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Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Release Date: August 26, 2008 [EBook #1342]
Last Updated: March 10, 2018
Language: English
Character set encoding: UTF-8
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PRIDE AND PREJUDICE ***
Produced by Anonymous Volunteers, and David Widger
</pre>
<p>
<br /><br />
</p>
<h1>
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
</h1>
<p>
<br />
</p>
<h2>
By Jane Austen
</h2>
<p>
<br /> <br />
</p>
<hr />
<p>
<br /> <br />
</p>
<blockquote>
<p class="toc">
<big><b>CONTENTS</b></big>
</p>
<p>
<br />
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0001"> Chapter 1 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0002"> Chapter 2 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0003"> Chapter 3 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0004"> Chapter 4 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0005"> Chapter 5 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0006"> Chapter 6 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0007"> Chapter 7 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0008"> Chapter 8 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0009"> Chapter 9 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0010"> Chapter 10 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0011"> Chapter 11 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0012"> Chapter 12 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0013"> Chapter 13 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0014"> Chapter 14 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0015"> Chapter 15 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0016"> Chapter 16 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0017"> Chapter 17 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0018"> Chapter 18 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0019"> Chapter 19 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0020"> Chapter 20 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0021"> Chapter 21 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0022"> Chapter 22 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0023"> Chapter 23 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0024"> Chapter 24 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0025"> Chapter 25 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0026"> Chapter 26 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0027"> Chapter 27 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0028"> Chapter 28 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0029"> Chapter 29 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0030"> Chapter 30 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0031"> Chapter 31 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0032"> Chapter 32 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0033"> Chapter 33 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0034"> Chapter 34 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0035"> Chapter 35 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0036"> Chapter 36 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0037"> Chapter 37 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0038"> Chapter 38 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0039"> Chapter 39 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0040"> Chapter 40 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0041"> Chapter 41 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0042"> Chapter 42 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0043"> Chapter 43 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0044"> Chapter 44 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0045"> Chapter 45 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0046"> Chapter 46 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0047"> Chapter 47 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0048"> Chapter 48 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0049"> Chapter 49 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0050"> Chapter 50 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0051"> Chapter 51 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0052"> Chapter 52 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0053"> Chapter 53 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0054"> Chapter 54 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0055"> Chapter 55 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0056"> Chapter 56 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0057"> Chapter 57 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0058"> Chapter 58 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0059"> Chapter 59 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0060"> Chapter 60 </a>
</p>
<p class="toc">
<a href="#link2HCH0061"> Chapter 61 </a>
</p>
<p>
<br /><br />
</p>
</blockquote>
<p>
<br /> <br />
</p>
<hr />
<p>
<br /> <br /> <a name="link2HCH0001" id="link2HCH0001">
<!-- H2 anchor --> </a>
</p>
<h2>
Chapter 1
</h2>
<p>
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of
a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
</p>
<p>
However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his
first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds
of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property
of some one or other of their daughters.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;My dear Mr. Bennet,&rdquo; said his lady to him one day, &ldquo;have you heard that
Netherfield Park is let at last?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But it is,&rdquo; returned she; &ldquo;for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told
me all about it.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mr. Bennet made no answer.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Do you not want to know who has taken it?&rdquo; cried his wife impatiently.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;<i>You</i> want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
This was invitation enough.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;What is his name?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Bingley.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Is he married or single?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;How so? How can it affect them?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;My dear Mr. Bennet,&rdquo; replied his wife, &ldquo;how can you be so tiresome! You
must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Is that his design in settling here?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he <i>may</i>
fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as
he comes.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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 may like you the best of the party.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;My dear, you flatter me. I certainly <i>have</i> 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into
the neighbourhood.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It is more than I engage for, I assure you.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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 newcomers. Indeed
you must go, for it will be impossible for <i>us</i> to visit him if you
do not.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than the
others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so
good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving <i>her</i> the
preference.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;They have none of them much to recommend them,&rdquo; replied he; &ldquo;they are all
silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of
quickness than her sisters.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Mr. Bennet, how <i>can</i> you abuse your own children in such a way? You
take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion for my poor nerves.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are
my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these
last twenty years at least.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Ah, you do not know what I suffer.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four
thousand a year come into the neighbourhood.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come, since you will not
visit them.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit them
all.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic humour, reserve,
and caprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been
insufficient to make his wife understand his character. <i>Her</i> mind
was less difficult to develop. She was a woman of mean understanding,
little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented, she
fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters
married; its solace was visiting and news.
</p>
<p>
<a name="link2HCH0002" id="link2HCH0002">
<!-- H2 anchor --> </a>
</p>
<div style="height: 4em;">
<br /><br /><br /><br />
</div>
<h2>
Chapter 2
</h2>
<p>
Mr. 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 evening 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:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;We are not in a way to know <i>what</i> Mr. Bingley likes,&rdquo; said her
mother resentfully, &ldquo;since we are not to visit.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But you forget, mamma,&rdquo; said Elizabeth, &ldquo;that we shall meet him at the
assemblies, and that Mrs. Long promised to introduce him.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;No more have I,&rdquo; said Mr. Bennet; &ldquo;and I am glad to find that you do not
depend on her serving you.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mrs. Bennet deigned not to make any reply, but, unable to contain herself,
began scolding one of her daughters.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Don't keep coughing so, Kitty, for Heaven's sake! Have a little
compassion on my nerves. You tear them to pieces.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Kitty has no discretion in her coughs,&rdquo; said her father; &ldquo;she times them
ill.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I do not cough for my own amusement,&rdquo; replied Kitty fretfully. &ldquo;When is
your next ball to be, Lizzy?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;To-morrow fortnight.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Aye, so it is,&rdquo; cried her mother, &ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Then, my dear, you may have the advantage of your friend, and introduce
Mr. Bingley to <i>her</i>.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Impossible, Mr. Bennet, impossible, when I am not acquainted with him
myself; how can you be so teasing?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I honour your circumspection. A fortnight's acquaintance is certainly
very little. One cannot know what a man really is by the end of a
fortnight. But if <i>we</i> 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
The girls stared at their father. Mrs. Bennet said only, &ldquo;Nonsense,
nonsense!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclamation?&rdquo; cried he. &ldquo;Do you
consider the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on them,
as nonsense? I cannot quite agree with you <i>there</i>. What say you,
Mary? For you are a young lady of deep reflection, I know, and read great
books and make extracts.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mary wished to say something sensible, but knew not how.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;While Mary is adjusting her ideas,&rdquo; he continued, &ldquo;let us return to Mr.
Bingley.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am sick of Mr. Bingley,&rdquo; cried his wife.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am sorry to hear <i>that</i>; but why did not you tell me that 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
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.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;How good it was in you, my dear Mr. Bennet! But I knew I should persuade
you at last. I was sure you loved your girls too well to neglect such an
acquaintance. Well, how pleased I am! and it is such a good joke, too,
that you should have gone this morning and never said a word about it till
now.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you choose,&rdquo; said Mr. Bennet; and,
as he spoke, he left the room, fatigued with the raptures of his wife.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;What an excellent father you have, girls!&rdquo; said she, when the door was
shut. &ldquo;I do not know how you will ever make him amends for his kindness;
or me, either, for that matter. At our time of life it is not so pleasant,
I can tell you, to be making new acquaintances every day; but for your
sakes, we would do anything. Lydia, my love, though you <i>are</i> the
youngest, I dare say Mr. Bingley will dance with you at the next ball.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh!&rdquo; said Lydia stoutly, &ldquo;I am not afraid; for though I <i>am</i> the
youngest, I'm the tallest.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
The rest of the evening was spent in conjecturing how soon he would return
Mr. Bennet's visit, and determining when they should ask him to dinner.
</p>
<p>
<a name="link2HCH0003" id="link2HCH0003">
<!-- H2 anchor --> </a>
</p>
<div style="height: 4em;">
<br /><br /><br /><br />
</div>
<h2>
Chapter 3
</h2>
<p>
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 attacked him in
various ways&mdash;with barefaced questions, ingenious suppositions, and
distant surmises; but he eluded the skill of them all, and they were at
last obliged to accept the second-hand intelligence of their neighbour,
Lady Lucas. Her report was highly favourable. Sir William had been
delighted with him. He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely
agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at the next assembly
with a large party. Nothing could be more delightful! To be fond of
dancing was a certain step towards falling in love; and very lively hopes
of Mr. Bingley's heart were entertained.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield,&rdquo;
said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, &ldquo;and all the others equally well married,
I shall have nothing to wish for.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr. Bennet's visit, and sat about ten
minutes with him in his library. He had entertained hopes of being
admitted to a sight of the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard
much; but he saw only the father. The ladies were somewhat more fortunate,
for they had the advantage of ascertaining from an upper window that he
wore a blue coat, and rode a black horse.
</p>
<p>
An invitation to dinner was soon afterwards dispatched; and already had
Mrs. Bennet planned the courses that were to do credit to her
housekeeping, when an answer arrived which deferred it all. Mr. Bingley
was obliged to be in town the following day, and, consequently, unable to
accept the honour of their invitation, etc. Mrs. Bennet was quite
disconcerted. She could not imagine what business he could have in town so
soon after his arrival in Hertfordshire; and she began to fear that he
might be always flying about from one place to another, and never settled
at Netherfield as he ought to be. Lady Lucas quieted her fears a little by
starting the idea of his 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 he brought only six with him
from London&mdash;his five sisters and a cousin. And when the party
entered the assembly room it consisted of only five altogether&mdash;Mr.
Bingley, his two sisters, the husband of the eldest, and another young
man.
</p>
<p>
Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike; he had a pleasant
countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. His sisters were fine women,
with an air of decided fashion. His brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely
looked the gentleman; but his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of
the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the
report which was in general circulation within five minutes after his
entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The gentlemen pronounced him
to be a fine figure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer
than Mr. Bingley, and he was looked at with great admiration for about
half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of
his popularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his
company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate in
Derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeable
countenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.
</p>
<p>
Mr. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with all the principal people
in the room; he was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was angry
that the ball closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at
Netherfield. Such amiable qualities must speak for themselves. What a
contrast between him and his friend! Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mrs.
Hurst and once with Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to 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 behaviour was
sharpened into particular resentment by his having slighted one of her
daughters.
</p>
<p>
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 hear a conversation between him and Mr.
Bingley, who came from the dance for a few minutes, to press his friend to
join it.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Come, Darcy,&rdquo; said he, &ldquo;I must have you dance. I hate to see you standing
about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had much better dance.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I certainly shall not. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly
acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly as this it would be
insupportable. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in
the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I would not be so fastidious as you are,&rdquo; cried Mr. Bingley, &ldquo;for a
kingdom! Upon my honour, 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;<i>You</i> are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,&rdquo; said Mr.
Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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 partner to introduce you.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Which do you mean?&rdquo; and turning round he looked for a moment at
Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said:
&ldquo;She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt <i>me</i>; I am in no
humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by
other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for
you are wasting your time with me.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and Elizabeth
remained with no very cordial feelings toward him. She told the story,
however, with great spirit among her friends; for she had a lively,
playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous.
</p>
<p>
The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to the whole family. Mrs.
Bennet had seen her eldest daughter much admired by the Netherfield party.
Mr. Bingley had danced with her twice, and she had been distinguished by
his sisters. Jane was as much gratified by this as her mother could be,
though in a quieter way. Elizabeth felt Jane's pleasure. Mary had heard
herself mentioned to Miss Bingley as the most accomplished girl in the
neighbourhood; and Catherine and Lydia had been fortunate enough never to
be without partners, which was all that they had yet learnt to care for at
a ball. They returned, therefore, in good spirits to Longbourn, the
village where they lived, and of which they were the principal
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 his wife's views on the stranger would be
disappointed; but he soon found out that he had a different story to hear.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! my dear Mr. Bennet,&rdquo; as she entered the room, &ldquo;we have had a most
delightful evening, a most excellent ball. I wish you had been there. Jane
was so admired, nothing could be like it. Everybody said how well she
looked; and Mr. Bingley thought her quite beautiful, and danced with her
twice! Only think of <i>that</i>, 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, however, he did not admire her at all; indeed, nobody
can, you know; and he seemed quite struck with Jane as she was going down
the dance. So he inquired who she was, and got introduced, and asked her
for the two next. Then the two third he danced with Miss King, and the two
fourth with Maria Lucas, and the two fifth with Jane again, and the two
sixth with Lizzy, and the <i>Boulanger</i>&mdash;&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;If he had had any compassion for <i>me</i>,&rdquo; cried her husband
impatiently, &ldquo;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!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! my dear, 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&mdash;&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Here she was interrupted again. Mr. Bennet protested against any
description of finery. She was therefore obliged to seek another branch of
the subject, and related, with much bitterness of spirit and some
exaggeration, the shocking rudeness of Mr. Darcy.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But I can assure you,&rdquo; she added, &ldquo;that Lizzy does not lose much by not
suiting <i>his</i> fancy; for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, not
at all worth pleasing. So high and so conceited that there was no enduring
him! He walked here, and he walked there, fancying himself so very great!
Not handsome enough to dance with! I wish you had been there, my dear, to
have given him one of your set-downs. I quite detest the man.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
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<h2>
Chapter 4
</h2>
<p>
When Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the former, who had been cautious in
her praise of Mr. Bingley before, expressed to her sister just how very
much she admired him.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;He is just what a young man ought to be,&rdquo; said she, &ldquo;sensible,
good-humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners!&mdash;so much
ease, with such perfect good breeding!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;He is also handsome,&rdquo; replied Elizabeth, &ldquo;which a young man ought
likewise to be, if he possibly can. His character is thereby complete.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance a second time. I did
not expect such a compliment.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Did not you? I did for you. But that is one great difference between us.
Compliments always take <i>you</i> by surprise, and <i>me</i> 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 to like him. You have liked many a stupider person.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Dear Lizzy!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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 your life.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I would not wish to be hasty in censuring anyone; but I always speak what
I think.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I know you do; and it is <i>that</i> which makes the wonder. With <i>your</i>
good sense, to be so honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others!
Affectation of candour is common enough&mdash;one meets with it
everywhere. But to be candid without ostentation or design&mdash;to take
the good of everybody's character and make it still better, and say
nothing of the bad&mdash;belongs to you alone. And so you like this man's
sisters, too, do you? Their manners are not equal to his.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Certainly not&mdash;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
neighbour in her.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced; their behaviour at
the assembly had not been calculated to please in general; and with more
quickness of observation and less pliancy of temper than her sister, and
with a judgement too unassailed by any attention to herself, she was very
little disposed to approve them. They were in fact very fine ladies; not
deficient in good humour when they were pleased, nor in the power of
making themselves agreeable when they chose it, but proud and conceited.
They were rather handsome, had been educated in one of the first private
seminaries in town, had a fortune of twenty thousand pounds, were in the
habit of spending more than they ought, and of associating with people of
rank, and were therefore in every respect entitled to think well of
themselves, and meanly of others. They were of a respectable family in the
north of England; a circumstance more deeply impressed on their memories
than that their brother's fortune and their own had been acquired by
trade.
</p>
<p>
Mr. Bingley inherited property to the amount of nearly a hundred thousand
pounds from his father, who had intended to purchase an estate, but did
not live to do it. Mr. Bingley intended it likewise, and sometimes made
choice of his county; but as he was now provided with a good house and the
liberty of a manor, it was doubtful to many of those who best knew the
easiness of his temper, whether he might not spend the remainder of his
days at Netherfield, and leave the next generation to purchase.
</p>
<p>
His sisters were anxious for his having an estate of his own; but, though
he was now only established as a tenant, Miss Bingley was by no means
unwilling to preside at his table&mdash;nor was Mrs. Hurst, who had
married a man of more fashion than fortune, less disposed to consider 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&mdash;was
pleased with the situation and the principal rooms, satisfied with what
the owner said in its praise, and took it immediately.
</p>
<p>
Between him and Darcy there was a very steady friendship, in spite of
great opposition of character. Bingley was endeared to Darcy by the
easiness, openness, and ductility of his temper, though no disposition
could offer a greater contrast to his own, and though with his own he
never appeared dissatisfied. On the strength of Darcy's regard, Bingley
had the firmest reliance, and of his judgement the highest opinion. In
understanding, Darcy was the superior. Bingley was by no means deficient,
but Darcy was clever. He was at the same time haughty, reserved, and
fastidious, and his manners, though well-bred, were not inviting. In that
respect his friend had greatly the advantage. Bingley was sure of being
liked wherever he appeared, Darcy was continually giving offense.
</p>
<p>
The manner in which they spoke of the Meryton assembly was sufficiently
characteristic. Bingley had never met with more pleasant people or
prettier girls in his life; everybody had been most kind and attentive to
him; there had been no formality, no stiffness; he had soon felt
acquainted with all the room; and, as to Miss Bennet, he could not
conceive an angel more beautiful. Darcy, on the contrary, had seen a
collection of people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for
none of whom he had felt the smallest interest, and from none received
either attention or pleasure. Miss Bennet he acknowledged to be pretty,
but she smiled too much.
</p>
<p>
Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be so&mdash;but still they admired
her and liked her, and pronounced her to be a sweet girl, and one whom
they would not object to know more of. Miss Bennet was therefore
established as a sweet girl, and their brother felt authorized by such
commendation to think of her as he chose.
</p>
<p>
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</div>
<h2>
Chapter 5
</h2>
<p>
Within a short walk of Longbourn lived a family with whom the Bennets were
particularly intimate. Sir William Lucas had been formerly in trade in
Meryton, where he had made a tolerable fortune, and risen to the honour of
knighthood by an address to the king during his mayoralty. The distinction
had perhaps been felt too strongly. It had given him a disgust to his
business, and to his residence in a small market town; and, in quitting
them both, he had removed with his family to a house about a mile from
Meryton, denominated from that period Lucas Lodge, where he could think
with pleasure of his own importance, and, unshackled by business, occupy
himself solely in being civil to all the world. For, though elated by his
rank, it did not render him supercilious; on the contrary, he was all
attention to everybody. By nature inoffensive, friendly, and obliging, his
presentation at St. James's had made him courteous.
</p>
<p>
Lady Lucas was a very good kind of woman, not too clever to be a valuable
neighbour to Mrs. Bennet. They had several children. The eldest of them, a
sensible, intelligent young woman, about twenty-seven, was Elizabeth's
intimate friend.
</p>
<p>
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.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;<i>You</i> began the evening well, Charlotte,&rdquo; said Mrs. Bennet with
civil self-command to Miss Lucas. &ldquo;<i>You</i> were Mr. Bingley's first
choice.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes; but he seemed to like his second better.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! you mean Jane, I suppose, because he danced with her twice. To be
sure that <i>did</i> seem as if he admired her&mdash;indeed I rather
believe he <i>did</i>&mdash;I heard something about it&mdash;but I hardly
know what&mdash;something about Mr. Robinson.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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 <i>which</i> he thought the prettiest? and his
answering immediately to the last question: 'Oh! the eldest Miss Bennet,
beyond a doubt; there cannot be two opinions on that point.'&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Upon my word! Well, that is very decided indeed&mdash;that does seem as
if&mdash;but, however, it may all come to nothing, you know.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;<i>My</i> overhearings were more to the purpose than <i>yours</i>,
Eliza,&rdquo; said Charlotte. &ldquo;Mr. Darcy is not so well worth listening to as
his friend, is he?&mdash;poor Eliza!&mdash;to be only just <i>tolerable</i>.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I beg you would not put it into Lizzy's head to be vexed by his
ill-treatment, for he is such a disagreeable man, that it would be quite a
misfortune to be liked by him. Mrs. Long told me last night that he sat
close to her for half-an-hour without once opening his lips.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Are you quite sure, ma'am?&mdash;is not there a little mistake?&rdquo; said
Jane. &ldquo;I certainly saw Mr. Darcy speaking to her.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Aye&mdash;because she asked him at last how he liked Netherfield, and he
could not help answering her; but she said he seemed quite angry at being
spoke to.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Miss Bingley told me,&rdquo; said Jane, &ldquo;that he never speaks much, unless
among his intimate acquaintances. With <i>them</i> he is remarkably
agreeable.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I do not believe a word of it, my dear. If he had been so very agreeable,
he would have talked to Mrs. Long. But I can guess how it was; everybody
says that he is eat up with pride, and I dare say he had heard somehow
that Mrs. Long does not keep a carriage, and had come to the ball in a
hack chaise.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I do not mind his not talking to Mrs. Long,&rdquo; said Miss Lucas, &ldquo;but I wish
he had danced with Eliza.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Another time, Lizzy,&rdquo; said her mother, &ldquo;I would not dance with <i>him</i>,
if I were you.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I believe, ma'am, I may safely promise you <i>never</i> to dance with
him.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;His pride,&rdquo; said Miss Lucas, &ldquo;does not offend <i>me</i> so much as pride
often does, because there is an excuse for it. One cannot wonder that so
very fine a young man, with family, fortune, everything in his favour,
should think highly of himself. If I may so express it, he has a <i>right</i>
to be proud.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;That is very true,&rdquo; replied Elizabeth, &ldquo;and I could easily forgive <i>his</i>
pride, if he had not mortified <i>mine</i>.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Pride,&rdquo; observed Mary, who piqued herself upon the solidity of her
reflections, &ldquo;is a very common failing, I believe. By all that I have ever
read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed; that human nature is
particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not
cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or
other, real or imaginary. Vanity and pride are different things, though
the words are often 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;If I were as rich as Mr. Darcy,&rdquo; cried a young Lucas, who came with his
sisters, &ldquo;I should not care how proud I was. I would keep a pack of
foxhounds, and drink a bottle of wine a day.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Then you would drink a great deal more than you ought,&rdquo; said Mrs. Bennet;
&ldquo;and if I were to see you at it, I should take away your bottle directly.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
The boy protested that she should not; she continued to declare that she
would, and the argument ended only with the visit.
</p>
<p>
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</div>
<h2>
Chapter 6
</h2>
<p>
The ladies of Longbourn soon waited on those of Netherfield. The visit was
soon returned in due form. Miss Bennet's pleasing manners grew on the
goodwill 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 <i>them</i> was expressed towards the two
eldest. By Jane, this attention was received with the greatest pleasure,
but Elizabeth still saw superciliousness in their treatment of everybody,
hardly excepting even her sister, and could not like them; though their
kindness to Jane, such as it was, had a value as arising in all
probability from the influence of their brother's admiration. It was
generally evident whenever they met, that he <i>did</i> admire her and to
<i>her</i> 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 and a uniform
cheerfulness of manner which would guard her from the suspicions of the
impertinent. She mentioned this to her friend Miss Lucas.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It may perhaps be pleasant,&rdquo; replied Charlotte, &ldquo;to be able to impose on
the public in such a case; but it is sometimes a disadvantage to be so
very guarded. If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from
the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will
then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark.
There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that
it is not safe to leave any to itself. We can all <i>begin</i> freely&mdash;a
slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have
heart enough to be really in love without encouragement. In nine cases out
of ten a women had better show <i>more</i> 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane's disposition as you do.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it,
he must find it out.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Perhaps he must, if he sees enough of her. But, though Bingley and Jane
meet tolerably often, it is never for many hours together; and, as they
always see each other in large mixed parties, it is impossible that every
moment should be employed in conversing together. Jane should therefore
make the most of every half-hour in which she can command his attention.
When she is secure of him, there will be more leisure for falling in love
as much as she chooses.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Your plan is a good one,&rdquo; replied Elizabeth, &ldquo;where nothing is in
question but the desire of being well married, and if I were determined to
get a rich husband, or any husband, I dare say I should adopt it. But
these are not Jane's feelings; she is not acting by design. As yet, she
cannot even be certain of the degree of her own regard nor of its
reasonableness. She has known him only a fortnight. She danced four dances
with him at Meryton; she saw him one morning at his own house, and has
since dined with him in company four times. This is not quite enough to
make her understand his character.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Not as you represent it. Had she merely <i>dined</i> with him, she might
only have discovered whether he had a good appetite; but you must remember
that four evenings have also been spent together&mdash;and four evenings
may do a great deal.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Well,&rdquo; said Charlotte, &ldquo;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 afterwards to have their share of
vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of
the person with whom you are to pass your life.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
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 criticise. But no
sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had
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 acknowledge 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.
</p>
<p>
He began to wish to know more of her, and as a step towards conversing
with her himself, attended to her conversation with others. His doing so
drew her notice. It was at Sir William Lucas's, where a large party were
assembled.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;What does Mr. Darcy mean,&rdquo; said she to Charlotte, &ldquo;by listening to my
conversation with Colonel Forster?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;That is a question which Mr. Darcy only can answer.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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 being
impertinent myself, I shall soon grow afraid of him.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
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:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Did you not think, Mr. Darcy, that I expressed myself uncommonly well
just now, when I was teasing Colonel Forster to give us a ball at
Meryton?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;With great energy; but it is always a subject which makes a lady
energetic.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You are severe on us.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It will be <i>her</i> turn soon to be teased,&rdquo; said Miss Lucas. &ldquo;I am
going to open the instrument, Eliza, and you know what follows.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You are a very strange creature by way of a friend!&mdash;always wanting
me to play and sing before anybody and everybody! If my vanity had taken a
musical turn, you would have been invaluable; but as it is, I would really
rather not sit down before those who must be in the habit of hearing the
very best performers.&rdquo; On Miss Lucas's persevering, however, she added,
&ldquo;Very well, if it must be so, it must.&rdquo; And gravely glancing at Mr. Darcy,
&ldquo;There is a fine old saying, which everybody here is of course familiar
with: 'Keep your breath to cool your porridge'; and I shall keep mine to
swell my song.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Her performance was pleasing, though by no means capital. After a song or
two, and before she could reply to the entreaties of several that she
would sing again, she was eagerly succeeded at the instrument by her
sister Mary, who having, in consequence of being the only plain one in the
family, worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments, was always
impatient for display.
</p>
<p>
Mary had neither genius nor taste; and though vanity had given her
application, it had given her likewise a pedantic air and conceited
manner, which would have injured a higher degree of excellence than she
had reached. Elizabeth, easy and unaffected, had been listened to with
much more pleasure, though not 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 sisters, who, with some of
the Lucases, and two or three officers, joined eagerly in dancing at one
end of the room.
</p>
<p>
Mr. Darcy stood near them in silent indignation at such a mode of passing
the evening, to the exclusion of all conversation, and was too much
engrossed by his thoughts to perceive that Sir William Lucas was his
neighbour, till Sir William thus began:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is
nothing like dancing after all. I consider it as one of the first
refinements of polished society.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Certainly, sir; and it has the advantage also of being in vogue amongst
the less polished societies of the world. Every savage can dance.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Sir William only smiled. &ldquo;Your friend performs delightfully,&rdquo; he continued
after a pause, on seeing Bingley join the group; &ldquo;and I doubt not that you
are an adept in the science yourself, Mr. Darcy.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You saw me dance at Meryton, I believe, sir.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes, indeed, and received no inconsiderable pleasure from the sight. Do
you often dance at St. James's?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Never, sir.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Do you not think it would be a proper compliment to the place?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It is a compliment which I never pay to any place if I can avoid it.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You have a house in town, I conclude?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mr. Darcy bowed.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I had once had some thought of fixing in town myself&mdash;for I am fond
of superior society; but I did not feel quite certain that the air of
London would agree with Lady Lucas.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
He paused in hopes of an answer; but his companion was not disposed to
make any; and Elizabeth at that instant moving towards them, he was struck
with the action of doing a very gallant thing, and called out to her:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;My dear Miss Eliza, why are you not 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.&rdquo; 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:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mr. Darcy, with grave propriety, requested to be allowed the honour of her
hand, but in vain. Elizabeth was determined; nor did Sir William at all
shake her purpose by his attempt at persuasion.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Mr. Darcy is all politeness,&rdquo; said Elizabeth, smiling.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;He is, indeed; but, considering the inducement, my dear Miss Eliza, we
cannot wonder at his complaisance&mdash;for who would object to such a
partner?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
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:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I can guess the subject of your reverie.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I should imagine not.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You are considering how insupportable it would be to pass many evenings
in this manner&mdash;in such society; and indeed I am quite of your
opinion. I was never more annoyed! The insipidity, and yet the noise&mdash;the
nothingness, and yet the self-importance of all those people! What would I
give to hear your strictures on them!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
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:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Miss Elizabeth Bennet.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Miss Elizabeth Bennet!&rdquo; repeated Miss Bingley. &ldquo;I am all astonishment.
How long has she been such a favourite?&mdash;and pray, when am I to wish
you joy?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;That is exactly the question which I expected you to ask. A lady's
imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to
matrimony, in a moment. I knew you would be wishing me joy.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Nay, if you are serious about it, I shall consider the matter is
absolutely settled. You will be having a charming mother-in-law, indeed;
and, of course, she will always be at Pemberley with you.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
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 long.
</p>
<p>
<a name="link2HCH0007" id="link2HCH0007">
<!-- H2 anchor --> </a>
</p>
<div style="height: 4em;">
<br /><br /><br /><br />
</div>
<h2>
Chapter 7
</h2>
<p>
Mr. Bennet's property consisted almost entirely in an estate of two
thousand a year, which, unfortunately for his daughters, was entailed, in
default 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.
</p>
<p>
She had a sister married to a Mr. Phillips, 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.
</p>
<p>
The village of Longbourn was only one mile from Meryton; a most convenient
distance for the young ladies, who were usually tempted thither three or
four times a week, to pay their duty to their aunt and to a milliner's
shop just over the way. The two youngest of the family, Catherine and
Lydia, were particularly frequent in these attentions; their minds were
more vacant than their sisters', and when nothing better offered, a walk
to Meryton was necessary to amuse their morning hours and furnish
conversation for the evening; and however bare of news the country in
general might be, they always contrived to learn some from their aunt. At
present, indeed, they were well supplied both with news and happiness by
the recent arrival of a militia regiment in the neighbourhood; it was to
remain the whole winter, and Meryton was the headquarters.
</p>
<p>
Their visits to Mrs. Phillips were now productive 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. Phillips
visited them all, and this opened to his nieces a store of felicity
unknown before. They could talk of nothing but officers; and Mr. Bingley's
large fortune, the mention of which gave animation to their mother, was
worthless in their eyes when opposed to the regimentals of an ensign.
</p>
<p>
After listening one morning to their effusions on this subject, Mr. Bennet
coolly observed:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Catherine was disconcerted, and made no answer; but Lydia, with perfect
indifference, continued to express her admiration of Captain Carter, and
her hope of seeing him in the course of the day, as he was going the next
morning to London.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am astonished, my dear,&rdquo; said Mrs. Bennet, &ldquo;that you should be so ready
to think your own children silly. If I wished to think slightingly of
anybody's children, it should not be of my own, however.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;If my children are silly, I must hope to be always sensible of it.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes&mdash;but as it happens, they are all of them very clever.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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&mdash;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Mamma,&rdquo; cried Lydia, &ldquo;my aunt says that Colonel Forster and Captain
Carter do not go so often to Miss Watson's as they did when they first
came; she sees them now very often standing in Clarke's library.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mrs. Bennet was prevented replying by the entrance of the footman with a
note for Miss Bennet; it came from Netherfield, and the servant waited for
an answer. Mrs. Bennet's eyes sparkled with pleasure, and she was eagerly
calling out, while her daughter read,
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Well, Jane, who is it from? What is it about? What does he say? Well,
Jane, make haste and tell us; make haste, my love.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It is from Miss Bingley,&rdquo; said Jane, and then read it aloud.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;MY DEAR FRIEND,&mdash;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;If you are not so compassionate as to dine to-day with Louisa and me, we
shall be in danger of hating each other for the rest of our lives, for a
whole day's tete-a-tete between two women can never end without a quarrel.
Come as soon as you can on receipt of this. My brother and the gentlemen
are to dine with the officers.&mdash;Yours ever,
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;CAROLINE BINGLEY&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;With the officers!&rdquo; cried Lydia. &ldquo;I wonder my aunt did not tell us of <i>that</i>.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Dining out,&rdquo; said Mrs. Bennet, &ldquo;that is very unlucky.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Can I have the carriage?&rdquo; said Jane.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;No, my dear, you had better go on horseback, because it seems likely to
rain; and then you must stay all night.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;That would be a good scheme,&rdquo; said Elizabeth, &ldquo;if you were sure that they
would not offer to send her home.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! but the gentlemen will have Mr. Bingley's chaise to go to Meryton,
and the Hursts have no horses to theirs.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I had much rather go in the coach.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But, my dear, your father cannot spare the horses, I am sure. They are
wanted in the farm, Mr. Bennet, are they not?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;They are wanted in the farm much oftener than I can get them.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But if you have got them to-day,&rdquo; said Elizabeth, &ldquo;my mother's purpose
will be answered.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
She did at last extort from her father an acknowledgment that the horses
were engaged. Jane was therefore obliged to go on horseback, and her
mother attended her to the door with many cheerful prognostics of a bad
day. Her hopes were answered; Jane had not been gone long before it rained
hard. Her sisters were uneasy for her, but her mother was delighted. The
rain continued the whole evening without intermission; Jane certainly
could not come back.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;This was a lucky idea of mine, indeed!&rdquo; said Mrs. Bennet more than once,
as if the credit of making it rain were all her own. Till the next
morning, however, she was not aware of all the felicity of her
contrivance. Breakfast was scarcely over when a servant from Netherfield
brought the following note for Elizabeth:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;MY DEAREST LIZZY,&mdash;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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 till I am better. They insist also on my seeing Mr. Jones&mdash;therefore
do not be alarmed if you should hear of his having been to me&mdash;and,
excepting a sore throat and headache, there is not much the matter with
me.&mdash;Yours, etc.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Well, my dear,&rdquo; said Mr. Bennet, when Elizabeth had read the note aloud,
&ldquo;if your daughter should have a dangerous fit of illness&mdash;if she
should die, it would be a comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of
Mr. Bingley, and under your orders.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! I am not 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth, feeling really anxious, was 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.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;How can you be so silly,&rdquo; cried her mother, &ldquo;as to think of such a thing,
in all this dirt! You will not be fit to be seen when you get there.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I shall be very fit to see Jane&mdash;which is all I want.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Is this a hint to me, Lizzy,&rdquo; said her father, &ldquo;to send for the horses?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I admire the activity of your benevolence,&rdquo; observed Mary, &ldquo;but every
impulse of feeling should be guided by reason; and, in my opinion,
exertion should always be in proportion to what is required.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;We will go as far as Meryton with you,&rdquo; said Catherine and Lydia.
Elizabeth accepted their company, and the three young ladies set off
together.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;If we make haste,&rdquo; said Lydia, as they walked along, &ldquo;perhaps we may see
something of Captain Carter before he goes.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
In Meryton they parted; the two youngest repaired to the lodgings of one
of the officers' wives, and Elizabeth continued her walk alone, crossing
field after field at a quick pace, jumping over stiles and springing over
puddles with impatient activity, and finding herself at last within view
of the house, with weary ankles, dirty stockings, and a face glowing with
the warmth of exercise.
</p>
<p>
She was shown into the breakfast-parlour, where all but Jane were
assembled, and where her appearance created a great deal of surprise. That
she should have walked three miles so early in the day, in such dirty
weather, and by herself, was almost incredible to Mrs. Hurst and Miss
Bingley; and Elizabeth was convinced that they held her in contempt for
it. She was received, however, very politely by them; and in their
brother's manners there was something better than politeness; there was
good humour and kindness. Mr. Darcy said very little, and Mr. Hurst
nothing at all. The former was divided between admiration of the
brilliancy which exercise had given to her complexion, and doubt as to the
occasion's justifying her coming so far alone. The latter was thinking
only of his breakfast.
</p>
<p>
Her inquiries after her sister were not very favourably answered. Miss
Bennet had slept ill, and though up, was very feverish, and not well
enough to leave her room. Elizabeth was glad to be taken to her
immediately; and Jane, who had only been withheld by the fear of giving
alarm or inconvenience from expressing in her note how much she longed for
such a visit, was delighted at her entrance. She was not equal, however,
to much conversation, and when Miss Bingley left them together, could
attempt little besides expressions of gratitude for the extraordinary
kindness she was treated with. Elizabeth silently attended her.
</p>
<p>
When breakfast was over they were joined by the sisters; and Elizabeth
began to like them herself, when she saw how much affection and solicitude
they showed for Jane. The apothecary came, and having examined his
patient, said, as might be supposed, that she had caught a violent cold,
and that they must endeavour to 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.
</p>
<p>
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 in
parting with her, that Miss Bingley was obliged to convert the offer of
the chaise to an invitation to remain at Netherfield for the present.
Elizabeth most thankfully consented, and a servant was dispatched to
Longbourn to acquaint the family with her stay and bring back a supply of
clothes.
</p>
<p>
<a name="link2HCH0008" id="link2HCH0008">
<!-- H2 anchor --> </a>
</p>
<div style="height: 4em;">
<br /><br /><br /><br />
</div>
<h2>
Chapter 8
</h2>
<p>
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 distinguishing the much
superior solicitude of Mr. Bingley's, she could not make a very favourable
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 matter: and their indifference
towards Jane when not immediately before them restored Elizabeth to the
enjoyment of all her former dislike.
</p>
<p>
Their brother, indeed, was the only one of the party whom she could regard
with any complacency. His anxiety for Jane was evident, and his attentions
to herself most pleasing, and they prevented her feeling herself so much
an intruder as she believed she was considered by the others. She had very
little notice from any but him. Miss Bingley was engrossed by Mr. Darcy,
her sister scarcely less so; and as for Mr. Hurst, by whom Elizabeth sat,
he was an indolent man, who lived only to eat, drink, and play at cards;
who, when he found her to prefer a plain dish to a ragout, had nothing to
say to her.
</p>
<p>
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 beauty. Mrs. Hurst thought the same, and
added:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;She did, indeed, Louisa. I could hardly keep my countenance. Very
nonsensical to come at all! Why must <i>she</i> be scampering about the
country, because her sister had a cold? Her hair, so untidy, so blowsy!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes, and her petticoat; I hope you saw her petticoat, six inches deep in
mud, I am absolutely certain; and the gown which had been let down to hide
it not doing its office.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Your picture may be very exact, Louisa,&rdquo; said Bingley; &ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;<i>You</i> observed it, Mr. Darcy, I am sure,&rdquo; said Miss Bingley; &ldquo;and I
am inclined to think that you would not wish to see <i>your</i> sister
make such an exhibition.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Certainly not.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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 indifference to decorum.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It shows an affection for her sister that is very pleasing,&rdquo; said
Bingley.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am afraid, Mr. Darcy,&rdquo; observed Miss Bingley in a half whisper, &ldquo;that
this adventure has rather affected your admiration of her fine eyes.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Not at all,&rdquo; he replied; &ldquo;they were brightened by the exercise.&rdquo; A short
pause followed this speech, and Mrs. Hurst began again:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I have an excessive regard for Miss 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I think I have heard you say that their uncle is an attorney in Meryton.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes; and they have another, who lives somewhere near Cheapside.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;That is capital,&rdquo; added her sister, and they both laughed heartily.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;If they had uncles enough to fill <i>all</i> Cheapside,&rdquo; cried Bingley,
&ldquo;it would not make them one jot less agreeable.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But it must very materially lessen their chance of marrying men of any
consideration in the world,&rdquo; replied Darcy.
</p>
<p>
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.
</p>
<p>
With a renewal of tenderness, however, they returned to her room on
leaving the dining-parlour, and sat with her till summoned to coffee. She
was still very poorly, and Elizabeth would not quit her at all, till late
in the evening, when she had the comfort of seeing her sleep, and when it
seemed 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.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Do you prefer reading to cards?&rdquo; said he; &ldquo;that is rather singular.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Miss Eliza Bennet,&rdquo; said Miss Bingley, &ldquo;despises cards. She is a great
reader, and has no pleasure in anything else.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I deserve neither such praise nor such censure,&rdquo; cried Elizabeth; &ldquo;I am
<i>not</i> a great reader, and I have pleasure in many things.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;In nursing your sister I am sure you have pleasure,&rdquo; said Bingley; &ldquo;and I
hope it will be soon increased by seeing her quite well.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth thanked him from her heart, and then walked towards the table
where a few books were lying. He immediately offered to fetch her others&mdash;all
that his library afforded.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;And I wish my collection were larger for your benefit and my own credit;
but I am an idle fellow, and though I have not many, I have more than I
ever looked into.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth assured him that she could suit herself perfectly with those in
the room.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am astonished,&rdquo; said Miss Bingley, &ldquo;that my father should have left so
small a collection of books. What a delightful library you have at
Pemberley, Mr. Darcy!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It ought to be good,&rdquo; he replied, &ldquo;it has been the work of many
generations.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;And then you have added so much to it yourself, you are always buying
books.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library in such days as
these.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Neglect! I am sure you neglect nothing that can add to the beauties of
that noble place. Charles, when you build <i>your</i> house, I wish it may
be half as delightful as Pemberley.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I wish it may.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But I would really advise you to make your purchase in that
neighbourhood, and take Pemberley for a kind of model. There is not a
finer county in England than Derbyshire.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;With all my heart; I will buy Pemberley itself if Darcy will sell it.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am talking of possibilities, Charles.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Upon my word, Caroline, I should think it more possible to get Pemberley
by purchase than by imitation.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth was so much caught with what passed, as to leave her very little
attention for her book; and soon laying it wholly aside, she drew near the
card-table, and stationed herself between Mr. Bingley and his eldest
sister, to observe the game.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Is Miss Darcy much grown since the spring?&rdquo; said Miss Bingley; &ldquo;will she
be as tall as I am?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I think she will. She is now about Miss Elizabeth Bennet's height, or
rather taller.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;How I long to see her again! I never met with anybody who delighted me so
much. Such a countenance, such manners! And so extremely accomplished for
her age! Her performance on the pianoforte is exquisite.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It is amazing to me,&rdquo; said Bingley, &ldquo;how young ladies can have patience
to be so very accomplished as they all are.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;All young ladies accomplished! My dear Charles, what do you mean?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes, all of them, I think. They all paint tables, cover screens, and net
purses. I scarcely know anyone 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Your list of the common extent of accomplishments,&rdquo; said Darcy, &ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Nor I, I am sure,&rdquo; said Miss Bingley.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Then,&rdquo; observed Elizabeth, &ldquo;you must comprehend a great deal in your idea
of an accomplished woman.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes, I do comprehend a great deal in it.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! certainly,&rdquo; cried his faithful assistant, &ldquo;no one can be really
esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met
with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;All this she must possess,&rdquo; added Darcy, &ldquo;and to all this she must yet
add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by
extensive reading.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am no longer surprised at your knowing <i>only</i> six accomplished
women. I rather wonder now at your knowing <i>any</i>.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all
this?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I never saw such a woman. I never saw such capacity, and taste, and
application, and elegance, as you describe united.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
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.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Elizabeth Bennet,&rdquo; said Miss Bingley, when the door was closed on her,
&ldquo;is one of those young ladies who seek to recommend themselves to the
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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Undoubtedly,&rdquo; replied Darcy, to whom this remark was chiefly addressed,
&ldquo;there is a meanness in <i>all</i> the arts which ladies sometimes
condescend to employ for captivation. Whatever bears affinity to cunning
is despicable.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Miss Bingley was not so entirely satisfied with this reply as to continue
the subject.
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth joined them again only to say that her sister was worse, and
that she could not leave her. Bingley urged Mr. Jones being sent for
immediately; while his sisters, convinced that no country advice could be
of any service, recommended an express to town for one of the most eminent
physicians. This she would not hear of; but she was not so unwilling to
comply with their brother's proposal; and it was settled that Mr. Jones
should be sent for early in the morning, if Miss Bennet were not decidedly
better. Bingley was quite uncomfortable; his sisters declared that they
were miserable. They solaced their wretchedness, however, by duets after
supper, while he could find no better relief to his feelings than by
giving his housekeeper directions that every attention might be paid to
the sick lady and her sister.
</p>
<p>
<a name="link2HCH0009" id="link2HCH0009">
<!-- H2 anchor --> </a>
</p>
<div style="height: 4em;">
<br /><br /><br /><br />
</div>
<h2>
Chapter 9
</h2>
<p>
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
inquiries 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
judgement of her situation. The note was immediately dispatched, and its
contents as quickly complied with. Mrs. Bennet, accompanied by her two
youngest girls, reached Netherfield soon after the family breakfast.
</p>
<p>
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 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 parlour. Bingley met them with hopes that
Mrs. Bennet had not found Miss Bennet worse than she expected.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Indeed I have, sir,&rdquo; was her answer. &ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Removed!&rdquo; cried Bingley. &ldquo;It must not be thought of. My sister, I am
sure, will not hear of her removal.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You may depend upon it, Madam,&rdquo; said Miss Bingley, with cold civility,
&ldquo;that Miss Bennet will receive every possible attention while she remains
with us.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mrs. Bennet was profuse in her acknowledgments.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am sure,&rdquo; she added, &ldquo;if it was not for such good friends I do not know
what would become of her, for she is very ill indeed, and suffers 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 have
ever met with. I often tell my other girls they are nothing to <i>her</i>.
You have a sweet room here, Mr. Bingley, and a charming prospect over the
gravel walk. I do not know a place in the country that is equal to
Netherfield. You will not think of quitting it in a hurry, I hope, though
you have but a short lease.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Whatever I do is done in a hurry,&rdquo; replied he; &ldquo;and therefore if I should
resolve to quit Netherfield, I should probably be off in five minutes. At
present, however, I consider myself as quite fixed here.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;That is exactly what I should have supposed of you,&rdquo; said Elizabeth.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You begin to comprehend me, do you?&rdquo; cried he, turning towards her.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! yes&mdash;I understand you perfectly.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I wish I might take this for a compliment; but to be so easily seen
through I am afraid is pitiful.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;That is as it happens. It does not follow that a deep, intricate
character is more or less estimable than such a one as yours.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Lizzy,&rdquo; cried her mother, &ldquo;remember where you are, and do not run on in
the wild manner that you are suffered to do at home.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I did not know before,&rdquo; continued Bingley immediately, &ldquo;that you were a
studier of character. It must be an amusing study.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes, but intricate characters are the <i>most</i> amusing. They have at
least that advantage.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;The country,&rdquo; said Darcy, &ldquo;can in general supply but a few subjects for
such a study. In a country neighbourhood you move in a very confined and
unvarying society.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be
observed in them for ever.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes, indeed,&rdquo; cried Mrs. Bennet, offended by his manner of mentioning a
country neighbourhood. &ldquo;I assure you there is quite as much of <i>that</i>
going on in the country as in town.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Everybody was surprised, and Darcy, after looking at her for a moment,
turned silently away. Mrs. Bennet, who fancied she had gained a complete
victory over him, continued her triumph.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I cannot see that London has any great advantage over the country, for my
part, except the shops and public places. The country is a vast deal
pleasanter, is it not, Mr. Bingley?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;When I am in the country,&rdquo; he replied, &ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Aye&mdash;that is because you have the right disposition. But that
gentleman,&rdquo; looking at Darcy, &ldquo;seemed to think the country was nothing at
all.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Indeed, Mamma, you are mistaken,&rdquo; said Elizabeth, blushing for her
mother. &ldquo;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 the town,
which you must acknowledge to be true.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Certainly, my dear, nobody said there were; but as to not meeting with
many people in this neighbourhood, I believe there are few neighbourhoods
larger. I know we dine with four-and-twenty families.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Nothing but concern for Elizabeth could enable Bingley to keep his
countenance. His sister was less delicate, and directed her eyes 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 <i>her</i> coming away.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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 easy! He has always something to say to everybody. <i>That</i> is my
idea of good breeding; and those persons who fancy themselves very
important, and never open their mouths, quite mistake the matter.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Did Charlotte dine with you?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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;
<i>my</i> daughters are brought up very differently. 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! Not that I think Charlotte
so <i>very</i> plain&mdash;but then she is our particular friend.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;She seems a very pleasant young woman.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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&mdash;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 man 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;And so ended his affection,&rdquo; said Elizabeth impatiently. &ldquo;There has been
many a one, I fancy, overcome in the same way. I wonder who first
discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I have been used to consider poetry as the <i>food</i> of love,&rdquo; said
Darcy.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Everything nourishes what is
strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am
convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Darcy only smiled; and the general pause which ensued made Elizabeth
tremble lest her mother should be exposing herself again. She longed to
speak, but could think of nothing to say; and after a short silence Mrs.
Bennet began repeating her thanks to Mr. Bingley for his kindness to Jane,
with an apology for troubling him also with Lizzy. Mr. Bingley was
unaffectedly civil in his answer, and forced his younger sister to be
civil also, and say what the occasion required. She performed her part
indeed without much graciousness, but Mrs. Bennet was satisfied, and soon
afterwards ordered her carriage. Upon this signal, the youngest of her
daughters put herself forward. The two girls had been whispering to each
other during the whole visit, and the result of it was, that the youngest
should tax Mr. Bingley with having promised on his first coming into the
country to give a ball at Netherfield.
</p>
<p>
Lydia was a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen, with a fine complexion and
good-humoured countenance; a favourite with her mother, whose affection
had brought her into public at an early age. She had high animal spirits,
and a sort of natural self-consequence, which the attention of the
officers, 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, and abruptly
reminded him of his promise; adding, that it would be the most shameful
thing in the world if he did not keep it. His answer to this sudden attack
was delightful to their mother's ear:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am perfectly ready, I assure you, to keep my engagement; and when your
sister is recovered, you shall, if you please, name the very day of the
ball. But you would not wish to be dancing when she is ill.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Lydia declared herself satisfied. &ldquo;Oh! yes&mdash;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 <i>your</i> ball,&rdquo; she
added, &ldquo;I shall insist on their giving one also. I shall tell Colonel
Forster it will be quite a shame if he does not.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mrs. Bennet and her daughters then departed, and Elizabeth returned
instantly to Jane, leaving her own and her relations' behaviour to the
remarks of the two ladies and Mr. Darcy; the latter of whom, however,
could not be prevailed on to join in their censure of <i>her</i>, in spite
of all Miss Bingley's witticisms on <i>fine eyes</i>.
</p>
<p>
<a name="link2HCH0010" id="link2HCH0010">
<!-- H2 anchor --> </a>
</p>
<div style="height: 4em;">
<br /><br /><br /><br />
</div>
<h2>
Chapter 10
</h2>
<p>
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
continued, though slowly, to mend; and in the evening Elizabeth joined
their party in the drawing-room. The loo-table, however, did not appear.
Mr. Darcy was writing, and Miss Bingley, seated near him, was watching the
progress of his letter and repeatedly calling off his attention by
messages to his sister. Mr. Hurst and Mr. Bingley were at piquet, and Mrs.
Hurst was observing their game.
</p>
<p>
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 handwriting, 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 union with her opinion of each.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;How delighted Miss Darcy will be to receive such a letter!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
He made no answer.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You write uncommonly fast.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You are mistaken. I write rather slowly.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It is fortunate, then, that they fall to my lot instead of yours.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Pray tell your sister that I long to see her.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I have already told her so once, by your desire.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am afraid you do not like your pen. Let me mend it for you. I mend pens
remarkably well.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Thank you&mdash;but I always mend my own.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;How can you contrive to write so even?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
He was silent.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Will you give me leave to defer your raptures till I write again? At
present I have not room to do them justice.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;They are generally long; but whether always charming it is not for me to
determine.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It is a rule with me, that a person who can write a long letter with
ease, cannot write ill.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;That will not do for a compliment to Darcy, Caroline,&rdquo; cried her brother,
&ldquo;because he does <i>not</i> write with ease. He studies too much for words
of four syllables. Do not you, Darcy?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;My style of writing is very different from yours.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh!&rdquo; cried Miss Bingley, &ldquo;Charles writes in the most careless way
imaginable. He leaves out half his words, and blots the rest.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them&mdash;by
which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my
correspondents.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Your humility, Mr. Bingley,&rdquo; said Elizabeth, &ldquo;must disarm reproof.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Nothing is more deceitful,&rdquo; said Darcy, &ldquo;than the appearance of humility.
It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect
boast.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;And which of the two do you call <i>my</i> little recent piece of
modesty?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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
carelessness of execution, which, if not estimable, you think at least
highly interesting. The power of doing anything with quickness is always
prized much by the possessor, and often without any attention to the
imperfection of the performance. When you told Mrs. Bennet this morning
that if you ever resolved upon quitting Netherfield you should be gone in
five minutes, you meant it to be a sort of panegyric, of compliment to
yourself&mdash;and yet what is there so very laudable in a precipitance
which must leave very necessary business undone, and can be of no real
advantage to yourself or anyone else?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Nay,&rdquo; cried Bingley, &ldquo;this is too much, to remember at night all the
foolish things that were said in the morning. And yet, upon my honour, I
believe 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
precipitance merely to show off before the ladies.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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&mdash;and at another word,
might stay a month.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You have only proved by this,&rdquo; cried Elizabeth, &ldquo;that Mr. Bingley did not
do justice to his own disposition. You have shown him off now much more
than he did himself.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am exceedingly gratified,&rdquo; said Bingley, &ldquo;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 better of me, if under such a
circumstance I were to give a flat denial, and ride off as fast as I
could.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your original intentions as
atoned for by your obstinacy in adhering to it?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Upon my word, I cannot exactly explain the matter; Darcy must speak for
himself.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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
favour of its propriety.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;To yield readily&mdash;easily&mdash;to the <i>persuasion</i> of a friend
is no merit with you.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;To yield without conviction is no compliment to the understanding of
either.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for the influence of
friendship and affection. A regard for the requester would often make one
readily yield to a request, without waiting for arguments to reason one
into it. I am not particularly speaking of such a case as you have
supposed about Mr. Bingley. We may as well wait, perhaps, till the
circumstance occurs before we discuss the discretion of his behaviour
thereupon. But in general and ordinary cases between friend and friend,
where one of them is desired by the other to change a resolution of no
very great moment, should you think ill of that person for complying with
the desire, without waiting to be argued into it?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;By all means,&rdquo; cried Bingley; &ldquo;let us hear all the particulars, not
forgetting their comparative height and size; for that will have more
weight in the argument, Miss Bennet, than you may be aware of. I assure
you, that if Darcy were not such a great tall fellow, in comparison with
myself, I should not pay him half so much deference. I declare I do not
know a more awful object than Darcy, on particular occasions, and in
particular places; at his own house especially, and of a Sunday evening,
when he has nothing to do.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mr. Darcy smiled; but Elizabeth thought she could perceive that he was
rather offended, and therefore checked her laugh. Miss Bingley warmly
resented the indignity he had received, in an expostulation with her
brother for talking such nonsense.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I see your design, Bingley,&rdquo; said his friend. &ldquo;You dislike an argument,
and want to silence this.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;What you ask,&rdquo; said Elizabeth, &ldquo;is no sacrifice on my side; and Mr. Darcy
had much better finish his letter.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mr. Darcy took her advice, and did finish his letter.
</p>
<p>
When that business was over, he applied to Miss Bingley and Elizabeth for
an indulgence of some music. Miss Bingley moved with some alacrity to the
pianoforte; and, after a polite request that Elizabeth would lead the way
which the other as politely and more earnestly negatived, she seated
herself.
</p>
<p>
Mrs. Hurst sang with her sister, and while they were thus employed,
Elizabeth could not help observing, as she turned over some music-books
that lay on the instrument, how frequently Mr. Darcy's eyes were fixed on
her. She hardly knew how to suppose that she could be an object of
admiration to so great a man; and yet that he should look at her because
he disliked her, was still more strange. She could only imagine, however,
at last that she drew his notice because there was something more wrong
and reprehensible, 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.
</p>
<p>
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:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Do not you feel a great inclination, Miss Bennet, to seize such an
opportunity of dancing a reel?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
She smiled, but made no answer. He repeated the question, with some
surprise at her silence.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh!&rdquo; said she, &ldquo;I heard you before, but I could not immediately determine
what to say in reply. You wanted me, I know, to say 'Yes,' that you might
have the pleasure of despising my taste; but I always delight in
overthrowing those kind of schemes, and cheating a person of their
premeditated contempt. I have, therefore, made up my mind to tell you,
that I do not want to dance a reel at all&mdash;and now despise me if you
dare.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Indeed I do not dare.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth, having rather expected to affront him, was amazed at his
gallantry; but there was a mixture of sweetness and archness in her manner
which made it difficult for her to affront anybody; and Darcy had never
been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He really believed, that
were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some
danger.
</p>
<p>
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.
</p>
<p>
She often tried to provoke Darcy into disliking her guest, by talking of
their supposed marriage, and planning his happiness in such an alliance.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I hope,&rdquo; said she, as they were walking together in the shrubbery the
next day, &ldquo;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, do cure the younger girls of running after
officers. And, if I may mention so delicate a subject, endeavour to check
that little something, bordering on conceit and impertinence, which your
lady possesses.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Have you anything else to propose for my domestic felicity?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! yes. Do let the portraits of your uncle and aunt Phillips be placed
in the gallery at Pemberley. Put them next to your great-uncle the judge.
They are in the same profession, you know, only in different lines. As for
your Elizabeth's picture, you must not have it taken, for what painter
could do justice to those beautiful eyes?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour
and shape, and the eyelashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
At that moment they were met from another walk by Mrs. Hurst and Elizabeth
herself.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I did not know that you intended to walk,&rdquo; said Miss Bingley, in some
confusion, lest they had been overheard.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You used us abominably ill,&rdquo; answered Mrs. Hurst, &ldquo;running away without
telling us that you were coming out.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Then taking the disengaged arm of Mr. Darcy, she left Elizabeth to walk by
herself. The path just admitted three. Mr. Darcy felt their rudeness, and
immediately said:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;This walk is not wide enough for our party. We had better go into the
avenue.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to remain with them,
laughingly answered:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;No, no; stay where you are. You are charmingly grouped, and appear to
uncommon advantage. The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth.
Good-bye.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
She then ran gaily off, rejoicing as she rambled about, in the hope of
being at home again in a day or two. Jane was already so much recovered as
to intend leaving her room for a couple of hours that evening.
</p>
<p>
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</div>
<h2>
Chapter 11
</h2>
<p>
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 appeared. Their powers
of conversation were considerable. They could describe an entertainment
with accuracy, relate an anecdote with humour, and laugh at their
acquaintance with spirit.
</p>
<p>
But when the gentlemen entered, Jane was no longer the first object; Miss
Bingley's eyes were instantly turned toward Darcy, and she had something
to say to him before he had advanced many steps. He addressed himself to
Miss Bennet, with a polite congratulation; Mr. Hurst also made her a
slight bow, and said he was &ldquo;very glad;&rdquo; but diffuseness and warmth
remained for Bingley's salutation. He was full of joy and attention. The
first half-hour was spent in piling up the fire, lest she should suffer
from the change of room; and she removed at his desire to the other side
of the fireplace, that she might be further from the door. He then sat
down by her, and talked scarcely to anyone else. Elizabeth, at work in the
opposite corner, saw it all with great delight.
</p>
<p>
When tea was over, Mr. Hurst reminded his sister-in-law of the card-table&mdash;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.
</p>
<p>
Miss Bingley's attention was quite as much engaged in watching Mr. Darcy's
progress through <i>his</i> book, as in reading her own; and she was
perpetually either making some inquiry, or looking at his page. She could
not win him, however, to any conversation; he merely answered her
question, and read on. At length, quite exhausted by the attempt to be
amused with her own book, which she had only chosen because it was the
second volume of his, she gave a great yawn and said, &ldquo;How pleasant it is
to spend an evening in this way! I declare after all there is no enjoyment
like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I
have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent
library.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and
cast her eyes round the room in quest for some amusement; when hearing her
brother mentioning a ball to Miss Bennet, she turned suddenly towards him
and said:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;By the bye, Charles, are you really serious in meditating a dance at
Netherfield? I would advise you, before you determine on it, to consult
the wishes of the present party; I am much mistaken if there are not some
among us to whom a ball would be rather a punishment than a pleasure.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;If you mean Darcy,&rdquo; cried her brother, &ldquo;he may go to bed, if he chooses,
before it begins&mdash;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I should like balls infinitely better,&rdquo; she replied, &ldquo;if they were
carried on in a different manner; but there is something insufferably
tedious in the usual process of such a meeting. It would surely be much
more rational if conversation instead of dancing were made the order of
the day.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Much more rational, my dear Caroline, I dare say, but it would not be
near so much like a ball.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Miss Bingley made no answer, and soon afterwards she 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 inflexibly studious. In the desperation
of her feelings, she resolved on one effort more, and, turning to
Elizabeth, said:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth was surprised, but agreed to it immediately. Miss Bingley
succeeded no less in the real object of her civility; Mr. Darcy looked up.
He was as much awake to the novelty of attention in that quarter as
Elizabeth herself could be, and unconsciously closed his book. He was
directly invited to join their party, but he declined it, observing that
he could imagine but two motives for their choosing to walk up and down
the room together, with either of which motives his joining them would
interfere. &ldquo;What could he mean? She was dying to know what could be his
meaning?&rdquo;&mdash;and asked Elizabeth whether she could at all understand
him?
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Not at all,&rdquo; was her answer; &ldquo;but depend upon it, he means to be severe
on us, and our surest way of disappointing him will be to ask nothing
about it.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Miss Bingley, however, was incapable of disappointing Mr. Darcy in
anything, and persevered therefore in requiring an explanation of his two
motives.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I have not the smallest objection to explaining them,&rdquo; said he, as soon
as she allowed him to speak. &ldquo;You either choose this method of passing the
evening because you are in each other's confidence, and have secret
affairs to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear
to the greatest advantage in walking; if the first, I would be completely
in your way, and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by
the fire.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! shocking!&rdquo; cried Miss Bingley. &ldquo;I never heard anything so abominable.
How shall we punish him for such a speech?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Nothing so easy, if you have but the inclination,&rdquo; said Elizabeth. &ldquo;We
can all plague and punish one another. Tease him&mdash;laugh at him.
Intimate as you are, you must know how it is to be done.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But upon my honour, I do <i>not</i>. I do assure you that my intimacy has
not yet taught me <i>that</i>. Tease calmness of manner and presence of
mind! No, no; I feel he may defy us there. And as to laughter, we will not
expose ourselves, if you please, by attempting to laugh without a subject.
Mr. Darcy may hug himself.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Mr. Darcy is not to be laughed at!&rdquo; cried Elizabeth. &ldquo;That is an uncommon
advantage, and uncommon I hope it will continue, for it would be a great
loss to <i>me</i> to have many such acquaintances. I dearly love a laugh.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Miss Bingley,&rdquo; said he, &ldquo;has given me more credit than can be. The wisest
and the best of men&mdash;nay, the wisest and best of their actions&mdash;may
be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Certainly,&rdquo; replied Elizabeth&mdash;&ldquo;there are such people, but I hope I
am not one of <i>them</i>. I hope I never ridicule what is wise and good.
Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, <i>do</i> divert me, I
own, and I laugh at them whenever I can. But these, I suppose, are
precisely what you are without.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Perhaps that is not possible for anyone. But it has been the study of my
life to avoid those weaknesses which often expose a strong understanding
to ridicule.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Such as vanity and pride.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride&mdash;where there is a real
superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth turned away to hide a smile.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Your examination of Mr. Darcy is over, I presume,&rdquo; said Miss Bingley;
&ldquo;and pray what is the result?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has no defect. He owns it
himself without disguise.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;No,&rdquo; said Darcy, &ldquo;I have made no such pretension. 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&mdash;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 offenses 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;<i>That</i> is a failing indeed!&rdquo; cried Elizabeth. &ldquo;Implacable resentment
<i>is</i> a shade in a character. But you have chosen your fault well. I
really cannot <i>laugh</i> at it. You are safe from me.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular
evil&mdash;a natural defect, which not even the best education can
overcome.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;And <i>your</i> defect is to hate everybody.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;And yours,&rdquo; he replied with a smile, &ldquo;is willfully to misunderstand
them.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Do let us have a little music,&rdquo; cried Miss Bingley, tired of a
conversation in which she had no share. &ldquo;Louisa, you will not mind my
waking Mr. Hurst?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Her sister had 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.
</p>
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<h2>
Chapter 12
</h2>
<p>
In consequence of an agreement between the sisters, Elizabeth wrote the
next morning to their 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 Tuesday;
and in her postscript it was added, that if Mr. Bingley and his sister
pressed them to stay longer, she could spare them very well. Against
staying longer, however, Elizabeth was positively resolved&mdash;nor did
she much expect it would be asked; and fearful, on the contrary, as being
considered 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.
</p>
<p>
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;
and till the morrow their going was deferred. 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.
</p>
<p>
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&mdash;that she was not enough recovered; but Jane was firm
where she felt herself to be right.
</p>
<p>
To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence&mdash;Elizabeth had been at
Netherfield long enough. She attracted him more than he liked&mdash;and
Miss Bingley was uncivil to <i>her</i>, and more teasing than usual to
himself. He wisely resolved to be particularly careful that no sign of
admiration should <i>now</i> escape him, nothing that could elevate her
with the hope of influencing his felicity; sensible that if such an idea
had been suggested, his behaviour during the last 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 half-an-hour, he adhered most
conscientiously to his book, and would not even look at her.
</p>
<p>
On Sunday, after morning service, the separation, so agreeable to almost
all, took place. Miss Bingley's civility to Elizabeth increased at last
very rapidly, as well as her affection for Jane; and when they parted,
after assuring the latter of the pleasure it would always give her to see
her either at Longbourn or Netherfield, and embracing her most tenderly,
she even shook hands with the former. Elizabeth took leave of the whole
party in the liveliest of spirits.
</p>
<p>
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.
</p>
<p>
They found Mary, as usual, deep in the study of thorough-bass and human
nature; and had some extracts to admire, and some new observations of
threadbare morality to listen to. Catherine and Lydia had information for
them of a different sort. Much had been done and much had been said in the
regiment since the preceding Wednesday; several of the officers had dined
lately with their uncle, a private had been flogged, and it had actually
been hinted that Colonel Forster was going to be married.
</p>
<p>
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<h2>
Chapter 13
</h2>
<p>
&ldquo;I hope, my dear,&rdquo; said Mr. Bennet to his wife, as they were at breakfast
the next morning, &ldquo;that you have ordered a good dinner to-day, because I
have reason to expect an addition to our family party.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Who do you mean, my dear? I know of nobody that is coming, I am sure,
unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in&mdash;and I hope <i>my</i>
dinners are good enough for her. I do not believe she often sees such at
home.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;The person of whom I speak is a gentleman, and a stranger.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mrs. Bennet's eyes sparkled. &ldquo;A gentleman and a stranger! It is Mr.
Bingley, I am sure! Well, I am sure I shall be extremely glad to see Mr.
Bingley. But&mdash;good Lord! how unlucky! There is not a bit of fish to
be got to-day. Lydia, my love, ring the bell&mdash;I must speak to Hill
this moment.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It is <i>not</i> Mr. Bingley,&rdquo; said her husband; &ldquo;it is a person whom I
never saw in the whole course of my life.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
This roused a general astonishment; and he had the pleasure of being
eagerly questioned by his wife and his five daughters at once.
</p>
<p>
After amusing himself some time with their curiosity, he thus explained:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! my dear,&rdquo; cried his wife, &ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Jane and Elizabeth tried to explain to her the nature of an entail. They
had often attempted to do it before, but it was a subject on which Mrs.
Bennet was beyond the reach of reason, and she continued to rail bitterly
against the cruelty of settling an estate away from a family of five
daughters, in favour of a man whom nobody cared anything about.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It certainly is a most iniquitous affair,&rdquo; said Mr. Bennet, &ldquo;and nothing
can clear Mr. Collins from the guilt of inheriting Longbourn. But if you
will listen to his letter, you may perhaps be a little softened by his
manner of expressing himself.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;No, that I am sure I shall not; and I think it is very impertinent of him
to write to you at all, and very hypocritical. I hate such false friends.
Why could he not keep on quarreling with you, as his father did before
him?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Why, indeed; he does seem to have had some filial scruples on that head,
as you will hear.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Hunsford, near Westerham, Kent, 15th October.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Dear Sir,&mdash;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;The disagreement subsisting between yourself and my late honoured 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, fearing lest it might seem disrespectful
to his memory for me to be on good terms with anyone with whom it had
always pleased him to be at variance.&mdash;'There, Mrs. Bennet.'&mdash;My
mind, however, is now made up on the subject, for having received
ordination at Easter, I have been so fortunate as to be distinguished by
the patronage of the Right Honourable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, widow of
Sir Lewis de Bourgh, whose bounty and beneficence has preferred me to the
valuable rectory of this parish, where it shall be my earnest endeavour to
demean myself with grateful respect towards her ladyship, and be ever
ready to perform those rites and ceremonies which are instituted by the
Church of England. As a clergyman, moreover, I feel it my duty to promote
and establish the blessing of peace in all families within the reach of my
influence; and on these grounds I flatter myself that my present overtures
are highly commendable, and that the circumstance of my being next in the
entail of Longbourn estate will be kindly overlooked on your side, and not
lead you to reject the offered olive-branch. I cannot be otherwise than
concerned at being the means of injuring your amiable daughters, and beg
leave to apologise for it, as well as to assure you of my readiness to
make them every possible amends&mdash;but of this hereafter. If you should
have no objection to receive me into your house, I propose myself the
satisfaction of waiting on you and your family, Monday, November 18th, by
four o'clock, and shall probably trespass on your hospitality till the
Saturday se'ennight 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.&mdash;I remain, dear sir, with respectful compliments to your
lady and daughters, your well-wisher and friend,
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;WILLIAM COLLINS&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;At four o'clock, therefore, we may expect this peace-making gentleman,&rdquo;
said Mr. Bennet, as he folded up the letter. &ldquo;He seems to be a most
conscientious and polite young man, upon my word, and I doubt not will
prove a valuable acquaintance, especially if Lady Catherine should be so
indulgent as to let him come to us again.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Though it is difficult,&rdquo; said Jane, &ldquo;to guess in what way he can mean to
make us the atonement he thinks our due, the wish is certainly to his
credit.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth was chiefly struck by his extraordinary deference for Lady
Catherine, and his kind intention of christening, marrying, and burying
his parishioners whenever it were required.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;He must be an oddity, I think,&rdquo; said she. &ldquo;I cannot make him out.&mdash;There
is something very pompous in his style.&mdash;And what can he mean by
apologising for being next in the entail?&mdash;We cannot suppose he would
help it if he could.&mdash;Could he be a sensible man, sir?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;In point of composition,&rdquo; said Mary, &ldquo;the letter does not seem defective.
The idea of the olive-branch perhaps is not wholly new, yet I think it is
well expressed.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
To Catherine and Lydia, neither the letter nor its writer were in any
degree interesting. It was next to impossible that their cousin should
come in a scarlet coat, and it was now some weeks since they had received
pleasure from the society of a man in any other colour. As for their
mother, Mr. Collins's letter had done away much of her ill-will, and she
was preparing to see him with a degree of composure which astonished her
husband and daughters.
</p>
<p>
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
complimented 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 disposed of in marriage. This gallantry was not much to the
taste of some of his hearers; but Mrs. Bennet, who quarreled with no
compliments, answered most readily.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You are very kind, 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You allude, perhaps, to the entail of this estate.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Ah! sir, I do indeed. It is a grievous affair to my poor girls, you must
confess. Not that I mean to find fault with <i>you</i>, 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I am very sensible, madam, of the hardship to my fair cousins, and could
say much on the subject, but that I am cautious of appearing forward and
precipitate. But I can assure the young ladies that I come prepared to
admire them. At present I will not say more; but, perhaps, when we are
better acquainted&mdash;&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
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 excellency of its cooking was owing.
But he was set right there by Mrs. Bennet, who assured him with some
asperity that they were very well able to keep a good cook, and that her
daughters had nothing to do in the kitchen. He begged pardon for having
displeased her. In a softened tone she declared herself not at all
offended; but he continued to apologise for about a quarter of an hour.
</p>
<p>
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<br /><br /><br /><br />
</div>
<h2>
Chapter 14
</h2>
<p>
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 expected him to shine,
by observing that he seemed very fortunate in his patroness. Lady
Catherine de Bourgh's attention to his wishes, and consideration for his
comfort, appeared very remarkable. Mr. Bennet could not have chosen
better. Mr. Collins was eloquent in her praise. The subject elevated him
to more than usual solemnity of manner, and with a most important aspect
he protested that &ldquo;he had never in his life witnessed such behaviour in a
person of rank&mdash;such affability and condescension, as he had himself
experienced from Lady Catherine. She had been graciously pleased to
approve of both of the discourses which he had already had the honour of
preaching before her. She had also asked him twice to dine at Rosings, and
had sent for him only the Saturday before, to make up her pool of
quadrille in the evening. Lady Catherine was reckoned proud by many people
he knew, but <i>he</i> had never seen anything but affability in her. She
had always spoken to him as she would to any other gentleman; she made not
the smallest objection to his joining in the society of the neighbourhood
nor to his leaving the 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&mdash;some
shelves in the closet up stairs.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;That is all very proper and civil, I am sure,&rdquo; said Mrs. Bennet, &ldquo;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?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;The garden in which stands my humble abode is separated only by a lane
from Rosings Park, her ladyship's residence.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I think you said she was a widow, sir? Has she any family?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;She has only one daughter, the heiress of Rosings, and of very extensive
property.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Ah!&rdquo; said Mrs. Bennet, shaking her head, &ldquo;then she is better off than
many girls. And what sort of young lady is she? Is she handsome?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;She is a most charming young lady indeed. Lady Catherine herself says
that, in point of true beauty, Miss de Bourgh is far superior to the
handsomest of her sex, because there is that in her features which marks
the young lady of distinguished birth. She is unfortunately of a sickly
constitution, which has prevented her from making that progress in many
accomplishments which she could not have otherwise failed of, as I am
informed by the lady who superintended her education, and who still
resides with them. But she is perfectly amiable, and often condescends to
drive by my humble abode in her little phaeton and ponies.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Has she been presented? I do not remember her name among the ladies at
court.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Her indifferent state of health unhappily prevents her being in town; and
by that means, as I told Lady Catherine one day, has deprived the British
court of its brightest ornament. Her ladyship seemed pleased with the
idea; and you may imagine that I am happy on every occasion to offer those
little delicate compliments which are always acceptable to ladies. I have
more than once observed to Lady Catherine, that her charming daughter
seemed born to be a duchess, and that the most elevated rank, instead of
giving her consequence, would be adorned by her. These are the kind of
little things which please her ladyship, and it is a sort of attention
which I conceive myself peculiarly bound to pay.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You judge very properly,&rdquo; said Mr. Bennet, &ldquo;and it is happy for you that
you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether
these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are
the result of previous study?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though I
sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such little elegant
compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give
them as unstudied an air as possible.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mr. Bennet's expectations were fully answered. His cousin was as absurd as
he had hoped, and he listened to him with the keenest enjoyment,
maintaining at the same time the most resolute composure of countenance,
and, except in an occasional glance at Elizabeth, requiring no partner in
his pleasure.
</p>
<p>
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, and begging pardon,
protested that he never read novels. Kitty stared at him, and Lydia
exclaimed. Other books were produced, and after some deliberation he chose
Fordyce's Sermons. Lydia gaped as he opened the volume, and before he had,
with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she interrupted him
with:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Do you know, mamma, that my uncle Phillips 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Lydia was bid by her two eldest sisters to hold her tongue; but Mr.
Collins, much offended, laid aside his book, and said:
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I have often observed how little young ladies are interested by books of
a serious stamp, though written solely for their benefit. It amazes me, I
confess; for, certainly, there can be nothing so advantageous to them as
instruction. But I will no longer importune my young cousin.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Then turning to Mr. Bennet, he offered himself as his antagonist at
backgammon. Mr. Bennet accepted the challenge, observing that he acted
very wisely in leaving the girls to their own trifling amusements. Mrs.
Bennet and her daughters apologised most civilly for Lydia's interruption,
and promised that it should not occur again, if he would resume his book;
but Mr. Collins, after assuring them that he bore his young cousin no
ill-will, and should never resent her behaviour as any affront, seated
himself at another table with Mr. Bennet, and prepared for backgammon.
</p>
<p>
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</p>
<div style="height: 4em;">
<br /><br /><br /><br />
</div>
<h2>
Chapter 15
</h2>
<p>
Mr. Collins was not a sensible man, and the deficiency of nature had been
but little assisted by education or society; the greatest part of his life
having been spent under the guidance of an illiterate and miserly father;
and though he belonged to one of the 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 patroness, mingling with a very good opinion of
himself, of his authority as a clergyman, and his right as a rector, made
him altogether a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, self-importance and
humility.
</p>
<p>
Having now a good house and a very sufficient income, he intended to
marry; and in seeking a reconciliation with the Longbourn family he had a
wife in view, as he meant to choose one of the daughters, if he found them
as handsome and amiable as they were represented by common report. This
was his plan of amends&mdash;of atonement&mdash;for inheriting their
father's estate; and he thought it an excellent one, full of eligibility
and suitableness, and excessively generous and disinterested on his own
part.
</p>
<p>
His plan did not vary on seeing them. Miss Bennet's lovely face confirmed
his views, and established all his strictest notions of what was due to
seniority; and for the first evening <i>she</i> was his settled choice.
The next morning, however, made an alteration; for in a quarter of an
hour's tete-a-tete with Mrs. Bennet before breakfast, a conversation
beginning with his parsonage-house, and leading naturally to the avowal of
his hopes, that a mistress might be found for it at Longbourn, produced
from her, amid very complaisant smiles and general encouragement, a
caution against the very Jane he had fixed on. &ldquo;As to her <i>younger</i>
daughters, she could not take upon her to say&mdash;she could not
positively answer&mdash;but she did not <i>know</i> of any prepossession;
her <i>eldest</i> daughter, she must just mention&mdash;she felt it
incumbent on her to hint, was likely to be very soon engaged.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Mr. Collins had only to change from Jane to Elizabeth&mdash;and it was
soon done&mdash;done while Mrs. Bennet was stirring the fire. Elizabeth,
equally next to Jane in birth and beauty, succeeded her of course.
</p>
<p>
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.
</p>
<p>
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 collection, but really talking to Mr. Bennet,
with little cessation, of his house and garden at Hunsford. Such doings
discomposed Mr. Bennet exceedingly. In his library he had been always sure
of leisure and tranquillity; and though prepared, as he told Elizabeth, to
meet with folly and conceit in every other room of the house, he was used
to be free from them there; his civility, therefore, was most prompt in
inviting Mr. Collins to join his daughters in their walk; and Mr. Collins,
being in fact much better fitted for a walker than a reader, was extremely
pleased to close his large book, and go.
</p>
<p>
In pompous nothings on his side, and civil assents on that of his cousins,
their time passed till they entered Meryton. The attention of the younger
ones was then no longer to be gained by him. Their eyes were 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.
</p>
<p>
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
another 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 pretense of wanting
something in an opposite shop, and fortunately had just gained the
pavement when the two gentlemen, turning back, had reached the same spot.
Mr. Denny addressed them directly, and entreated permission to introduce
his friend, Mr. Wickham, who had returned with him the day before from
town, and he was happy to say had accepted a commission in their corps.
This was exactly as it should be; for the young man wanted only
regimentals to make him completely charming. His appearance was greatly in
his favour; he had all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good
figure, and very pleasing address. The introduction was followed up on his
side by a happy readiness of conversation&mdash;a readiness at the same
time perfectly correct and unassuming; and the whole party were still
standing and talking together very agreeably, when the sound of horses
drew their notice, and Darcy and Bingley were seen riding down the street.
On distinguishing the ladies of the group, the two gentlemen came directly
towards them, and began the usual civilities. Bingley was the principal
spokesman, and Miss Bennet the principal object. He was then, he said, on
his way to Longbourn on purpose to inquire after her. Mr. Darcy
corroborated it with a bow, and was beginning to determine not to fix his
eyes on Elizabeth, when they were suddenly arrested by the sight of the
stranger, and Elizabeth happening to see the countenance of both as they
looked at each other, was all astonishment at the effect of the meeting.
Both changed colour, one looked white, the other red. Mr. Wickham, after a
few moments, touched his hat&mdash;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.
</p>
<p>
In another minute, Mr. Bingley, but without seeming to have noticed what
passed, took leave and rode on with his friend.
</p>
<p>
Mr. Denny and Mr. Wickham walked with the young ladies to the door of Mr.
Phillip's house, and then made their bows, in spite of Miss Lydia's
pressing entreaties that they should come in, and even in spite of Mrs.
Phillips's throwing up the parlour window and loudly seconding the
invitation.
</p>
<p>
Mrs. Phillips was always glad to see her nieces; and the two eldest, from
their recent absence, were particularly welcome, and she was eagerly
expressing her surprise at their sudden return home, which, as their own
carriage had not fetched them, she should have known nothing about, if she
had not happened to see Mr. Jones's shop-boy in the street, who had told
her that they were not to send any more draughts to Netherfield because
the Miss Bennets were come away, when her civility was claimed towards Mr.
Collins by Jane's introduction of him. She received him with her very best
politeness, which he returned with as much more, apologising for his
intrusion, without any previous acquaintance with her, which he could not
help flattering himself, however, might be justified by his relationship
to the young ladies who introduced him to her notice. Mrs. Phillips was
quite awed by such an excess of good breeding; but her contemplation of
one stranger was soon put to an end by exclamations and inquiries about
the other; of whom, however, she could only tell her nieces what they
already knew, that Mr. Denny had brought him from London, and that he was
to have a lieutenant's commission in the &mdash;&mdash;shire. She had been
watching him the last hour, she said, as he walked up and down the street,
and had Mr. Wickham appeared, Kitty and Lydia would certainly have
continued the occupation, but unluckily no one passed windows now except a
few of the officers, who, in comparison with the stranger, were become
&ldquo;stupid, disagreeable fellows.&rdquo; Some of them were to dine with the
Phillipses the next day, and their aunt promised to make her husband call
on Mr. Wickham, and give him an invitation also, if the family from
Longbourn would come in the evening. This was agreed to, and Mrs. Phillips
protested that they would have a nice comfortable noisy game of lottery
tickets, and a little bit of hot supper afterwards. The prospect of such
delights was very cheering, and they parted in mutual good spirits. Mr.
Collins repeated his apologies in quitting the room, and was assured with
unwearying civility that they were perfectly needless.
</p>
<p>
As they walked home, Elizabeth related to Jane what she had seen pass
between the two gentlemen; but though Jane would have defended either or
both, had they appeared to be in the wrong, she could no more explain such
behaviour than her sister.
</p>
<p>
Mr. Collins on his return highly gratified Mrs. Bennet by admiring Mrs.
Phillips's manners and politeness. He protested that, except Lady
Catherine and her daughter, he had never seen a more elegant woman; for
she had not only received him with the utmost civility, but even pointedly
included him in her invitation for the next evening, although utterly
unknown to her before. Something, he supposed, might be attributed to his
connection with them, but yet he had never met with so much attention in
the whole course of his life.
</p>
<p>
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</p>
<div style="height: 4em;">
<br /><br /><br /><br />
</div>
<h2>
Chapter 16
</h2>
<p>
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.
</p>
<p>
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 apartment, that he declared he
might almost have supposed himself in the small summer breakfast parlour
at Rosings; a comparison that did not at first convey much gratification;
but when Mrs. Phillips understood from him what Rosings was, and who was
its proprietor&mdash;when she had listened to the description of only one
of Lady Catherine's drawing-rooms, and found that the chimney-piece alone
had cost eight hundred pounds, she felt all the force of the compliment,
and would hardly have resented a comparison with the housekeeper's room.
</p>
<p>
In describing to her all the grandeur of Lady Catherine and her mansion,
with occasional digressions in praise of his own humble abode, and the
improvements it was receiving, he was happily employed until the gentlemen
joined them; and he found in Mrs. Phillips a very attentive listener,
whose opinion of his consequence increased with what she heard, and who
was resolving to retail it all among her neighbours as soon as she could.
To the girls, who could not listen to their cousin, and who had nothing to
do but to wish for an instrument, and examine their own indifferent
imitations of china on the 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
degree of unreasonable admiration. The officers of the &mdash;&mdash;shire
were in general a very creditable, gentlemanlike set, and the best of them
were of the present party; but Mr. Wickham was as far beyond them all in
person, countenance, air, and walk, as <i>they</i> were superior to the
broad-faced, stuffy uncle Phillips, breathing port wine, who followed them
into the room.
</p>
<p>
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 into
conversation, though it was only on its being a wet night, made her feel
that the commonest, dullest, most threadbare topic might be rendered
interesting by the skill of the speaker.
</p>
<p>
With such rivals for the notice of the fair as Mr. Wickham and the
officers, Mr. Collins seemed to sink into insignificance; to the young
ladies he certainly was nothing; but he had still at intervals a kind
listener in Mrs. Phillips, and was by her watchfulness, most abundantly
supplied with coffee and muffin. When the card-tables were placed, he had
the opportunity of obliging her in turn, by sitting down to whist.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I know little of the game at present,&rdquo; said he, &ldquo;but I shall be glad to
improve myself, for in my situation in life&mdash;&rdquo; Mrs. Phillips was very
glad for his compliance, but could not wait for his reason.
</p>
<p>
Mr. Wickham did not play at whist, and with ready delight was he received
at the other table between Elizabeth and Lydia. At first there seemed
danger of Lydia's engrossing him entirely, for she was a most determined
talker; but being likewise extremely fond of lottery tickets, she soon
grew too much interested in the game, too eager in making bets and
exclaiming after prizes to have attention for anyone in particular.
Allowing for the common demands of the game, Mr. Wickham was therefore at
leisure to talk to Elizabeth, and she was very willing to hear him, though
what she chiefly wished to hear she could not hope to be told&mdash;the
history of his acquaintance with Mr. Darcy. She dared not even mention
that gentleman. Her curiosity, however, was unexpectedly relieved. Mr.
Wickham began the subject himself. He inquired how far Netherfield was
from Meryton; and, after receiving her answer, asked in a hesitating
manner how long Mr. Darcy had been staying there.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;About a month,&rdquo; said Elizabeth; and then, unwilling to let the subject
drop, added, &ldquo;He is a man of very large property in Derbyshire, I
understand.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes,&rdquo; replied Mr. Wickham; &ldquo;his estate there is a noble one. A clear ten
thousand per annum. You could not have met with a person more capable of
giving you certain information on that head than myself, for I have been
connected with his family in a particular manner from my infancy.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth could not but look surprised.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;You may well be surprised, Miss Bennet, at such an assertion, after
seeing, as you probably might, the very cold manner of our meeting
yesterday. Are you much acquainted with Mr. Darcy?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;As much as I ever wish to be,&rdquo; cried Elizabeth very warmly. &ldquo;I have spent
four days in the same house with him, and I think him very disagreeable.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I have no right to give <i>my</i> opinion,&rdquo; said Wickham, &ldquo;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 <i>me</i>
to be impartial. But I believe your opinion of him would in general
astonish&mdash;and perhaps you would not express it quite so strongly
anywhere else. Here you are in your own family.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Upon my word, I say no more <i>here</i> than I might say in any house in
the neighbourhood, except Netherfield. He is not at all liked in
Hertfordshire. Everybody is disgusted with his pride. You will not find
him more favourably spoken of by anyone.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I cannot pretend to be sorry,&rdquo; said Wickham, after a short interruption,
&ldquo;that he or that any man should not be estimated beyond their deserts; but
with <i>him</i> I believe it does not often happen. The world is blinded
by his fortune and consequence, or frightened by his high and imposing
manners, and sees him only as he chooses to be seen.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I should take him, even on <i>my</i> slight acquaintance, to be an
ill-tempered man.&rdquo; Wickham only shook his head.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I wonder,&rdquo; said he, at the next opportunity of speaking, &ldquo;whether he is
likely to be in this country much longer.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I do not at all know; but I <i>heard</i> nothing of his going away when I
was at Netherfield. I hope your plans in favour of the &mdash;&mdash;shire
will not be affected by his being in the neighbourhood.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Oh! no&mdash;it is not for <i>me</i> to be driven away by Mr. Darcy. If
<i>he</i> wishes to avoid seeing <i>me</i>, 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 <i>him</i> but what I might proclaim before all the
world, a sense of very great ill-usage, and most painful regrets at his
being what he is. His father, Miss Bennet, the late Mr. Darcy, was one of
the best men that ever breathed, and the truest friend I ever had; and I
can never be in company with this Mr. Darcy without being grieved to the
soul by a thousand tender recollections. His behaviour to myself has been
scandalous; but I verily believe I could forgive him anything and
everything, rather than his disappointing the hopes and disgracing the
memory of his father.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth found the interest of the subject increase, and listened with
all her heart; but the delicacy of it prevented further inquiry.
</p>
<p>
Mr. Wickham began to speak on more general topics, Meryton, the
neighbourhood, the society, appearing highly pleased with all that he had
yet seen, and speaking of the latter with gentle but very intelligible
gallantry.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It was the prospect of constant society, and good society,&rdquo; he added,
&ldquo;which was my chief inducement to enter the &mdash;&mdash;shire. I knew 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
attentions and excellent acquaintances Meryton had procured them. Society,
I own, is necessary to me. I have been a disappointed man, and my spirits
will not bear solitude. I <i>must</i> have employment and society. A
military life is not what I was intended for, but circumstances have now
made it eligible. The church <i>ought</i> to have been my profession&mdash;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 gentleman we were
speaking of just now.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Indeed!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Yes&mdash;the late Mr. Darcy bequeathed me the next presentation of the
best living in his gift. He was my godfather, and excessively attached to
me. I cannot do justice to his kindness. He meant to provide for me amply,
and thought he had done it; but when the living fell, it was given
elsewhere.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Good heavens!&rdquo; cried Elizabeth; &ldquo;but how could <i>that</i> be? How could
his will be disregarded? Why did you not seek legal redress?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;There was just such an informality in the terms of the bequest as to give
me no hope from law. A man of honour could not have doubted the intention,
but Mr. Darcy chose to doubt it&mdash;or to treat it as a merely
conditional recommendation, and to assert that I had forfeited all claim
to it by extravagance, imprudence&mdash;in short anything or nothing.
Certain it is, that the living became vacant two years ago, exactly as I
was of an age to hold it, and that it was given to another man; and no
less certain is it, that I cannot accuse myself of having really done
anything to deserve to lose it. I have a warm, unguarded temper, and I may
have spoken my opinion <i>of</i> him, and <i>to</i> 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;This is quite shocking! He deserves to be publicly disgraced.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Some time or other he <i>will</i> be&mdash;but it shall not be by <i>me</i>.
Till I can forget his father, I can never defy or expose <i>him</i>.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth honoured him for such feelings, and thought him handsomer than
ever as he expressed them.
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;But what,&rdquo; said she, after a pause, &ldquo;can have been his motive? What can
have induced him to behave so cruelly?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;A thorough, determined dislike of me&mdash;a dislike which I cannot but
attribute in some measure to jealousy. Had the late Mr. Darcy liked me
less, his son might have borne with me better; but his father's uncommon
attachment to me irritated him, I believe, very early in life. He had not
a temper to bear the sort of competition in which we stood&mdash;the sort
of preference which was often given me.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I had not thought Mr. Darcy so bad as this&mdash;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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
After a few minutes' reflection, however, she continued, &ldquo;I <i>do</i>
remember his boasting one day, at Netherfield, of the implacability of his
resentments, of his having an unforgiving temper. His disposition must be
dreadful.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;I will not trust myself on the subject,&rdquo; replied Wickham; &ldquo;I can hardly
be just to him.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
Elizabeth was again deep in thought, and after a time exclaimed, &ldquo;To treat
in such a manner the godson, the friend, the favourite of his father!&rdquo; She
could have added, &ldquo;A young man, too, like <i>you</i>, whose very
countenance may vouch for your being amiable&rdquo;&mdash;but she contented
herself with, &ldquo;and one, too, who had probably been his companion from
childhood, connected together, as I think you said, in the closest
manner!&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;We were born in the same parish, within the same park; the greatest part
of our youth was passed together; inmates of the same house, sharing the
same amusements, objects of the same parental care. <i>My</i> father began
life in the profession which your uncle, Mr. Phillips, appears to do so
much credit to&mdash;but he gave up everything to be of use to the late
Mr. Darcy and devoted all his time to the care of the Pemberley property.
He was most highly esteemed by Mr. Darcy, a most intimate, confidential
friend. Mr. Darcy often acknowledged himself to be under the greatest
obligations to my father's active superintendence, and when, immediately
before my father's death, Mr. Darcy gave him a voluntary promise of
providing for me, I am convinced that he felt it to be as much a debt of
gratitude to <i>him</i>, as of his affection to myself.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;How strange!&rdquo; cried Elizabeth. &ldquo;How abominable! I wonder that the very
pride of this Mr. Darcy has not made him just to you! If from no better
motive, that he should not have been too proud to be dishonest&mdash;for
dishonesty I must call it.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;It <i>is</i> wonderful,&rdquo; replied Wickham, &ldquo;for almost all his actions may
be traced to pride; and pride had often been his best friend. It has
connected him nearer with virtue than with any other feeling. But we are
none of us consistent, and in his behaviour to me there were stronger
impulses even than pride.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;Can such abominable pride as his have ever done him good?&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;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 <i>filial</i> pride&mdash;for he is very proud of
what his father was&mdash;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 <i>brotherly</i>
pride, which, with <i>some</i> 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.&rdquo;
</p>
<p>
&ldquo;