within a walk of Longbourn, ibey 
would be going there forever. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 39 

Anxiety on Jane's behalf was another prevail- 
ing concern; 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 may be 
easily believed that the happy spirits which had 
seldom been depressed before were now so much 
affected as to make it almost impossible for her 
to appear tolerably cheerful. 

Their engagements at E-osings were as frequent 
during the last week of her stay as they 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 direc- 
tions 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 morning, 
and pack her trunk afresh. 



40 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

When they parted, Lady Catherine, with great 
condescension, 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. 



CHAPTER V. 

On 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 indispensa- 
bly 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 favor of your company has 
been much felt, I assure you. We know how 
little there is to tempt any one to our humble 
abode. Our plain manner of 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 
your spending your time unpleasantly.' ' 

Elizabeth was eager with her thanks and assur- 
ances of happiness. She had spent six weeks with 
great enjoyment; and the pleasure of being with 
Charlotte, and the kind attentions she had received, 




42 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 irk- 
some. Our situation with regard to Lady Cathe- 
rine'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 con- 
tinually we are engaged there. In truth, I must 
acknowledge that with all the disadvantages of 
this humble parsonage, I should not think any 
one abiding in it an object of compassion, while 
they are sharers of our intimacy at Rosings." 

Words were insufficient for the elevation of his 
feelings; 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 favorable report 
of us 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 43 

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 thinking. There is in everything a 
most remarkable resemblance of character and ideas 
between us. We seem to have been designed for 
each other. " 

Elizabeth could safely say that it was a great 
happiness 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 inter- 
rupted 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 regret- 
ting that her visitors were to go, she did not seem 
to ask for compassion. Her home and her house- 
keeping, her parish and her poultry, and all 
their dependent concerns had not yet lost their 
charms. 

At length the chaise arrived, the trunks were 
fastened on, the parcels placed within, and it was 
pronounced to be ready. After an affectionate 
parting between the friends, Elizabeth was at- 
tended to the carriage by Mr. Collins ; and as they 



4A PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

walked down the garden, lie 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 com- 
pliments to Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, though un- 
known. He then handed her in, Maria followed, 
and the door was on the point of being closed, 
when he suddenly reminded them, with some con- 
sternation, 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 grateful 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. 

"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 con- 
versation or any alarm ; and within four hours of 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 45 

their leaving Hunsford they reached Mr. Gardi- 
ner's house, where they were to remain a few 
days. 

Jane looked well, and Elizabeth had little op- 
portunity of studying her spirits, amidst the vari- 
ous 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 }^et been able to reason away, was such 
a temptation to openness as nothing could have 
conquered but the state of indecision in which 
she remained as to the extent of what she should 
communicate, and her fear, if she once entered on 
the subject, of being hurried into repeating some- 
thing of Bingley, which might only grieve her 
sister further. 




CHAPTER VI. 

It was the second week in May in which the 
three young ladies set out together from Grace- 
church Street for the town of , in Hertford- 
shire; 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 
visiting an opposite milliner, watching the sentinel 
on guard, and dressing a salad and cucumber. 

After welcoming their sisters, they triumphantly 
displayed 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." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 47 

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-colored satin 
to trim it with 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 
delightful 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 regiment of militia, and the 
monthly balls of Meryton! " 

"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 



48 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

the waiter was told that he need not stay. Lydia 
laughed, and said, — 

"Ay, that is just like your formality and dis- 
cretion. 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 Liver- 
pool, — 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 in- 
capable of such coarseness of expression herself, 
the coarseness of the sentiment was little other 
than her own breast had formerly harbored and 
fancied liberal! 

As soon as all had ate, and the elder ones paid, 
the carriage was ordered; and after some contriv- 



PKIDE AND PREJUDICE. 49 

ance the whole party, with all their boxes, work- 
bags, and parcels, and the unwelcome addition of 
Kitty's and Lydia's purchases, were seated in it. 

" How nicely we are crammed in! " cried Lydia. 
"1 am glad I brought my bonnet, if it is only for the 
fun of having another bandbox ! 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 happened 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 de- 
clare. 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 
I 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 chaperon 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 by, Mrs. Forster and me are 
such friends !) ; and so she asked the two Harring- 
tons to come. But Harriet was ill, and so Pen was 
forced to come by herself; and then, what do you 

VOL. II. — 4 



50 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

think we did? We dressed up Chamberlayne 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. Eorster, and Kitty and me, ex- 
cept my aunt, for we were forced to borrow one of 
her gowns; and you cannot imagine how well he 
looked! When Denny and Wickham 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 that made the men sus- 
pect something, and then they soon found out what 
was the matter.' ' 

With such kind of histories of their parties and 
good jokes did Lj'dia, assisted by Kitty's hints 
and additions, endeavor 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 51 

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 
way 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 pre- 
tended there was nobody in the coach; and I 
should have gone so all the way, 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 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 pleas- 
ures. 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." 



52 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 op- 
posed the scheme. It should not be said that the 
Miss Bennets could not be at home half a day be- 
fore 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 discussion 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 



Elizabeth's impatience to acquaint Jane with 
what had happened could no longer be overcome; 
and at length resolving to suppress every particu- 
lar in which her sister was concerned, and pre- 
paring her to be surprised, she related to her the 
next morning the chief of the scene between Mr. 
Darcy and herself. 

Miss Bennetts 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 deliv- 
ered 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 ap- 
peared; but consider how much it must increase 
his disappointment." 

"Indeed," replied Elizabeth, "I am heartily- 
sorry for him ; but he has other feelings which will 



54 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

probably soon drive away his regard for me. You 
do not blame me, however, for refusing him? " 

" Blame you! Oh, no." 

" 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 wicked- 
ness existed in the whole race of mankind as was 
here collected in one individual! Nor was Darcy's 
vindication, though grateful to her feelings, capa- 
ble of consoling her for such discovery. Most ear- 
nestly did she labor 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 any- 
thing. Take your choice, but you must be satis- 
fied 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." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 55 

It was some time, however, before a smile could 
be extorted from Jane. 

"I do not know when I have been more 
shocked,' ' said she. "Wickham so very bad! 
It is almost past belief. And poor Mr. Darcy! 
Dear Lizzy, only consider what he must have suf- 
fered. 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 
distressing; 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 goodness in his countenance, such an openness 
and gentleness in his manner." 

"There certainly was some great mismanage- 
ment 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 
appearance 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 



56 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

opening for wit, to have a dislike of that kind. 
One may be continually abusive without saying 
anything just; but one cannot be always laugh- 
ing at a man without now and then stumbling 
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 comfort me, and say that I had 
not been so very weak and 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 Wick- 
ham to Mr. Darcy, for now they do appear wholly 
r undeserved." 

"Certainly. But the misfortune of speaking 
/ with bitterness is a most natural consequence of 
the prejudices I had j>e en enc ouraging. There is 
one point on which I want yourarlvice. I want 
to be told whether I ought, or ought not, to make 
our acquaintance in general understand 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. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 57 

Darcy has not authorized me to make his commu- 
nication public. On the contrary, every particular 
relative to his sister was meant to be kept as much 
as possible to myself; and if I endeavor to unde- 
ceive 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 know- 
ing it before. At present I will say nothing 
about it." 

" You are quite right. To have his errors made 
public might ruin him forever. He is now, per- 
haps, 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 conversation. She had got rid of two of the 
secrets which had weighed on her for a fortnight, 
and was certain of a willing listener in Jane, 
whenever she might wish to talk again of either. 
But there was still something lurking behind, of 
which prudence forbade the disclosure. She dared 
not relate the other half of Mr. Darcy's letter, nor 
explain to her sister how sincerely she had been 



58 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

valued by his friend. Here was knowledge in 
which no one could partake; and she was sensible 
that nothing less than a perfect understanding be- 
tween 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 communication 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 at- 
tachments 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 requi- 
site to check the indulgence 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 59 

that Jane saw anything of him in London. Well, 
he is a very undeserving young man, — and I do not 
suppose there is the least chance in the 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." 

" 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, u and so the Collinses live very com- 
fortable, 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 up- 
on it. Yes, yes. They will take care not to out' 



60 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

run their income. They will never be distressed 
for money. Well, much good may it do them J 
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, whenever 
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 lawfully their own, so much the 
better. I should be ashamed of having one that 
was only entailed on me." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

The first week of their return was soon gone. 
The second began. It was the last of the regi- 
ment's stay in Meryton, and all the young ladies 
in the neighborhood 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 employ- 
ments. Very frequently were they reproached for 
this insensibility by Kitty and Lydia, whose own 
misery was extreme, and who could not compre- 
hend 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 bitterness of woe. "How can you be smil- 
ing 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 to- 
gether when Colonel Millar'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. 



r 



62 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"Oh, yes! — if one could but go to Brighton! 
But papa is so disagreeable." 

"A little sea-bathing would set me up forever. n 

"And my aunt Philips is sure it would do me a 
great deal of good," added Kitty. 

Such were the kind of lamentations resounding 
perpetually 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 disposed 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 regi- 
ment, to accompany her to Brighton. This inval- 
uable friend was a very young woman, and very 
lately married. A resemblance in good-humor 
and good spirits had recommended her and Lydia 
to each other, and out of their three months' ac- 
quaintance they had been intimate two. 

The rapture of Lydia on this occasion, her adora- 
tion of Mrs. Forster, the delight of Mrs. Bennet, 
and the mortification of Kitty are scarcely to be 
described. Wholly inattentive to her sister's 
feelings, Lydia flew about the house in restless 
ecstasy, calling for every one's congratulations, 
and laughing and talking wth more violence than 
ever; whilst the luckless Kitty continued in the 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 63 

parlor repining at her fate in terms as unreason- 
able as her accent was peevish. 

"I cannot see why Mrs. Forster should not ask 
me 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 herself, this invitation was so far 
from exciting in her the same feelings as in her 
mother and Lydia, that she considered 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 secret- 
ly advising her father not to let her go. She rep- 
resented to him all the improprieties of Lydia's 
general behavior, 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." 



64 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"If you were aware,' J said Elizabeth, "of the 
very great 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 differ- 
ently 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 be- 
yond the reach of amendment. Her character will 
be fixed; and she will, at sixteen, be the most de- 
termined flirt that ever made herself and her 
family ridiculous. A flirt, too, in the worst and 
meanest degree of flirtation; without any attrac- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 65 

tion beyond youth and a tolerable person; and, 
from the ignorance and emptiness of her mind, 
wholly unable to ward off any portion of that uni- 
versal contempt which her rage for admiration 
will excite. In this danger Kitty is also compre- 
hended. 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 wher- 
ever they are known, and that their sisters will 
not be often involved in the disgrace? " 

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 ob- 
ject 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 insigni- 
ficance. At any rate, she cannot grow many 



66 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 vexa- 
tions by dwelling on them. She was confident of 
having performed her duty; and to fret over un- 
avoidable 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 indigna- 
tion 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 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. 

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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 67 

might have felt nearly the same. Lydia's going 
to Brighton was all that consoled her for the meL 
ancholy conviction of her husband's never intend- 
ing to go there himself. 

But they were entirely ignorant of what had 
passed; 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 j the agitations of former partiality en- 
tirely so. She had even learned to detect, in the 
very gentleness which had first delighted her, an 
affectation and a sameness to disgust and weary. 
In his present behavior to herself, moreover, she 
had a fresh source of displeasure; for the inclina- 
tion he soon testified of renewing those attentions 
which had marked the early part of their acquaint- 
ance 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 con- 
tained in his believing that however long and for 
whatever cause his attentions had been withdrawn, 
her vanity would be gratified, and her preference 
secured at any time, by their renewal. 

On the very last day of the regiment's remain- 



/ 

68 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

ing in Meryton, lie dined, with others of the offi- 
cers, at Longbourn; and so little was Elizabeth 
disposed to part from him in good-humor, that on 
his making some inquiry as to the manner in 
which her time had passed at Hunsford, she men- 
tioned Colonel Fitzwilliam's and Mr. Darcy's hav- 
ing 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 his favor. 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 69 

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 countenance which made him listen with 
an apprehensive and anxious attention, while she 
added, — 

"When I said that he improved on acquaint- 
ance, I did not mean that either his mind or man- 
ners 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 
complexion 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 appearance of what is right. His pride 
in that direction may be of service, if not to him- 
self, 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 



70 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 im- 
puted 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 humor to indulge him. The rest of the even- 
ing 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 71 

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. 



t 



CHAPTER IX. 

Had 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 appearance of good-humor 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. Respect, esteem, and 
confidence had vanished forever; 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 prin- 
cipal 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 would in gen- 
eral wish to owe to his wife; but where other 
powers of entertainment are wanting, the true 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 73 

philosopher will derive benefit from such as are 
given. 

Elizabeth, however, had never been blind to 
the impropriety of her father's behavior as a hus- 
band. She had always seen it with pain; but 
respecting his abilities, and grateful for his affec- 
tionate treatment of herself, she endeavored to for- 
get what she could not overlook, and to banish 
from her thoughts that continual breach of con- 
jugal 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 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 preserved 
the respectability of his daughters, even if inca- 
pable of enlarging the mind of his wife. 

When Elizabeth had rejoiced over Wickham's 
departure, she found little other cause for satisfac- 
tion in the loss of the regiment. Their parties 
abroad were less varied than before ; and at home 
she had a mother and sister whose constant re- 
pinings at the dulness of everything 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 dispo- 



74 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

sition greater evil might be apprehended, was 
likely to he hardened in all her folly and assur- 
ance, 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 inevitable; 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 something 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 gen- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 75 

eral disappointment is only warded off by the 
defence of some little peculiar vexation.' ' 

When Lydia went away she promised to write 
very often and very minutely to her mother and 
Kitty; but her letters were always long expected 
and always very short. Those to her mother con- 
tained 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 beau- 
tiful 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 correspondence with her sister there was 
still less to be learned, 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-humor, 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 



76 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Christmas she might be so tolerably reasonable as 
not to mention an officer above once a day, unless, 
by some cruel and malicious arrangement at the 
War Office, another regiment should be quartered 
in Meryton. 

The time fixed for the beginning of their north- 
ern tour was now fast approaching; and a fort- 
night 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, 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 sub- 
stitute a more contracted tour; and according to 
the present plan, were to gu 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 pecu- 
liarly strong attraction. The town 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 cele- 
brated beauties of Matlock, Chats worth, Dovedale, 
or the Peak. 

Elizabeth was excessively iisappointed ; she had 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 77 

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 tem- 
per 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 
favorite, and whose steady sense and sweetness 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 Long- 
bourn, and set off the next morning with Eliza- 
beth 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, cheer- 
fulness to enhance every pleasure, and affec- 



&3H 



78 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

tion and intelligence, which might supply it 
among themselves if there were disappointments 
abroad. 

It is not the object of this work to give a de- 
scription of Derbyshire, nor of any of the remark- 
able places through which their route thither lay, — 
Oxford, Blenheim, Warwick, Kenilworth, Bir- 
mingham, 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 re- 
mained, they bent their steps, after having seen 
all the principal wonders of the country; and 
within five miles of Lambton, 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 incli- 
nation to see the place again. Mr. Gardiner de- 
clared his willingness, and Elizabeth was applied 
to for her approbation. B 

"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 ac- 
quaintance are connected? Wickham passed all 
his youth there, you know." 

Elizabeth was distressed. She felt that she had 
no business at Pemberley, and was obliged to as- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 79 

sume a disinclination for seeing it. " She must 
own that she was tired of great houses; after g;o- 
ing 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 
unfavorably 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 wel- 
come 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 her- 
self; and when the subject was revived the next 



80 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

morning, and she was again applied to, could 
readily answer, and with a proper air of indif- 
ference, that she had not really any dislike to the 
scheme. 

To Pemberley, therefore, they were to go. 



\* 









CHAPTER X. 

Elizabeth, as they drove along, watched for the 
first appearance of Pemberley Woods with some 
perturbation; and when at length they turned in 
at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter. 

The park was very large, and contained 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, 
tait 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 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 

VOL. II. — 6 



82 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 admitted 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 fol- 
lowed her into the dining-parlor. It was a large, 
well-proportioned room, handsomely 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, re- 
ceiving 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 posi- 
tions; but from every window there were beauties 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 83 

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 splendor, and more real ele- 
gance, 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 visi- 
tors 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 something 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 circum- 
stance been delayed a day! 

Her aunt now called her to look at a picture. 
She approached, and saw the likeness of Mr. 
Wickham, suspended, amongst several other minia- 



84 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

tures, over the mantelpiece. 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 heen 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." 

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, i ' 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 per- 
son," 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's respect for Elizabeth seemed to 
increase on this intimation of her knowing her 
master. 

" Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy? " 

Elizabeth colored, and said, "A little." 

" And do not you think him a very handsome 
gentleman, ma'am?" 

" Yes, very handsome." 

"lam sure I 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 85 

master's favorite 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. Keynolds 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, 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 E-amsgate." 

" If your master would marry, you might see 
more of him." 




86 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"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 every- 
body 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 grateful 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 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. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 87 

"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 
impatient 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 nowadays, 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 
behavior to our poor friend." 



88 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Perhaps we might be deceived." 

" That is not very likely; our authority was too 
good." 

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 Eliza- 
beth, as she walked towards one of the windows. 

Mrs. Reynolds anticipated Miss Darcy's de- 
light 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 bedrooms 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 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 89 

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 contemplation, and 
returned to it again before they quitted the gal- 
lery. Mrs. Reynolds informed them that it had 
been taken in his father's lifetime. 

There was certainly at this moment in Eliza- 
beth's 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 happi- 
ness 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 favorable 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 re- 
membered its warmth, and softened its impropriety 
of expression. 

When all of the house that was open to general 



90 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 im- 
possible 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 himself, advanced towards the 
party, and spoke to Elizabeth, 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 
embarrassment impossible to be overcome. Had 
his first appearance, or his resemblance to the pic- 
ture they had just been examining, been insuffi- 
cient 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 
talking to their niece, who, astonished and con- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 91 

fused, scarcely dared lift her eyes to his face, and 
knew not what answer she returned to his civil in- 
quiries after her family. Amazed at the altera- 
tion of his manner since they last parted, every 
sentence that he uttered was increasing her em- 
barrassment; 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 Derbyshire 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 suddenly recollected himself, and took 
leave. 

The others then joined her, and expressed their 
admiration 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 vexation. Her coming there was 
the most unfortunate, the most ill-judged thing in 
the world! How strange must it appear to him! 
In what a disgraceful light might it not strike so 
vain a man! It might seem as if she had pur- 
posely thrown herself in his way again! Oh! 



92 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

why did she come? or why did he thus come a day 
hefore he was expected? Had they been only ten 
minutes sooner, they should have been beyond the 
reach of his discrimination; 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 behavior, so strikingly altered, — what 
could it mean? That he should even speak to her 
) was amazing ! — but to speak with such civility, 
I 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 unex- 
pected 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 for- 
ward a nobler fall of ground, or a finer reach of the 
woods to which they were approaching: but it was 
some time before Elizabeth was 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 Pem- 
berley House, whichever it might be, where Mr. 
Darcy then was. She longed to know what at that 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 93 

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 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 compan 
ions 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 pur- 
sued the accustomed circuit, which brought them 
again, after some time, in a descent among hang- 
ing 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 



94 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 slow, for Mr. Gardiner, though sel- 
dom able to indulge the taste, was very fond of fish- 
ing, 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 ad- 
vanced but little. Whilst wandering on in this 
slow manner, they were again surprised, and Eliza- 
beth's astonishment was quite equal to what it had 
been at first, by the sight of Mr. Darcy approach- 
ing 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. Eliza- 
beth, however astonished, was at least more pre- 
pared for an interview than before, and resolved to 
appear and to speak with calmness, if he really in- 
tended to meet them. For a few moments, indeed, 
she felt that he would probably strike into some 



PKIDE AND PREJUDICE. 95 

other path. The idea lasted while a turning in 
the walk concealed him from their view; the turn- 
ing 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 
color changed, and she said no more. 

Mrs. Gardiner was standing a little behind; and 
on her pausing, he asked her if she would do him 
the honor of introducing him to her friends. This 
was a stroke of civility for which she was quite un- 
prepared; 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 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 her- 
self, she stole a sly look at him, to see how he bore 
it, and was not without the expectation of his de- 
camping as fast as he could from such disgraceful 
companions. That he was surprised by the con- 
nection was evident; he sustained it, however, 



96 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

with fortitude, and so far from going away, 
turned back with them, and entered into conver- 
sation with Mr. Gardiner. Elizabeth could not 
but be pleased, could not but triumph. ^/it was 
consoling that he should know she had some rela- 
tions for whom there was no need to blush. She 
listened most attentively to all that passed between 
them, and gloried in every expression, every sen- 
tence 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 neighborhood, 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 com- 
pliment must be all for herself. Her astonish- 
ment, however, was extreme ; and continually was 
she repeating, "Why is he so altered? From 
what can it proceed? It cannot be for me, it can- 
not be for my sake that his manners are thus soft- 
ened. My reproofs at Hunsford could not work 
such a change as this. It is impossible that he 
should still love me." 

After walking some time in this way, the two 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 97 

ladies in front, the two gentlemen behind, on re- 
suming their places, after descending to the brink 
of the river for the better inspection of some curi- 
ous water-plant, there chanced to be a little al- 
teration. It originated in Mrs. Gardiner, who, 
fatigued by the exercise of the morning, found 
Elizabeth's arm. inadequate to her support, and 
consequently preferred 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 ar- 
rival had been very unexpected, — " for your house- 
keeper/ ' 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 com- 
ing forward a few hours before the rest of the party 
with whom he had been travelling. "They will 
join me early to-morrow," he continued; "and 
among them are some who will claim an acquaint- 
ance 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 men- 
tioned between them; and if she might judge 



s 



98 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

from his complexion, his mind was not very dif- 
ferently engaged. 

" There is also one other person in the party," 
he continued after a pause, "who more particu- 
larly 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? " 

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 further, it was 
satisfactory; it was gratifying to know that his re- 
sentment 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 impossible; but she was nattered 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 to- 
gether 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 90 

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 be- 
gan; and each of them pronounced him to be 
infinitely superior to anything they had expected. 
"He is perfectly well behaved, polite, and unas- 
suming/ ' 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, t hat though some people. 
may call him pr oud*. I havp. .seen nothing oi_ it." 

"I was never more surprised than by his be- 
havior to us. It was more than civil; it was 
really attentive; and there was no necessity for 
such attention. His acquaintance with Elizabeth 
was very trifling." 

"To be sure, Lizzy," said her aunt, "he is not 
so handsome as Wickham; or rather he has not 






100 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Wickham's countenance, for his features are per- 
fectly 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 un- 
favorable 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 that, in the eye of a ser- 
vant, comprehends every virtue." 

Elizabeth here felt herself called on to say some- 



PlilDE AND PREJUDICE. 101 

thing in vindication of his behavior to Wickham; 
and therefore gave them to understand, in as 
guarded a manner as she could, that by what she 
had heard from his relations 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 consid- 
ered in Hertfordshire. In confirmation of this, 
she related the particulars of all the pecuniary 
transactions in which they had been connected, 
without actually naming 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 recollection, and she was too much en- 
gaged in pointing out to her husband all the inter- 
esting 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 inter- 
course renewed after many years' discontinuance. 

The occurrences of the day were too full of in- 
terest 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 XI. 

Elizabeth had settled it that Mr. Darcy would 
bring his sister to visit her the very day after her 
reaching Pemberley, and was, consequently, re- 
solved not to be out of sight of the inn the whole 
of that morning. But her conclusion was false; 
for on the very morning after 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 dining with the same 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 
recognizing the livery, guessed what it meant, and 
imparted no small degree of surprise to her rela- 
tions by acquainting them with the honor which 
she expected. Her uncle and aunt were all amaze- 
ment ; and the embarrassment of her manner as she 
spoke, joined to the circumstance 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 at- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 103 

tentions from such a quarter than hy supposing a 
partiality for their niece. While these newly born 
notions were passing in their heads, the pertur- 
bation of Elizabeth's feelings was every moment 
increasing. She was quite amazed at her own 
discomposure; but amongst other causes of dis- 
quiet, she dreaded lest the partiality of the brother 
should have said too much in her favor; 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, 
endeavoring 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 aston- 
ishment did Elizabeth see that her new acquaint- 
ance was at least as much embarrassed as herself. 
Since her being at Lambton, she had heard that 
Miss Darcy was exceedingly proud; but the obser- 
vation of a very few minutes convinced her that 
she was only exceedingly shy. She found it diffi- 
cult 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 



104 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

and graceful. She was less handsome than her 
brother, but there was sense and good-humor in 
her face, and her manners were perfectly unassum- 
ing and gentle. Elizabeth, 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 satis- 
faction, and prepare for such a visitor, when Bing- 
ley'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-humored 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 towards 
each with an earnest though guarded inquiry; 
and they soon drew from those inquiries the full 
conviction that one of them at least knew what it 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 105 

was to love. Of the lady's sensations they re- 
mained 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 visi- 
tors, she wanted to compose her own, and to make 
herself agreeable to all; and in the latter object, 
where she feared most to fail, she was most sure 
of success, for those to whom she endeavored to 
give pleasure were prepossessed in her favor. 
Bingley was ready, Georgiana was eager, and 
Darcy determined, to be pleased. 

In seeing Bingley, her thoughts naturally flew 
to her 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 behavior to Miss Darcy, who had 
been set up as a rival to Jane. No look appeared 
on either side that spoke particular regard. Noth- 
ing 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 
interpretation denoted a recollection of Jane not 




106 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 ex- 
act; 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 re- 
mark; 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 complai- 
sance, and in all that he said she heard an accent 
so far removed from hauteur or disdain of his com- 
panions, as convinced her that the improvement of 
manners which she had yesterday witnessed, how- 
ever 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 107 

saw 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 Par- 
sonage, the difference, the change was so great, 
and struck so forcibly on her mind, that she could 
hardly restrain her astonishment from being visi- 
ble. Never, even in the company of his dear 
friends at Netherfield or his dignified relations at 
Kosings, 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 endeavors, and when even the ac- 
quaintance 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 in- 
vitations, 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 embarrass- 



108 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

ment 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 cer- 
tainty of seeing Elizabeth again, having still a 
great deal to say to her, and many inquiries to 
make after all their Hertfordshire friends. Eliza- 
beth, construing all this into a wish 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 consider- 
ing 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 
favorable opinion of Bingley, and then hurried 
away to dress. 

But she had no reason to fear Mr. and Mrs. 
Gardiner'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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 109 

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 servant'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 be- 
came sensible that the authority of a servant who 
had known 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 cer- 
tainly be imputed by the inhabitants of a small 
market town where the family did not visit. It 
was acknowledged, however, that he was a liberal 
man, and did much good among the poor. 

With respect to Wickham, the travellers soon 
found that he was not held there in much estima- 
tion ; for though the chief of his concerns with the 
son of his patron were imperfectly understood, it 
was yet a well-known fact that on his quitting 
Derbyshire, he had left many debts behind him, 
which Mr. Darcy afterwards discharged. 

As for Elizabeth, her thoughts were at Pember- 
ley this evening more than the last ; and the even* 



110 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE- 

ing, though as it passed it seemed long, was not 
long enough to determine her feelings towards one 
in that mansion; and she lay awake two whole 
hours, endeavoring to make them out. She cer- 
tainly 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 unwill- 

• ingly admitted, had for some time ceased to be 
repugnant to her feelings ; and it was now height- 
ened into somewhat of a friendlier nature by the 
testimony so highly in his favor, and bringing for- 

/ ward his disposition in so amiable a light, which 
yesterday had produced. But above all, above re- 
spect and esteem, there was a motive within her of 
good-will which could not be overlooked. It was 
gratitude, — 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 rejection. He who 
she had been persuaded would avoid her as his 
greatest enemy, seemed, on this accidental meet- 
ing, most eager to preserve the acquaintance, and 
without any indelicate display of regard, or any 
peculiarity of manner, where their two selves only 
were concerned, was soliciting the good opinion of 
her friends, and bent on making her known to his 



A 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Ill 

>, 
sister. Such a change in a man of so much pride 
excited not only astonishment hut gratitude, — for 
to love, ardent love, it must be attributed; and as 
such, its impression on her was of a sort to be en- 
couraged, as by no means unpleasing, though it 
could not be exactly denned. 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 hap- 
piness 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 very day 
of her arrival at Pemberley, for she had reached 
it only to a late breakfast, ought to be imitated, 
though it could not be equalled, by some exertion 
of politeness on their side, and consequently 
that it would he highly expedient to wait on her 
at Pemberley the following morning. They were, 
therefore, to go. Elizaheth was pleased; though 
when she asked herself the reason, she had very 
little to say in reply. x 

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 Pemberley by noon. 







I 



\ 



CHAPTER XII. 



Convinced as Elizabeth now was that Miss 
Bingley's dislike of her had originated in jeal- 
ousy, she could not help feeling how very unwel- 
come her appearance at Pemberley must be to her, 
and was curious to know with 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 refresh- 
ing view of the high 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 Lon- 
don. G-eorgiana's reception of them was very civil, 
but attended with all that embarrassment which, 
though proceeding from shyness and the fear of do- 
ing wrong, would easily give to those who felt them- 
selves inferior the belief of her being proud and 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 113 

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, agree- 
able-looking woman, whose endeavor 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 cour- 
age enough to join in it; and sometimes 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, with- 
out calling her attention. This observation would 
not have prevented her from trying to talk to 
the latter, had they not been seated at an incon- 
venient 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 

VOL. II. — 8 



114 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

determine. After sitting in this manner a quar- 
ter 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 em- 
ployment 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 op- 
portunity 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 that the ladies of the family 
intended a visit to Georgiana that morning. No 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 115 

sooner did he appear, than Elizabeth wisely re- 
solved 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 suspicions of the whole party were 
awakened against them, and that there was scarcely 
an eye which did not watch his behavior 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 ita 
objects; for jealousy had not yet made her desper- 
ate, and her attentions to Mr. Darcy were by no 
means over. Miss Darcy, on her brother's en- 
trance, 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 mili- 
tia removed 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 com- 
prehended that he was uppermost in her thoughts, 
and the various recollections connected with him 
gave her a moment's distress; but exerting her- 



116 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

self 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 
complexion earnestly looking at her, and his 
sister overcome with confusion, and unable to 
lift up her eyes. 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 Eliza- 
beth, 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, ex- 
cept to Elizabeth; and from all Bingley's con- 
nections 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 endeavor 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 behavior, however, soon 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 117 

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 ques- 
tion 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 person, behavior, and dress. But 
Georgiana would not join her. Her brother's 
recommendation was enough to insure her favor: 
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 morn- 
ing, Mr. Darcy! " she cried. "I never in my life 
saw any one 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.' ' 



118 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

However little Mr. Darcy might have liked such 
an address, he contented himself with coolly re- 
plying that he perceived no other alteration than 
her heing rather tanned, — no miraculous conse- 
quence of travelling in the summer. 

"For my own part," she rejoined, "I must 
confess that I never could see any heauty in her. 
Her face is too thin ; her complexion has no bril- 
liancy, 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 ad- 
mired Elizabeth, this was not the best method of 
recommending herself; but angry people are not 
always wise ; and in seeing him at last look some- 
what nettled, she had all the success she expected. 
He was resolutely silent, however; and from a de- 
termination of making him speak, she continued, — 

"I remember, when we first knew her in Hert- 
fordshire, 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, ' She a beauty ! I should as soon 



\! 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 119 

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 him- 
self no longer, "but that was only when I first 
knew her; for it is many months since I have con- 
sidered 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 behavior 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 long- 
ing to know what Mrs. Gardiner thought of him, 
and Mrs. Gardiner would have been highly grati- 
fied by her niece's beginning the subject. 



/ 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Elizabeth had been a good deal disappointed in 
not finding a letter from Jane on their first arrival 
at Lambton, and this disappointment had been 
renewed 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 missent elsewhere. 
Elizabeth 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 missent must be first attended to; it had 
been written five days ago. The beginning con- 
tained 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 121 

all 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 1 But I am willing to hope the best, and that his 
character has been misunderstood. Thoughtless and in- 
discreet I can easily believe him, but this step (and let 
us rejoice over it) marks nothing bad at heart. His 
choice is disinterested 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 Satur- 
day 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 



122 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

though not confined for time, my head is so bewildered 
that I cannot answer for being coherent. Dearest Lizzy, 
I hardly know what I would write, but I have bad news 
for you, and it cannot be delayed. Imprudent as a mar- 
riage 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 expressing his 
belief that W. never intended to go there, or to marry 
Lydia at all, which was repeated to Colonel F., who, in- 
stantly 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 
; nto 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 with- 
out 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 connections, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 123 

which is not likely, can I suppose her so lost to every- 
thing ? Impossible 1 I grieve to find, however, that 
Colonel F. is not disposed to depend upon their mar- 
riage ; 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 ex- 
pected ; and as to my father, I never in my life saw him 
so affected. Poor Kitty has anger for having concealed 
their attachment ; but as it was a matter of confidence, 
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, how- 
ever, 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 ear- 
nestly 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 something 
more to ask of the former. My father is going to Lon- 
don 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 Eliza- 
beth, darting from her seat as she finished the 
letter, in eagerness to follow him, without losing 
a moment of the time so precious; but as she 



124 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

reached the door, it was opened by a servant, and 
Mr. Darcy appeared. Her pale face and impetu- 
ous manner made him start, and before he could 
recover himself enough to speak, she, in whose 
mind every idea was superseded by Lydia's situa- 
tion, 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 recollect- 
ing 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 saying, 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 T get you one? 
You are very ill." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 125 

"No, I thank you," she replied, endeavoring 
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 some- 
thing indistinctly of his concern, and observe her 
in compassionate silence. At length she spoke 
again: "I have just had a letter from Jane, with 
such dreadful news. It cannot be concealed from 
any one. My youngest sister has left all her 
friends, — has eloped; has thrown herself into the 
power of — of Mr. Wickham. They are gone off 
together from Brighton. You know him too well 
to doubt the rest. She has no money, no connec- 
tions, nothing that can tempt him to — She is 
lost forever." 

Darcy was fixed in astonishment. "When I 
consider," she added in a yet more agitated voice, 
"that I might have prevented it! I, who knew 
what he was, — had I but explained some part of 
it only, some part of what I learned, 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?" 



126 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"Oh, yes! They left Brighton together on 
Sunday night, and were traced almost to London, 
but not beyond j they are certainly not gone to 
Scotland.' ' 

"And what has been done, what has been at- 
tempted, to recover her?" 

' t 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 well 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 open to his real character. 
Oh! had I known what 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. Elizabeth soon observed, and in- 
stantly understood it. Her power was sinking; 
everything must sink under such a proof of family 
weakness, such an assurance of the deepest dis- 
grace. She could neither wonder nor condemn; 
but the belief of his self-conquest brought nothing 
consolatory to her bosom, afforded no palliation 



6v 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 127 



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 mis- 
ery she was bringing on them all — soon swal- 
lowed up every private care; and covering her 
face with her handkerchief, Elizabeth was soon 
lost to everything else; and after a pause of sev- 
eral 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 Pem- 
berley to-day.' ' 

"Oh, yes. Be so kind as to apologize for us to 
Miss Darcy. Say that urgent business calls us 
home immediately. Conceal the unhappy truth as 
long as it is possible. I know it cannot be long." 









128 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

He readily assured her of his secrecy, again 
expressed his sorrow for her distress, wished it a 
happier conclusion than there was at present rea- 
son 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 im- 
probable 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 feel- 
ings which would now have promoted its contin- 
uance, 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 unrea- 
sonable 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 129 

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 develop- 
ment. While the contents of the first letter re- 
mained on her mind, she was all surprise, 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, while the regiment 
was in Hertfordshire, that Lydia had any par- 
tiality for him; but she was convinced that Lydia 
had wanted only encouragement to attach herself 
to anybody. Sometimes one officer, sometimes an- 
other, had been her favorite, as their attentions 
raised them in her opinion. Her affections had 
been continually fluctuating, but never without an 



130 PKIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

object. The mischief of neglect and mistaken in- 
dulgence 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 persuaded 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 
instantly on that head, she eagerly communicated 
the cause of their summons, reading the two letters 
aloud, and dwelling on the postscript of the last 
with trembling energy, though Lydia had never 
been a favorite with them. Mr. and Mrs. Gardi- 
ner could not but be deeply afflicted. 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 were 
to be off as soon as possible. "But what is to be 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 131 

done about Pemberley?" cried Mrs. Gardiner. 
" John told us Mr. Darcy was here when you sent 
for us; was it so?" 

"Yes j 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 td 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 Elizabeth, 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. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

" I have been thinking it over again, Elizabeth," 
said her uncle, as they drove from the townj "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 un- 
likely that any young man should form such a 
design against a girl who is by no means unpro- 
tected or friendless, and who was actually staying 
in his Colonel's family, that I am strongly in- 
clined 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." 

"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, honor, and in- 
terest, for him to be guilty of it. I cannot think 
so very ill of Wickham. Can you yourself, Lizzy, 
so wholly give him up as to believe him capable 
of it? " 



FHIDE AND PREJUDICE 133 

"Not perhaps of neglecting his own interest; 
but of every other neglect I can believe him ca- 
pable. If, indeed, it should be so! But I dare 
not hope it. Why should they not go on to Scot- 
land, 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, be- 
sides, no traces of them were to be found on the 
Barnet road." 

"Well, then, supposing them to be in Lon- 
don, they may be there, though for the purpose of 
concealment, for no more exceptionable purpose. 
It is not likely that money should be very abun- 
dant on either side ; and it might strike them that 
they could be more economically though less expedi- 
tiously married in London than in Scotland." 

"But why all this secrecy? Why any fear of 
detection? 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-humor, that could make him for her sake 
forego every chance of benefiting himself by marry- 



134 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

ing well ! As to what restraint the apprehensions 
of disgrace in the corps might throw on a dishonor- 
able 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 behavior, 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, in- 
deed," 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 has been 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 135 

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." 

"But you see that Jane," said her aunt, "does 
not think so ill of Wickham 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 every 
sense of the word; that he has neither integrity 
nor honor ; that he is as false and deceitful as he 
is insinuating." 

" And do you really know all this? " cried Mrs. 
Gardiner, whose curiosity as to the mode of her 
intelligence was all alive. 

"I dc, indeed," replied Elizabeth, coloring. 
"I tola you the other day of his infamous be- 
havior 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 j but his lies about 



136 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

the whole Pemberley family are endless. From 
what he said of Miss Darcy, I was thoroughly pre- 
pared 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 Lydia know nothing of this; can she 
be ignorant of what you and Jane seem so well to 
understand? M 

" Oh, yes! that— -that is the worst of all. Till 
I was in Kent, and saw so much both of Mr. Darcy 
and his relation Colonel Fitzwilliam, I was igno- 
rant of the truth myself. And when I returned 

home the shire was 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 pub- 
lic ; for of what use could it apparently be to any 
one, that the good opinion which all the neighbor- 
hood 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 consequence 
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? " 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 137 

"Not the slightest. I can remember no symp- 
tom 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 favorites.' ' 

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 re- 
peated 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, self-reproach, 
she could find no interval of ease or forgetfulness. 

They travelled as expeditiously as possible; and 
sleeping 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 



* 



138 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 par- 
ticularly begged him to do. He merely added 
that he should not write again till he had some- 
thing of importance to mention." 

" And my mother, — how is she? How are you 
all?" 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 139 

"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 welcomed 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 repeated by the others, and they soon 
found that Jane had no intelligence to give. The 
sanguine hope of good, however, which the benevo- 
lence 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 re- 
paired, after a few minutes' conversation together, 
received them exactly as might be expected, — with 
tears and lamentations of regret, invectives against 



140 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

the villanous 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 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 overruled, as I always am. Poor, 
dear child! And now here 's Mr. Bennet gone 
away, and I know he will fight Wickham, wher- 
ever 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 endeavor for 
recovering Lydia. 

"Do not give way to useless alarm," added he; 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 141 

"though it is right to be prepared for the worst, 
there is no occasion 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, 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 trem- 
blings, such flutterings, all over me, such spasms 
in my side and pains in my head, and such beat- 
ings at 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." 



142 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

But Mr. Gardiner, though he assured her again 
of his earnest endeavors in the cause, could not 
avoid recommending 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 ho 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 appear- 
ance 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 favorite sister, 
or the anger which she had herself incurred in the 
business, had given something more of fretfulness 
than usual to the accents of Kitty. As for Mary, 
she was mistress enough of herself to whisper to 
Elizabeth, with a countenance of grave reflection, 
soon after they were seated at table, — 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 143 

"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." 

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 les- 
son, — that loss of virtue in a female is irretriev- 
able, 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 behavior 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. 

Ihl the afternoon the two elder Miss Bennets 
were able to be for half an hour by themselves; 
and Elizabeth instantly availed herself of the op- 
portunity of making any inquiries which Jane was 
equally eager to satisfy. After joining in gen- 
eral lamentations over the dreadful sequel of this 
event, which Elizabeth considered as all but cer- 
tain, and Miss Bennet could not assert to be 
wholly impossible, the former continued the sub- 
ject, by saying, "But tell me all and everything 
about it which I have not already heard. Give 



144 PEIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

me further particulars. What did Colonel Fors- 
ter say? Had they no apprehension of anything 
before the elopement took place? They must have 
seen them together forever.* ' 

"Colonel Forster did own that he had often sus- 
pected some partiality, especially on Lydia's side, 
but nothing to give him any alarm. I am so 
grieved for him. His behavior 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 intend- 
ing to go off? Had Colonel Forster seen Denny 
himself? " 

"Yes; but when questioned by him Denny de- 
nied 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 mar 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 145 

riage, because I knew that his conduct had not 
been always quite right. My father and mother 
knew nothing of that, they only felt how im- 
prudent 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." 

"And did Colonel Forster appear to think ill 
of Wickham 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 
without knowing what their present feelings were, 
seemed unjustifiable." 

"We acted with the best intentions." 

VOL. II. — 10 



146 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" Could Colonel Forster repeat the particulars 

of Lydia's note to his wife?" 

" He brought it with him for us to see." 

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 who, 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 keeping my engagement, and 
dancing with him to-night. 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-by. 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 147 

object of her journey. Whatever he might after 
wards 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 any one 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 belonging 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 endeav- 
ored 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 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 






148 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 Wednes- 
day 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 neighbors. Assistance is impossible; con- 
dolence, 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 postilions, and try if anything 
could be made out from them. His principal 
object must be to discover the number of the hack- 
ney 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 anyhow discover at what house the 
coachman had before set down his fare, he deter- 
mined to make inquiries there, and hoped it might 
not be impossible to find out the stand and num- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 149 

ber 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 dis- 
composed, that I had difficulty in finding out even 
so much as this ' 



CHAPTER XV. 

The whole party were in hopes of a letter from 
Mr. Bennet the next morning, 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 dilatory 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 receiving constant information of what was go- 
ing 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 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 151 

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 irregu- 
larity, 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 honored with the title of seduction, had been 
extended into every tradesman's family. Every- 
body declared that he was the wickedest young 
man in the world; and everybody began to find 
out that they had always distrusted the appear- 
ance of his goodness. Elizabeth, though she did 
not credit above half of what was said, believed 
enough to make her former assurance of her sis- 
ter'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 prob- 
ability have gained some news of them. 

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 




152 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 inti- 
mates in the regiment, whether Wickham has any rela- 
tions or connections who would be likely to know in what 
part of the town he has now concealed himself. If there 
were any one that one could apply to, with a probability 
of gaining such a clew as that, it might be of essential 
consequence. At present we have nothing to guide us. 
Colonel Forster will, I dare say, do everything 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. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 153 

She had never heard of his having had any 
relations, except a father and mother, both of 
whom had been dead many years. It was possi- 
ble, however, that some of his companions in the 

shire might be able to give more information; 

and though she was not very sanguine in expect- 
ing it, the application was a something to look 
forward to. 

Every day at Longbourn was now a day of anxi- 
ety; 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 impa- 
tience. 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. Gar- 
diner, 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 accordingly 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 re- 
lationship 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. Col- 
lins and myself sincerely sympathize with you, and alJ 



154 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 circum- 
stance that must be, of all others, most afflicting to a 
parent's mind. 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 behavior in your daughter has proceeded from a faulty 
degree of indulgence ; 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 griev- 
ously to be pitied, 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 thaj/this false step in one 
V daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all the 
^ others ; for who, as Lady Catherine herself condescend- 
ingly says, will connect themselves with such a family?^ 
And this consideration leads me, moreover, to reflect, 
with augmented 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 forever, 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 Forsterj and 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 155 

then lie 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 transpired that 
he had left gaming debts behind him to a very 
considerable amount. Colonel Forster believed 
that more than a thousand pounds would be neces- 
sary to clear his expenses at Brighton. He owed 
a good deal in the town, but his debts of honor 
were still more formidable. Mr. Gardiner did 
not attempt to conceal these particulars from tho 
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 endeavors, he 
had yielded to his brother-in-law's entreaty that 
he would return to his family and leave it to him 



156 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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, con- 
sidering 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 other excuse for the lowness of her spirits un- 
necessary; nothing therefore could be fairly con- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 157 

jectured from that, though Elizaheth, 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 ap- 
pearance of bis 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 re- 
plied: "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 over- 
powered by the impression. It will pass away 
soon enough." 

" Do you suppose them to be in London? " 



158 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

u Yes ; where else can they be so well concealed? 9 

"And Lydia used to want to go to London/' 
added Kitty. 

"She is happy, then," said her father, dryly; 
" and her residence there will probably be of some 
duration." 

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 nightcap 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 I should ever go to Brigh- 
ton, I would behave better than Lydia." 

" You go to Brighton! I would not trust you 
so near it as East Bourne for fifty pounds! No, 
Kitty, I have at least learned 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 «jac 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 159 

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." 



CHAPTER XVI. 

Two 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 as- 
tonishment, "don't you know there is an express 
come for master 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 vesti- 
bule 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 161 

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 pur- 
suing 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 per- 
haps you would like to read it." 

Elizabeth impatiently caught it from his hand. 
Jane now came up. 

"Read it aloud," said their father, "for I 
hardly know myself what it is about." 

Gracechdrch 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 you satisfaction. Soon after you left me 

VOL. II. — 11 



162 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 enough to know they are discovered: 
I have seen them both — 

"Then it is as I always hoped," cried Jane: 
"they are married ! n 
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 engagement of allowing her, during your life, 
one hundred pounds per annum. These are conditions 
which, considering 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 com- 
prehend, 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 re- 
spect ; 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 pre* 
paring a proper settlement. There will not be the small- 
est occasion for your coming to town again ; therefore 
stay quietly at Longbourn, and depend on my diligence 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 163 

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. 

Edw. Gardiner. 

"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 congratulate 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." 



164 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" 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 noth- 
ing 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 senses would marry 
Lydia on so slight a temptation as one hundred a 
year during my life, and fifty after I am gone." 

"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 thou- 
sand pounds : I should be sorry to think so ill of 
him, in the very beginning 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 165 

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 I " cried 
Elizabeth, as soon as they were by themselves. 
"How strange this is! and for this 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 something 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 much 
is settled on his side on our sister, we shall ex- 
actly know what Mr. Gardiner has done for them, 
because Wickham has not sixpence of his own. 
The kindness of my uncle and aunt can never be 
requited. Their taking her home, and affording 
her their personal protection and countenance, is 
such a sacrifice to her advantage as years of grati- 
tude cannot enough acknowledge. By this time 
she is actually with them ! If such goodness does 
not make her miserable now, she will never de« 
< 



I i 



166 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

serve to be happy ! What a meeting for her, when 
she first sees my aunt! " 

"We must endeavor 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 impru- 
dence forgotten." 

" Their conduct has been such," replied Eliza- 
beth, "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, there- 
fore, 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 com- 
munication would therefore do for all. After 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 167 

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 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 endeavored to give some 
relief to the violence of these transports, by lead 
ing her thoughts to the obligations which Mr. 
Gardiner's behavior laid them all under. 



168 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"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 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 con- 
sulted. 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 169 

sister Philips. And as I come back, I can call 
on Lady Lucas and Mrs. Long. Kitty, run down 
and order the carriage. An airing 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 free- 
dom. 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 looking forward, neither rational happiness nor 
worldly prosperity could be justly expected for 
her sister, in looking back to what they had 
feared only two hours ago, she felt all the ad- 
vantages of what they had gained. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Mr. 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 honor or credit could 
now be purchased for her. The satisfaction of 
prevailing on one of the most worthless young 
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 any one 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 171 

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 hus- 
band'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 proportions 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 
acknowledgment for the kindness of his brother, 
though expressed most concisely, he then de- 
livered on paper his perfect approbation of all 
that was done, and his willingness 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 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 continual 



172 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 ex- 
ertion 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 pro- 
duced his activity in seeking her were over, he 
naturally returned to all his former indolence. 
His letter was soon despatched; for though dila- 
tory in undertaking business, he was quick in its 
execution. He begged to know further particulars 
of what he was indebted 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 
neighborhood. It was borne in the latter with 
decent philosophy. To be sure, it would have 
been more for the advantage of conversation, 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. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 173 

It was a fortnight since Mrs. Bennet had been 
downstairs, 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. The marriage of a daughter, 
which had been the first object of her wishes since 
Jane was sixteen, was now on the point of accom- 
plishment; 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 neighborhood for 
a proper situation for her daughter; and without 
knowing or considering 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 Ash- 
worth 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 in- 
terruption while the servants remained. But when 
they had withdrawn, he said to her: "Mrs. Ben- 
net, before you take any or all of these houses for 
your son and daughter, let us come to a right un- 
derstanding. Into one house in this neighborhood 
they shall never have admittance. I will not en- 
courage the imprudence of either, by receiving them 
at Longbourn." 



174 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 resentment 
as to refuse his daughter a privilege without 
which her marriage would scarcely seem valid, ex- 
ceeded all that she could believe possible. She was 
more alive to the disgrace which her want of new 
clothes must reflect on her daughter's nuptials, 
than to any sense of shame at her eloping and liv- 
ing 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 unfavorable beginning 
from all those who were, not immediately on the 
spot. 

She had no fear of its spreading farther through 
his means. There were few people on whose se- 
crecy she would have more confidently depended; 
but at the same time there was no one whose 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 175 

knowledge of a sister's frailty would have mortified 
her so much. Not, however, from any fear of dis- 
advantage from it individually to herself; for at 
any rate there seemed a gulf impassable between 
them. Had Lydia's marriage been concluded on 
the most honorable terms, it was not to be sup- 
posed that Mr. Darcy would connect himself with 
a family where 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 feel- 
ing in Derbyshire, could not in rational expec- 
tation 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 intelli- 
gence. She was convinced 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 ago would now 
have been gladly and gratefully received! He was 
as generous, she doubted not, as the most generous 



J 



176 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 tem- 
per, 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 j and from his judgment, infor- 
mation, 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 pre- 
cluding the possibility of the other, was soon to be 
formed in their family. 

How Wickham and Lydia were to be supported 
in tolerable independence she could not imagine. 
But how little of permanent happiness could be- 
long to a couple who were only brought together 
because their passions were stronger than their 
virtue, she could easily conjecture. 

Mr. Gardiner soon wrote again to his brother. 
To Mr. Bennet's acknowledgments he briefly re- 
plied, 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. The principal purport 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 177 

of his letter was to inform them that Mr. 
Wickham had resolved on quitting the militia. 

w 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, they 
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. Hagger- 
ston 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 advan- 
tages of Wickham's removal from the — — shire, 

VOL. II. — 12 



178 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

as clearly as 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 com- 
pany, for she had by no means given up her plan 
of their residing in Hertfordshire, was a severe 
disappointment; 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 favorites. 

" 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 regiment." 

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 Eliza- 
beth, 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 o* 
knowing that she should be able to show her 
married daughter in the neighborhood, before she 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



179 



was banished to the north. When Mr. Bennet 
wrote again to his brother, therefore, he sent his 
permission for them to come; and it was settled 
that as soon as the ceremony was over, they 
should proceed to Longbourn. Elizabeth was sur- 
prised, 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. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Their sister's wedding-day arrived; and Jane and 
Elizabeth felt for her probably more than she felt 
for herself. The carriage was sent to meet them 
at , and they were to return in it b}' dinner- 
time. Their arrival was dreaded by the elder Miss 
Bennets; and Jane more especially, who gave 
Lydia the feelings which would have attended her- 
self, had she been the culprit, and was wretched 
in the thought of what her sister must endure. 

They came. The family were assembled in the 
breakfast-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 alac- 
rity which showed no doubt of their happiness. 

Their reception from Mr. Bennet, to whom 
they then turned, was not quite so cordial. His 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 181 

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 ; un- 
tamed, unabashed, wild, noisy, and fearless. She 
turned from sister to sister, demanding their con- 
gratulations ; 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 ex- 
actly what they ought, his smiles and his easy 
address, while he claimed their relationship, would 
have delighted them all. Elizabeth 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 suf- 
fered no variation of color. 

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 
neighborhood with a good-humored ease which 



182 PRIDE AHD PREJUDICE. 

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 j 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 fort- 
night, 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 dis- 
tressed, Elizabeth looked expressively at Lydia; 
but she, who never heard nor saw anything of 
which she chose to be insensible, gayly 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 win- 
dow-frame, so that he 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 183 

dining-parlor. 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, hecause I am a married 
woman." 

It was not to he supposed that time would give 
Lydia that emharrassment 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 neighbors, and to 
hear herself called "Mrs. Wickham " by each of 
them j and in the mean time 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 bo 



184 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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." 

"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 favor," said 
Elizabeth; "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 com- 
mission before he left London, and he was to join 
his regiment at the end of a fortnight. 

No one but Mrs. Bennet 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 
Elizabeth 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; 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 185 

and she would have wondered why, without vio- 
lently 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 he put in competition with him. He did every- 
thing best in the world; and she was sure he 
would kill more 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? " 

"JSTo, 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 



186 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 ahove 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 by 
you are to understand that my uncle and aunt 
were horrid unpleasant all the time I was with 
them. If you '11 believe me, I did not once put 
my foot out of doors, though I was there a fort- 
night. Not one party or scheme, or anything. 
To be sure, London was rather thin; but, however, 
the Little Theatre was open. Well, and so just 
as the carriage 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 riot 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, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 187 

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 prom- 
ised them so faithfully! 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 im- 
possible; or at least it was impossible not to try 
for information. Mr. Darcy had been at her sis- 
ter's wedding. It was exactly a scene, and ex- 
actly among people, where he had apparently least 
to do, and least temptation to go. Conjectures as 
to the meaning of it, rapid and wild, hurried into 
her brain, but she was satisfied with none. Those 
that best pleased her, as placing his conduct in 



188 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 compatible 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 endeavor to be satisfied with ignorance." 

"Not that I shall, though/' she added to her- 
self, as she finished the letter; "and, my dear 
aunt, if you do not tell me in an honorable man- 
ner, I shall certainly be reduced to tricks and 
stratagems to find it out." 

Jane's delicate sense of honor 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. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

Elizabeth had the satisfaction of receiving an 
answer to her letter as soon as she possibly could. 
She was no sooner in possession of it, than hurry- 
ing into the little copse, where she was least likely 
to be interrupted, she sat down on one of the 
benches, and prepared 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 let- 
ter, 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 neces- 
sary 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 igno- 
rant, I must be more explicit. On the very day of my 
coming home from Longbourn, your uncle had a most un- 
expected visitor. Mr. Darcy called, and was shut up 
with him several hours. It was all over before I ar- 
rived ; so my curiosity was not so dreadfully racked as 



190 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

yours seems to have been. He came to tell Mr. Gar- 
diner 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 resolution of hunt- 
ing for them. The motive professed was his conviction 
of its being owing to himself that Wickham's worthless- 
ness 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 be- 
neath him to lay his private actions open to the world. 
His character was to speak for itself. He called it, 
therefore, his duty to step forward, and endeavor to rem- 
edy 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 something to direct 
his search, which was more than we had ; and the con- 
sciousness 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 disapproba- 
tion, 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, 
intimately 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, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 191 

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 Wick- 
ham, 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. 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 learned had never 
been his design. He confessed himself obliged to leave 
the regiment on account of some debts of honor which 
were very pressing ; 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, however, he was not likely to be proof 
against the temptation of immediate relief. They met 
several times, for there was much to be discussed. Wick- 
ham, of course, wanted more than he could get, but at 



192 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

length was 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 with 
him, but would quit town the next morning. He did not 
judge your father to be a person whom he could so prop- 
erly consult as your uncle, and therefore readily post- 
poned seeing him till after the 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 I 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 char- 
acter, 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 noth- 
ing 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 con- 
cerned 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 193 

suppose, what has been done for the young people. His 
debts are to be paid, amounting, I believe, to considerably 
more than a thousand pounds, another thousand in addi- 
tion to her own settled upon her, and his commission 
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 consid- 
eration, that Wickham's character had been so misunder- 
stood, 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 per- 
fectly 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 
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 Hertfordshire ; 
but I would not tell you how little I was satisfied with 
her behavior while she stayed with us, if I had not per- 
ceived, by Jane's letter last Wednesday, that her conduct 
on coming home was exactly of a piece with it, and there- 
fore what I now tell you can give you no fresh pain. I 
talked to her repeatedly in the most serious manner, rep- 
resenting 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 

VOL. II. — 13 



194 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 informed you, at- 
tended 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 Lizzy, if I take 
1 this opportunity of saying (what I was never bold enough 
to say before) how much I like him ? His behavior to us 
has in every respect been as pleasing 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 great- 
est 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 prob- 
able, and at the same time dreaded to be just, 
from the pain of obligation, were proved beyond 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 195 

their greatest extent to be true ! He had followed 
them purposely 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 fi- 
nally 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 whom 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 senti- 
ment so natural as abhorrence against relation- 
ship with Wickham. Brother-in-law of Wickham ! 
Every kind of pride must revolt from the connec- 
tion. 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 ex- 
traordinary 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 



196 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

endeavors in a cause where her peace of mind 
must be materially concerned. It was painful, 
exceedingly painful, to know that they were under 
obligations to a person who could never receive 
a return. They owed the restoration of Lydia, 
her character, everything to him.' Oh, how heart- 
ily 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 honor he had 
been able to get the better of himself. She read 
over 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 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 reflec- 
tions by some one'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 unwelcome." 

"I should be sorry, indeed, if it were. We 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 197 

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 Rey- 
nolds, 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. Eliza- 
beth hoped she had silenced himj but he soon 
afterwards said, — 

"I was surprised to see Darcy in town last 
month. We 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 some- 
thing particular to take him there at this time 
of year." 



mmmmmmm 



198 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE 

"Undoubtedly. Did you see him while you 
were at Lambton? I thought I understood from 
the Gardiners that you had." 

"Yes; he introduced us to his sister." 

M And do you like her? " 

"Very much." 

" I have heard, indeed, that she is uncommonly 
improved within this year or two. When 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 say she will; she has got over the most 
trying 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 1 
ought to have had. A most delightful place! 
Excellent parsonage house I It would have suited 
me in every respect." 

" How should you have liked making sermons? " 

"Exceedingly well. I should have considered 
it as 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 have heard from authority, which I thought 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 199 

as good, 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 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 foun- 
dation. 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 un, 
willing, for her sister's sake, to provoke him, she 
only said in reply, with a good-humored smile, — 

"Come, Mr. Wickham, we are brother and sis- 
ter, 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 affec- 
tionate gallantry, though he hardly knew how to 
look; and they entered the house. 



CHAPTEK XX. 

Mr. Wickham was so perfectly satisfied with this 
conversation that he never again distressed him- 
self, or provoked his dear sister Elizabeth, by in- 
troducing the subject of it; and she was pleased 
to find that she had said enough to keep him 
quiet. 

The day of his and Lydia's departure soon came, 
and Mrs. Bennet was forced to submit to a separa- 
tion, 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 affec- 
tionate than his wife's. He smiled, looked hand- 
some, and said many pretty things. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 201 

"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 noth- 
ing so had as parting with one's friends. One 
seems so forlorn without 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 hus- 
band's regiment happens to be so far off. If that 
had been nearer, she would not have gone so soon. " 

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 Netherfield 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. 



202 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" 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 pur- 
pose to know the truth of it; and she told me that 
it was certainly true. He comes down on Thurs- 
day, at the latest ; very likely on Wednesday. She 
was going to the butcher's, she told me, on pur- 
pose 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 color. It was many 
months since she had mentioned his name to Eliza- 
beth ; 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 distressed; but don't imagine it was from 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 203 

any silly cause. I was only confused for the mo- 
ment, 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 specula- 
tion! 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, Elizabeth 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 



204 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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; hut it ended in 
nothing, and I will not he sent on a fool's errand 
again." 

His wife represented to him how ahsolutely 
necessary such an attention would he from all 
the neighboring 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 run- 
ning after my neighbors 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 sha'n't prevent 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 
ver} T mortifying to know that her neighbors 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 205 

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 satisfac- 
tion of preaching patience to a sufferer is denied 
me, because you have always so much." 

Mr. Bingley arrived. Mrs. Bennet, through 
the assistance of servants, contrived to have the 
earliest tidings of it, that the period of anxiety 
and fretfulness on her side might be as long as it 
could. She counted the days that 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 towards 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?" 



I 



206 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"Some acquaintance or other, my dear, I sup- 
pose; 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 con- 
cern. She knew but little of their meeting in 
Derbyshire, and therefore felt for the awkwardness 
which must attend her sister in seeing him al- 
most for the first time after receiving his ex- 
planatory letter. Both sisters were uncomfortable 
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 be sus- 
pected by Jane, to whom, she had never yet had 
courage to show Mrs. Gardiner's letter, or to re- 
late 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 under- 
valued; but to her own more extensive informa- 
tion he was the person to whom the whole family 
were indebted for the first of benefits, and whom 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 207 

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 Long- 
bourn, and voluntarily seeking her again — was 
almost equal to what she had known on first 
witnessing his altered behavior in Derbyshire. 

The color 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,' f said she; 
"it will then be early enough for expectation.' ' 

She sat intently at work, striving to be com- 
posed, 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 than usual, but more 
sedate than Elizabeth had expected. On the gen- 
tlemen's appearing, her color increased; yet she 
received them with tolerable ease, and with a pro- 
priety of behavior 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 com- 
mand. She had ventured only one glance at 




208 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Darcy. He looked serious as usual, and, she 
thought, more as he had been used to look ic 
Hertfordshire than as she had seen him at Pem- 
berley. 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 con- 
trasted 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 
favorite daughter from irremediable infamy, was 
hurt and distressed to a most painful degree by a 
distinction so ill applied. 

Darcy, after inquiring of her how Mr. and 
Mrs. Gardiner did, — a question which she could 
not answer without confusion, — said scarcely any- 
thing. 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 209 

eyes to his face, she as often found him looking at 
Jane as at herself, and frequently on no object but 
the ground. More thoughtf ulness and less anxiety 
to please than when they last met were plainly ex- 
pressed. She was disappointed, and angry with 
herself for being so. 

"Could I expect it to be otherwise? " said she. 
" Yet why did he come? w 

She was in no humor for conversation with 
any one 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 neighborhood 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 

VOL. II. — 14 



M 



210 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

she lived, or anything. It was my brother Gar- 
diner's drawing up, too, and I wonder how he 
came to make such an awkward business of it. 
Did you see it?" 

N Bingley replied that he did, and made his con- 
gratulations. 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 sup- 
pose you have heard of his leaving the shire, 

and of his being gone into the Regulars. Thank 
Heaven! 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 noth- 
ing 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 211 

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 pros- 
pect 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 her- 
self, "is nevermore 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 after- 
wards 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 min- 
utes seemed to be giving her more of his attention. 
He found her as handsome as she had 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 



212 PRTDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 Long- 
bourn in a few days' time. 

" You are quite a visit in my debt, Mr. Bing- 
ley," 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 for- 
got, you see; and I assure you I wasr 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 by 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 anj'thing 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. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

As soon as they were gone, Elizabeth walked out 
to recover her spirits, or, in other words, to dwell 
without interruption on those subjects that must 
deaden them more. Mr. Darcy's behavior aston- 
ished and vexed her. 

"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? If he fears me, why come hither? If 
he no longer cares for me, why silent? Teas- 
ing, 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 satis- 
fied 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 Tues- 



214 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

day. It will then be publicly seen that on both 
sides we meet only as common and indifferent 
acquaintance." 

" Yes, very indifferent indeed," said Elizabeth, 
laughingly. "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 Tues- 
day; and Mrs. Bennet in the mean while was 
giving way to all the happy schemes which the 
good-humor 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 anx- 
iously 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 be- 
longed 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 seemed 
to hesitate; but Jane happened to look round, and 
happened to smile: it was decided. He placed 
himself by her. 

Elizabeth, with a triumphant sensation, looked 
towards his friend. He bore it with noble in- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



215 



difference; 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 behavior 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 conse- 
quence, she yet received pleasure from observing 
his behavior. It gave her all the animation that 
her spirits could boast; for she was in no cheerful 
humor. 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 situa- 
tion 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 was their manner whenever they did. 
Her mother's ungraciousness made the sense of 
what they owed him more painful to Elizabeth's 
mind; and she would at times have given any- 
thing to be privileged to tell him that his kind- 
ness was neither unknown nor unfelt by the whole 
of the family. 

She was in hopes that the evening would afford 



| 



ij 



j>*4 



K 



■r* 






f\(A' 



216 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

some opportunity of bringing them together; that 
the whole of the visit would not pass away without 
enabling them 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 forever." 

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 sha'n't come and part us, I am deter- 
mined. We want none of them; do we? " 

Darcy had walked away to another part of the 
room. She followed him with her eyes, envied 
every one to whom he spoke, had scarcely patience 
enough to help anybody to coffee, and then was 
enraged against herself for being so silly! 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 217 

"A man who has or je 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 bring- 
ing back his coffee-cup himself; and she seized the 
opportunity of saying, — 

"Is your sister at Pemberley still? " 

"Yes; she will remain there till Christmas." 

"And quite alone? Have all her friends left 
her?" 

"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 Eliza- 
beth 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 expec- 
tation of pleasure. They were confined for the 



218 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

evening at different tablt^, and she had nothing t<? 
hope, but that his eyes were so often turned to- 
wards 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 car- 
riage was, unluckily, ordered before any of the 
others, and she had no opportunity of detaining 
them. 

"Well, girls," said she, as soon as they were 
left to themselves, " what say you to the day? I 
think everything 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 
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 do you think she said 
besides? 'Ah! Mrs. Bennet, we shall have her 
at Netherfield at last! 9 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. 219 

Mrs. Bennet, in short, was in very great spirits : 
she had seen enough of Bingley's behavior to Jane 
to be convinced that she would get him at last; 
and her expectations of advantage to her family, 
when in a happy humor, were so far beyond reason 
that she was quite disappointed at not seeing him 
there again the next day 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 sus- 
pect me. It mortifies s me. I assure you that I 
have now learned 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?" 



220 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"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. For- 
give me ; and if you persist in indifference, do not 
make me your confidante." 



mm 



CHAPTER XXII. 

A 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 in remarkably good spirits. Mrs. Bennet 
invited him to dine with them ; but with many ex- 
pressions 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. ; and if she would give him leave, would take 
an early opportunity of waiting on them. 

" Can you come to-morrow? ff 

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 daughter's 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, in- 



222 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

deed. 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 he 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, he quick, he quick! Where is your sash, 
my dear? " 

But when 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. Ben- 
net retired to the library, as was his custom, and 
Mary went upstairs to her instrument. Two 
obstacles of the five being thus removed, Mrs. Ben- 
net sat looking and winking at Elizabeth and 
Catherine for a considerable time, without making 
any impression on them. Elizabeth would not 
observe her; and when at last Kitty did, she very 
innocently 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, — 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 223 

"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. 

"We 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 inef- 
fectual. Bingley was everything that was charm- 
ing, except the professed lover of her daughter. 
His ease and cheerfulness rendered him a most 
agreeable addition to their evening party ; and he 
bore with the ill-judged officiousness 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. 



224 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

After this day Jane said no more of her indif- 
ference. Not a word passed between the sisters 
concerning Bingley; but Elizabeth went to bed in 
the happy belief that all must speedily be con- 
cluded, unless Mr. Darcy returned within the 
stated time. Seriously, however, she felt toler- 
ably 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 presumption 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. Elizabeth, who had a letter to 
write, went into the breakfast-room for that pur- 
pose 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 ingenious for her. On opening the 
door, she perceived her sister and Bingley standing 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 225 

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 Bound and 
moved away from each other, would have told it 
all. Their situation was awkward enough; but 
hers 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 down, suddenly rose, and 
whispering a few words to her sister, ran out of 
the room. 

Jarie could have no reserves from Elizabeth, 
where confidence would give pleasure; and in- 
stantly embracing her, acknowledged, with the 
liveliest emotion, that she was the happiest creat- 
ure in the world. 

" 'T is 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 
sincerity, 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 af- 
fectionate solicitude, or allow her to hear it from 

VOL. II. — 15 



226 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

any one 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 purposely 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 was 
finally settled that had given them so many pre- 
vious months of surprise 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 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 de- 
light in the prospect of their relationship. They 
shook hands with great cordiality; 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 




PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 227 

perfections; and in spite of his being a lover, 
Elizabeth really believed all his expectations oi 
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 handsomer 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 allu- 
sion 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, — 

"Jane, I congratulate you. You will be a 
very happy woman." 

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 



228 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



/! 



happily settled. I have not a doubt of your do- 
ing very well together. Your tempers are by no 
means unlike. You are each of you so comply- 
ing 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 
sha'n'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 to- 
gether. Oh, he is the handsomest young man that 
ever was seen! " 

Wickham, Lydia, were all forgotten. Jane was 
beyond competition her favorite child. At that 
moment she cared for no other. Her younger sis- 
ters soon began to make interest with her for ob- 
jects of happiness which she might in future be 
able to dispense. 

Mary petitioned for the use of the library at 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 229 

Netherfield ; 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 barbarous neighbor, who could 
not be enough detested, had given him an invita- 
tion to dinner which he thought himself obliged 
to accept. 

Elizabeth had now but little time for conversa- 
tion with her sister; for while he was "present Jane 
had no attention to bestow on any one else : but 
she found herself considerably useful to both of 
them, in those hours of separation that must some- 
times 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 igno- 
rant 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, 



230 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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, "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 indif- 

f ferent would have prevented his coming down 

again? " 

" 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 forty such men, I never 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



231 



could be so happy as you. Till I have your dispo- 
sition, your goodness, I never can have your hap- 
piness. 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 privi- 
leged to whisper it to Mrs. Philips ; and she ven- 
tured, without any permission, to do the same by 
all her neighbors 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 XXIII. 

One morning, about a week after Bingley's en- 
gagement 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 carriage ; 
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 neighbors : the horses were 
post; and neither the carriage, nor the livery of 
the servant who preceded it, was familiar to them. 
As it was certain, however, that somebody war 
coming, Bingley instantly prevailed on Miss Ben- 
net to avoid the confinement of such an intrusion, 
and walk away with him into the shrubbery. 
They both set off; an<T the conjectures of the re- 
maining three continued, though with little satis- 
faction, till the door was thrown open, and their 
visitor entered. It was Lady Catherine de Bourgh. 
They were of course all intending to be sur- 
prised: but their astonishment was beyond their 
expectation; and on the part of Mrs. Bennet and 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 233 

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 Eliza- 
beth's salutation than a slight inclination of the 
head, and sat down without saying a word. Eliza- 
beth had mentioned her name to her mother on her 
Ladyship's entrance, though no request of intro- 
duction 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, 
*nd my eldest is somewhere about the ground, 
walking with a young man who, I believe, will 
soon become a part of the family." 

"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." 



234 PKIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

" 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 Lady- 
ship 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 anything; 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 favor 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, 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 235 

Lady Catherine opened the doors into the dining- 
parlor and drawing-room, and pronouncing them, 
after a short survey, to be decent-looking rooms, 
walked on. 

Her carriage remained at the door, and Eliza- 
beth saw that her waiting-woman was in it. They 
proceeded in silence along the gravel walk that led 
to the copse ; Elizabeth was determined to make no 
effort for conversation with a woman who was now 
more than usually insolent and disagreeable. 

" 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 Cath- 
erine began in the following manner : — 

" You can be at no loss, Miss Bennet, to under- 
stand 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 honor of seeing 
you here." 

"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 char- 
acter 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 



236 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

most alarming nature reached me two days ago. I 
was told that not oi^y your sister was on the point 
of being most advantageously married, but that 
you, that Miss Elizabeth Bennet would in all 
likelihood be soon afterwards united to my 
nephew, my own nephew, Mr. Darcy. Though I 
know it must be a scandalous 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 sentiments 
known to you." 

"If you believed it impossible to be true," said 
Elizabeth, coloring 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." 

"Your coming to Longboum to see me and my 
family," said Elizabeth, coolly, "will be rather a 
confirmation 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 
foundation for it?" 

"I do not pretend to possess equal frankness 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 237 

with your Ladyship. You may ask questions which 
I shall not choose to answer." 

"This is not to be borne. Miss Bennet, I in- 
sist on being satisfied. Has he, has my nephew, 
made you an offer of marriage?" 

"Your Ladyship has declared it to be impos- 
sible." 

"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 con- 
fess 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 



j 



< 



"But you are not entitled to know mine; nor h 
will such behavior as this ever induce me to be \l V 
explicit." fy\ {/ 

"Let me be rightly understood. This match, to \a 

which you have the presumption to aspire, can \j* \ 

never take place; no, never. Mr. Darcy is en- 
gaged to my daughter. Now what have you to 
say?" 

"Only this, — that if he is so, you can have no 
reason to suppose he will make an offer to me." 



238 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Lady Catherine hesitated for a moment, and 
then replied, — 

"The engagement between them is of a peculiar 
kind. From their infancy, they have been in- 
tended for each other. It was the favorite wish of 
, his mother, as well as of hers. While in their 
j cradles we planned the union; and now, at the 
I moment when the wishes of both sisters would be 
! accomplished in 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 say that from 
his earliest hours he was destined for his cousin? " 

"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 mar- 
riage. Its completion depended on others. If 
Mr. Darcy is neither by honor nor inclination con- 
fined to his cousin, why is not he to make another 
choice? And if I am that choice, why may not I 
accept him? " 

"Because honor, decorum, prudence, nay in- 
terest, forbid it. Yes, Miss Bennet, interest for 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 239 

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 
every one connected with him. Your alliance will 
be a disgrace ; your name will never even be men- 
tioned by any of us." 

"These are heavy misfortunes/' replied Eliza- 
beth. "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! lam 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 deter- 
mined 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 si- 
lence. My daughter and my nephew are formed 
for each other. They are descended, on the ma- 
ternal side, from the same noble line ; and on the 
father's, from respectable, honorable, and ancient, 
though untitled families. Their fortune on both 



240 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

sides is splendid. They are destined for each 
other by the voice of every member of their re- 
spective houses; and what is to divide them? — 
the upstart pretensions of a young woman without 
family, connections, 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 con- 
sider 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." 

"Whatever my connections may be," said Eliz- 
abeth, "if your nephew does not object to thenr 
they can be nothing to you." 

" Tell me, once for all, are you engaged to him? " 

Though Elizabeth would not, for the mere pur- 
pose of obliging Lady Catherine, have answered 
this question, she could not but say, after a mo- 
ment's deliberation, — 

"I am not." 

Lady Catherine seemed pleased. 

"And will you promise me never to enter into 
such an engagement?" 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 241 

"I will make no promise of the kind." 

u Miss Bennet, I am shocked and astonished. 
I expected 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 unrea- 
sonable. 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 appli- 
cation 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." 

"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 sis- 
ter's infamous elopement. I know it all; that the 

VOL. II. — 16 



242 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 



V. 



young man's marrying her was a patched-up busi* 
ness, at the expense of your father and uncle. 
And is such 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 resentfully 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 honor 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." 

"You are then resolved to have him?" 

"I have said no such thing. I am only re- 
solved to act in that manner which will, in my 
own opinion, constitute my happiness, without 
reference to you, or to any person so wholly un- 
connected with me." 

"It is well. You refuse, then, to oblige me. 
You refuse to obey the claims of duty, honor, and 
gratitude. You are determined to ruin him in the 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 243 

opinion of all his friends, and make him the con- 
tempt of the world." 

" Neither duty nor honor nor gratitude," re- 
plied Elizabeth, "has any possible claim on me 
in the present instance. No principle of either 
would be violated by my marriage with Mr. Darcy. 
And with regard to the resentment 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 j 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, turn- 
ing hastily round, she added, — 

"I take no leave of you, Miss Bennet. I send 
no compliments to your mother. You deserve no 
such attention. I am most seriously displeased." 

Elizabeth made no answer; and without attempt- 
ing 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 






24:4: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 somewhere, I dare say; and so, 
passing through Meryton, thought she might as 
well call on you. I suppose she had nothing par- 
ticular to say to you, Lizzy?" 

Elizabeth was forced to give in to a little false- 
hood here; for to acknowledge the substance of 
their conversation was impossible. 



CHAPTEE XXIV. 

The discomposure of spirits which this extraordi 
nary 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 break- 
ing off her supposed engagement with Mr. Darcy. 
It was a rational scheme, to be sure j but from what 
the report of their engagement could originate, 
Elizabeth was at a loss to imagine, till she recol- 
lected that his being the intimate friend of Bing- 
ley, and her 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 herself forgotten to feel that 
the marriage of her sister must bring them more 
frequently together. And her neighbors at Lucas 
Lodge, therefore (for through their communica- 
tion with the Collinses the report, she concluded, 
had reached Lady Catherine), had only set that 
down as almost certain and immediate which she 
had looked forward to as possible at some future 
time. 



246 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

In revolving Lady Catherine's expressions, how« 
ever, 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 e*vils attached to a connection 
with her she dared not pronounce. She knew not 
the exact degree of his affection for his aunt, or 
his dependence on her judgment, but it was nat- 
ural to suppose that he thought much higher of 
her Ladyship than ohe could do; and it was cer- 
tain that in enumerating the miseries of a mar- 
riage 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 prohably 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 entreaty of so near a relation might 
settle every doubt, and determine 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. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 247 

"If, therefore, an excuse for not keeping his 
promise should come to his friend within a few 
days," she added, "I shall know how to under- 
stand it. I shall then give over every expectation, 
every wish of his constancy. If he is satisfied 
with only regretting me, when he might have ob- 
tained my affections and hand, I shall soon cease 
to regret him at all." 

The surprise of the rest of the family, on hear- 
ing 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 con- 
nected 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 



248 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

astonished me exceedingly. As it principally 
concerns yourself, 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 color 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 explained himself at all, or offended that 
his letter was not rather addressed to herself, 
when her father continued, — 

"You look conscious. Young ladies have great 
penetration 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 he have to 
say?" 

" Something very much to the purpose, of course. 
He begins with congratulations on the approach- 
ing 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 249 

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 patron- 
age. 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 pro- 
posals, 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. 

1 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 I have 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? 
Mr. 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!" 



250 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

Elizabeth tried to join in her father's pleas- 
antry, 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 in- 
telligence 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.' 

"Mr. Collins, moreover, adds, — 

' I am truly rejoiced that my cousin Lydia's sad busi- 
ness 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 declar- 
ing 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 in your sight, or 
allow their names to be mentioned in your hearing/ 

"That is his notion of Christian forgiveness! 
The rest of his letter is only about his dear Char- 






PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 251 

lotte'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 
missish, I hope, and pretend to be affronted at 
an idle report. For what do we live, but to make 
sport for our neighbors, 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. Collinses 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 re- 
peating 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 



252 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

mortified her by what he said of Mr. Darcy's in- 
difference ; and she could do nothing but wonder 
at such a want of penetration, or fear that per- 
haps, instead of his seeing too little, she might 
have fancied too much. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

Instead of receiving any such letter of excuse 
from his friend, as Elizabeth half expected Mr. 
Bingley to do, he was able to bring Darcy with 
him to Longbourn before many days had passed 
after Lady Catherine's visit. The gentlemen ar- 
rived 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 remaining 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; Eliza- 
beth 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 



254 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

alone. Now was 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 unex- 
ampled kindness to my poor sister. Ever since I 
have known it I have been most anxious to acknowl- 
edge 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 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 yourself alone. That the wish of giving hap- 
piness to you might add force to the other induce- 
ments which led me on, I shall not attempt to 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 255 

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 un- 
changed; but one word from you will silence me 
on this subject forever." 

Elizabeth, feeling all the more than common 
awkwardness and anxiety for 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, dif- 
fused over his face, became him: but though she 
could not look, she could listen; and he told her of 
feelings which, in proving of what importance she 
was to him, made his affection every moment more 
valuable. 



256 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

They walked on without knowing in what di- 
rection. There was too much to be thought and 
felt and said, for attention to any other objects. 
She soon learned 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 con- 
versation with Elizabeth; dwelling emphatically 
on every expression of the latter which in her 
Ladyship's apprehension peculiarly denoted her 
perverseness and assurance in the belief that such 
a relation must assist her endeavors 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 

\' r \ knew enough of your disposition to be certain 

/ ^f ! that had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided 

yf\ yj° against me, you would have acknowledged it to 

•sT | Lady Catherine frankly and openly." 

Elizabeth colored and laughed as she replied: 
"Yes, you know enough of my frankness to believe 
me capable of that. After abusing you so abomina- 
bly to your face, I could have no scruple in abus- 
ing you to all your relations." 

"What did you say of me that I did not 
deserve? For though your accusations were ill- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 257 

founded, formed on mistaken premises, my be- 
havior to you at the time had merited the severest 
reproof. It was unpardonable. I cannot think o 
it without abhorrence. " 

"We will not quarrel for the greater share of 
blame annexed to that evening, " said Elizabeth. 
"The conduct 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 myself. 
The recollection of what I then said, of my con- 
duct, 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 be- 
haved 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 small- 
est 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." 

VOL. II. — 17 



258 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"Oh, do not repeat what I then said. These 
recollections 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 reading 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 removed. 

"I knew," said he, "that what I wrote must 
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 reading again. I can 
remember some expressions which might justly 
make you hate me." 

" The letter shall certainly be burned, if you be- 
lieve it essential to the preservation of my regard; 
but though we have both reason to think my opin- 
ions 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 more of the letter. The feelings of 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 259 

the person who wrote and the person who received J 
it are now so widely different from what they were i 
then, that every unpleasant circumstance attending 
it ought to be forgotten. You must learn some of 
my philosophy. Think only of the past as its re- 
membrance gives you pleasure." 

"I cannot give you credit for any philosophy of 
the kind. Your retrospections must be so totally 
void of reproach, that the contentment arising 
from them is not of philosophy, but, what is much 
better, of ignorance. But with me 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 themselves (my 
father, particularly, aH that was benevolent and 
amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me 
to be selfish and overbearing, to care for none be- 
yond my 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, dear- 
est, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! 



260 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but 
most advantageous. By you I was properly hum- 
bled. I came to you without a doubt of my re- 
ception. 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." 

' i My manners must have been in fault, but not 
intentionally, I assure you. I never meant to de- 
ceive 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. M 

" 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 261 

so mean as to resent the past; and I hoped to ob- 
tain your forgiveness, to lessen your ill-opinion, by 
letting you see that your reproofs had been at- 
tended to. How soon any other wishes introduced 
themselves, I can hardly tell, but I believe in 
about half an hour after I had seen you." 

He then told her of Georgiana's delight in her 
acquaintance, and of her disappointment at its sud- 
den interruption; which naturally leading to the 
cause of that interruption, she soon learned 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 thought- 
fulness there had arisen from no other struggles 
than what such a purpose must comprehend. 

She expressed her gratitude again, but it was 
too painful a subject to each to be dwelt on 
further. 

After walking several miles in a leisurely man- 
ner, 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 discus- 
sion 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. 



262 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

"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 be- 
lieve I ought to have made long ago. I told him 
of all that had occurred to make my former inter- 
ference in his affairs absurd and impertinent. His 
surprise was great. He had never had the slight- 
est suspicion. I told him, moreover, that I be- 
lieved 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? " 

"From the former. I had narrowly observed 
her, during the two visits which T had lately made 
her here; and I was convinced of ner affection." 

"And your assurance of it, I suppose, carried 
immediate conviction to him." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 263 

" It did. Bingley is most unaffectedly modest. 
His diffidence had prevented his depending on his 
own judgment in so anxious a case, but his re- 
liance 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 my- 
self 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 remembered 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. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

" My dear Lizzy, where can you have been walk- 
ing 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 they had wan- 
dered about till she was beyond her own knowl- 
edge. She colored as she spoke; but neither that 
nor anything else awakened a suspicion of the 
truth. 

The evening passed quietly, unmarked by any- 
thing 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, agi- 
tated and confused, rather knew that she was happy 
than felt herself to be so ; for, besides the immedi- 
ate 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. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 265 

At night she opened her heart to Jane. Though 
suspicion was very far from Miss Bennet's general 
habits, she was absolutely incredulous here. 

"You are joking, Lizzy. This cannot be! En- 
gaged 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." 

Miss Bennet still looked all amazement. Eliza- 
beth again, and more seriously, assured her of its 
truth. 

" Good Heaven! can it be really so? Yet now I 
must believe you,' J 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 



266 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 consid- 
ered it, we talked of it as impossible. And do you 
really love him quite well enough? Oh, Lizzy, 
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 attach- 
ment. When convinced on that article, Miss 
Bennet had nothing further to wish. 

"Now lam quite happy," said she, "for you 
tfill be as happy as myself. I always had a value 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 267 

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 acknowledged, and 
half the night spent in conversation. 

" Good gracious! M cried Mrs. Bennet, as she 
stood at a window the next morning, " if that dis- 
agreeable 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-shooting, 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 con- 
venient a proposal, yet was really vexed that her 
mother should be always giving him such an 
epithet. 



268 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

As soon as they entered, Bingley looked at her 
so expressively, 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 hereabouts in which Lizzy may 
lose her way again to-day? " 

"I advise Mr. Darcy and Lizzy and Kitty,' ' 
said Mrs. 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 your- 
self; but I hope you will not mind it. It is all 
for Jane's sake, you know; and there is no occa- 
sion 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 de- 
termine how her mother would take it: some- 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 269 „ v/v 

times doubting whether all his wealth and gran- 
deur 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 with- 
drew 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 op- 
position, but he was going to be made unhappy; 
and that it should be through her means — that 
she, his favorite child, should be distressing him 
by her choice, should be filling him with fears 
and regrets in 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 was gone 
directly. 

Her father was walking about the room, look- 
ing grave and anxious. "Lizzy," said he, " what 
are you doing? Are you out of your senses to 



270 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

be accepting this man? Have not you always 
hated him?" 

How earnestly did she then wish that her for- 
mer opinions had been more reasonable, her ex- 
pressions 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 Eliza- 
beth, "than your belief of my indifference?" 

"None at all. We all know him to be a proud, 
unpleasant sort of man; but this would be noth- 
ing 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 im- 
proper 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 should never dare refuse anything which 
he condescended 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 271 

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 would 
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 explaining the gradual change 
which her estimation of him had undergone, re- 
lating her absolute certainty that his affection 
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 any one less 
worthy. " 

To complete the favorable 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 



272 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

so Darcy did everything ; made up the match, gave 
the money, paid the fellow's debts, and got him 
his commission! 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 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 fe^\ 
days before on his reading Mr. Collins's letter; 
and after laughing at her some time, allowed hex 
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 re- 
flection in her own room, she was able to join the 
others with tolerable composure. Everything was 
too recent for gayety, but the evening passed tran- 
quilly away; there was no longer anything mate- 
rial 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 
communication. 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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 273 

many, many minutes that she could comprehend 
what she heard, though not in general backward 
to credit what was 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. 

1 ( 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. [ am so pleased, so happy. Such a charm- 
ing man! so handsome, so tall! Oh, my dear 
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 min- 
utes 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 

VOL. II. — 18 



J 



274 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

special license — you must and shall be married by 
a special license. But, my dearest love, tell me 
what dish Mr. Darcy is particularly fond of, that I 
may have it to-morrow." 

This was a sad omen of what her mother's be- 
havior to the gentleman himself might be; and 
Elizabeth found that though in the certain pos- 
session 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 ris- 
A<*> ing every hour in his esteem. 

"I admire ril my three sons-in-law highly," 

! said he. "Wickham, perhaps, is my favorite; 

but J think I shall like your husband quite as 



.* 



. c ;' \ft> ■ well as Jane's." 
£4, 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

Elizabeth's spirits soon rising to playfulness 
again, she wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his 
having ever fallen in love with her. M How could 
you hegin? " 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? " 

"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 was in the middle before I 
knew that I had begun." 

"My beauty you had early withstood; and as 
for my manners, — my behavior to you was at least 
always bordering on the uncivil, and I never spoke 
to you without rather wishing to give you pain 
than not. Now be sincere; did you admire me 
for my impertinence? " 

u 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 



276 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

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 that 
when they fall in love." 

" Was there no good in your affectionate beha- 
vior 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? What made you so shy of me, when you 
first called, and afterwards dined here? Why, es- 
pecially, 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." 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 277 

"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 reason- 
able answer to give, and that I should be so rea- 
sonable 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 thank- 
ing you for your kindness to Lydia had certainly 
great effect. Too much I am afraid; for what be- 
comes 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 unjustifi- 
able endeavors to separate us were the means of 
removing all my doubts. I am not indebted for 
my present happiness to your eager desire of ex- 
pressing your gratitude. I was not in a humor to 
wait for an opening of yours. My aunt's intelli- 
gence 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 tc 
Netherfield for? Was it merely to ride to Long- 



278 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

bourn and be embarrassed, or had you intended 
any more serious consequences ?" 

"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, 
Elizabeth. 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 happiness, and im* 
mediately wrote as follows : — 

I would have thanked you before, my dear aunt, as I 
ought to have done, for your long, kind, satisfactory de- 



PRD3E AND PREJUDICE. 279 

tail 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 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 j 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 con 
gratulations. Elizabeth will soon be the wife of Mr. 
Darcy. Console Lady Catherine as well 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 



280 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

repeat all her former professions of regard. Jane 
was 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 receiv- 
ing similar information was as sincere as her 
brother's in sending it. Four sides of paper were 
insufficient to contain 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 rea- 
son of this sudden 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 anx- 
ious 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 ad- 
mirable calmness. He could even listen to Sir 
William Lucas, when he complimented him on 
carrying away the brightest jewel of the coun- 
try, and expressed his hopes of their all meeting 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 281 

frequently at St. James's, with very d&cent com- 
posure. If he did shrug his shoulders, it was not 
till Sir William was out of sight. 

Mrs. Philips's vulgarity was another, and per- 
haps a greater tax on his forbearance j 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-humor encouraged, yet 
whenever she did speak, she must be vulgar. Uor 
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 mortifica- 
tion ; and though the uncomfortable feelings aris- 
ing 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. 



O 






CHAPTER XXV11L 

Happy 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 unusual a form, 
that she still was occasionally nervous and inva- 
riably silly. 

Mr. Bennet missed his second daughter exceed- 
ingly; his affection for her drew him oftener from 
home than anything else could do. He delighted 
in going to Pemberley, especially when he was least 
expected. 

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 his easy temper or her affectionate heart. 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 283 

The darling wish of his sisters was then gratified : 
he hought an estate in a neighboring 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 improvement 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. Erom the further 
disadvantage of Lydia's society she was of course 
carefully kept; and though Mrs. Wickham fre- 
quently invited her to come and stay with her, 
with the promise of balls and young men, her 
father would never consent to her going. 

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 mor- 
alize over every morning visit; and as she was no 
longer mortified by comparisons between her sis- 
ters' 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 



284 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

suffered no revolution from the marriage of her 
sisters. He hore with philosophy the conviction 
that Elizabeth must now become acquainted with 
whatever of his ingratitude and falsehood had he- 
fore been unknown to her; and in spite of every- 
thing, 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 endeavored in her answer to put an end to 
every entreaty and expectation of the kind. Such 
relief, however, as it was in her power to afford by 
the practice of what might be called economy in 
her own private expenses, she frequently sent 
them. It had always been evident to her that 
such an income as theirs, under the direction of 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 285 

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 was sure of being 
applied to for some little assistance towards dis- 
charging their bills. Their manner of living, 
even when the restoration of peace dismissed them 
to a home, was unsettled in the extreme. They 
were always moving from place to place in quest of 
a cheap situation, and always spending more than 
they ought. His affection for her soon sunk into in- 
difference: 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 him at Pem- 
berley, 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-humor was over- 
come, 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 resentment ; was fonder than ever of 
Georgiana, almost as attentive to Darcy as here- 



286 PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 

tofore, and paid off every arrear of civility to 
Elizabeth. 

Pemberley was now Georgiana's home; and the 
attachment 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 astonish- 
ment 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. 

Lady Catherine was extremely indignant on the 
marriage 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 arrange- 
ment, she sent him language so very abusive, 
especially of Elizabeth, that for some time all in- 
tercourse was at an end. But at length, by Eliza- 
beth'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 



PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. 287 

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 sensi- 
ble of the warmest gratitude towards the persons 
who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been 
the means of uniting them. 



THE END. 






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