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Jane Austen: Pride and Prejudice                                

Back in 2012 my first programming project  was to create a UTF-8
based plain text typesetting system. I wanted to make the source
file to be the most  satisfying to the human eye even in its raw

Long term goal was to create a system which converts this source
file to TeX, PDF, HTML, MOBI, and EPUB.                         

The project was abandoned but you can see a demo code below.    

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Unfortunately the code still uses underscores to indicate empha-
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text with clever use zero width space characters.               

-=[ japrpr.txt ]=================================================-

                           Jane Austen                            

                       Pride and Prejudice                        

                            Chapter 1                             

It is a truth universally acknowledged,  that a single man in pos‐
session of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.             
  However  little known the feelings or views of such a man may be
on  his  first  entering  a neighbourhood,  this truth is so  well
fixed in  the  minds of the surrounding families,  that he is con‐
sidered the rightful property of some one or other of their daugh‐
  “My dear Mr.  Bennet,” said his lady  to him one day,  “have you
heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?”                      
  Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.                             
  “But it is,” returned she;  “for Mrs.  Long  has just been here,
and she told me all about it.”                                    
  Mr. Bennet made no answer.                                      
  “Do you not want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impa‐
  “_You_ want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.” 
  This was invitation enough.                                     
  “Why,  my dear, you must know,  Mrs.  Long says that Netherfield
is  taken  by a  young man  of large  fortune  from the  north  of
England;  that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four  to see
the place,  and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with
Mr.  Morris immediately;  that he is to take possession before Mi‐
chaelmas,  and some  of his servants are to be in the house by the
end of next week.”                                                
  “What is his name?”                                             
  “Is he married or single?”                                      
  “Oh!  Single,  my dear, to  be sure!  A single man of large for‐
tune;  four or  five thousand a  year.  What a  fine thing for our
  “How so? How can it affect them?”                               
  “My dear Mr. Bennet,” replied his wife, “how can you be so tire‐
some!  You must  know that I am  thinking  of his  marrying one of
  “Is that his design in settling here?”                          
  “Design!  Nonsense,  how can you talk so!  But it is very likely
that he _may_ fall  in love  with one of them,  and therefore  you
must visit him as soon as he comes.”                              
  “I see no occasion  for that.  You and the girls may go,  or you
may send them by themselves,  which perhaps will be still  better,
for as you are as handsome as any of  them,  Mr.  Bingley may like
you the best of the party.”                                       
  “My dear,  you flatter me.  I certainly _have_  had my  share of
beauty,  but I do not pretend  to  be anything  extraordinary now.
When a woman has  five grown-up daughters,  she ought to give over
thinking of her own beauty.”                                      
  “In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of.” 
  “But,  my dear,  you must indeed go and see Mr.  Bingley when he
comes into the neighbourhood.”                                    
  “It is more than I engage for, I assure you.”                   
  “But consider your daughters.  Only think  what an establishment
it would be for  one of  them.  Sir William and Lady Lucas are de‐
termined to go, merely on that account,  for in general, you know,
they visit  no newcomers.  Indeed you must go,  for it will be im‐
possible for _us_ to visit him if you do not.”                    
  “You are over-scrupulous,  surely.  I dare say Mr.  Bingley will
be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to as‐
sure  him  of my  hearty  consent  to his  marrying  whichever  he
chooses of the girls;  though I  must throw in  a good word for my
little Lizzy.”                                                    
  “I desire you will do no such  thing.  Lizzy is not a bit better
than the others;  and  I  am sure she is  not half so  handsome as
Jane,  nor half so good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always giv‐
ing _her_ the preference.”                                        
  “They  have  none  of them much to recommend them,” replied  he;
“they  are all silly and ignorant like other girls;  but Lizzy has
something more of quickness than her sisters.”                    
  “Mr.  Bennet,  how  _can_ you abuse your own  children in such a
way? You take delight in vexing me.  You have no compassion for my
poor nerves.”                                                     
  “You  mistake me,  my  dear.  I have a  high  respect  for  your
nerves.  They are  my old friends.  I have heard you mention  them
with consideration these last twenty years at least.”             
  “Ah, you do not know what I suffer.”                            
  “But I hope you  will get over  it,  and  live to see many young
men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood.”         
  “It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come,  since you
will not visit them.”                                             
  “Depend upon  it,  my dear,  that when there are twenty,  I will
visit them all.”                                                  
  Mr.  Bennet was so odd  a mixture of quick parts,  sarcastic hu‐
mour,  reserve,  and  caprice,  that the  experience of three-and‐
twenty years  had  been insufficient  to make his wife  understand
his character.  _Her_ 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.                                     

                            Chapter 2                             

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 even‐
ing after the visit was paid  she had no knowledge of it.  It  was
then disclosed  in  the  following  manner.  Observing  his second
daughter  employed  in trimming  a hat,  he suddenly addressed her
  “I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy.”                       
  “We are not  in a way to know _what_  Mr.  Bingley likes,”  said
her mother resentfully, “since we are not to visit.”              
  “But  you forget,  mamma,” said  Elizabeth,  “that we shall meet
him at the  assemblies,  and that Mrs.  Long promised to introduce
  “I do not believe Mrs.  Long will do any such thing. She has two
nieces of  her own.  She is a selfish,  hypocritical woman,  and I
have no opinion of her.”                                          
  “No more have I,” said Mr.  Bennet;  “and I am glad to find that
you do not depend on her serving you.”                            
  Mrs.  Bennet deigned not to make any reply,  but, unable to con‐
tain herself, began scolding one of her daughters.                
  “Don't  keep  coughing  so,  Kitty,  for  Heaven's sake! Have  a
little compassion on my nerves. You tear them to pieces.”         
  “Kitty has no discretion  in her coughs,” said her father;  “she
times them ill.”                                                  
  “I do not cough  for my own amusement,” replied Kitty fretfully.
“When is your next ball to be, Lizzy?”                            
  “To-morrow fortnight.”                                          
  “Aye, so it is,” cried her mother,  “and Mrs. Long does not come
back till the day before;  so it will be impossible for her to in‐
troduce him, for she will not know him herself.”                  
  “Then,  my dear,  you may have the advantage of your friend, and
introduce Mr. Bingley to _her_.”                                  
  “Impossible,  Mr.  Bennet,  impossible, when I am not acquainted
with him myself; how can you be so teasing?”                      
  “I 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  _we_ do not venture somebody else
will;  and after all, Mrs. Long and her daughters 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.”             
  The  girls  stared at  their  father.  Mrs.  Bennet  said  only,
“Nonsense, nonsense!”                                             
  “What can  be the meaning  of that emphatic  exclamation?” cried
he.  “Do  you consider the  forms of introduction,  and the stress
that is laid on them,  as nonsense?  I cannot quite agree with you
_there_. What say you, Mary?  For you are a young lady of deep re‐
flection, I know, and read great books and make extracts.”        
  Mary wished to say something sensible, but knew not how.        
  “While Mary is adjusting her ideas,” he continued,  “let us  re‐
turn to Mr. Bingley.”                                             
  “I am sick of Mr. Bingley,” cried his wife.                     
  “I am sorry to hear _that_; but why did not you tell me that be‐
fore?  If I had  known as much this morning I  certainly would not
have called on him.  It is very unlucky;  but as  I have  actually
paid the visit, we cannot escape the acquaintance now.”           
  The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished;  that of
Mrs.  Bennet perhaps surpassing the rest;  though,  when the first
tumult of joy was over,  she began to declare that it was what she
had expected all the while.                                       
  “How good it  was in you,  my  dear Mr.  Bennet!  But I  knew  I
should persuade  you at last.  I was sure you loved your girls too
well to neglect such an acquaintance. Well,  how pleased I am! and
it is such a good joke, too,  that you should have gone this morn‐
ing and never said a word about it till now.”                     
  “Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you choose,” said Mr. Ben‐
net;  and, as he spoke, he left the  room,  fatigued with the rap‐
tures of his wife.                                                
  “What an excellent father you have,  girls!” said she,  when the
door was shut.  “I  do  not know how you will ever make him amends
for his kindness;  or me, either,  for that matter. At our time of
life it is not so pleasant,  I can tell you,  to be making new ac‐
quaintances every day;  but for your sakes,  we would do anything.
Lydia,  my love, though you _are_  the youngest,  I dare  say  Mr.
Bingley will dance with you at the next ball.”                    
  “Oh!” said  Lydia stoutly,  “I am not afraid;  for though I _am_
the youngest, I'm the tallest.”                                   
  The rest  of the  evening was spent in conjecturing how soon  he
would return Mr.  Bennet's visit, and determining when they should
ask him to dinner.                                                

                            Chapter 3                             

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—with  barefaced questions,  in‐
genious 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 re‐
port was  highly favourable.  Sir William  had been delighted with
him.  He was quite young,  wonderfully handsome,  extremely agree‐
able,  and,  to  crown the  whole,  he meant to be at the next as‐
sembly  with a large party.  Nothing could be more delightful!  To
be  fond of  dancing was a  certain step towards falling in  love;
and very lively hopes of Mr. Bingley's heart were entertained.    
  “If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Nether‐
field,”  said  Mrs.  Bennet to her husband,  “and all  the  others
equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for.”          
  In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr.  Bennet's visit,  and sat
about  ten  minutes with him in  his library.  He had  entertained
hopes of being  admitted to a sight of the young ladies,  of whose
beauty he had heard much;  but he saw only the father.  The ladies
were somewhat more fortunate, for they had the advantage of ascer‐
taining from an upper window that he wore a blue coat,  and rode a
black horse.                                                      
  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 invita‐
tion, etc.  Mrs. Bennet was quite disconcerted. She could not ima‐
gine what business  he could have in town so  soon  after  his ar‐
rival in Hertfordshire; and she began to fear that he might be al‐
ways 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 Lon‐
don—his five sisters and a cousin.  And when the party entered the
assembly room it  consisted of  only five altogether—Mr.  Bingley,
his two  sisters,  the husband of  the eldest,  and  another young
  Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike;  he had a pleas‐
ant 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 gen‐
eral 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 hav‐
ing a most forbidding,  disagreeable countenance,  and  being  un‐
worthy to be compared with his friend.                            
  Mr.  Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with all the prin‐
cipal 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 occa‐
sionally to one of his own  party.  His character was decided.  He
was the proudest,  most disagreeable man in the world,  and every‐
body hoped that he would never come there again.  Amongst the most
violent against him was Mrs. Bennet,  whose dislike of his general
behaviour was sharpened  into particular resentment by his  having
slighted one of her daughters.                                    
  Elizabeth Bennet had been  obliged,  by the  scarcity of gentle‐
men,  to sit down for two dances;  and  during part of that  time,
Mr.  Darcy had been standing near enough for her to hear a conver‐
sation between him and Mr.  Bingley, who came from the dance for a
few minutes, to press his friend to join it.                      
  “Come,  Darcy,” said he,  “I must have you dance.  I hate to see
you  standing about by  yourself in  this stupid  manner.  You had
much better dance.”                                               
  “I certainly shall not.  You know how  I detest it,  unless I am
particularly acquainted with  my partner.  At such  an assembly as
this it would  be  insupportable.  Your sisters  are engaged,  and
there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a pun‐
ishment to me to stand up with.”                                  
  “I would not be so  fastidious as  you are,” cried Mr.  Bingley,
“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.”                                  
  “_You_  are dancing  with the only  handsome girl in the  room,”
said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.                
  “Oh!  She  is  the most beautiful  creature I ever  beheld!  But
there is one of  her sisters sitting down just behind you,  who is
very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask my part‐
ner to introduce you.”                                            
  “Which do you mean?” and turning  round he looked  for a  moment
at  Elizabeth,  till catching  her  eye,  he  withdrew his own and
coldly said:  “She is tolerable,  but not handsome enough to tempt
_me_;  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.”                                                         
  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 any‐
thing ridiculous.                                                 
  The  evening  altogether passed off pleasantly to the whole fam‐
ily. 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.  Eliza‐
beth 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 Long‐
bourn,  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.             
  “Oh! my dear Mr.  Bennet,” as she entered the room, “we have had
a most delightful evening,  a most excellent ball.  I wish you had
been there. Jane was so admired,  nothing could be like it. Every‐
body said how well she looked;  and Mr.  Bingley thought her quite
beautiful,  and danced  with her twice!  Only think of _that_,  my
dear;  he  actually danced  with her  twice!  and she was the only
creature in  the room that  he asked a second time.  First of all,
he asked Miss Lucas.  I was so vexed to see him stand up with her!
But,  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
  “If he had had any compassion for _me_,” cried her husband impa‐
tiently,  “he would not have danced half so much!  For God's sake,
say no more of his partners.  Oh that he had sprained his ankle in
the first dance!”                                                 
  “Oh!  my dear,  I am quite delighted with  him. He is so excess‐
ively handsome! And his sisters are charming women.  I never in my
life saw anything more elegant than their dresses.  I dare say the
lace upon Mrs. Hurst's gown—”                                     
  Here she was  interrupted  again.  Mr.  Bennet protested against
any description of finery.  She  was therefore obliged to seek an‐
other branch of the subject, and related,  with much bitterness of
spirit  and  some  exaggeration,  the  shocking  rudeness  of  Mr.
  “But I  can assure you,”  she added,  “that  Lizzy does not lose
much by not suiting _his_ fancy;  for  he is  a most disagreeable,
horrid man,  not  at all worth pleasing.  So high and so conceited
that  there was no enduring him!  He  walked  here,  and he walked
there,  fancying himself  so very  great!  Not  handsome enough to
dance with! I wish you had been there,  my dear, to have given him
one of your set-downs. I quite detest the man.”                   

                            Chapter 4                             

When Jane and Elizabeth were alone,  the former, who had been cau‐
tious in her praise of Mr.  Bingley before,  expressed to her sis‐
ter just how very much she admired him.                           
  “He is just what a young man ought to be,” said she,  “sensible,
good-humoured,  lively;  and  I never saw  such  happy manners!—so
much ease, with such perfect good breeding!”                      
  “He  is also handsome,” replied  Elizabeth,  “which a  young man
ought  likewise to  be,  if  he  possibly  can.  His character  is
thereby complete.”                                                
  “I was very  much flattered by  his asking me to dance  a second
time. I did not expect such a compliment.”                        
  “Did not you?  I did for you.  But that is  one great difference
between us.  Compliments always take _you_ by surprise,  and  _me_
never.  What could be more natural than his asking  you again?  He
could  not help seeing that you were about five times as pretty as
every other  woman in the  room.  No thanks to  his gallantry  for
that.  Well,  he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leave
to like him. You have liked many a stupider person.”              
  “Dear Lizzy!”                                                   
  “Oh!  you are a great deal too apt,  you know, to like people in
general.  You never see a fault in anybody. All the world are good
and agreeable in your  eyes.  I never heard you speak ill of a hu‐
man being in your life.”                                          
  “I would not wish to be hasty in censuring anyone;  but I always
speak what I think.”                                              
  “I  know you do;  and it is _that_ which makes the wonder.  With
_your_ good sense, to be so honestly blind to the follies and non‐
sense  of  others!  Affectation of  candour  is  common enough—one
meets with it everywhere.  But to be candid without ostentation or
design—to  take  the  good  of everybody's character  and  make it
still  better,  and  say nothing of  the bad—belongs to you alone.
And so you like this man's sisters,  too,  do you?  Their  manners
are not equal to his.”                                            
  “Certainly not—at first.  But they are very pleasing women  when
you converse with them.  Miss Bingley is to live with her brother,
and keep his house;  and I am much mistaken if we shall not find a
very charming neighbour in her.”                                  
  Elizabeth listened in silence,  but was not convinced; their be‐
haviour at the assembly had not been  calculated to please in gen‐
eral;  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 them‐
selves  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  oth‐
ers. 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
  Mr.  Bingley inherited property to the  amount of nearly  a hun‐
dred thousand  pounds from his  father,  who had intended to  pur‐
chase an estate,  but did not live to do it. Mr.  Bingley intended
it likewise,  and sometimes made choice of his  county;  but as he
was now provided with a good house and the liberty of a manor,  it
was doubtful  to  many of those who best knew  the easiness of his
temper,  whether he might  not spend the remainder  of his days at
Netherfield, and leave the next generation to purchase.           
  His sisters were 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—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—was pleased  with  the
situation and the principal  rooms,  satisfied with what the owner
said in its praise, and took it immediately.                      
  Between  him  and Darcy there was  a very steady friendship,  in
spite of 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 fastidi‐
ous,  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.                                                   
  The manner in which they spoke of the Meryton assembly  was suf‐
ficiently characteristic.  Bingley had  never met with more pleas‐
ant people or prettier girls in his life;  everybody had been most
kind and attentive to him;  there had been no formality, no stiff‐
ness;  he had soon felt acquainted with all the room;  and,  as to
Miss Bennet,  he could not conceive an angel more beautiful.  Dar‐
cy,  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 atten‐
tion or pleasure.  Miss Bennet he acknowledged to be  pretty,  but
she smiled too much.                                              
  Mrs. Hurst and her sister allowed it to be so—but still they ad‐
mired 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.      

                            Chapter 5                             

Within a short walk of Longbourn lived a family with whom the Ben‐
nets  were  particularly  intimate.  Sir William  Lucas  had  been
formerly in trade in Meryton,  where he had made a  tolerable for‐
tune,  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 supercili‐
ous;  on the contrary,  he  was  all  attention  to everybody.  By
nature inoffensive,  friendly,  and obliging,  his presentation at
St. James's had made him courteous.                               
  Lady Lucas was a very good kind of  woman,  not too 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.                    
  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 communic‐
  “_You_  began  the evening well,  Charlotte,” said  Mrs.  Bennet
with civil self-command to Miss Lucas.  “_You_ were Mr.  Bingley's
first choice.”                                                    
  “Yes; but he seemed to like his second better.”                 
  “Oh!  you  mean Jane,  I suppose,  because  he  danced with  her
twice.  To be sure  that _did_ seem as if he  admired her—indeed I
rather believe he  _did_—I heard something about  it—but  I hardly
know what—something about Mr. Robinson.”                          
  “Perhaps you mean what  I overheard between him and  Mr.  Robin‐
son;  did not I mention it to you?  Mr.  Robinson's asking him how
he  liked our  Meryton assemblies,  and  whether he did not  think
there were a great many  pretty women in the room,  and _which_ he
thought the prettiest?  and his answering immediately to  the last
question: 'Oh! the eldest Miss Bennet, beyond a doubt;  there can‐
not be two opinions on that point.'”                              
  “Upon my word! Well,  that is very decided indeed—that does seem
as if—but, however, it may all come to nothing, you know.”        
  “_My_ overhearings were more to the purpose than _yours_, Eliza‐
,”  said Charlotte.  “Mr.  Darcy is not so well worth listening to
as his friend, is he?—poor Eliza!—to be only just _tolerable_.”   
  “I beg  you 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.”                                                
  “Are  you quite  sure,  ma'am?—is  not there a  little mistake?”
said Jane. “I certainly saw Mr. Darcy speaking to her.”           
  “Aye—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.”                                         
  “Miss Bingley told me,” said Jane,  “that  he never speaks much,
unless among his intimate acquaintances. With _them_ he is remark‐
ably agreeable.”                                                  
  “I do not believe a word of it,  my dear. If he had been so very
agreeable, he would have talked to Mrs.  Long. But I can guess how
it was;  everybody  says that he is eat up with pride,  and I dare
say he had heard somehow that Mrs.  Long does not keep a carriage,
and had come to the ball in a hack chaise.”                       
  “I do not mind  his not talking to Mrs.  Long,” said Miss Lucas,
“but I wish he had danced with Eliza.”                            
  “Another time,  Lizzy,” said her mother, “I would not dance with
_him_, if I were you.”                                            
  “I believe,  ma'am,  I may  safely promise you  _never_ to dance
with him.”                                                        
  “His pride,” said Miss  Lucas,  “does not offend _me_ so much as
pride often does,  because there is an excuse for it.  One  cannot
wonder  that so very fine  a  young  man,  with  family,  fortune,
everything  in his favour,  should  think highly of himself.  If I
may so express it, he has a _right_ to be proud.”                 
  “That is very true,” replied Elizabeth, “and I could easily for‐
give _his_ pride, if he had not mortified _mine_.”                
  “Pride,” observed Mary,  who piqued herself upon the solidity of
her reflections,  “is  a very common  failing,  I believe.  By all
that  I have ever read,  I am convinced that it is very common in‐
deed;  that human nature is particularly  prone  to it,  and  that
there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-com‐
placency on the score  of some quality or  other,  real or imagin‐
ary.  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.”                           
  “If I were as rich as Mr. Darcy,” cried a young Lucas,  who came
with his sisters,  “I  should  not care how  proud I was.  I would
keep a pack of foxhounds, and drink a bottle of wine a day.”      
  “Then you would drink a  great deal more than  you  ought,” said
Mrs.  Bennet; “and if I were to see you at it,  I should take away
your bottle directly.”                                            
  The boy protested that she should not;  she continued to declare
that she would, and the argument ended only with the visit.       

                            Chapter 6                             

The ladies of Longbourn soon waited on  those of Netherfield.  The
visit  was soon returned in due form.  Miss Bennet's pleasing man‐
ners 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 _them_ was expressed towards the  two eldest.  By Jane,  this
attention was received with the greatest  pleasure,  but Elizabeth
still  saw  superciliousness  in  their  treatment  of  everybody,
hardly excepting even her sister,  and could not like them; though
their kindness to Jane,  such as it was, had a value as arising in
all probability from the influence of their  brother's admiration.
It  was generally evident whenever they met,  that he _did_ admire
her and to _her_ it was  equally evident that Jane was yielding to
the preference  which she had begun to entertain for him  from the
first,  and was in a way  to be very much  in  love;  but she con‐
sidered  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 man‐
ner which would guard her from the suspicions of the  impertinent.
She mentioned this to her friend Miss Lucas.                      
  “It may perhaps be pleasant,” replied Charlotte,  “to be able to
impose on the public in such a case;  but it is sometimes a disad‐
vantage to be so very guarded.  If  a woman conceals her affection
with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the oppor‐
tunity of fixing him;  and it will then be but poor consolation to
believe the world equally in the dark. There is so much of gratit‐
ude  or vanity in almost every attachment,  that it is not safe to
leave  any to itself.  We  can all _begin_ freely—a slight prefer‐
ence 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  _more_  affection  than
she  feels.  Bingley  likes your sister undoubtedly;  but  he  may
never do more than like her, if she does not help him on.”        
  “But she does help him on, as much as her nature will allow.  If
I can perceive her regard for him,  he  must be a  simpleton,  in‐
deed, not to discover it too.”                                    
  “Remember,  Eliza,  that he does not know  Jane's disposition as
you do.”                                                          
  “But if a woman is partial to a  man,  and does not endeavour to
conceal it, he must find it out.”                                 
  “Perhaps he must,  if he sees enough of her. But, though Bingley
and Jane meet tolerably often,  it is never for many hours togeth‐
er;  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.”                                                     
  “Your plan is a good one,” replied Elizabeth,  “where nothing is
in question but the desire of  being well  married,  and if I were
determined to get  a  rich husband,  or any husband,  I dare say I
should adopt it.  But these are  not Jane's  feelings;  she is not
acting by design.  As yet,  she cannot even be certain  of the de‐
gree 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.”                                    
  “Not as you represent it.  Had she merely _dined_ with him,  she
might only have  discovered whether he had  a good  appetite;  but
you must remember that four evenings have  also been spent togeth‐
er—and four evenings may do a great deal.”                        
  “Yes;  these four evenings have  enabled them to ascertain  that
they both like Vingt-un better than Commerce;  but with respect to
any  other leading characteristic,  I do not imagine that much has
been unfolded.”                                                   
  “Well,” said Charlotte,  “I wish Jane success with all my heart;
and if she were married to  him to-morrow,  I should think she had
as good a  chance of  happiness as if she were  to be studying his
character for a twelvemonth.  Happiness  in marriage is entirely a
matter of chance.  If  the dispositions of the parties are ever so
well known to each other or ever so similar  beforehand,  it  does
not advance their felicity in the least.  They always  continue to
grow sufficiently  unlike afterwards  to have their share of vexa‐
tion;  and it is better to know as little as possible  of the  de‐
fects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.”         
  “You make me laugh,  Charlotte; but it is not sound. You know it
is  not sound,  and  that  you would never  act in  this way your‐
  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 fea‐
ture  in her  face,  than he began to find it was rendered  uncom‐
monly 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  un‐
aware;  to her  he was  only  the man  who made  himself agreeable
nowhere,  and who had  not  thought  her handsome enough to  dance
  He began to wish to know more of her, and as a step towards con‐
versing with her  himself,  attended to her conversation with oth‐
ers. His doing so drew her notice.  It was at Sir William Lucas's,
where a large party were assembled.                               
  “What does Mr.  Darcy mean,” said she to Charlotte,  “by listen‐
ing to my conversation with Colonel Forster?”                     
  “That is a question which Mr. Darcy only can answer.”           
  “But if he does it  any more I shall certainly let him know that
I see what he is about.  He has a very satirical eye,  and if I do
not begin by being impertinent myself,  I  shall  soon grow afraid
of him.”                                                          
  On his approaching them soon afterwards,  though without seeming
to  have any intention of speaking,  Miss Lucas defied  her friend
to  mention such a  subject to him;  which  immediately  provoking
Elizabeth to do it, she turned to him and said:                   
  “Did you not think,  Mr.  Darcy, that  I expressed myself uncom‐
monly well just now,  when I was  teasing Colonel Forster  to give
us a ball at Meryton?”                                            
  “With  great energy;  but it is always  a  subject which makes a
lady energetic.”                                                  
  “You are severe on us.”                                         
  “It will be _her_ turn soon  to be teased,” said Miss Lucas.  “I
am  going to open the instrument,  Eliza,  and  you know what fol‐
  “You  are a very strange  creature  by  way of  a friend!—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.” On
Miss Lucas's persevering,  however, she added,  “Very well,  if it
must be  so,  it must.” And gravely glancing at Mr.  Darcy, “There
is a 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.”                                           
  Her performance was pleasing, though by no means capital.  After
a song  or two,  and before she could reply  to the  entreaties of
several that she would sing  again,  she  was eagerly succeeded at
the instrument by her sister Mary,  who having,  in consequence of
being the only plain one in the family,  worked hard for knowledge
and accomplishments, was always impatient for display.            
  Mary had  neither genius nor taste;  and though vanity had given
her application, it had given her likewise a pedantic air and con‐
ceited manner,  which would have injured a higher degree of excel‐
lence 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 pur‐
chase praise and  gratitude by  Scotch and Irish airs,  at the re‐
quest 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.                                                         
  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  Wil‐
liam Lucas was his neighbour, till Sir William thus began:        
  “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.”                       
  “Certainly,  sir;  and  it  has the  advantage also of  being in
vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world. Every sav‐
age can dance.”                                                   
  Sir  William only smiled.  “Your friend  performs delightfully,”
he continued after  a pause,  on  seeing  Bingley  join the group;
“and I doubt not that  you are  an adept  in the science yourself,
Mr. Darcy.”                                                       
  “You saw me dance at Meryton, I believe, sir.”                  
  “Yes,  indeed,  and received no inconsiderable pleasure from the
sight. Do you often dance at St. James's?”                        
  “Never, sir.”                                                   
  “Do you not think it would be a proper compliment to the place?”
  “It is a  compliment which I  never pay to any  place if  I  can
avoid it.”                                                        
  “You have a house in town, I conclude?”                         
  Mr. Darcy bowed.                                                
  “I had once had some thought of  fixing in town myself—for  I am
fond  of superior society;  but I did not  feel quite certain that
the air of London would agree with Lady Lucas.”                   
  He paused in hopes of an answer;  but his companion was not dis‐
posed  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:                                     
  “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 desir‐
able partner.  You cannot refuse to dance,  I am sure when so much
beauty is before you.” And,  taking her hand,  he would have given
it to Mr. Darcy who,  though extremely surprised,  was not unwill‐
ing to receive  it,  when  she instantly drew back,  and said with
some discomposure to Sir William:                                 
  “Indeed, sir,  I have not the least intention of dancing.  I en‐
treat you not to  suppose that  I moved this way in  order to  beg
for a partner.”                                                   
  Mr.  Darcy,  with grave propriety,  requested  to be allowed the
honour  of her hand,  but in vain.  Elizabeth was determined;  nor
did Sir William at all shake her purpose by his attempt at persua‐
  “You excel so much in the  dance,  Miss Eliza,  that it is cruel
to deny me the happiness of seeing you;  and though this gentleman
dislikes the amusement in general, he can have no objection,  I am
sure, to oblige us for one half-hour.”                            
  “Mr. Darcy is all politeness,” said Elizabeth, smiling.         
  “He is, indeed;  but,  considering the inducement,  my dear Miss
Eliza,  we cannot wonder  at his complaisance—for who would object
to such a partner?”                                               
  Elizabeth looked  archly,  and turned away.  Her resistance  had
not  injured her  with the gentleman,  and he was  thinking of her
with some complacency, when thus accosted by Miss Bingley:        
  “I can guess the subject of your reverie.”                      
  “I should imagine not.”                                         
  “You are  considering how insupportable it would be to pass many
evenings in this manner—in such society;  and indeed I am quite of
your opinion.  I was  never more annoyed! The insipidity,  and yet
the noise—the  nothingness,  and  yet the self-importance  of  all
those  people!  What would  I  give  to  hear your  strictures  on
  “Your conjecture is totally wrong,  I  assure you.  My mind  was
more  agreeably engaged.  I have been meditating on the very great
pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face  of a pretty  woman
can bestow.”                                                      
  Miss Bingley immediately  fixed her  eyes  on his face,  and de‐
sired  he would  tell her  what lady  had  the credit of inspiring
such reflections. Mr. Darcy replied with great intrepidity:       
  “Miss Elizabeth Bennet.”                                        
  “Miss Elizabeth Bennet!” repeated Miss Bingley. “I am all aston‐
ishment.  How long has she  been such a favourite?—and pray,  when
am I to wish you joy?”                                            
  “That is  exactly the question which  I expected  you to ask.  A
lady's  imagination is very  rapid;  it  jumps from admiration  to
love,  from love to matrimony,  in  a moment.  I knew you would be
wishing me joy.”                                                  
  “Nay,  if you are 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
  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.                       

                            Chapter 7                             

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.    
  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.         
  The village of Longbourn was only one mile from Meryton;  a most
convenient distance for the young ladies,  who were  usually temp‐
ted 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 coun‐
try 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.                                             
  Their visits to Mrs.  Phillips were  now  productive of the most
interesting intelligence. Every day added something to their know‐
ledge 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  men‐
tion of  which  gave animation to their mother,  was  worthless in
their eyes when opposed to the regimentals of an ensign.          
  After listening one morning to  their effusions on this subject,
Mr. Bennet coolly observed:                                       
  “From all  that  I can collect  by your manner  of talking,  you
must be two  of the silliest girls in the country.  I have suspec‐
ted it some time, but I am now convinced.”                        
  Catherine was disconcerted, and made no answer;  but Lydia, with
perfect indifference,  continued to express her admiration of Cap‐
tain Carter,  and her hope of seeing him in the course of the day,
as he was going the next morning to London.                       
  “I am astonished,  my dear,” said Mrs. Bennet,  “that you should
be so  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.”                                                    
  “If my children are silly,  I must hope to be always sensible of
  “Yes—but as it happens, they are all of them very clever.”      
  “This is the only  point,  I flatter myself,  on which we do not
agree. I had hoped that our sentiments coincided in every particu‐
lar,  but I must so far differ from you as to think our two young‐
est daughters uncommonly foolish.”                                
  “My dear Mr.  Bennet, you must not expect such girls to have the
sense of their father and  mother.  When  they get to our  age,  I
dare say they will not think about officers  any  more than we do.
I remember the  time when I liked a red coat myself very well—and,
indeed,  so I do still at my heart;  and if a smart young colonel,
with  five or six thousand  a year,  should want one of my girls I
shall not  say nay to him;  and I thought  Colonel  Forster looked
very  becoming the other  night at Sir William's  in his regiment‐
  “Mamma,”  cried Lydia,  “my aunt  says that Colonel  Forster and
Captain  Carter do  not go  so  often to Miss Watson's as they did
when they first came;  she sees  them  now  very often standing in
Clarke's library.”                                                
  Mrs.  Bennet was prevented replying by the entrance of the foot‐
man 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 daugh‐
ter read,                                                         
  “Well,  Jane,  who  is it from? What is it about?  What  does he
say? Well, Jane, make haste and tell us; make haste, my love.”    
  “It is from Miss Bingley,” said Jane, and then read it aloud.   
  “MY DEAR FRIEND,—                                               
  “If you are not so compassionate  as to  dine to-day with Louisa
and  me,  we shall be  in danger of hating each other for the rest
of our lives,  for a whole day's 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.—Yours ever,                                             
  “CAROLINE BINGLEY”                                              
  “With  the officers!”  cried Lydia.  “I  wonder my aunt  did not
tell us of _that_.”                                               
  “Dining out,” said Mrs. Bennet, “that is very unlucky.”         
  “Can I have the carriage?” said Jane.                           
  “No, my dear,  you had better go on horseback,  because it seems
likely to rain; and then you must stay all night.”                
  “That would be a good  scheme,” said  Elizabeth,  “if  you  were
sure that they would not offer to send her home.”                 
  “Oh!  but the gentlemen will have Mr.  Bingley's chaise to go to
Meryton, and the Hursts have no horses to theirs.”                
  “I had much rather go in the coach.”                            
  “But, my dear,  your father cannot spare the horses,  I am sure.
They are wanted in the farm, Mr. Bennet, are they not?”           
  “They are wanted in the farm much oftener than I can get them.” 
  “But if you have got them to-day,” said Elizabeth,  “my mother's
purpose will be answered.”                                        
  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 un‐
easy for  her,  but her mother was  delighted.  The rain continued
the whole evening without  intermission;  Jane certainly could not
come back.                                                        
  “This was a lucky idea of mine,  indeed!” said Mrs.  Bennet more
than  once,  as if the credit of  making it rain were all her own.
Till the next morning, however, she was not aware of all the feli‐
city of her contrivance.  Breakfast was  scarcely over when a ser‐
vant from Netherfield brought the following note for Elizabeth:   
  “MY DEAREST LIZZY,—                                             
  “I find myself very unwell this morning,  which, I  suppose,  is
to  be  imputed to  my  getting  wet through  yesterday.  My  kind
friends will not hear of my  returning till I am better.  They in‐
sist also on my seeing Mr.  Jones—therefore do not  be alarmed  if
you should hear  of his having  been to me—and,  excepting a  sore
throat and headache,  there is not much the matter with me.—Yours,
  “Well,  my dear,” said Mr.  Bennet,  when Elizabeth had read the
note aloud,  “if your daughter should have a dangerous fit of ill‐
ness—if she should die,  it would be a comfort to know that it was
all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley, and under your orders.”            
  “Oh!  I am not afraid of her dying.  People do not die of little
trifling colds.  She will  be taken good care of.  As  long as she
stays there,  it is  all  very well.  I  would go and see her if I
could have the carriage.”                                         
  Elizabeth, feeling really anxious,  was determined to go to her,
though the carriage was not to be had;  and as  she  was no horse‐
woman, walking was her only alternative.  She declared her resolu‐
  “How can  you be so silly,”  cried her mother,  “as to think  of
such a  thing,  in all this dirt!  You will not be fit to  be seen
when you get there.”                                              
  “I shall be very fit to see Jane—which is all I want.”          
  “Is  this a hint to me,  Lizzy,” said  her father,  “to send for
the horses?”                                                      
  “No,  indeed,  I do not wish to avoid the walk.  The distance is
nothing when one has a motive;  only three miles.  I shall be back
by dinner.”                                                       
  “I  admire  the  activity of your  benevolence,” observed  Mary,
“but every impulse of feeling should be guided by reason; and,  in
my opinion, exertion should always be in proportion to what is re‐
  “We will go as far as Meryton with you,” said Catherine  and Ly‐
dia. Elizabeth accepted their company,  and the three young ladies
set off together.                                                 
  “If we make haste,” said Lydia,  as they walked along,  “perhaps
we may see something of Captain Carter before he goes.”           
  In  Meryton  they  parted;  the  two youngest  repaired  to  the
lodgings  of one of the  officers' wives,  and Elizabeth continued
her walk alone,  crossing field after field at a quick pace, jump‐
ing over  stiles and springing over puddles with  impatient activ‐
ity,  and finding herself at last within  view of the house,  with
weary ankles, dirty stockings,  and a face glowing with the warmth
of exercise.                                                      
  She  was shown into the breakfast-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 some‐
thing 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 ex‐
ercise had given  to  her complexion,  and  doubt as  to the occa‐
sion's justifying her coming  so far alone.  The latter was think‐
ing only of his breakfast.                                        
  Her  inquiries  after  her  sister  were  not  very   favourably
answered. Miss Bennet had slept ill,  and though up,  was very fe‐
verish, and not well enough to leave her room.  Elizabeth was glad
to be taken to her immediately; and Jane,  who had only been with‐
held 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 conversa‐
tion,  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.   
  When breakfast  was over they were  joined by the  sisters;  and
Elizabeth began to like them herself, when she saw how much affec‐
tion 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 fever‐
ish 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
  When the clock  struck three,  Elizabeth felt that  she must go,
and  very unwillingly said so.  Miss Bingley  offered her the car‐
riage,  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 in‐
vitation 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

                            Chapter 8                             

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 bet‐
ter.  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 to‐
wards Jane when  not immediately before them restored Elizabeth to
the enjoyment of all her former dislike.                          
  Their  brother,  indeed,  was the only one of the party whom she
could regard with any complacency.  His anxiety for Jane was evid‐
ent, and his attentions to herself most pleasing, and they preven‐
ted 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.                                        
  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:                           
  “She has nothing, in short,  to recommend her,  but being an ex‐
cellent walker.  I shall never forget her appearance this morning.
She really looked almost wild.”                                   
  “She did,  indeed,  Louisa.  I could hardly keep my countenance.
Very  nonsensical to come at  all!  Why  must _she_  be scampering
about the country, because her sister had a cold? Her hair, so un‐
tidy, so blowsy!”                                                 
  “Yes,  and her petticoat;  I  hope you  saw  her petticoat,  six
inches deep in mud,  I  am absolutely certain;  and the gown which
had been let down to hide it not doing its office.”               
  “Your picture may be  very exact,  Louisa,”  said Bingley;  “but
this was all lost upon me.  I thought Miss Elizabeth Bennet looked
remarkably well when  she came into  the  room  this morning.  Her
dirty petticoat quite escaped my notice.”                         
  “_You_ observed it,  Mr. Darcy,  I am sure,” said  Miss Bingley;
“and I am inclined to think that  you would not wish to see _your_
sister make such an exhibition.”                                  
  “Certainly not.”                                                
  “To walk three miles,  or four miles, or five miles, or whatever
it  is,  above her  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 de‐
  “It  shows an affection for her sister  that is very  pleasing,”
said Bingley.                                                     
  “I am afraid,  Mr. Darcy,” observed Miss Bingley in a half whis‐
per,  “that this  adventure has rather affected your admiration of
her fine eyes.”                                                   
  “Not at  all,” he replied;  “they  were brightened by  the exer‐
cise.” A short pause followed this speech,  and Mrs.  Hurst  began
  “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 connec‐
tions, I am afraid there is no chance of it.”                     
  “I think  I have  heard you say that  their uncle is an attorney
in Meryton.”                                                      
  “Yes;   and  they  have  another,   who  lives   somewhere  near
  “That  is capital,” added  her  sister,  and they  both  laughed
  “If  they  had  uncles  enough to fill _all_  Cheapside,”  cried
Bingley, “it would not make them one jot less agreeable.”         
  “But  it must  very  materially lessen their chance of  marrying
men of any consideration in the world,” replied Darcy.            
  To this speech Bingley made no answer;  but  his sisters gave it
their  hearty assent,  and  indulged their  mirth for some time at
the expense of their dear friend's vulgar relations.              
  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 en‐
tering the drawing-room she found the whole party at loo,  and was
immediately invited to join them;  but suspecting them to be play‐
ing high she declined it,  and making her sister the excuse,  said
she  would amuse herself for the short time she could  stay below,
with a book. Mr. Hurst looked at her with astonishment.           
  “Do you prefer reading to cards?” said he;  “that is rather sin‐
  “Miss Eliza Bennet,” said Miss Bingley, “despises cards.  She is
a great reader, and has no pleasure in anything else.”            
  “I deserve  neither such praise nor  such censure,” cried Eliza‐
beth;  “I  am _not_ a great reader,  and I have pleasure  in  many
  “In nursing  your  sister I am  sure you  have  pleasure,”  said
Bingley;  “and I hope  it  will be soon  increased  by seeing  her
quite well.”                                                      
  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—all that his library afforded.                   
  “And I wish  my  collection were larger for your benefit and  my
own credit;  but I am an idle fellow,  and though I have not many,
I have more than I ever looked into.”                             
  Elizabeth  assured him that  she  could  suit  herself perfectly
with those in the room.                                           
  “I  am astonished,” said  Miss Bingley,  “that my father  should
have left so small a collection of books.  What a  delightful lib‐
rary you have at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy!”                           
  “It ought to be  good,” he replied,  “it has  been  the work  of
many generations.”                                                
  “And then you have added so much to it yourself,  you are always
buying books.”                                                    
  “I  cannot comprehend  the neglect of a  family  library in such
days as these.”                                                   
  “Neglect!  I  am sure  you neglect nothing that can add  to  the
beauties  of that noble  place.  Charles,  when you  build  _your_
house, I wish it may be half as delightful as Pemberley.”         
  “I wish it may.”                                                
  “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.”                   
  “With all my heart;  I will  buy Pemberley itself  if Darcy will
sell it.”                                                         
  “I am talking of possibilities, Charles.”                       
  “Upon my word,  Caroline, I should think it more possible to get
Pemberley by purchase than by imitation.”                         
  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.   
  “Is Miss Darcy much grown since the spring?”  said Miss Bingley;
“will she be as tall as I am?”                                    
  “I think  she will.  She  is now about Miss  Elizabeth  Bennet's
height, or rather taller.”                                        
  “How  I long to see her again!  I never met with anybody who de‐
lighted me so much.  Such a countenance,  such manners! And so ex‐
tremely  accomplished  for her age!  Her performance on the piano‐
forte is exquisite.”                                              
  “It is amazing to me,” said Bingley,  “how young ladies can have
patience to be so very accomplished as they all are.”             
  “All  young ladies accomplished!  My dear  Charles,  what do you
  “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  accom‐
  “Your list of the common extent  of  accomplishments,” said Dar‐
cy,  “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 estima‐
tion of ladies in general.  I  cannot  boast of knowing  more than
half-a-dozen,  in the  whole  range of my acquaintance,  that  are
really accomplished.”                                             
  “Nor I, I am sure,” said Miss Bingley.                          
  “Then,” observed Elizabeth,  “you must  comprehend a great  deal
in your idea of an accomplished woman.”                           
  “Yes, I do comprehend a great deal in it.”                      
  “Oh!  certainly,” cried his faithful assistant,  “no  one can be
really esteemed accomplished who does not  greatly surpass what is
usually  met with.  A woman must have a thorough knowledge of  mu‐
sic, singing,  drawing, dancing, and the modern languages,  to de‐
serve 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‐
  “All this she must possess,” added Darcy,  “and to all  this she
must  yet  add something more  substantial,  in the improvement of
her mind by extensive reading.”                                   
  “I am no longer  surprised  at your  knowing  _only_ six  accom‐
plished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing _any_.”        
  “Are you so  severe upon your own sex as to  doubt the possibil‐
ity of all this?”                                                 
  “I  never  saw such  a woman.  I never  saw  such capacity,  and
taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe united.”    
  Mrs.  Hurst and  Miss  Bingley  both cried out  against the  in‐
justice  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.                     
  “Elizabeth Bennet,” said Miss Bingley,  when the door was closed
on her,  “is one of those young ladies who seek to recommend them‐
selves  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.”                                         
  “Undoubtedly,” replied  Darcy,  to whom  this remark was chiefly
addressed,  “there is a  meanness  in _all_  the arts which ladies
sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. Whatever bears af‐
finity to cunning is despicable.”                                 
  Miss Bingley was  not so entirely  satisfied  with this reply as
to continue the subject.                                          
  Elizabeth joined  them again  only  to  say that her sister  was
worse,  and that she could not leave her. Bingley urged Mr.  Jones
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 re‐
lief to his  feelings  than by giving  his housekeeper  directions
that every attention  might be paid  to the sick lady and her sis‐

                            Chapter 9                             

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 el‐
egant  ladies who waited on  his sisters.  In spite of this amend‐
ment, however, she requested to have a note sent to Longbourn, de‐
siring  her mother to visit Jane,  and form her  own judgement  of
her situation.  The note was immediately dispatched,  and its con‐
tents as quickly complied with.  Mrs.  Bennet,  accompanied by her
two  youngest  girls,  reached Netherfield  soon after  the family
  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 apo‐
thecary,  who arrived about the same time,  think it at all advis‐
able.  After sitting a little while with Jane,  on  Miss Bingley's
appearance and invitation,  the mother and three daughters all at‐
tended her  into the  breakfast  parlour.  Bingley  met them  with
hopes that Mrs.  Bennet had  not  found Miss Bennet worse than she
  “Indeed I have,  sir,” was her answer.  “She is a great deal too
ill to be moved.  Mr.  Jones says we must not think of moving her.
We must trespass a little longer on your kindness.”               
  “Removed!”  cried Bingley.  “It must not be thought of.  My sis‐
ter, I am sure, will not hear of her removal.”                    
  “You may depend upon it,  Madam,” said  Miss Bingley,  with cold
civility,  “that Miss Bennet will receive every possible attention
while she remains with us.”                                       
  Mrs. Bennet was profuse in her acknowledgments.                 
  “I am sure,” she added,  “if  it was not for such good friends I
do not know what would become of her,  for she is very ill indeed,
and suffers a vast deal,  though with the greatest patience in the
world, which is always the way with her,  for she has, without ex‐
ception,  the  sweetest temper I have ever met with.  I often tell
my other girls they are nothing  to  _her_.  You have a sweet room
here,  Mr.  Bingley, and a charming prospect over the gravel walk.
I do not know  a place  in the  country  that is equal  to Nether‐
field.  You will not think  of  quitting  it  in a hurry,  I hope,
though you have but a short lease.”                               
  “Whatever I do is done in a hurry,” replied  he;  “and therefore
if I should resolve to quit Netherfield,  I should probably be off
in five minutes.  At present, however,  I consider myself as quite
fixed here.”                                                      
  “That is  exactly  what  I should  have  supposed  of you,” said
  “You begin to comprehend me, do you?” cried he,  turning towards
  “Oh! yes—I understand you perfectly.”                           
  “I wish I might take this for a compliment;  but to be so easily
seen through I am afraid is pitiful.”                             
  “That is as it happens. It does not follow that a deep,  intric‐
ate  character  is  more  or  less estimable  than  such  a one as
  “Lizzy,” cried her mother,  “remember where you are,  and do not
run on in the wild manner that you are suffered to do at home.”   
  “I did  not know before,” continued Bingley  immediately,  “that
you were a studier of character. It must be an amusing study.”    
  “Yes,  but  intricate characters are the  _most_  amusing.  They
have at least that advantage.”                                    
  “The country,” said Darcy, “can in general supply but a few sub‐
jects for  such a study.  In a country neighbourhood you move in a
very confined and unvarying society.”                             
  “But people themselves alter  so much,  that  there is something
new to be observed in them for ever.”                             
  “Yes, indeed,” cried Mrs. Bennet, offended by his manner of men‐
tioning a  country neighbourhood.  “I assure you there is quite as
much of _that_ going on in the country as in town.”               
  Everybody was surprised,  and Darcy,  after looking at her for a
moment,  turned silently away.  Mrs.  Bennet,  who fancied she had
gained a complete victory over him, continued her triumph.        
  “I cannot see that London has any great advantage over the coun‐
try,  for my part, except the shops and public places. The country
is a vast deal pleasanter, is it not, Mr. Bingley?”               
  “When I  am in the country,” he replied,  “I never wish to leave
it;  and when I am in town it is pretty much  the same.  They have
each their advantages, and I can be equally happy in either.”     
  “Aye—that is  because you have  the right disposition.  But that
gentleman,”  looking at Darcy,  “seemed to  think the country  was
nothing at all.”                                                  
  “Indeed, Mamma, you are mistaken,” said Elizabeth,  blushing for
her  mother.  “You quite mistook Mr.  Darcy.  He  only meant  that
there was not such a variety of people to be met with in the coun‐
try as in the town, which you must acknowledge to be true.”       
  “Certainly, my dear, nobody said there were; but as to not meet‐
ing  with many people in  this neighbourhood,  I believe there are
few  neighbourhoods larger.  I  know  we dine with four-and-twenty
  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 _her_ coming away.                                          
  “Yes,  she called  yesterday with her father.  What an agreeable
man Sir William is,  Mr.  Bingley,  is not he?  So much the man of
fashion!  So genteel and easy!  He  has always something to say to
everybody.  _That_ is my idea of good breeding;  and those persons
who fancy themselves very important,  and never open their mouths,
quite mistake the matter.”                                        
  “Did Charlotte dine with you?”                                  
  “No, she would go home.  I fancy she was wanted about the mince‐
pies.  For my part,  Mr.  Bingley, I always keep servants that can
do their  own  work;  _my_  daughters are brought  up very differ‐
ently.  But everybody is to judge for themselves,  and the Lucases
are a very good sort  of girls,  I assure you.  It  is a pity they
are not handsome!  Not that  I think Charlotte so _very_ plain—but
then she is our particular friend.”                               
  “She seems a very pleasant young woman.”                        
  “Oh!  dear, yes; but you must own she is very plain.  Lady Lucas
herself has often said so,  and envied me Jane's beauty.  I do not
like to boast of my own child,  but to be sure,  Jane—one does not
often see anybody better looking. It is what everybody says.  I do
not trust my own partiality.  When she was only fifteen, there was
a 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.”                                                       
  “And  so  ended  his  affection,”  said  Elizabeth  impatiently.
“There has been many a one,  I fancy, overcome in the same way.  I
wonder who first  discovered the efficacy  of  poetry  in  driving
away love!”                                                       
  “I have been used to  consider poetry as  the _food_  of  love,”
said Darcy.                                                       
  “Of a fine,  stout, healthy  love  it may.  Everything nourishes
what is strong already.  But if it be only a slight,  thin sort of
inclination,  I am  convinced that one good sonnet will starve  it
entirely away.”                                                   
  Darcy  only smiled;  and the general  pause  which  ensued  made
Elizabeth tremble lest  her  mother  should  be  exposing  herself
again.  She  longed to speak,  but could think of nothing  to say;
and after  a short silence Mrs.  Bennet began repeating her thanks
to Mr.  Bingley for  his kindness  to  Jane,  with an apology  for
troubling him also with Lizzy. Mr.  Bingley was unaffectedly civil
in his answer,  and forced his  younger sister to  be  civil also,
and say what the occasion required.  She performed her part indeed
without much  graciousness,  but Mrs.  Bennet  was  satisfied, and
soon afterwards ordered her carriage. Upon this signal, the young‐
est 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
  Lydia was a stout,  well-grown girl of fifteen, with a fine com‐
plexion  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-con‐
sequence,  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 re‐
minded  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:          
  “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.”                                                      
  Lydia declared herself satisfied. “Oh! yes—it would be much bet‐
ter to wait till Jane was well,  and by that time most likely Cap‐
tain Carter would be at Meryton again. And when you have given _y‐
our_ ball,”  she added,  “I shall insist on their giving one also.
I shall tell Colonel Forster it will  be quite a shame if he  does
  Mrs.  Bennet and her daughters then departed,  and Elizabeth re‐
turned instantly to Jane, leaving her own and her relations' beha‐
viour to the remarks of the two ladies and Mr.  Darcy;  the latter
of whom,  however, could not be prevailed on to join in their cen‐
sure of _her_,  in spite of all Miss Bingley's witticisms on _fine

                            Chapter 10                            

The day  passed much as the  day before had done.  Mrs.  Hurst and
Miss Bingley had spent some hours of  the morning  with the inval‐
id,  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 re‐
peatedly calling off his attention by messages to his sister.  Mr.
Hurst and Mr.  Bingley were  at piquet,  and  Mrs.  Hurst was  ob‐
serving their game.                                               
  Elizabeth  took up some needlework,  and was sufficiently amused
in attending to what passed between Darcy  and his companion.  The
perpetual commendations of  the lady,  either on  his 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 opin‐
ion of each.                                                      
  “How delighted Miss Darcy will be to receive such a letter!”    
  He made no answer.                                              
  “You write uncommonly fast.”                                    
  “You are mistaken. I write rather slowly.”                      
  “How many letters you must have occasion to  write in the course
of  a  year!  Letters of business,  too! How odious I should think
  “It is fortunate,  then,  that  they fall  to my  lot instead of
  “Pray tell your sister that I long to see her.”                 
  “I have already told her so once, by your desire.”              
  “I am afraid you do not like your pen.  Let me mend it for  you.
I mend pens remarkably well.”                                     
  “Thank you—but I always mend my own.”                           
  “How can you contrive to write so even?”                        
  He was silent.                                                  
  “Tell your sister I am delighted  to hear  of her improvement on
the  harp;  and pray let her know that I am quite in raptures with
her beautiful little design for a  table,  and  I think  it infin‐
itely superior to Miss Grantley's.”                               
  “Will  you  give  me  leave  to defer your raptures till I write
again? At present I have not room to do them justice.”            
  “Oh!  it is of no consequence.  I shall see her in January.  But
do you always write such charming long letters to  her,  Mr.  Dar‐
  “They are generally long;  but whether always charming it is not
for me to determine.”                                             
  “It is  a rule with me,  that a person who can write a long let‐
ter with ease, cannot write ill.”                                 
  “That  will not  do for a compliment to Darcy,  Caroline,” cried
her brother,  “because he does _not_ write with  ease.  He studies
too much for words of four syllables. Do not you, Darcy?”         
  “My style of writing is very different from yours.”             
  “Oh!” cried Miss Bingley,  “Charles writes  in the most careless
way  imaginable.  He  leaves out  half  his  words,  and blots the
  “My ideas  flow  so  rapidly that  I  have not  time to  express
them—by which means my letters  sometimes  convey no  ideas at all
to my correspondents.”                                            
  “Your humility,  Mr.  Bingley,” said Elizabeth, “must disarm re‐
  “Nothing is  more  deceitful,” said Darcy,  “than the appearance
of humility.  It is often only carelessness of opinion,  and some‐
times an indirect boast.”                                         
  “And which  of the two do  you call _my_ little  recent piece of
  “The indirect boast;  for you are really  proud  of your defects
in writing,  because you consider them as proceeding from a rapid‐
ity of thought and carelessness of execution, which, if not estim‐
able,  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 per‐
formance. 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—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?”                       
  “Nay,” cried Bingley,  “this  is too much,  to remember at night
all the foolish things that  were  said  in the morning.  And yet,
upon my 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.”                                                      
  “I dare  say  you believed it;  but  I am by no means  convinced
that  you would be gone with such celerity.  Your conduct would be
quite as dependent  on chance as that of any man I  know;  and if,
as you were mounting your horse,  a friend were to say,  'Bingley,
you had  better  stay till next week,' you  would  probably do it,
you  would probably  not  go—and at another  word,  might  stay  a
  “You  have only  proved  by this,” cried  Elizabeth,  “that  Mr.
Bingley did not do justice to his own disposition.  You have shown
him off now much more than he did himself.”                       
  “I am exceedingly gratified,” said Bingley,  “by your converting
what  my friend says into a compliment on the sweetness of my tem‐
per.  But I am afraid you are giving it  a turn which that gentle‐
man 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.”                                 
  “Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your original in‐
tentions as atoned for by your obstinacy in adhering to it?”      
  “Upon my word,  I cannot exactly explain the matter;  Darcy must
speak for himself.”                                               
  “You expect me to account for  opinions which you choose to call
mine,  but  which  I have  never acknowledged.  Allowing the case,
however,  to stand according to your representation,  you must re‐
member,  Miss Bennet,  that the friend who is supposed  to  desire
his return to the house, and the delay of his plan, has merely de‐
sired it,  asked it without offering one argument in favour of its
  “To yield readily—easily—to the  _persuasion_ of a friend  is no
merit with you.”                                                  
  “To yield without conviction is no compliment to the understand‐
ing of either.”                                                   
  “You appear to me,  Mr.  Darcy,  to allow nothing for the influ‐
ence  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 speak‐
ing of such a case as you have supposed about Mr.  Bingley. We may
as well wait, perhaps, till the circumstance occurs before we dis‐
cuss  the  discretion of his  behaviour thereupon.  But in general
and ordinary cases between  friend and friend,  where one of  them
is  desired by  the  other to change a resolution of no very great
moment,  should you think  ill of  that  person for complying with
the desire, without waiting to be argued into it?”                
  “Will it not  be advisable,  before we proceed on this  subject,
to arrange with  rather  more  precision  the degree of importance
which  is to appertain to this request,  as well as the  degree of
intimacy subsisting between the parties?”                         
  “By  all  means,” cried Bingley;  “let us hear  all the particu‐
lars,  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.”                                                   
  Mr. Darcy smiled;  but Elizabeth thought she could perceive that
he  was rather offended,  and therefore  checked  her laugh.  Miss
Bingley warmly resented the  indignity he had received,  in an ex‐
postulation with her brother for talking such nonsense.           
  “I see your design,  Bingley,” said his friend.  “You dislike an
argument, and want to silence this.”                              
  “Perhaps I do. Arguments are too much like disputes.  If you and
Miss Bennet  will defer  yours till I am out of the room,  I shall
be very thankful; and then you may say whatever you like of me.”  
  “What you  ask,” said Elizabeth,  “is no  sacrifice on my  side;
and Mr. Darcy had much better finish his letter.”                 
  Mr. Darcy took her advice, and did finish his letter.           
  When  that business  was over,  he applied to  Miss Bingley  and
Elizabeth for 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.                     
  Mrs.  Hurst sang with her sister,  and while they were  thus em‐
ployed,  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 repre‐
hensible, according to his ideas of right,  than in any other per‐
son present.  The supposition did not pain her.  She liked him too
little to care for his approbation.                               
  After playing some Italian songs,  Miss Bingley varied the charm
by a lively Scotch air;  and soon afterwards  Mr.  Darcy,  drawing
near Elizabeth, said to her:                                      
  “Do not  you  feel  a great inclination,  Miss Bennet,  to seize
such an opportunity of dancing a reel?”                           
  She smiled,  but made no answer.  He repeated the question, with
some surprise at her silence.                                     
  “Oh!” said she,  “I heard you before,  but I could  not  immedi‐
ately determine what to say in reply.  You  wanted me, I know,  to
say  'Yes,' that you  might  have  the  pleasure  of despising  my
taste;  but  I  always  delight  in  overthrowing  those  kind  of
schemes,  and cheating a person of their premeditated contempt.  I
have,  therefore, made up my mind to tell you,  that I do not want
to dance a reel at all—and now despise me if you dare.”           
  “Indeed I do not dare.”                                         
  Elizabeth,  having rather expected to affront him, was amazed at
his gallantry;  but there was a mixture of  sweetness and archness
in her manner which  made it difficult for her to affront anybody;
and Darcy had  never been so bewitched by any woman as he  was  by
her.  He really believed,  that were it not for the inferiority of
her connections, he should be in some danger.                     
  Miss Bingley saw,  or suspected enough  to be jealous;  and  her
great anxiety  for  the recovery  of her dear friend Jane received
some assistance from her desire of getting rid of Elizabeth.      
  She often tried to  provoke Darcy  into disliking her guest,  by
talking of their supposed marriage,  and planning his happiness in
such an alliance.                                                 
  “I hope,” said she,  as they were walking together in the shrub‐
bery the next day,  “you will give your mother-in-law a few hints,
when this desirable event  takes  place,  as  to  the advantage of
holding  her  tongue;  and if you  can  compass  it,  do  cure the
younger girls of running after officers.  And, if I may mention so
delicate a subject, endeavour to check that little something, bor‐
dering on conceit and impertinence, which your lady possesses.”   
  “Have you anything else to propose for my domestic felicity?”   
  “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?”                                            
  “It would not be easy,  indeed, to catch their  expression,  but
their colour  and shape,  and the  eyelashes,  so remarkably fine,
might be copied.”                                                 
  At that moment they  were  met  from another walk by Mrs.  Hurst
and Elizabeth herself.                                            
  “I  did not know that you intended to walk,” said Miss  Bingley,
in some confusion, lest they had been overheard.                  
  “You  used  us abominably ill,”  answered Mrs.  Hurst,  “running
away without telling us that you were coming out.”                
  Then taking the disengaged arm of Mr.  Darcy, she left Elizabeth
to walk by herself.  The path just admitted three.  Mr. Darcy felt
their rudeness, and immediately said:                             
  “This walk is not wide enough for our  party.  We had  better go
into the avenue.”                                                 
  But Elizabeth,  who had not the least inclination to remain with
them, laughingly answered:                                        
  “No, no; stay where you are. You are charmingly grouped, and ap‐
pear to uncommon advantage. The picturesque would be spoilt by ad‐
mitting a fourth. Good-bye.”                                      
  She then ran gaily off,  rejoicing as she rambled about,  in the
hope of being at home again in a day or two.  Jane was  already so
much recovered  as  to  intend leaving her  room for  a  couple of
hours that evening.                                               

                            Chapter 11                            

When the ladies removed after dinner, Elizabeth ran up to her sis‐
ter, 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  consider‐
able.  They could describe an entertainment with accuracy,  relate
an  anecdote with humour,  and laugh  at  their acquaintance  with
  But when the gentlemen entered, Jane was no longer the first ob‐
ject; 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 congrat‐
ulation;  Mr.  Hurst also made her a slight bow,  and  said he was
“very glad;” but diffuseness and warmth remained for Bingley's sa‐
lutation.  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.  Eliza‐
beth,  at work in the opposite corner,  saw  it all with great de‐
  When tea was over,  Mr.  Hurst reminded his sister-in-law of the
card-table—but  in  vain.  She had  obtained private  intelligence
that Mr.  Darcy did  not wish for cards; and Mr.  Hurst soon found
even his open petition rejected.  She assured him that no one  in‐
tended 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,  prin‐
cipally occupied in playing with  her bracelets and rings,  joined
now and then in her brother's conversation with Miss Bennet.      
  Miss  Bingley's attention  was quite as much engaged in watching
Mr.  Darcy's progress through _his_ book,  as in reading  her own;
and she was perpetually either making some inquiry,  or looking at
his page. She could not win him, however,  to any conversation; he
merely answered her question,  and read on.  At length,  quite ex‐
hausted 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,  “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 excel‐
lent library.”                                                    
  No one made any reply.  She then yawned  again,  threw aside her
book,  and cast her eyes  round the room  in quest for some amuse‐
ment;  when hearing her brother mentioning a ball  to Miss Bennet,
she turned suddenly towards him and said:                         
  “By  the bye,  Charles,  are you really serious in  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 mis‐
taken if  there are not  some  among  us  to whom a  ball would be
rather a punishment than a pleasure.”                             
  “If you mean Darcy,” cried her brother,  “he may go  to bed,  if
he  chooses,  before it begins—but as for the ball,  it is quite a
settled  thing;  and as  soon  as  Nicholls  has  made white  soup
enough, I shall send round my cards.”                             
  “I should like balls infinitely  better,” she replied,  “if they
were carried on in a different manner;  but there is something in‐
sufferably tedious  in  the usual  process of  such a meeting.  It
would surely be much more rational if conversation instead of dan‐
cing were made the order of the day.”                             
  “Much more rational, my dear Caroline, I dare say,  but it would
not be near so much like a ball.”                                 
  Miss Bingley made no answer,  and soon afterwards 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:                     
  “Miss  Eliza  Bennet,  let me persuade you to follow my example,
and take a turn about the room.  I assure  you it is very refresh‐
ing after sitting so long in one attitude.”                       
  Elizabeth  was  surprised,  but agreed to it  immediately.  Miss
Bingley succeeded no less in the real object of her civility;  Mr.
Darcy looked up.  He was as much awake to the novelty of attention
in that quarter as Elizabeth  herself could be,  and unconsciously
closed his book.  He was directly invited to join their party, but
he  declined it,  observing that he could imagine  but two motives
for their choosing  to walk up and  down  the room together,  with
either  of which motives his joining  them would interfere.  “What
could  he mean?  She was dying to  know  what could be  his  mean‐
ing?”—and  asked  Elizabeth  whether she could  at all  understand
  “Not at all,” was her answer;  “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.”                                         
  Miss Bingley, however, was incapable of disappointing Mr.  Darcy
in anything,  and persevered therefore in requiring an explanation
of his two motives.                                               
  “I have not  the  smallest  objection to explaining them,”  said
he,  as soon as she allowed him to speak.  “You either choose this
method of passing the evening because you are in each other's con‐
fidence,  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.”   
  “Oh!  shocking!” cried Miss Bingley.  “I never heard anything so
abominable. How shall we punish him for such a speech?”           
  “Nothing so easy,  if you have but the inclination,” said Eliza‐
beth.  “We can all plague and punish one another.  Tease him—laugh
at him.  Intimate as  you  are,  you must know  how  it  is  to be
  “But upon my honour, I do _not_.  I do assure you that my intim‐
acy has  not yet  taught me  _that_.  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 attempt‐
ing to laugh without a subject. Mr. Darcy may hug himself.”       
  “Mr.  Darcy is not to be laughed at!” cried Elizabeth.  “That is
an uncommon advantage,  and uncommon I hope it will continue,  for
it would be a great loss to _me_ to  have many such acquaintances.
I dearly love a laugh.”                                           
  “Miss Bingley,” said he,  “has given me more credit than can be.
The wisest and the best of men—nay,  the wisest and best  of their
actions—may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose  first object
in life is a joke.”                                               
  “Certainly,”  replied  Elizabeth—“there are such people,  but  I
hope I am not one of _them_.  I hope I never ridicule what is wise
and good.  Follies  and nonsense,  whims and inconsistencies, _do_
divert me, I own,  and I laugh at them whenever I can.  But these,
I suppose, are precisely what you are without.”                   
  “Perhaps that  is not possible for anyone.  But it  has been the
study  of my  life to avoid those  weaknesses which often expose a
strong understanding to ridicule.”                                
  “Such as vanity and pride.”                                     
  “Yes,  vanity is a weakness indeed.  But pride—where there is  a
real superiority of mind,  pride will be always under good regula‐
  Elizabeth turned away to hide a smile.                          
  “Your examination of  Mr.  Darcy is over,  I presume,” said Miss
Bingley; “and pray what is the result?”                           
  “I am perfectly convinced by it  that Mr.  Darcy  has no defect.
He owns it himself without disguise.”                             
  “No,”  said  Darcy,  “I  have made  no such pretension.  I  have
faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. My tem‐
per I dare not vouch  for.  It is,  I believe,  too little  yield‐
ing—certainly too little for the convenience of the world.  I can‐
not 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.”    
  “_That_ is a failing indeed!” cried  Elizabeth.  “Implacable re‐
sentment _is_ a  shade in a  character.  But you have  chosen your
fault well.  I  really  cannot _laugh_ at  it.  You are safe  from
  “There is,  I believe,  in  every disposition a tendency to some
particular  evil—a natural defect,  which not even the best educa‐
tion can overcome.”                                               
  “And _your_ defect is to hate everybody.”                       
  “And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunder‐
stand them.”                                                      
  “Do let us have a little music,” cried Miss Bingley,  tired of a
conversation in  which she had  no share.  “Louisa,  you will  not
mind my waking Mr. Hurst?”                                        
  Her sister 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.                                                   

                            Chapter 12                            

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  Eliza‐
beth's wishes,  for  she was impatient to get  home.  Mrs.  Bennet
sent  them word that they could not possibly have the carriage be‐
fore 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—nor  did  she  much  expect it would  be
asked;  and fearful,  on the contrary,  as being considered as in‐
truding themselves needlessly long,  she  urged Jane to borrow Mr.
Bingley's carriage immediately,  and at length it was settled that
their original design of leaving Netherfield  that  morning should
be mentioned, and the request made.                               
  The  communication  excited  many professions  of  concern;  and
enough  was said of wishing them to stay at least till the follow‐
ing day to work on Jane;  and till the morrow  their going was de‐
ferred.  Miss  Bingley was  then  sorry that she  had proposed the
delay,  for  her jealousy and dislike  of one sister much exceeded
her affection for the other.                                      
  The master of the house heard with real  sorrow that  they  were
to go so soon,  and  repeatedly tried to persuade Miss Bennet that
it would  not be safe for her—that she was not  enough  recovered;
but Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right.             
  To Mr.  Darcy  it was welcome intelligence—Elizabeth had been at
Netherfield long enough.  She attracted him more than he liked—and
Miss Bingley was uncivil to _her_,  and more teasing than usual to
himself.  He  wisely  resolved to  be particularly careful that no
sign of admiration should _now_ escape him, nothing that could el‐
evate 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.                         
  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.                                         
  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 im‐
portance in the  family  circle.  The evening  conversation,  when
they were all assembled,  had lost much of its animation,  and al‐
most all its sense by the absence of Jane and Elizabeth.          
  They found  Mary,  as usual,  deep in the study of thorough-bass
and human nature;  and had some 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 un‐
cle,  a private had been flogged,  and it had actually been hinted
that Colonel Forster was going to be married.                     

                            Chapter 13                            

“I hope,  my dear,” said Mr.  Bennet to his wife,  as they were at
breakfast the next morning,  “that you  have ordered a good dinner
to-day,  because I have reason to expect an addition to our family
  “Who do you mean,  my dear?  I know of nobody that is coming,  I
am  sure,  unless Charlotte Lucas should  happen to call  in—and I
hope  _my_ dinners are good  enough for her.  I do not believe she
often sees such at home.”                                         
  “The person of whom I speak is a gentleman, and a stranger.”    
  Mrs. Bennet's eyes sparkled. “A gentleman and a stranger!  It is
Mr. Bingley, I am sure! Well,  I am sure I shall be extremely glad
to see Mr.  Bingley.  But—good Lord!  how unlucky!  There is not a
bit of  fish to be  got to-day.  Lydia,  my love,  ring the bell—I
must speak to Hill this moment.”                                  
  “It  is _not_ Mr.  Bingley,” said her  husband;  “it is a person
whom I never saw in the whole course of my life.”                 
  This roused a general astonishment;  and he had  the pleasure of
being eagerly  questioned  by his wife  and his five daughters  at
  After  amusing himself some  time with their curiosity,  he thus
  “About a  month ago I  received this letter;  and  about a fort‐
night ago I  answered it,  for I thought it  a case of some delic‐
acy,  and requiring early attention.  It is  from  my cousin,  Mr.
Collins,  who,  when I am dead, may turn you all out of this house
as soon as he pleases.”                                           
  “Oh!  my dear,” cried his wife, “I cannot bear to hear that men‐
tioned. Pray do not talk of that odious man.  I do think it is the
hardest  thing  in the world,  that your estate should be entailed
away from your own children;  and I am sure, if I had been you,  I
should have tried long ago to do something or other about it.”    
  Jane and Elizabeth tried to explain to her the nature of an  en‐
tail. They had often attempted to do it before,  but it was a sub‐
ject on which Mrs. Bennet was beyond the reach of reason,  and she
continued to rail bitterly against  the cruelty of settling an es‐
tate away from  a family  of  five  daughters,  in favour of a man
whom nobody cared anything about.                                 
  “It  certainly is  a most iniquitous  affair,” said Mr.  Bennet,
“and nothing can clear  Mr.  Collins from the guilt  of inheriting
Longbourn.  But if you will listen to his letter,  you may perhaps
be a little softened by his manner of expressing himself.”        
  “No,  that I am sure I shall not;  and I think it is very imper‐
tinent  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?”                               
  “Why,  indeed;  he does seem to have had some filial scruples on
that head, as you will hear.”                                     
  “Hunsford, near Westerham, Kent, 15th October.                  
  “Dear Sir,—                                                     
  “The disagreement  subsisting between yourself  and my late hon‐
oured father always gave me much uneasiness,  and since I have had
the misfortune to lose him,  I have frequently  wished to heal the
breach; but for some time I was kept back by my own doubts,  fear‐
ing lest it might  seem disrespectful to  his memory for me to  be
on good terms with anyone  with whom it had always  pleased him to
be at variance.—'There,  Mrs. Bennet.'—My  mind,  however,  is now
made up on the subject,  for having received ordination at Easter,
I have been so 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 lady‐
ship,  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 can‐
not 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—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 incon‐
venience,  as  Lady Catherine is  far from  objecting to my  occa‐
sional absence on a Sunday,  provided that some other clergyman is
engaged to  do the duty of the day.—I remain,  dear sir,  with re‐
spectful compliments to your lady and daughters,  your well-wisher
and friend,                                                       
  “WILLIAM COLLINS”                                               
  “At  four o'clock,  therefore,  we may expect this  peace-making
gentleman,”  said Mr.  Bennet, as  he folded  up  the letter.  “He
seems to  be  a most conscientious and polite  young man,  upon my
word,  and I  doubt not will prove a valuable acquaintance,  espe‐
cially if Lady  Catherine  should be so indulgent  as  to  let him
come to us again.”                                                
  “There is some sense in what he says  about the girls,  however,
and if he is disposed to make them any amends,  I shall not be the
person to discourage him.”                                        
  “Though it  is difficult,” said Jane,  “to guess  in what way he
can mean to make us the atonement he thinks our due,  the wish  is
certainly to his credit.”                                         
  Elizabeth was chiefly struck  by his extraordinary deference for
Lady Catherine,  and his kind intention of christening,  marrying,
and burying his parishioners whenever it were required.           
  “He  must be an oddity,  I think,” said she.  “I cannot make him
out.—There is something  very pompous  in  his style.—And what can
he  mean by  apologising  for being next in the entail?—We  cannot
suppose he would help it if he could.—Could he  be a sensible man,
  “No,  my dear,  I think not.  I have great hopes  of finding him
quite the reverse.  There is a mixture of  servility and  self-im‐
portance  in his letter,  which promises well.  I am  impatient to
see him.”                                                         
  “In point of composition,” said Mary,  “the letter does not seem
defective.  The  idea  of  the olive-branch  perhaps is not wholly
new, yet I think it is well expressed.”                           
  To Catherine  and Lydia,  neither the letter nor its writer were
in any degree  interesting.  It was next to impossible  that their
cousin should come  in a scarlet coat,  and  it was now some weeks
since they had received  pleasure from the society of a man in any
other colour. As for their mother,  Mr.  Collins's letter had done
away  much of her ill-will,  and she was preparing to see him with
a degree  of composure  which  astonished  her husband  and daugh‐
  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 si‐
lent 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.         
  “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.”                                                
  “You allude, perhaps, to the entail of this estate.”            
  “Ah!  sir,  I do indeed.  It  is  a  grievous affair to  my poor
girls,  you must confess.  Not that I mean  to find fault with _y‐
ou_,  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  en‐
  “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 ap‐
pearing forward  and precipitate.  But  I  can  assure  the  young
ladies that I come prepared to admire them.  At present I will not
say more; but, perhaps, when we are better acquainted—”           
  He was interrupted by a summons to dinner;  and the girls smiled
on each other. They were not the only objects of Mr. Collins's ad‐
miration.  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 supposi‐
tion 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 ow‐
ing.  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 apolo‐
gise for about a quarter of an hour.                              

                            Chapter 14                            

During dinner, Mr. Bennet scarcely spoke at all; but when the ser‐
vants  were withdrawn,  he thought it  time to have some conversa‐
tion  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 remark‐
able.  Mr.  Bennet could not have chosen better.  Mr.  Collins was
eloquent in  her  praise.  The  subject elevated him to  more than
usual  solemnity of manner,  and with a most important  aspect  he
protested that “he had  never in his life witnessed such behaviour
in a  person of rank—such affability and condescension,  as he had
himself  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 _he_ 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 smal‐
lest 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—some shelves in  the
closet up stairs.”                                                
  “That is all very proper and civil,  I am sure,” said Mrs.  Ben‐
net,  “and I dare say she is a very agreeable woman.  It is a pity
that great ladies in general are not more like her.  Does she live
near you, sir?”                                                   
  “The  garden in which stands my humble  abode is  separated only
by a lane from Rosings Park, her ladyship's residence.”           
  “I think you said she was a widow, sir? Has she any family?”    
  “She has only one daughter, the heiress of Rosings,  and of very
extensive property.”                                              
  “Ah!”  said Mrs.  Bennet, shaking her head,  “then she is better
off than many  girls.  And what sort of young lady is she?  Is she
  “She is a most charming young lady  indeed.  Lady Catherine her‐
self says that, in point of true beauty, Miss de Bourgh is far su‐
perior 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.”                
  “Has she been presented?  I  do not remember her  name among the
ladies at court.”                                                 
  “Her  indifferent  state  of health unhappily prevents her being
in town;  and by that means, as I told Lady Catherine one day, has
deprived the  British court of its brightest ornament.  Her  lady‐
ship seemed  pleased with the idea;  and you may imagine that I am
happy on every occasion  to  offer those little  delicate  compli‐
ments which  are always acceptable to  ladies.  I  have  more than
once  observed  to  Lady  Catherine,  that  her charming  daughter
seemed born to be a duchess,  and that the most elevated rank, in‐
stead of giving her  consequence,  would be adorned by her.  These
are the kind of little things which  please  her ladyship,  and it
is a sort  of attention which  I conceive myself peculiarly  bound
to pay.”                                                          
  “You judge very properly,” said Mr.  Bennet,  “and  it  is happy
for you that you possess the  talent of  flattering with delicacy.
May I ask whether  these pleasing  attentions proceed from the im‐
pulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?”        
  “They  arise chiefly  from  what  is  passing at the  time,  and
though I  sometimes  amuse myself  with  suggesting  and arranging
such little elegant compliments as  may be adapted to ordinary oc‐
casions,  I always wish to give them as  unstudied  an air as pos‐
  Mr.  Bennet's expectations were  fully answered.  His cousin was
as absurd as he had hoped,  and he listened to him  with the keen‐
est enjoyment, maintaining at the same time the most resolute com‐
posure  of countenance,  and,  except  in an  occasional glance at
Elizabeth, requiring no partner in his pleasure.                  
  By tea-time, however, the dose had been enough,  and Mr.  Bennet
was glad to take his guest into the drawing-room again, and,  when
tea was over, glad to invite him to read aloud to the ladies.  Mr.
Collins readily assented, and a book was produced; but, on behold‐
ing it (for everything announced  it to be from a circulating lib‐
rary),  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  be‐
fore he had,  with very  monotonous solemnity,  read three  pages,
she interrupted him with:                                         
  “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.”                                                  
  Lydia was bid by her two eldest sisters to hold her tongue;  but
Mr. Collins, much offended, laid aside his book, and said:        
  “I have often  observed how  little young ladies  are interested
by books of a serious stamp, though written solely for their bene‐
fit.  It amazes me, I confess; for, certainly,  there can be noth‐
ing so advantageous to them as instruction.  But I will  no longer
importune my young cousin.”                                       
  Then turning to Mr.  Bennet,  he offered himself as his antagon‐
ist at backgammon.  Mr.  Bennet accepted  the challenge, observing
that he acted very wisely in leaving the  girls to their own  tri‐
fling 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.    

                            Chapter 15                            

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 for‐
tunate  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 patron‐
ess,  mingling with a very good opinion of himself, of his author‐
ity as  a clergyman,  and his right as  a rector,  made  him alto‐
gether a mixture of pride and obsequiousness,  self-importance and
  Having now a good house and a very sufficient income,  he inten‐
ded 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—of
atonement—for inheriting their father's estate;  and he thought it
an excellent  one,  full of eligibility and suitableness,  and ex‐
cessively generous and disinterested on his own part.             
  His plan did not vary on seeing them.  Miss Bennet's lovely face
confirmed his views,  and established all his strictest notions of
what was due to seniority;  and for the  first  evening  _she_ was
his settled choice.  The  next morning,  however, made an  altera‐
tion;  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. “As to her _younger_ daugh‐
ters,  she could not take upon her to say—she could not positively
answer—but she  did not _know_ of any prepossession;  her _eldest_
daughter,  she must  just mention—she felt  it incumbent on her to
hint, was likely to be very soon engaged.”                        
  Mr.  Collins had only  to  change from Jane to Elizabeth—and  it
was soon done—done while Mrs. Bennet was stirring the fire. Eliza‐
beth,  equally next to Jane in birth and beauty,  succeeded her of
  Mrs.  Bennet treasured up the hint,  and  trusted that she might
soon have two daughters married;  and  the  man whom she could not
bear to speak of the day before was now high in her good graces.  
  Lydia's  intention  of walking  to  Meryton was  not  forgotten;
every sister except Mary agreed to go  with her;  and Mr.  Collins
was to attend them,  at the request of Mr.  Bennet,  who  was most
anxious to get rid of him,  and have his library to  himself;  for
thither Mr.  Collins had followed him  after breakfast;  and there
he would  continue,  nominally engaged with one of the largest fo‐
lios in the collection,  but really talking  to Mr.  Bennet,  with
little cessation,  of  his house and garden at Hunsford.  Such do‐
ings discomposed Mr.  Bennet exceedingly.  In  his library  he had
been  always sure  of  leisure  and tranquillity;  and though pre‐
pared,  as  he told Elizabeth,  to meet with folly and  conceit in
every other room 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,  be‐
ing in fact much better fitted for a walker than a reader, was ex‐
tremely pleased to close his large book, and go.                  
  In pompous nothings on  his side,  and  civil assents on that of
his cousins,  their time passed till they entered Meryton. The at‐
tention 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
  But the attention of every lady  was soon caught by a young man,
whom they had  never seen  before,  of most gentlemanlike  appear‐
ance,  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 in‐
troduce his friend,  Mr.  Wickham,  who had returned  with him the
day before from town,  and he was happy to say had accepted a com‐
mission in their corps. This was exactly as it should be;  for the
young  man wanted only regimentals  to make him  completely charm‐
ing.  His appearance was  greatly  in his favour;  he  had all the
best 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—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 ci‐
vilities.  Bingley was the  principal spokesman,  and  Miss Bennet
the principal object.  He was then,  he said, on his  way to Long‐
bourn on purpose to inquire after her.  Mr.  Darcy corroborated it
with a bow,  and was beginning to determine not to fix his eyes on
Elizabeth,  when  they were suddenly arrested by the sight  of the
stranger,  and Elizabeth happening to see the countenance of  both
as they looked at each other,  was all astonishment at  the effect
of the meeting.  Both changed colour, one looked white,  the other
red.  Mr.  Wickham, after a few moments, touched his hat—a saluta‐
tion which Mr.  Darcy just deigned to  return.  What could be  the
meaning of it?  It was impossible  to imagine;  it was  impossible
not to long to know.                                              
  In another minute, Mr.  Bingley, but without seeming to have no‐
ticed what passed, took leave and rode on with his friend.        
  Mr.  Denny and Mr.  Wickham walked with  the young ladies to the
door of Mr.  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.                              
  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 to‐
wards 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  ac‐
quaintance 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 Lon‐
don,  and  that he  was  to  have a lieutenant's commission in the
―shire.  She had been watching him the last hour, she said,  as he
walked up and down  the  street,  and  had Mr.  Wickham  appeared,
Kitty and Lydia would  certainly  have continued  the  occupation,
but  unluckily  no one passed windows now except a few of the  of‐
ficers,  who,  in comparison with the stranger,  were become “stu‐
pid,  disagreeable fellows.”  Some of them  were  to dine with the
Phillipses the next day,  and their aunt promised to make her hus‐
band 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 com‐
fortable noisy game of lottery tickets,  and  a little bit  of hot
supper afterwards.  The prospect of such  delights was very cheer‐
ing,  and they parted in mutual good spirits. Mr. Collins repeated
his apologies in quitting the room,  and was assured with unweary‐
ing civility that they were perfectly needless.                   
  As they walked  home,  Elizabeth related  to Jane  what she  had
seen pass between  the  two gentlemen;  but though Jane would have
defended  either or both,  had they appeared to be  in the  wrong,
she could no more explain such behaviour than her sister.         
  Mr. Collins on his return highly gratified Mrs. Bennet by admir‐
ing Mrs. Phillips's manners and politeness. He protested that, ex‐
cept Lady Catherine and her daughter, he had never seen a more el‐
egant woman; for she had not only received him with the utmost ci‐
vility,  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.                                                      

                            Chapter 16                            

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 stead‐
ily  resisted,  the coach  conveyed him and  his five cousins at a
suitable hour to Meryton;  and the girls had the pleasure of hear‐
ing, as they entered the drawing-room, that Mr. Wickham had accep‐
ted their uncle's invitation, and was then in the house.          
  When this  information was given,  and  they had all taken their
seats,  Mr.  Collins was at leisure to look around him and admire,
and he  was  so much  struck with the  size  and furniture  of the
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—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.                                      
  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 em‐
ployed until the gentlemen joined them; and he found in Mrs. Phil‐
lips 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 imit‐
ations of china  on  the mantelpiece,  the interval of waiting ap‐
peared 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 ―shire were in general a very creditable, gen‐
tlemanlike  set,  and the best of them were of the present  party;
but Mr.  Wickham was as far beyond them  all in  person,  counten‐
ance, air,  and walk,  as _they_ were superior to the broad-faced,
stuffy  uncle Phillips,  breathing  port  wine,  who followed them
into the room.                                                    
  Mr.  Wickham was the happy man  towards whom almost every female
eye was turned,  and Elizabeth was the happy woman  by whom he fi‐
nally seated himself; and the agreeable manner in which he immedi‐
ately  fell into conversation,  though it was only  on its being a
wet night, made her feel that the commonest, dullest, most thread‐
bare topic  might  be  rendered  interesting  by the  skill of the
  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 in‐
tervals a kind listener in Mrs. Phillips, and was by her watchful‐
ness,  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.                                
  “I know little  of the game at present,”  said he,  “but I shall
be  glad to improve myself,  for in  my situation  in life—”  Mrs.
Phillips was very glad for his compliance,  but could not wait for
his reason.                                                       
  Mr.  Wickham did not play at whist,  and with  ready delight was
he received at the other table  between Elizabeth  and  Lydia.  At
first there seemed danger of Lydia's engrossing him entirely,  for
she was  a  most determined talker;  but being  likewise extremely
fond of lottery tickets,  she soon grew too much interested in the
game,  too  eager  in  making  bets and exclaiming after prizes to
have attention for anyone in particular.  Allowing for  the common
demands of the game,  Mr. Wickham was therefore at leisure to talk
to Elizabeth,  and she was very willing to  hear him,  though what
she chiefly wished to  hear she could not hope to be told—the his‐
tory of his acquaintance with Mr.  Darcy.  She dared not even men‐
tion that gentleman. Her curiosity, however,  was unexpectedly re‐
lieved.  Mr.  Wickham  began the  subject himself. He inquired how
far Netherfield was  from Meryton;  and,  after  receiving her an‐
swer,  asked in a hesitating  manner how  long Mr.  Darcy had been
staying there.                                                    
  “About a month,” said Elizabeth;  and then, unwilling to let the
subject drop, added, “He is a man of very large property in Derby‐
shire, I understand.”                                             
  “Yes,” replied Mr. Wickham;  “his estate there is a noble one. A
clear ten  thousand per annum.  You could not have met with a per‐
son  more capable of giving you  certain information  on that head
than myself,  for I have been  connected with his family in a par‐
ticular manner from my infancy.”                                  
  Elizabeth could not but look surprised.                         
  “You may well be surprised,  Miss Bennet,  at such an assertion,
after seeing,  as you probably might,  the very cold manner of our
meeting yesterday. Are you much acquainted with Mr. Darcy?”       
  “As much as I ever wish to be,” cried Elizabeth very warmly.  “I
have spent four days in the same house with him,  and  I think him
very disagreeable.”                                               
  “I have  no right to give _my_ opinion,” said  Wickham,  “as  to
his being agreeable or otherwise.  I am not qualified to form one.
I have  known him too long and too well to be a fair judge.  It is
impossible for _me_  to be impartial.  But  I believe your opinion
of  him would in general  astonish—and perhaps  you would not  ex‐
press  it quite so strongly  anywhere  else.  Here you are in your
own family.”                                                      
  “Upon my word,  I  say no  more _here_  than I might say  in any
house in the neighbourhood,  except Netherfield.  He is not at all
liked in Hertfordshire.  Everybody  is  disgusted with his  pride.
You will not find him more favourably spoken of by anyone.”       
  “I cannot pretend to be sorry,” said Wickham,  after a short in‐
terruption,  “that he or that any man should not be estimated bey‐
ond their deserts; but with _him_ I believe it does not often hap‐
pen.  The world is  blinded  by his fortune  and  consequence,  or
frightened by his high and imposing manners,  and sees him only as
he chooses to be seen.”                                           
  “I should take him,  even on _my_ slight acquaintance,  to be an
ill-tempered man.” Wickham only shook his head.                   
  “I wonder,”  said  he,  at  the  next opportunity  of  speaking,
“whether he is likely to be in this country much longer.”         
  “I do not at all know;  but I _heard_  nothing of his going away
when I was at Netherfield.  I  hope your  plans  in  favour of the
―shire will not be affected by his being in the neighbourhood.”   
  “Oh!  no—it is not for _me_ to be driven away by Mr.  Darcy.  If
_he_  wishes  to  avoid seeing  _me_,  he must  go.  We are not on
friendly terms,  and it always gives me  pain to  meet him,  but I
have no reason  for avoiding  _him_ but what I might  proclaim be‐
fore 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 thou‐
sand tender recollections.  His behaviour to myself has been scan‐
dalous;  but I verily believe  I  could forgive  him  anything and
everything,  rather than his disappointing the hopes  and  disgra‐
cing the memory of his father.”                                   
  Elizabeth  found  the  interest of  the  subject  increase,  and
listened with all her heart; but the delicacy of it prevented fur‐
ther inquiry.                                                     
  Mr.  Wickham began to speak on more general topics, Meryton, the
neighbourhood,  the society,  appearing  highly  pleased  with all
that he  had yet seen,  and speaking of the latter with gentle but
very intelligible gallantry.                                      
  “It was the prospect of constant society,  and good society,” he
added, “which was my chief inducement to enter the ―shire.  I 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 _must_
have employment and society. A military life is not what I was in‐
tended  for,  but circumstances have  now  made  it eligible.  The
church  _ought_ to have  been my profession—I was brought  up  for
the church,  and I should at this time have  been in possession of
a  most valuable living,  had  it  pleased  the gentleman we  were
speaking of just now.”                                            
  “Yes—the late Mr.  Darcy bequeathed me the next  presentation of
the best living in his gift. He was my godfather,  and excessively
attached to me.  I cannot do justice to his kindness.  He meant to
provide for me  amply,  and thought he had done it;  but  when the
living fell, it was given elsewhere.”                             
  “Good heavens!” cried Elizabeth;  “but how could _that_ be?  How
could  his will  be disregarded?  Why  did you not  seek legal re‐
  “There was just such an informality in  the terms of the bequest
as to give me  no hope from law.  A man  of honour could not  have
doubted the  intention,  but Mr.  Darcy  chose  to doubt  it—or to
treat it  as a  merely conditional recommendation,  and to  assert
that  I  had  forfeited  all  claim  to it  by  extravagance,  im‐
prudence—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 cer‐
tain is it, that I cannot accuse myself of having really done any‐
thing to deserve to lose it. I have a warm,  unguarded temper, and
I may have spoken my opinion _of_ him,  and _to_ him,  too freely.
I can recall nothing worse. But the fact is, that we are very dif‐
ferent sort of men, and that he hates me.”                        
  “This is quite shocking! He deserves to be publicly disgraced.” 
  “Some  time  or other  he _will_ be—but it shall not be by _me_.
Till I can forget his father, I can never defy or expose _him_.”  
  Elizabeth honoured him for such feelings,  and thought him hand‐
somer than ever as he expressed them.                             
  “But what,” said she, after a pause,  “can have been his motive?
What can have induced him to behave so cruelly?”                  
  “A thorough,  determined dislike of me—a dislike  which I cannot
but attribute in some measure to jealousy. Had the late Mr.  Darcy
liked me less,  his son might have borne with me better;  but  his
father's uncommon attachment to me irritated him, I believe,  very
early in life.  He had not a  temper to bear the sort of  competi‐
tion in  which  we stood—the sort  of  preference which  was often
given me.”                                                        
  “I had not thought Mr.  Darcy so bad as this—though I have never
liked him.  I had not thought  so very ill of him.  I had supposed
him to be despising his fellow-creatures in  general,  but did not
suspect  him  of descending  to such malicious  revenge,  such in‐
justice, such inhumanity as this.”                                
  After a  few minutes' reflection,  however,  she  continued,  “I
_do_ remember his boasting one  day,  at  Netherfield,  of the im‐
placability of his resentments,  of his having an unforgiving tem‐
per. His disposition must be dreadful.”                           
  “I will  not trust myself on the subject,”  replied Wickham;  “I
can hardly be just to him.”                                       
  Elizabeth was  again  deep  in  thought,  and  after a time  ex‐
claimed,  “To treat in such a manner the godson,  the friend,  the
favourite of his father!”  She  could  have  added,  “A young man,
too,  like _you_,  whose very countenance may vouch for your being
amiable”—but  she contented herself with,  “and one,  too, who had
probably been his  companion  from childhood,  connected together,
as I think you said, in the closest manner!”                      
  “We were  born in the same parish,  within the  same  park;  the
greatest part of  our youth was passed  together;  inmates of  the
same house,  sharing the same amusements, objects of the same par‐
ental care.  _My_ father  began life in the  profession which your
uncle, Mr.  Phillips,  appears to do so much credit to—but he gave
up everything to be of use  to the late Mr.  Darcy and devoted all
his  time to  the  care of the  Pemberley property.  He  was  most
highly  esteemed  by  Mr.  Darcy,  a  most  intimate, confidential
friend.  Mr.  Darcy  often acknowledged himself to  be  under  the
greatest  obligations to my father's  active superintendence,  and
when,  immediately before my father's death, Mr.  Darcy gave him a
voluntary  promise  of  providing for me,  I am convinced  that he
felt it to be as much a debt of gratitude to _him_,  as of his af‐
fection to myself.”                                               
  “How strange!” cried Elizabeth.  “How abominable!  I wonder that
the very pride of this Mr. Darcy has not made him just to you!  If
from no  better motive,  that he should not have been too proud to
be dishonest—for dishonesty I must call it.”                      
  “It _is_  wonderful,” replied Wickham,  “for almost  all his ac‐
tions 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 beha‐
viour to me there were stronger impulses even than pride.”        
  “Can such abominable pride as his have ever done him good?”     
  “Yes.  It has often led him to be liberal and generous,  to give
his money freely,  to display hospitality,  to assist his tenants,
and relieve the poor.  Family pride,  and _filial_ pride—for he is
very proud of what  his father  was—have done this.  Not to appear
to disgrace his family,  to degenerate from the popular qualities,
or lose  the  influence  of  the Pemberley  House,  is a  powerful
motive.  He has also _brotherly_ pride, which,  with _some_ broth‐
erly affection,  makes him a very kind and careful guardian of his
sister,  and  you will hear him generally cried up as the most at‐
tentive and best of brothers.”                                    
  “What sort of girl is Miss Darcy?”                              
  He shook his head.  “I  wish I could call her amiable.  It gives
me pain  to speak  ill of  a Darcy.  But she is too much  like her
brother—very,  very  proud.  As  a child, she was affectionate and
pleasing,  and extremely fond of me;  and I have devoted hours and
hours to her amusement.  But she is nothing to  me now.  She is  a
handsome  girl,  about  fifteen  or sixteen,  and,  I  understand,
highly accomplished.  Since her father's death,  her home has been
London,  where a lady lives with her,  and superintends her educa‐
  After many pauses and  many trials of other subjects,  Elizabeth
could not help reverting once more to the first, and saying:      
  “I am astonished at his intimacy with Mr.  Bingley!  How can Mr.
Bingley,  who seems good humour itself,  and is, I really believe,
truly amiable,  be in friendship  with such  a  man?  How can they
suit each other? Do you know Mr. Bingley?”                        
  “Not at all.”                                                   
  “He is a sweet-tempered,  amiable,  charming man. He cannot know
what Mr. Darcy is.”                                               
  “Probably not;  but Mr.  Darcy can please  where he chooses.  He
does not want  abilities.  He can be a conversible companion if he
thinks it worth his while.  Among those who  are at all his equals
in consequence,  he is a very different man from what he is to the
less prosperous.  His pride  never deserts him;  but with the rich
he  is liberal-minded,  just,  sincere,  rational, honourable, and
perhaps agreeable—allowing something for fortune and figure.”     
  The  whist  party  soon  afterwards  breaking  up,  the  players
gathered round the other table and Mr.  Collins  took  his station
between his cousin Elizabeth and Mrs.  Phillips. The usual inquir‐
ies as to his  success was made  by  the latter.  It had  not been
very great; he had lost every point;  but when Mrs. Phillips began
to express her concern thereupon,  he assured her with much  earn‐
est gravity that it was not of the least importance,  that he con‐
sidered the money as a mere trifle,  and begged that she would not
make herself uneasy.                                              
  “I know very well,  madam,” said he, “that when persons sit down
to a card-table,  they must  take  their chances of  these things,
and happily I am  not in such circumstances as to  make five shil‐
lings any  object.  There are undoubtedly  many who could  not say
the  same,  but thanks to  Lady Catherine de Bourgh,  I am removed
far beyond the necessity of regarding little matters.”            
  Mr.  Wickham's attention  was caught;  and  after  observing Mr.
Collins for  a  few  moments,  he asked Elizabeth in  a  low voice
whether her relation was very intimately acquainted with  the fam‐
ily of de Bourgh.                                                 
  “Lady Catherine de Bourgh,” she replied,  “has very lately given
him a living.  I hardly know how Mr.  Collins was first introduced
to her notice, but he certainly has not known her long.”          
  “You know  of course that Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Lady Anne
Darcy were sisters;  consequently that she is aunt  to the present
Mr. Darcy.”                                                       
  “No,  indeed,  I did not. I knew nothing at  all of Lady Cather‐
ine's connections. I never heard of her existence till the day be‐
fore yesterday.”                                                  
  “Her daughter,  Miss de Bourgh,  will have a very large fortune,
and it is believed that she  and her cousin will unite the two es‐
  This information  made Elizabeth  smile,  as she thought of poor
Miss  Bingley.  Vain indeed  must be all her attentions,  vain and
useless her affection for his  sister  and  her praise of himself,
if he were already self-destined for another.                     
  “Mr.  Collins,” said she,  “speaks highly both of Lady Catherine
and her daughter;  but from  some particulars  that he has related
of her ladyship,  I suspect his gratitude misleads him,  and  that
in spite  of her being his patroness,  she is  an  arrogant,  con‐
ceited woman.”                                                    
  “I  believe  her to be both in a great degree,” replied Wickham;
“I have not  seen her for  many  years,  but I very  well remember
that I never liked her,  and that her manners were dictatorial and
insolent.  She has the reputation of being remarkably sensible and
clever;  but I rather believe  she  derives part  of her abilities
from her rank and  fortune,  part  from her authoritative  manner,
and  the  rest  from the pride  for her nephew,  who chooses  that
everyone connected  with him should have  an understanding of  the
first class.”                                                     
  Elizabeth  allowed that he had given a  very rational account of
it,  and they continued talking together, with mutual satisfaction
till supper put an end to cards,  and gave  the rest of the ladies
their share of Mr. Wickham's attentions. There could be no conver‐
sation in the noise of Mrs.  Phillips's supper party, but his man‐
ners recommended him  to everybody.  Whatever  he  said,  was said
well;  and whatever he did,  done gracefully.  Elizabeth went away
with her head full of him.  She could think  of nothing but of Mr.
Wickham, and of what he had told her,  all the way home; but there
was not time for her even to mention  his  name as they went,  for
neither Lydia nor Mr.  Collins were once silent.  Lydia talked in‐
cessantly  of  lottery tickets,  of the fish  she had lost and the
fish she had won;  and Mr.  Collins in describing the civility  of
Mr. and Mrs. Phillips, protesting that he did not in the least re‐
gard  his losses at  whist,  enumerating all the dishes at supper,
and repeatedly fearing that he  crowded  his cousins,  had more to
say than he could well manage before the carriage stopped at Long‐
bourn House.                                                      

                            Chapter 17                            

Elizabeth related  to  Jane the next day what  had  passed between
Mr. Wickham and herself.  Jane listened with astonishment and con‐
cern;  she knew not how to believe that Mr.  Darcy could be so un‐
worthy of Mr. Bingley's regard;  and yet, it was not in her nature
to question  the veracity of a young man of  such amiable  appear‐
ance as  Wickham.  The possibility of his having endured  such un‐
kindness,  was  enough to interest  all  her tender feelings;  and
nothing remained  therefore to be done,  but to think well of them
both,  to defend the conduct of  each,  and throw into the account
of accident or mistake whatever could not be otherwise explained. 
  “They have both,” said she, “been deceived, I dare say,  in some
way or other,  of  which  we can form no idea.  Interested  people
have perhaps misrepresented each to the other.  It  is,  in short,
impossible for us to conjecture the causes or circumstances  which
may have alienated them, without actual blame on either side.”    
  “Very true, indeed; and now,  my dear Jane, what have you got to
say on behalf of the interested people who have probably been con‐
cerned  in the business?  Do clear _them_ too,  or we shall be ob‐
liged to think ill of somebody.”                                  
  “Laugh as much as you choose,  but you  will not laugh me out of
my opinion. My dearest Lizzy,  do but consider in what a disgrace‐
ful light it places Mr. Darcy, to be treating his father's favour‐
ite in such a manner,  one whom his father had promised to provide
for.  It is impossible. No man of common humanity,  no man who had
any value for his character,  could be capable of it. Can his most
intimate friends be so excessively deceived in him? Oh! no.”      
  “I can much more easily believe Mr.  Bingley's being imposed on,
than that  Mr.  Wickham should invent such a history of himself as
he gave me last night;  names, facts, everything mentioned without
ceremony. If it be not so,  let Mr.  Darcy contradict it. Besides,
there was truth in his looks.”                                    
  “It is difficult  indeed—it is distressing.  One  does not  know
what to think.”                                                   
  “I beg your pardon; one knows exactly what to think.”           
  But Jane could think  with certainty on only one point—that  Mr.
Bingley,  if he _had_  been imposed on,  would have much to suffer
when the affair became public.                                    
  The two young  ladies were  summoned from the  shrubbery,  where
this  conversation passed,  by the arrival of the very  persons of
whom they had been speaking;  Mr.  Bingley and his sisters came to
give their personal invitation for the long-expected ball at Neth‐
erfield,  which  was  fixed  for  the following  Tuesday.  The two
ladies were delighted to  see their dear  friend again,  called it
an age since they had met,  and repeatedly asked what she had been
doing with herself since their separation. To the rest of the fam‐
ily  they paid little attention;  avoiding Mrs.  Bennet as much as
possible, saying not much to Elizabeth,  and nothing at all to the
others.  They were soon gone again,  rising from their seats  with
an activity  which took their brother  by  surprise,  and hurrying
off as if eager to escape from Mrs. Bennet's civilities.          
  The  prospect of the Netherfield ball was extremely agreeable to
every female of the family.  Mrs.  Bennet  chose to consider it as
given  in compliment to her eldest daughter,  and was particularly
flattered  by receiving the  invitation from Mr.  Bingley himself,
instead of a ceremonious card.  Jane  pictured to herself a  happy
evening  in the society of her two friends,  and the attentions of
her brother;  and  Elizabeth thought with pleasure  of  dancing  a
great  deal with Mr.  Wickham,  and  of seeing  a  confirmation of
everything in Mr.  Darcy's look and behaviour. The happiness anti‐
cipated  by Catherine and Lydia depended less on any single event,
or any particular person,  for though they  each,  like Elizabeth,
meant to dance  half  the evening with Mr.  Wickham,  he was by no
means the only partner who could satisfy them, and a ball was,  at
any rate,  a ball.  And even Mary could assure her family that she
had no disinclination for it.                                     
  “While I can  have my mornings  to myself,”  said  she,  “it  is
enough—I think it is no sacrifice to join  occasionally in evening
engagements.  Society has  claims on us all;  and I profess myself
one  of those who consider  intervals of  recreation and amusement
as desirable for everybody.”                                      
  Elizabeth's  spirits were so high on this occasion,  that though
she did not  often speak unnecessarily to Mr.  Collins,  she could
not help asking him whether  he intended  to accept Mr.  Bingley's
invitation,  and if he did,  whether he would  think it proper  to
join in the evening's amusement;  and she  was rather surprised to
find that he  entertained no  scruple whatever on  that head,  and
was very far from dreading a rebuke either  from  the  Archbishop,
or Lady Catherine de Bourgh, by venturing to dance.               
  “I am by no means of the opinion,  I assure you,” said he, “that
a  ball of  this kind,  given by a young man of character,  to re‐
spectable people,  can  have  any evil tendency;  and I am  so far
from  objecting to dancing  myself,  that I shall  hope to be hon‐
oured with the hands of  all my fair cousins in the course  of the
evening;  and I  take this opportunity of soliciting  yours,  Miss
Elizabeth,  for  the two  first  dances  especially,  a preference
which I trust my  cousin  Jane will attribute to the  right cause,
and not to any disrespect for her.”                               
  Elizabeth  felt herself completely taken in.  She had fully pro‐
posed being engaged by Mr.  Wickham for those very dances;  and to
have  Mr.  Collins instead!  her liveliness  had  never been worse
timed. There was no help for it, however.  Mr. Wickham's happiness
and her own  were  perforce  delayed  a  little  longer,  and  Mr.
Collins's proposal  accepted with as  good  a grace as  she could.
She was  not the better pleased with his  gallantry from the  idea
it  suggested of  something  more.  It now first struck her,  that
_she_ was selected from  among her sisters as worthy of being mis‐
tress of Hunsford Parsonage,  and of assisting to form a quadrille
table at Rosings,  in the absence of more eligible  visitors.  The
idea  soon reached to conviction,  as she observed  his increasing
civilities toward herself,  and heard  his  frequent  attempt at a
compliment on her wit  and vivacity;  and  though more  astonished
than gratified herself by this effect of  her charms,  it was  not
long  before her mother gave her  to understand that the probabil‐
ity of  their marriage  was extremely agreeable to  _her_.  Eliza‐
beth,  however, did not choose to take the hint,  being well aware
that a serious dispute must be the consequence of any  reply.  Mr.
Collins might never make the offer,  and till he did,  it was use‐
less to quarrel about him.                                        
  If there  had  not  been a Netherfield  ball to prepare  for and
talk of,  the younger Miss Bennets would have been in a very piti‐
able state at this time,  for from the day of the  invitation,  to
the day of the ball,  there was such a succession  of rain as pre‐
vented their walking to Meryton once.  No  aunt,  no officers,  no
news could  be  sought after—the very shoe-roses  for  Netherfield
were got  by proxy.  Even Elizabeth might have found some trial of
her patience in weather  which totally  suspended  the improvement
of  her acquaintance with Mr.  Wickham;  and nothing  less  than a
dance  on  Tuesday,  could  have  made  such  a Friday,  Saturday,
Sunday, and Monday endurable to Kitty and Lydia.                  

                            Chapter 18                            

Till  Elizabeth  entered  the  drawing-room  at  Netherfield,  and
looked  in vain for Mr.  Wickham among  the cluster  of red  coats
there assembled,  a doubt of his being  present had never occurred
to her.  The certainty of meeting him had not been checked  by any
of those  recollections that might  not unreasonably  have alarmed
her.  She  had dressed with more than usual care,  and prepared in
the highest spirits for  the conquest of all  that remained unsub‐
dued of  his heart,  trusting  that  it was not more than might be
won  in the course  of  the evening.  But in  an instant arose the
dreadful suspicion of his being purposely omitted for Mr.  Darcy's
pleasure in the Bingleys' invitation to the officers;  and  though
this was  not exactly the case,  the absolute  fact of his absence
was pronounced  by  his friend  Denny,  to whom  Lydia eagerly ap‐
plied,  and who  told them that Wickham had  been obliged to go to
town  on  business the day  before,  and  was  not  yet  returned;
adding,  with a significant smile,  “I do not imagine his business
would  have called him away just now,  if  he  had  not  wanted to
avoid a certain gentleman here.”                                  
  This part of his  intelligence,  though unheard  by  Lydia,  was
caught  by Elizabeth,  and,  as it assured her that Darcy was  not
less  answerable  for Wickham's absence than if her first  surmise
had been  just,  every  feeling of displeasure  against the former
was so  sharpened  by  immediate  disappointment,  that she  could
hardly  reply with tolerable  civility  to  the  polite  inquiries
which he directly afterwards approached to make. Attendance,  for‐
bearance, patience with Darcy, was injury to Wickham.  She was re‐
solved against any sort of conversation with him,  and turned away
with a  degree of ill-humour  which she could not  wholly surmount
even in speaking to Mr.  Bingley,  whose blind partiality provoked
  But Elizabeth was not formed for  ill-humour;  and though  every
prospect  of her own was  destroyed for the evening,  it could not
dwell long on her spirits; and having told all her griefs to Char‐
lotte Lucas,  whom she had not seen for a week,  she was soon able
to make a voluntary transition to the oddities of her cousin,  and
to point him out to  her particular notice.  The first two dances,
however, brought a return of distress;  they were dances of morti‐
fication. Mr.  Collins, awkward and solemn, apologising instead of
attending,  and often moving wrong without being aware of it, gave
her all  the shame and misery which  a  disagreeable partner for a
couple of dances can give.  The moment of her release from him was
  She danced next with  an  officer,  and had the  refreshment  of
talking of Wickham,  and of hearing that he was universally liked.
When those dances were over,  she returned to Charlotte Lucas, and
was in conversation with her,  when she found herself suddenly ad‐
dressed by Mr.  Darcy who  took her so much by surprise in his ap‐
plication for her hand,  that,  without knowing what she  did, she
accepted him.  He walked away again immediately,  and she was left
to fret over her own want of presence of mind;  Charlotte tried to
console her:                                                      
  “I dare say you will find him very agreeable.”                  
  “Heaven forbid!  _That_ would be the greatest misfortune of all!
To find  a man agreeable whom one  is  determined to hate!  Do not
wish me such an evil.”                                            
  When the dancing recommenced,  however,  and Darcy approached to
claim her hand, Charlotte could not help cautioning her in a whis‐
per,  not to be a simpleton,  and allow  her fancy  for Wickham to
make her appear unpleasant in the eyes of a man ten times his con‐
sequence.  Elizabeth  made no answer,  and took her  place  in the
set,  amazed at  the dignity to which she was arrived in being al‐
lowed to stand opposite to  Mr.  Darcy,  and reading in her neigh‐
bours'  looks,  their equal amazement in beholding it.  They stood
for some time  without speaking  a word;  and she began to imagine
that their silence was to  last  through the two  dances,  and  at
first was resolved not  to break it;  till suddenly  fancying that
it  would be the greater  punishment to her  partner to oblige him
to  talk,  she  made  some slight  observation  on  the dance.  He
replied, and was again silent. After a pause of some minutes,  she
addressed him  a second time with:—“It is _your_ turn to say some‐
thing now,  Mr.  Darcy. I talked  about the dance, and _you_ ought
to make some sort of remark on the  size of the room,  or the num‐
ber of couples.”                                                  
  He smiled,  and assured her  that whatever she wished him to say
should be said.                                                   
  “Very well.  That reply will do for the present.  Perhaps by and
by I may observe that private balls  are much pleasanter than pub‐
lic ones. But _now_ we may be silent.”                            
  “Do you talk by rule, then, while you are dancing?”             
  “Sometimes.  One must  speak a little,  you know.  It would look
odd  to be entirely silent for half an hour together;  and yet for
the advantage of _some_,  conversation ought to be so arranged, as
that they may have the trouble of saying as little as possible.”  
  “Are  you consulting your own feelings in the present  case,  or
do you imagine that you are gratifying mine?”                     
  “Both,” replied  Elizabeth archly;  “for  I  have always  seen a
great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are each of an unso‐
cial, taciturn disposition,  unwilling to speak,  unless we expect
to say  something that  will  amaze the whole room,  and be handed
down to posterity with all the eclat of a proverb.”               
  “This is no very  striking resemblance of your own character,  I
am sure,” said he.  “How near it may be to _mine_,  I  cannot pre‐
tend to say. _You_ think it a faithful portrait undoubtedly.”     
  “I must not decide on my own performance.”                      
  He  made no  answer,  and  they were again  silent till they had
gone down the dance,  when he asked her if she and her sisters did
not very often walk to  Meryton.  She answered in the affirmative,
and,  unable to resist the  temptation,  added,  “When you met  us
there the  other day,  we  had just  been  forming a new acquaint‐
  The effect  was  immediate.  A deeper  shade of _hauteur_  over‐
spread  his features,  but he  said  not  a word,  and  Elizabeth,
though blaming herself for her own weakness,  could not go on.  At
length Darcy spoke,  and in a constrained manner said,  “Mr. Wick‐
ham is blessed with such  happy manners as may ensure his _making_
friends—whether he may be equally capable of _retaining_ them,  is
less certain.”                                                    
  “He has  been so unlucky  as to lose _your_ friendship,” replied
Elizabeth with emphasis,  “and  in a manner which he is likely  to
suffer from all his life.”                                        
  Darcy made no answer,  and seemed  desirous of changing the sub‐
ject.  At that moment,  Sir William Lucas appeared  close to them,
meaning to pass  through the  set to  the other side of the  room;
but  on perceiving Mr.  Darcy,  he stopped with a bow  of superior
courtesy to compliment him on his dancing and his partner.        
  “I have been  most highly gratified indeed,  my  dear sir.  Such
very superior  dancing is not often seen.  It is evident that  you
belong to the first circles. Allow me to say,  however,  that your
fair partner does not  disgrace you,  and that I must hope to have
this pleasure often repeated,  especially when a certain desirable
event,  my  dear  Eliza (glancing at her sister and Bingley) shall
take  place.  What congratulations will then flow in!  I appeal to
Mr. Darcy:—but let me not interrupt you,  sir.  You will not thank
me for detaining you from  the bewitching  converse of  that young
lady, whose bright eyes are also upbraiding me.”                  
  The latter part of this address  was  scarcely  heard  by Darcy;
but Sir William's allusion to his friend seemed to strike him for‐
cibly,  and his eyes  were directed with a very serious expression
towards Bingley  and Jane,  who were dancing together.  Recovering
himself,  however,  shortly,  he turned  to his partner, and said,
“Sir William's interruption has made me forget what we were  talk‐
ing of.”                                                          
  “I do not think we were speaking at all.  Sir William  could not
have interrupted  two people  in the room who had less to say  for
themselves.  We have  tried  two or three subjects already without
success, and what we are to talk of next I cannot imagine.”       
  “What think you of books?” said he, smiling.                    
  “Books—oh!  no.  I am  sure we never read the same,  or not with
the same feelings.”                                               
  “I am sorry you think so; but if that be the case,  there can at
least be no want of subject. We may compare our different opinion‐
  “No—I cannot talk  of books in  a ball-room;  my head is  always
full of something else.”                                          
  “The  _present_  always occupies you  in  such  scenes—does it?”
said he, with a look of doubt.                                    
  “Yes,  always,” she replied, without knowing what she said,  for
her thoughts had  wandered far from  the subject,  as  soon after‐
wards appeared  by  her suddenly exclaiming,  “I  remember hearing
you once say,  Mr.  Darcy, that you hardly ever forgave, that your
resentment once created was unappeasable.  You are very  cautious,
I suppose, as to its _being created_.”                            
  “I am,” said he, with a firm voice.                             
  “And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice?”          
  “I hope not.”                                                   
  “It is particularly incumbent  on those who never  change  their
opinion, to be secure of judging properly at first.”              
  “May I ask to what these questions tend?”                       
  “Merely to the illustration of _your_ character,” said she,  en‐
deavouring to shake off her gravity.  “I am trying to make it out‐
  “And what is your success?”                                     
  She shook her head. “I do not get on at all. I hear such differ‐
ent accounts of you as puzzle me exceedingly.”                    
  “I can readily believe,” answered he gravely,  “that reports may
vary greatly  with respect to me;  and I could wish,  Miss Bennet,
that you were not to sketch my  character  at the present  moment,
as  there is reason  to fear that the performance would reflect no
credit on either.”                                                
  “But if I do not  take your likeness now,  I  may never have an‐
other opportunity.”                                               
  “I would by  no  means suspend any pleasure of yours,” he coldly
replied. She said no more,  and they went down the other dance and
parted in  silence;  and on each side dissatisfied,  though not to
an  equal  degree,  for  in Darcy's  breast there was a  tolerable
powerful feeling towards her,  which soon procured her pardon, and
directed all his anger against another.                           
  They  had not  long  separated,  when Miss Bingley came  towards
her, and with an expression of civil disdain accosted her:        
  “So,  Miss Eliza,  I  hear you  are quite delighted  with George
Wickham!  Your sister has been talking to me about him, and asking
me a thousand questions;  and I find that the young man quite for‐
got to tell you,  among his  other communication,  that he was the
son of old Wickham,  the late Mr.  Darcy's steward. Let me  recom‐
mend you,  however,  as a friend,  not to give implicit confidence
to all his assertions;  for as to Mr. Darcy's using him ill, it is
perfectly false; for, on the contrary,  he has always been remark‐
ably kind to him,  though George Wickham has treated Mr.  Darcy in
a most infamous manner. I do not know the particulars,  but I know
very  well that Mr.  Darcy is not in the least to blame,  that  he
cannot bear to hear George Wickham mentioned,  and that though  my
brother thought that he could not well avoid  including him in his
invitation to the officers,  he was  excessively glad to find that
he had taken himself out of the way.  His coming into  the country
at all is  a  most insolent  thing,  indeed,  and I wonder how  he
could presume to do it.  I pity you, Miss Eliza,  for this discov‐
ery of your favourite's guilt;  but really,  considering  his des‐
cent, one could not expect much better.”                          
  “His guilt  and his  descent  appear  by your account  to be the
same,” said Elizabeth angrily;  “for I  have  heard you accuse him
of nothing worse  than of  being the son  of Mr.  Darcy's steward,
and of _that_, I can assure you, he informed me himself.”         
  “I beg your pardon,” replied Miss Bingley,  turning  away with a
sneer. “Excuse my interference—it was kindly meant.”              
  “Insolent  girl!” said Elizabeth to herself.  “You are much mis‐
taken  if you expect to influence  me  by such  a paltry attack as
this.  I  see nothing in  it but your own wilful ignorance and the
malice of Mr.  Darcy.” She then sought her eldest sister,  who has
undertaken to make inquiries on the same subject of Bingley.  Jane
met her with a smile of such  sweet complacency,  a  glow of  such
happy expression,  as sufficiently marked  how well she was satis‐
fied with  the occurrences  of  the  evening.  Elizabeth instantly
read her feelings,  and at that moment solicitude for Wickham, re‐
sentment against his enemies,  and everything else,  gave way  be‐
fore the hope of Jane's being in the fairest way for happiness.   
  “I want to know,” said she,  with a countenance no less  smiling
than her sister's,  “what you have learnt about Mr.  Wickham.  But
perhaps you have  been  too  pleasantly  engaged to  think  of any
third person; in which case you may be sure of my pardon.”        
  “No,” replied Jane, “I have not forgotten him;  but I have noth‐
ing satisfactory to tell you. Mr.  Bingley does not know the whole
of his history,  and is quite ignorant of the circumstances  which
have principally offended Mr.  Darcy;  but  he will vouch  for the
good conduct, the probity,  and honour of his friend,  and is per‐
fectly convinced  that Mr.  Wickham has deserved much less  atten‐
tion from  Mr.  Darcy than he has received;  and I am sorry to say
by  his account  as well as his  sister's,  Mr.  Wickham is by  no
means a respectable young  man.  I am afraid he  has been very im‐
prudent, and has deserved to lose Mr. Darcy's regard.”            
  “Mr. Bingley does not know Mr. Wickham himself?”                
  “No; he never saw him till the other morning at Meryton.”       
  “This account then is what he has received from Mr.  Darcy. I am
satisfied. But what does he say of the living?”                   
  “He does not exactly recollect the circumstances,  though he has
heard them from Mr.  Darcy more than once, but he believes that it
was left to him _conditionally_ only.”                            
  “I have not a doubt of Mr.  Bingley's sincerity,” said Elizabeth
warmly;  “but you must excuse my not being convinced by assurances
only. Mr.  Bingley's defense of his friend was a very able one,  I
dare say;  but since he is unacquainted with several parts  of the
story,  and has learnt the rest from that friend himself,  I shall
venture to still think of both gentlemen as I did before.”        
  She then  changed the discourse to  one more gratifying to each,
and on which there could be no difference of sentiment.  Elizabeth
listened with  delight to the  happy,  though  modest  hopes which
Jane entertained of  Mr.  Bingley's regard,  and said all  in  her
power to heighten her  confidence in it.  On their being joined by
Mr.  Bingley himself,  Elizabeth withdrew to Miss Lucas;  to whose
inquiry  after  the pleasantness  of  her  last  partner  she  had
scarcely replied,  before Mr.  Collins came up to them,  and  told
her with great  exultation that  he had just been so  fortunate as
to make a most important discovery.                               
  “I have  found out,”  said  he,  “by a singular  accident,  that
there is  now  in  the room a  near  relation of  my patroness.  I
happened  to  overhear the  gentleman  himself  mentioning to  the
young lady who does  the honours of  the  house the names  of  his
cousin Miss de Bourgh, and of her mother Lady Catherine.  How won‐
derfully these sort of things occur!  Who would have thought of my
meeting with,  perhaps,  a nephew of Lady Catherine  de  Bourgh in
this assembly!  I am  most  thankful that the discovery is made in
time for me to  pay my respects to  him,  which I am  now going to
do,  and  trust he will  excuse my not having done it  before.  My
total ignorance of the connection must plead my apology.”         
  “You are not going to introduce yourself to Mr. Darcy!”         
  “Indeed I am.  I shall entreat his pardon for not having done it
earlier.  I believe  him to be Lady Catherine's _nephew_.  It will
be in my power to assure him that her ladyship was quite well yes‐
terday se'nnight.”                                                
  Elizabeth tried hard to dissuade him from such a scheme,  assur‐
ing  him that Mr.  Darcy would consider his addressing him without
introduction as an impertinent freedom,  rather than  a compliment
to his aunt;  that it was not  in the least necessary there should
be any notice on either side; and that if it were,  it must belong
to Mr. Darcy,  the superior in consequence, to begin the acquaint‐
ance. Mr.  Collins listened to her with the determined air of fol‐
lowing  his  own  inclination,  and,  when  she  ceased  speaking,
replied thus:                                                     
  “My  dear Miss  Elizabeth,  I  have  the highest opinion in  the
world in your excellent judgement in all matters within the  scope
of your understanding;  but permit me to say, that there must be a
wide difference between the  established forms of ceremony amongst
the  laity,  and  those which regulate the clergy;  for,  give  me
leave to observe that I  consider the clerical office as equal  in
point  of dignity  with the  highest rank in  the kingdom—provided
that a proper  humility of  behaviour is at  the same  time  main‐
tained.  You must therefore  allow me to follow the dictates of my
conscience on this occasion,  which  leads me  to  perform what  I
look on as a point of duty.  Pardon me for neglecting to profit by
your advice,  which on  every  other subject shall  be my constant
guide,  though in the case before us I consider myself more fitted
by education and habitual study to  decide on what is right than a
young lady like yourself.” And with a low bow  he left her  to at‐
tack  Mr.  Darcy,  whose reception  of  his advances  she  eagerly
watched,  and whose astonishment  at being so addressed  was  very
evident.  Her  cousin  prefaced  his speech with  a solemn bow and
though she could not hear a word of it,  she felt as if hearing it
all,  and  saw  in  the  motion of  his lips the words  “apology,”
“Hunsford,” and “Lady Catherine de  Bourgh.” It  vexed  her to see
him expose himself to such  a man.  Mr.  Darcy was eyeing him with
unrestrained wonder,  and when at  last  Mr.  Collins  allowed him
time  to speak,  replied  with  an air  of  distant civility.  Mr.
Collins,  however,  was not  discouraged from speaking again,  and
Mr.  Darcy's contempt seemed abundantly increasing with the length
of  his  second speech,  and at  the end of it  he only made him a
slight bow,  and moved another way.  Mr.  Collins then returned to
  “I have no reason,  I assure you,” said he,  “to be dissatisfied
with my reception.  Mr.  Darcy seemed much pleased with the atten‐
tion.  He answered me  with the utmost civility,  and even paid me
the compliment of saying  that he was so well  convinced  of  Lady
Catherine's discernment as to be certain she could never bestow  a
favour unworthily.  It was  really a very  handsome thought.  Upon
the whole, I am much pleased with him.”                           
  As Elizabeth  had no longer any interest of her own  to  pursue,
she turned  her attention almost  entirely on her sister  and  Mr.
Bingley; and the train of agreeable reflections which her observa‐
tions gave birth to,  made  her perhaps almost  as happy  as Jane.
She saw her  in idea settled in that very house,  in all the feli‐
city  which a marriage of  true affection  could bestow;  and  she
felt capable,  under such circumstances,  of  endeavouring even to
like Bingley's two sisters.  Her mother's thoughts she plainly saw
were bent the same  way,  and she determined not  to venture  near
her,  lest she might hear too much.  When they sat down to supper,
therefore,  she  considered  it a most unlucky  perverseness which
placed them within one of each other;  and deeply was she vexed to
find that  her  mother was talking to that one person (Lady Lucas)
freely, openly,  and of nothing else but her expectation that Jane
would soon be  married to Mr.  Bingley.  It was an  animating sub‐
ject, and Mrs.  Bennet seemed incapable of fatigue while enumerat‐
ing the advantages of the  match.  His being such a charming young
man, and so rich,  and living but three miles from them,  were the
first points of  self-gratulation;  and then it was such a comfort
to think how fond the two sisters were of Jane,  and to be certain
that they must desire the connection  as much as she could do.  It
was,  moreover,  such a promising thing for her younger daughters,
as Jane's marrying so greatly must throw them in the way  of other
rich men;  and lastly,  it was so pleasant  at her time of life to
be able to consign her single daughters to the care of  their sis‐
ter,  that she might not be obliged  to go  into company more than
she liked.  It was necessary to make this circumstance a matter of
pleasure,  because on such occasions it is the  etiquette;  but no
one was less likely than Mrs.  Bennet to find  comfort  in staying
home  at any  period of her  life.  She concluded  with  many good
wishes that Lady Lucas  might soon be  equally  fortunate,  though
evidently and triumphantly believing there was no chance of it.   
  In vain did  Elizabeth  endeavour to  check the rapidity of  her
mother's words,  or  persuade  her to  describe her felicity  in a
less audible  whisper;  for,  to  her inexpressible vexation,  she
could perceive  that  the chief of it was overheard by Mr.  Darcy,
who sat  opposite to them.  Her mother only scolded her for  being
  “What is Mr. Darcy to me,  pray, that I should be afraid of him?
I am sure we owe him no such particular civility  as to be obliged
to say nothing _he_ may not like to hear.”                        
  “For heaven's sake,  madam,  speak lower. What  advantage can it
be for you to offend Mr.  Darcy? You will never recommend yourself
to his friend by so doing!”                                       
  Nothing that she  could say,  however,  had any  influence.  Her
mother  would talk of her  views  in  the same intelligible  tone.
Elizabeth blushed and blushed again with shame and  vexation.  She
could not help frequently glancing her  eye at Mr.  Darcy,  though
every glance convinced her of what she dreaded;  for though he was
not always  looking at her mother,  she was convinced that his at‐
tention was invariably fixed  by her.  The expression of his  face
changed  gradually from  indignant  contempt  to  a  composed  and
steady gravity.                                                   
  At length, however, Mrs. Bennet had no more to say; and Lady Lu‐
cas,  who  had  been long  yawning  at  the repetition of delights
which she saw no likelihood of sharing,  was left to the  comforts
of cold  ham and chicken.  Elizabeth now began to revive.  But not
long was the interval of tranquillity; for,  when supper was over,
singing  was  talked of,  and  she had the mortification of seeing
Mary,  after  very little  entreaty,  preparing to oblige the com‐
pany. By many significant looks and silent entreaties, did she en‐
deavour to  prevent such  a  proof  of complaisance,  but in vain;
Mary would not understand them;  such an opportunity of exhibiting
was delightful to her,  and she began  her song.  Elizabeth's eyes
were fixed on  her with  most painful sensations,  and she watched
her progress through the several stanzas with  an impatience which
was very ill  rewarded at  their  close;  for Mary,  on receiving,
amongst the thanks  of the  table,  the hint of  a  hope  that she
might be  prevailed on  to favour them again,  after  the pause of
half a  minute began another.  Mary's powers were by no means fit‐
ted  for such a display;  her voice  was weak,  and her manner af‐
fected.  Elizabeth was in agonies.  She looked at Jane, to see how
she bore it;  but Jane was very composedly talking to Bingley. She
looked  at his two sisters,  and saw them making signs of derision
at each other,  and at  Darcy, who continued, however,  imperturb‐
ably grave.  She looked at her father to entreat his interference,
lest Mary should be singing all night. He took the hint,  and when
Mary had finished her second song,  said aloud,  “That will do ex‐
tremely well,  child.  You have delighted us long enough.  Let the
other young ladies have time to exhibit.”                         
  Mary,  though pretending not to hear, was somewhat disconcerted;
and Elizabeth,  sorry for her,  and sorry for her father's speech,
was afraid her anxiety had done no good.  Others of the party were
now applied to.                                                   
  “If I,” said Mr.  Collins,  “were so  fortunate as to be able to
sing,  I should have great pleasure,  I am sure,  in  obliging the
company with an air;  for  I consider music as a very innocent di‐
version, and perfectly compatible with the profession of a clergy‐
man.  I do not mean,  however, to assert that we can be  justified
in devoting too  much of our  time to  music,  for there  are cer‐
tainly other things to be attended to.  The rector of a parish has
much to  do.  In the first  place,  he must make such an agreement
for tithes  as may  be  beneficial to himself and not offensive to
his patron.  He must write his own sermons;  and the time that re‐
mains will  not be too much for  his parish duties,  and  the care
and improvement of his dwelling,  which he  cannot be excused from
making as comfortable as possible.  And I do not think it of light
importance  that he should have attentive and conciliatory manners
towards everybody,  especially towards those to  whom he  owes his
preferment.  I cannot acquit him of that duty;  nor  could I think
well of the man  who should omit an occasion of testifying his re‐
spect towards anybody  connected with the family.” And  with a bow
to Mr.  Darcy,  he concluded his speech,  which had been spoken so
loud as to  be heard  by half the  room.  Many stared—many smiled;
but no one looked more amused than Mr.  Bennet himself,  while his
wife  seriously commended  Mr.  Collins for having spoken so sens‐
ibly, and observed in a half-whisper to Lady Lucas,  that he was a
remarkably clever, good kind of young man.                        
  To Elizabeth it appeared that,  had her family made an agreement
to expose themselves as much as they could during the evening,  it
would have been impossible for them  to play their parts with more
spirit or finer success;  and happy  did she  think it for Bingley
and her sister that some  of  the exhibition  had escaped his  no‐
tice,  and that his  feelings were not  of a sort to be much  dis‐
tressed  by the  folly which he must have witnessed.  That his two
sisters and Mr.  Darcy,  however, should  have such an opportunity
of ridiculing her relations, was bad enough, and she could not de‐
termine whether the silent contempt of  the gentleman,  or the in‐
solent smiles of the ladies, were more intolerable.               
  The rest of  the evening brought  her little amusement.  She was
teased  by  Mr.  Collins,  who continued most perseveringly by her
side,  and though he could not prevail  on  her  to dance with him
again,  put it out of her power to dance with others.  In vain did
she entreat him to  stand up with somebody else,  and offer to in‐
troduce  him to any young lady in the room.  He assured her,  that
as to dancing,  he was perfectly indifferent to it; that his chief
object was by delicate attentions to recommend himself to her  and
that he should therefore  make a point of  remaining  close to her
the whole evening.  There was no arguing upon such a project.  She
owed her  greatest  relief to  her friend Miss  Lucas,  who  often
joined them,  and  good-naturedly engaged Mr.  Collins's conversa‐
tion to herself.                                                  
  She  was at least free from the offense of Mr.  Darcy's  further
notice;  though often standing within  a very  short  distance  of
her,  quite disengaged,  he never came near enough to  speak.  She
felt  it to  be the probable  consequence  of her allusions to Mr.
Wickham, and rejoiced in it.                                      
  The Longbourn party were the last  of all the company to depart,
and,  by a manoeuvre of Mrs.  Bennet,  had to wait for  their car‐
riage a quarter  of an hour  after everybody else was gone,  which
gave them time to see how heartily  they were wished away by  some
of the  family.  Mrs.  Hurst and  her sister scarcely opened their
mouths,  except  to complain of fatigue,  and were evidently impa‐
tient to have  the  house  to themselves.  They repulsed every at‐
tempt of Mrs. Bennet at conversation, and by so doing threw a lan‐
guor over the whole party,  which was  very little relieved by the
long  speeches of Mr.  Collins,  who was complimenting Mr. Bingley
and his sisters  on the elegance of their  entertainment,  and the
hospitality and  politeness which had  marked  their behaviour  to
their guests. Darcy said nothing at all. Mr.  Bennet, in equal si‐
lence, was enjoying the scene.  Mr. Bingley and Jane were standing
together,  a  little detached  from the  rest,  and talked only to
each  other.  Elizabeth preserved as steady a  silence  as  either
Mrs.  Hurst or Miss Bingley;  and even Lydia was too much fatigued
to utter more than the occasional exclamation of “Lord,  how tired
I am!” accompanied by a violent yawn.                             
  When at  length they arose to take leave,  Mrs.  Bennet was most
pressingly  civil in her hope of seeing  the  whole family soon at
Longbourn, and addressed herself especially to Mr. Bingley, to as‐
sure him how happy he  would  make them by eating a  family dinner
with them at any time,  without the ceremony of a  formal  invita‐
tion.  Bingley was all grateful  pleasure,  and he readily engaged
for taking the earliest opportunity  of waiting on her,  after his
return from London,  whither he was obliged to go the next day for
a short time.                                                     
  Mrs.  Bennet was perfectly satisfied,  and quitted the house un‐
der  the delightful  persuasion that,  allowing for the  necessary
preparations of settlements,  new carriages,  and wedding clothes,
she should undoubtedly see her daughter settled at  Netherfield in
the  course of three or four months.  Of  having another  daughter
married to Mr.  Collins,  she thought  with  equal certainty,  and
with considerable, though not equal,  pleasure.  Elizabeth was the
least dear to her of all her children;  and though the man and the
match were quite good enough for _her_,  the worth of each was ec‐
lipsed by Mr. Bingley and Netherfield.                            

                            Chapter 19                            

The next day opened  a new scene at  Longbourn.  Mr.  Collins made
his declaration in form.  Having resolved to do it without loss of
time,  as his leave of absence extended only to the following Sat‐
urday,  and having no feelings of diffidence to  make it distress‐
ing to himself even at the moment,  he set about it in a  very or‐
derly manner,  with all the observances, which he supposed a regu‐
lar part of the business.  On finding Mrs.  Bennet, Elizabeth, and
one of the younger girls together,  soon  after breakfast,  he ad‐
dressed the mother in these words:                                
  “May  I hope,  madam,  for your interest with your fair daughter
Elizabeth,  when  I solicit  for the honour of  a private audience
with her in the course of this morning?”                          
  Before Elizabeth  had time for anything but a blush of surprise,
Mrs.  Bennet answered  instantly,  “Oh dear!—yes—certainly.  I  am
sure Lizzy will be  very happy—I  am  sure she  can have no objec‐
tion. Come, Kitty, I want you up stairs.” And,  gathering her work
together, she was hastening away, when Elizabeth called out:      
  “Dear madam,  do not go. I beg you will not go. Mr. Collins must
excuse me.  He can have nothing to say to me that anybody need not
hear. I am going away myself.”                                    
  “No,  no, nonsense, Lizzy.  I desire you to stay where you are.”
And upon  Elizabeth's seeming  really,  with vexed and embarrassed
looks,  about to escape,  she added: “Lizzy,  I _insist_ upon your
staying and hearing Mr. Collins.”                                 
  Elizabeth  would  not  oppose such  an injunction—and a moment's
consideration making her  also sensible that it would be wisest to
get it over as  soon  and as  quietly  as possible,  she  sat down
again and tried to conceal,  by incessant employment  the feelings
which were  divided between  distress and diversion.  Mrs.  Bennet
and Kitty walked off,  and as soon as they were gone,  Mr. Collins
  “Believe me,  my dear Miss Elizabeth, that your modesty,  so far
from doing  you any disservice,  rather adds to your other perfec‐
tions.  You  would  have  been less amiable in  my eyes had  there
_not_ been this little unwillingness;  but allow me to assure you,
that I  have your respected mother's permission  for this address.
You can  hardly doubt the  purport  of my discourse,  however your
natural  delicacy may  lead you  to dissemble;  my attentions have
been  too marked  to be mistaken.  Almost as soon as I entered the
house,  I singled you out as the companion of my future life.  But
before I am run away with by my feelings on this subject,  perhaps
it would be advisable  for  me  to  state  my  reasons  for marry‐
ing—and,  moreover,  for coming into Hertfordshire with the design
of selecting a wife, as I certainly did.”                         
  The idea of Mr.  Collins,  with all his solemn composure,  being
run away  with by his feelings,  made Elizabeth so  near laughing,
that she could not use  the short pause he allowed  in any attempt
to stop him further, and he continued:                            
  “My reasons for marrying are,  first,  that  I think it a  right
thing for every clergyman in easy  circumstances (like  myself) to
set the example of matrimony  in his parish;  secondly,  that I am
convinced  that  it will  add very  greatly  to my happiness;  and
thirdly—which perhaps I ought to have  mentioned earlier,  that it
is the particular advice  and recommendation  of  the  very  noble
lady whom I  have  the honour of calling patroness.  Twice has she
condescended to give me her opinion  (unasked too!)  on this  sub‐
ject;  and it was but the very Saturday night  before I  left Hun‐
sford—between our pools at quadrille, while Mrs. Jenkinson was ar‐
ranging Miss de Bourgh's footstool, that she said,  'Mr.  Collins,
you must marry. A clergyman like you must marry.  Choose properly,
choose  a gentlewoman for _my_ sake;  and for your _own_,  let her
be  an active,  useful sort of person,  not  brought up high,  but
able  to make a small  income go a good way.  This is  my  advice.
Find such a woman as soon as you can,  bring her to Hunsford,  and
I will visit her.' Allow me, by the way, to observe, my fair cous‐
in,  that  I do not reckon the notice and kindness of Lady Cather‐
ine de Bourgh as among the least  of the advantages in my power to
offer.  You will find her manners beyond anything I can  describe;
and your wit and vivacity, I think, must be acceptable to her, es‐
pecially when tempered  with  the silence  and  respect  which her
rank will inevitably  excite.  Thus much  for my general intention
in  favour of matrimony;  it remains  to be told why my views were
directed towards Longbourn instead of my own neighbourhood,  where
I can assure you there are many amiable young women.  But the fact
is,  that being,  as I am, to inherit  this estate after the death
of  your  honoured father  (who,  however,  may  live  many  years
longer),  I could not satisfy myself without resolving to choose a
wife from among his daughters,  that  the loss to them might be as
little as possible,  when the melancholy event  takes place—which,
however,  as I have already  said,  may not be for  several years.
This has been my motive,  my fair cousin,  and I flatter myself it
will not sink  me  in your esteem.  And now nothing remains for me
but  to assure  you in  the most animated language of the violence
of my affection.  To fortune I am perfectly indifferent, and shall
make  no  demand of that nature on your father,  since  I  am well
aware that  it could not be complied with;  and  that one thousand
pounds in the  four per cents,  which will not be yours till after
your mother's decease,  is  all that you may ever be  entitled to.
On that head,  therefore, I shall be uniformly silent; and you may
assure  yourself that  no  ungenerous reproach shall ever pass  my
lips when we are married.”                                        
  It was absolutely necessary to interrupt him now.               
  “You are too hasty,  sir,” she cried.  “You forget  that I  have
made no answer.  Let me do it without further loss of time. Accept
my thanks for the compliment you are paying me.  I am  very  sens‐
ible of the honour of your proposals,  but it is impossible for me
to do otherwise than to decline them.”                            
  “I am not now to learn,”  replied Mr.  Collins,  with  a  formal
wave  of the hand,  “that  it is usual with young ladies to reject
the addresses of  the man whom they secretly mean to accept,  when
he first applies for their favour;  and that sometimes the refusal
is repeated a second,  or even a third time.  I am therefore by no
means discouraged  by what you have just said,  and  shall hope to
lead you to the altar ere long.”                                  
  “Upon my word, sir,” cried Elizabeth, “your hope is a rather ex‐
traordinary one after my declaration.  I  do assure you that I  am
not one of those  young ladies  (if such  young ladies  there are)
who are so daring as to risk their happiness on the chance  of be‐
ing  asked  a second time.  I am perfectly  serious in my refusal.
You could  not make _me_ happy,  and  I am convinced that I am the
last  woman in the  world who  could make you so.  Nay,  were your
friend Lady  Catherine to know me,  I am persuaded  she would find
me in every respect ill qualified for the situation.”             
  “Were it certain that  Lady Catherine would  think so,” said Mr.
Collins  very  gravely—“but  I cannot  imagine that  her  ladyship
would at  all  disapprove of you.  And  you may  be certain when I
have  the honour of seeing  her again,  I shall speak  in the very
highest terms of your modesty,  economy,  and other amiable quali‐
  “Indeed,  Mr. Collins, all praise of me will be unnecessary. You
must give me leave to judge for myself,  and pay me the compliment
of believing what I say. I wish you very happy and very rich,  and
by  refusing your hand,  do all  in my power to prevent your being
otherwise.  In making me the offer,  you  must have satisfied  the
delicacy of your  feelings with regard to my family,  and may take
possession of  Longbourn  estate  whenever  it falls,  without any
self-reproach.  This  matter may be considered, therefore,  as fi‐
nally settled.” And rising as she thus spoke, she would have quit‐
ted the room, had Mr. Collins not thus addressed her:             
  “When I do myself the honour of speaking to you next on the sub‐
ject,  I shall  hope to receive a more favourable answer  than you
have now given me;  though I am far from  accusing  you of cruelty
at  present,  because I  know it to be the established  custom  of
your sex  to reject a man on  the  first application,  and perhaps
you have even now  said  as much to encourage my  suit as would be
consistent with the true delicacy of the female character.”       
  “Really,  Mr.  Collins,” cried Elizabeth with some warmth,  “you
puzzle me exceedingly.  If what I have hitherto said can appear to
you in the form of encouragement, I know not how to express my re‐
fusal in such a way as to convince you of its being one.”         
  “You must give me leave to flatter myself,  my dear cousin, that
your  refusal of my addresses is merely words of course.  My reas‐
ons for believing it are briefly these:  It does not  appear to me
that my hand is unworthy your acceptance,  or that the  establish‐
ment  I can offer  would  be any  other than highly desirable.  My
situation in life,  my connections with  the family of  de Bourgh,
and my relationship to your own,  are circumstances highly  in  my
favour;  and  you should take it into further consideration,  that
in spite  of your manifold attractions,  it is by no means certain
that another offer of marriage may ever be made you.  Your portion
is  unhappily so small that it will in all likelihood undo the ef‐
fects of your  loveliness  and amiable  qualifications.  As I must
therefore conclude that you are not serious in your  rejection  of
me,  I  shall choose to attribute it to your wish of increasing my
love  by suspense,  according to the usual practice of elegant fe‐
  “I do assure you,  sir,  that I  have no pretensions whatever to
that  kind of  elegance which consists in tormenting a respectable
man.  I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sin‐
cere.  I thank you again and again for the honour you have done me
in  your proposals,  but to accept  them is absolutely impossible.
My feelings in every  respect forbid it.  Can I speak plainer?  Do
not  consider  me now as an  elegant  female,  intending to plague
you,  but as a  rational  creature,  speaking  the  truth from her
  “You are  uniformly charming!” cried he,  with an air of awkward
gallantry;  “and I  am persuaded  that  when sanctioned by the ex‐
press authority of both your excellent parents,  my proposals will
not fail of being acceptable.”                                    
  To such perseverance  in  wilful  self-deception Elizabeth would
make no reply,  and immediately  and in silence withdrew;  determ‐
ined,  if  he persisted  in considering  her repeated refusals  as
flattering encouragement,  to apply to her father,  whose negative
might be uttered in such a manner as to be decisive, and whose be‐
haviour at least could not  be mistaken  for the  affectation  and
coquetry of an elegant female.                                    

                            Chapter 20                            

Mr.  Collins was not left long to the silent contemplation  of his
successful love; for Mrs. Bennet, having dawdled about in the ves‐
tibule to  watch  for the end of the  conference,  no  sooner  saw
Elizabeth  open the door and with quick step  pass her towards the
staircase, than she entered the breakfast-room,  and congratulated
both him and herself in warm terms on the happy prospect  or their
nearer connection.  Mr.  Collins received and returned these feli‐
citations with equal  pleasure,  and then proceeded  to relate the
particulars of their interview,  with the result of which he trus‐
ted he  had every reason to be satisfied,  since the refusal which
his cousin  had  steadfastly  given  him would naturally flow from
her bashful modesty and the genuine delicacy of her character.    
  This information, however, startled Mrs. Bennet;  she would have
been glad to be  equally  satisfied that her daughter had meant to
encourage him by protesting against  his proposals,  but she dared
not believe it, and could not help saying so.                     
  “But,  depend  upon it,  Mr.  Collins,” she  added,  “that Lizzy
shall  be brought  to reason.  I  will speak to  her about it dir‐
ectly.  She is a very headstrong, foolish girl,  and does not know
her own interest but I will _make_ her know it.”                  
  “Pardon me for  interrupting  you,  madam,”  cried Mr.  Collins;
“but if she is really headstrong  and foolish,  I know not whether
she would altogether be a very desirable wife to a man in my situ‐
ation,  who naturally looks for  happiness in the marriage  state.
If therefore she actually persists in  rejecting my suit,  perhaps
it were better not to force her into accepting me,  because if li‐
able to such defects of temper,  she could not contribute  much to
my felicity.”                                                     
  “Sir,  you quite misunderstand me,” said Mrs.  Bennet,  alarmed.
“Lizzy is only headstrong in such matters as these.  In everything
else  she is as good-natured a girl as ever lived.  I will go dir‐
ectly to Mr. Bennet, and we shall very soon settle it with her,  I
am sure.”                                                         
  She would not give him time to reply,  but hurrying instantly to
her husband, called out as she entered the library,  “Oh! Mr. Ben‐
net,  you are  wanted  immediately;  we are  all in an uproar. You
must come and make Lizzy marry Mr. Collins,  for she vows she will
not  have him,  and if  you do not make haste  he will change  his
mind and not have _her_.”                                         
  Mr.  Bennet raised his eyes from his  book as she  entered,  and
fixed them on her face with a  calm unconcern which was not in the
least altered by her communication.                               
  “I  have not the pleasure of  understanding you,” said he,  when
she had finished her speech. “Of what are you talking?”           
  “Of Mr.  Collins and Lizzy. Lizzy declares she will not have Mr.
Collins,  and  Mr.  Collins begins  to  say  that he will not have
  “And what am I to do on the occasion? It seems an hopeless busi‐
  “Speak to  Lizzy about  it  yourself.  Tell her  that you insist
upon her marrying him.”                                           
  “Let her be called down. She shall hear my opinion.”            
  Mrs.  Bennet rang the bell,  and Miss Elizabeth was summoned  to
the library.                                                      
  “Come here,  child,” cried her father as she  appeared.  “I have
sent for  you on an affair  of  importance.  I understand that Mr.
Collins has made you an offer of marriage.  Is it true?” Elizabeth
replied  that  it was.  “Very well—and this offer  of marriage you
have refused?”                                                    
  “I have, sir.”                                                  
  “Very well.  We now come to the point.  Your mother insists upon
your accepting it. Is it not so, Mrs. Bennet?”                    
  “Yes, or I will never see her again.”                           
  “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth.  From this day
you must be  a stranger to one  of your parents.  Your mother will
never see you again if you do _not_ marry Mr.  Collins, and I will
never see you again if you _do_.”                                 
  Elizabeth could not but smile at such a conclusion of such a be‐
ginning, but Mrs.  Bennet, who had persuaded herself that her hus‐
band regarded the affair as she wished, was excessively disappoin‐
  “What do you mean, Mr.  Bennet,  in talking this way?  You prom‐
ised me to _insist_ upon her marrying him.”                       
  “My dear,” replied her husband, “I have two small favours to re‐
quest.  First,  that you will allow me  the free use of  my under‐
standing on  the present occasion;  and  secondly,  of my room.  I
shall be glad to have the library to myself as soon as may be.”   
  Not  yet,  however,  in spite of her  disappointment in her hus‐
band,  did Mrs.  Bennet give up the point. She talked to Elizabeth
again and again;  coaxed and threatened her by turns.  She endeav‐
oured to secure Jane in her interest;  but Jane, with all possible
mildness,  declined interfering;  and  Elizabeth,  sometimes  with
real earnestness,  and sometimes with playful gaiety,  replied  to
her attacks. Though her manner varied, however,  her determination
never did.                                                        
  Mr. Collins,  meanwhile,  was meditating in solitude on what had
passed.  He thought too  well  of himself  to  comprehend  on what
motives  his cousin could refuse  him;  and though  his pride  was
hurt,  he  suffered in no other way.  His regard for her was quite
imaginary;  and the possibility of  her deserving her mother's re‐
proach prevented his feeling any regret.                          
  While  the family were in this  confusion,  Charlotte Lucas came
to spend the  day with them.  She was met in the vestibule  by Ly‐
dia, who,  flying to her,  cried in a half whisper, “I am glad you
are come,  for there  is  such fun here!  What do  you  think  has
happened  this morning?  Mr.  Collins has made an offer  to Lizzy,
and she will not have him.”                                       
  Charlotte hardly had time to answer,  before they were joined by
Kitty,  who came  to tell  the same news;  and no  sooner had they
entered the breakfast-room, where Mrs.  Bennet was alone, than she
likewise began on the subject,  calling on Miss Lucas for her com‐
passion,  and entreating her to persuade her friend  Lizzy to com‐
ply with the wishes of all her family.  “Pray do, my dear Miss Lu‐
cas,”  she added in a melancholy tone,  “for nobody is on my side,
nobody takes part with me.  I am cruelly used, nobody feels for my
poor nerves.”                                                     
  Charlotte's reply was spared  by the entrance of Jane and Eliza‐
  “Aye,  there she comes,” continued Mrs.  Bennet, “looking as un‐
concerned as may be,  and caring no more for us than if we were at
York,  provided she can  have her  own way.  But I tell you,  Miss
Lizzy—if you take it into  your head to go on refusing every offer
of marriage in this way,  you  will never get a husband at all—and
I am  sure I  do not know  who is to maintain you when your father
is  dead.  I shall  not be able to keep you—and so  I warn you.  I
have done with you from this very day.  I told you in the library,
you know,  that I should never  speak to  you again,  and you will
find me as good as my word. I have no pleasure in talking to undu‐
tiful children. Not that I have much pleasure,  indeed, in talking
to anybody.  People who suffer as I do from nervous complaints can
have no great inclination for talking. Nobody can tell what I suf‐
fer! But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pit‐
  Her  daughters listened  in silence to this  effusion,  sensible
that any attempt to reason with her  or soothe her  would only in‐
crease the irritation. She talked on, therefore, without interrup‐
tion from any of them,  till they were joined by Mr. Collins,  who
entered the room with an air more stately than usual,  and on per‐
ceiving whom,  she said to the girls,  “Now,  I do insist upon it,
that  you,  all  of you,  hold your  tongues,  and let me  and Mr.
Collins have a little conversation together.”                     
  Elizabeth passed  quietly out of the room,  Jane  and Kitty fol‐
lowed,  but Lydia  stood her  ground,  determined  to hear all she
could;  and Charlotte,  detained first  by  the  civility  of  Mr.
Collins,  whose inquiries after herself and  all  her family  were
very minute,  and then by  a little curiosity,  satisfied  herself
with walking to the window and pretending not to hear.  In a dole‐
ful voice Mrs.  Bennet began the projected conversation: “Oh!  Mr.
  “My dear madam,” replied he,  “let us be for ever silent on this
point.  Far be it from  me,” he presently  continued,  in a  voice
that  marked  his displeasure,  “to  resent the  behaviour of your
daughter.  Resignation to inevitable evils is the duty of us  all;
the  peculiar duty of a young man who  has been so fortunate as  I
have been in early preferment;  and I trust I am resigned. Perhaps
not the less so from feeling a doubt of  my positive happiness had
my fair  cousin  honoured me with her hand;  for I  have often ob‐
served that resignation is  never so  perfect as when the blessing
denied  begins  to lose  somewhat of its value in  our estimation.
You will not,  I hope,  consider me  as  showing any disrespect to
your family,  my dear madam, by thus withdrawing my pretensions to
your daughter's favour,  without having paid yourself and Mr. Ben‐
net the compliment  of  requesting you to interpose your authority
in my behalf. My conduct may,  I fear,  be objectionable in having
accepted my dismission from  your daughter's lips  instead of your
own.  But we are all liable to error.  I have certainly meant well
through the whole affair.  My object has been to secure an amiable
companion for myself,  with due consideration for the advantage of
all your family,  and  if  my _manner_ has been  at all reprehens‐
ible, I here beg leave to apologise.”                             

                            Chapter 21                            

The discussion of Mr.  Collins's offer was now nearly  at an  end,
and Elizabeth had only  to suffer  from the uncomfortable feelings
necessarily attending it, and occasionally from some peevish allu‐
sions of her mother.  As for the gentleman himself, _his_ feelings
were chiefly expressed,  not by embarrassment or dejection,  or by
trying to avoid her,  but by stiffness of manner and resentful si‐
lence.  He scarcely  ever spoke to her,  and the  assiduous atten‐
tions which he had been so sensible  of  himself were  transferred
for the rest of the day to Miss Lucas,  whose civility in  listen‐
ing to him was a seasonable relief to them all,  and especially to
her friend.                                                       
  The morrow produced no abatement of Mrs.  Bennet's ill-humour or
ill  health.  Mr.  Collins  was  also in the  same state of  angry
pride.  Elizabeth had hoped that  his resentment might shorten his
visit,  but his plan  did not appear in  the least affected by it.
He was always to  have gone on Saturday,  and to Saturday he meant
to stay.                                                          
  After  breakfast,  the girls walked to Meryton to inquire if Mr.
Wickham were  returned,  and to lament over his  absence  from the
Netherfield ball.  He joined them on their entering the town,  and
attended them to their aunt's where  his regret and vexation,  and
the  concern of  everybody,  was well talked over.  To  Elizabeth,
however, he voluntarily acknowledged that the necessity of his ab‐
sence _had_ been self-imposed.                                    
  “I  found,”  said he,  “as the time  drew near that I had better
not meet Mr.  Darcy;  that to be in the same room,  the same party
with him for so  many  hours together,  might be more than I could
bear,  and  that  scenes might arise  unpleasant to  more than my‐
  She highly approved his forbearance,  and they had leisure for a
full  discussion  of it,  and  for all the commendation which they
civilly  bestowed on each other,  as Wickham  and  another officer
walked back with them to Longbourn, and during the walk he partic‐
ularly attended to her. His accompanying them was a double advant‐
age;  she felt all  the compliment it offered to herself,  and  it
was most acceptable  as  an  occasion  of introducing  him  to her
father and mother.                                                
  Soon after their return,  a letter was delivered to Miss Bennet;
it came from Netherfield.  The envelope contained a sheet of eleg‐
ant,  little, hot-pressed paper,  well covered with a lady's fair,
flowing hand;  and Elizabeth  saw her sister's countenance  change
as she read it,  and saw her dwelling intently  on some particular
passages.  Jane recollected  herself soon,  and putting the letter
away,  tried  to join with her  usual cheerfulness in the  general
conversation;  but Elizabeth felt an anxiety on the  subject which
drew off  her  attention even from  Wickham;  and no sooner had he
and his  companion taken leave,  than  a glance from  Jane invited
her to follow her up stairs.  When they had gained their own room,
Jane, taking out the letter, said:                                
  “This is from Caroline Bingley;  what it contains  has surprised
me  a  good deal.  The whole party have left  Netherfield by  this
time,  and are on their way to town—and  without any intention  of
coming back again. You shall hear what she says.”                 
  She then read the first sentence aloud,  which comprised the in‐
formation of their having  just  resolved to follow their  brother
to town  directly,  and of  their  meaning  to dine  in  Grosvenor
Street,  where Mr. Hurst had a house. The next was in these words:
“I do not pretend to  regret  anything I shall leave in  Hertford‐
shire, except your society,  my dearest friend;  but we will hope,
at some future period,  to enjoy  many returns of that  delightful
intercourse we have known,  and  in  the  meanwhile may lessen the
pain of separation  by a very frequent and most unreserved corres‐
pondence.  I depend on you  for that.” To these highflown  expres‐
sions Elizabeth listened with all the  insensibility of  distrust;
and though the suddenness of their removal surprised her,  she saw
nothing  in it really to lament;  it was not to be  supposed  that
their absence from Netherfield  would prevent Mr.  Bingley's being
there;  and  as to the  loss  of their society,  she was persuaded
that Jane must cease to regard it, in the enjoyment of his.       
  “It is  unlucky,”  said she,  after  a  short pause,  “that  you
should not be able to see your friends before they leave the coun‐
try.  But may we  not hope  that the period of future happiness to
which Miss  Bingley looks forward may  arrive earlier  than she is
aware,  and  that  the delightful intercourse you  have  known  as
friends will be renewed with yet greater satisfaction as  sisters?
Mr. Bingley will not be detained in London by them.”              
  “Caroline  decidedly  says that  none  of the party will  return
into Hertfordshire this winter. I will read it to you:”           
  “When  my brother left us yesterday,  he imagined that the busi‐
ness which took him to London might be concluded in three  or four
days;  but as we are certain it cannot be so, and at the same time
convinced that when Charles  gets  to  town he will be in no hurry
to leave it again,  we  have determined on  following him thither,
that he may not be obliged to spend his vacant hours in a comfort‐
less  hotel.  Many of my acquaintances are  already there  for the
winter; I wish that I could hear that you,  my dearest friend, had
any intention of making one of the crowd—but of that I despair.  I
sincerely hope your Christmas  in Hertfordshire may abound in  the
gaieties which that season generally brings,  and that  your beaux
will be so  numerous as to  prevent  your feeling the loss of  the
three of whom we shall deprive you.”                              
  “It is  evident  by this,” added  Jane,  “that he  comes back no
more this winter.”                                                
  “It  is only evident  that  Miss Bingley  does  not mean that he
  “Why will you think so?  It must be his own doing. He is his own
master.  But you do not know _all_.  I _will_ read you the passage
which  particularly  hurts  me.  I will have no reserves  from _y‐
  “Mr.  Darcy is impatient to see his sister;  and, to confess the
truth,  _we_  are scarcely less eager to meet her again.  I really
do not think Georgiana Darcy  has her equal for beauty,  elegance,
and accomplishments;  and the affection she inspires in Louisa and
myself is heightened into something  still more interesting,  from
the hope  we dare entertain of her being  hereafter our sister.  I
do not know whether I  ever before mentioned to you my feelings on
this subject;  but I will not  leave the country without confiding
them,  and  I  trust  you will not  esteem  them unreasonable.  My
brother admires her greatly already;  he will have frequent oppor‐
tunity now of  seeing her on the most intimate footing;  her rela‐
tions all  wish the connection as much as his own;  and a sister's
partiality is not misleading  me,  I think,  when  I  call Charles
most capable of engaging any woman's heart. With all these circum‐
stances to favour an attachment,  and nothing to prevent it,  am I
wrong,  my dearest Jane,  in indulging the  hope of an event which
will secure the happiness of so many?”                            
  “What  do you think  of _this_  sentence,  my dear Lizzy?”  said
Jane as she finished it.  “Is it not clear enough? Does it not ex‐
pressly declare that Caroline neither  expects nor wishes me to be
her sister;  that she is perfectly convinced of  her brother's in‐
difference;  and that if she  suspects  the nature of my  feelings
for him,  she  means  (most  kindly!) to put me on  my guard?  Can
there be any other opinion on the subject?”                       
  “Yes,  there can;  for mine is totally different.  Will you hear
  “Most willingly.”                                               
  “You shall have it in  a few words.  Miss Bingley sees that  her
brother is in  love with you,  and wants him to marry  Miss Darcy.
She  follows him to town in hope of keeping him  there,  and tries
to persuade you that he does not care about you.”                 
  Jane shook her head.                                            
  “Indeed,  Jane,  you ought to  believe  me.  No one who has ever
seen you together can  doubt  his affection.  Miss  Bingley,  I am
sure,  cannot.  She is  not such a simpleton.  Could she have seen
half  as  much love  in Mr.  Darcy  for  herself,  she  would have
ordered her  wedding  clothes.  But the case  is this:  We are not
rich enough or grand enough for them;  and she is the more anxious
to  get  Miss  Darcy for her brother,  from the notion  that  when
there has been _one_ intermarriage,  she may have less  trouble in
achieving a second;  in  which there is certainly some  ingenuity,
and I  dare say it would succeed,  if Miss de Bourgh were  out  of
the way.  But, my dearest Jane,  you cannot seriously imagine that
because  Miss Bingley  tells you  her brother greatly admires Miss
Darcy,  he is in the smallest degree less sensible of _your_ merit
than when he took leave of you on  Tuesday,  or that it will be in
her power to persuade him that,  instead  of  being  in love  with
you, he is very much in love with her friend.”                    
  “If we thought alike of Miss Bingley,” replied Jane,  “your rep‐
resentation  of all this might make me quite easy.  But I know the
foundation is unjust.  Caroline is incapable of wilfully deceiving
anyone;  and all that I can hope in  this case is that she  is de‐
ceiving herself.”                                                 
  “That is right.  You could  not have  started a more happy idea,
since  you will not take comfort  in  mine.  Believe her to be de‐
ceived,  by  all means. You have now  done your duty by  her,  and
must fret no longer.”                                             
  “But,  my dear sister, can I be happy,  even supposing the best,
in  accepting a man  whose sisters and friends are all wishing him
to marry elsewhere?”                                              
  “You must  decide for yourself,” said Elizabeth;  “and if,  upon
mature deliberation,  you find that the misery of disobliging  his
two sisters is more than equivalent  to the happiness of being his
wife, I advise you by all means to refuse him.”                   
  “How can  you talk  so?” said Jane,  faintly smiling.  “You must
know that though I  should be  exceedingly grieved at their disap‐
probation, I could not hesitate.”                                 
  “I did not  think you would;  and that being the case,  I cannot
consider your situation with much compassion.”                    
  “But if he returns no more this winter,  my choice will never be
required. A thousand things may arise in six months!”             
  The idea of his returning no more Elizabeth treated with the ut‐
most  contempt.  It appeared to her merely the suggestion of  Car‐
oline's interested wishes,  and she could not for a moment suppose
that those wishes, however openly or artfully spoken, could influ‐
ence a young man so totally independent of everyone.              
  She represented  to her sister as forcibly as possible  what she
felt on  the subject,  and  had  soon the pleasure  of  seeing its
happy effect. Jane's temper was not desponding, and she was gradu‐
ally led to  hope,  though  the diffidence of affection  sometimes
overcame the hope,  that  Bingley would return to Netherfield  and
answer every wish of her heart.                                   
  They agreed that  Mrs.  Bennet should only hear of the departure
of the family,  without being alarmed  on the score of the gentle‐
man's conduct;  but even  this  partial communication  gave  her a
great deal of concern,  and she bewailed it as exceedingly unlucky
that the  ladies should happen to go  away  just as they were  all
getting  so  intimate  together.  After lamenting it,  however, at
some length,  she  had the consolation that  Mr.  Bingley would be
soon down again and  soon dining at Longbourn,  and the conclusion
of  all was  the comfortable declaration,  that though he had been
invited only to a family dinner,  she would take care to have  two
full courses.                                                     

                            Chapter 22                            

The Bennets were engaged  to dine with the Lucases and  again dur‐
ing the chief of  the day was  Miss Lucas so kind as  to listen to
Mr.  Collins.  Elizabeth took an opportunity of thanking her.  “It
keeps him in good  humour,” said  she,  “and I  am more obliged to
you  than I can express.” Charlotte assured her friend of her sat‐
isfaction in being useful,  and that it  amply repaid her for  the
little sacrifice  of her time.  This  was very amiable,  but Char‐
lotte's kindness  extended farther than Elizabeth  had any concep‐
tion of;  its object was nothing else than  to secure her from any
return of Mr.  Collins's addresses,  by engaging them towards her‐
self.  Such was Miss Lucas's  scheme;  and appearances were so fa‐
vourable,  that when they parted at night, she would have felt al‐
most secure of success if he had  not been to  leave Hertfordshire
so very soon. But here she did injustice to the fire and independ‐
ence of his  character,  for it led him to escape out of Longbourn
House the next morning  with admirable slyness,  and hasten to Lu‐
cas Lodge to throw himself at  her feet.  He was anxious  to avoid
the notice of his cousins,  from a conviction that if they saw him
depart,  they could not fail to conjecture his design,  and he was
not willing  to  have the attempt  known till its success might be
known likewise;  for though feeling almost secure,  and with reas‐
on, for Charlotte had been tolerably encouraging, he was comparat‐
ively diffident since the adventure  of Wednesday.  His reception,
however,  was of the  most  flattering kind.  Miss Lucas perceived
him from an  upper window as he walked towards the house,  and in‐
stantly  set out to meet him accidentally in the lane.  But little
had she dared to hope that so much love and eloquence awaited  her
  In as  short a time as Mr.  Collins's long speeches would allow,
everything  was settled between them to  the satisfaction of both;
and as  they entered the house he earnestly entreated her to  name
the day that was to make him the happiest of men;  and though such
a solicitation  must be waived for the present,  the lady felt  no
inclination to  trifle  with  his happiness.  The  stupidity  with
which he was favoured by nature must guard his courtship from  any
charm that could make a woman wish for its  continuance;  and Miss
Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested de‐
sire of an establishment,  cared not how soon  that  establishment
were gained.                                                      
  Sir William and Lady Lucas were speedily  applied  to  for their
consent;  and it was  bestowed with  a most  joyful alacrity.  Mr.
Collins's present circumstances  made it a most eligible match for
their daughter,  to whom they could give little  fortune;  and his
prospects of  future  wealth were  exceedingly  fair.  Lady  Lucas
began  directly to  calculate,  with more interest than the matter
had  ever  excited before,  how  many years longer Mr.  Bennet was
likely to live;  and  Sir William gave  it as his decided opinion,
that whenever Mr.  Collins should be  in possession of  the  Long‐
bourn estate,  it would be highly  expedient that both he and  his
wife should make their appearance at St.  James's.  The whole fam‐
ily,  in  short,  were  properly overjoyed on  the  occasion.  The
younger  girls formed hopes  of _coming out_ a year or two  sooner
than they  might otherwise have done;  and the  boys were relieved
from  their apprehension of Charlotte's dying an  old maid.  Char‐
lotte herself was  tolerably composed.  She had gained her  point,
and  had time to consider of it.  Her reflections were in  general
satisfactory.  Mr.  Collins,  to be sure, was neither sensible nor
agreeable;  his  society  was  irksome,  and his attachment to her
must be imaginary.  But  still he would  be  her husband.  Without
thinking highly either of men or matrimony,  marriage  had  always
been  her  object;  it  was  the only  provision for well-educated
young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving hap‐
piness,  must be  their  pleasantest preservative from want.  This
preservative she  had now obtained;  and at the age of twenty-sev‐
en, without having ever been handsome,  she felt all the good luck
of  it.  The least agreeable  circumstance in the business was the
surprise it  must occasion to  Elizabeth Bennet,  whose friendship
she valued beyond that of any other person.  Elizabeth would  won‐
der,  and probably would blame her;  and though her resolution was
not to be shaken,  her feelings must be hurt by such a disapproba‐
tion. She resolved to give her the information herself, and there‐
fore charged Mr.  Collins,  when he returned to  Longbourn to din‐
ner,  to drop no hint of what had passed before any of the family.
A promise of  secrecy was of course very dutifully  given,  but it
could not be kept  without  difficulty;  for the curiosity excited
by his long absence burst forth in  such  very direct questions on
his return as required some ingenuity to evade,  and he was at the
same time exercising great self-denial, for he was longing to pub‐
lish his prosperous love.                                         
  As he was to begin his journey  too  early on the morrow to  see
any  of the family,  the  ceremony of  leave-taking  was performed
when the ladies moved for the night; and Mrs.  Bennet,  with great
politeness and cordiality,  said how  happy they should be  to see
him at Longbourn again,  whenever his  engagements might allow him
to visit them.                                                    
  “My dear  madam,” he replied,  “this invitation  is particularly
gratifying,  because it is what I have been hoping to receive; and
you may be very certain that I shall  avail myself  of it  as soon
as possible.”                                                     
  They were all astonished; and Mr.  Bennet, who could by no means
wish for so speedy a return, immediately said:                    
  “But is  there not  danger  of  Lady  Catherine's disapprobation
here,  my good sir? You had better neglect your relations than run
the risk of offending your patroness.”                            
  “My dear sir,” replied Mr.  Collins,  “I am particularly obliged
to you for  this friendly caution,  and you may depend upon my not
taking so material a step without her ladyship's concurrence.”    
  “You cannot  be too much upon  your guard.  Risk anything rather
than her displeasure;  and if you  find it likely  to be raised by
your coming  to us again,  which I should  think exceedingly prob‐
able,  stay quietly at home, and be satisfied that _we_ shall take
no offence.”                                                      
  “Believe me,  my dear  sir,  my  gratitude is  warmly excited by
such  affectionate  attention;  and  depend  upon  it,   you  will
speedily  receive from  me a letter of thanks for  this,  and  for
every other  mark of  your regard during my stay in Hertfordshire.
As for my fair  cousins,  though my absence may not be long enough
to render it  necessary,  I shall now take the  liberty of wishing
them health and happiness, not excepting my cousin Elizabeth.”    
  With proper civilities  the ladies  then  withdrew;  all of them
equally surprised that  he meditated a quick return.  Mrs.  Bennet
wished  to understand by it that he  thought  of  paying  his  ad‐
dresses to one of her younger girls, and Mary might have been pre‐
vailed on to accept him.  She rated his abilities much higher than
any of the others;  there was  a solidity in his reflections which
often struck her,  and though by  no means so clever  as  herself,
she  thought that if  encouraged to  read and  improve himself  by
such an example as hers,  he might become a very agreeable compan‐
ion.  But  on the following morning,  every hope  of this kind was
done  away.  Miss  Lucas called soon  after  breakfast,  and  in a
private conference with Elizabeth related the event of the day be‐
  The possibility of  Mr.  Collins's fancying himself in love with
her  friend had once occurred  to Elizabeth within the last day or
two;  but  that Charlotte could encourage him seemed almost as far
from possibility as  she could encourage him herself,  and her as‐
tonishment was consequently so great as  to overcome  at first the
bounds of decorum, and she could not help crying out:             
  “Engaged to Mr. Collins! My dear Charlotte—impossible!”         
  The  steady  countenance  which  Miss  Lucas  had  commanded  in
telling her story,  gave way to a momentary confusion  here on re‐
ceiving so direct a reproach;  though,  as it was no more than she
expected, she soon regained her composure, and calmly replied:    
  “Why should you be surprised, my dear Eliza? Do you think it in‐
credible that Mr.  Collins should be able  to  procure any woman's
good opinion,  because he  was not so happy  as  to  succeed  with
  But Elizabeth had now recollected herself,  and making a  strong
effort for it,  was  able  to assure with tolerable firmness  that
the prospect of their  relationship was  highly  grateful  to her,
and that she wished her all imaginable happiness.                 
  “I  see what you are feeling,” replied Charlotte.  “You must  be
surprised,  very much surprised—so lately as Mr. Collins was wish‐
ing to marry you.  But when you have had time to think it over,  I
hope you  will  be  satisfied with what I have done.  I am not ro‐
mantic, you know; I never was.  I ask only a comfortable home; and
considering Mr. Collins's character,  connection, and situation in
life,  I am convinced that my  chance  of happiness with him is as
fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state.”    
  Elizabeth quietly  answered “Undoubtedly;” and after an  awkward
pause, they returned to the rest of the family.  Charlotte did not
stay much longer,  and Elizabeth was then left  to reflect on what
she had heard.  It was a long time before she became at all recon‐
ciled  to the idea  of so unsuitable a match.  The  strangeness of
Mr.  Collins's making two offers of marriage within three days was
nothing in comparison  of his being now  accepted.  She had always
felt that  Charlotte's opinion of  matrimony was not exactly  like
her  own,  but she had not supposed it  to be possible that,  when
called into action,  she would have sacrificed  every better feel‐
ing to worldly advantage. Charlotte the wife of Mr.  Collins was a
most humiliating  picture!  And to the pang of a friend disgracing
herself and sunk in her esteem,  was added the distressing convic‐
tion that it was impossible  for that friend to be tolerably happy
in the lot she had chosen.                                        

                            Chapter 23                            

Elizabeth was sitting with her  mother and sisters,  reflecting on
what  she had  heard,  and doubting  whether she was authorised to
mention it,  when Sir William Lucas himself appeared,  sent by his
daughter, to announce her engagement to the family. With many com‐
pliments to  them,  and much self-gratulation on the prospect of a
connection between the houses,  he unfolded the matter—to an audi‐
ence not merely wondering, but incredulous; for Mrs.  Bennet, with
more perseverance than politeness,  protested he must be  entirely
mistaken;  and Lydia, always unguarded and often uncivil, boister‐
ously exclaimed:                                                  
  “Good Lord!  Sir William, how can you tell such a story?  Do not
you know that Mr. Collins wants to marry Lizzy?”                  
  Nothing  less  than the  complaisance of a  courtier  could have
borne without anger such treatment;  but Sir William's good breed‐
ing carried him through it all;  and though he begged leave  to be
positive as to  the truth of his information,  he listened to  all
their impertinence with the most forbearing courtesy.             
  Elizabeth,  feeling it incumbent  on her to relieve him  from so
unpleasant a situation, now put herself forward to confirm his ac‐
count, by mentioning her prior knowledge of it from Charlotte her‐
self;  and endeavoured to  put a stop to  the  exclamations of her
mother and  sisters  by the earnestness of her congratulations  to
Sir William, in which she was readily joined by Jane,  and by mak‐
ing a variety of remarks on the  happiness  that might be expected
from the match,  the excellent character of Mr.  Collins,  and the
convenient distance of Hunsford from London.                      
  Mrs.  Bennet was in  fact too  much  overpowered to say  a great
deal while Sir William remained;  but  no sooner had  he left them
than her feelings found a rapid vent. In the first place, she per‐
sisted in disbelieving the whole of the matter; secondly,  she was
very sure that Mr. Collins had been taken in;  thirdly,  she trus‐
ted that they would never  be happy together;  and fourthly,  that
the  match might be  broken off.  Two  inferences,  however,  were
plainly deduced from the whole:  one,  that Elizabeth was the real
cause of the mischief;  and the other  that she  herself  had been
barbarously misused by them all; and on these two points she prin‐
cipally dwelt during the  rest of the  day.  Nothing could console
and nothing could appease her.  Nor  did that day wear out her re‐
sentment.  A week elapsed  before she could see Elizabeth  without
scolding her,  a  month passed away before she could  speak to Sir
William or  Lady Lucas without  being rude,  and  many months were
gone before she could at all forgive their daughter.              
  Mr.  Bennet's emotions were much more tranquil on  the occasion,
and such as he did experience he pronounced to be of a most agree‐
able sort;  for it gratified him, he said,  to discover that Char‐
lotte  Lucas,  whom he  had been used to think tolerably sensible,
was as foolish as his wife, and more foolish than his daughter!   
  Jane confessed herself a little surprised at the match;  but she
said less  of her astonishment  than  of  her  earnest desire  for
their happiness;  nor  could Elizabeth persuade her to consider it
as improbable.  Kitty  and Lydia were far from envying Miss Lucas,
for Mr.  Collins was only a clergyman;  and it affected them in no
other way than as a piece of news to spread at Meryton.           
  Lady Lucas  could not be insensible of triumph on  being able to
retort on Mrs.  Bennet the comfort of having a daughter  well mar‐
ried;  and she  called at Longbourn rather oftener  than  usual to
say how happy she was,  though  Mrs.  Bennet's sour looks and ill‐
natured remarks might have been enough to drive happiness away.   
  Between Elizabeth and  Charlotte  there  was  a  restraint which
kept them mutually silent on the subject;  and Elizabeth felt per‐
suaded that no real  confidence could  ever subsist  between  them
again.  Her disappointment in Charlotte  made her turn with fonder
regard to  her sister,  of whose rectitude  and  delicacy she  was
sure her opinion could never be  shaken,  and for whose  happiness
she grew daily more  anxious,  as Bingley had now been gone a week
and nothing more was heard of his return.                         
  Jane  had sent Caroline  an early answer to her letter,  and was
counting the days till she  might reasonably hope to  hear  again.
The  promised letter of thanks  from Mr.  Collins arrived on Tues‐
day,  addressed to  their father,  and written with all the solem‐
nity of gratitude which a  twelvemonth's abode in the family might
have prompted.  After discharging his conscience on that head,  he
proceeded to inform them,  with many rapturous expressions, of his
happiness in having obtained the affection of their amiable neigh‐
bour,  Miss Lucas,  and then explained that it was merely with the
view of enjoying  her society  that he  had been so ready to close
with their kind wish of seeing him again at Longbourn,  whither he
hoped to be able to return on Monday fortnight;  for  Lady Cather‐
ine,  he added, so heartily approved his marriage, that she wished
it to take place as soon  as  possible,  which he trusted would be
an  unanswerable  argument with his amiable Charlotte to  name  an
early day for making him the happiest of men.                     
  Mr.  Collins's return into Hertfordshire was no longer  a matter
of pleasure to Mrs. Bennet. On the contrary,  she was as much dis‐
posed to complain of it as her  husband.  It was very strange that
he should  come to Longbourn instead of  to  Lucas Lodge;  it  was
also very inconvenient and exceedingly troublesome. She hated hav‐
ing  visitors in  the house while her health was  so  indifferent,
and lovers were of all  people the  most disagreeable.  Such  were
the gentle murmurs of Mrs.  Bennet,  and they gave way only to the
greater distress of Mr. Bingley's continued absence.              
  Neither  Jane  nor  Elizabeth were comfortable on this  subject.
Day after  day passed  away  without bringing any other tidings of
him than the report which shortly prevailed in Meryton of his com‐
ing  no more  to  Netherfield  the whole  winter;  a report  which
highly incensed Mrs. Bennet, and which she never failed to contra‐
dict as a most scandalous falsehood.                              
  Even Elizabeth  began  to fear—not  that  Bingley  was indiffer‐
ent—but that his sisters would be successful in keeping him  away.
Unwilling  as she was  to admit  an idea so  destructive of Jane's
happiness, and so dishonorable to the stability of her lover,  she
could not prevent its frequently occurring.  The united efforts of
his  two unfeeling  sisters  and of his overpowering  friend,  as‐
sisted by the attractions of Miss Darcy and the amusements of Lon‐
don might be too much, she feared, for the strength of his attach‐
  As for Jane,  _her_ anxiety under this suspense was,  of course,
more painful than Elizabeth's,  but  whatever she felt she was de‐
sirous of  concealing,  and between herself and Elizabeth,  there‐
fore,  the subject was never alluded to.  But as no  such delicacy
restrained her mother,  an hour seldom passed in which she did not
talk of Bingley,  express her impatience for his arrival,  or even
require Jane  to  confess  that if he did not come back she  would
think herself very ill used.  It needed all Jane's steady mildness
to bear these attacks with tolerable tranquillity.                
  Mr.  Collins returned most punctually  on Monday fortnight,  but
his  reception at Longbourn  was not quite  so gracious as it  had
been on  his first introduction.  He was  too happy,  however,  to
need much attention;  and luckily for the others,  the business of
love-making relieved  them from a great deal of  his company.  The
chief of every day was  spent by him at Lucas Lodge,  and he some‐
times returned to Longbourn  only  in time to make  an apology for
his absence before the family went to bed.                        
  Mrs.  Bennet was really in a most pitiable state.  The very men‐
tion of anything  concerning the match threw her  into an agony of
ill-humour,  and  wherever she  went  she was  sure  of hearing it
talked of.  The sight of Miss Lucas was odious to her. As her suc‐
cessor in that house,  she  regarded her with jealous  abhorrence.
Whenever Charlotte came to see them, she concluded her to be anti‐
cipating the  hour of possession;  and whenever she spoke in a low
voice to Mr.  Collins, was convinced that they were talking of the
Longbourn estate,  and resolving to turn herself and her daughters
out of the house, as soon as Mr.  Bennet were dead. She complained
bitterly of all this to her husband.                              
  “Indeed, Mr.  Bennet,” said she,  “it is very hard to think that
Charlotte Lucas  should  ever be  mistress  of this house,  that I
should be forced to make way for _her_,  and live to  see her take
her place in it!”                                                 
  “My dear,  do not give way to such gloomy thoughts.  Let us hope
for better things. Let us flatter ourselves that I may be the sur‐
  This was not very consoling to Mrs.  Bennet,  and therefore, in‐
stead of making any answer, she went on as before.                
  “I  cannot bear to think  that they should have all this estate.
If it was not for the entail, I should not mind it.”              
  “What should not you mind?”                                     
  “I should not mind anything at all.”                            
  “Let us be thankful that you are preserved  from a state of such
  “I never can be thankful, Mr. Bennet, for anything about the en‐
tail.  How anyone could have the conscience to entail away an  es‐
tate from one's own daughters,  I  cannot understand;  and all for
the sake  of  Mr.  Collins too!  Why should _he_ have it more than
anybody else?”                                                    
  “I leave it to yourself to determine,” said Mr. Bennet.         

                            Chapter 24                            

Miss Bingley's letter arrived,  and put an end to doubt.  The very
first sentence  conveyed the  assurance of their being all settled
in London for the winter,  and concluded with her brother's regret
at not having had time to pay his respects to his friends in Hert‐
fordshire before he left the country.                             
  Hope was over,  entirely over; and when Jane could attend to the
rest of the letter,  she found little, except the professed affec‐
tion of the writer,  that could give her any comfort. Miss Darcy's
praise occupied  the chief of it.  Her many attractions were again
dwelt on, and Caroline boasted joyfully of their increasing intim‐
acy,  and  ventured  to predict the  accomplishment of the  wishes
which had been unfolded in her former letter.  She wrote also with
great pleasure  of her brother's being  an inmate of  Mr.  Darcy's
house,  and mentioned with raptures some plans of the latter  with
regard to new furniture.                                          
  Elizabeth,  to whom Jane very soon communicated the chief of all
this,  heard  it  in silent indignation.  Her  heart  was  divided
between  concern for  her sister,  and resentment against all oth‐
ers.  To Caroline's  assertion of her brother's being  partial  to
Miss Darcy she paid no credit.  That  he was really  fond of Jane,
she doubted  no more than she had ever done;  and much as she  had
always been disposed to like him,  she could not think without an‐
ger,  hardly without  contempt,  on that easiness of temper,  that
want of proper resolution,  which now made  him the  slave of  his
designing friends,  and led him to sacrifice  of his own happiness
to  the caprice  of  their  inclination.  Had  his  own happiness,
however,  been the only sacrifice,  he might  have been allowed to
sport  with it in  whatever manner he thought best,  but her  sis‐
ter's was involved in it,  as she thought he must be sensible him‐
self.  It was  a subject,  in short,  on which reflection would be
long indulged, and must be unavailing.  She could think of nothing
else;  and yet whether  Bingley's regard had really died away,  or
were suppressed by his friends' interference;  whether he had been
aware of Jane's attachment, or whether it had escaped his observa‐
tion;  whatever were the case,  though  her opinion of him must be
materially affected by the difference,  her sister's situation re‐
mained the same, her peace equally wounded.                       
  A day or  two  passed before  Jane had courage  to  speak of her
feelings to Elizabeth;  but at last, on Mrs. Bennet's leaving them
together,  after a longer  irritation than usual about Netherfield
and its master, she could not help saying:                        
  “Oh,  that my dear mother had more command over herself! She can
have no idea of  the pain  she  gives  me by her continual reflec‐
tions on him. But I will not repine.  It cannot last long. He will
be forgot, and we shall all be as we were before.”                
  Elizabeth looked at her sister with incredulous solicitude,  but
said nothing.                                                     
  “You doubt me,”  cried Jane,  slightly  colouring; “indeed,  you
have no  reason.  He may live in my memory as the most amiable man
of my acquaintance,  but that  is all.  I have  nothing  either to
hope or fear,  and nothing to reproach him with. Thank God! I have
not  _that_ pain.  A little time,  therefore—I shall certainly try
to get the better.”                                               
  With a stronger voice she soon added, “I have this comfort imme‐
diately,  that it  has not been more than an error of fancy on  my
side, and that it has done no harm to anyone but myself.”         
  “My dear  Jane!” exclaimed Elizabeth,  “you are too  good.  Your
sweetness and disinterestedness are really angelic;  I do not know
what to say to you.  I feel as if I had never done you justice, or
loved you as you deserve.”                                        
  Miss  Bennet eagerly disclaimed  all  extraordinary  merit,  and
threw back the praise on her sister's warm affection.             
  “Nay,” said Elizabeth,  “this  is not fair.  _You_ wish to think
all the  world respectable,  and are hurt if I speak  ill of  any‐
body.  I only want to think _you_ perfect,  and  you set  yourself
against it. Do not be afraid of my running into any excess,  of my
encroaching  on your privilege of  universal  good-will.  You need
not.  There are few people whom I really love,  and still fewer of
whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dis‐
satisfied with it;  and every day confirms my belief of the incon‐
sistency  of  all human characters,  and of  the little dependence
that can  be  placed on the appearance of merit or  sense.  I have
met with two instances lately,  one I will not mention;  the other
is Charlotte's marriage.  It is unaccountable! In every view it is
  “My dear Lizzy,  do not give way to such feelings as these. They
will ruin  your happiness.  You  do  not make allowance enough for
difference of  situation and  temper.  Consider Mr.  Collins's re‐
spectability,  and Charlotte's steady, prudent character. Remember
that she is one of a large family;  that as to  fortune,  it  is a
most  eligible match;  and  be ready to believe,  for  everybody's
sake,  that she may feel something like regard and esteem  for our
  “To oblige you,  I would try to believe almost anything,  but no
one else could be benefited by such a belief  as this;  for were I
persuaded that Charlotte had  any regard for  him,  I  should only
think worse  of her  understanding than I now do of her heart.  My
dear  Jane,  Mr. Collins is  a conceited,  pompous, narrow-minded,
silly man; you know he is, as well as I do;  and you must feel, as
well as I do,  that the woman who married him cannot have a proper
way of thinking.  You shall not defend her, though it is Charlotte
Lucas. You shall not,  for the sake of one individual,  change the
meaning  of  principle and integrity,  nor  endeavour  to persuade
yourself or  me,  that selfishness is prudence,  and insensibility
of danger security for happiness.”                                
  “I  must think your  language too  strong  in speaking of both,”
replied  Jane;  “and I hope you  will be convinced of it by seeing
them happy together.  But enough of this. You alluded to something
else.  You mentioned _two_ instances.  I cannot misunderstand you,
but I  entreat you,  dear Lizzy,  not to pain me by thinking _that
person_ to blame,  and saying your opinion of him is sunk. We must
not be so ready to fancy ourselves intentionally injured.  We must
not expect a lively young man to be always so  guarded and circum‐
spect.  It is  very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives
us. Women fancy admiration means more than it does.”              
  “And men take care that they should.”                           
  “If it is designedly done, they cannot be justified;  but I have
no  idea of there being so much design in the  world  as some per‐
sons imagine.”                                                    
  “I am far from attributing any part of Mr.  Bingley's conduct to
design,” said Elizabeth;  “but without scheming to do wrong, or to
make others unhappy,  there may be error, and there may be misery.
Thoughtlessness,  want  of  attention to other people's  feelings,
and want of resolution, will do the business.”                    
  “And do you impute it to either of those?”                      
  “Yes; to the last. But if I go on, I shall displease you by say‐
ing what I think of persons you esteem. Stop me whilst you can.”  
  “You persist, then, in supposing his sisters influence him?”    
  “Yes, in conjunction with his friend.”                          
  “I cannot  believe it.  Why  should  they  try to influence him?
They can only wish his happiness;  and if he is attached to me, no
other woman can secure it.”                                       
  “Your first position  is false.  They  may wish many things  be‐
sides his happiness; they may wish his increase of wealth and con‐
sequence;  they may wish him to  marry  a girl who has all the im‐
portance of money, great connections, and pride.”                 
  “Beyond a  doubt,  they  _do_ wish  him  to choose  Miss Darcy,”
replied Jane;  “but this may be from better feelings than you  are
supposing.  They have known her much longer than they  have  known
me;  no wonder if they love her better. But, whatever may be their
own  wishes,  it is very  unlikely they should  have opposed their
brother's.  What sister  would think  herself at liberty to do it,
unless there were something very objectionable?  If  they believed
him attached to me, they would not try to part us;  if he were so,
they could not succeed.  By supposing such an affection,  you make
everybody acting unnaturally and wrong,  and me most  unhappy.  Do
not distress me by the idea.  I am not ashamed of having been mis‐
taken—or,  at least, it is light,  it is nothing in comparison  of
what I should feel in thinking ill  of him or his sisters.  Let me
take it in the best light,  in the light in which it may be under‐
  Elizabeth could not oppose such a  wish;  and from this time Mr.
Bingley's name was scarcely ever mentioned between them.          
  Mrs.  Bennet still continued to wonder and repine at his return‐
ing no  more,  and  though a day seldom  passed in which Elizabeth
did not  account for it clearly,  there was  little  chance of her
ever considering  it  with less perplexity.  Her  daughter endeav‐
oured to convince her of  what she did not believe  herself,  that
his attentions  to Jane had been merely the effect of a common and
transient liking,  which ceased  when  he  saw her  no  more;  but
though the probability  of the statement was admitted at the time,
she had  the same story to repeat every  day.  Mrs.  Bennet's best
comfort was that Mr. Bingley must be down again in the summer.    
  Mr.  Bennet treated the matter differently. “So, Lizzy,” said he
one day,  “your sister is crossed in love, I find.  I congratulate
her.  Next to being married,  a  girl likes to be crossed a little
in love now and then.  It is something to think  of,  and it gives
her a sort of distinction among her companions.  When is your turn
to come?  You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane.  Now is
your time.  Here are officers enough in Meryton  to disappoint all
the young ladies in the country. Let Wickham be _your_ man.  He is
a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably.”                
  “Thank you,  sir,  but a less agreeable man would satisfy me. We
must not all expect Jane's good fortune.”                         
  “True,”  said Mr.  Bennet,  “but it is a  comfort to think  that
whatever of  that kind  may  befall you,  you have an affectionate
mother who will make the most of it.”                             
  Mr.  Wickham's society was of material service in dispelling the
gloom which the late  perverse occurrences had  thrown on  many of
the Longbourn family.  They saw him often, and to his other recom‐
mendations was now added that of general  unreserve.  The whole of
what  Elizabeth had already heard,  his claims on  Mr. Darcy,  and
all  that  he  had suffered from him,  was now openly acknowledged
and publicly canvassed;  and  everybody  was pleased  to  know how
much they had always disliked Mr. Darcy before they had known any‐
thing of the matter.                                              
  Miss  Bennet was the only creature who could suppose there might
be any extenuating circumstances in the case, unknown to the soci‐
ety of Hertfordshire;  her mild and  steady candour always pleaded
for  allowances,  and urged  the possibility  of  mistakes—but  by
everybody else Mr. Darcy was condemned as the worst of men.       

                            Chapter 25                            

After  a  week spent in professions  of love and schemes of  feli‐
city, Mr. Collins was called from his amiable Charlotte by the ar‐
rival of Saturday. The pain of separation, however, might be alle‐
viated  on  his side,  by  preparations  for the  reception of his
bride;  as  he had reason to hope,  that shortly after his  return
into Hertfordshire,  the day would  be fixed that was to  make him
the happiest of men.  He took leave of his relations at  Longbourn
with as much solemnity as  before;  wished his fair cousins health
and happiness again,  and promised their  father another letter of
  On the following Monday, Mrs. Bennet had the pleasure of receiv‐
ing  her  brother and his wife,  who  came as  usual to spend  the
Christmas at  Longbourn.  Mr.  Gardiner was a sensible, gentleman‐
like man,  greatly superior to his  sister,  as well by  nature as
education. The Netherfield ladies would have had difficulty in be‐
lieving that a man who lived by trade,  and within view of his own
warehouses,  could have  been  so  well-bred  and agreeable.  Mrs.
Gardiner, who was several years younger than Mrs.  Bennet and Mrs.
Phillips, was an amiable, intelligent,  elegant woman, and a great
favourite with all her  Longbourn nieces.  Between the two  eldest
and herself especially,  there subsisted a particular regard. They
had frequently been staying with her in town.                     
  The  first part of Mrs.  Gardiner's business on her  arrival was
to distribute her presents and describe the newest fashions.  When
this was done she had a less  active part to play.  It  became her
turn  to listen.  Mrs.  Bennet had many grievances to relate,  and
much to  complain of.  They had  all been very ill-used  since she
last saw her sister.  Two  of her girls had been upon the point of
marriage, and after all there was nothing in it.                  
  “I do not blame Jane,” she continued,  “for Jane  would have got
Mr. Bingley if she could. But Lizzy! Oh,  sister!  It is very hard
to  think  that she  might have been  Mr.  Collins's wife by  this
time, had it not been for her own perverseness. He made her an of‐
fer in this very room, and she refused him.  The consequence of it
is,  that Lady Lucas  will have a daughter married before I  have,
and that  the Longbourn estate is  just as much entailed as  ever.
The Lucases are very artful  people indeed,  sister.  They are all
for what they  can get.  I am sorry to  say it of them,  but so it
is.  It makes me very nervous and poorly,  to be thwarted so in my
own family,  and to have neighbours who think of themselves before
anybody else.  However,  your coming  just  at  this time  is  the
greatest  of comforts,  and I  am very glad to  hear what you tell
us, of long sleeves.”                                             
  Mrs. Gardiner, to whom the chief of this news had been given be‐
fore,  in  the course of Jane and Elizabeth's correspondence  with
her,  made her sister a slight answer,  and,  in compassion to her
nieces, turned the conversation.                                  
  When alone with Elizabeth afterwards, she spoke more on the sub‐
ject.  “It seems likely to have been  a desirable match for Jane,”
said she.  “I am sorry it went off. But these things happen so of‐
ten!  A young man,  such  as  you describe Mr.  Bingley, so easily
falls in love with a pretty  girl for a few weeks,  and when acci‐
dent separates them, so easily forgets her, that these sort of in‐
consistencies are very frequent.”                                 
  “An excellent consolation in its  way,” said Elizabeth,  “but it
will not do for _us_.  We do not suffer by _accident_. It does not
often  happen  that  the interference  of  friends will persuade a
young man of independent fortune  to think no more  of a girl whom
he was violently in love with only a few days before.”            
  “But that expression of 'violently in love' is so hackneyed,  so
doubtful, so indefinite, that it gives me very little idea.  It is
as often  applied  to feelings which  arise from a half-hour's ac‐
quaintance,  as to a real,  strong attachment. Pray,  how _violent
was_ Mr. Bingley's love?”                                         
  “I never saw a more promising inclination;  he was growing quite
inattentive to other  people,  and wholly engrossed by her.  Every
time they  met,  it was  more decided  and remarkable.  At his own
ball he offended two or three young ladies,  by not asking them to
dance;  and I spoke to him twice myself,  without receiving an an‐
swer.  Could  there be finer  symptoms?  Is not general incivility
the very essence of love?”                                        
  “Oh,  yes!—of  that  kind of love  which I  suppose  him to have
felt. Poor Jane!  I am sorry for her,  because,  with her disposi‐
tion,  she  may not get over it  immediately.  It had  better have
happened to _you_,  Lizzy;  you would have laughed yourself out of
it  sooner.  But do you think  she would be  prevailed upon to  go
back  with us?  Change of scene might be of service—and perhaps  a
little relief from home may be as useful as anything.”            
  Elizabeth was exceedingly pleased  with this proposal,  and felt
persuaded of her sister's ready acquiescence.                     
  “I hope,” added Mrs.  Gardiner,  “that no consideration with re‐
gard to this  young man will influence her.  We live in so differ‐
ent a part of town, all our connections are so different, and,  as
you  well know,  we  go out so little,  that it is very improbable
that  they should meet at all,  unless he really comes to see her‐
  “And  _that_  is quite impossible;  for he is now in the custody
of his friend,  and Mr.  Darcy would no more suffer him to call on
Jane in such a part of London!  My dear aunt,  how could you think
of  it?  Mr.  Darcy  may perhaps  have _heard_ of such a place  as
Gracechurch Street,  but he  would hardly think a month's ablution
enough to cleanse him from its impurities,  were he  once to enter
it; and depend upon it, Mr. Bingley never stirs without him.”     
  “So much the better. I hope they will not meet at all.  But does
not Jane correspond with his  sister?  _She_  will not  be able to
help calling.”                                                    
  “She will drop the acquaintance entirely.”                      
  But in spite  of  the certainty  in which Elizabeth affected  to
place this point,  as  well as the  still  more interesting one of
Bingley's being withheld from seeing Jane,  she felt  a solicitude
on the subject which convinced her,  on examination,  that she did
not consider it entirely hopeless. It was possible,  and sometimes
she thought it probable,  that his affection might be  reanimated,
and  the influence of his friends  successfully  combated  by  the
more natural influence of Jane's attractions.                     
  Miss Bennet accepted her  aunt's invitation  with pleasure;  and
the Bingleys were no otherwise in  her thoughts at the same  time,
than as  she hoped by Caroline's not living in the same house with
her  brother,  she might  occasionally spend a  morning with  her,
without any danger of seeing him.                                 
  The  Gardiners stayed a week  at Longbourn;  and  what with  the
Phillipses,  the  Lucases,  and  the officers, there was not a day
without its engagement. Mrs.  Bennet had so carefully provided for
the entertainment of  her brother and sister,  that  they  did not
once sit down to a  family dinner.  When the  engagement  was  for
home,  some  of the officers always  made part  of it—of which of‐
ficers Mr.  Wickham  was sure to be one;  and  on these occasions,
Mrs.  Gardiner,  rendered suspicious by Elizabeth's warm commenda‐
tion,  narrowly observed them both.  Without supposing them,  from
what  she saw,  to be very seriously in love,  their preference of
each other was plain enough  to make her a little uneasy;  and she
resolved to  speak  to Elizabeth  on  the subject before she  left
Hertfordshire,  and represent to her the imprudence of encouraging
such an attachment.                                               
  To Mrs.  Gardiner,  Wickham had one means of affording pleasure,
unconnected with his general powers.  About  ten or  a dozen years
ago,  before her marriage,  she  had spent  a considerable time in
that very  part  of  Derbyshire to which  he  belonged.  They had,
therefore,  many acquaintances  in common;  and though Wickham had
been little there  since the death of Darcy's father,  it was  yet
in  his power to  give  her  fresher  intelligence  of  her former
friends than she had been in the way of procuring.                
  Mrs.  Gardiner had seen Pemberley, and known the late Mr.  Darcy
by  character perfectly well.  Here consequently was an inexhaust‐
ible subject of discourse.  In comparing her recollection of  Pem‐
berley with the  minute description which Wickham could give,  and
in  bestowing her tribute  of praise on the character  of its late
possessor,  she was delighting both him and herself. On being made
acquainted  with the present Mr.  Darcy's  treatment  of him,  she
tried  to remember  some  of that gentleman's reputed  disposition
when quite a lad which might  agree with it,  and was confident at
last that  she  recollected  having  heard Mr.  Fitzwilliam  Darcy
formerly spoken of as a very proud, ill-natured boy.              

                            Chapter 26                            

Mrs.  Gardiner's  caution  to Elizabeth  was punctually and kindly
given on  the first  favourable  opportunity  of  speaking  to her
alone;  after honestly telling her what she thought, she thus went
  “You are too sensible a girl, Lizzy,  to fall in love merely be‐
cause you are warned against it;  and,  therefore, I am not afraid
of speaking openly.  Seriously, I would have you be on your guard.
Do  not involve yourself or endeavour  to involve him in an affec‐
tion which the want of  fortune  would make so very  imprudent.  I
have nothing to say against _him_;  he is a most interesting young
man;  and if he had the fortune he ought to have,  I  should think
you could  not  do better.  But as it  is,  you must  not let your
fancy run away with you. You have sense,  and we all expect you to
use  it.  Your father would depend on _your_  resolution  and good
conduct, I am sure. You must not disappoint your father.”         
  “My dear aunt, this is being serious indeed.”                   
  “Yes, and I hope to engage you to be serious likewise.”         
  “Well,  then, you need not be under any alarm.  I will take care
of myself,  and of Mr. Wickham too.  He shall not be in love  with
me, if I can prevent it.”                                         
  “Elizabeth, you are not serious now.”                           
  “I beg your pardon,  I will try again.  At present I am  not  in
love with Mr. Wickham;  no, I certainly am not. But he is,  beyond
all comparison,  the  most agreeable  man I ever saw—and if he be‐
comes  really attached  to  me—I believe it will be better that he
should not.  I see the imprudence of it. Oh! _that_ abominable Mr.
Darcy! My father's opinion of me does me the greatest honour,  and
I should be miserable to forfeit it. My father,  however,  is par‐
tial  to Mr.  Wickham.  In short,  my dear aunt,  I should be very
sorry to be the means of making any of you unhappy;  but since  we
see every day that where there is affection, young people are sel‐
dom withheld  by immediate want of fortune  from entering into en‐
gagements  with each other,  how can I promise to be wiser than so
many of  my fellow-creatures if I am tempted,  or how am I even to
know that it would be  wisdom  to  resist?  All that I can promise
you,  therefore, is not to be in a hurry. I will not be in a hurry
to  believe  myself his  first object.  When I am in company  with
him, I will not be wishing. In short, I will do my best.”         
  “Perhaps it will  be as well  if  you discourage his coming here
so very often.  At  least,  you should not _remind_ your mother of
inviting him.”                                                    
  “As I did  the  other  day,”  said Elizabeth  with  a  conscious
smile:  “very true,  it will be wise in me to refrain from _that_.
But do not imagine that he is always here so often.  It is on your
account that he  has  been  so frequently  invited this week.  You
know my  mother's ideas  as  to the necessity  of constant company
for her friends.  But really, and upon my honour, I will try to do
what I  think to be the  wisest;  and now I hope  you  are  satis‐
  Her aunt assured her that she was,  and Elizabeth having thanked
her for the kindness of her hints,  they parted;  a  wonderful in‐
stance of advice being given on such a point, without being resen‐
  Mr.  Collins returned into Hertfordshire soon  after it had been
quitted by the  Gardiners and  Jane;  but as he took up his  abode
with the Lucases,  his arrival was no  great inconvenience to Mrs.
Bennet.  His marriage  was now  fast approaching,  and she was  at
length so far  resigned  as to think it inevitable,  and  even re‐
peatedly to say,  in an ill-natured tone,  that she “_wished_ they
might be happy.” Thursday was to be the wedding day,  and on  Wed‐
nesday Miss Lucas  paid her farewell visit;  and when  she rose to
take leave, Elizabeth,  ashamed of her mother's ungracious and re‐
luctant good wishes,  and sincerely affected herself,  accompanied
her out of the room.  As they went downstairs together,  Charlotte
  “I shall depend on hearing from you very often, Eliza.”         
  “_That_ you certainly shall.”                                   
  “And I have another favour to ask you.  Will  you come  and  see
  “We shall often meet, I hope, in Hertfordshire.”                
  “I am not likely to leave Kent for some time. Promise me, there‐
fore, to come to Hunsford.”                                       
  Elizabeth could not refuse,  though she foresaw  little pleasure
in the visit.                                                     
  “My father and Maria are coming to  me in March,” added Charlot‐
te,  “and  I hope  you  will consent  to be of the party.  Indeed,
Eliza, you will be as welcome as either of them.”                 
  The  wedding took place;  the bride  and  bridegroom set off for
Kent from the church door,  and everybody had as  much to say,  or
to hear,  on the subject as usual.  Elizabeth soon heard  from her
friend;  and  their correspondence was as regular and  frequent as
it  had ever been;  that  it should be equally unreserved was  im‐
possible.  Elizabeth could never address her without feeling  that
all the comfort of intimacy was over,  and though  determined  not
to  slacken as a correspondent,  it was  for the sake of what  had
been,  rather  than what was.  Charlotte's first  letters were re‐
ceived with a good deal of eagerness; there could not but be curi‐
osity to know how she would  speak of her new home,  how she would
like Lady  Catherine,  and how happy she would dare pronounce her‐
self to  be;  though,  when the letters were read,  Elizabeth felt
that Charlotte expressed herself  on  every point exactly  as  she
might have foreseen. She wrote cheerfully,  seemed surrounded with
comforts,  and mentioned nothing which  she could not praise.  The
house,  furniture,  neighbourhood,  and  roads, were  all  to  her
taste,  and Lady Catherine's behaviour was most friendly and obli‐
ging. It was Mr. Collins's picture of Hunsford and Rosings ration‐
ally softened;  and Elizabeth perceived that she must wait for her
own visit there to know the rest.                                 
  Jane had already written a few  lines to  her sister to announce
their safe arrival in London; and when she wrote again,  Elizabeth
hoped it would be in her power to say something of the Bingleys.  
  Her impatience  for this  second letter was  as well rewarded as
impatience generally  is.  Jane had  been  a  week in town without
either  seeing  or hearing  from Caroline.  She  accounted for it,
however,  by supposing  that  her last  letter to her friend  from
Longbourn had by some accident been lost.                         
  “My aunt,” she continued,  “is going to-morrow into that part of
the town,  and I shall  take the opportunity of calling  in  Gros‐
venor Street.”                                                    
  She wrote again when the visit was paid,  and  she had seen Miss
Bingley.  “I  did not  think Caroline in spirits,” were her words,
“but she was very glad to see  me,  and  reproached me for  giving
her no notice of my coming to London. I was right,  therefore,  my
last  letter  had  never  reached  her.  I  inquired  after  their
brother,  of course.  He  was well,  but so much  engaged with Mr.
Darcy  that they  scarcely ever saw him.  I found that Miss  Darcy
was expected to dinner.  I wish I could see her.  My visit was not
long,  as Caroline and  Mrs.  Hurst were going  out. I dare  say I
shall see them soon here.”                                        
  Elizabeth  shook her head  over this letter.  It  convinced  her
that accident only could discover to Mr.  Bingley her sister's be‐
ing in town.                                                      
  Four weeks passed away, and Jane saw nothing of him. She endeav‐
oured to persuade herself that she  did not  regret  it;  but  she
could  no longer  be  blind  to Miss Bingley's inattention.  After
waiting at  home  every morning for  a  fortnight,  and  inventing
every evening a fresh excuse for her,  the visitor did at last ap‐
pear;  but the shortness of her stay, and yet more, the alteration
of her manner would allow  Jane to deceive herself no longer.  The
letter which she wrote on this occasion to  her sister will  prove
what she felt.                                                    
  “My  dearest Lizzy will,  I am sure,  be incapable of triumphing
in her better judgement,  at my expense,  when I confess myself to
have been entirely deceived in Miss Bingley's regard for me.  But,
my  dear sister,  though the event has proved  you  right,  do not
think me obstinate if I still  assert that,  considering  what her
behaviour was,  my confidence was as natural as your suspicion.  I
do not  at  all comprehend  her reason for wishing to be  intimate
with me; but if the same circumstances were to happen again,  I am
sure I should be deceived again.  Caroline did not return my visit
till yesterday;  and not a note,  not a line, did I receive in the
meantime.  When she did come,  it was very evident that she had no
pleasure in it;  she made a slight,  formal apology, for not call‐
ing before,  said not  a word of wishing to see me again,  and was
in every respect so altered a creature,  that when she went away I
was perfectly resolved to  continue the acquaintance no longer.  I
pity,  though I  cannot  help blaming her.  She was very  wrong in
singling me out  as  she did;  I can safely say that every advance
to intimacy began on her side.  But I pity her,  because she  must
feel that she has been acting wrong,  and because I am  very  sure
that anxiety for her brother  is the cause of  it.  I need not ex‐
plain  myself farther;  and though _we_ know  this anxiety  to  be
quite needless,  yet if she  feels it,  it will easily account for
her behaviour to me;  and  so deservedly dear as he is to his sis‐
ter,  whatever anxiety she must  feel on his behalf is natural and
amiable.  I cannot  but wonder,  however,  at her  having any such
fears now,  because, if he had at all cared about me, we must have
met,  long ago.  He knows of my being in town, I am certain,  from
something she said herself;  and yet it would seem,  by her manner
of talking,  as  if  she  wanted  to persuade  herself  that he is
really partial to Miss  Darcy.  I cannot understand it.  If I were
not afraid of judging harshly,  I  should be almost tempted to say
that there is a strong appearance of duplicity in all this.  But I
will endeavour to banish every painful thought,  and think only of
what will make me happy—your affection,  and the invariable  kind‐
ness of my dear uncle and  aunt.  Let me hear  from you very soon.
Miss Bingley said something of his  never returning to Netherfield
again,  of giving up the house, but not with any certainty. We had
better  not  mention it.  I  am extremely glad that you have  such
pleasant accounts from our friends at Hunsford.  Pray  go  to  see
them, with Sir William and Maria.  I am sure you will be very com‐
fortable there.—Yours, etc.”                                      
  This letter  gave Elizabeth some pain;  but her spirits returned
as she considered that Jane would no longer be duped,  by the sis‐
ter at least.  All expectation from the brother was now absolutely
over.  She  would not  even wish  for a renewal of his attentions.
His character sunk on every review of it;  and as a punishment for
him, as well as a possible advantage to Jane,  she seriously hoped
he might really soon marry Mr. Darcy's sister, as by Wickham's ac‐
count,  she  would make him  abundantly regret what  he had thrown
  Mrs.  Gardiner about this time reminded Elizabeth of her promise
concerning that gentleman,  and required information;  and  Eliza‐
beth had  such to send  as might rather  give  contentment to  her
aunt  than to herself.  His apparent partiality had subsided,  his
attentions were over, he was the admirer of some one else.  Eliza‐
beth was  watchful enough to see it all,  but she could see it and
write  of  it  without material  pain.  Her  heart  had  been  but
slightly touched,  and  her vanity  was  satisfied  with believing
that _she_ would have been his only choice,  had fortune permitted
it. The sudden acquisition of ten thousand pounds was the most re‐
markable charm of the young lady to whom he was now rendering him‐
self agreeable;  but Elizabeth, less clear-sighted perhaps in this
case than  in Charlotte's,  did not quarrel  with him for his wish
of independence. Nothing,  on the contrary, could be more natural;
and while able to suppose that it cost him a few struggles to  re‐
linquish her, she was ready to allow it a wise and desirable meas‐
ure for both, and could very sincerely wish him happy.            
  All this was acknowledged to Mrs.  Gardiner;  and after relating
the circumstances,  she thus went on: “I am now convinced, my dear
aunt, that I have never been much in love; for had I really exper‐
ienced that pure and elevating passion,  I  should at present  de‐
test his very name, and wish him all manner of evil.  But my feel‐
ings are not only cordial towards _him_;  they  are even impartial
towards Miss  King.  I cannot find out that I hate her at all,  or
that I am in  the least unwilling to think her a very good sort of
girl.  There can be no love in all this.  My watchfulness has been
effectual; and though I certainly should be a more interesting ob‐
ject to all  my acquaintances were  I  distractedly  in love  with
him, I cannot say that I regret my comparative insignificance. Im‐
portance may sometimes be  purchased too dearly.  Kitty  and Lydia
take his defection much  more to heart than I do.  They  are young
in the ways of the world,  and not yet open to the mortifying con‐
viction  that handsome young men must have something to live on as
well as the plain.”                                               

                            Chapter 27                            

With  no  greater  events than these in the Longbourn family,  and
otherwise diversified by little beyond the walks to Meryton, some‐
times dirty  and sometimes  cold,  did  January  and February pass
away.  March  was to take Elizabeth to Hunsford.  She  had not  at
first thought very seriously of going thither; but Charlotte,  she
soon found,  was depending  on the plan and she  gradually learned
to consider it herself  with greater pleasure as well  as  greater
certainty.  Absence had  increased her desire  of seeing Charlotte
again, and weakened her disgust of Mr. Collins.  There was novelty
in the scheme,  and as,  with such a mother and such  uncompanion‐
able sisters,  home could  not be faultless,  a little  change was
not unwelcome for its own  sake.  The journey would moreover  give
her  a peep at Jane;  and,  in short,  as the  time drew near, she
would have been  very  sorry for any delay.  Everything,  however,
went  on  smoothly,  and was finally  settled  according to  Char‐
lotte's first  sketch.  She was to  accompany Sir William and  his
second daughter.  The  improvement of spending a  night  in London
was added in time, and the plan became perfect as plan could be.  
  The only pain  was in leaving  her  father,  who would certainly
miss her,  and who, when it came to the point, so little liked her
going,  that he told her to  write to him,  and almost promised to
answer her letter.                                                
  The  farewell  between  herself  and Mr.  Wickham was  perfectly
friendly;  on his side  even  more.  His present pursuit could not
make him forget  that Elizabeth  had  been the first to excite and
to deserve  his attention,  the first  to listen and to pity,  the
first to be admired; and in his manner of bidding her adieu, wish‐
ing her every enjoyment,  reminding her of what she was  to expect
in Lady Catherine de Bourgh,  and trusting their opinion of  her—‐
their opinion of everybody—would always coincide,  there was a so‐
licitude,  an  interest which she felt must ever attach her to him
with  a  most sincere  regard;  and she parted from him  convinced
that,  whether married or single,  he must always be her model  of
the amiable and pleasing.                                         
  Her  fellow-travellers the next  day were  not of a kind to make
her think him less agreeable.  Sir William Lucas, and his daughter
Maria, a good-humoured girl,  but as empty-headed as himself,  had
nothing  to say that could be worth hearing,  and were listened to
with about as much delight as the rattle of the chaise.  Elizabeth
loved absurdities,  but she had  known Sir William's too long.  He
could tell  her nothing new of the wonders of his presentation and
knighthood;  and his civilities  were worn out,  like his informa‐
  It was  a  journey of only twenty-four miles,  and they began it
so early as to be in Gracechurch Street by noon.  As they drove to
Mr.  Gardiner's door,  Jane was at a drawing-room  window watching
their arrival; when they entered the passage she was there to wel‐
come  them,  and  Elizabeth,  looking earnestly  in her face,  was
pleased to  see  it healthful  and lovely as ever.  On  the stairs
were a troop of little boys and  girls,  whose eagerness for their
cousin's appearance would not  allow them to wait in  the drawing‐
room,  and whose shyness,  as they  had not seen her for a twelve‐
month,  prevented their  coming  lower.  All was joy and kindness.
The day  passed most pleasantly  away;  the morning  in bustle and
shopping, and the evening at one of the theatres.                 
  Elizabeth then contrived to sit by her aunt.  Their first object
was her sister;  and she was more grieved than astonished to hear,
in  reply  to  her  minute  inquiries,  that  though  Jane  always
struggled  to support her  spirits,  there  were periods of dejec‐
tion. It was reasonable, however, to hope that they would not con‐
tinue long.  Mrs.  Gardiner gave her the particulars also  of Miss
Bingley's visit in Gracechurch Street,  and repeated conversations
occurring  at different  times between  Jane  and  herself,  which
proved that the former had, from her heart, given up the acquaint‐
  Mrs.  Gardiner then rallied  her  niece on  Wickham's desertion,
and complimented her on bearing it so well.                       
  “But my dear Elizabeth,” she added,  “what sort of girl  is Miss
King? I should be sorry to think our friend mercenary.”           
  “Pray,  my dear aunt,  what is the difference in matrimonial af‐
fairs,  between the mercenary and  the prudent motive?  Where does
discretion end, and avarice begin?  Last Christmas you were afraid
of his marrying me,  because it  would be imprudent;  and now, be‐
cause he is trying to get a  girl with  only ten thousand  pounds,
you want to find out that he is mercenary.”                       
  “If you will only tell me what sort of  girl  Miss  King  is,  I
shall know what to think.”                                        
  “She is a very good kind of girl,  I believe.  I know no harm of
  “But he  paid her not  the smallest  attention till  her  grand‐
father's death made her mistress of this fortune.”                
  “No—why should he?  If  it were not  allowable  for  him to gain
_my_ affections because I had no money,  what occasion could there
be for making love to a girl whom he did not care about,  and  who
was equally poor?”                                                
  “But there seems an indelicacy in  directing his  attentions to‐
wards her so soon after this event.”                              
  “A  man  in distressed circumstances has not time  for all those
elegant decorums which other people may  observe.  If  _she_  does
not object to it, why should _we_?”                               
  “_Her_  not objecting does not justify _him_.  It only shows her
being deficient in something herself—sense or feeling.”           
  “Well,” cried Elizabeth,  “have it as you choose.  _He_ shall be
mercenary, and _she_ shall be foolish.”                           
  “No, Lizzy,  that is what I do _not_ choose.  I should be sorry,
you know,  to  think ill of a young man who has  lived so  long in
  “Oh!  if  that is all,  I have a very poor opinion  of young men
who live in  Derbyshire;  and their intimate friends  who live  in
Hertfordshire are not  much better.  I am sick of them all.  Thank
Heaven!  I am going to-morrow where I shall find a man who has not
one agreeable quality,  who has neither manner nor sense to recom‐
mend  him.  Stupid  men  are  the only  ones worth knowing,  after
  “Take care,  Lizzy;  that speech savours strongly of disappoint‐
  Before they  were separated by the conclusion  of the play,  she
had the  unexpected  happiness of  an invitation  to accompany her
uncle and aunt in  a  tour of pleasure which  they proposed taking
in the summer.                                                    
  “We  have not determined how far it shall  carry us,” said  Mrs.
Gardiner, “but, perhaps, to the Lakes.”                           
  No scheme could have  been more agreeable to Elizabeth,  and her
acceptance of the invitation was most ready and grateful.  “Oh, my
dear, dear aunt,” she rapturously cried, “what delight! what feli‐
city!  You give me fresh life and vigour.  Adieu to disappointment
and spleen.  What are young men to rocks and mountains?  Oh!  what
hours of transport we  shall  spend!  And when we _do_ return,  it
shall  not be  like other  travellers,  without being able to give
one  accurate idea of  anything.  We  _will_  know  where we  have
gone—we _will_ recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains,  and
rivers shall  not be  jumbled  together in  our imaginations;  nor
when we  attempt to describe any particular  scene,  will we begin
quarreling about  its  relative situation.  Let _our_  first effu‐
sions be less  insupportable than those of the generality of trav‐

                            Chapter 28                            

Every object in the  next day's journey was new and interesting to
Elizabeth;  and her spirits were in a state of enjoyment;  for she
had seen her sister looking so well as  to banish all fear for her
health,  and the  prospect  of  her  northern tour  was a constant
source of delight.                                                
  When  they  left the high road for the lane  to Hunsford,  every
eye was in search of the Parsonage,  and every turning expected to
bring it in view.  The palings of Rosings Park was their  boundary
on one side.  Elizabeth smiled at the recollection of all that she
had heard of its inhabitants.                                     
  At  length the Parsonage was discernible.  The garden sloping to
the  road,  the  house standing in it,  the  green pales,  and the
laurel hedge, everything declared they were arriving.  Mr. Collins
and Charlotte appeared at the door,  and  the carriage  stopped at
the  small gate which led by a short  gravel walk  to  the  house,
amidst  the nods and smiles  of the whole party.  In a moment they
were all out of the chaise,  rejoicing at the sight of each other.
Mrs. Collins welcomed her friend with the liveliest pleasure,  and
Elizabeth  was more and more satisfied with coming when she  found
herself so affectionately  received.  She  saw instantly  that her
cousin's manners were not altered by his marriage;  his formal ci‐
vility  was just  what  it  had  been,  and  he detained her  some
minutes at  the  gate  to hear and satisfy his inquiries after all
her family. They were then,  with no other delay than his pointing
out the neatness of the entrance,  taken  into the house;  and  as
soon as they were in the parlour,  he welcomed them a second time,
with  ostentatious formality to his  humble abode,  and punctually
repeated all his wife's offers of refreshment.                    
  Elizabeth was  prepared to  see him in his glory;  and she could
not  help in  fancying  that  in displaying the good proportion of
the room, its aspect and its furniture,  he addressed himself par‐
ticularly to her,  as  if wishing to make her feel  what  she  had
lost in refusing him.  But though everything seemed neat and  com‐
fortable,  she was not able to gratify him by  any sigh of repent‐
ance,  and rather looked with wonder at her  friend that she could
have so cheerful an air with such  a companion.  When Mr.  Collins
said  anything  of  which his wife  might reasonably  be  ashamed,
which certainly  was  not  unseldom,  she involuntarily turned her
eye on Charlotte.  Once or twice she could discern a faint  blush;
but in general Charlotte wisely did not  hear.  After sitting long
enough to admire every article of furniture in the room,  from the
sideboard to the fender, to give an account of their journey,  and
of all  that had happened in London,  Mr.  Collins invited them to
take a stroll in  the garden,  which was  large and well laid out,
and  to the cultivation of which he attended himself.  To  work in
this garden was one of his most respectable pleasures;  and Eliza‐
beth admired  the  command of  countenance  with  which  Charlotte
talked of the healthfulness of the exercise, and owned she encour‐
aged it as much as possible.  Here,  leading the way through every
walk and cross walk, and scarcely allowing them an interval to ut‐
ter the praises he asked for,  every  view  was pointed out with a
minuteness which left beauty entirely behind.  He could number the
fields in every  direction,  and  could tell how many  trees there
were  in the most distant  clump.  But  of all the views which his
garden, or which the country or kingdom could boast,  none were to
be compared with the  prospect of Rosings,  afforded by an opening
in the trees  that bordered the park  nearly opposite the front of
his house.  It was a handsome  modern building,  well situated  on
rising ground.                                                    
  From his garden,  Mr.  Collins would have led them round his two
meadows;  but the ladies,  not having  shoes to encounter the  re‐
mains of a white frost,  turned back; and while Sir William accom‐
panied him,  Charlotte  took her sister and friend over the house,
extremely well pleased, probably, to have the opportunity of show‐
ing it without her husband's help.  It was rather small,  but well
built and convenient;  and everything was  fitted  up and arranged
with a  neatness and consistency of which Elizabeth gave Charlotte
all  the credit.  When Mr.  Collins could be forgotten,  there was
really an  air of  great  comfort throughout,  and by  Charlotte's
evident enjoyment of it,  Elizabeth supposed he must be often for‐
  She  had  already learnt that  Lady Catherine was  still in  the
country.  It was spoken  of again while they were at dinner,  when
Mr. Collins joining in, observed:                                 
  “Yes,  Miss Elizabeth,  you will  have the honour of seeing Lady
Catherine de Bourgh on the ensuing Sunday  at  church,  and I need
not say you will be delighted with her.  She is all affability and
condescension,  and I doubt not but you will be honoured with some
portion of her notice  when service  is over.  I have scarcely any
hesitation  in saying she will include you and my sister  Maria in
every invitation with which she honours us during  your stay here.
Her behaviour to my dear  Charlotte is charming.  We dine  at Ros‐
ings twice every week,  and are  never allowed  to walk home.  Her
ladyship's carriage  is regularly ordered for us.  I _should_ say,
one of her ladyship's carriages, for she has several.”            
  “Lady Catherine is  a very respectable,  sensible woman indeed,”
added Charlotte, “and a most attentive neighbour.”                
  “Very true,  my  dear, that is  exactly  what I say.  She is the
sort of woman whom one cannot regard with too much deference.”    
  The  evening  was spent  chiefly in  talking over  Hertfordshire
news,  and telling again  what had already been written;  and when
it closed, Elizabeth, in the solitude of her chamber,  had to med‐
itate  upon  Charlotte's degree of contentment,  to understand her
address in guiding,  and  composure in bearing with,  her husband,
and  to acknowledge that it  was all done very well.  She had also
to anticipate how her visit would pass,  the quiet tenor of  their
usual employments,  the vexatious  interruptions  of Mr.  Collins,
and the gaieties of their intercourse with Rosings.  A lively ima‐
gination soon settled it all.                                     
  About the middle of the next day,  as she was in  her  room get‐
ting ready for  a walk,  a sudden  noise below seemed to speak the
whole  house  in confusion;  and,  after  listening a moment,  she
heard somebody running up stairs in  a violent hurry,  and calling
loudly after her.  She opened the door and met  Maria in the land‐
ing place, who, breathless with agitation, cried out—             
  “Oh,  my dear Eliza!  pray make  haste and come into the dining‐
room,  for there is  such a sight to be seen!  I will not tell you
what it is. Make haste, and come down this moment.”               
  Elizabeth asked questions in vain;  Maria would tell her nothing
more,  and down they ran into the  dining-room,  which fronted the
lane,  in  quest of this wonder;  It was two ladies  stopping in a
low phaeton at the garden gate.                                   
  “And is  this all?”  cried Elizabeth.  “I expected at least that
the pigs were got into the  garden,  and here  is nothing but Lady
Catherine and her daughter.”                                      
  “La!  my dear,” said Maria, quite shocked at the mistake, “it is
not Lady  Catherine.  The  old lady is Mrs.  Jenkinson,  who lives
with them;  the other is Miss de Bourgh. Only look at her.  She is
quite a little creature.  Who would have thought that she could be
so thin and small?”                                               
  “She is abominably  rude to keep  Charlotte out of doors in  all
this wind. Why does she not come in?”                             
  “Oh, Charlotte says she hardly ever does.  It is the greatest of
favours when Miss de Bourgh comes in.”                            
  “I  like  her  appearance,”  said Elizabeth,  struck  with other
ideas.  “She looks sickly and cross. Yes, she will do for him very
well. She will make him a very proper wife.”                      
  Mr. Collins and Charlotte were both standing at the gate in con‐
versation with the ladies;  and Sir  William,  to Elizabeth's high
diversion,  was stationed in the doorway, in earnest contemplation
of the  greatness before him,  and constantly bowing whenever Miss
de Bourgh looked that way.                                        
  At length there  was nothing more  to be said;  the ladies drove
on,  and the others returned into the house. Mr. Collins no sooner
saw the two  girls than  he began  to  congratulate them on  their
good fortune,  which Charlotte explained by letting them know that
the whole party was asked to dine at Rosings the next day.        

                            Chapter 29                            

Mr. Collins's triumph, in consequence of this invitation, was com‐
plete.  The power of displaying  the grandeur of his patroness  to
his wondering  visitors,  and of letting them see her civility to‐
wards himself  and his wife,  was exactly what he had wished  for;
and that an opportunity of doing it should be given  so soon,  was
such  an  instance of Lady Catherine's condescension,  as he  knew
not how to admire enough.                                         
  “I confess,” said he,  “that I should not have been at  all sur‐
prised by  her ladyship's  asking  us on  Sunday to  drink tea and
spend the evening  at Rosings.  I rather expected,  from  my know‐
ledge of her affability, that it would happen.  But who could have
foreseen such an attention as  this?  Who could have imagined that
we  should  receive  an invitation to dine  there (an  invitation,
moreover, including the whole party) so immediately after your ar‐
  “I am the less surprised at what has happened,” replied Sir Wil‐
liam,  “from  that knowledge  of what  the  manners  of  the great
really are,  which my situation in life has allowed me to acquire.
About the court, such instances of elegant breeding are not uncom‐
  Scarcely anything was talked of the whole  day  or next  morning
but their visit to Rosings. Mr.  Collins was carefully instructing
them in what they were  to expect,  that the sight  of such rooms,
so many servants, and so splendid a dinner, might not wholly over‐
power them.                                                       
  When  the ladies were separating  for the  toilette,  he said to
  “Do not make yourself uneasy, my dear cousin,  about your appar‐
el.  Lady Catherine is  far from  requiring that elegance of dress
in us which becomes herself and her daughter.  I would advise  you
merely to  put  on  whatever  of  your clothes is superior  to the
rest—there is no  occasion for anything more.  Lady Catherine will
not think the worse of you for being simply dressed.  She likes to
have the distinction of rank preserved.”                          
  While they were dressing,  he came two or three  times  to their
different doors,  to recommend their being quick,  as Lady Cather‐
ine very much objected to  be  kept waiting  for her dinner.  Such
formidable accounts of  her  ladyship,  and her manner  of living,
quite frightened Maria  Lucas who had been little used to company,
and she  looked forward  to  her introduction  at Rosings with  as
much apprehension as her father had done  to  his presentation  at
St. James's.                                                      
  As the weather was fine,  they had a pleasant walk of about half
a mile  across the park.  Every park has its  beauty and  its pro‐
spects;  and Elizabeth saw  much  to  be pleased with,  though she
could not be in  such raptures as Mr.  Collins  expected the scene
to inspire,  and  was  but slightly affected by his enumeration of
the windows in front  of the  house,  and his relation of what the
glazing altogether had originally cost Sir Lewis de Bourgh.       
  When  they ascended  the steps  to the  hall,  Maria's alarm was
every moment increasing,  and even Sir  William  did not look per‐
fectly calm.  Elizabeth's courage did not fail her.  She had heard
nothing  of  Lady  Catherine that  spoke  her  awful from  any ex‐
traordinary talents or  miraculous virtue,  and the  mere stateli‐
ness of  money or rank she thought she could witness without trep‐
  From the entrance-hall, of which Mr.  Collins pointed out,  with
a rapturous air,  the fine proportion and the finished  ornaments,
they followed the servants  through an ante-chamber,  to the  room
where Lady Catherine,  her daughter,  and Mrs. Jenkinson were sit‐
ting.  Her  ladyship,  with  great condescension, arose to receive
them;  and as  Mrs.  Collins had settled it with her husband  that
the office of introduction should be hers,  it was  performed in a
proper manner,  without any of those apologies and thanks which he
would have thought necessary.                                     
  In spite of having been at St.  James's Sir William was  so com‐
pletely  awed by  the grandeur  surrounding him,  that  he had but
just  courage enough to make a  very low  bow,  and take his  seat
without saying a word; and his daughter,  frightened almost out of
her senses,  sat on the edge of  her chair,  not knowing which way
to look.  Elizabeth found  herself quite equal to  the scene,  and
could observe the three ladies before her composedly. Lady Cather‐
ine was a tall,  large woman, with strongly-marked features, which
might once have been handsome.  Her air was not conciliating,  nor
was her manner of receiving them such as to make her visitors for‐
get their inferior rank.  She was  not rendered formidable by  si‐
lence;  but  whatever she said  was  spoken in so authoritative  a
tone, as marked her self-importance, and brought Mr. Wickham imme‐
diately to  Elizabeth's mind;  and from the observation of the day
altogether, she believed Lady Catherine to be exactly what he rep‐
  When,  after examining the mother,  in whose countenance and de‐
portment she soon found some resemblance of Mr.  Darcy, she turned
her eyes on the daughter,  she could almost have joined in Maria's
astonishment at her being so thin and so small.  There was neither
in figure  nor  face any  likeness  between  the ladies.  Miss  de
Bourgh was pale and sickly;  her features,  though not plain, were
insignificant;  and she spoke very little,  except in a low voice,
to Mrs.  Jenkinson,  in whose appearance there was nothing remark‐
able,  and who was entirely engaged in listening to what she said,
and placing a screen in the proper direction before her eyes.     
  After sitting a few  minutes,  they were all sent to one  of the
windows to admire  the view,  Mr.  Collins attending them to point
out its beauties,  and Lady Catherine  kindly informing  them that
it was much better worth looking at in the summer.                
  The dinner was exceedingly handsome, and there were all the ser‐
vants  and all  the articles of plate which Mr.  Collins had prom‐
ised;  and,  as he had likewise foretold,  he took his seat at the
bottom of the table,  by her ladyship's desire,  and  looked as if
he  felt that life could furnish nothing greater.  He carved,  and
ate,  and praised with delighted alacrity; and every dish was com‐
mended,  first by him and then by Sir William,  who was now enough
recovered to echo whatever his son-in-law said,  in a manner which
Elizabeth  wondered Lady Catherine could bear.  But Lady Catherine
seemed gratified by their excessive admiration, and gave most gra‐
cious smiles,  especially when any dish on the table proved a nov‐
elty to them.  The party did not supply much conversation.  Eliza‐
beth was ready  to speak whenever  there was an  opening,  but she
was  seated  between  Charlotte  and Miss de Bourgh—the  former of
whom was  engaged in listening to Lady  Catherine,  and the latter
said not  a  word to  her  all  dinner-time.  Mrs.  Jenkinson  was
chiefly employed in watching how little Miss de Bourgh ate, press‐
ing her  to try some other dish,  and fearing she was  indisposed.
Maria thought speaking out of the question,  and the gentlemen did
nothing but eat and admire.                                       
  When the ladies returned to  the drawing-room,  there was little
to be done but to hear Lady Catherine talk,  which she did without
any  intermission till coffee came in,  delivering  her opinion on
every subject in so decisive a manner,  as proved that she was not
used  to have her judgement controverted.  She inquired into Char‐
lotte's domestic  concerns familiarly  and  minutely,  gave  her a
great deal of advice as to the  management of them  all;  told her
how everything ought to  be regulated  in  so  small a  family  as
hers,  and  instructed  her  as  to the  care of  her cows and her
poultry.  Elizabeth found  that  nothing  was  beneath this  great
lady's attention, which could furnish her with an occasion of dic‐
tating  to others.  In the  intervals  of her discourse  with Mrs.
Collins,  she addressed a variety of questions to Maria and Eliza‐
beth,  but especially to the latter, of whose connections she knew
the least,  and who she observed to Mrs.  Collins was a  very gen‐
teel, pretty kind of girl. She asked her, at different times,  how
many sisters she had, whether they were older or younger than her‐
self,  whether any of them were likely to be married, whether they
were  handsome,  where they had been  educated,  what carriage her
father kept,  and what had been  her mother's maiden name?  Eliza‐
beth felt all the impertinence  of her questions but answered them
very composedly. Lady Catherine then observed,                    
  “Your father's estate is entailed on Mr.  Collins,  I think. For
your sake,” turning to Charlotte, “I am glad of it;  but otherwise
I see  no occasion for entailing estates from the female line.  It
was not thought necessary in Sir Lewis de Bourgh's family.  Do you
play and sing, Miss Bennet?”                                      
  “A little.”                                                     
  “Oh! then—some time or other we shall be happy to hear you.  Our
instrument is  a capital one,  probably superior to―You  shall try
it some day. Do your sisters play and sing?”                      
  “One of them does.”                                             
  “Why did not you all learn?  You ought all to have learned.  The
Miss Webbs all play,  and  their father has  not so good an income
as yours. Do you draw?”                                           
  “No, not at all.”                                               
  “What, none of you?”                                            
  “Not one.”                                                      
  “That is  very  strange.  But I  suppose you had no opportunity.
Your mother should have taken you to town every spring for the be‐
nefit of masters.”                                                
  “My mother would have had no objection, but my father hates Lon‐
  “Has your governess left you?”                                  
  “We never had any governess.”                                   
  “No governess! How was that possible?  Five daughters brought up
at home without a governess!  I never heard of such a thing.  Your
mother must have been quite a slave to your education.”           
  Elizabeth could hardly help smiling as she assured her  that had
not been the case.                                                
  “Then,  who taught you?  who attended  to  you?  Without  a gov‐
erness, you must have been neglected.”                            
  “Compared with some families,  I believe we were; but such of us
as wished to learn never wanted the means.  We were always encour‐
aged to read,  and had all the masters that were necessary.  Those
who chose to be idle, certainly might.”                           
  “Aye,  no doubt; but that is what a governess will prevent,  and
if I had known your mother, I should have advised her most strenu‐
ously  to engage one.  I always  say that nothing is to be done in
education without steady and regular  instruction,  and nobody but
a governess can give it.  It is wonderful how many families I have
been the means of supplying in that  way.  I am always glad to get
a young person well placed out.  Four nieces of Mrs. Jenkinson are
most delightfully  situated through my means;  and it was but  the
other day that I recommended another young person,  who was merely
accidentally mentioned to me,  and the family  are quite delighted
with her. Mrs.  Collins,  did I tell you of Lady Metcalf's calling
yesterday to thank me? She finds Miss Pope a treasure. 'Lady Cath‐
erine,' said she,  'you have given me a treasure.' Are any of your
younger sisters out, Miss Bennet?”                                
  “Yes, ma'am, all.”                                              
  “All!  What,  all five out  at once? Very odd! And you  only the
second.  The younger ones out before the elder  ones are  married!
Your younger sisters must be very young?”                         
  “Yes,  my youngest is not sixteen.  Perhaps _she_  is full young
to be much in company.  But really,  ma'am,  I  think  it would be
very hard  upon younger  sisters,  that they should not have their
share  of society and  amusement,  because the elder may  not have
the  means  or  inclination to marry  early.  The last-born has as
good  a right  to the pleasures of youth at the  first.  And to be
kept back on _such_ a motive!  I think it would not be very likely
to promote sisterly affection or delicacy of mind.”               
  “Upon my word,” said her ladyship,  “you give your opinion  very
decidedly for so young a person. Pray, what is your age?”         
  “With three younger sisters grown up,” replied Elizabeth,  smil‐
ing, “your ladyship can hardly expect me to own it.”              
  Lady Catherine seemed  quite  astonished at not receiving a dir‐
ect  answer;  and  Elizabeth  suspected herself  to  be the  first
creature who had  ever dared to trifle  with so much dignified im‐
  “You cannot be more than twenty,  I am sure,  therefore you need
not conceal your age.”                                            
  “I am not one-and-twenty.”                                      
  When the gentlemen had joined them,  and tea was over, the card‐
tables were placed. Lady Catherine,  Sir William, and Mr. and Mrs.
Collins sat down  to  quadrille;  and as Miss  de Bourgh  chose to
play at cassino,  the two  girls had the honour  of assisting Mrs.
Jenkinson to make up her party. Their table was superlatively stu‐
pid.  Scarcely  a syllable was uttered that did  not relate to the
game,  except when Mrs.  Jenkinson expressed her fears of Miss  de
Bourgh's being too hot  or too cold,  or  having too much  or  too
little light.  A great deal more passed at the  other table.  Lady
Catherine was  generally  speaking—stating  the  mistakes  of  the
three others,  or relating some anecdote of herself.  Mr.  Collins
was employed in agreeing to everything  her ladyship said,  thank‐
ing her for every fish he won,  and apologising  if  he thought he
won too many.  Sir  William did not  say much.  He was storing his
memory with anecdotes and noble names.                            
  When Lady Catherine and her daughter had  played as long as they
chose,  the tables were  broken  up,  the carriage was offered  to
Mrs.  Collins,  gratefully accepted and immediately  ordered.  The
party then gathered round the fire  to hear Lady Catherine determ‐
ine what weather they  were to have on the morrow.  From these in‐
structions  they were summoned  by the arrival of  the coach;  and
with  many speeches of thankfulness on Mr.  Collins's  side and as
many  bows on Sir  William's  they  departed.  As soon as they had
driven from the door,  Elizabeth  was called on  by her cousin  to
give her opinion of all that she had seen at Rosings,  which,  for
Charlotte's  sake,  she made more  favourable  than it really was.
But her commendation,  though costing her some trouble,  could  by
no means satisfy Mr.  Collins,  and he  was  very  soon obliged to
take her ladyship's praise into his own hands.                    

                            Chapter 30                            

Sir William stayed only a  week at  Hunsford,  but  his visit  was
long  enough to convince him of his daughter's being most comfort‐
ably settled,  and of  her possessing such  a husband  and such  a
neighbour as were not often  met with.  While Sir William was with
them,  Mr.  Collins devoted  his morning to driving him out in his
gig,  and showing  him  the country;  but  when he went away,  the
whole family returned to  their usual employments,  and  Elizabeth
was thankful to find that they  did not  see more of her cousin by
the alteration,  for the chief  of the time between breakfast  and
dinner  was now passed  by him either at work in the garden or  in
reading and writing,  and  looking  out  of  the window in his own
book-room,  which fronted the road.  The room  in which the ladies
sat was  backwards.  Elizabeth  had at  first rather wondered that
Charlotte should not prefer the dining-parlour for common use;  it
was a better sized room,  and had a more pleasant aspect;  but she
soon saw that  her friend had  an excellent reason  for  what  she
did,  for Mr. Collins would undoubtedly have been much less in his
own apartment,  had they sat in one  equally lively;  and she gave
Charlotte credit for the arrangement.                             
  From the  drawing-room  they  could distinguish  nothing  in the
lane,  and were indebted to Mr.  Collins for the knowledge of what
carriages  went  along,  and how  often  especially Miss de Bourgh
drove by in her phaeton,  which he never  failed  coming to inform
them  of,  though it  happened almost  every day.  She not  unfre‐
quently stopped at the Parsonage, and had a few minutes' conversa‐
tion with Charlotte,  but was scarcely  ever prevailed upon to get
  Very few days passed  in which Mr.  Collins did not walk to Ros‐
ings,  and not many in  which  his wife did not think it necessary
to go  likewise;  and  till Elizabeth recollected that there might
be other family  livings to be disposed of,  she could  not under‐
stand the sacrifice of so many hours.  Now and then they were hon‐
oured with a call from her  ladyship,  and nothing escaped her ob‐
servation that was  passing in the room  during these visits.  She
examined into their employments,  looked at  their work,  and  ad‐
vised them to do it differently;  found fault with the arrangement
of the furniture;  or detected the housemaid in negligence; and if
she accepted any refreshment,  seemed to  do it  only for the sake
of finding out  that Mrs.  Collins's joints of meat were too large
for her family.                                                   
  Elizabeth soon perceived,  that  though this great  lady was not
in commission of the  peace  of the county,  she was a most active
magistrate in her own parish,  the minutest concerns of which were
carried to her by Mr.  Collins;  and whenever any of the cottagers
were disposed to be quarrelsome,  discontented,  or too poor,  she
sallied  forth into the village to settle  their differences,  si‐
lence their complaints, and scold them into harmony and plenty.   
  The entertainment  of dining at Rosings was repeated about twice
a week;  and,  allowing for the loss of Sir William, and there be‐
ing  only one card-table in the evening,  every such entertainment
was  the counterpart of the  first.  Their other  engagements were
few,  as  the style of living  in the neighbourhood in general was
beyond Mr.  Collins's reach.  This, however, was no evil to Eliza‐
beth,  and upon the  whole she spent her  time comfortably enough;
there were half-hours  of  pleasant conversation  with  Charlotte,
and  the weather was so fine for the time of year that she had of‐
ten great enjoyment out  of doors.  Her favourite walk,  and where
she frequently went while the others were calling  on Lady Cather‐
ine,  was along the open  grove which edged that side of the park,
where there  was  a  nice sheltered path,  which no one  seemed to
value  but herself,  and where  she felt beyond the reach of  Lady
Catherine's curiosity.                                            
  In this quiet way,  the first fortnight of her visit soon passed
away.  Easter was approaching,  and  the week preceding  it was to
bring  an addition to  the family at Rosings,  which in so small a
circle must be important.  Elizabeth had heard soon after  her ar‐
rival that Mr.  Darcy was expected  there in  the course of a  few
weeks,  and  though there  were not many of her acquaintances whom
she  did not  prefer,  his coming would  furnish one comparatively
new to look at in their Rosings parties,  and she might be  amused
in seeing how hopeless Miss Bingley's designs on him were,  by his
behaviour to his cousin,  for  whom he was  evidently  destined by
Lady Catherine,  who talked of his coming with the greatest satis‐
faction,  spoke of him in  terms of  the  highest admiration,  and
seemed  almost angry to  find that  he had already been frequently
seen by Miss Lucas and herself.                                   
  His arrival was soon known at  the  Parsonage;  for Mr.  Collins
was walking the  whole morning within view of  the  lodges opening
into Hunsford Lane,  in  order to have the  earliest  assurance of
it,  and after making  his  bow  as the carriage  turned  into the
Park,  hurried home with the great intelligence.  On the following
morning he hastened to Rosings  to  pay his  respects.  There were
two nephews of Lady Catherine to require them,  for Mr.  Darcy had
brought with  him a  Colonel  Fitzwilliam,  the younger son of his
uncle  Lord ―,  and,  to the great surprise of all the party, when
Mr.  Collins  returned,  the gentlemen accompanied him.  Charlotte
had seen them from her husband's room, crossing the road,  and im‐
mediately running into the other,  told the girls  what  an honour
they might expect, adding:                                        
  “I may thank you, Eliza,  for this piece of civility. Mr.  Darcy
would never have come so soon to wait upon me.”                   
  Elizabeth had scarcely time to disclaim all right to the compli‐
ment,  before  their approach was announced by the door-bell,  and
shortly afterwards  the three gentlemen entered the room.  Colonel
Fitzwilliam,  who led the way, was about thirty, not handsome, but
in person and address most truly the gentleman.  Mr.  Darcy looked
just as he had been used to look in Hertfordshire—paid his compli‐
ments,  with  his  usual reserve,  to  Mrs. Collins,  and whatever
might  be his feelings toward  her friend,  met her with every ap‐
pearance of composure.  Elizabeth merely curtseyed to him  without
saying a word.                                                    
  Colonel  Fitzwilliam entered into conversation directly with the
readiness  and  ease  of a  well-bred man,  and talked very pleas‐
antly;  but his cousin,  after having addressed a slight  observa‐
tion on the house and  garden to Mrs.  Collins,  sat for some time
without speaking to anybody. At length, however,  his civility was
so  far  awakened as to  inquire of Elizabeth  after the health of
her family.  She answered him in  the usual  way,  and after a mo‐
ment's pause, added:                                              
  “My eldest sister has been in town these three months.  Have you
never happened to see her there?”                                 
  She was perfectly sensible that he never had;  but she wished to
see whether  he would betray any consciousness of  what had passed
between the Bingleys and Jane,  and she thought he looked a little
confused as he answered  that he had never been so fortunate as to
meet Miss Bennet. The subject was pursued no farther, and the gen‐
tlemen soon afterwards went away.                                 

                            Chapter 31                            

Colonel  Fitzwilliam's manners  were very much admired at the Par‐
sonage,  and the ladies all felt that he must  add considerably to
the pleasures of their engagements at Rosings.  It was some  days,
however,  before  they received any  invitation thither—for  while
there were visitors in  the  house,  they  could not be necessary;
and  it was not till  Easter-day,  almost a week after the gentle‐
men's arrival,  that they were honoured by such an attention,  and
then  they  were  merely asked on leaving church to come  there in
the evening.  For the last week they had seen very little  of Lady
Catherine  or her daughter.  Colonel Fitzwilliam had called at the
Parsonage more than once during the time,  but Mr.  Darcy they had
seen only at church.                                              
  The  invitation was accepted  of  course,  and at a  proper hour
they joined the party in Lady Catherine's drawing-room.  Her lady‐
ship received them civilly,  but  it was  plain that their company
was by no means  so acceptable as when she could get  nobody else;
and she was,  in fact,  almost engrossed by her nephews,  speaking
to them,  especially to Darcy,  much more than to any other person
in the room.                                                      
  Colonel  Fitzwilliam  seemed really glad  to see them;  anything
was a welcome relief to him at Rosings;  and Mrs. Collins's pretty
friend had moreover caught his fancy very much. He now seated him‐
self by  her,  and talked so agreeably  of Kent and Hertfordshire,
of travelling and staying at home,  of new  books and music,  that
Elizabeth had never been half so well entertained in that room be‐
fore; and they conversed with so much spirit and flow,  as to draw
the attention of Lady Catherine herself, as well as of Mr.  Darcy.
_His_ eyes had  been soon and repeatedly  turned towards them with
a look of curiosity; and that her ladyship, after a while,  shared
the  feeling,  was  more  openly  acknowledged,  for  she  did not
scruple to call out:                                              
  “What  is that you are saying,  Fitzwilliam?  What is it you are
talking of?  What are you telling Miss Bennet? Let me hear what it
  “We are speaking of music,  madam,” said he, when no longer able
to avoid a reply.                                                 
  “Of music!  Then pray speak aloud.  It is of all subjects my de‐
light.  I must have my share in the conversation if you are speak‐
ing of music.  There  are few  people in England,  I suppose,  who
have more true enjoyment of music than myself,  or a  better  nat‐
ural taste. If I had ever learnt,  I should have been a great pro‐
ficient.  And so would Anne,  if her health had allowed her to ap‐
ply.  I am confident  that she would have performed  delightfully.
How does Georgiana get on, Darcy?”                                
  Mr.  Darcy spoke with affectionate praise of his sister's profi‐
  “I am very glad to hear such a  good  account of her,” said Lady
Catherine;  “and pray tell her from me,  that she cannot expect to
excel if she does not practice a good deal.”                      
  “I assure you,  madam,” he replied, “that she does not need such
advice. She practises very constantly.”                           
  “So  much  the better.  It cannot be done  too much;  and when I
next write to her, I shall charge her not to neglect it on any ac‐
count.  I often  tell  young ladies that no excellence in music is
to be acquired without constant practice.  I have told Miss Bennet
several times,  that she  will never play really  well unless  she
practises more;  and though Mrs. Collins has no instrument, she is
very welcome,  as I have often told her,  to come to Rosings every
day,  and play  on  the pianoforte in Mrs.  Jenkinson's room.  She
would be in nobody's way, you know, in that part of the house.”   
  Mr.  Darcy looked  a little  ashamed of his aunt's ill-breeding,
and made no answer.                                               
  When coffee was over,  Colonel Fitzwilliam reminded Elizabeth of
having promised to play to him;  and she sat down directly to  the
instrument.  He drew a chair near her.  Lady Catherine listened to
half a song,  and then talked, as  before,  to  her  other nephew;
till the latter walked away  from her,  and making  with his usual
deliberation  towards  the pianoforte stationed  himself so  as to
command a full  view of the fair  performer's countenance.  Eliza‐
beth saw  what  he was doing,  and at the  first convenient pause,
turned to him with an arch smile, and said:                       
  “You mean to  frighten  me,  Mr.  Darcy,  by coming  in all this
state to hear me?  I will not be alarmed though your sister _does_
play so well.  There is a stubbornness about  me  that  never  can
bear to be frightened at  the will of  others.  My courage  always
rises at every attempt to intimidate me.”                         
  “I shall not say  you  are  mistaken,” he replied,  “because you
could not  really  believe me to entertain any design  of alarming
you;  and I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long enough
to know that you find  great  enjoyment in occasionally professing
opinions which in fact are not your own.”                         
  Elizabeth laughed heartily at this picture of herself,  and said
to  Colonel Fitzwilliam,  “Your cousin will give you a very pretty
notion of me, and teach you not to believe a word I say. I am par‐
ticularly  unlucky in meeting with a person so able to  expose  my
real character,  in a part of  the world where I had hoped to pass
myself off with some degree of credit.  Indeed,  Mr.  Darcy, it is
very ungenerous in you  to mention all that you knew to my  disad‐
vantage in Hertfordshire—and,  give me  leave to say,  very impol‐
itic too—for it is provoking me to retaliate,  and such things may
come out as will shock your relations to hear.”                   
  “I am not afraid of you,” said he, smilingly.                   
  “Pray  let  me hear what you  have to accuse him of,” cried Col‐
onel  Fitzwilliam.  “I should  like to know  how  he behaves among
  “You shall  hear  then—but  prepare yourself for something  very
dreadful.  The first time of my  ever seeing him in Hertfordshire,
you must know,  was at a ball—and at this ball,  what do you think
he did?  He danced only four dances, though gentlemen were scarce;
and,  to my certain  knowledge,  more than one young lady was sit‐
ting down in want of a partner.  Mr.  Darcy,  you cannot deny  the
  “I had not at that time the honour of  knowing  any  lady in the
assembly beyond my own party.”                                    
  “True;  and nobody can ever be introduced in a ball-room.  Well,
Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do I play next? My fingers wait your or‐
  “Perhaps,”  said Darcy,  “I  should  have  judged better,  had I
sought an introduction;  but I am ill-qualified  to  recommend my‐
self to strangers.”                                               
  “Shall we ask your cousin the reason of  this?”  said Elizabeth,
still addressing Colonel Fitzwilliam.  “Shall we ask him why a man
of sense  and education,  and who has lived in the  world,  is ill
qualified to recommend himself to strangers?”                     
  “I can answer your question,” said Fitzwilliam,  “without apply‐
ing to him. It is because he will not give himself the trouble.”  
  “I  certainly  have not the  talent  which some people possess,”
said Darcy, “of conversing easily with those I have never seen be‐
fore.  I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear inter‐
ested in their concerns, as I often see done.”                    
  “My fingers,” said Elizabeth,  “do not move over this instrument
in the masterly manner which I see so  many women's do.  They have
not the same force or rapidity,  and  do  not produce the same ex‐
pression.  But then  I  have always  supposed  it  to  be  my  own
fault—because I  will  not take the trouble of practising.  It  is
not that I do not believe _my_ fingers as capable as any other wo‐
man's of superior execution.”                                     
  Darcy smiled and said,  “You  are perfectly right.  You have em‐
ployed your time much better.  No one admitted to the privilege of
hearing you can think  anything wanting.  We neither of us perform
to strangers.”                                                    
  Here they were interrupted by Lady Catherine,  who called out to
know what they were talking of.  Elizabeth immediately began play‐
ing again.  Lady Catherine approached,  and, after listening for a
few minutes, said to Darcy:                                       
  “Miss Bennet would not play at all amiss if she  practised more,
and  could have the advantage of  a London master.  She has a very
good notion  of  fingering,  though  her taste  is  not  equal  to
Anne's.  Anne  would have been  a delightful  performer,  had  her
health allowed her to learn.”                                     
  Elizabeth looked at Darcy  to see  how cordially he  assented to
his cousin's praise;  but neither at  that moment nor at any other
could she discern any symptom of love;  and from the whole of  his
behaviour  to Miss  de Bourgh  she derived this comfort  for  Miss
Bingley,  that he might have been  just as likely to  marry _her_,
had she been his relation.                                        
  Lady  Catherine  continued  her remarks on  Elizabeth's perform‐
ance,  mixing with them many  instructions on execution and taste.
Elizabeth  received them  with  all  the forbearance  of civility,
and,  at the request of the gentlemen,  remained at the instrument
till her ladyship's carriage was ready to take them all home.     

                            Chapter 32                            

Elizabeth was sitting by herself the next morning,  and writing to
Jane while Mrs.  Collins  and Maria were gone on business into the
village,  when she was startled by a ring at the door, the certain
signal of a visitor. As she had heard no carriage,  she thought it
not unlikely to be Lady  Catherine,  and  under that  apprehension
was putting away  her half-finished  letter  that she might escape
all impertinent questions,  when the door opened, and, to her very
great surprise, Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Darcy only, entered the room.  
  He seemed astonished too on finding  her  alone,  and apologised
for his intrusion by letting her  know that  he had understood all
the ladies were to be within.                                     
  They then sat down,  and when her  inquiries  after Rosings were
made, seemed in danger of sinking into total silence. It was abso‐
lutely necessary,  therefore, to think of something,  and in  this
emergence recollecting _when_ she  had  seen him last in Hertford‐
shire,  and feeling curious to know what he would say on  the sub‐
ject of their hasty departure, she observed:                      
  “How very  suddenly  you all quitted Netherfield  last November,
Mr.  Darcy!  It must have been a most agreeable  surprise  to  Mr.
Bingley to see you all  after  him  so soon;  for,  if I recollect
right,  he went but the day before.  He and his sisters were well,
I hope, when you left London?”                                    
  “Perfectly so, I thank you.”                                    
  She found that she was to receive no other answer,  and, after a
short pause added:                                                
  “I think I  have understood  that Mr.  Bingley has not much idea
of ever returning to Netherfield again?”                          
  “I have never heard him say so;  but it is probable that  he may
spend very little of his time  there in the future.  He  has  many
friends,  and  is  at a time  of life when friends and engagements
are continually increasing.”                                      
  “If he means to be but  little at Netherfield,  it would be bet‐
ter for the  neighbourhood that he should  give  up  the place en‐
tirely,  for  then we  might possibly get a settled family  there.
But, perhaps,  Mr.  Bingley did not take the house so much for the
convenience of the neighbourhood as for  his own,  and we must ex‐
pect him to keep it or quit it on the same principle.”            
  “I should not be surprised,” said Darcy,  “if he were to give it
up as soon as any eligible purchase offers.”                      
  Elizabeth made  no answer.  She was afraid of talking  longer of
his friend;  and,  having nothing else to say,  was now determined
to leave the trouble of finding a subject to him.                 
  He took the hint,  and soon began with,  “This seems a very com‐
fortable house.  Lady Catherine, I believe, did a great deal to it
when Mr. Collins first came to Hunsford.”                         
  “I  believe she  did—and I  am sure she could  not have bestowed
her kindness on a more grateful object.”                          
  “Mr.  Collins appears  to be  very fortunate in his choice of  a
  “Yes,  indeed,  his friends may well  rejoice in  his having met
with one of  the very few sensible women who  would have  accepted
him,  or have made him happy if they had.  My friend has an excel‐
lent understanding—though  I  am not certain  that I  consider her
marrying Mr.  Collins as the wisest thing she ever did.  She seems
perfectly happy,  however,  and in  a prudential light  it is cer‐
tainly a very good match for her.”                                
  “It must be very agreeable for her  to be settled within so easy
a distance of her own family and friends.”                        
  “An easy distance, do you call it? It is nearly fifty miles.”   
  “And what is fifty miles  of good road?  Little more than half a
day's journey. Yes, I call it a _very_ easy distance.”            
  “I should never have considered the distance as one of  the _ad‐
vantages_  of the match,” cried  Elizabeth.  “I should never  have
said Mrs. Collins was settled _near_ her family.”                 
  “It  is a proof of your  own  attachment to Hertfordshire.  Any‐
thing  beyond  the  very neighbourhood of  Longbourn,  I  suppose,
would appear far.”                                                
  As he  spoke there  was a sort of  smile which Elizabeth fancied
she understood;  he must be supposing  her to be  thinking of Jane
and Netherfield, and she blushed as she answered:                 
  “I do not  mean to say that a woman may not be settled  too near
her family.  The far and the near must be relative,  and depend on
many varying circumstances. Where there is fortune to make the ex‐
penses of travelling unimportant,  distance becomes  no evil.  But
that is not the case _here_. Mr.  and Mrs. Collins have a comfort‐
able income, but not such a one as will allow of frequent journey‐
s—and  I am persuaded my friend would not  call herself _near_ her
family under less than _half_ the present distance.”              
  Mr. Darcy drew his chair a little towards her, and said,  “_You_
cannot have a right to  such  very strong local attachment.  _You_
cannot have been always at Longbourn.”                            
  Elizabeth  looked  surprised.  The  gentleman  experienced  some
change of feeling;  he drew back his chair,  took a newspaper from
the table, and glancing over it, said, in a colder voice:         
  “Are you pleased with Kent?”                                    
  A  short  dialogue  on  the  subject  of the country ensued,  on
either side calm and  concise—and soon  put an  end to  by the en‐
trance of Charlotte and her sister,  just returned from her  walk.
The  tete-a-tete  surprised them.  Mr.  Darcy related  the mistake
which had occasioned his intruding on Miss Bennet,  and after sit‐
ting  a  few minutes  longer without saying much to anybody,  went
  “What can be the meaning  of this?” said Charlotte,  as  soon as
he was gone. “My dear,  Eliza, he must be in love with you,  or he
would never have called us in this familiar way.”                 
  But when Elizabeth told of  his  silence;  it did not seem  very
likely,  even  to Charlotte's wishes,  to be  the  case; and after
various conjectures,  they could at last only suppose his visit to
proceed from  the difficulty of finding anything to do,  which was
the more probable  from the  time of year.  All  field sports were
over.  Within  doors there was Lady Catherine,  books, and a  bil‐
liard-table,  but gentlemen cannot always be within doors;  and in
the nearness of the Parsonage,  or the pleasantness of the walk to
it,  or of the people who  lived in it,  the two  cousins  found a
temptation from this  period  of walking thither almost every day.
They  called  at various  times of  the morning,  sometimes separ‐
ately,  sometimes together,  and now and then accompanied by their
aunt.  It was  plain to them all that Colonel Fitzwilliam came be‐
cause  he  had pleasure in  their society,  a persuasion  which of
course recommended him still more;  and Elizabeth  was reminded by
her own satisfaction in being with him,  as well as by his evident
admiration of her,  of her former  favourite  George Wickham;  and
though,  in  comparing them,  she saw there was  less  captivating
softness in Colonel Fitzwilliam's manners,  she believed  he might
have the best informed mind.                                      
  But  why Mr.  Darcy came so often to the Parsonage,  it was more
difficult to understand.  It could not be for society,  as he fre‐
quently sat  there ten minutes  together without opening his lips;
and when he did speak,  it seemed  the effect  of necessity rather
than of choice—a sacrifice to propriety,  not  a  pleasure to him‐
self.  He seldom appeared really animated.  Mrs. Collins  knew not
what to  make of him.  Colonel Fitzwilliam's occasionally laughing
at his stupidity,  proved that  he was generally different,  which
her own  knowledge  of him  could  not have told her;  and  as she
would liked to have  believed this change the effect of love,  and
the object of that love  her friend Eliza,  she set  herself seri‐
ously to work  to find it out.  She watched him whenever they were
at Rosings,  and whenever he came  to  Hunsford;  but without much
success.  He certainly looked at her friend a great deal,  but the
expression of that look was disputable. It was an earnest,  stead‐
fast gaze,  but she often doubted whether there were much  admira‐
tion in it, and sometimes it seemed nothing but absence of mind.  
  She  had once or twice suggested to Elizabeth the possibility of
his being  partial to her,  but  Elizabeth  always laughed  at the
idea;  and Mrs.  Collins did not think it  right to press the sub‐
ject,  from  the  danger of  raising expectations which might only
end in disappointment;  for  in  her opinion it admitted  not of a
doubt,  that  all her friend's dislike would vanish,  if she could
suppose him to be in her power.                                   
  In  her kind  schemes  for Elizabeth,  she sometimes planned her
marrying Colonel Fitzwilliam.  He was  beyond comparison  the most
pleasant man;  he certainly admired her, and his situation in life
was most  eligible;  but, to counterbalance these advantages,  Mr.
Darcy had considerable  patronage  in the  church,  and his cousin
could have none at all.                                           

                            Chapter 33                            

More than once did Elizabeth, in her ramble within the park, unex‐
pectedly meet Mr. Darcy. She felt all the perverseness of the mis‐
chance that should  bring him where no one else was brought,  and,
to  prevent its ever happening again,  took care to inform  him at
first that it was a favourite haunt of hers.  How it could occur a
second time,  therefore,  was very odd!  Yet  it did,  and even  a
third.  It seemed like wilful ill-nature,  or a voluntary penance,
for on these occasions it  was not merely a  few  formal inquiries
and an awkward pause and then away, but he actually thought it ne‐
cessary to  turn back and  walk  with her.  He never  said a great
deal,  nor  did  she give herself  the  trouble  of talking  or of
listening much;  but  it  struck her in  the course of their third
rencontre that he was asking some  odd unconnected questions—about
her  pleasure  in  being at Hunsford,  her love of solitary walks,
and her opinion of Mr.  and Mrs. Collins's happiness;  and that in
speaking of  Rosings  and  her  not  perfectly  understanding  the
house,  he seemed to expect that whenever she came into Kent again
she  would be staying _there_ too.  His words seemed to imply  it.
Could  he have Colonel Fitzwilliam in his thoughts?  She supposed,
if he  meant  anything,  he  must mean  an  allusion to what might
arise in that quarter.  It distressed  her  a little,  and she was
quite glad to find herself at the gate  in  the pales opposite the
  She was engaged one day as she  walked,  in perusing Jane's last
letter,  and dwelling on  some passages which proved that Jane had
not written in spirits, when,  instead of being again surprised by
Mr.  Darcy,  she saw  on  looking up that Colonel  Fitzwilliam was
meeting her.  Putting away the  letter immediately  and forcing  a
smile, she said:                                                  
  “I did not know before that you ever walked this way.”          
  “I  have been  making  the tour of the park,” he replied,  “as I
generally do every year,  and  intend  to close it with a  call at
the Parsonage. Are you going much farther?”                       
  “No, I should have turned in a moment.”                         
  And  accordingly she did turn,  and they walked towards the Par‐
sonage together.                                                  
  “Do you certainly leave Kent on Saturday?” said she.            
  “Yes—if Darcy does not put it off again. But I am at his dispos‐
al. He arranges the business just as he pleases.”                 
  “And if not able  to please himself in  the arrangement,  he has
at least pleasure in the great power of choice. I do not know any‐
body  who seems  more to enjoy  the power  of doing  what he likes
than Mr. Darcy.”                                                  
  “He  likes  to have his  own way  very  well,”  replied  Colonel
Fitzwilliam.  “But  so we  all do.  It is only that  he has better
means of having it than many others, because he is rich,  and many
others are poor. I speak feelingly. A younger son,  you know, must
be inured to self-denial and dependence.”                         
  “In my opinion,  the younger son of an earl can know very little
of either. Now seriously,  what have you ever known of self-denial
and dependence?  When  have  you been prevented  by  want of money
from going wherever you chose,  or procuring anything  you  had  a
fancy for?”                                                       
  “These are home questions—and perhaps  I cannot say  that I have
experienced many  hardships  of  that  nature.  But in matters  of
greater weight, I may suffer from want of money. Younger sons can‐
not marry where they like.”                                       
  “Unless where  they  like women  of fortune,  which I think they
very often do.”                                                   
  “Our habits of expense make us too dependent,  and there are not
many in  my rank of  life who can afford to marry without some at‐
tention to money.”                                                
  “Is this,” thought Elizabeth,  “meant for me?”  and she coloured
at the idea; but,  recovering herself, said in a lively tone, “And
pray,  what  is the usual price  of an earl's younger son?  Unless
the  elder  brother is very sickly,  I suppose you would  not  ask
above fifty thousand pounds.”                                     
  He answered her in the same style,  and the subject dropped.  To
interrupt a  silence which might make him fancy her  affected with
what had passed, she soon afterwards said:                        
  “I  imagine  your cousin  brought you down with  him chiefly for
the sake of having someone at his disposal.  I  wonder he does not
marry,  to secure a lasting convenience  of that kind.  But,  per‐
haps, his sister does as well for the present, and,  as she is un‐
der his sole care, he may do what he likes with her.”             
  “No,” said Colonel Fitzwilliam,  “that  is an advantage which he
must divide with me.  I am joined with him in  the guardianship of
Miss Darcy.”                                                      
  “Are you indeed?  And  pray what sort of guardians do  you make?
Does your  charge give  you much trouble?  Young ladies of her age
are sometimes  a little difficult to manage,  and if she  has  the
true Darcy spirit, she may like to have her own way.”             
  As she spoke she observed him looking at her earnestly;  and the
manner  in which he  immediately asked her why she  supposed  Miss
Darcy likely to give  them any uneasiness,  convinced her that she
had  somehow  or  other got pretty  near the  truth.  She directly
  “You need not be frightened. I never heard any harm of her;  and
I dare say she  is one  of  the  most  tractable creatures in  the
world.  She  is a very great  favourite with some ladies of my ac‐
quaintance, Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley.  I think I have heard you
say that you know them.”                                          
  “I know  them  a little.  Their brother is a pleasant gentleman‐
like man—he is a great friend of Darcy's.”                        
  “Oh!  yes,” said Elizabeth drily; “Mr.  Darcy is uncommonly kind
to Mr. Bingley, and takes a prodigious deal of care of him.”      
  “Care of him!  Yes,  I really believe Darcy _does_  take care of
him in those points where he most wants care.  From something that
he told me in our journey hither,  I have reason to think  Bingley
very much indebted  to him.  But I ought to beg his pardon,  for I
have  no right to suppose that Bingley  was the person  meant.  It
was all conjecture.”                                              
  “What is it you mean?”                                          
  “It is a circumstance which Darcy could not  wish  to be  gener‐
ally known,  because if it were to get round to the lady's family,
it would be an unpleasant thing.”                                 
  “You may depend upon my not mentioning it.”                     
  “And  remember that I have not  much reason  for supposing it to
be  Bingley.  What he told me was  merely this:  that he congratu‐
lated himself on  having lately saved a friend from the inconveni‐
ences of a most imprudent marriage,  but without mentioning  names
or any other particulars,  and I  only  suspected it to be Bingley
from believing him the  kind  of young man to get into a scrape of
that sort,  and from knowing them to  have been together the whole
of last summer.”                                                  
  “Did Mr. Darcy give you reasons for this interference?”         
  “I  understood that  there  were  some  very  strong  objections
against the lady.”                                                
  “And what arts did he use to separate them?”                    
  “He did not talk to me of his own arts,” said Fitzwilliam, smil‐
ing. “He only told me what I have now told you.”                  
  Elizabeth  made no answer,  and  walked on,  her heart  swelling
with indignation.  After watching her a little,  Fitzwilliam asked
her why she was so thoughtful.                                    
  “I am thinking of  what you  have  been  telling  me,” said she.
“Your cousin's conduct does not suit  my  feelings.  Why was he to
be the judge?”                                                    
  “You are rather disposed to call his interference officious?”   
  “I do not see what right Mr.  Darcy had to decide on the propri‐
ety of  his friend's inclination,  or why,  upon his own judgement
alone,  he was  to determine and direct  in what manner his friend
was to be happy.  But,” she continued,  recollecting herself,  “as
we know  none of the particulars,  it is not fair  to condemn him.
It is not  to be  supposed that  there  was much  affection in the
  “That is  not an unnatural surmise,” said  Fitzwilliam,  “but it
is a lessening of the honour of my cousin's triumph very sadly.”  
  This was spoken jestingly; but it appeared to her so just a pic‐
ture of Mr.  Darcy,  that she would  not trust herself with an an‐
swer,  and therefore, abruptly changing the conversation talked on
indifferent matters until they reached the Parsonage.  There, shut
into her own room,  as soon as their visitor left them,  she could
think without interruption of all that she had  heard.  It was not
to  be supposed that  any  other people could be meant than  those
with whom she was  connected.  There could not exist in the  world
_two_ men over whom Mr.  Darcy  could have such  boundless  influ‐
ence.  That  he had been concerned in the measures taken to separ‐
ate Bingley and Jane she had never doubted; but she had always at‐
tributed to Miss Bingley  the principal  design and arrangement of
them.  If his  own vanity,  however, did not mislead him, _he_ was
the cause, his pride and caprice were the cause,  of all that Jane
had suffered,  and still continued to suffer.  He had ruined for a
while every hope of happiness for the most affectionate,  generous
heart in the world;  and no one could  say  how lasting an evil he
might have inflicted.                                             
  “There were some very strong objections against the  lady,” were
Colonel Fitzwilliam's words;  and those strong objections probably
were,  her having one uncle who was  a country  attorney,  and an‐
other who was in business in London.                              
  “To Jane herself,” she exclaimed,  “there  could be no possibil‐
ity of objection;  all loveliness and goodness  as she is!—her un‐
derstanding excellent,  her mind improved, and her manners captiv‐
ating.  Neither  could anything be urged  against my father,  who,
though  with some peculiarities,  has abilities Mr.  Darcy himself
need not disdain,  and respectability which he will probably never
reach.” When she thought of her mother,  her confidence gave way a
little;  but  she would not  allow that any objections _there_ had
material weight with Mr.  Darcy,  whose pride,  she was convinced,
would receive a deeper  wound from the want of  importance  in his
friend's connections,  than from their want of sense;  and she was
quite decided,  at last,  that he had been partly governed by this
worst kind of pride,  and partly  by  the  wish  of retaining  Mr.
Bingley for his sister.                                           
  The agitation and tears  which the subject  occasioned,  brought
on a headache;  and it  grew so  much worse towards  the  evening,
that,  added to her unwillingness to see Mr.  Darcy, it determined
her not to attend her cousins to Rosings,  where they were engaged
to drink tea.  Mrs.  Collins, seeing  that she  was really unwell,
did not press her to go and as much as possible prevented her hus‐
band from pressing her; but Mr.  Collins could not conceal his ap‐
prehension  of  Lady Catherine's  being  rather displeased by  her
staying at home.                                                  

                            Chapter 34                            

When they were gone, Elizabeth, as if intending to exasperate her‐
self as much as possible against Mr. Darcy,  chose for her employ‐
ment the examination of all  the letters which Jane had written to
her since her being  in Kent.  They contained no actual complaint,
nor was there  any revival of past occurrences,  or any communica‐
tion of present suffering.  But in all,  and in almost every  line
of each,  there  was  a want  of that cheerfulness  which had been
used to characterise  her style,  and  which,  proceeding from the
serenity of a mind  at ease  with  itself and kindly  disposed to‐
wards everyone, had been scarcely ever clouded.  Elizabeth noticed
every sentence conveying the  idea of  uneasiness,  with an atten‐
tion which  it  had  hardly received  on  the  first perusal.  Mr.
Darcy's shameful boast of  what  misery he had  been  able to  in‐
flict, gave her a keener sense of her sister's sufferings.  It was
some consolation  to think that his visit to Rosings was to end on
the day after the next—and,  a still greater,  that in less than a
fortnight she should  herself be with Jane  again,  and enabled to
contribute  to the recovery of her spirits,  by all that affection
could do.                                                         
  She could not think of Darcy's  leaving Kent without remembering
that his cousin was  to  go with him;  but Colonel Fitzwilliam had
made it clear that he had no intentions  at all,  and agreeable as
he was, she did not mean to be unhappy about him.                 
  While settling this point,  she was suddenly roused by the sound
of the door-bell,  and her spirits were a  little fluttered by the
idea of  its being Colonel Fitzwilliam himself,  who had  once be‐
fore  called late in the  evening,  and might now  come to inquire
particularly after her.  But this idea was soon banished,  and her
spirits  were  very  differently  affected,  when,  to  her  utter
amazement,  she saw Mr.  Darcy walk  into the room.  In an hurried
manner he immediately began an inquiry after her health,  imputing
his visit to a wish of hearing that she were better.  She answered
him with cold civility.  He sat down for a few  moments,  and then
getting up,  walked about  the room. Elizabeth was surprised,  but
said not a word.  After a silence of several minutes,  he came to‐
wards her in an agitated manner, and thus began:                  
  “In vain I have struggled. It will not do.  My feelings will not
be repressed.  You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire
and love you.”                                                    
  Elizabeth's astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, col‐
oured,  doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient en‐
couragement;  and the avowal of all  that  he  felt,  and had long
felt for her, immediately followed. He spoke well;  but there were
feelings besides  those of the heart  to be detailed;  and  he was
not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride.  His
sense of her inferiority—of its being  a degradation—of the family
obstacles which had always opposed to inclination,  were  dwelt on
with a  warmth which  seemed due to the consequence he  was wound‐
ing, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.                 
  In spite of her deeply-rooted dislike,  she could not be insens‐
ible to  the compliment of such a man's affection,  and though her
intentions  did not vary for an instant,  she was at  first  sorry
for the pain he was to receive; till,  roused to resentment by his
subsequent language, she lost all compassion in anger.  She tried,
however,  to compose herself to answer him with patience,  when he
should  have  done.  He  concluded with  representing  to  her the
strength of  that attachment  which,  in spite of all his  endeav‐
ours, he had found impossible to conquer;  and with expressing his
hope that it  would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand.
As he said  this,  she could easily  see that he had no doubt of a
favourable  answer.  He _spoke_ of apprehension and  anxiety,  but
his  countenance expressed  real  security.  Such  a  circumstance
could  only  exasperate farther,  and,  when he ceased, the colour
rose into her cheeks, and she said:                               
  “In such cases as this, it is,  I believe,  the established mode
to express a sense of obligation  for the sentiments avowed,  how‐
ever unequally they may be returned.  It  is natural  that obliga‐
tion should be felt,  and if I could _feel_ gratitude, I would now
thank you.  But  I cannot—I have  never desired your good opinion,
and  you have certainly bestowed it most  unwillingly.  I am sorry
to have occasioned pain to anyone.  It has been most unconsciously
done,  however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings
which,  you tell  me,  have long  prevented  the acknowledgment of
your regard,  can  have  little  difficulty in overcoming it after
this explanation.”                                                
  Mr.  Darcy,  who  was  leaning against the  mantelpiece with his
eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less re‐
sentment than surprise.  His  complexion  became  pale with anger,
and the disturbance of his  mind was visible in every feature.  He
was struggling for  the  appearance of  composure,  and  would not
open his lips till he believed himself to have  attained  it.  The
pause was  to Elizabeth's  feelings  dreadful.  At length,  with a
voice of forced calmness, he said:                                
  “And this  is all the reply which I am to have the honour of ex‐
pecting!  I  might,  perhaps,  wish  to be informed  why,  with so
little _endeavour_ at civility,  I am thus rejected.  But it is of
small importance.”                                                
  “I might as well inquire,” replied she,  “why with so evident  a
desire of offending  and insulting me,  you chose to tell  me that
you liked me  against your will,  against your  reason,  and  even
against your character?  Was not this some excuse for  incivility,
if I _was_  uncivil?  But I  have other provocations.  You know  I
have. Had not my feelings decided against you—had they been indif‐
ferent,  or had  they even been favourable,  do you think that any
consideration would tempt me to accept the man  who has  been  the
means  of ruining,  perhaps for ever,  the happiness of a most be‐
loved sister?”                                                    
  As she pronounced these  words,  Mr.  Darcy changed  colour; but
the emotion was short,  and he listened without attempting  to in‐
terrupt her while she continued:                                  
  “I  have every reason  in  the  world  to think  ill of you.  No
motive  can  excuse  the  unjust  and  ungenerous  part  you acted
_there_.  You  dare not,  you cannot deny,  that you have been the
principal, if not the only means of dividing them from each other‐
—of  exposing one to the censure of the world for caprice and  in‐
stability,  and the other to its derision for  disappointed hopes,
and involving them both in misery of the acutest kind.”           
  She  paused,  and  saw with  no  slight  indignation that he was
listening with an air which proved him wholly unmoved by any feel‐
ing of remorse. He even looked at her with a smile of affected in‐
  “Can you deny that you have done it?” she repeated.             
  With assumed  tranquillity he then replied:  “I have no  wish of
denying that  I did  everything in my power to separate my  friend
from your sister,  or that I rejoice in my success.  Towards _him_
I have been kinder than towards myself.”                          
  Elizabeth disdained the appearance  of noticing  this  civil re‐
flection,  but  its meaning  did not escape,  nor was it likely to
conciliate her.                                                   
  “But it is not merely this affair,” she continued,  “on which my
dislike is founded.  Long before it had  taken place my opinion of
you was decided.  Your character was unfolded in the recital which
I received many months  ago  from Mr.  Wickham.  On  this subject,
what can you have to say?  In what imaginary act of friendship can
you here defend yourself?  or under what misrepresentation can you
here impose upon others?”                                         
  “You take an eager interest in that  gentleman's concerns,” said
Darcy, in a less tranquil tone, and with a heightened colour.     
  “Who that knows what his misfortunes have  been,  can help feel‐
ing an interest in him?”                                          
  “His misfortunes!” repeated Darcy contemptuously; “yes, his mis‐
fortunes have been great indeed.”                                 
  “And  of your  infliction,”  cried  Elizabeth with energy.  “You
have  reduced  him  to his present  state  of  poverty—comparative
poverty.  You have withheld the advantages which you must know  to
have been  designed for him.  You have deprived  the best years of
his  life of that independence which was no less  his due than his
desert.  You have done all this! and yet you can treat the mention
of his misfortune with contempt and ridicule.”                    
  “And  this,” cried Darcy,  as he  walked with quick steps across
the room,  “is your opinion of me! This is the estimation in which
you  hold me!  I thank you for explaining it so fully.  My faults,
according to this calculation, are heavy indeed! But perhaps,” ad‐
ded he,  stopping in his walk, and turning towards her, “these of‐
fenses might have been  overlooked,  had not your  pride been hurt
by  my honest confession  of the scruples that  had long prevented
my  forming  any serious design.  These  bitter  accusations might
have been  suppressed,  had I, with greater  policy,  concealed my
struggles,  and flattered you into the belief of my being impelled
by unqualified,  unalloyed inclination;  by reason, by reflection,
by everything.  But disguise of  every sort is my abhorrence.  Nor
am  I ashamed of the  feelings I  related.  They were natural  and
just.  Could  you expect  me to rejoice in the inferiority of your
connections?—to  congratulate  myself  on  the hope of  relations,
whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?”          
  Elizabeth felt herself growing more angry every moment;  yet she
tried to the utmost to speak with composure when she said:        
  “You are mistaken,  Mr.  Darcy,  if you suppose that the mode of
your declaration affected  me in any other way,  than as it spared
me  the concern which I  might have felt in refusing you,  had you
behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.”                          
  She saw him start at this,  but he said nothing, and she contin‐
  “You could not have made the offer of your hand  in any possible
way that would have tempted me to accept it.”                     
  Again  his  astonishment was obvious;  and he looked at her with
an expression of mingled incredulity  and mortification.  She went
  “From the very  beginning—from the  first  moment,  I may almost
say—of my acquaintance with you, your manners,  impressing me with
the  fullest  belief  of your arrogance,  your  conceit,  and your
selfish disdain of the feelings  of others,  were such as to  form
the  groundwork of disapprobation  on which succeeding events have
built so immovable a dislike;  and I had not known you a month be‐
fore  I felt that you were the last man in  the world whom I could
ever be prevailed on to marry.”                                   
  “You have said quite enough, madam.  I perfectly comprehend your
feelings,  and  have  now only to  be ashamed of  what my own have
been. Forgive me for having taken up so much of your time, and ac‐
cept my best wishes for your health and happiness.”               
  And with these words he  hastily left  the  room,  and Elizabeth
heard  him  the  next moment  open the  front  door  and quit  the
  The tumult of her mind,  was now painfully great.  She knew  not
how to  support herself,  and from  actual  weakness  sat down and
cried  for half-an-hour.  Her astonishment,  as she  reflected  on
what  had passed,  was increased by every review of it.  That  she
should receive an  offer of  marriage  from  Mr.  Darcy!  That  he
should have been in love  with her for so many months!  So much in
love as to wish to marry her  in spite of all the objections which
had made him prevent his  friend's marrying her sister,  and which
must appear at least with equal force  in his  own case—was almost
incredible!  It was gratifying  to have inspired  unconsciously so
strong an affection.  But  his  pride,  his  abominable  pride—his
shameless avowal of  what he had done with respect to Jane—his un‐
pardonable  assurance in acknowledging,  though he could not  jus‐
tify it,  and the unfeeling manner in which he  had mentioned  Mr.
Wickham,  his cruelty towards  whom he had not attempted  to deny,
soon overcame the  pity which the  consideration of his attachment
had for a moment  excited.  She continued in very agitated reflec‐
tions  till the sound of  Lady Catherine's carriage made her  feel
how unequal she was to encounter Charlotte's observation, and hur‐
ried her away to her room.                                        

                            Chapter 35                            

Elizabeth awoke the next morning to  the same thoughts and medita‐
tions which had at length closed her  eyes.  She could not yet re‐
cover from the  surprise  of what had happened;  it was impossible
to think of anything  else;  and,  totally indisposed for  employ‐
ment,  she resolved,  soon after breakfast,  to indulge herself in
air  and exercise.  She was  proceeding directly to her  favourite
walk, when the recollection of Mr.  Darcy's sometimes coming there
stopped her,  and instead of entering the park,  she turned up the
lane,  which led  farther from the turnpike-road.  The park paling
was still the  boundary on one side,  and she  soon passed  one of
the gates into the ground.                                        
  After  walking two or three  times  along that part of the lane,
she was tempted,  by the  pleasantness of the morning,  to stop at
the gates and look  into the park.  The five weeks which  she  had
now passed  in Kent  had made  a great difference in  the country,
and every day  was adding  to the verdure of the early trees.  She
was  on the point  of  continuing  her  walk,  when  she  caught a
glimpse of a gentleman within the  sort  of grove which  edged the
park; he was moving that way; and,  fearful of its being Mr.  Dar‐
cy,  she was directly retreating.  But the person who advanced was
now near enough to  see her,  and stepping forward with eagerness,
pronounced her name.  She had turned away;  but on hearing herself
called,  though in a voice which proved it to  be Mr.  Darcy,  she
moved  again towards  the gate.  He had  by that  time  reached it
also,  and,  holding  out a letter, which  she instinctively took,
said,  with a look of haughty  composure,  “I have been walking in
the grove some time  in the  hope of  meeting you.  Will you do me
the honour of reading that letter?” And then,  with a  slight bow,
turned again into the plantation, and was soon out of sight.      
  With no expectation of pleasure,  but with the strongest curios‐
ity,  Elizabeth opened the letter,  and,  to  her still increasing
wonder,  perceived an envelope containing two sheets of letter-pa‐
per, written quite through, in a very close hand. The envelope it‐
self was likewise full. Pursuing her way along the lane,  she then
began it. It was dated from Rosings, at eight o'clock in the morn‐
ing, and was as follows:—                                         
  “Be not alarmed, madam,  on receiving this letter, by the appre‐
hension of  its containing  any repetition of those  sentiments or
renewal  of those  offers which were last  night  so disgusting to
you. I write without any intention of paining you, or humbling my‐
self, by dwelling on wishes which, for the happiness of both, can‐
not be too soon forgotten;  and the effort which the formation and
the  perusal  of this  letter  must  occasion,  should  have  been
spared,  had not my  character required it to be written and read.
You must,  therefore,  pardon the freedom with which I demand your
attention;  your feelings, I know, will bestow it unwillingly, but
I demand it of your justice.                                      
  “Two  offenses  of  a very different nature,  and by no means of
equal magnitude,  you last night laid to my charge. The first men‐
tioned was,  that,  regardless of the sentiments of either,  I had
detached Mr. Bingley from your sister, and the other,  that I had,
in defiance of  various claims,  in defiance of  honour and human‐
ity,  ruined the immediate prosperity and blasted the prospects of
Mr. Wickham.  Wilfully and wantonly to have thrown off the compan‐
ion of my youth,  the acknowledged favourite of my father, a young
man who had scarcely any other  dependence than on  our patronage,
and who had been brought up to expect its exertion, would be a de‐
pravity,  to which the separation of two young persons,  whose af‐
fection could be  the  growth of only  a few weeks,  could bear no
comparison.  But from the severity  of that  blame  which was last
night  so  liberally  bestowed,  respecting each  circumstance,  I
shall  hope to be in  the  future secured,  when the following ac‐
count of my actions and their motives has been read.  If,  in  the
explanation of them, which is due to myself, I am under the neces‐
sity of relating feelings which may be  offensive to yours,  I can
only say that I am sorry.  The necessity must be obeyed,  and fur‐
ther apology would be absurd.                                     
  “I had not been long in Hertfordshire,  before I saw,  in common
with  others,  that  Bingley preferred  your  elder sister to  any
other young woman in the country.  But it was not till the evening
of the  dance at  Netherfield  that  I had any apprehension of his
feeling a serious attachment.  I had  often seen him  in  love be‐
fore.  At that ball, while I had the honour of dancing with you, I
was first made acquainted,  by Sir William Lucas's  accidental in‐
formation,  that  Bingley's attentions  to  your  sister had given
rise to a general expectation of their marriage.  He  spoke  of it
as a  certain event,  of which  the time alone could be undecided.
From  that  moment I observed my friend's  behaviour  attentively;
and I could then perceive that his  partiality for Miss Bennet was
beyond  what  I  had ever  witnessed in  him.  Your sister  I also
watched.  Her  look and manners were open, cheerful,  and engaging
as ever,  but without any symptom  of peculiar regard,  and I  re‐
mained convinced from the evening's scrutiny,  that though she re‐
ceived  his attentions with pleasure,  she did not  invite them by
any  participation of sentiment.  If  _you_ have not been mistaken
here,  _I_ must have been in error.  Your  superior  knowledge  of
your sister must make the latter probable.  If it be so, if I have
been misled by such error to inflict pain on her,  your resentment
has not  been  unreasonable.  But  I shall not  scruple to assert,
that  the serenity  of your sister's countenance and air  was such
as might  have  given the most acute  observer a  conviction that,
however amiable her temper,  her heart was not likely to be easily
touched.  That I was desirous of believing her indifferent is cer‐
tain—but  I will  venture to  say that  my  investigation  and de‐
cisions are  not usually influenced by my  hopes or fears.  I  did
not believe her to be indifferent because I wished it;  I believed
it on impartial conviction,  as truly as I wished it in reason. My
objections  to the marriage  were  not  merely those which  I last
night acknowledged  to  have  the  utmost force of passion  to put
aside,  in  my own  case;  the  want of connection could not be so
great an evil to my friend as to me.  But  there were other causes
of repugnance;  causes which, though still existing,  and existing
to an equal degree in both instances,  I had myself endeavoured to
forget,  because they were not immediately before me. These causes
must  be stated,  though  briefly.  The situation of your mother's
family,  though objectionable,  was nothing  in comparison to that
total want  of  propriety  so frequently,  so almost uniformly be‐
trayed  by herself,  by your three younger sisters,  and occasion‐
ally even by your father.  Pardon me.  It pains me to offend  you.
But amidst your  concern  for the  defects of  your nearest  rela‐
tions,  and your displeasure at this representation of  them,  let
it  give you  consolation to  consider  that,  to  have  conducted
yourselves  so  as to  avoid any  share of  the  like censure,  is
praise no less generally  bestowed on you  and your elder  sister,
than it  is honourable  to  the sense and disposition of  both.  I
will only say farther that from what passed that evening, my opin‐
ion of all parties was confirmed,  and every inducement heightened
which could have led me before,  to preserve my friend from what I
esteemed a most unhappy connection.  He left Netherfield for  Lon‐
don,  on the day following,  as you, I am certain, remember,  with
the design of soon returning.                                     
  “The part which I acted is now to be explained. His sisters' un‐
easiness had been equally excited with my own;  our coincidence of
feeling was soon discovered,  and, alike sensible that no time was
to  be lost in detaching  their brother,  we  shortly resolved  on
joining him  directly  in London.  We accordingly went—and there I
readily engaged  in  the office of  pointing out to my friend  the
certain evils  of such a  choice.  I described,  and enforced them
earnestly.  But, however this remonstrance might have staggered or
delayed  his determination,  I do not  suppose that it would ulti‐
mately have prevented the  marriage,  had  it not been seconded by
the assurance that I hesitated not in giving, of your sister's in‐
difference.  He had  before believed her to  return his  affection
with sincere, if not with equal regard. But Bingley has great nat‐
ural modesty,  with a stronger dependence on  my judgement than on
his  own.  To convince him,  therefore,  that he had deceived him‐
self, was no very difficult point. To persuade him against return‐
ing into Hertfordshire,  when that conviction had been given,  was
scarcely the work of a moment.  I cannot blame  myself  for having
done thus much.  There is but one part of  my conduct in the whole
affair on which I do not reflect with  satisfaction;  it is that I
condescended to  adopt the measures of  art so far  as  to conceal
from him your sister's being in town.  I knew it myself, as it was
known to Miss Bingley;  but  her brother is even  yet  ignorant of
it.  That they  might have met without  ill consequence is perhaps
probable;  but his regard did not appear to me enough extinguished
for him to see her without some danger.  Perhaps this concealment,
this  disguise  was beneath me;  it  is done, however,  and it was
done for the best. On this subject I have nothing more to say,  no
other apology to offer.  If I have wounded your sister's feelings,
it was unknowingly  done and though the motives which  governed me
may to  you  very  naturally  appear insufficient,  I have not yet
learnt to condemn them.                                           
  “With respect to that other, more weighty accusation,  of having
injured  Mr.  Wickham,  I can only refute it by laying  before you
the whole of his connection with  my family.  Of what he has _par‐
ticularly_ accused  me I am ignorant;  but  of the truth of what I
shall  relate,  I  can  summon more than one witness  of undoubted
  “Mr.  Wickham is the son of a very respectable man,  who had for
many years the management of all the Pemberley estates,  and whose
good conduct  in the  discharge of his trust naturally inclined my
father to  be of service to him;  and on George  Wickham,  who was
his godson,  his  kindness  was therefore liberally  bestowed.  My
father supported  him at school,  and afterwards at Cambridge—most
important assistance,  as his own father, always poor from the ex‐
travagance of his wife,  would have been unable to give him a gen‐
tleman's  education.  My  father was not only fond of  this  young
man's society,  whose  manners  were always engaging;  he had also
the  highest  opinion of him,  and hoping the church  would be his
profession,  intended to provide for him in it. As for myself,  it
is many,  many years since I first began to think of him in a very
different manner.  The vicious propensities—the want of principle,
which he was careful  to guard from  the  knowledge  of  his  best
friend,  could not escape the observation of a young man of nearly
the same age  with himself,  and who had  opportunities  of seeing
him in unguarded  moments,  which Mr.  Darcy could  not have. Here
again I shall give you pain—to what degree you only can tell.  But
whatever may be the sentiments which Mr.  Wickham has  created,  a
suspicion of  their nature shall not prevent me from unfolding his
real character—it adds even another motive.                       
  “My excellent father died about five years ago;  and his attach‐
ment to Mr.  Wickham was  to the last so steady,  that in his will
he particularly recommended  it to me,  to promote his advancement
in the best manner that his profession might  allow—and if he took
orders,  desired that a valuable  family  living might  be  his as
soon as it became vacant.  There was also a legacy of one thousand
pounds. His own father did not long survive mine,  and within half
a year from  these events,  Mr.  Wickham wrote to  inform me that,
having finally resolved  against taking orders,  he hoped I should
not think  it  unreasonable for him to expect some  more immediate
pecuniary advantage,  in lieu of the preferment, by which he could
not be benefited.  He  had some intention,  he added,  of studying
law,  and I must be aware that the interest of one thousand pounds
would be a very  insufficient support  therein.  I  rather wished,
than believed him to be sincere;  but,  at any rate, was perfectly
ready to accede  to his proposal.  I knew that Mr.  Wickham  ought
not to be a clergyman;  the business was therefore soon settled—he
resigned all  claim to assistance in the church,  were it possible
that he could ever be in a situation to receive  it,  and accepted
in return three thousand pounds.  All connection between us seemed
now dissolved.  I thought too ill of him to invite  him to Pember‐
ley,  or admit his society in town.  In  town I believe he chiefly
lived,  but  his studying the law  was a mere pretence,  and being
now  free from all restraint,  his life was a life of idleness and
dissipation.  For about three years I heard little of him;  but on
the decease of the  incumbent  of the  living which  had  been de‐
signed for him, he applied to me again by letter for the presenta‐
tion.  His circumstances,  he assured me,  and I had no difficulty
in believing  it,  were exceedingly bad.  He  had found the  law a
most unprofitable study,  and was now absolutely resolved on being
ordained,  if I would present him  to  the  living  in question—of
which he trusted there could be little  doubt,  as he was well as‐
sured that I had no other person to provide for,  and  I could not
have forgotten  my revered father's intentions.  You  will  hardly
blame me for refusing to comply with this entreaty, or for resist‐
ing every  repetition to it.  His  resentment was in proportion to
the  distress of his circumstances—and he was doubtless as violent
in his abuse of  me to others as  in  his  reproaches  to  myself.
After this period every  appearance  of acquaintance  was dropped.
How he lived I know not.  But last summer he was again most  pain‐
fully obtruded on my notice.                                      
  “I must now mention a circumstance which I  would wish to forget
myself,  and which no obligation less than the present should  in‐
duce me  to unfold to any human being.  Having said  thus much,  I
feel no doubt of  your secrecy.  My  sister,  who is more than ten
years my junior, was left to the guardianship of my mother's neph‐
ew,  Colonel Fitzwilliam,  and myself.  About a year ago,  she was
taken from school,  and an establishment formed for her in London;
and last summer she went  with the lady who presided over  it,  to
Ramsgate;  and  thither  also  went Mr.  Wickham,  undoubtedly  by
design;  for  there  proved  to  have  been  a  prior acquaintance
between him and Mrs.  Younge,  in whose character we were most un‐
happily deceived; and by her connivance and aid,  he so far recom‐
mended himself to Georgiana,  whose affectionate heart retained  a
strong impression of his kindness to her as a child,  that she was
persuaded to believe herself in love,  and to consent to an elope‐
ment.  She  was then but fifteen,  which must  be her excuse;  and
after stating her imprudence,  I am happy to add,  that I owed the
knowledge of it  to herself.  I joined them unexpectedly  a day or
two before the intended elopement,  and then Georgiana,  unable to
support the idea of grieving and offending a brother whom  she al‐
most looked up to as a father,  acknowledged the whole to me.  You
may imagine  what I felt and how I  acted.  Regard for my sister's
credit and feelings prevented any public exposure;  but I wrote to
Mr.  Wickham, who left the place immediately,  and Mrs. Younge was
of course removed from her charge. Mr.  Wickham's chief object was
unquestionably  my  sister's  fortune,  which  is thirty  thousand
pounds;  but I cannot  help supposing that  the hope of  revenging
himself on me  was a strong  inducement.  His  revenge  would have
been complete indeed.                                             
  “This,  madam,  is a faithful  narrative of every event in which
we have been concerned together;  and if you do not absolutely re‐
ject  it as  false,  you  will, I hope,  acquit me  henceforth  of
cruelty towards  Mr.  Wickham.  I know  not  in what manner, under
what form of falsehood he had imposed on you;  but  his success is
not perhaps to be wondered at.  Ignorant as you previously were of
everything  concerning  either,  detection could  not  be in  your
power, and suspicion certainly not in your inclination.           
  “You may  possibly  wonder why all  this was not told  you  last
night;  but I  was  not then  master enough of myself to know what
could or  ought to  be revealed.  For the truth of everything here
related,  I can appeal more  particularly to the testimony of Col‐
onel Fitzwilliam, who, from our near relationship and constant in‐
timacy,  and,  still more,  as one of the executors of my father's
will,  has been unavoidably acquainted with  every  particular  of
these transactions.  If your abhorrence of _me_  should make  _my_
assertions valueless,  you cannot  be prevented by the  same cause
from confiding in my cousin;  and  that there may be the possibil‐
ity of consulting him,  I shall endeavour to find some opportunity
of  putting this letter in  your hands in the course of the  morn‐
ing. I will only add, God bless you.                              
  “FITZWILLIAM DARCY”                                             

                            Chapter 36                            

If Elizabeth,  when Mr.  Darcy gave her the letter, did not expect
it to contain a renewal of his offers,  she had formed no expecta‐
tion at all of its  contents.  But such as they were,  it may well
be supposed  how eagerly  she went through them,  and what a  con‐
trariety of emotion they excited.  Her  feelings  as she read were
scarcely to  be defined.  With amazement did she  first understand
that he believed  any apology to be in his power;  and steadfastly
was  she persuaded,  that  he could have no  explanation  to give,
which a just sense of shame would not conceal.  With a strong pre‐
judice against everything he might  say,  she began his account of
what had  happened  at Netherfield.  She  read with  an  eagerness
which hardly left her power of comprehension,  and from impatience
of  knowing what the next sentence might bring,  was incapable  of
attending to the  sense of the one before her eyes.  His belief of
her  sister's insensibility  she instantly  resolved to be  false;
and  his account  of the real,  the worst objections to the match,
made her  too angry to have any wish of doing him justice.  He ex‐
pressed no regret for  what he had done which satisfied  her;  his
style  was not penitent,  but  haughty.  It  was all pride and in‐
  But when this subject was succeeded by his account of Mr.  Wick‐
ham—when she read  with somewhat  clearer attention a  relation of
events which,  if true,  must overthrow every cherished opinion of
his worth,  and which bore so alarming an affinity to his own his‐
tory of himself—her  feelings  were yet  more  acutely painful and
more  difficult of  definition.  Astonishment,  apprehension,  and
even horror,  oppressed her.  She wished to discredit it entirely,
repeatedly exclaiming, “This must be false!  This cannot be!  This
must be  the grossest falsehood!”—and  when  she had gone  through
the  whole  letter,  though scarcely knowing anything of the  last
page or two,  put it  hastily away,  protesting that she would not
regard it, that she would never look in it again.                 
  In this perturbed state  of mind,  with thoughts that could rest
on nothing, she walked on;  but it would not do;  in half a minute
the letter  was unfolded again,  and collecting herself as well as
she could,  she again began the mortifying perusal of all that re‐
lated to  Wickham,  and commanded herself so far as to examine the
meaning of every sentence.  The account of his connection with the
Pemberley family was exactly what he had related himself;  and the
kindness of the late Mr.  Darcy,  though she had  not before known
its extent,  agreed equally well with  his own words.  So far each
recital confirmed the other;  but when she  came to the will,  the
difference was  great.  What Wickham  had said  of the  living was
fresh in her memory,  and as she recalled  his very words,  it was
impossible not to feel that there was  gross duplicity on one side
or the other;  and, for a few moments,  she flattered herself that
her  wishes did not err.  But when she  read  and re-read with the
closest attention,  the particulars immediately following of Wick‐
ham's resigning all pretensions to the  living,  of his  receiving
in lieu so considerable a sum as three thousand pounds,  again was
she forced to hesitate.  She put down the  letter,  weighed  every
circumstance with  what she  meant to  be impartiality—deliberated
on the probability of each  statement—but with little success.  On
both sides it  was only assertion.  Again she  read on;  but every
line proved more clearly that the affair,  which she  had believed
it  impossible  that any  contrivance  could  so  represent  as to
render Mr.  Darcy's conduct in it less than infamous,  was capable
of  a turn which  must make him  entirely blameless throughout the
  The extravagance and  general profligacy  which he  scrupled not
to lay at Mr.  Wickham's charge, exceedingly shocked her; the more
so,  as she could bring no proof of its injustice.  She had  never
heard of him  before his  entrance  into  the  ―shire Militia,  in
which he had engaged at  the persuasion of the young  man who,  on
meeting  him accidentally in town,  had there renewed a slight ac‐
quaintance.  Of  his former way  of life nothing had been known in
Hertfordshire but what he told himself.  As to his real character,
had information been in her power,  she  had never felt  a wish of
inquiring. His countenance,  voice, and manner had established him
at once in the possession of every virtue.  She tried to recollect
some instance  of goodness,  some distinguished trait of integrity
or benevolence, that might rescue him from the attacks of Mr. Dar‐
cy;  or at least,  by the predominance of virtue,  atone for those
casual errors under which  she would  endeavour to  class what Mr.
Darcy had described as the  idleness and vice  of many years' con‐
tinuance.  But no such recollection befriended her.  She could see
him instantly before her,  in every charm of air and address;  but
she could  remember no  more substantial good than the general ap‐
probation of the  neighbourhood,  and the  regard which his social
powers had gained him in the mess.  After  pausing on this point a
considerable while,  she once more continued  to read.  But, alas!
the story which followed,  of his designs on Miss Darcy,  received
some confirmation from what had  passed  between  Colonel Fitzwil‐
liam and herself only the morning before;  and at last she was re‐
ferred  for the truth  of every particular  to Colonel Fitzwilliam
himself—from whom  she had  previously received the information of
his near concern in all his cousin's affairs,  and whose character
she had  no reason to  question.  At one time  she had  almost re‐
solved on applying to him,  but the  idea was checked  by the awk‐
wardness of the application,  and at length wholly banished by the
conviction that Mr. Darcy would never have hazarded such a propos‐
al,  if he had  not been well assured  of  his cousin's corrobora‐
  She perfectly remembered everything that had passed in conversa‐
tion between  Wickham and  herself,  in their first evening at Mr.
Phillips's.  Many of  his  expressions  were  still  fresh  in her
memory.  She was _now_  struck with the impropriety of such commu‐
nications to a stranger,  and  wondered it had escaped her before.
She saw the indelicacy of putting himself forward as  he had done,
and the inconsistency of his professions with his conduct. She re‐
membered that he had boasted of having no fear of seeing Mr.  Dar‐
cy—that Mr.  Darcy might leave the country,  but that  _he_ should
stand  his  ground;  yet he had avoided the  Netherfield  ball the
very  next week.  She  remembered also that,  till the Netherfield
family  had quitted the  country,  he had told his story to no one
but herself;  but that  after their removal it had been everywhere
discussed;  that he had  then no reserves,  no scruples in sinking
Mr. Darcy's character,  though he had assured her that respect for
the father would always prevent his exposing the son.             
  How differently  did everything now appear in which  he was con‐
cerned!  His  attentions  to Miss King were now the consequence of
views solely  and hatefully  mercenary;  and the mediocrity of her
fortune proved no  longer the  moderation of his wishes,  but  his
eagerness  to grasp at  anything.  His behaviour  to herself could
now have had  no  tolerable motive;  he had either  been  deceived
with regard to  her fortune,  or had been gratifying his vanity by
encouraging the preference which she believed she  had most incau‐
tiously  shown.  Every  lingering  struggle  in  his  favour  grew
fainter and  fainter;  and in farther justification of Mr.  Darcy,
she  could  not but  allow that  Mr.  Bingley,  when questioned by
Jane,  had long ago asserted his blamelessness in the affair; that
proud and repulsive  as  were his manners,  she had never,  in the
whole course of their acquaintance—an  acquaintance which had lat‐
terly brought them much together,  and given  her a sort of intim‐
acy with his ways—seen anything that  betrayed  him to  be unprin‐
cipled or unjust—anything that  spoke him  of  irreligious  or im‐
moral habits;  that  among his own connections he was esteemed and
valued—that even Wickham had allowed  him merit as a brother,  and
that she  had often heard  him speak so affectionately of his sis‐
ter as  to prove him capable of  _some_ amiable feeling;  that had
his actions been what Mr. Wickham represented them, so gross a vi‐
olation of  everything right could hardly have been concealed from
the world;  and that friendship between a person  capable  of  it,
and such an amiable man as Mr. Bingley, was incomprehensible.     
  She grew  absolutely  ashamed of herself.  Of neither Darcy  nor
Wickham could she think without feeling  she had been blind,  par‐
tial, prejudiced, absurd.                                         
  “How despicably I have acted!”  she cried;  “I,  who have prided
myself on my discernment! I,  who have valued myself on my abilit‐
ies!  who have  often disdained the generous candour of my sister,
and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable mistrust!  How hu‐
miliating is this discovery!  Yet,  how just a humiliation!  Had I
been in love,  I could not have been  more  wretchedly blind!  But
vanity,  not love,  has been my folly. Pleased with the preference
of one,  and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very be‐
ginning of our acquaintance,  I have courted prepossession and ig‐
norance,  and driven  reason  away,  where either  were concerned.
Till this moment I never knew myself.”                            
  From herself to Jane—from Jane to Bingley,  her thoughts were in
a line which soon brought to her recollection that Mr. Darcy's ex‐
planation _there_ had appeared very insufficient,  and she read it
again.  Widely different was the  effect of a second perusal.  How
could she  deny that credit  to  his  assertions in  one instance,
which she had been obliged to give in the other?  He declared him‐
self to be totally  unsuspicious of her sister's  attachment;  and
she  could not help remembering what  Charlotte's opinion  had al‐
ways been.  Neither could she deny  the justice of his description
of  Jane.  She felt that Jane's  feelings,  though  fervent,  were
little displayed,  and that there  was a  constant complacency  in
her air and manner not often united with great sensibility.       
  When  she came to that  part of the  letter in which her  family
were mentioned in terms of such mortifying,  yet merited reproach,
her sense of shame was severe.  The justice  of the charge  struck
her  too forcibly for denial,  and  the circumstances to  which he
particularly  alluded  as having passed  at the  Netherfield ball,
and  as confirming  all  his first disapprobation,  could not have
made a stronger impression on his mind than on hers.              
  The  compliment to herself and her  sister  was  not unfelt.  It
soothed,  but it could not  console her for the contempt which had
thus been self-attracted by the  rest of her  family;  and as  she
considered that  Jane's disappointment had in fact been  the  work
of her nearest relations,  and reflected how materially the credit
of both must be hurt by such impropriety of conduct,  she felt de‐
pressed beyond anything she had ever known before.                
  After  wandering along  the  lane  for two hours,  giving way to
every variety of thought—re-considering events,  determining prob‐
abilities,  and reconciling  herself,  as well  as she could, to a
change so sudden and so important, fatigue,  and a recollection of
her long absence, made her at length return home;  and she entered
the house with  the wish of appearing cheerful as  usual,  and the
resolution of  repressing such  reflections as must make her unfit
for conversation.                                                 
  She  was immediately told that  the two  gentlemen  from Rosings
had each  called  during her  absence;  Mr.  Darcy, only for a few
minutes,  to take leave—but that Colonel Fitzwilliam had been sit‐
ting with  them at least an hour,  hoping for her return,  and al‐
most resolving to walk after  her till she could be found.  Eliza‐
beth could  but just _affect_ concern  in missing him;  she really
rejoiced at it.  Colonel Fitzwilliam was no longer an object;  she
could think only of her letter.                                   

                            Chapter 37                            

The two gentlemen left Rosings the next morning,  and Mr.  Collins
having been in waiting near the  lodges,  to make them his parting
obeisance,  was  able to bring home the pleasing intelligence,  of
their appearing in very good health,  and  in as tolerable spirits
as could be expected,  after the melancholy scene so  lately  gone
through at Rosings.  To Rosings he then hastened,  to console Lady
Catherine and her daughter;  and on his return brought back,  with
great satisfaction,  a message from her ladyship,  importing  that
she felt  herself so dull as to  make her very desirous of  having
them all to dine with her.                                        
  Elizabeth could  not  see  Lady Catherine  without  recollecting
that, had she chosen it,  she might by this time have been presen‐
ted to her as  her  future niece;  nor could she think,  without a
smile,  of what her ladyship's indignation would have been.  “What
would she have said?  how would she  have behaved?” were questions
with which she amused herself.                                    
  Their first subject was the diminution of the Rosings party.  “I
assure  you,  I feel it exceedingly,” said Lady Catherine;  “I be‐
lieve no  one feels the loss of friends so much as I do.  But I am
particularly attached to these young men,  and know  them to be so
much attached to me!  They were  excessively sorry to  go!  But so
they  always are.  The dear  Colonel rallied his spirits tolerably
till  just  at last;  but  Darcy  seemed  to feel it most acutely,
more,  I  think,  than last  year. His attachment to  Rosings cer‐
tainly increases.”                                                
  Mr.  Collins had a compliment, and an allusion to throw in here,
which were kindly smiled on by the mother and daughter.           
  Lady Catherine observed,  after dinner,  that Miss Bennet seemed
out of spirits,  and immediately accounting for it by herself,  by
supposing that she did not like to go home again so soon,  she ad‐
  “But if that is the case,  you must write to your mother and beg
that you may stay a little longer. Mrs.  Collins will be very glad
of your company, I am sure.”                                      
  “I am much  obliged to  your ladyship for your kind invitation,”
replied Elizabeth,  “but it is not in  my  power to  accept it.  I
must be in town next Saturday.”                                   
  “Why,  at  that rate, you will have been here only six weeks.  I
expected you to stay  two months.  I told Mrs.  Collins so  before
you came.  There can be no occasion for your  going so soon.  Mrs.
Bennet could certainly spare you for another fortnight.”          
  “But my father cannot. He wrote last week to hurry my return.”  
  “Oh!  your father  of course may spare you,  if your mother can.
Daughters  are never of so  much  consequence to a father.  And if
you will stay another _month_ complete,  it will be in my power to
take one of you  as far as London,  for I  am going there early in
June,  for a week;  and as Dawson does not object to the barouche‐
box,  there will be very good  room for one of you—and indeed,  if
the weather should happen to be cool,  I should not object to tak‐
ing you both, as you are neither of you large.”                   
  “You  are all kindness,  madam;  but I believe we must abide  by
our original plan.”                                               
  Lady Catherine seemed resigned. “Mrs.  Collins,  you must send a
servant with them.  You know I always speak my mind,  and I cannot
bear the  idea of  two  young women travelling post by themselves.
It is highly improper.  You must contrive to send somebody. I have
the greatest dislike in the world to that sort of thing. Young wo‐
men should always be properly guarded  and attended,  according to
their situation in life.  When my niece Georgiana went to Ramsgate
last  summer,  I made a  point of her having  two men-servants  go
with her.  Miss Darcy,  the daughter of  Mr.  Darcy, of Pemberley,
and Lady Anne, could not have appeared with propriety in a differ‐
ent manner.  I  am excessively attentive to all those things.  You
must send John with the young ladies,  Mrs. Collins.  I am glad it
occurred  to  me to mention it;  for it would really be discredit‐
able to _you_ to let them go alone.”                              
  “My uncle is to send a servant for us.”                         
  “Oh!  Your uncle!  He keeps  a man-servant, does he?  I am  very
glad you have somebody  who thinks  of  these things.  Where shall
you change horses? Oh! Bromley,  of course. If you mention my name
at the Bell, you will be attended to.”                            
  Lady Catherine  had many other questions to ask respecting their
journey,  and as  she did not answer  them all herself,  attention
was necessary,  which Elizabeth believed to be lucky for her;  or,
with a  mind so occupied,  she might have forgotten where she was.
Reflection must be reserved for solitary  hours;  whenever she was
alone,  she gave  way to it as the greatest relief;  and not a day
went by without  a  solitary  walk,  in which she might indulge in
all the delight of unpleasant recollections.                      
  Mr.  Darcy's letter she was  in a fair  way  of soon  knowing by
heart.  She studied every sentence;  and  her feelings towards its
writer  were at times  widely different.  When she remembered  the
style of his address,  she was still full of indignation; but when
she considered how unjustly she  had  condemned and upbraided him,
her anger was turned against herself;  and  his disappointed feel‐
ings became the object of compassion. His attachment excited grat‐
itude,  his  general character respect;  but she could not approve
him;  nor could she for a moment repent her refusal,  or  feel the
slightest inclination ever to see him again. In her own past beha‐
viour,  there was a constant source of vexation and regret; and in
the unhappy defects of her family,  a subject of yet heavier chag‐
rin.  They  were  hopeless of remedy.  Her father, contented  with
laughing at them,  would never exert himself  to restrain the wild
giddiness of his youngest daughters;  and her mother, with manners
so far from right herself,  was entirely  insensible of the  evil.
Elizabeth  had  frequently  united with Jane in  an  endeavour  to
check  the imprudence of Catherine and Lydia;  but while they were
supported by their  mother's indulgence,  what  chance could there
be of improvement? Catherine, weak-spirited,  irritable,  and com‐
pletely  under  Lydia's  guidance,  had been  always affronted  by
their advice; and Lydia, self-willed and careless,  would scarcely
give them a hearing.  They  were ignorant,  idle,  and vain. While
there  was an officer in Meryton,  they would flirt with him;  and
while Meryton was within a walk of Longbourn,  they would be going
there forever.                                                    
  Anxiety on  Jane's behalf  was  another prevailing concern;  and
Mr.  Darcy's explanation,  by  restoring Bingley to all her former
good opinion, heightened the sense of what Jane had lost.  His af‐
fection was proved to have been sincere,  and his  conduct cleared
of all blame,  unless  any could attach to the implicitness of his
confidence in his friend.  How grievous then was the thought that,
of a situation so desirable in every respect,  so replete with ad‐
vantage,  so promising  for happiness, Jane had been deprived,  by
the folly and indecorum of her own family!                        
  When to these recollections  was added  the development of Wick‐
ham's character,  it may be easily believed that the happy spirits
which had seldom been depressed before,  were now so much affected
as to make it almost impossible for her to appear tolerably cheer‐
  Their engagements at  Rosings were  as frequent during the  last
week of her stay as they had been at first.  The very last evening
was  spent there;  and  her ladyship again inquired minutely  into
the particulars of  their journey,  gave them directions as to the
best method of packing, and was so urgent on the necessity of pla‐
cing gowns in  the only right way,  that Maria thought herself ob‐
liged,  on her return,  to undo all the work  of the morning,  and
pack her trunk afresh.                                            
  When  they parted,  Lady Catherine,  with  great  condescension,
wished them a  good journey,  and invited them to come to Hunsford
again next year;  and Miss de Bourgh exerted herself so  far as to
curtsey and hold out her hand to both.                            

                            Chapter 38                            

On Saturday morning Elizabeth and Mr.  Collins met for breakfast a
few minutes before the others appeared;  and he took the opportun‐
ity of paying  the parting  civilities which  he deemed indispens‐
ably necessary.                                                   
  “I  know not,  Miss Elizabeth,”  said he,  “whether Mrs. Collins
has yet expressed her sense of your kindness in coming to us;  but
I am very certain  you will not leave the  house without receiving
her thanks for it.  The favour of your company has been much felt,
I assure  you.  We know how little there is to tempt anyone to our
humble abode.  Our plain manner of living, our small rooms and few
domestics, and the little we see of the world,  must make Hunsford
extremely dull to a young lady like yourself;  but I hope you will
believe us grateful for the condescension,  and that we  have done
everything  in our  power to  prevent your spending your time  un‐
  Elizabeth  was  eager with her thanks and  assurances of  happi‐
ness. She had spent six weeks with great enjoyment; and the pleas‐
ure of being with Charlotte,  and the kind attentions  she had re‐
ceived,  must make _her_ feel the obliged.  Mr. Collins was grati‐
fied, and with a more smiling solemnity replied:                  
  “It gives  me great pleasure to hear  that you  have passed your
time not disagreeably.  We have certainly done our best;  and most
fortunately having it in our power to introduce you to very super‐
ior society, and,  from our connection with Rosings,  the frequent
means of varying the humble  home scene,  I  think we may  flatter
ourselves that  your Hunsford visit cannot have been entirely irk‐
some.  Our situation with regard to Lady Catherine's family is in‐
deed the  sort of  extraordinary advantage and blessing which  few
can boast.  You see on what a footing we are. You see how continu‐
ally we are engaged there.  In truth I must acknowledge that, with
all  the  disadvantages of  this humble  parsonage,  I  should not
think anyone  abiding in it an  object of compassion,  while  they
are sharers of our intimacy at Rosings.”                          
  Words were insufficient for the  elevation of his feelings;  and
he  was obliged to walk about the room,  while Elizabeth  tried to
unite civility and truth in a few short sentences.                
  “You may,  in fact,  carry a very  favourable report of  us into
Hertfordshire, my dear cousin.  I flatter myself at least that you
will be able to do so.  Lady Catherine's great attentions  to Mrs.
Collins you have been  a daily witness of;  and altogether I trust
it does  not appear that your friend has drawn an  unfortunate—but
on this point it will be as well to be silent.  Only let me assure
you, my dear Miss Elizabeth,  that I can from my heart most cordi‐
ally wish you equal felicity in marriage.  My dear Charlotte and I
have but one mind and one way of thinking.  There is in everything
a most remarkable  resemblance of character and ideas  between us.
We seem to have been designed for each other.”                    
  Elizabeth could  safely say that it was a  great happiness where
that was  the case,  and with equal sincerity could add,  that she
firmly  believed and  rejoiced in his  domestic comforts.  She was
not sorry,  however,  to have  the recital of them interrupted  by
the lady from whom they sprang.  Poor Charlotte! it was melancholy
to leave her to such society!  But she had chosen it with her eyes
open;  and  though evidently regretting that her  visitors were to
go,  she did  not seem  to ask for  compassion.  Her home and  her
housekeeping, her parish and her poultry,  and all their dependent
concerns, had not yet lost their charms.                          
  At length the chaise arrived,  the trunks were fastened on,  the
parcels placed within,  and it was  pronounced to be ready.  After
an affectionate parting between the friends,  Elizabeth was atten‐
ded to the carriage by Mr.  Collins,  and as they walked down  the
garden he was  commissioning her with his best respects to all her
family,  not  forgetting his thanks  for  the kindness  he had re‐
ceived at Longbourn in the winter,  and his compliments to Mr. and
Mrs.  Gardiner,  though unknown. He then handed her in, Maria fol‐
lowed, and the door was on the point of being closed, when he sud‐
denly reminded  them,  with  some  consternation,  that  they  had
hitherto forgotten to leave  any message  for  the  ladies at Ros‐
  “But,” he added,  “you will of course  wish  to have your humble
respects delivered to them,  with your grateful  thanks  for their
kindness to you while you have been here.”                        
  Elizabeth made  no objection;  the door  was  then allowed to be
shut, and the carriage drove off.                                 
  “Good gracious!” cried Maria,  after a few minutes' silence, “it
seems but a day or two since  we  first  came!  and  yet how  many
things have happened!”                                            
  “A great many indeed,” said her companion with a sigh.          
  “We  have  dined nine  times at Rosings,  besides  drinking  tea
there twice! How much I shall have to tell!”                      
  Elizabeth added privately,  “And  how  much I shall have to con‐
  Their  journey  was performed without much conversation,  or any
alarm;  and within  four hours  of  their  leaving  Hunsford  they
reached  Mr.  Gardiner's house,  where they were  to  remain a few
  Jane looked well, and Elizabeth had little opportunity of study‐
ing her  spirits,  amidst the various  engagements which the kind‐
ness  of her aunt had  reserved for them.  But Jane was to go home
with  her,  and at Longbourn there would be leisure enough for ob‐
  It was not  without an effort,  meanwhile,  that  she could wait
even for Longbourn, before she told her sister of Mr. Darcy's pro‐
posals.  To know that she had the power of revealing what would so
exceedingly astonish Jane,  and must, at the same time,  so highly
gratify whatever of her own vanity she  had  not yet  been able to
reason away,  was such a temptation to  openness as nothing  could
have conquered but the state  of indecision in which  she remained
as to the extent of what she should communicate;  and her fear, if
she once entered on the subject,  of being hurried into  repeating
something of Bingley which might only grieve her sister further.  

                            Chapter 39                            

It was the second  week in May,  in which  the three  young ladies
set  out together from Gracechurch  Street  for the town of ―,  in
Hertfordshire;  and, as they drew near the appointed inn where Mr.
Bennet's carriage was to  meet them,  they  quickly perceived,  in
token of the coachman's punctuality,  both Kitty and Lydia looking
out of a dining-room up stairs.  These two girls had been above an
hour in the  place,  happily employed in visiting an opposite mil‐
liner,  watching  the sentinel on guard,  and dressing a salad and
  After  welcoming  their sisters,  they triumphantly  displayed a
table set out with  such cold meat  as  an inn larder  usually af‐
fords,  exclaiming, “Is not  this nice?  Is not  this an agreeable
  “And we mean to treat you all,” added Lydia,  “but you must lend
us the money,  for we have just spent ours at the shop out there.”
Then,  showing her purchases—“Look here,  I have bought  this bon‐
net.  I do not think it is  very pretty;  but I thought I might as
well buy it as  not.  I shall pull it to pieces as soon as  I  get
home, and see if I can make it up any better.”                    
  And when her sisters abused it as ugly,  she added, with perfect
unconcern,  “Oh!  but there were two or  three much uglier in  the
shop;  and when I have bought some prettier-coloured satin to trim
it with fresh,  I think  it  will  be very tolerable.  Besides, it
will  not  much signify what  one  wears  this summer,  after  the
―shire have left Meryton, and they are going in a fortnight.”     
  “Are they indeed!” cried Elizabeth,  with the greatest satisfac‐
  “They are going to be encamped near  Brighton;  and I do so want
papa to take us all there for the summer! It would be such a deli‐
cious scheme;  and  I  dare say would hardly cost anything at all.
Mamma would like to go too of all things! Only think what a miser‐
able summer else we shall have!”                                  
  “Yes,” thought Elizabeth,  “_that_ would  be a delightful scheme
indeed,  and completely do for us at once.  Good Heaven! Brighton,
and a  whole  campful  of soldiers,  to us,  who have been overset
already by one poor regiment of militia,  and the monthly balls of
  “Now I have got some news  for you,”  said  Lydia,  as they  sat
down at table.  “What do you think?  It is  excellent news—capital
news—and about a certain person we all like!”                     
  Jane and Elizabeth looked at  each  other,  and the  waiter  was
told he need not stay. Lydia laughed, and said:                   
  “Aye,  that  is just  like  your  formality and discretion.  You
thought the waiter must not hear,  as if he cared!  I dare say  he
often  hears worse things said than I am going  to say.  But he is
an ugly fellow!  I am glad  he is gone.  I never  saw such a  long
chin in my life. Well, but now for my news; it is about dear Wick‐
ham;  too good for  the waiter,  is it not? There is no  danger of
Wickham's  marrying Mary King.  There's for you!  She is gone down
to her uncle at Liverpool: gone to stay. Wickham is safe.”        
  “And Mary  King is safe!” added Elizabeth;  “safe from a connec‐
tion imprudent as to fortune.”                                    
  “She is a great fool for going away, if she liked him.”         
  “But I hope there is no strong attachment on either  side,” said
  “I  am sure there  is not on _his_.  I will answer  for  it,  he
never  cared  three straws about her—who could  about such a nasty
little freckled thing?”                                           
  Elizabeth was shocked to think that,  however incapable  of such
coarseness of _expression_ herself,  the coarseness of the _senti‐
ment_ was little  other than her own breast had harboured and fan‐
cied liberal!                                                     
  As soon as all  had ate,  and the elder ones paid,  the carriage
was ordered;  and after  some contrivance,  the whole party,  with
all their boxes,  work-bags,  and parcels, and the unwelcome addi‐
tion of Kitty's and Lydia's purchases, were seated in it.         
  “How nicely we  are  all crammed in,” cried Lydia.  “I am glad I
bought my bonnet,  if it is  only for the  fun  of having  another
bandbox! Well, now let us be quite comfortable and snug,  and talk
and laugh all the way home.  And in the first place,  let us  hear
what has happened to you all since  you went away.  Have  you seen
any pleasant men?  Have you had any flirting? I was in great hopes
that  one  of you  would have got a husband  before you came back.
Jane will  be quite an  old maid soon,  I declare.  She is  almost
three-and-twenty! Lord,  how ashamed I should be of not being mar‐
ried  before three-and-twenty!  My  aunt Phillips wants you  so to
get husbands,  you  can't think.  She says  Lizzy  had better have
taken Mr. Collins;  but _I_ do not think there would have been any
fun in  it.  Lord!  how I should like to be  married before any of
you;  and then I would chaperon  you about to all the balls.  Dear
me!  we had such a good piece of fun the other day at Colonel For‐
ster's.  Kitty and me were to spend the day there,  and Mrs.  For‐
ster promised to have a little dance in the evening;  (by the bye,
Mrs.  Forster and me are _such_ friends!) and so she asked the two
Harringtons  to come,  but Harriet was ill,  and so Pen was forced
to  come  by herself;  and  then,  what do  you think we  did?  We
dressed up Chamberlayne in  woman's clothes on purpose to pass for
a lady,  only think what fun!  Not a soul knew of it,  but Colonel
and Mrs. Forster,  and Kitty and me,  except my aunt,  for we were
forced  to  borrow  one of her gowns;  and  you cannot imagine how
well  he looked!  When Denny,  and Wickham,  and Pratt, and two or
three more of the  men  came in,  they  did  not  know  him in the
least. Lord! how I laughed!  and so did Mrs. Forster.  I thought I
should have died.  And _that_ made the men suspect something,  and
then they soon found out what was the matter.”                    
  With such kinds of histories of  their  parties and  good jokes,
did Lydia,  assisted by Kitty's hints and additions,  endeavour to
amuse her companions all the way to Longbourn.  Elizabeth listened
as  little as she  could,  but there was  no escaping the frequent
mention of Wickham's name.                                        
  Their reception at home was most kind.  Mrs.  Bennet rejoiced to
see Jane in undiminished beauty;  and more than once during dinner
did Mr. Bennet say voluntarily to Elizabeth:                      
  “I am glad you are come back, Lizzy.”                           
  Their party in the dining-room was large, for almost all the Lu‐
cases came to meet Maria and hear the news;  and various were  the
subjects that occupied them:  Lady  Lucas  was inquiring of Maria,
after the welfare and poultry of her eldest daughter; Mrs.  Bennet
was doubly  engaged,  on  one  hand collecting  an account of  the
present fashions from Jane,  who sat some way below her,  and,  on
the other,  retailing them all to the younger Lucases;  and Lydia,
in a voice rather louder than any other person's,  was enumerating
the  various pleasures of  the morning to anybody who  would  hear
  “Oh!  Mary,” said she,  “I wish you had gone with us, for we had
such fun!  As we went along,  Kitty and I drew up the blinds,  and
pretended there was nobody in the coach;  and  I should have  gone
so all the way,  if Kitty had not  been sick;  and  when we got to
the George,  I do think we behaved very handsomely, for we treated
the other  three with the nicest cold luncheon in  the world,  and
if you would have gone,  we would  have treated you too.  And then
when we came away it was such fun!  I thought we never should have
got into the coach.  I was  ready to die of laughter.  And then we
were  so merry  all the way home!  we talked  and laughed so loud,
that anybody might have heard us ten miles off!”                  
  To this Mary very gravely replied,  “Far be it from me,  my dear
sister, to depreciate such pleasures! They would doubtless be con‐
genial  with the generality of female minds.  But  I confess  they
would  have  no  charms  for  _me_—I  should infinitely  prefer  a
  But of this answer Lydia heard not a word.  She seldom  listened
to  anybody for  more  than  half a minute,  and never attended to
Mary at all.                                                      
  In  the afternoon Lydia was urgent with the rest of the girls to
walk to Meryton,  and to see how everybody went on;  but Elizabeth
steadily opposed the scheme.  It should not be said that  the Miss
Bennets  could not be  at home half a day before they were in pur‐
suit of the officers. There was another reason too for her opposi‐
tion.  She dreaded seeing Mr.  Wickham again, and was resolved  to
avoid it as long as possible.  The comfort to  _her_  of the regi‐
ment's approaching  removal  was indeed beyond  expression.  In  a
fortnight they were to go—and once gone,  she hoped there could be
nothing more to plague her on his account.                        
  She  had not been many  hours at home  before she found that the
Brighton scheme,  of which Lydia had given them a hint at the inn,
was under frequent discussion between her  parents.  Elizabeth saw
directly that her  father had not the smallest intention of yield‐
ing;  but  his answers were at the same time so vague and equivoc‐
al, that her mother, though often disheartened, had never yet des‐
paired of succeeding at last.                                     

                            Chapter 40                            

Elizabeth's impatience  to acquaint Jane  with  what had  happened
could no longer be overcome; and at length,  resolving to suppress
every particular in which her sister was concerned,  and preparing
her  to  be surprised,  she related  to her the next  morning  the
chief of the scene between Mr. Darcy and herself.                 
  Miss  Bennet's astonishment was soon lessened by the strong sis‐
terly  partiality  which made any admiration  of Elizabeth  appear
perfectly  natural;  and all surprise was  shortly  lost in  other
feelings.  She was sorry that Mr.  Darcy should have delivered his
sentiments  in a manner so little  suited to  recommend them;  but
still more was she grieved for the unhappiness  which her sister's
refusal must have given him.                                      
  “His being so sure of succeeding was wrong,” said she, “and cer‐
tainly ought not to have appeared;  but consider how much  it must
increase his disappointment!”                                     
  “Indeed,” replied Elizabeth,  “I am heartily sorry for him;  but
he has other feelings, which will probably soon drive away his re‐
gard for me. You do not blame me, however, for refusing him?”     
  “Blame you! Oh, no.”                                            
  “But you blame me for having spoken so warmly of Wickham?”      
  “No—I do not know that you were wrong in saying what you did.”  
  “But you _will_ know it,  when I tell you what happened the very
next day.”                                                        
  She then  spoke of  the letter,  repeating the whole of its con‐
tents as  far as they concerned George Wickham.  What a stroke was
this  for  poor  Jane!  who would willingly have gone  through the
world without  believing that  so much wickedness  existed  in the
whole  race of mankind,  as was here collected  in one individual.
Nor was Darcy's vindication, though grateful to her feelings, cap‐
able of consoling her for such  discovery.  Most earnestly did she
labour to  prove the probability of error,  and seek  to clear the
one without involving the other.                                  
  “This will not do,” said Elizabeth;  “you never will be able  to
make both  of  them good for anything.  Take your choice,  but you
must be  satisfied with only one.  There is but such a quantity of
merit between them; just enough to make one good sort of man;  and
of late it has been shifting about pretty much.  For my part, I am
inclined  to  believe it all  Darcy's;  but  you  shall do  as you
  It was some time,  however,  before  a  smile could be  extorted
from Jane.                                                        
  “I  do  not  know  when  I  have been more  shocked,” said  she.
“Wickham so very bad!  It is almost past belief. And poor Mr. Dar‐
cy!  Dear Lizzy,  only consider what he must have suffered. Such a
disappointment!  and with the knowledge of your ill opinion,  too!
and having to relate such a thing of his sister!  It is really too
distressing. I am sure you must feel it so.”                      
  “Oh!  no,  my regret and compassion are all done away  by seeing
you so full of both.  I know  you will do him such  ample justice,
that I am growing every moment more  unconcerned and  indifferent.
Your profusion  makes me saving;  and  if you lament over him much
longer, my heart will be as light as a feather.”                  
  “Poor  Wickham!  there is such an expression of goodness  in his
countenance! such an openness and gentleness in his manner!”      
  “There certainly  was some great  mismanagement in the education
of those two  young men.  One has got all the  goodness,  and  the
other all the appearance of it.”                                  
  “I never thought  Mr.  Darcy so deficient in the _appearance_ of
it as you used to do.”                                            
  “And yet I meant to  be uncommonly clever in taking so decided a
dislike to him,  without  any reason.  It is  such a spur to one's
genius,  such an opening for wit,  to have a dislike of that kind.
One may be  continually abusive without saying anything just;  but
one cannot always be laughing at a man  without now and then stum‐
bling on something witty.”                                        
  “Lizzy,  when you  first read that letter,  I am sure you  could
not treat the matter as you do now.”                              
  “Indeed, I could not. I was uncomfortable enough,  I may say un‐
happy.  And with no one to speak to about what I felt,  no Jane to
comfort me and say  that I had not been so  very weak and vain and
nonsensical as I knew I had! Oh! how I wanted you!”               
  “How unfortunate that  you should have used such very strong ex‐
pressions in speaking of Wickham to Mr.  Darcy,  for now they _do_
appear wholly undeserved.”                                        
  “Certainly.  But the misfortune of speaking with bitterness is a
most natural  consequence  of the prejudices  I  had  been encour‐
aging.  There is one point on which I want your advice.  I want to
be told whether I ought,  or ought not,  to make our acquaintances
in general understand Wickham's character.”                       
  Miss Bennet  paused a little,  and  then replied,  “Surely there
can be no  occasion for  exposing him so dreadfully.  What is your
  “That it ought not to be  attempted.  Mr.  Darcy has not author‐
ised me to make his communication public.  On the contrary,  every
particular relative to his sister was  meant to be kept as much as
possible to  myself;  and if I endeavour to undeceive people as to
the rest of his conduct,  who will believe me?  The general preju‐
dice against Mr.  Darcy is so violent,  that it would be the death
of half the good people  in Meryton to attempt to  place him in an
amiable light.  I am  not equal to it.  Wickham will soon be gone;
and  therefore it will not signify  to  anyone here what he really
is.  Some time hence it will be  all found out,  and  then we  may
laugh  at their  stupidity in not knowing it before.  At present I
will say nothing about it.”                                       
  “You are quite right.  To have his errors made public might ruin
him for ever. He is now, perhaps,  sorry for what he has done, and
anxious to re-establish a character.  We must not make him desper‐
  The  tumult of  Elizabeth's mind was  allayed by this  conversa‐
tion.  She had got rid of two of the secrets  which had weighed on
her for a  fortnight,  and  was certain of a willing  listener  in
Jane,  whenever she might wish to talk again of either.  But there
was still something lurking behind,  of which prudence forbade the
disclosure.  She dared  not relate the other  half of Mr.  Darcy's
letter,  nor explain to her sister how sincerely she had been val‐
ued by her friend.  Here was knowledge in which no one could  par‐
take; and she was sensible that nothing less than a perfect under‐
standing  between the parties could  justify  her in throwing  off
this last encumbrance of mystery.  “And then,” said she,  “if that
very improbable event should  ever  take place,  I shall merely be
able to tell what  Bingley may  tell in a much more agreeable man‐
ner himself.  The liberty  of communication cannot be mine till it
has lost all its value!”                                          
  She was now,  on being  settled  at home,  at leisure to observe
the real state  of her sister's spirits.  Jane was not happy.  She
still cherished a very tender affection for Bingley.  Having never
even  fancied herself  in  love  before,  her regard  had all  the
warmth of first  attachment,  and,  from her age and  disposition,
greater  steadiness than most first attachments often  boast;  and
so fervently  did she value his  remembrance,  and  prefer him  to
every other man,  that all her good sense,  and all her  attention
to the feelings of her friends, were requisite to check the indul‐
gence of  those regrets which must  have been injurious to her own
health and their tranquillity.                                    
  “Well,  Lizzy,” said Mrs. Bennet one day,  “what is your opinion
_now_ of this  sad business of Jane's?  For my part,  I am determ‐
ined never to speak of it again to anybody. I told my sister Phil‐
lips so the other day.  But  I  cannot find out that Jane saw any‐
thing of  him in  London.  Well,  he  is a very  undeserving young
man—and I do not suppose there's the  least chance in the world of
her ever getting him now.  There is no talk of his coming to Neth‐
erfield again in the summer;  and I  have  inquired of  everybody,
too, who is likely to know.”                                      
  “I do not believe he will ever live at Netherfield any more.”   
  “Oh well!  it  is just as he chooses.  Nobody wants him to come.
Though I shall always say  he used my daughter extremely ill;  and
if I was her,  I would not have put up with it.  Well,  my comfort
is,  I am  sure Jane will die of a broken heart;  and then he will
be sorry for what he has done.”                                   
  But as Elizabeth could not receive comfort from any such expect‐
ation, she made no answer.                                        
  “Well,  Lizzy,” continued her mother,  soon afterwards,  “and so
the Collinses live very comfortable, do they?  Well, well,  I only
hope it will last. And what sort of table do they keep?  Charlotte
is an excellent manager,  I dare say.  If she is half as sharp  as
her mother, she is saving enough.  There is nothing extravagant in
_their_ housekeeping, I dare say.”                                
  “No, nothing at all.”                                           
  “A great deal of  good  management,  depend  upon it.  Yes, yes.
_they_ will take care not  to  outrun  their  income.  _They_ will
never be distressed for  money.  Well,  much good may  it do them!
And so,  I suppose,  they often talk of having Longbourn when your
father is dead.  They look upon it as quite their own, I dare say,
whenever that happens.”                                           
  “It was a subject which they could not mention before me.”      
  “No;  it would  have been strange  if  they had;  but I  make no
doubt they often talk of it between themselves. Well,  if they can
be easy with  an estate that  is  not lawfully their own,  so much
the better.  I should  be ashamed  of having one that was only en‐
tailed on me.”                                                    

                            Chapter 41                            

The first week of their return  was soon  gone.  The second began.
It was the  last of  the regiment's stay in Meryton,  and all  the
young ladies in the neighbourhood were drooping apace.  The dejec‐
tion  was  almost universal.  The  elder Miss  Bennets  alone were
still able to eat, drink,  and sleep,  and pursue the usual course
of their employments.  Very frequently  were they  reproached  for
this  insensibility by Kitty and Lydia,  whose own  misery was ex‐
treme,  and who  could not comprehend such hard-heartedness in any
of the family.                                                    
  “Good Heaven!  what  is to  become  of us?  What are we to  do?”
would they often  exclaim in the  bitterness of woe.  “How can you
be smiling so, Lizzy?”                                            
  Their  affectionate  mother  shared  all  their grief;  she  re‐
membered what she had herself endured on a similar occasion, five‐
and-twenty years ago.                                             
  “I am sure,” said she,  “I cried for two days together when Col‐
onel Miller's regiment went away.  I  thought I should have broken
my heart.”                                                        
  “I am sure I shall break _mine_,” said Lydia.                   
  “If one could but go to Brighton!” observed Mrs. Bennet.        
  “Oh,  yes!—if one could but go to Brighton!  But papa is so dis‐
  “A little sea-bathing would set me up forever.”                 
  “And my aunt Phillips is  sure  it would do _me_ a great deal of
good,” added Kitty.                                               
  Such  were  the  kind  of  lamentations  resounding  perpetually
through Longbourn House.  Elizabeth tried to  be diverted by them;
but all sense of  pleasure  was  lost in shame.  She felt anew the
justice of Mr.  Darcy's objections; and never had she been so much
disposed to pardon his interference in the views of his friend.   
  But the gloom of Lydia's prospect was shortly cleared away;  for
she received an invitation from Mrs. Forster, the wife of the col‐
onel of the regiment,  to accompany her to Brighton.  This invalu‐
able friend was a very young woman, and very lately married. A re‐
semblance in good  humour and good spirits had recommended her and
Lydia to each other,  and  out of their _three_ months'  acquaint‐
ance they had been intimate _two_.                                
  The rapture  of Lydia  on this  occasion,  her adoration of Mrs.
Forster,  the delight  of  Mrs.  Bennet,  and the mortification of
Kitty,  are scarcely to be described.  Wholly  inattentive to  her
sister's  feelings,  Lydia flew about the  house  in restless  ec‐
stasy,  calling for everyone's congratulations,  and laughing  and
talking with more  violence  than ever;  whilst the luckless Kitty
continued in the parlour repined at her fate in terms as unreason‐
able as her accent was peevish.                                   
  “I cannot see  why Mrs.  Forster should not ask _me_  as well as
Lydia,” said she,  “Though  I am  _not_ her  particular friend.  I
have just as much right to be asked as she has, and more too,  for
I am two years older.”                                            
  In vain did Elizabeth attempt to make her reasonable,  and  Jane
to make her resigned.  As for Elizabeth herself,  this  invitation
was  so far  from exciting  in her  the same  feelings  as  in her
mother and Lydia,  that  she considered it as the death warrant of
all possibility of common sense for the latter;  and detestable as
such  a step  must make  her  were it  known,  she  could not help
secretly advising her father not to let  her go.  She  represented
to  him  all the  improprieties of Lydia's general behaviour,  the
little advantage she could  derive  from  the friendship of such a
woman as Mrs.  Forster,  and the probability of her being yet more
imprudent  with such a companion at  Brighton,  where the  tempta‐
tions must be greater than at home. He heard her attentively,  and
then said:                                                        
  “Lydia will never be  easy until she has exposed herself in some
public place or other,  and we can never expect  her to do it with
so little expense  or  inconvenience  to  her  family as under the
present circumstances.”                                           
  “If you were aware,” said Elizabeth,  “of  the very great disad‐
vantage to us all  which  must arise from the public notice of Ly‐
dia's  unguarded  and  imprudent  manner—nay,  which  has  already
arisen from it,  I  am sure you would judge differently in the af‐
  “Already  arisen?”   repeated  Mr.   Bennet.   “What,   has  she
frightened away some  of  your lovers?  Poor little Lizzy!  But do
not be cast down.  Such squeamish youths as cannot bear to be con‐
nected with a little absurdity are not worth a regret.  Come,  let
me see the list of pitiful fellows who have been kept aloof by Ly‐
dia's folly.”                                                     
  “Indeed you are mistaken.  I have no such injuries to resent. It
is not of particular,  but of general  evils,  which I am now com‐
plaining. Our importance,  our respectability in the world must be
affected by the wild volatility,  the assurance and disdain of all
restraint which  mark Lydia's character.  Excuse  me,  for  I must
speak plainly.  If you, my dear father,  will not take the trouble
of checking her exuberant spirits,  and of  teaching her that  her
present pursuits are not to be the business of her life,  she will
soon be  beyond the  reach  of amendment.  Her  character  will be
fixed,  and she will,  at sixteen,  be  the most determined  flirt
that ever made herself or her family ridiculous; a flirt,  too, in
the worst and  meanest  degree of flirtation;  without any attrac‐
tion beyond youth and a tolerable person; and,  from the ignorance
and emptiness of her mind,  wholly  unable to ward off any portion
of that universal contempt which her rage  for admiration will ex‐
cite.  In this danger Kitty also is comprehended.  She will follow
wherever Lydia leads. Vain, ignorant, idle,  and absolutely uncon‐
trolled!  Oh!  my dear father,  can  you  suppose it possible that
they will  not be  censured and despised wherever they are  known,
and that  their  sisters will not  be  often involved in the  dis‐
  Mr. Bennet saw that her whole heart was in the subject,  and af‐
fectionately taking her hand said in reply:                       
  “Do not  make yourself  uneasy,  my love.  Wherever you and Jane
are known you must be respected and valued;  and you will not  ap‐
pear  to  less advantage  for  having  a couple of—or  I  may say,
three—very silly sisters.  We shall have  no peace at Longbourn if
Lydia does not go to Brighton.  Let her go,  then. Colonel Forster
is a sensible man,  and will keep her out  of any  real  mischief;
and she is luckily too poor  to  be  an object of prey to anybody.
At Brighton she will be of less importance  even as a common flirt
than she has been here.  The officers will find women better worth
their  notice.  Let us hope,  therefore,  that her being there may
teach her her own insignificance.  At any  rate,  she  cannot grow
many degrees worse,  without authorising us to lock her up for the
rest of her life.”                                                
  With  this answer  Elizabeth  was forced to be content;  but her
own opinion continued the same,  and she left him disappointed and
sorry.  It was not in her nature,  however,  to increase her vexa‐
tions by  dwelling on them.  She was confident of having performed
her duty,  and to fret over unavoidable evils,  or augment them by
anxiety, was no part of her disposition.                          
  Had  Lydia and her mother known the substance  of her conference
with her father, their indignation would hardly have found expres‐
sion in their united volubility.  In Lydia's imagination,  a visit
to Brighton comprised every possibility of earthly happiness.  She
saw,  with the  creative eye  of fancy,  the streets  of  that gay
bathing-place  covered with officers.  She saw herself the  object
of attention,  to  tens and to scores of them at  present unknown.
She saw  all the glories of the  camp—its tents stretched forth in
beauteous uniformity  of lines,  crowded with  the  young  and the
gay,  and dazzling  with scarlet;  and,  to complete the view, she
saw herself  seated beneath  a  tent,  tenderly  flirting  with at
least six officers at once.                                       
  Had she known her  sister sought to tear her from such prospects
and such realities as these,  what would have been her sensations?
They could have  been understood  only by her  mother,  who  might
have felt nearly the same.  Lydia's going to Brighton was all that
consoled her for her melancholy conviction of her husband's  never
intending to go there himself.                                    
  But  they were entirely ignorant of  what had passed;  and their
raptures continued,  with little intermission,  to the very day of
Lydia's leaving home.                                             
  Elizabeth was now to see Mr.  Wickham for the last time.  Having
been  frequently in company with  him since her return,  agitation
was pretty well over;  the  agitations  of  formal partiality  en‐
tirely so.  She had even learnt to detect,  in the very gentleness
which  had  first delighted her,  an affectation and a sameness to
disgust and weary.  In his present behaviour to herself, moreover,
she had a fresh source of  displeasure,  for  the  inclination  he
soon testified of renewing those  intentions which had marked  the
early part of their acquaintance could only serve,  after what had
since passed,  to  provoke her.  She  lost all concern  for him in
finding  herself  thus  selected  as the  object of such  idle and
frivolous gallantry;  and while  she steadily repressed it,  could
not but feel the reproof contained in his believing,  that however
long,  and for whatever cause,  his attentions had been withdrawn,
her vanity would be gratified,  and her preference secured  at any
time by their renewal.                                            
  On the very last day of the regiment's remaining at Meryton,  he
dined,  with other of the officers,  at  Longbourn; and  so little
was  Elizabeth disposed to part from him in  good humour,  that on
his  making some inquiry  as to the  manner in which her  time had
passed  at Hunsford,  she mentioned  Colonel Fitzwilliam's and Mr.
Darcy's having both spent three  weeks at Rosings,  and asked him,
if he was acquainted with the former.                             
  He  looked surprised,  displeased,  alarmed; but with a moment's
recollection and a returning smile,  replied, that he had formerly
seen him often; and, after observing that he was a very gentleman‐
like man,  asked her how she had liked him.  Her answer was warmly
in his favour.  With an air of indifference he soon afterwards ad‐
  “How long did you say he was at Rosings?”                       
  “Nearly three weeks.”                                           
  “And you saw him frequently?”                                   
  “Yes, almost every day.”                                        
  “His manners are very different from his cousin's.”             
  “Yes,  very different. But I think  Mr.  Darcy improves upon ac‐
  “Indeed!”  cried Mr.  Wickham  with a look which  did not escape
her. “And pray, may I ask?—” But checking himself,  he added, in a
gayer tone, “Is it in address that he improves?  Has he deigned to
add  aught  of civility  to his  ordinary  style?—for I  dare  not
hope,” he continued in a lower and more serious tone,  “that he is
improved in essentials.”                                          
  “Oh, no!” said Elizabeth.  “In essentials, I believe, he is very
much what he ever was.”                                           
  While she spoke,  Wickham looked as if scarcely  knowing whether
to rejoice over her  words,  or to distrust their  meaning.  There
was a something in her countenance which  made him  listen with an
apprehensive and anxious attention, while she added:              
  “When  I said that  he improved on acquaintance,  I did not mean
that his mind or his manners were  in a state of improvement,  but
that,  from knowing him better,  his disposition was better under‐
  Wickham's  alarm  now  appeared in  a  heightened complexion and
agitated look; for a few minutes he was silent, till,  shaking off
his  embarrassment,  he  turned  to  her  again,  and  said in the
gentlest of accents:                                              
  “You, who so well know my feeling towards Mr.  Darcy, will read‐
ily  comprehend  how  sincerely I  must  rejoice  that he is  wise
enough  to  assume  even  the  _appearance_ of what is right.  His
pride,  in  that direction, may be of service,  if not to himself,
to many others,  for it must only deter him from such foul miscon‐
duct as I have suffered by. I only fear that the sort of cautious‐
ness to which you, I imagine, have been alluding,  is merely adop‐
ted  on his visits to his aunt,  of whose good  opinion and judge‐
ment  he stands much in awe.  His fear of her has always operated,
I know, when they were together;  and a good deal is to be imputed
to his wish of forwarding the match with  Miss de Bourgh,  which I
am certain he has very much at heart.”                            
  Elizabeth could not repress a smile  at  this,  but she answered
only by a slight inclination of the head.  She saw that he  wanted
to  engage  her on the old subject of his grievances,  and she was
in no humour to indulge him.  The rest of the  evening passed with
the _appearance_,  on his side, of usual cheerfulness, but with no
further attempt to distinguish Elizabeth;  and they parted at last
with mutual civility,  and possibly a mutual desire of never meet‐
ing again.                                                        
  When the party  broke  up,  Lydia returned with Mrs.  Forster to
Meryton,  from whence they were to set out early the next morning.
The separation between  her and her  family  was rather noisy than
pathetic. Kitty was the only one who shed tears;  but she did weep
from  vexation and envy.  Mrs.  Bennet  was  diffuse in  her  good
wishes for the felicity of her daughter, and impressive in her in‐
junctions  that she should  not miss the  opportunity of  enjoying
herself as  much as possible—advice  which there was every  reason
to believe would be well attended to;  and in the clamorous happi‐
ness of Lydia herself in bidding farewell,  the more gentle adieus
of her sisters were uttered without being heard.                  

                            Chapter 42                            

Had Elizabeth's opinion  been all drawn from her own  family,  she
could not  have formed a  very pleasing opinion of  conjugal feli‐
city  or domestic  comfort.  Her father,  captivated by youth  and
beauty,  and that appearance of good humour which youth and beauty
generally  give,  had married a woman whose weak understanding and
illiberal mind had very early in their  marriage put an end to all
real affection for her.  Respect, esteem,  and confidence had van‐
ished for ever; and all his views of domestic happiness were over‐
thrown.  But Mr.  Bennet was  not of a disposition to seek comfort
for the  disappointment which his own imprudence had  brought  on,
in  any of those pleasures which too often console the unfortunate
for their folly or their vice.  He was fond of the country  and of
books;  and from these tastes had arisen his principal enjoyments.
To his wife he was very little otherwise indebted, than as her ig‐
norance  and folly had contributed to his amusement.  This is  not
the sort of happiness which a man  would in general wish to owe to
his  wife;  but where other powers  of  entertainment are wanting,
the true philosopher will derive benefit from such as are given.  
  Elizabeth,  however,  had never been blind to the impropriety of
her father's behaviour as a husband.  She  had always seen it with
pain;  but respecting his abilities,  and grateful  for his affec‐
tionate treatment  of herself,  she endeavoured to forget what she
could not overlook,  and  to banish  from  her thoughts  that con‐
tinual breach of conjugal obligation and decorum which,  in expos‐
ing  his wife to the  contempt of her own children,  was so highly
reprehensible.  But she had never felt so strongly as now the dis‐
advantages which  must attend the children of so unsuitable a mar‐
riage,  nor ever been so fully  aware of the evils arising from so
ill-judged a direction of talents;  talents, which,  rightly used,
might at least  have  preserved the  respectability of his  daugh‐
ters, even if incapable of enlarging the mind of his wife.        
  When  Elizabeth had rejoiced over Wickham's departure  she found
little  other cause for satisfaction  in the loss of the regiment.
Their parties  abroad  were  less varied than before,  and at home
she had a mother and sister  whose constant repinings at the dull‐
ness  of everything around  them threw a real gloom over their do‐
mestic circle;  and, though Kitty might in time regain her natural
degree of sense,  since the disturbers  of her brain were removed,
her other sister, from whose disposition greater evil might be ap‐
prehended,  was likely to be  hardened in all her folly and assur‐
ance by a situation  of such double danger as a watering-place and
a camp. Upon the whole,  therefore, she found, what has been some‐
times found before,  that an  event to which she had been  looking
with impatient desire did not, in taking place, bring all the sat‐
isfaction she had promised herself.  It was consequently necessary
to name some other  period  for  the commencement of  actual feli‐
city—to  have some other point on which her wishes and hopes might
be fixed, and by again enjoying the pleasure of anticipation, con‐
sole herself for the present,  and prepare for another disappoint‐
ment.  Her tour to the  Lakes was now the  object  of her happiest
thoughts;  it was her best consolation for  all the  uncomfortable
hours which the discontentedness of her mother  and Kitty made in‐
evitable;  and could she have included Jane  in the scheme,  every
part of it would have been perfect.                               
  “But it is  fortunate,” thought she,  “that I have  something to
wish for.  Were the whole arrangement complete,  my disappointment
would be  certain.  But here,  by  carrying with me  one ceaseless
source of regret in my sister's absence,  I may reasonably hope to
have all my expectations of pleasure  realised.  A scheme of which
every  part promises delight can never be successful;  and general
disappointment  is only  warded off by the defence  of some little
peculiar vexation.”                                               
  When Lydia went away she promised  to write very  often and very
minutely to her mother and  Kitty;  but  her letters  were  always
long expected,  and always very short.  Those to her  mother  con‐
tained little else than that they were just returned from the lib‐
rary,  where such and such officers  had attended them,  and where
she  had  seen such beautiful  ornaments as  made her quite  wild;
that she had a new gown,  or  a new parasol,  which she would have
described more fully,  but was obliged  to leave off in a  violent
hurry, as Mrs.  Forster called her, and they were going off to the
camp;  and  from her correspondence  with  her sister,  there  was
still less to be  learnt—for  her letters to Kitty,  though rather
longer,  were  much too full  of lines  under the words to be made
  After  the  first  fortnight  or three  weeks  of  her  absence,
health,  good humour,  and cheerfulness began to reappear at Long‐
bourn.  Everything wore  a happier aspect.  The  families who  had
been  in town for the  winter came back again,  and  summer finery
and  summer engagements arose.  Mrs.  Bennet  was restored  to her
usual querulous serenity;  and,  by the middle of June,  Kitty was
so much  recovered  as to  be able to enter Meryton without tears;
an event of such happy promise as  to make  Elizabeth hope that by
the  following  Christmas she might be  so tolerably reasonable as
not to mention an officer above once a day,  unless, by some cruel
and  malicious  arrangement  at the War  Office,  another regiment
should be quartered in Meryton.                                   
  The time fixed for the beginning of their northern  tour was now
fast approaching,  and a fortnight only was wanting of it,  when a
letter arrived from Mrs.  Gardiner, which at once delayed its com‐
mencement and curtailed its extent.  Mr. Gardiner would be preven‐
ted by business from setting out till a fortnight  later  in July,
and must be in London again within a month,  and  as that left too
short a period for them to go so far,  and see so much as they had
proposed,  or at least to see it with the leisure and comfort they
had built on, they were obliged to give up the Lakes,  and substi‐
tute a more contracted tour,  and,  according to the present plan,
were  to go no farther northwards than Derbyshire.  In that county
there was enough  to be seen  to  occupy the chief of their  three
weeks;  and to Mrs.  Gardiner it  had a peculiarly  strong attrac‐
tion.  The  town where  she had formerly  passed some years of her
life,  and where they were now  to spend a few days,  was probably
as great  an object of her  curiosity as all the  celebrated beau‐
ties of Matlock, Chatsworth, Dovedale, or the Peak.               
  Elizabeth was excessively  disappointed;  she had  set her heart
on seeing the Lakes,  and still thought there might have been time
enough.  But it was her business to be satisfied—and certainly her
temper to be happy; and all was soon right again.                 
  With the mention of Derbyshire there were  many ideas connected.
It was impossible for her to see the word without thinking of Pem‐
berley and its owner.  “But surely,” said she,  “I  may enter  his
county with impunity,  and rob it of a few petrified spars without
his perceiving me.”                                               
  The period  of expectation was now doubled.  Four  weeks were to
pass away before her  uncle and aunt's arrival.  But they did pass
away, and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, with their four children,  did at
length appear at  Longbourn.  The  children,  two girls of six and
eight years old,  and two younger boys,  were to be left under the
particular care of their cousin Jane,  who was the general favour‐
ite,  and whose steady sense and sweetness of temper exactly adap‐
ted her for attending to them in every way—teaching them,  playing
with them, and loving them.                                       
  The Gardiners stayed only  one night at  Longbourn,  and set off
the next morning with Elizabeth in pursuit of novelty  and  amuse‐
ment.  One enjoyment  was  certain—that of suitableness of compan‐
ions;  a suitableness which comprehended health and temper to bear
inconveniences—cheerfulness to enhance  every  pleasure—and affec‐
tion and  intelligence,  which might supply it among themselves if
there were disappointments abroad.                                
  It  is not  the object  of this  work  to give a  description of
Derbyshire,  nor  of any  of  the  remarkable places through which
their route  thither lay;  Oxford,  Blenheim, Warwick, Kenilworth,
Birmingham,  etc.  are sufficiently known.  A small part of Derby‐
shire is all the present concern.  To the little  town of Lambton,
the scene of Mrs.  Gardiner's former residence,  and where she had
lately learned some acquaintance still  remained,  they bent their
steps,  after having seen all  the principal wonders of  the coun‐
try;  and within five miles of Lambton,  Elizabeth  found from her
aunt  that  Pemberley  was situated.  It  was not  in their direct
road,  nor more  than  a mile or  two out of it.  In  talking over
their route the evening before, Mrs. Gardiner expressed an inclin‐
ation to see the place again.  Mr.  Gardiner declared his willing‐
ness, and Elizabeth was applied to for her approbation.           
  “My love,  should not you like  to see a place of which you have
heard so much?” said her aunt;  “a place, too,  with which so many
of your acquaintances are connected.  Wickham passed all his youth
there, you know.”                                                 
  Elizabeth was distressed.  She felt  that she had no business at
Pemberley,  and  was obliged to assume a disinclination for seeing
it.  She must own that she was tired of seeing great houses; after
going over so many,  she really had no pleasure in fine carpets or
satin curtains.                                                   
  Mrs.  Gardiner  abused her stupidity.  “If it were merely a fine
house richly furnished,” said she, “I should not care about it my‐
self;  but  the grounds  are  delightful.  They  have some of  the
finest woods in the country.”                                     
  Elizabeth said  no more—but  her mind  could not acquiesce.  The
possibility  of meeting Mr.  Darcy,  while viewing the place,  in‐
stantly  occurred.  It would be dreadful!  She blushed at the very
idea,  and thought it would be  better to speak openly to her aunt
than to run such a risk.  But against  this there were objections;
and she finally  resolved that it could be the  last resource,  if
her private inquiries to the absence  of the family were unfavour‐
ably answered.                                                    
  Accordingly,  when she retired at night,  she asked the chamber‐
maid  whether Pemberley  were not a very fine place?  what was the
name of its proprietor?  and,  with no little  alarm,  whether the
family were down for the summer?  A most welcome negative followed
the last  question—and her  alarms now being  removed,  she was at
leisure to feel  a great  deal of curiosity to  see the house her‐
self;  and when the subject was revived the next morning,  and she
was again applied to, could readily answer,  and with a proper air
of  indifference,  that  she had  not  really any  dislike to  the
scheme. To Pemberley, therefore, they were to go.                 

                            Chapter 43                            

Elizabeth,  as they drove along,  watched for the first appearance
of  Pemberley Woods with some perturbation;  and  when  at  length
they turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter.  
  The park was very large,  and contained great variety of ground.
They  entered it in one of its lowest points,  and drove  for some
time through a beautiful wood stretching over a wide extent.      
  Elizabeth's mind was too full for conversation,  but she saw and
admired every remarkable spot and  point of view.  They  gradually
ascended for half-a-mile,  and then found themselves at the top of
a considerable eminence,  where the wood ceased,  and  the eye was
instantly  caught by Pemberley House,  situated  on  the  opposite
side of a valley,  into which the road with some abruptness wound.
It was a large,  handsome stone building,  standing well on rising
ground,  and backed by a ridge of high woody hills;  and in front,
a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater,  but
without any artificial appearance.  Its banks  were neither formal
nor falsely adorned.  Elizabeth was delighted.  She had never seen
a place for  which nature had done more,  or where  natural beauty
had  been so  little  counteracted by an awkward taste.  They were
all of them warm in their admiration;  and at that moment she felt
that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!              
  They  descended the hill,  crossed the bridge,  and drove to the
door;  and,  while  examining the nearer aspect of the house,  all
her apprehension  of meeting its owner returned.  She dreaded lest
the chambermaid had  been mistaken.  On applying to see the place,
they were  admitted into the hall;  and Elizabeth,  as they waited
for the housekeeper,  had leisure to wonder at her being where she
  The housekeeper came; a respectable-looking elderly woman,  much
less fine,  and more  civil,  than  she had any notion  of finding
her.  They followed her into the dining-parlour.  It was a  large,
well proportioned room,  handsomely fitted  up.  Elizabeth,  after
slightly  surveying  it,  went to a window  to enjoy its prospect.
The hill, crowned with wood,  which they had descended,  receiving
increased  abruptness from the distance,  was  a beautiful object.
Every disposition  of the ground was good;  and  she looked on the
whole scene,  the river,  the trees scattered on its banks and the
winding  of the valley,  as far  as she  could trace it,  with de‐
light.  As they passed into other rooms these  objects were taking
different positions;  but from every window there were beauties to
be seen.  The  rooms were lofty and handsome,  and their furniture
suitable to the  fortune  of its  proprietor;  but Elizabeth  saw,
with admiration of  his taste,  that it was neither gaudy nor use‐
lessly fine;  with less of splendour, and more real elegance, than
the furniture of Rosings.                                         
  “And of this place,” thought she,  “I might  have been mistress!
With these rooms I might now have been familiarly acquainted!  In‐
stead  of viewing  them  as a stranger,  I might  have rejoiced in
them as  my own,  and welcomed to them as visitors  my  uncle  and
aunt.  But no,”—recollecting  herself—“that  could  never  be;  my
uncle and aunt would have been lost to me;  I should not have been
allowed to invite them.”                                          
  This was a lucky  recollection—it saved her  from something very
like regret.                                                      
  She longed to inquire of the housekeeper whether her master  was
really absent,  but had not the courage for it. At length however,
the question was  asked by  her  uncle;  and she turned away  with
alarm,  while Mrs. Reynolds replied that he  was,  adding, “But we
expect  him  to-morrow,  with a  large party  of friends.” How re‐
joiced was Elizabeth that their own journey had not by any circum‐
stance been delayed a day!                                        
  Her aunt now called  her to look at  a  picture.  She approached
and saw the likeness of Mr.  Wickham,  suspended,  amongst several
other miniatures, over the mantelpiece.  Her aunt asked her, smil‐
ingly,  how she liked it.  The housekeeper came forward,  and told
them it was a picture of a  young gentleman,  the  son of her late
master's steward,  who had been brought up by  him at  his own ex‐
pense.  “He  is  now gone into  the  army,”  she added;  “but I am
afraid he has turned out very wild.”                              
  Mrs.  Gardiner looked  at her niece with a smile,  but Elizabeth
could not return it.                                              
  “And that,” said Mrs. Reynolds, pointing to another of the mini‐
atures, “is my master—and very like him.  It was drawn at the same
time as the other—about eight years ago.”                         
  “I have  heard  much  of your master's  fine  person,” said Mrs.
Gardiner,  looking  at the picture;  “it is a handsome face.  But,
Lizzy, you can tell us whether it is like or not.”                
  Mrs.  Reynolds  respect for Elizabeth seemed to increase on this
intimation of her knowing her master.                             
  “Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy?”                          
  Elizabeth coloured, and said: “A little.”                       
  “And do not you think him a very handsome gentleman, ma'am?”    
  “Yes, very handsome.”                                           
  “I  am sure  I  know  none so handsome;  but  in the gallery  up
stairs  you  will see a  finer,  larger picture of  him than this.
This  room was my late  master's favourite room,  and  these mini‐
atures are just as they used to  be  then.  He  was  very  fond of
  This accounted to Elizabeth for Mr. Wickham's being among them. 
  Mrs.  Reynolds then directed their attention to one of Miss Dar‐
cy, drawn when she was only eight years old.                      
  “And is  Miss  Darcy as  handsome as  her  brother?”  said  Mrs.
  “Oh!  yes—the handsomest young lady  that ever was seen;  and so
accomplished!—She  plays and sings all day long.  In the next room
is a new instrument just come down for her—a  present from my mas‐
ter; she comes here to-morrow with him.”                          
  Mr. Gardiner, whose manners were very easy and pleasant, encour‐
aged  her communicativeness by  his  questions  and remarks;  Mrs.
Reynolds,  either by pride  or  attachment,  had  evidently  great
pleasure in talking of her master and his sister.                 
  “Is your master much at Pemberley in the course of the year?”   
  “Not so much as I could wish,  sir;  but I dare say he may spend
half his time here;  and Miss Darcy  is always down for the summer
  “Except,” thought Elizabeth, “when she goes to Ramsgate.”       
  “If your master would marry, you might see more of him.”        
  “Yes, sir;  but I do not know when _that_ will be. I do not know
who is good enough for him.”                                      
  Mr.  and Mrs. Gardiner smiled.  Elizabeth could not help saying,
“It is very much to his credit,  I am sure,  that you should think
  “I say  no  more  than the truth,  and everybody  will say  that
knows  him,” replied the other.  Elizabeth thought this  was going
pretty far;  and she listened with increasing  astonishment as the
housekeeper added,  “I have never  known a  cross word from him in
my life, and I have known him ever since he was four years old.”  
  This was praise,  of all others most extraordinary,  most oppos‐
ite  to her ideas.  That he was not a  good-tempered man  had been
her  firmest opinion.  Her  keenest  attention  was awakened;  she
longed to hear more, and was grateful to her uncle for saying:    
  “There are very few people of whom so much can be said.  You are
lucky in having such a master.”                                   
  “Yes,  sir, I know I am.  If I were to go  through the  world, I
could not meet with a better.  But  I  have always observed,  that
they  who  are good-natured when children,  are  good-natured when
they grow up; and he was always the sweetest-tempered, most gener‐
ous-hearted boy in the world.”                                    
  Elizabeth almost  stared  at  her.  “Can  this  be  Mr.  Darcy?”
thought she.                                                      
  “His father was an excellent man,” said Mrs. Gardiner.          
  “Yes,  ma'am,  that he was indeed; and his son will be just like
him—just as affable to the poor.”                                 
  Elizabeth listened,  wondered,  doubted, and  was impatient  for
more. Mrs. Reynolds could interest her on no other point.  She re‐
lated the subjects of the  pictures,  the dimensions of the rooms,
and the price  of the furniture,  in vain.  Mr.  Gardiner,  highly
amused by the  kind of family prejudice to which he attributed her
excessive commendation  of her master,  soon led again to the sub‐
ject;  and she dwelt with energy  on his many merits  as they pro‐
ceeded together up the great staircase.                           
  “He is the best landlord,  and the best master,” said she, “that
ever lived;  not like the wild  young  men nowadays,  who think of
nothing but themselves.  There is not one of  his  tenants or ser‐
vants but will give  him a good name.  Some people call him proud;
but I am sure I never saw anything of it.  To my fancy, it is only
because he does not rattle away like other young men.”            
  “In what an  amiable light does this  place him!” thought Eliza‐
  “This fine account of him,” whispered her aunt  as they  walked,
“is not quite consistent with his behaviour to our poor friend.”  
  “Perhaps we might be deceived.”                                 
  “That is not very likely; our authority was too good.”          
  On  reaching  the spacious  lobby above  they were shown  into a
very pretty sitting-room,  lately fitted up with  greater elegance
and lightness than the  apartments  below;  and were informed that
it was but just  done to  give  pleasure  to Miss  Darcy,  who had
taken a liking to the room when last at Pemberley.                
  “He is certainly a good brother,” said Elizabeth,  as she walked
towards one of the windows.                                       
  Mrs.  Reynolds anticipated Miss Darcy's delight, when she should
enter the room.  “And this is always the way with him,” she added.
“Whatever  can give his sister any pleasure is  sure to be done in
a moment. There is nothing he would not do for her.”              
  The picture-gallery,  and  two  or  three  of the principal bed‐
rooms,  were all that remained  to  be shown.  In the  former were
many good paintings;  but  Elizabeth knew nothing of the art;  and
from such as had been already  visible  below,  she  had willingly
turned  to  look at some drawings  of  Miss Darcy's,  in  crayons,
whose subjects were usually more interesting, and also more intel‐
  In the gallery there were many family portraits,  but they could
have little  to fix the attention of a stranger.  Elizabeth walked
in quest of the  only face whose  features would be known  to her.
At last it arrested her—and  she  beheld a striking resemblance to
Mr.  Darcy,  with such  a smile over the face as she remembered to
have  sometimes  seen when he  looked  at her.  She  stood several
minutes before  the  picture,  in earnest  contemplation,  and re‐
turned to it again before they quitted the gallery.  Mrs. Reynolds
informed them that it had been taken in his father's lifetime.    
  There was certainly at this moment, in Elizabeth's mind,  a more
gentle sensation towards the  original than  she had ever felt  at
the  height of  their acquaintance.  The  commendation bestowed on
him by  Mrs.  Reynolds  was of no trifling nature.  What praise is
more valuable  than  the praise  of  an intelligent servant?  As a
brother,  a landlord,  a master,  she considered how many people's
happiness were in his  guardianship!—how much of  pleasure or pain
was it in his power  to bestow!—how much of good  or evil must  be
done  by him!  Every  idea  that  had  been brought forward by the
housekeeper was favourable to his character,  and as she stood be‐
fore the  canvas on  which he was represented,  and fixed his eyes
upon  herself,  she thought of his regard with a  deeper sentiment
of gratitude than  it  had ever raised before;  she remembered its
warmth, and softened its impropriety of expression.               
  When all  of the  house that was  open to general inspection had
been  seen,  they returned  downstairs,  and, taking  leave of the
housekeeper,  were consigned over to the gardener, who met them at
the hall-door.                                                    
  As they walked across the  hall  towards  the  river,  Elizabeth
turned  back to look again;  her uncle and aunt stopped also,  and
while the former was conjecturing as to the date of the  building,
the  owner of  it  himself suddenly came  forward  from the  road,
which led behind it to the stables.                               
  They were within  twenty yards of each other,  and so abrupt was
his appearance,  that it was impossible to avoid his sight.  Their
eyes instantly met,  and the cheeks of both  were overspread  with
the deepest blush.  He absolutely started, and for a moment seemed
immovable from surprise; but shortly recovering himself,  advanced
towards the party, and spoke to Elizabeth, if not in terms of per‐
fect composure, at least of perfect civility.                     
  She had  instinctively  turned  away;  but  stopping  on his ap‐
proach,  received his compliments with an embarrassment impossible
to be overcome.  Had his first appearance,  or  his resemblance to
the picture they had just been examining, been insufficient to as‐
sure the other two that they now saw Mr. Darcy, the gardener's ex‐
pression of  surprise,  on beholding his master,  must immediately
have told it.  They  stood a little aloof while he was  talking to
their niece,  who, astonished and  confused,  scarcely  dared lift
her eyes  to his face,  and knew  not what  answer she returned to
his civil inquiries after her family.  Amazed at the alteration of
his manner since they last parted,  every sentence that he uttered
was increasing her embarrassment;  and every idea of the impropri‐
ety of  her being  found there  recurring  to her  mind,  the  few
minutes  in  which they continued were some of the most uncomfort‐
able  in her life.  Nor did he  seem much more at  ease;  when  he
spoke,  his accent had  none of its usual sedateness;  and  he re‐
peated  his inquiries as to the time of her having left Longbourn,
and of her having stayed in Derbyshire,  so often,  and in so hur‐
ried a way, as plainly spoke the distraction of his thoughts.     
  At length every idea seemed to fail him;  and,  after standing a
few  moments without saying a word,  he suddenly recollected  him‐
self, and took leave.                                             
  The others then joined her, and expressed admiration of his fig‐
ure;  but Elizabeth heard not a word,  and wholly engrossed by her
own  feelings,  followed them  in silence.  She was overpowered by
shame  and vexation.  Her coming there  was  the most unfortunate,
the  most ill-judged thing in the world!  How  strange it must ap‐
pear to  him!  In what a disgraceful light might it not  strike so
vain a man!  It might seem as if she  had purposely thrown herself
in his way again!  Oh! why did she come?  Or, why did he thus come
a day before he was expected? Had they been only ten minutes soon‐
er,  they should have been beyond the reach of his discrimination;
for it was  plain  that  he  was  that moment  arrived—that moment
alighted  from his  horse or  his carriage.  She blushed again and
again over the perverseness of the meeting. And his behaviour,  so
strikingly altered—what could it mean?  That he should  even speak
to her was amazing!—but to  speak with such  civility,  to inquire
after her family!  Never in her life had she  seen his  manners so
little dignified,  never had  he spoken with such gentleness as on
this unexpected meeting.  What a contrast did it offer to his last
address in Rosings Park,  when he put his  letter into  her  hand!
She knew not what to think, or how to account for it.             
  They had now  entered a beautiful walk by the side of the water,
and every step was bringing forward a nobler fall of ground,  or a
finer  reach of the woods to which they were  approaching;  but it
was some time before  Elizabeth was  sensible of any  of it;  and,
though  she answered mechanically  to the repeated  appeals of her
uncle and aunt,  and seemed to direct her eyes to such objects  as
they  pointed out,  she distinguished no  part  of the scene.  Her
thoughts were all fixed  on  that one  spot  of  Pemberley  House,
whichever it  might be,  where Mr.  Darcy then was.  She longed to
know  what at the moment was passing in his mind—in what manner he
thought of her,  and whether,  in defiance of everything,  she was
still dear to him.  Perhaps he had been civil only because he felt
himself at ease;  yet there had been _that_ in his voice which was
not like ease.  Whether he had felt more of pain or of pleasure in
seeing her she could  not tell,  but he certainly had not seen her
with composure.                                                   
  At length,  however,  the remarks of her  companions on  her ab‐
sence of mind aroused her,  and  she felt the necessity of appear‐
ing more like herself.                                            
  They entered  the woods,  and bidding adieu to  the river for  a
while,  ascended some of the higher grounds; when,  in spots where
the opening of the trees gave the eye  power to wander,  were many
charming views of the valley,  the opposite hills,  with  the long
range  of woods overspreading many,  and  occasionally part of the
stream.  Mr.  Gardiner expressed a wish  of going round  the whole
park,  but feared it might be  beyond  a walk.  With a  triumphant
smile they were told that it  was ten miles round.  It settled the
matter;  and they pursued  the accustomed circuit;  which  brought
them again, after some time, in a descent among hanging woods,  to
the  edge  of  the water,  and one  of its narrowest  parts.  They
crossed it by a simple bridge,  in character with the general  air
of  the scene;  it was  a spot less adorned than any  they had yet
visited;  and the valley, here  contracted  into  a glen,  allowed
room only for the stream,  and a narrow walk amidst the rough cop‐
pice-wood which bordered it. Elizabeth longed to explore its wind‐
ings;  but when  they had crossed the bridge,  and perceived their
distance  from the house,  Mrs.  Gardiner,  who  was  not a  great
walker,  could go no farther, and thought only of returning to the
carriage as quickly  as possible.  Her niece was,  therefore,  ob‐
liged to submit,  and they took their way towards the house on the
opposite side of the river,  in the nearest  direction;  but their
progress was slow,  for  Mr. Gardiner,  though  seldom able to in‐
dulge the taste,  was  very fond  of fishing,  and was so much en‐
gaged  in watching the occasional appearance of some  trout in the
water,  and  talking to the man  about them,  that he advanced but
little.  Whilst wandering on in this slow manner,  they were again
surprised,  and Elizabeth's  astonishment was  quite equal to what
it had been at first,  by the sight of Mr. Darcy approaching them,
and at no great distance.  The walk being here less sheltered than
on the other side, allowed them to see him before they met. Eliza‐
beth, however astonished, was at least more prepared for an inter‐
view than  before,  and  resolved  to  appear  and to  speak  with
calmness,  if he really intended to meet them.  For a few moments,
indeed,  she felt that  he  would probably strike into  some other
path.  The idea lasted while a turning in  the walk concealed  him
from their view;  the  turning  past,  he  was immediately  before
them.  With a glance,  she saw that he had lost none of his recent
civility; and, to imitate his politeness, she began,  as they met,
to admire the beauty of the place;  but she had not got beyond the
words  “delightful,” and “charming,”  when some unlucky  recollec‐
tions obtruded,  and she fancied that praise of Pemberley from her
might  be mischievously construed.  Her  colour  changed,  and she
said no more.                                                     
  Mrs. Gardiner was standing a little behind;  and on her pausing,
he  asked her if she would do him the honour of introducing him to
her friends.  This  was  a stroke of civility  for  which  she was
quite unprepared; and she could hardly suppress a smile at his be‐
ing now  seeking  the acquaintance of some of  those  very  people
against  whom his pride  had  revolted  in  his offer to  herself.
“What will be his surprise,” thought she,  “when he knows who they
are? He takes them now for people of fashion.”                    
  The  introduction,  however,  was immediately made;  and as  she
named their relationship to herself,  she stole a sly look at him,
to see how he bore it,  and was not without the expectation of his
decamping as  fast  as he  could from such disgraceful companions.
That he was _surprised_  by the connection  was evident;  he  sus‐
tained it,  however,  with fortitude, and  so far from going away,
turned  back with  them,  and  entered into  conversation with Mr.
Gardiner.  Elizabeth could not but be pleased,  could not but tri‐
umph.  It was consoling that he should know she had some relations
for whom there  was no need  to blush.  She  listened most attent‐
ively to all that passed between them,  and  gloried  in every ex‐
pression,  every sentence of her uncle,  which marked his intelli‐
gence, his taste, or his good manners.                            
  The conversation  soon turned upon  fishing;  and  she heard Mr.
Darcy invite him, with the greatest civility, to fish there as of‐
ten as he chose while he continued in the neighbourhood,  offering
at the same time to supply him with fishing tackle,  and  pointing
out  those parts of the stream where there was usually most sport.
Mrs.  Gardiner, who  was walking arm-in-arm  with Elizabeth,  gave
her a look expressive  of wonder.  Elizabeth said nothing,  but it
gratified her exceedingly;  the compliment  must be all  for  her‐
self.  Her astonishment, however, was extreme, and continually was
she repeating,  “Why is he so altered?  From  what can it proceed?
It cannot be for _me_—it cannot be for _my_  sake that his manners
are thus softened.  My reproofs at Hunsford  could not work such a
change as this. It is impossible that he should still love me.”   
  After walking some  time  in this way,  the two ladies in front,
the two gentlemen behind, on resuming their places, after descend‐
ing to  the brink of the  river for the better inspection of  some
curious water-plant,  there chanced to be a little alteration.  It
originated in Mrs. Gardiner, who,  fatigued by the exercise of the
morning, found Elizabeth's arm inadequate to her support, and con‐
sequently preferred her husband's.  Mr.  Darcy  took her  place by
her niece,  and they  walked on together.  After a  short silence,
the lady first spoke. She wished him to know that she had been as‐
sured of his absence before she came to  the  place,  and  accord‐
ingly began by observing,  that his arrival had been very unexpec‐
ted—“for your  housekeeper,”  she added,  “informed  us  that  you
would certainly not be here till to-morrow; and indeed,  before we
left Bakewell,  we understood that you were not immediately expec‐
ted in  the country.”  He acknowledged the truth  of it  all,  and
said that business with his steward had occasioned his coming for‐
ward a  few  hours before the rest of the party  with whom  he had
been travelling.  “They will join me early  to-morrow,” he contin‐
ued,  “and among them are some who will claim an acquaintance with
you—Mr. Bingley and his sisters.”                                 
  Elizabeth answered only by a slight bow.  Her thoughts were  in‐
stantly driven back to  the time when Mr.  Bingley's name had been
the last mentioned between them;  and,  if she might  judge by his
complexion, _his_ mind was not very differently engaged.          
  “There  is also  one  other  person in  the party,” he continued
after  a pause,  “who more particularly wishes to be known to you.
Will you allow me,  or do I ask too  much,  to introduce my sister
to your acquaintance during your stay at Lambton?”                
  The surprise of such  an  application  was great indeed;  it was
too great for her to know in what manner  she  acceded to it.  She
immediately felt that whatever desire Miss Darcy might have of be‐
ing  acquainted with her must be  the  work of  her brother,  and,
without looking  farther,  it was satisfactory;  it was gratifying
to know that  his resentment had  not made him think really ill of
  They now walked  on in silence,  each of  them  deep in thought.
Elizabeth was  not comfortable;  that was impossible;  but she was
flattered and pleased.  His wish  of introducing his sister to her
was a compliment of  the  highest kind.  They soon outstripped the
others,  and  when they  had  reached the carriage,  Mr.  and Mrs.
Gardiner were half a quarter of a mile behind.                    
  He then asked her to walk  into the house—but  she declared her‐
self  not tired,  and they  stood together on the lawn.  At such a
time much might have been said,  and silence was very awkward. She
wanted  to talk,  but there  seemed to be an embargo on every sub‐
ject.  At last she recollected that she  had been travelling,  and
they talked of Matlock and Dove Dale with great perseverance.  Yet
time and her  aunt  moved  slowly—and  her patience  and her ideas
were nearly worn out before the tete-a-tete was over.  On Mr.  and
Mrs.  Gardiner's coming  up they were all  pressed to go  into the
house and take some refreshment;  but this was declined,  and they
parted on each side with utmost politeness.  Mr.  Darcy handed the
ladies into the  carriage;  and when it  drove off,  Elizabeth saw
him walking slowly towards the house.                             
  The  observations  of her uncle and aunt now began;  and each of
them pronounced him  to be  infinitely  superior  to anything they
had expected.  “He is perfectly well behaved, polite, and unassum‐
ing,” said her uncle.                                             
  “There  _is_ something a  little  stately in him,  to  be sure,”
replied her aunt, “but it is confined to his air, and is not unbe‐
coming.  I can now  say  with  the housekeeper,  that though  some
people may call him proud, I have seen nothing of it.”            
  “I was never more surprised than by his behaviour to us.  It was
more than civil;  it was really attentive; and there was no neces‐
sity for such attention.  His acquaintance with Elizabeth was very
  “To be sure,  Lizzy,” said her aunt,  “he is not  so handsome as
Wickham;  or, rather,  he has  not Wickham's countenance,  for his
features are perfectly good.  But how came you to  tell me that he
was so disagreeable?”                                             
  Elizabeth excused  herself as well as she could;  said that  she
had  liked him better when they had met in  Kent than before,  and
that she had never seen him so pleasant as this morning.          
  “But perhaps he may be  a little  whimsical  in his civilities,”
replied her uncle.  “Your  great  men often are;  and  therefore I
shall not take him  at  his word,  as he might change his mind an‐
other day, and warn me off his grounds.”                          
  Elizabeth felt that they  had entirely misunderstood his charac‐
ter, but said nothing.                                            
  “From  what we have seen of  him,” continued Mrs.  Gardiner,  “I
really should not  have thought  that he could  have behaved in so
cruel a way by anybody as he has done by poor Wickham.  He has not
an ill-natured look.  On the contrary, there is something pleasing
about his mouth when he speaks.  And there is something of dignity
in  his countenance  that would not give one an unfavourable  idea
of his heart.  But,  to be sure,  the good  lady who showed us his
house did  give him a most flaming character!  I could hardly help
laughing aloud sometimes.  But he is a liberal master,  I suppose,
and _that_ in the eye of a servant comprehends every virtue.”     
  Elizabeth here felt herself called on to say  something in  vin‐
dication of his behaviour  to Wickham;  and therefore gave them to
understand, in as guarded a manner as she could,  that by what she
had heard from his relations in Kent,  his actions were capable of
a very different construction;  and that his  character was  by no
means so faulty,  nor Wickham's so amiable,  as they had been con‐
sidered in Hertfordshire.  In  confirmation  of this,  she related
the  particulars of all the  pecuniary transactions in  which they
had  been  connected,  without actually naming her authority,  but
stating it to be such as might be relied on.                      
  Mrs. Gardiner was surprised and concerned;  but as they were now
approaching the scene of  her  former pleasures,  every  idea gave
way to the charm of recollection;  and she was too much engaged in
pointing  out to her husband  all the interesting spots in its en‐
virons to think of anything else.  Fatigued as she had been by the
morning's walk they had no sooner dined  than she set off again in
quest of her former  acquaintance,  and the evening  was spent  in
the  satisfactions of a intercourse renewed after many years' dis‐
  The  occurrences of  the day were too full of interest to  leave
Elizabeth much attention for  any of these new  friends;  and  she
could do nothing but think,  and think with wonder, of Mr. Darcy's
civility,  and,  above  all,  of his wishing her to  be acquainted
with his sister.                                                  

                            Chapter 44                            

Elizabeth had settled it that Mr.  Darcy would bring his sister to
visit her the very day after her reaching Pemberley;  and was con‐
sequently resolved not  to be out of sight of the inn the whole of
that morning.  But her conclusion was false; for on the very morn‐
ing after their arrival at Lambton,  these visitors came. They had
been walking  about the place with some of their new friends,  and
were  just returning to the  inn  to dress themselves  for  dining
with the same family,  when the sound of a carriage drew them to a
window,  and they saw a gentleman and a lady in a curricle driving
up  the  street.  Elizabeth  immediately recognizing  the  livery,
guessed what it meant,  and  imparted no small degree of  her sur‐
prise  to her relations by acquainting them with the  honour which
she expected.  Her uncle and aunt were all amazement;  and the em‐
barrassment  of her manner  as she  spoke,  joined to the  circum‐
stance  itself,  and  many of  the circumstances of  the preceding
day,  opened to them a new idea on the business.  Nothing had ever
suggested it before,  but they felt that there was no other way of
accounting for such attentions from such a quarter than by suppos‐
ing  a partiality for their niece.  While these newly-born notions
were passing in their heads, the perturbation of Elizabeth's feel‐
ings  was at every moment increasing.  She was quite amazed at her
own  discomposure;  but  amongst other  causes  of  disquiet,  she
dreaded lest the partiality  of  the brother should  have said too
much in her favour;  and,  more  than commonly anxious  to please,
she  naturally suspected that every power  of pleasing would  fail
  She retreated from the  window,  fearful  of being seen;  and as
she walked up and down the room,  endeavouring to compose herself,
saw  such looks of inquiring surprise  in  her uncle and  aunt  as
made everything worse.                                            
  Miss Darcy and her brother appeared,  and this formidable intro‐
duction took  place.  With astonishment did Elizabeth see that her
new  acquaintance  was at  least as much embarrassed  as  herself.
Since her being at Lambton,  she had heard that Miss Darcy was ex‐
ceedingly proud;  but the  observation of a  very few minutes con‐
vinced her that she was only exceedingly shy.  She found it diffi‐
cult to obtain even a word from her beyond a monosyllable.        
  Miss Darcy was tall,  and on a larger scale than Elizabeth; and,
though little more than sixteen,  her figure was  formed,  and her
appearance womanly  and graceful.  She was less  handsome than her
brother; but there was sense and good humour in her face,  and her
manners were perfectly unassuming and gentle.  Elizabeth,  who had
expected to  find in her as acute and unembarrassed an observer as
ever Mr. Darcy had been, was much relieved by discerning such dif‐
ferent feelings.                                                  
  They  had not long been together before Mr.  Darcy told her that
Bingley  was also coming to wait on her;  and she  had barely time
to express her satisfaction, and prepare for such a visitor,  when
Bingley's quick step was heard on the  stairs,  and in a moment he
entered the room.  All Elizabeth's anger against him had been long
done away; but had she still felt any,  it could hardly have stood
its  ground against the unaffected cordiality  with which  he  ex‐
pressed himself on seeing  her again.  He inquired in  a friendly,
though general way,  after  her family,  and looked and spoke with
the same good-humoured ease that he had ever done.                
  To Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner he was scarcely a less interesting per‐
sonage than  to  herself.  They had long wished  to see  him.  The
whole party before them,  indeed, excited a lively attention.  The
suspicions which had just arisen of Mr. Darcy and their niece dir‐
ected  their observation  towards  each  with  an  earnest  though
guarded inquiry;  and they soon drew from those inquiries the full
conviction that one of them at least knew what it was to love.  Of
the lady's sensations they  remained  a little in doubt;  but that
the  gentleman  was  overflowing  with  admiration   was   evident
  Elizabeth, on her side, had much to do.  She wanted to ascertain
the feelings  of each of her visitors;  she  wanted to compose her
own,  and to make herself agreeable to all;  and in the latter ob‐
ject,  where she feared  most  to fail,  she was most sure of suc‐
cess, for those to whom she endeavoured to give pleasure were pre‐
possessed in her favour.  Bingley was ready,  Georgiana was eager,
and Darcy determined, to be pleased.                              
  In  seeing Bingley,  her thoughts  naturally flew to her sister;
and,  oh!  how  ardently  did she long to  know whether any of his
were directed in a like manner.  Sometimes she could fancy that he
talked less than on former occasions,  and once  or  twice pleased
herself with the notion that,  as he looked at her,  he was trying
to trace a resemblance.  But, though this might be imaginary,  she
could not be deceived as to his behaviour  to Miss Darcy,  who had
been set up as a  rival to Jane.  No look appeared on  either side
that spoke particular regard.  Nothing occurred  between them that
could justify the hopes of his sister.  On this point she was soon
satisfied;  and two or  three  little  circumstances occurred  ere
they parted, which,  in her anxious interpretation,  denoted a re‐
collection of Jane not  untinctured by tenderness,  and  a wish of
saying more that might lead to the mention of her,  had  he dared.
He observed to  her,  at a moment when the others were talking to‐
gether, and in a tone which had something of real regret,  that it
“was a very long time since he had had the pleasure of seeing her‐
;” and,  before she  could reply,  he  added,  “It  is above eight
months.  We have not met since the 26th of November,  when we were
all dancing together at Netherfield.”                             
  Elizabeth was pleased to find his memory so exact; and he after‐
wards took  occasion to ask her,  when unattended to by any of the
rest,  whether _all_ her sisters were at Longbourn.  There was not
much in the question,  nor in the preceding remark;  but there was
a look and a manner which gave them meaning.                      
  It was not often that she could turn her eyes on Mr.  Darcy him‐
self;  but,  whenever she did catch a glimpse, she saw an  expres‐
sion  of general complaisance,  and in all that he said she  heard
an accent so removed from _hauteur_ or disdain of  his companions,
as  convinced her that the  improvement  of manners which she  had
yesterday witnessed however  temporary its existence might  prove,
had  at least outlived one day.  When she saw him thus seeking the
acquaintance and courting  the good opinion  of people  with  whom
any intercourse a few  months ago  would have been a disgrace—when
she saw him thus civil, not only to herself, but to the very rela‐
tions whom  he  had openly  disdained,  and recollected their last
lively scene in Hunsford Parsonage—the difference,  the change was
so great,  and  struck so forcibly  on her mind,  that  she  could
hardly restrain her astonishment from being visible.  Never,  even
in  the company of his dear friends at Netherfield,  or his digni‐
fied  relations  at Rosings,  had  she  seen him  so  desirous  to
please,  so free  from self-consequence  or unbending reserve,  as
now,  when no importance could result from the  success of his en‐
deavours,  and when even the acquaintance of those to whom his at‐
tentions were addressed would draw  down the  ridicule and censure
of the ladies both of Netherfield and Rosings.                    
  Their visitors  stayed with them above  half-an-hour;  and  when
they arose to depart,  Mr.  Darcy called on his sister to join him
in  expressing  their  wish of seeing Mr.  and Mrs. Gardiner,  and
Miss Bennet,  to dinner at Pemberley,  before they left the  coun‐
try. Miss Darcy,  though with a diffidence which marked her little
in the habit of giving invitations, readily obeyed. Mrs.  Gardiner
looked at her niece,  desirous of knowing how _she_,  whom the in‐
vitation most concerned,  felt disposed as to its acceptance,  but
Elizabeth had turned away her head.  Presuming however,  that this
studied avoidance spoke rather a momentary embarrassment than  any
dislike of the proposal,  and seeing in her husband,  who was fond
of society,  a perfect willingness to accept it,  she ventured  to
engage for her attendance,  and the day  after the next was  fixed
  Bingley  expressed  great pleasure in  the  certainty of  seeing
Elizabeth  again,  having still  a  great deal to say to her,  and
many  inquiries to  make  after  all their Hertfordshire  friends.
Elizabeth,  construing all this into a  wish  of hearing her speak
of her sister, was pleased,  and on this account,  as well as some
others,  found herself,  when their visitors left them, capable of
considering  the  last half-hour  with  some satisfaction,  though
while it was passing,  the enjoyment of it had been little.  Eager
to be alone,  and fearful of inquiries or hints from her uncle and
aunt,  she stayed with them only long enough to hear their favour‐
able opinion of Bingley, and then hurried away to dress.          
  But she had  no reason to fear Mr.  and Mrs.  Gardiner's curios‐
ity;  it  was not  their wish to  force her communication.  It was
evident that  she was  much better acquainted with Mr.  Darcy than
they had before any idea of;  it was evident that he was very much
in love with her.  They saw much to interest,  but nothing to jus‐
tify inquiry.                                                     
  Of Mr.  Darcy it was now a matter of anxiety to think well; and,
as far as their acquaintance reached,  there was no fault to find.
They could not be untouched by his politeness;  and had they drawn
his character from their own feelings  and his  servant's  report,
without  any reference to any other account,  the  circle in Hert‐
fordshire to which he was known  would not have recognized it  for
Mr.  Darcy.  There was now an interest,  however, in believing the
housekeeper;  and they soon  became sensible that the authority of
a  servant  who  had  known him since he was  four years old,  and
whose own manners indicated respectability,  was not to be hastily
rejected.  Neither  had  anything  occurred in the intelligence of
their Lambton friends that  could  materially  lessen its  weight.
They had  nothing to accuse him of but  pride;  pride  he probably
had, and if not,  it would certainly be imputed by the inhabitants
of a small market-town where the family did not visit.  It was ac‐
knowledged,  however, that he was a liberal man, and did much good
among the poor.                                                   
  With respect  to Wickham,  the travellers soon found that he was
not held there  in much estimation;  for though  the chief of  his
concerns with the son of his  patron  were imperfectly understood,
it was yet a well-known fact that,  on his quitting Derbyshire, he
had left many debts behind him,  which Mr.  Darcy  afterwards dis‐
  As for  Elizabeth,  her  thoughts were at Pemberley this evening
more than  the last;  and the  evening,  though  as  it  passed it
seemed  long,  was  not long enough to determine her  feelings to‐
wards _one_ in that mansion; and she lay awake two whole hours en‐
deavouring to make them out.  She certainly did not hate him.  No;
hatred  had vanished long ago,  and  she had  almost as long  been
ashamed of  ever feeling a dislike against him,  that  could be so
called.  The respect  created  by  the  conviction of his valuable
qualities,  though at  first unwillingly  admitted,  had  for some
time  ceased  to be  repugnant  to her  feeling;  and  it was  now
heightened into somewhat of a friendlier nature,  by the testimony
so highly in  his favour,  and bringing forward his disposition in
so amiable a light,  which yesterday had produced.  But above all,
above  respect and esteem,  there was a motive within her of good‐
will which could not be overlooked.  It was gratitude;  gratitude,
not merely  for having once  loved her,  but for loving  her still
well enough  to forgive all the petulance and acrimony of her man‐
ner in rejecting him,  and all the unjust accusations accompanying
her rejection.  He who, she had been persuaded, would avoid her as
his  greatest enemy,  seemed,  on this  accidental  meeting,  most
eager to  preserve the acquaintance,  and  without any  indelicate
display of regard,  or any peculiarity of manner,  where their two
selves  only were concerned,  was soliciting the  good opinion  of
her friends,  and  bent on making her known to his sister.  Such a
change in  a man of  so much pride exciting not  only astonishment
but  gratitude—for to love,  ardent love,  it must  be attributed;
and  as such its impression on her was of a sort to be encouraged,
as  by  no  means unpleasing,  though  it  could  not  be  exactly
defined.  She respected,  she esteemed,  she was  grateful to him,
she felt a real interest in  his welfare;  and she  only wanted to
know  how far she wished that welfare to depend upon herself,  and
how far it would be for the happiness of both that she  should em‐
ploy the power,  which her fancy told her she still possessed,  of
bringing on her the renewal of his addresses.                     
  It had been  settled in  the evening between  the aunt  and  the
niece,  that such a striking civility as Miss Darcy's in coming to
see them on the very day of her arrival at Pemberley,  for she had
reached it only to a late breakfast, ought to be imitated,  though
it could not be equalled,  by some exertion of politeness on their
side;  and,  consequently,  that  it  would be highly expedient to
wait on her at Pemberley the following morning. They were,  there‐
fore, to go. Elizabeth was pleased;  though when she asked herself
the reason, she had very little to say in reply.                  
  Mr. Gardiner left them soon after breakfast.  The fishing scheme
had been renewed the  day before,  and a  positive engagement made
of his meeting some of the gentlemen at Pemberley before noon.    

                            Chapter 45                            

Convinced as  Elizabeth now was that Miss Bingley's dislike of her
had originated in jealousy,  she could not help feeling how unwel‐
come her appearance at  Pemberley must be to her,  and was curious
to know with  how  much civility on that lady's side the acquaint‐
ance would now be renewed.                                        
  On reaching the  house,  they were shown  through the  hall into
the saloon,  whose northern aspect rendered it delightful for sum‐
mer.  Its windows opening to the ground,  admitted a most refresh‐
ing view of the high woody  hills  behind the  house,  and of  the
beautiful oaks and  Spanish chestnuts  which  were scattered  over
the intermediate lawn.                                            
  In this house they were received by Miss Darcy,  who was sitting
there with  Mrs.  Hurst and Miss Bingley,  and the lady  with whom
she  lived  in  London.  Georgiana's  reception of  them  was very
civil, but attended with all the embarrassment which,  though pro‐
ceeding  from  shyness and the fear of doing wrong,  would  easily
give to those who  felt themselves inferior the  belief of her be‐
ing proud and reserved. Mrs.  Gardiner and her niece, however, did
her justice, and pitied her.                                      
  By Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley they were noticed only by a curt‐
sey;  and,  on their being seated, a pause, awkward as such pauses
must always be,  succeeded for a few moments.  It was first broken
by Mrs.  Annesley,  a genteel,  agreeable-looking woman, whose en‐
deavour  to introduce some kind of discourse proved her to be more
truly well-bred than either  of the others;  and between  her  and
Mrs. Gardiner,  with occasional help from Elizabeth, the conversa‐
tion was carried on.  Miss Darcy looked as if she wished for cour‐
age  enough to join in it;  and sometimes did venture a short sen‐
tence when there was least danger of its being heard.             
  Elizabeth soon saw that she was herself  closely watched by Miss
Bingley,  and that she could not speak a word,  especially to Miss
Darcy,  without calling her attention.  This observation would not
have prevented her from trying  to talk  to the  latter,  had they
not  been seated at an  inconvenient  distance;  but she  was  not
sorry to be spared the necessity of saying much.  Her own thoughts
were employing her.  She  expected every  moment that some  of the
gentlemen would  enter the room.  She wished,  she feared that the
master of the house might be amongst them;  and whether she wished
or feared it most,  she could scarcely determine. After sitting in
this  manner a quarter of  an hour without  hearing Miss Bingley's
voice,  Elizabeth was roused by receiving from her  a cold inquiry
after the health of her family.  She answered with equal indiffer‐
ence and brevity, and the other said no more.                     
  The  next variation  which  their visit afforded was produced by
the entrance of  servants with cold meat,  cake,  and a variety of
all the finest fruits in season;  but this did not take place till
after many a significant  look  and smile  from  Mrs.  Annesley to
Miss Darcy had  been given,  to remind her of her post.  There was
now  employment for the whole party—for though they could  not all
talk,  they could all  eat;  and the beautiful pyramids of grapes,
nectarines, and peaches soon collected them round the table.      
  While thus engaged,  Elizabeth had a fair opportunity  of decid‐
ing whether she most feared or wished for  the appearance  of  Mr.
Darcy,  by the feelings which prevailed on his  entering the room;
and  then,  though but a moment before she had believed her wishes
to predominate, she began to regret that he came.                 
  He had been some time with Mr. Gardiner,  who, with two or three
other gentlemen from the house,  was engaged by the river, and had
left him only on learning that  the ladies of  the family intended
a visit to Georgiana that  morning.  No sooner did he  appear than
Elizabeth wisely  resolved to be perfectly easy and unembarrassed;
a resolution the more necessary to be made,  but perhaps  not  the
more  easily kept,  because  she saw  that the suspicions  of  the
whole party  were  awakened  against  them,  and  that  there  was
scarcely an  eye which did not watch his behaviour  when he  first
came into  the room.  In no countenance was attentive curiosity so
strongly marked  as  in Miss  Bingley's,  in spite  of the  smiles
which  overspread her  face whenever she spoke to one of  its  ob‐
jects; for jealousy had not yet made her desperate, and her atten‐
tions  to  Mr.  Darcy were by no  means over.  Miss Darcy, on  her
brother's entrance,  exerted herself much more to talk, and Eliza‐
beth saw that he was anxious for his sister and herself to get ac‐
quainted, and forwarded as much as possible, every attempt at con‐
versation  on  either side.  Miss Bingley  saw all  this likewise;
and,  in the  imprudence of  anger,  took the first opportunity of
saying, with sneering civility:                                   
  “Pray,  Miss Eliza,  are  not the  ―shire  Militia  removed from
Meryton? They must be a great loss to _your_ family.”             
  In  Darcy's presence she dared not  mention Wickham's name;  but
Elizabeth  instantly comprehended  that he was  uppermost  in  her
thoughts;  and the various recollections  connected with  him gave
her a moment's distress;  but exerting herself vigorously to repel
the ill-natured  attack,  she presently answered the question in a
tolerably detached tone.  While  she spoke,  an involuntary glance
showed her Darcy, with a heightened complexion,  earnestly looking
at  her,  and  his sister overcome with confusion,  and  unable to
lift  up her eyes.  Had Miss Bingley known what pain she was  then
giving  her  beloved friend,  she undoubtedly would have refrained
from the hint;  but she  had merely intended  to discompose Eliza‐
beth by  bringing forward the idea  of a man to whom  she believed
her  partial,  to make her betray a sensibility which might injure
her in Darcy's opinion,  and, perhaps, to remind the latter of all
the follies and absurdities by  which some part of her family were
connected with that corps.  Not a syllable had ever reached her of
Miss Darcy's meditated elopement.  To no  creature had it been re‐
vealed,  where secrecy was possible, except to Elizabeth; and from
all Bingley's connections her brother was  particularly anxious to
conceal  it,  from the very wish which Elizabeth  had long ago at‐
tributed to him, of their becoming hereafter her own.  He had cer‐
tainly formed such a plan,  and without meaning that it should af‐
fect his endeavour  to separate him from Miss Bennet,  it is prob‐
able that it might add  something  to his  lively concern  for the
welfare of his friend.                                            
  Elizabeth's collected behaviour, however,  soon quieted his emo‐
tion; and as Miss Bingley,  vexed and disappointed,  dared not ap‐
proach nearer  to  Wickham,  Georgiana  also  recovered  in  time,
though  not  enough to be  able to speak  any  more.  Her brother,
whose eye she  feared to  meet,  scarcely recollected her interest
in the affair,  and the  very circumstance which had been designed
to turn his thoughts from Elizabeth seemed  to have  fixed them on
her more and more cheerfully.                                     
  Their visit did not continue long after  the question and answer
above mentioned;  and while Mr.  Darcy was attending them to their
carriage  Miss Bingley was venting  her feelings in  criticisms on
Elizabeth's person, behaviour, and dress.  But Georgiana would not
join her.  Her brother's recommendation was  enough to  ensure her
favour;  his  judgement could not err.  And he  had spoken in such
terms of Elizabeth  as to leave  Georgiana  without the  power  of
finding her otherwise  than lovely  and amiable.  When  Darcy  re‐
turned to the saloon,  Miss Bingley could not  help  repeating  to
him some part of what she had been saying to his sister.          
  “How very ill Miss Eliza Bennet looks this morning, Mr.  Darcy,”
she cried;  “I never in my life saw anyone so much  altered as she
is since the winter. She is grown so brown and coarse!  Louisa and
I were agreeing that we should not have known her again.”         
  However little Mr.  Darcy might have liked such an  address,  he
contented  himself with coolly replying that he perceived no other
alteration than  her  being  rather  tanned,  no  miraculous  con‐
sequence of travelling in the summer.                             
  “For my own part,” she  rejoined,  “I must confess that  I never
could see any beauty in her.  Her face is too thin; her complexion
has no brilliancy;  and her features are not at all handsome.  Her
nose wants character—there  is nothing  marked in its  lines.  Her
teeth are  tolerable,  but not out of the common way;  and  as for
her eyes, which have sometimes been called so fine,  I could never
see anything extraordinary in them.  They have  a sharp,  shrewish
look, which I do not like at all;  and in her air altogether there
is a self-sufficiency without fashion, which is intolerable.”     
  Persuaded as Miss  Bingley  was  that  Darcy  admired Elizabeth,
this was  not  the best method of recommending herself;  but angry
people are not always wise;  and in  seeing him at last look some‐
what nettled, she had all the success she expected.  He was resol‐
utely  silent,  however,  and, from a determination of making  him
speak, she continued:                                             
  “I  remember,  when we  first  knew her  in  Hertfordshire,  how
amazed we all  were to find that she was  a reputed beauty;  and I
particularly recollect your saying one night,  after they had been
dining at Netherfield,  '_She_ a beauty!—I should as soon call her
mother a wit.' But afterwards she seemed to improve on you,  and I
believe you thought her rather pretty at one time.”               
  “Yes,” replied Darcy,  who could contain himself no longer, “but
_that_ was only when I first saw her,  for it is many months since
I  have  considered her  as one of the  handsomest women of my ac‐
  He then went away,  and Miss Bingley was left to all the  satis‐
faction of having forced him to say what gave no one any pain  but
  Mrs. Gardiner and Elizabeth talked of all that had occurred dur‐
ing their visit,  as they returned,  except what had  particularly
interested them  both.  The look  and  behaviour of everybody they
had seen were discussed,  except of the person who had mostly  en‐
gaged their  attention.  They  talked of his sister,  his friends,
his house,  his fruit—of everything but himself; yet Elizabeth was
longing to  know  what  Mrs.  Gardiner  thought  of him,  and Mrs.
Gardiner  would have been highly gratified by  her niece's  begin‐
ning the subject.                                                 

                            Chapter 46                            

Elizabeth had been a good  deal disappointed in not finding a let‐
ter from Jane on  their first arrival at Lambton;  and this disap‐
pointment had  been renewed on each  of the  mornings that had now
been spent there;  but on the third her repining was over, and her
sister justified,  by the receipt of two letters from her at once,
on  one  of which was marked that it  had been  missent elsewhere.
Elizabeth was not surprised at it,  as Jane had written the direc‐
tion remarkably ill.                                              
  They  had just been preparing to walk as  the  letters came  in;
and her uncle and aunt,  leaving  her to enjoy them in quiet,  set
off by themselves.  The one missent must first be attended to;  it
had been written  five days ago.  The beginning  contained an  ac‐
count of all their little parties and engagements,  with such news
as the country afforded;  but  the latter half,  which was dated a
day later,  and written in evident agitation,  gave more important
intelligence. It was to this effect:                              
  “Since writing the above, dearest Lizzy,  something has occurred
of a most unexpected and serious nature; but I am afraid of alarm‐
ing  you—be  assured that  we are all  well.  What I  have  to say
relates to poor Lydia. An express came at twelve last night,  just
as we were all  gone to bed,  from  Colonel Forster,  to inform us
that she  was gone off to Scotland  with one of  his officers;  to
own  the truth,  with  Wickham!  Imagine  our  surprise. To Kitty,
however,  it does not seem so  wholly unexpected.  I am very, very
sorry.  So imprudent a match on  both sides!  But  I am willing to
hope  the  best,  and  that his character has  been misunderstood.
Thoughtless  and  indiscreet  I can easily believe him,  but  this
step (and let us rejoice over it) marks nothing bad at heart.  His
choice is disinterested at least,  for he must know my  father can
give  her nothing.  Our  poor mother is  sadly grieved.  My father
bears it better.  How thankful am I that we  never  let  them know
what has been said against him;  we must forget it ourselves. They
were off Saturday night about twelve, as is conjectured,  but were
not missed till yesterday morning at eight.  The  express was sent
off  directly.  My dear Lizzy,  they must have passed  within  ten
miles  of us.  Colonel Forster gives us reason to expect  him here
soon. Lydia left a few lines for his wife,  informing her of their
intention.  I must conclude,  for  I  cannot be long  from my poor
mother.  I am  afraid you will not be able to make  it out,  but I
hardly know what I have written.”                                 
  Without allowing herself time  for  consideration,  and scarcely
knowing what  she  felt,  Elizabeth on finishing  this  letter in‐
stantly seized the  other,  and opening  it  with the utmost impa‐
tience, read as follows:  it had been written a day later than the
conclusion of the first.                                          
  “By this time,  my dearest sister,  you have received my hurried
letter;  I wish this may be more intelligible, but though not con‐
fined for time,  my head is so bewildered that I cannot answer for
being coherent.  Dearest Lizzy,  I hardly know what I would write,
but I have bad news for you,  and it cannot be delayed.  Imprudent
as the marriage between Mr.  Wickham and our poor  Lydia would be,
we are now anxious to be assured it has taken place,  for there is
but too much  reason to fear they are  not gone to Scotland.  Col‐
onel Forster came yesterday,  having left Brighton the day before,
not many hours after the express.  Though  Lydia's short letter to
Mrs.  F.  gave them to understand that  they  were going to Gretna
Green,  something was dropped by Denny expressing his belief  that
W.  never intended to  go there,  or to marry Lydia at all,  which
was repeated to Colonel F., who,  instantly taking the alarm,  set
off from B. intending to trace their route. He did trace them eas‐
ily to Clapham,  but no further;  for on entering that place, they
removed  into  a hackney coach,  and  dismissed  the  chaise  that
brought  them from Epsom.  All that is known after this  is,  that
they were seen to continue  the London  road.  I know not what  to
think.  After making  every possible inquiry  on that side London,
Colonel F.  came on into Hertfordshire, anxiously renewing them at
all the  turnpikes,  and at the inns  in Barnet and Hatfield,  but
without any success—no such people had  been seen to pass through.
With  the  kindest concern he came on to Longbourn,  and broke his
apprehensions  to us  in a manner most creditable to his heart.  I
am sincerely grieved for him and Mrs.  F.,  but no one  can  throw
any blame on them.  Our distress, my dear Lizzy, is very great. My
father and mother believe the worst,  but I cannot think so ill of
him.  Many  circumstances might make it  more eligible for them to
be married privately in town than to pursue their first plan;  and
even if _he_ could form such a design against a young woman of Ly‐
dia's connections,  which is not likely, can I suppose her so lost
to everything?  Impossible!  I  grieve to find, however, that Col‐
onel F.  is not disposed  to depend upon their marriage;  he shook
his head when I expressed my hopes,  and said he feared W. was not
a man to be trusted.  My poor mother is really ill,  and keeps her
room.  Could  she exert  herself,  it would be better; but this is
not to be expected.  And  as to my father,  I never in my life saw
him so affected.  Poor Kitty  has anger for having concealed their
attachment;  but as it was a matter of confidence, one cannot won‐
der.  I am truly glad,  dearest Lizzy,  that you have  been spared
something  of  these distressing  scenes;  but now,  as  the first
shock is over,  shall I own that I long for your return?  I am not
so selfish, however,  as to press for it, if inconvenient.  Adieu!
I take up my  pen again  to do what I have  just  told you I would
not;  but circumstances are such that I cannot help earnestly beg‐
ging you all  to come  here as soon  as possible.  I  know my dear
uncle and aunt  so well,  that I  am not afraid of  requesting it,
though I  have  still something more to  ask  of  the  former.  My
father is going to London with  Colonel Forster instantly,  to try
to discover her.  What  he means to do I am sure I  know not;  but
his excessive  distress will  not allow him  to pursue any measure
in  the best and safest way,  and Colonel Forster is obliged to be
at  Brighton again  to-morrow evening.  In  such an  exigence,  my
uncle's  advice  and assistance would  be everything in the world;
he will immediately comprehend what I  must feel,  and I rely upon
his goodness.”                                                    
  “Oh!  where,  where is my uncle?” cried Elizabeth, darting  from
her seat as she finished the letter,  in  eagerness to follow him,
without  losing a  moment  of  the  time so precious;  but as  she
reached  the door  it was opened by a servant,  and Mr.  Darcy ap‐
peared. Her pale face and impetuous manner made him start, and be‐
fore he could recover himself to speak,  she,  in whose mind every
idea was  superseded by Lydia's situation,  hastily exclaimed,  “I
beg your pardon,  but I must leave you.  I must find Mr.  Gardiner
this moment, on business that cannot be delayed; I have not an in‐
stant to lose.”                                                   
  “Good God!  what is  the matter?” cried  he,  with more  feeling
than politeness;  then recollecting himself,  “I  will not  detain
you a  minute;  but let me,  or let the  servant go after Mr.  and
Mrs. Gardiner. You are not well enough; you cannot go yourself.”  
  Elizabeth hesitated,  but her  knees trembled under  her and she
felt how  little would be gained by her attempting to pursue them.
Calling back the servant, therefore,  she commissioned him, though
in so breathless an accent as  made her almost unintelligible,  to
fetch his master and mistress home instantly.                     
  On his  quitting the room she sat down,  unable to  support her‐
self,  and looking so miserably ill,  that  it was  impossible for
Darcy to leave her,  or to refrain from saying,  in a tone of gen‐
tleness and commiseration,  “Let me call your maid. Is there noth‐
ing you could take to give you present relief?  A glass  of  wine;
shall I get you one? You are very ill.”                           
  “No,  I  thank you,” she replied,  endeavouring  to recover her‐
self. “There is nothing the matter with me. I am quite well;  I am
only distressed by  some dreadful news  which I have just received
from Longbourn.”                                                  
  She  burst  into tears as  she alluded  to it,  and  for  a  few
minutes could  not speak another  word.  Darcy,  in  wretched sus‐
pense,  could only say something indistinctly of his concern,  and
observe her in compassionate silence.  At length she spoke  again.
“I have just had a letter from Jane,  with such dreadful news.  It
cannot be concealed from anyone.  My  younger sister has left  all
her friends—has  eloped;  has thrown herself into the power  of—of
Mr. Wickham.  They are gone off together from Brighton. _You_ know
him too well to doubt the rest. She has no money,  no connections,
nothing that can tempt him to—she is lost for ever.”              
  Darcy was fixed in  astonishment.  “When I consider,”  she added
in a yet more agitated voice,  “that I might have prevented it! I,
who knew what he was.  Had  I but explained some part of it only—‐
some part  of what I learnt,  to my own family!  Had his character
been known,  this could not have happened.  But it  is all—all too
late now.”                                                        
  “I am grieved indeed,” cried Darcy;  “grieved—shocked. But is it
certain—absolutely certain?”                                      
  “Oh, yes!  They left Brighton together on Sunday night, and were
traced almost  to London,  but not beyond;  they are certainly not
gone to Scotland.”                                                
  “And what has  been  done,  what has been attempted,  to recover
  “My father  is  gone to London,  and Jane  has written to beg my
uncle's immediate assistance;  and  we shall be  off,  I hope,  in
half-an-hour.  But nothing can be done—I know very well that noth‐
ing can be done.  How is such a man to be worked on?  How are they
even to be discovered?  I have not the smallest hope.  It is every
way horrible!”                                                    
  Darcy shook his head in silent acquiescence.                    
  “When _my_ eyes  were  opened  to his real  character—Oh!  had I
known what  I ought,  what I dared to  do!  But I  knew  not—I was
afraid of doing too much. Wretched, wretched mistake!”            
  Darcy made no answer.  He seemed  scarcely to hear her,  and was
walking up and down the room in earnest meditation,  his brow con‐
tracted,  his air gloomy.  Elizabeth soon observed,  and instantly
understood it.  Her power was sinking;  everything _must_ sink un‐
der such  a proof of family weakness,  such  an  assurance of  the
deepest disgrace.  She could neither wonder nor  condemn,  but the
belief  of  his  self-conquest  brought nothing consolatory to her
bosom, afforded no palliation of her distress. It was, on the con‐
trary,  exactly calculated to make her understand her own  wishes;
and never had she so honestly felt that she could have  loved him,
as now, when all love must be vain.                               
  But self, though it would intrude, could not engross her.  Lydi‐
a—the humiliation,  the misery she was bringing on them all,  soon
swallowed  up  every private care;  and covering her face with her
handkerchief,  Elizabeth was  soon lost to everything  else;  and,
after a pause of several minutes,  was only recalled to a sense of
her situation by the voice  of  her companion,  who,  in  a manner
which,  though  it  spoke compassion,  spoke  likewise  restraint,
said,  “I am  afraid you have been long  desiring my absence,  nor
have I anything to plead  in excuse of my stay,  but real,  though
unavailing concern.  Would to Heaven that anything could be either
said or done on my part that might offer  consolation to such dis‐
tress!  But I will not torment  you with vain  wishes,  which  may
seem  purposely to ask  for your thanks.  This unfortunate  affair
will,  I fear,  prevent my sister's having the pleasure  of seeing
you at Pemberley to-day.”                                         
  “Oh, yes.  Be so kind as to apologise for us to Miss Darcy.  Say
that urgent business calls us home  immediately.  Conceal the  un‐
happy truth  as  long  as it  is  possible,  I know  it cannot  be
  He readily assured her of his secrecy;  again expressed his sor‐
row for her  distress,  wished it a happier conclusion  than there
was at present reason  to hope,  and leaving his  compliments  for
her relations, with only one serious, parting look, went away.    
  As he quitted the room,  Elizabeth  felt how  improbable  it was
that they should ever see each other again on such terms of cordi‐
ality as had marked  their several meetings in Derbyshire;  and as
she threw a retrospective glance over the whole of their acquaint‐
ance, so full of contradictions and varieties,  sighed at the per‐
verseness of those feelings which would now have promoted its con‐
tinuance, and would formerly have rejoiced in its termination.    
  If gratitude  and  esteem are  good  foundations  of  affection,
Elizabeth's  change  of sentiment will  be neither  improbable nor
faulty.  But if otherwise—if regard springing from such sources is
unreasonable or unnatural,  in  comparison of what is so often de‐
scribed as arising on a first interview with its object,  and even
before two words have been exchanged,  nothing  can be said in her
defence, except that she had given somewhat of a trial to the lat‐
ter method in  her partiality for Wickham,  and that its ill  suc‐
cess might,  perhaps,  authorise her to seek the other less inter‐
esting mode of attachment.  Be that as it may, she saw him go with
regret; and in this early example of what Lydia's infamy must pro‐
duce,  found additional anguish as she reflected on that  wretched
business. Never,  since reading Jane's second letter,  had she en‐
tertained a hope of  Wickham's meaning  to marry her.  No  one but
Jane,  she thought,  could flatter  herself with such an  expecta‐
tion.  Surprise was the least of her feelings on this development.
While the contents of  the first letter remained in her mind,  she
was  all  surprise—all  astonishment  that Wickham should  marry a
girl whom it was impossible he could marry for money;  and how Ly‐
dia  could  ever have attached him  had appeared incomprehensible.
But now it  was  all too natural.  For such an  attachment as this
she  might have sufficient charms;  and though she did not suppose
Lydia to be  deliberately engaging in an elopement without the in‐
tention  of marriage,  she  had  no  difficulty  in believing that
neither her virtue nor her  understanding would preserve her  from
falling an easy prey.                                             
  She  had never perceived,  while the regiment  was  in Hertford‐
shire,  that  Lydia had any partiality for  him;  but she was con‐
vinced that Lydia wanted only encouragement to  attach  herself to
anybody.  Sometimes one officer,  sometimes another,  had been her
favourite, as their attentions raised them in her opinion. Her af‐
fections had continually been fluctuating but never without an ob‐
ject.  The  mischief  of neglect  and mistaken  indulgence towards
such a girl—oh! how acutely did she now feel it!                  
  She was wild to be at home—to hear,  to see, to be upon the spot
to  share with Jane in  the  cares that must now  fall wholly upon
her, in a family so deranged, a father absent,  a mother incapable
of exertion,  and requiring constant attendance; and though almost
persuaded that nothing could be done for Lydia, her uncle's inter‐
ference seemed of the utmost importance,  and  till he entered the
room her impatience was severe. Mr. and Mrs.  Gardiner had hurried
back  in  alarm,  supposing  by the servant's account  that  their
niece was taken  suddenly  ill;  but  satisfying them instantly on
that head,  she  eagerly communicated  the cause of their summons,
reading the two letters aloud,  and dwelling on the postscript  of
the last with trembling energy,  though Lydia had never been a fa‐
vourite with them,  Mr.  and Mrs. Gardiner could not but be deeply
afflicted.  Not Lydia  only,  but  all were concerned in  it;  and
after the first exclamations of surprise and horror,  Mr. Gardiner
promised every assistance in his power.  Elizabeth, though expect‐
ing no  less,  thanked him with tears of gratitude;  and all three
being actuated by  one spirit,  everything relating to their jour‐
ney  was speedily settled.  They were  to be off  as soon  as pos‐
sible.  “But  what is  to be  done  about  Pemberley?” cried  Mrs.
Gardiner.  “John told us Mr.  Darcy was here when you sent for us;
was it so?”                                                       
  “Yes;  and I told him we should not be able to keep  our engage‐
ment. _That_ is all settled.”                                     
  “What is all  settled?” repeated the other,  as she ran into her
room to prepare.  “And are they upon such terms as for her to dis‐
close the real truth? Oh, that I knew how it was!”                
  But wishes were vain,  or at least could only serve to amuse her
in the hurry and  confusion of the  following hour.  Had Elizabeth
been at leisure to be idle,  she  would have remained certain that
all employment was  impossible to one so wretched as herself;  but
she had  her share of  business as well  as her aunt,  and amongst
the rest  there were  notes to be written to all their friends  at
Lambton,  with false excuses for their sudden departure.  An hour,
however, saw the whole completed; and Mr.  Gardiner meanwhile hav‐
ing settled his account at  the inn,  nothing remained to be  done
but to go;  and  Elizabeth,  after all the misery of the  morning,
found herself, in a shorter space of time than she could have sup‐
posed, seated in the carriage, and on the road to Longbourn.      

                            Chapter 47                            

“I  have been thinking it over again,  Elizabeth,” said her uncle,
as they drove from the town; “and really,  upon serious considera‐
tion,  I am much more inclined than I was to judge  as your eldest
sister does on the matter.  It appears to me so very unlikely that
any young man should form such a design against a  girl  who is by
no means unprotected or friendless,  and who was  actually staying
in his colonel's family,  that I  am strongly inclined to hope the
best.  Could he  expect that  her friends  would not step forward?
Could  he  expect to be noticed again by the regiment,  after such
an affront to Colonel Forster?  His temptation  is not adequate to
the risk!”                                                        
  “Do you really think so?” cried Elizabeth,  brightening up for a
  “Upon my  word,” said  Mrs.  Gardiner,  “I begin to be  of  your
uncle's opinion.  It is really  too great a violation  of decency,
honour,  and interest, for him to be guilty of.  I cannot think so
very ill of Wickham.  Can you yourself,  Lizzy, so wholly give him
up, as to believe him capable of it?”                             
  “Not,  perhaps,  of neglecting his own interest;  but  of  every
other neglect I can believe him capable.  If, indeed, it should be
so!  But I dare not hope it. Why should they not go on to Scotland
if that had been the case?”                                       
  “In the first place,” replied Mr.  Gardiner,  “there is no abso‐
lute proof that they are not gone to Scotland.”                   
  “Oh!  but their removing from the chaise into a hackney coach is
such  a presumption!  And,  besides, no traces of them were  to be
found on the Barnet road.”                                        
  “Well,  then—supposing them to be in London.  They may be there,
though  for  the  purpose of concealment,  for no more exceptional
purpose.  It is  not likely that  money should be very abundant on
either side; and it might strike them that they could be more eco‐
nomically,  though less expeditiously,  married in London than  in
  “But why all this secrecy?  Why any fear of detection?  Why must
their marriage be private?  Oh,  no,  no—this is  not likely.  His
most particular friend,  you see by Jane's account,  was persuaded
of his never intending to  marry her.  Wickham will never  marry a
woman  without some money.  He cannot afford it.  And what  claims
has Lydia—what attraction has she beyond youth,  health,  and good
humour that could make him,  for her sake,  forego every chance of
benefiting himself by marrying well?  As to what restraint the ap‐
prehensions of disgrace in the corps  might throw on a  dishonour‐
able elopement with her, I am not able to judge;  for I know noth‐
ing of the effects that such a step might produce.  But as to your
other objection,  I am afraid it will hardly hold good.  Lydia has
no  brothers  to step  forward;  and  he might  imagine,  from  my
father's  behaviour,  from his indolence and the little  attention
he has ever seemed  to give to  what was going forward in his fam‐
ily,  that _he_ would do as little,  and think as little about it,
as any father could do, in such a matter.”                        
  “But can you think that Lydia is  so lost to everything but love
of him as to consent to live with him on any terms other than mar‐
  “It does seem,  and it  is most shocking indeed,” replied Eliza‐
beth,  with tears in her eyes,  “that a sister's sense of  decency
and virtue in such a point should admit of doubt.  But,  really, I
know not what to say. Perhaps I am not doing her justice.  But she
is very young;  she has never been taught to think on serious sub‐
jects;  and for the last half-year, nay, for a twelvemonth—she has
been  given up to nothing but  amusement and vanity.  She has been
allowed to dispose of her time in the most idle and frivolous man‐
ner,  and to adopt  any  opinions that came in her way.  Since the
―shire were first quartered in Meryton, nothing but love,  flirta‐
tion,  and officers  have  been in  her  head.  She has been doing
everything in her  power  by thinking and talking on the  subject,
to give greater—what shall I call it?  susceptibility to her feel‐
ings;  which are naturally  lively enough.  And  we all  know that
Wickham has every  charm of person  and address that can captivate
a woman.”                                                         
  “But you see that Jane,” said her aunt,  “does not think so very
ill of Wickham as to believe him capable of the attempt.”         
  “Of whom does Jane ever think ill?  And  who is there,  whatever
might be  their  former conduct,  that she would think capable  of
such  an  attempt,  till it  were  proved  against them?  But Jane
knows, as well as I do, what Wickham really is.  We both know that
he has  been profligate in every sense  of the word;  that he  has
neither integrity  nor honour;  that he is as false  and deceitful
as he is insinuating.”                                            
  “And  do you really know all this?” cried Mrs.  Gardiner,  whose
curiosity as to the mode of her intelligence was all alive.       
  “I do indeed,” replied Elizabeth,  colouring.  “I told you,  the
other day,  of his infamous behaviour to Mr. Darcy;  and you your‐
self,  when  last at Longbourn,  heard in what manner he  spoke of
the man who had behaved with such forbearance  and liberality  to‐
wards  him.  And there  are other  circumstances which I am not at
liberty—which it is not worth while to relate;  but his lies about
the whole Pemberley family are endless.  From what he said of Miss
Darcy  I was thoroughly prepared to see a  proud,  reserved,  dis‐
agreeable girl. Yet he knew to the contrary himself.  He must know
that she was as amiable and unpretending as we have found her.”   
  “But does Lydia know nothing of  this?  can she  be  ignorant of
what you and Jane seem so well to understand?”                    
  “Oh,  yes!—that,  that is the worst of all.  Till I was in Kent,
and  saw so  much  both  of  Mr.  Darcy and  his  relation Colonel
Fitzwilliam,  I was  ignorant of the truth myself.  And when I re‐
turned home,  the ―shire was to  leave Meryton in a week  or fort‐
night's time.  As that was the case,  neither Jane,  to whom I re‐
lated the whole,  nor  I,  thought it necessary  to make our know‐
ledge public;  for of  what use could it apparently be to any one,
that  the good  opinion  which all  the neighbourhood  had of  him
should then be overthrown?  And even when it  was settled that Ly‐
dia  should go with  Mrs.  Forster,  the  necessity of opening her
eyes to his  character  never occurred to me.  That _she_ could be
in any danger from the deception never entered my head.  That such
a consequence as _this_ could ensue,  you may easily believe,  was
far enough from my thoughts.”                                     
  “When they all removed to Brighton, therefore,  you had no reas‐
on, I suppose, to believe them fond of each other?”               
  “Not  the slightest.  I can remember  no symptom of affection on
either side;  and had anything of  the kind been perceptible,  you
must  be  aware that  ours is  not  a family  on which it could be
thrown  away.  When  first  he entered the  corps,  she  was ready
enough to admire him;  but so we all were.  Every girl  in or near
Meryton was out of her senses about him for the first two  months;
but he  never distinguished _her_  by  any  particular  attention;
and,  consequently,  after  a moderate  period  of extravagant and
wild admiration, her fancy for him gave way, and others of the re‐
giment,  who treated her with more distinction,  again  became her


  It may be easily believed,  that however little of novelty could
be added to their fears, hopes, and conjectures, on this interest‐
ing subject,  by its repeated discussion,  no  other could  detain
them from it  long,  during the whole of the journey.  From Eliza‐
beth's thoughts it was  never absent.  Fixed there by the  keenest
of all anguish, self-reproach,  she could find no interval of ease
or forgetfulness.                                                 
  They travelled as expeditiously as possible,  and,  sleeping one
night on the road,  reached Longbourn by dinner time the next day.
It was a  comfort to Elizabeth  to  consider that  Jane could  not
have been wearied by long expectations.                           
  The little Gardiners,  attracted by the sight of a chaise,  were
standing  on the steps  of the house  as they entered the paddock;
and,  when the carriage drove up to the door,  the joyful surprise
that  lighted  up their faces,  and  displayed  itself over  their
whole bodies,  in a  variety  of capers and frisks,  was the first
pleasing earnest of their welcome.                                
  Elizabeth jumped out;  and,  after  giving  each of them a hasty
kiss,  hurried  into the vestibule,  where  Jane, who came running
down from her mother's apartment, immediately met her.            
  Elizabeth,  as  she  affectionately embraced her,  whilst  tears
filled the eyes of both,  lost not a moment in asking whether any‐
thing had been heard of the fugitives.                            
  “Not yet,” replied Jane.  “But now that my dear uncle is come, I
hope everything will be well.”                                    
  “Is my father in town?”                                         
  “Yes, he went on Tuesday, as I wrote you word.”                 
  “And have you heard from him often?”                            
  “We have heard only twice.  He wrote me a few lines on Wednesday
to say that he had arrived  in safety,  and to give  me his direc‐
tions,  which I particularly  begged  him to  do.  He merely added
that he should not write  again till  he had  something of import‐
ance to mention.”                                                 
  “And my mother—how is she? How are you all?”                    
  “My mother is tolerably  well,  I trust;  though her spirits are
greatly shaken.  She is up stairs and will have great satisfaction
in seeing you all. She does not yet leave her dressing-room.  Mary
and Kitty, thank Heaven, are quite well.”                         
  “But  you—how are you?” cried  Elizabeth.  “You  look pale.  How
much you must have gone through!”                                 
  Her sister,  however,  assured her of her  being perfectly well;
and their conversation, which had been passing while Mr.  and Mrs.
Gardiner were engaged with their children,  was  now put an end to
by the approach of the  whole  party.  Jane ran to  her  uncle and
aunt,  and welcomed and  thanked them both,  with alternate smiles
and tears.                                                        
  When  they  were all  in  the drawing-room,  the questions which
Elizabeth  had  already asked were of course repeated by the  oth‐
ers,  and they soon  found that  Jane had no intelligence to give.
The sanguine hope of good,  however,  which the benevolence of her
heart suggested had not yet deserted her;  she still expected that
it would  all end  well,  and that every morning would  bring some
letter, either from Lydia or her father, to explain their proceed‐
ings, and, perhaps, announce their marriage.                      
  Mrs.  Bennet, to whose apartment they all repaired,  after a few
minutes' conversation together,  received them exactly as might be
expected;  with  tears  and  lamentations  of  regret,  invectives
against the villainous conduct of Wickham,  and complaints of  her
own sufferings and ill-usage;  blaming everybody but the person to
whose ill-judging indulgence the errors of her daughter must prin‐
cipally be owing.                                                 
  “If I had been able,” said she,  “to carry my  point in going to
Brighton,  with all my family, _this_ would not have happened; but
poor dear Lydia  had nobody to take care of her.  Why did the For‐
sters  ever let her go  out of  their sight?  I am sure  there was
some great neglect  or other on  their side,  for  she is not  the
kind  of girl  to do such  a thing  if  she  had  been well looked
after.  I always thought they were very unfit to  have  the charge
of her; but I was overruled,  as I always am. Poor dear child! And
now here's Mr.  Bennet gone away,  and I know he will fight  Wick‐
ham,  wherever he meets him and then he will  be killed,  and what
is to become  of us all?  The Collinses will turn us out before he
is cold in his grave,  and if you are not kind to us,  brother,  I
do not know what we shall do.”                                    
  They  all  exclaimed  against  such  terrific  ideas;   and  Mr.
Gardiner,  after  general  assurances of his affection for her and
all her family,  told  her  that he meant to be in London the very
next day,  and would assist Mr.  Bennet in every endeavour for re‐
covering Lydia.                                                   
  “Do  not give  way to useless alarm,” added  he;  “though it  is
right to be prepared for the worst,  there is no occasion  to look
on  it  as  certain.  It  is  not quite  a  week since  they  left
Brighton.  In a few days more we may gain some  news of them;  and
till we know that they are not married, and have no design of mar‐
rying,  do not let us give the matter over as lost.  As soon as  I
get to town I shall go to my brother,  and make him come home with
me to Gracechurch Street;  and then we may consult  together as to
what is to be done.”                                              
  “Oh!  my  dear brother,” replied Mrs.  Bennet, “that is  exactly
what I  could most wish for.  And now do,  when  you get  to town,
find them out,  wherever they may be;  and if they are not married
already,  _make_  them marry.  And as for wedding clothes,  do not
let them wait for  that,  but tell Lydia  she  shall  have as much
money as she  chooses to  buy them,  after they are married.  And,
above all, keep Mr.  Bennet from fighting.  Tell him what a dread‐
ful state  I am  in,  that I am  frighted out of  my wits—and have
such tremblings,  such flutterings,  all over me—such spasms in my
side and pains in my head, and such beatings at heart,  that I can
get no rest by night nor  by day.  And  tell my  dear Lydia not to
give any directions about her  clothes till she has seen  me,  for
she does not know which are the best warehouses. Oh,  brother, how
kind you are! I know you will contrive it all.”                   
  But Mr. Gardiner, though he assured her again of his earnest en‐
deavours in the cause,  could not avoid recommending moderation to
her, as well in her hopes as her fear;  and after talking with her
in this manner till dinner was on the table,  they all left her to
vent all her feelings on the housekeeper,  who attended in the ab‐
sence of her daughters.                                           
  Though her  brother and  sister were persuaded that there was no
real occasion for  such a seclusion from the family,  they did not
attempt  to oppose it,  for they  knew  that  she had not prudence
enough to hold her tongue before the  servants,  while they waited
at table,  and judged it better that  _one_ only of the household,
and the  one whom they could most trust should comprehend all  her
fears and solicitude on the subject.                              
  In the dining-room they were soon joined by Mary and Kitty,  who
had been too busily engaged in their separate  apartments to  make
their appearance before.  One came from her books,  and the  other
from  her toilette.  The  faces of both,  however,  were tolerably
calm;  and no change was visible in either,  except that  the loss
of  her  favourite sister,  or the anger which she had herself in‐
curred in this business,  had given more of fretfulness than usual
to the accents of Kitty.  As for Mary,  she was mistress enough of
herself to whisper to Elizabeth,  with a  countenance of grave re‐
flection, soon after they were seated at table:                   
  “This is  a most unfortunate affair,  and will  probably be much
talked of. But we must stem the tide of malice,  and pour into the
wounded bosoms of each other the balm of sisterly consolation.”   
  Then,  perceiving in  Elizabeth no inclination of replying,  she
added,  “Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia,  we may draw from
it this useful  lesson:  that loss of virtue in a female is  irre‐
trievable;  that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that
her reputation is no less brittle than  it is beautiful;  and that
she cannot  be too much  guarded in her  behaviour towards the un‐
deserving of the other sex.”                                      
  Elizabeth lifted up her eyes in amazement,  but was too much op‐
pressed to make any  reply.  Mary,  however,  continued to console
herself with such kind of moral extractions  from the  evil before
  In  the afternoon,  the  two elder Miss  Bennets were able to be
for  half-an-hour by themselves;  and Elizabeth  instantly availed
herself  of the opportunity  of making any inquiries,  which  Jane
was equally eager to satisfy.  After joining  in  general lamenta‐
tions over the dreadful sequel of this event, which Elizabeth con‐
sidered as all but certain,  and Miss Bennet could not  assert  to
be wholly impossible,  the former continued  the subject,  by say‐
ing,  “But  tell me  all and everything  about it which I have not
already heard. Give me further particulars.  What did Colonel For‐
ster say?  Had they  no apprehension of anything before the elope‐
ment took place? They must have seen them together for ever.”     
  “Colonel Forster did own that he had often suspected some parti‐
ality,  especially on Lydia's  side,  but nothing to give him  any
alarm.  I am so grieved for him!  His  behaviour was attentive and
kind to the utmost.  He _was_ coming to us,  in order to assure us
of his concern,  before he had any idea of their not being gone to
Scotland:  when that  apprehension first got abroad,  it  hastened
his journey.”                                                     
  “And was Denny convinced that  Wickham would  not marry?  Did he
know of their intending to go off?  Had Colonel Forster seen Denny
  “Yes; but,  when questioned by _him_,  Denny denied knowing any‐
thing of  their plans,  and would  not give his real opinion about
it.  He did not  repeat  his persuasion of  their not marrying—and
from _that_,  I am inclined to hope,  he might have been misunder‐
stood before.”                                                    
  “And till Colonel  Forster came himself,  not one of  you enter‐
tained a doubt, I suppose, of their being really married?”        
  “How was it possible  that such an idea should enter our brains?
I felt a  little uneasy—a little fearful  of my sister's happiness
with  him in  marriage,  because I knew  that his conduct had  not
been always  quite right.  My father  and  mother  knew nothing of
that; they only felt how imprudent a match it must be.  Kitty then
owned,  with a very natural triumph on knowing  more than the rest
of us,  that in Lydia's last letter she had prepared  her for such
a step. She had known,  it seems, of their being in love with each
other, many weeks.”                                               
  “But not before they went to Brighton?”                         
  “No, I believe not.”                                            
  “And did Colonel  Forster appear  to think  well of Wickham him‐
self? Does he know his real character?”                           
  “I  must  confess that he did not speak so well of Wickham as he
formerly  did.  He  believed him to be imprudent  and extravagant.
And since  this sad  affair has  taken place,  it is  said that he
left Meryton greatly in debt; but I hope this may be false.”      
  “Oh,  Jane, had we been less secret, had we told what we knew of
him, this could not have happened!”                               
  “Perhaps it would have  been better,” replied  her sister.  “But
to expose  the  former faults  of any person without knowing  what
their present feelings were,  seemed unjustifiable.  We acted with
the best intentions.”                                             
  “Could Colonel Forster  repeat the particulars  of Lydia's  note
to his wife?”                                                     
  “He brought it with him for us to see.”                         
  Jane then took  it from  her pocket-book,  and gave it to Eliza‐
beth. These were the contents:                                    
  “MY DEAR HARRIET,                                               
  “You will  laugh when  you  know where I am gone,  and I  cannot
help laughing myself at  your surprise to-morrow morning,  as soon
as I  am missed.  I  am going  to Gretna Green,  and if you cannot
guess with who,  I shall think you a simpleton,  for there  is but
one man in the world I love,  and he is an  angel.  I should never
be happy without him, so think it no harm to be off.  You need not
send them word at  Longbourn of my going,  if you do not like  it,
for it will make the surprise the  greater,  when I  write to them
and sign my name 'Lydia Wickham.' What a good joke it  will be!  I
can hardly write for laughing.  Pray make  my excuses to Pratt for
not keeping my  engagement,  and dancing with him  to-night.  Tell
him I hope he will  excuse me when he knows all;  and  tell  him I
will dance with him at the next  ball  we meet,  with great pleas‐
ure.  I shall send for my clothes  when I get to Longbourn;  but I
wish you  would tell  Sally  to mend  a  great  slit  in my worked
muslin gown before they are packed up.  Good-bye.  Give my love to
Colonel Forster. I hope you will drink to our good journey.       
  “Your affectionate friend,                                      
  “LYDIA BENNET.”                                                 
  “Oh!  thoughtless,  thoughtless Lydia!” cried Elizabeth when she
had finished it.  “What a letter is this,  to be written at such a
moment!  But at  least it shows that _she_ was serious on the sub‐
ject of their journey.  Whatever he might  afterwards persuade her
to,  it was not on her side a _scheme_ of infamy.  My poor father!
how he must have felt it!”                                        
  “I never  saw anyone so shocked.  He could  not speak a word for
full  ten minutes.  My mother was  taken ill immediately,  and the
whole house in such confusion!”                                   
  “Oh!  Jane,” cried Elizabeth,  “was there a servant belonging to
it who did not know the whole story before the end of the day?”   
  “I do not know.  I hope there was.  But to be  guarded at such a
time is very difficult.  My mother was in hysterics,  and though I
endeavoured to give her every assistance in my power,  I am afraid
I did not do so much as I might have done!  But the horror of what
might possibly happen almost took from me my faculties.”          
  “Your attendance upon her has been too much for you.  You do not
look well.  Oh that I had been with you!  you  have had every care
and anxiety upon yourself alone.”                                 
  “Mary and  Kitty  have been very kind,  and would have shared in
every fatigue, I am sure;  but I did not think it right for either
of them.  Kitty is slight and delicate;  and Mary studies so much,
that her hours of repose should not be broken in on. My aunt Phil‐
lips came to Longbourn on Tuesday, after my father went away;  and
was so good as to stay till  Thursday with me.  She  was  of great
use and comfort to us all. And Lady Lucas has been very kind;  she
walked here on Wednesday  morning to condole with us,  and offered
her services,  or any of her daughters',  if they should be of use
to us.”                                                           
  “She had better have stayed at home,” cried Elizabeth;  “perhaps
she _meant_ well,  but,  under such a misfortune as this, one can‐
not see too little of one's neighbours.  Assistance is impossible;
condolence insufferable.  Let them triumph over us at a  distance,
and be satisfied.”                                                
  She  then  proceeded  to  inquire  into the measures  which  her
father had intended to pursue, while in town,  for the recovery of
his daughter.                                                     
  “He meant I believe,” replied Jane,  “to go to Epsom,  the place
where they last changed horses, see the postilions and try if any‐
thing could be made  out from them.  His principal  object must be
to discover the number of  the hackney coach which  took them from
Clapham.  It had come with  a fare from London;  and as he thought
that the circumstance of a gentleman and  lady's removing from one
carriage  into  another might be remarked he meant to make inquir‐
ies  at Clapham.  If  he could anyhow  discover at what  house the
coachman had before set down  his fare,  he determined to make in‐
quiries  there,  and hoped it might not be impossible to find  out
the  stand and number of  the  coach.  I  do not know of any other
designs that he had formed;  but he  was  in such  a  hurry to  be
gone,  and his spirits so greatly discomposed,  that I  had diffi‐
culty in finding out even so much as this.”                       

                            Chapter 48                            

The  whole  party were  in hopes of a letter from  Mr.  Bennet the
next morning,  but the post came in without bringing a single line
from him.  His family knew him to be,  on all common occasions,  a
most negligent and  dilatory correspondent;  but  at such  a  time
they had hoped for exertion.  They were forced to conclude that he
had  no  pleasing intelligence  to send;  but even of  _that_ they
would have been glad to be certain.  Mr.  Gardiner had waited only
for the letters before he set off.                                
  When he was  gone,  they were certain at least of receiving con‐
stant information of what was going on,  and their uncle promised,
at parting,  to prevail on Mr.  Bennet to return to  Longbourn, as
soon as he could, to the great consolation of his sister, who con‐
sidered it  as  the  only security  for  her  husband's not  being
killed in a duel.                                                 
  Mrs.  Gardiner and the children  were to remain in Hertfordshire
a few days longer,  as the  former thought  her presence might  be
serviceable to her nieces.  She shared in their attendance on Mrs.
Bennet,  and was  a great comfort to them in their hours of  free‐
dom.  Their other aunt also  visited them frequently,  and always,
as she said,  with the design of cheering and heartening them up—‐
though,  as she never  came without  reporting some fresh instance
of Wickham's extravagance or irregularity,  she seldom  went  away
without leaving them more dispirited than she found them.         
  All Meryton seemed striving to blacken  the  man who,  but three
months before, had been almost an angel of light.  He was declared
to be in debt to every tradesman in the place,  and his intrigues,
all honoured with the  title of seduction,  had been extended into
every tradesman's family. Everybody declared that he was the wick‐
edest young man in  the world;  and  everybody  began to  find out
that  they  had always distrusted the appearance of  his goodness.
Elizabeth,  though she did not credit above half of what was said,
believed enough to make her former assurance of  her sister's ruin
more certain;  and even Jane,  who believed still less of  it, be‐
came almost  hopeless,  more especially  as the  time was now come
when, if they had gone to Scotland, which she had never before en‐
tirely despaired  of,  they must  in  all  probability have gained
some news of them.                                                
  Mr.  Gardiner left Longbourn on Sunday;  on Tuesday his wife re‐
ceived a  letter from him;  it told them that, on his arrival,  he
had immediately found out his brother,  and persuaded him  to come
to  Gracechurch  Street;  that Mr.  Bennet had been  to Epsom  and
Clapham, before his arrival,  but without gaining any satisfactory
information;  and that he was now determined to inquire at all the
principal hotels in town,  as Mr.  Bennet thought it possible they
might have gone to one of them,  on their first  coming to London,
before  they procured lodgings.  Mr.  Gardiner himself did not ex‐
pect any  success from this measure,  but as his brother was eager
in it,  he meant to assist him in  pursuing it.  He added that Mr.
Bennet  seemed wholly disinclined at present  to leave London  and
promised to write again very soon.  There was also a postscript to
this effect:                                                      
  “I have  written  to Colonel Forster to desire him to  find out,
if possible,  from  some of the young man's intimates in the regi‐
ment,  whether Wickham has any relations  or connections who would
be likely to know  in what part of  town he has now concealed him‐
self.  If there were anyone that one could apply to with a probab‐
ility of gaining such a clue as that,  it  might  be  of essential
consequence.  At present we have nothing to guide us. Colonel For‐
ster will,  I  dare say,  do everything in his power to satisfy us
on this head.  But,  on second thoughts, perhaps, Lizzy could tell
us what relations he has  now living,  better than  any other per‐
  Elizabeth  was at no loss to  understand from whence this defer‐
ence to her authority proceeded;  but  it was  not in her power to
give any information of so satisfactory  a nature  as  the compli‐
ment deserved.  She had never  heard of  his having had  any rela‐
tions,  except a  father  and mother,  both of whom  had been dead
many years. It was possible, however,  that some of his companions
in the  ―shire might be able to give more information;  and though
she was  not very sanguine in expecting it,  the application was a
something to look forward to.                                     
  Every day at Longbourn was now a day  of anxiety;  but the  most
anxious part of each was when the post  was expected.  The arrival
of letters  was  the  grand  object of every morning's impatience.
Through letters,  whatever of good or bad was to  be told would be
communicated,  and every succeeding day was expected to bring some
news of importance.                                               
  But before they heard again from Mr. Gardiner,  a letter arrived
for  their  father,  from a different quarter,  from  Mr. Collins;
which,  as Jane had  received directions to open all that came for
him in his absence, she accordingly read;  and Elizabeth, who knew
what curiosities  his letters always were,  looked  over her,  and
read it likewise. It was as follows:                              
  “MY DEAR SIR,                                                   
  “I  feel myself called upon,  by our relationship,  and my situ‐
ation in life,  to condole with you on the grievous affliction you
are now suffering under,  of which we were yesterday informed by a
letter from  Hertfordshire.  Be assured,  my  dear sir,  that Mrs.
Collins and myself sincerely sympathise with you  and all your re‐
spectable family,  in your present distress,  which must be of the
bitterest kind,  because proceeding from a cause which no time can
remove.  No arguments shall be wanting on my part that can allevi‐
ate so severe a misfortune—or that may comfort you,  under a  cir‐
cumstance that must be of all others the most afflicting to a par‐
ent's mind.  The death of your daughter would have been a blessing
in comparison of this. And it is the more to be lamented,  because
there is reason to suppose as my dear  Charlotte informs me,  that
this licentiousness of  behaviour in your daughter  has  proceeded
from a faulty degree of indulgence; though,  at the same time, for
the consolation  of yourself  and  Mrs.  Bennet,  I am inclined to
think that her  own  disposition  must  be naturally  bad,  or she
could not be guilty of such an enormity,  at so early an age. How‐
soever that may be,  you are  grievously  to be pitied;  in  which
opinion  I am  not  only joined by Mrs.  Collins,  but likewise by
Lady Catherine and her daughter,  to whom I  have  related the af‐
fair.  They agree with me in apprehending that this  false step in
one daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all  the others;
for who, as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, will con‐
nect themselves with such a family?  And this consideration  leads
me moreover to reflect, with augmented satisfaction,  on a certain
event of last November;  for  had it been  otherwise,  I must have
been involved in all your sorrow and disgrace.  Let me then advise
you,  dear sir,  to console yourself as much as possible, to throw
off your unworthy child from your  affection  for ever,  and leave
her to reap the fruits of her own heinous offense.                
  “I am, dear sir, etc., etc.”                                    
  Mr.  Gardiner did not write again till he had received an answer
from  Colonel  Forster;  and then he had  nothing  of  a  pleasant
nature  to send.  It was not known that Wickham had a single rela‐
tionship with whom he  kept up any connection,  and it was certain
that he had no near one living.  His former acquaintances had been
numerous; but since he had been in the militia,  it did not appear
that he was on terms  of particular friendship with any  of  them.
There  was no one,  therefore,  who could be pointed out as likely
to give any news of him. And in the wretched state of his own fin‐
ances,  there was a very powerful motive for secrecy,  in addition
to his fear  of discovery by  Lydia's relations,  for it had  just
transpired that he had left gaming debts behind him to a very con‐
siderable amount.  Colonel Forster believed that more than a thou‐
sand pounds would  be necessary to clear his expenses at Brighton.
He owed a good  deal in town,  but his debts  of honour were still
more formidable.  Mr.  Gardiner did not  attempt to  conceal these
particulars from the Longbourn family.  Jane heard them  with hor‐
ror.  “A gamester!” she cried.  “This is wholly unexpected.  I had
not an idea of it.”                                               
  Mr. Gardiner added in his letter,  that they might expect to see
their  father at home on the following  day,  which  was Saturday.
Rendered  spiritless by  the  ill-success of all their endeavours,
he had yielded to his brother-in-law's entreaty that  he would re‐
turn to his family,  and leave it to  him to do  whatever occasion
might suggest to be advisable  for continuing their pursuit.  When
Mrs.  Bennet was told of this,  she did not express so much satis‐
faction  as her children expected,  considering what  her  anxiety
for his life had been before.                                     
  “What,  is he coming  home,  and without poor Lydia?” she cried.
“Sure he will not leave London  before he has  found them.  Who is
to fight Wickham, and make him marry her, if he comes away?”      
  As Mrs.  Gardiner began to wish to be  at home,  it  was settled
that she and the  children should go to  London,  at the same time
that Mr. Bennet came from it. The coach, therefore,  took them the
first stage of their journey, and brought its master back to Long‐
  Mrs.  Gardiner  went away in all the  perplexity about Elizabeth
and her Derbyshire  friend that had attended her from that part of
the  world.  His name had  never been voluntarily mentioned before
them by her niece;  and  the  kind  of half-expectation which Mrs.
Gardiner had  formed,  of their being followed  by a  letter  from
him,  had ended in nothing.  Elizabeth had received none since her
return that could come from Pemberley.                            
  The  present unhappy state of the family  rendered any other ex‐
cuse for the lowness of her spirits unnecessary;  nothing,  there‐
fore,  could be fairly conjectured from _that_,  though Elizabeth,
who was by this time tolerably  well acquainted with her own feel‐
ings,  was perfectly  aware that,  had she known nothing of Darcy,
she  could have borne the dread of Lydia's infamy somewhat better.
It would have spared her,  she thought, one sleepless night out of
  When Mr. Bennet arrived,  he had all the appearance of his usual
philosophic composure.  He said as little as he  had  ever been in
the habit of  saying;  made no  mention  of the business that  had
taken  him away,  and it  was some  time before  his daughters had
courage to speak of it.                                           
  It was not till the afternoon,  when he had joined them  at tea,
that Elizabeth ventured to introduce  the subject;  and  then,  on
her briefly expressing her sorrow  for what he must  have endured,
he replied,  “Say nothing  of that.  Who should suffer but myself?
It has been my own doing, and I ought to feel it.”                
  “You must not be too severe upon yourself,” replied Elizabeth.  
  “You may well warn me against such an  evil.  Human nature is so
prone to fall into it! No, Lizzy,  let me once in my life feel how
much I have been to blame.  I  am  not afraid of being overpowered
by the impression. It will pass away soon enough.”                
  “Do you suppose them to be in London?”                          
  “Yes; where else can they be so well concealed?”                
  “And Lydia used to want to go to London,” added Kitty.          
  “She is  happy then,” said her father drily;  “and her residence
there will probably be of some duration.”                         
  Then after a short silence he continued:                        
  “Lizzy,  I bear you no ill-will for being  justified in your ad‐
vice to  me last May,  which,  considering the event,  shows  some
greatness of mind.”                                               
  They were interrupted  by Miss  Bennet,  who came  to fetch  her
mother's tea.                                                     
  “This  is a  parade,” he cried,  “which does one good;  it gives
such an elegance to misfortune!  Another day I will do the same; I
will sit  in  my library,  in my nightcap and powdering gown,  and
give as much trouble as I can;  or,  perhaps,  I may defer it till
Kitty runs away.”                                                 
  “I am not going to run away, papa,” said Kitty fretfully.  “If I
should ever go to Brighton, I would behave better than Lydia.”    
  “_You_ go to Brighton. I would not trust you so near it as East‐
bourne for fifty pounds!  No,  Kitty, I have at last learnt  to be
cautious,  and you will feel the effects of it. No officer is ever
to enter into my  house again,  nor even to pass through  the vil‐
lage.  Balls will  be absolutely prohibited,  unless you  stand up
with one of your sisters.  And  you are never to stir out of doors
till you  can prove that you have  spent ten minutes  of every day
in a rational manner.”                                            
  Kitty,  who took all these threats in a serious light,  began to
  “Well,  well,” said  he,  “do not make yourself unhappy.  If you
are  a good girl for the next ten years,  I will take you to a re‐
view at the end of them.”                                         

                            Chapter 49                            

Two days after Mr.  Bennet's return,  as  Jane  and Elizabeth were
walking together in the shrubbery behind the house,  they  saw the
housekeeper coming towards them,  and, concluding that she came to
call them to their mother, went forward to meet her;  but, instead
of  the expected  summons,  when they approached her,  she said to
Miss Bennet,  “I beg your pardon, madam, for interrupting you, but
I was in hopes you might have  got some good news from town,  so I
took the liberty of coming to ask.”                               
  “What do you mean, Hill? We have heard nothing from town.”      
  “Dear madam,”  cried Mrs.  Hill,  in great astonishment,  “don't
you know there  is an express come for  master from Mr.  Gardiner?
He has been here this half-hour, and master has had a letter.”    
  Away ran  the girls,  too eager  to  get  in  to have  time  for
speech.  They ran through the vestibule  into  the breakfast-room;
from thence to the library;  their father was in neither; and they
were  on the point of seeking  him  up  stairs with  their mother,
when they were met by the butler, who said:                       
  “If you are looking for my master, ma'am,  he is walking towards
the little copse.”                                                
  Upon  this information,  they  instantly passed through the hall
once more, and ran across the lawn after their father, who was de‐
liberately pursuing his  way towards  a  small wood on one side of
the paddock.                                                      
  Jane,  who was not so light nor so much in the habit of  running
as Elizabeth,  soon lagged behind,  while her sister,  panting for
breath, came up with him, and eagerly cried out:                  
  “Oh, papa, what news—what news? Have you heard from my uncle?”  
  “Yes I have had a letter from him by express.”                  
  “Well, and what news does it bring—good or bad?”                
  “What is there of good to be expected?” said he, taking the let‐
ter from his pocket. “But perhaps you would like to read it.”     
  Elizabeth impatiently caught it from his hand. Jane now came up.
  “Read it aloud,” said their father,  “for I  hardly know  myself
what it is about.”                                                
  “Gracechurch Street, Monday, August 2.                          
  “MY DEAR BROTHER,                                               
  “At last I am able to  send  you some tidings  of my niece,  and
such as,  upon the whole,  I hope  it will  give you satisfaction.
Soon  after you  left me on  Saturday,  I was fortunate enough  to
find out in what part of London they were.  The  particulars I re‐
serve till we meet;  it is enough  to know they are discovered.  I
have seen them both—”                                             
  “Then it is as I always hoped,” cried Jane; “they are married!” 
  Elizabeth read on:                                              
  “I have  seen  them both.  They are not married,  nor can I find
there was any intention of  being so;  but if  you are  willing to
perform  the engagements  which  I have  ventured  to make on your
side, I hope it will not be long before they are.  All that is re‐
quired of you is,  to assure to your daughter, by settlement,  her
equal share of  the five  thousand pounds secured among your chil‐
dren after the decease of yourself and my sister;  and,  moreover,
to enter  into  an engagement  of allowing her,  during your life,
one hundred pounds per annum.  These are conditions which, consid‐
ering everything,  I had no hesitation in complying  with,  as far
as I thought myself privileged,  for you. I shall send this by ex‐
press,  that no time may be  lost in bringing me your answer.  You
will  easily comprehend,  from  these particulars,  that Mr. Wick‐
ham's circumstances are not  so hopeless as they are generally be‐
lieved to be.  The world has been deceived in that respect;  and I
am happy to  say  there will be some little money,  even  when all
his  debts are discharged,  to settle on my niece,  in addition to
her own fortune.  If,  as I conclude will be the case, you send me
full powers to act in your name throughout the whole of this busi‐
ness, I will immediately give directions to Haggerston for prepar‐
ing  a proper settlement.  There will not be the smallest occasion
for your coming to town again;  therefore stay quiet at Longbourn,
and depend on my diligence  and care.  Send  back  your answer  as
fast  as you  can,  and  be careful to  write explicitly.  We have
judged it best  that  my niece should be married from  this house,
of which I hope you will approve.  She comes to us to-day. I shall
write  again as soon  as  anything more  is determined on.  Yours,
  “EDW. GARDINER.”                                                
  “Is it possible?” cried Elizabeth,  when she had finished.  “Can
it be possible that he will marry her?”                           
  “Wickham is not so undeserving,  then,  as we thought him,” said
her sister. “My dear father, I congratulate you.”                 
  “And have you answered the letter?” cried Elizabeth.            
  “No; but it must be done soon.”                                 
  Most  earnestly did she then  entreaty him to lose no  more time
before he wrote.                                                  
  “Oh!  my dear father,” she cried,  “come back and write  immedi‐
ately. Consider how important every moment is in such a case.”    
  “Let  me write for you,” said Jane,  “if you dislike the trouble
  “I dislike it very much,” he replied; “but it must be done.”    
  And so saying,  he turned back with them, and walked towards the
  “And may I ask—” said  Elizabeth;  “but  the  terms,  I suppose,
must be complied with.”                                           
  “Complied with! I am only ashamed of his asking so little.”     
  “And they _must_ marry! Yet he is _such_ a man!”                
  “Yes,  yes,  they must marry.  There is nothing else to be done.
But there are  two things that I want very much  to know;  one is,
how much money  your uncle has laid down to  bring it  about;  and
the other, how am I ever to pay him.”                             
  “Money! My uncle!” cried Jane, “what do you mean, sir?”         
  “I mean,  that  no  man in  his  senses would marry Lydia on  so
slight  a temptation  as one  hundred a year during  my life,  and
fifty after I am gone.”                                           
  “That is very true,” said  Elizabeth;  “though  it  had  not oc‐
curred  to me before.  His debts to be  discharged,  and something
still to remain!  Oh! it must be my uncle's doings! Generous, good
man, I am afraid he has distressed himself.  A small sum could not
do all this.”                                                     
  “No,” said her father;  “Wickham's a fool if he takes her with a
farthing less than  ten thousand  pounds.  I should  be  sorry  to
think so ill of him, in the very beginning of our relationship.”  
  “Ten thousand pounds!  Heaven forbid!  How is half such a sum to
be repaid?”                                                       
  Mr.  Bennet made no answer,  and each  of them, deep in thought,
continued silent till they reached  the house.  Their father  then
went on to  the library to  write,  and the girls walked into  the
  “And they are really to  be married!”  cried Elizabeth,  as soon
as they were by themselves.  “How strange this is!  And for _this_
we are to be thankful.  That they should marry,  small as is their
chance  of happiness,  and  wretched as is his  character,  we are
forced to rejoice. Oh, Lydia!”                                    
  “I comfort myself with thinking,”  replied  Jane,  “that he cer‐
tainly would not marry Lydia  if he had not a real regard for her.
Though our kind uncle has done something  towards clearing him,  I
cannot believe that ten thousand pounds, or anything like it,  has
been advanced.  He has children of his own, and may have more. How
could he spare half ten thousand pounds?”                         
  “If  he were ever able to learn what Wickham's debts have been,”
said Elizabeth,  “and how much is  settled on his side on our sis‐
ter,  we shall  exactly know what Mr.  Gardiner has done for them,
because Wickham has not  sixpence of his own.  The kindness of  my
uncle and aunt can never be requited.  Their taking her home,  and
affording her their personal protection  and countenance,  is such
a  sacrifice to her advantage as years  of gratitude cannot enough
acknowledge. By this time she is actually with them! If such good‐
ness does not make her miserable now,  she  will never  deserve to
be happy! What a meeting for her, when she first sees my aunt!”   
  “We must endeavour  to  forget all  that  has  passed  on either
side,” said Jane:  “I hope and trust they will yet  be happy.  His
consenting to  marry her  is a proof,  I will believe,  that he is
come to  a  right way of  thinking.  Their  mutual affection  will
steady them;  and  I flatter  myself they will settle  so quietly,
and live in so rational a  manner,  as may in time make their past
imprudence forgotten.”                                            
  “Their  conduct has  been such,” replied Elizabeth,  “as neither
you, nor I, nor anybody can ever forget.  It is useless to talk of
  It  now occurred to the girls that their mother was in all like‐
lihood perfectly ignorant of what had happened.  They went to  the
library,  therefore,  and asked their father  whether he would not
wish them to  make it known  to her.  He was writing and,  without
raising his head, coolly replied:                                 
  “Just as you please.”                                           
  “May we take my uncle's letter to read to her?”                 
  “Take whatever you like, and get away.”                         
  Elizabeth took the letter from his writing-table,  and they went
up stairs together.  Mary  and Kitty were  both with Mrs.  Bennet:
one  communication would,  therefore, do for all.  After a  slight
preparation for good news, the letter was read aloud. Mrs.  Bennet
could  hardly  contain  herself.  As  soon  as  Jane  had read Mr.
Gardiner's  hope  of  Lydia's being soon  married,  her joy  burst
forth,  and every following sentence added to its exuberance.  She
was now in an irritation as violent from delight,  as she had ever
been fidgety  from alarm  and vexation.  To know that her daughter
would be married was enough.  She was disturbed by no fear for her
felicity, nor humbled by any remembrance of her misconduct.       
  “My dear,  dear Lydia!” she cried.  “This is  delightful indeed!
She will be married!  I shall see her again!  She will  be married
at sixteen!  My good, kind brother! I knew how it would be. I knew
he would manage everything!  How I  long to see her!  and  to  see
dear Wickham too!  But the  clothes,  the wedding  clothes! I will
write to my sister Gardiner about them directly.  Lizzy,  my dear,
run down to  your father,  and ask him how much he will give  her.
Stay,  stay, I  will go myself. Ring the bell, Kitty, for Hill.  I
will put on my things in a moment. My dear,  dear Lydia! How merry
we shall be together when we meet!”                               
  Her eldest daughter endeavoured to give some relief to the viol‐
ence of these transports,  by leading her thoughts to the  obliga‐
tions which Mr. Gardiner's behaviour laid them all under.         
  “For we must attribute this happy conclusion,” she added,  “in a
great  measure  to  his  kindness.  We  are  persuaded that he has
pledged himself to assist Mr. Wickham with money.”                
  “Well,” cried her mother,  “it is all very right;  who should do
it but her own uncle?  If  he had  not had a family of his own,  I
and my children must have had all his money,  you know;  and it is
the first  time we have ever  had anything from him,  except a few
presents.  Well!  I am so happy!  In a short time  I  shall have a
daughter married.  Mrs.  Wickham! How well it sounds!  And she was
only sixteen last June.  My dear Jane,  I  am  in  such a flutter,
that  I am sure I can't write;  so I will dictate,  and  you write
for  me.  We will settle with  your father  about the money after‐
wards; but the things should be ordered immediately.”             
  She was  then  proceeding to  all  the  particulars  of  calico,
muslin,  and cambric,  and  would shortly have dictated  some very
plentiful orders, had not Jane,  though with some difficulty, per‐
suaded her  to  wait till her  father was at leisure to be consul‐
ted. One day's delay, she observed,  would be of small importance;
and her  mother  was  too happy to be quite so obstinate as usual.
Other schemes, too, came into her head.                           
  “I will go to Meryton,” said she, “as soon as I am dressed,  and
tell the  good,  good news  to my sister Philips.  And  as I  come
back, I can call on Lady Lucas and Mrs.  Long. Kitty, run down and
order the carriage.  An airing would do me a great deal of good, I
am sure.  Girls,  can I do anything for you in Meryton?  Oh!  Here
comes Hill!  My dear Hill, have you heard the good news?  Miss Ly‐
dia  is going to  be  married;  and you  shall all have  a bowl of
punch to make merry at her wedding.”                              
  Mrs.  Hill  began  instantly to express her  joy.  Elizabeth re‐
ceived her congratulations amongst the rest,  and  then,  sick  of
this folly,  took refuge in her own  room,  that she  might  think
with freedom.                                                     
  Poor Lydia's situation must,  at best,  be bad enough;  but that
it was no worse,  she had need to be thankful. She felt it so; and
though,   in  looking  forward,  neither  rational  happiness  nor
worldly prosperity could  be justly expected  for  her sister,  in
looking back to what they  had  feared,  only two  hours ago,  she
felt all the advantages of what they had gained.                  

                            Chapter 50                            

Mr.  Bennet had very often wished before  this period  of his life
that, instead of spending his whole income,  he had laid by an an‐
nual  sum for the better  provision of  his children,  and of  his
wife,  if she survived him.  He now wished it more than ever.  Had
he  done his duty in that  respect,  Lydia need not have been  in‐
debted to her uncle for whatever of honour or credit could now  be
purchased for her.  The  satisfaction of  prevailing on one of the
most worthless young men in Great Britain to be her husband  might
then have rested in its proper place.                             
  He was seriously  concerned that a  cause of so little advantage
to anyone should be  forwarded at the sole expense of his brother‐
in-law,  and he was determined,  if possible,  to find out the ex‐
tent  of his assistance,  and to discharge the  obligation as soon
as he could.                                                      
  When first Mr.  Bennet had married,  economy was held to be per‐
fectly useless,  for,  of course, they were to have a son. The son
was to join in cutting off the entail,  as soon as he should be of
age,  and the  widow  and younger children would by that means  be
provided for.  Five daughters successively entered the world,  but
yet the son was to come; and Mrs. Bennet, for many years after Ly‐
dia's birth,  had been certain that he would.  This  event  had at
last been despaired of,  but  it was then too late to  be  saving.
Mrs. Bennet had no turn for economy, and her husband's love of in‐
dependence had alone prevented their exceeding their income.      
  Five thousand pounds  was settled by  marriage  articles on Mrs.
Bennet and the children.  But in what proportions it should be di‐
vided  amongst the  latter  depended  on the will of  the parents.
This was one point, with regard to Lydia,  at least, which was now
to be settled,  and Mr.  Bennet could have no hesitation in acced‐
ing to the  proposal before him.  In terms of grateful acknowledg‐
ment for the kindness of  his brother,  though expressed most con‐
cisely,  he then delivered on paper his perfect approbation of all
that was done,  and his willingness to fulfil the engagements that
had been made for  him.  He had never before supposed that,  could
Wickham  be prevailed on to marry his daughter,  it  would be done
with so little inconvenience to himself as by the present arrange‐
ment. He would scarcely be ten pounds a year the loser by the hun‐
dred  that  was to be  paid them;  for,  what  with  her board and
pocket allowance,  and  the  continual  presents  in  money  which
passed  to her through her mother's hands,  Lydia's  expenses  had
been very little within that sum.                                 
  That it would be done with  such trifling exertion on his  side,
too,  was another very welcome  surprise;  for his wish at present
was to have as little trouble in the business  as  possible.  When
the first transports  of rage which had produced  his activity  in
seeking her were over, he naturally returned to all his former in‐
dolence.  His letter was soon dispatched;  for, though dilatory in
undertaking business, he was quick in its execution.  He begged to
know further particulars  of what he was indebted  to his brother,
but was too angry with Lydia to send any message to her.          
  The good news spread quickly through the house, and with propor‐
tionate speed through the neighbourhood.  It was borne in the lat‐
ter with decent  philosophy.  To be sure,  it would have been more
for the advantage of  conversation had Miss Lydia Bennet come upon
the town; or,  as the happiest alternative, been secluded from the
world,  in some distant farmhouse. But there was much to be talked
of  in marrying her;  and the good-natured wishes for her well-do‐
ing  which had proceeded before from  all the spiteful old  ladies
in Meryton lost  but a little  of  their spirit in this change  of
circumstances,  because with such  an husband her misery  was con‐
sidered certain.                                                  
  It was a fortnight since Mrs.  Bennet had been  downstairs;  but
on  this  happy  day she again took  her  seat at the  head of her
table,  and in  spirits oppressively high.  No  sentiment of shame
gave a damp to her triumph. The marriage of a daughter,  which had
been the first object of her wishes since Jane  was  sixteen,  was
now  on the  point  of accomplishment,  and her  thoughts  and her
words ran  wholly  on those attendants  of elegant nuptials,  fine
muslins,  new  carriages,  and servants.  She was busily searching
through the neighbourhood for a proper situation  for  her  daugh‐
ter,  and,  without knowing or considering what their income might
be, rejected many as deficient in size and importance.            
  “Haye  Park might do,”  said  she,  “if the Gouldings could quit
it—or the great house at Stoke,  if the drawing-room  were larger;
but Ashworth is too  far off!  I  could  not bear  to have her ten
miles from  me;  and as  for Pulvis Lodge,  the attics are  dread‐
  Her husband  allowed  her to talk on  without interruption while
the servants remained.  But when  they had  withdrawn,  he said to
her: “Mrs. Bennet,  before you take any or all of these houses for
your son and daughter, let us come to a right understanding.  Into
_one_  house in this neighbourhood  they shall never  have  admit‐
tance. I will not encourage the impudence of either,  by receiving
them at Longbourn.”                                               
  A long dispute  followed this declaration;  but  Mr.  Bennet was
firm.  It  soon  led  to  another; and  Mrs.  Bennet  found,  with
amazement and horror,  that her husband would not advance a guinea
to buy clothes for his daughter.  He protested that she should re‐
ceive from him  no  mark of affection whatever  on  the  occasion.
Mrs.  Bennet could hardly comprehend it.  That his anger could  be
carried to such a  point  of inconceivable resentment as to refuse
his  daughter  a  privilege   without  which  her  marriage  would
scarcely seem valid,  exceeded all she could believe possible. She
was more alive to the  disgrace which her want of new clothes must
reflect on her daughter's nuptials,  than to any sense of shame at
her eloping  and  living with Wickham a fortnight before they took
  Elizabeth  was now most heartily  sorry that she  had,  from the
distress  of the  moment,  been led to  make Mr.  Darcy acquainted
with their fears for her sister;  for since her  marriage would so
shortly give the proper  termination to the elopement,  they might
hope  to  conceal its unfavourable  beginning from all  those  who
were not immediately on the spot.                                 
  She  had  no  fear of its  spreading farther  through his means.
There were few people on whose secrecy she would have more confid‐
ently depended;  but,  at  the same time,  there was no  one whose
knowledge  of  a sister's  frailty  would have  mortified  her  so
much—not, however, from any fear of disadvantage from it individu‐
ally to herself, for,  at any rate, there seemed a gulf impassable
between them. Had Lydia's marriage been concluded on the most hon‐
ourable terms, it was not to be supposed that Mr. Darcy would con‐
nect himself with a family where, to every other objection,  would
now  be  added an  alliance  and  relationship of the nearest kind
with a man whom he so justly scorned.                             
  From such a connection  she  could  not  wonder  that  he  would
shrink.  The wish of procuring her regard,  which  she had assured
herself of his feeling in Derbyshire,  could  not in rational  ex‐
pectation survive such  a blow as this.  She was humbled,  she was
grieved; she repented,  though she hardly knew of what. She became
jealous  of his esteem,  when she could  no  longer hope to be be‐
nefited by it.  She wanted to  hear of him,  when there seemed the
least chance of gaining  intelligence.  She was convinced that she
could have been happy with him,  when it was no longer likely they
should meet.                                                      
  What  a triumph  for him,  as she  often thought,  could he know
that the proposals which she had proudly spurned  only four months
ago,  would now have been most gladly and gratefully received!  He
was as generous,  she doubted not,  as the  most  generous  of his
sex; but while he was mortal, there must be a triumph.            
  She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who,  in
disposition and talents,  would most suit her.  His  understanding
and temper,  though unlike her own,  would have  answered  all her
wishes.  It was  an  union that must have been to the advantage of
both;  by  her  ease  and  liveliness,  his  mind might  have been
softened,  his manners improved; and from his judgement,  informa‐
tion,  and knowledge of the world,  she must have received benefit
of greater importance.                                            
  But  no such happy marriage could now  teach the admiring multi‐
tude what connubial felicity really was.  An union of  a different
tendency,  and  precluding the possibility of the other,  was soon
to be formed in their family.                                     
  How  Wickham and Lydia were  to be supported in  tolerable inde‐
pendence,  she could not imagine. But how little of permanent hap‐
piness could belong to a couple who were only brought together be‐
cause their  passions were stronger  than their virtue,  she could
easily conjecture.                                                


  Mr.  Gardiner soon wrote again to his brother.  To Mr.  Bennet's
acknowledgments he briefly replied,  with  assurance of his eager‐
ness to  promote the welfare of any of his  family;  and concluded
with entreaties that the subject  might never be mentioned to  him
again.  The principal purport  of his letter  was  to  inform them
that Mr. Wickham had resolved on quitting the militia.            
  “It was  greatly my wish that he  should do so,” he  added,  “as
soon as  his marriage was fixed  on.  And I  think you will  agree
with me,  in considering the removal from that corps as highly ad‐
visable, both on his account and my niece's.  It is Mr.  Wickham's
intention to go into  the regulars;  and among his former friends,
there  are  still some who are able and  willing  to assist him in
the army.  He has the promise  of an ensigncy in General ―'s regi‐
ment,  now quartered in the North.  It is an advantage to  have it
so far from  this part of the kingdom.  He promises fairly;  and I
hope among different people,  where they may each have a character
to preserve,  they  will both be more  prudent.  I have written to
Colonel  Forster,  to inform him of our present arrangements,  and
to request that he will satisfy the various creditors of Mr. Wick‐
ham in and near Brighton,  with assurances of speedy payment,  for
which  I have  pledged  myself.  And  will you give  yourself  the
trouble  of  carrying  similar  assurances  to  his  creditors  in
Meryton,  of whom I shall subjoin a list according to his informa‐
tion?  He has given in all his debts;  I  hope at least he has not
deceived us.  Haggerston has our directions,  and all will be com‐
pleted in  a week.  They will then join his regiment,  unless they
are  first  invited  to  Longbourn;  and I  understand  from  Mrs.
Gardiner,  that my niece is very desirous of seeing you all before
she leaves the South.  She is well,  and begs to be dutifully  re‐
membered to you and your mother.—Yours, etc.,                     
  “E. GARDINER.”                                                  
  Mr.  Bennet and  his  daughters saw  all the advantages of Wick‐
ham's removal from the ―shire  as  clearly as  Mr.  Gardiner could
do.  But Mrs.  Bennet was not so well pleased with it. Lydia's be‐
ing settled in the North,  just when she had expected most  pleas‐
ure  and pride  in her  company,  for she had by no means given up
her plan of  their residing in Hertfordshire,  was a severe disap‐
pointment;  and, besides,  it was such a pity that Lydia should be
taken from a regiment where  she  was  acquainted  with everybody,
and had so many favourites.                                       
  “She is so  fond of Mrs.  Forster,” said she,  “it will be quite
shocking to  send  her away!  And  there are  several of the young
men,  too,  that she  likes very much. The officers may  not be so
pleasant in General ―'s regiment.”                                
  His daughter's request,  for such it might be considered, of be‐
ing  admitted  into  her  family again before she  set off for the
North, received at first an absolute negative. But Jane and Eliza‐
beth, who agreed in wishing,  for the sake of their sister's feel‐
ings and consequence,  that she should be noticed on her  marriage
by her parents,  urged him  so  earnestly yet so rationally and so
mildly,  to receive  her and her husband at Longbourn,  as soon as
they  were married,  that  he was prevailed on  to think  as  they
thought,  and act as they wished.  And their mother had the satis‐
faction  of  knowing that she would be  able to  show  her married
daughter  in  the neighbourhood  before she was  banished  to  the
North.  When Mr. Bennet wrote again to his brother,  therefore, he
sent his permission for them to come;  and it was settled, that as
soon as the  ceremony was over,  they should proceed to Longbourn.
Elizabeth was surprised,  however,  that Wickham should consent to
such  a scheme,  and had she consulted only  her own  inclination,
any  meeting with him  would  have been  the  last object  of  her

                            Chapter 51                            

Their sister's wedding day  arrived;  and Jane and Elizabeth  felt
for her probably more than she felt for herself.  The carriage was
sent to meet them at ―,  and  they were to return in it by dinner‐
time.  Their arrival  was  dreaded by the elder Miss Bennets,  and
Jane  more  especially,  who gave  Lydia  the feelings which would
have attended herself, had she been the culprit,  and was wretched
in the thought of what her sister must endure.                    
  They  came.  The family were assembled in the breakfast room  to
receive them.  Smiles decked  the face of Mrs.  Bennet as the car‐
riage  drove up  to  the  door;  her husband  looked  impenetrably
grave; her daughters, alarmed, anxious, uneasy.                   
  Lydia's  voice was heard in  the vestibule;  the door was thrown
open, and she ran into the room. Her mother stepped forwards,  em‐
braced her, and welcomed her with rapture; gave her hand,  with an
affectionate smile, to Wickham, who followed his lady;  and wished
them both joy with an alacrity which shewed no doubt of their hap‐
  Their reception from Mr. Bennet,  to whom they then turned,  was
not quite so cordial.  His countenance rather gained in austerity;
and he scarcely  opened his lips.  The easy assurance of the young
couple,  indeed,  was enough to provoke him. Elizabeth was disgus‐
ted, and even Miss Bennet was shocked.  Lydia was Lydia still; un‐
tamed, unabashed, wild, noisy,  and fearless. She turned from sis‐
ter  to sister,  demanding  their  congratulations;  and  when  at
length they all sat down,  looked eagerly round the room, took no‐
tice of some little alteration in it,  and observed, with a laugh,
that it was a great while since she had been there.               
  Wickham was not at all  more  distressed than herself,  but  his
manners were  always so pleasing,  that had his  character and his
marriage been exactly what they ought, his smiles and his easy ad‐
dress,  while he claimed their relationship,  would have delighted
them all.  Elizabeth  had  not before  believed him quite equal to
such  assurance;  but she sat  down,  resolving within herself  to
draw no limits in future to the impudence of an impudent man.  She
blushed,  and Jane blushed;  but the cheeks of the  two who caused
their confusion suffered no variation of colour.                  
  There was no want of discourse.  The bride and  her mother could
neither of them talk  fast enough;  and Wickham,  who  happened to
sit  near Elizabeth,  began  inquiring  after  his acquaintance in
that neighbourhood,  with a good humoured ease which she felt very
unable to equal in her replies.  They seemed each of them to  have
the happiest memories in the world. Nothing of the past was recol‐
lected with pain;  and Lydia led voluntarily to subjects which her
sisters would not have alluded to for the world.                  
  “Only think of its being  three  months,”  she cried,  “since  I
went away; it seems but a fortnight I declare;  and yet there have
been things enough happened in  the  time.  Good gracious!  when I
went away,  I am  sure I had no more idea of being  married till I
came back again!  though I thought it would  be very good fun if I
  Her  father lifted up his eyes.  Jane was distressed.  Elizabeth
looked expressively at Lydia;  but she,  who never  heard nor  saw
anything of which  she  chose to be insensible,  gaily  continued,
“Oh!  mamma, do the people hereabouts know I am married to-day?  I
was afraid  they might not;  and  we overtook William  Goulding in
his curricle, so I was determined he should know it,  and so I let
down the side-glass  next to him,  and took off my glove,  and let
my hand just rest upon the window frame,  so that he might see the
ring, and then I bowed and smiled like anything.”                 
  Elizabeth could bear it no longer.  She  got up,  and ran out of
the room;  and returned  no  more,  till she  heard  them  passing
through the hall to the dining parlour.  She then joined them soon
enough to see Lydia, with anxious parade,  walk up to her mother's
right hand,  and hear  her say to her eldest sister,  “Ah! Jane, I
take your place now,  and you must go lower,  because I am  a mar‐
ried woman.”                                                      
  It was not to be supposed that time would give Lydia that embar‐
rassment  from which  she had  been so wholly  free at first.  Her
ease and good spirits increased.  She longed to see Mrs. Phillips,
the Lucases,  and all their other neighbours,  and to hear herself
called “Mrs. Wickham” by each of them;  and in the mean time,  she
went after dinner to show her ring,  and boast  of  being married,
to Mrs. Hill and the two housemaids.                              
  “Well,  mamma,” said  she,  when they were  all  returned to the
breakfast room,  “and what do you think of my husband? Is not he a
charming man?  I am sure my sisters must all envy me.  I only hope
they may have  half  my good luck.  They must all  go to Brighton.
That is the place to  get husbands.  What a pity it is,  mamma, we
did not all go.”                                                  
  “Very true; and if I had my will,  we should. But my dear Lydia,
I don't at all like your going such a way off. Must it be so?”    
  “Oh,  lord!  yes;—there is nothing in that.  I shall  like it of
all things. You and papa,  and my sisters,  must come down and see
us.  We shall be at Newcastle all the winter, and I dare say there
will be some balls,  and I will take care to get good partners for
them all.”                                                        
  “I should like it beyond anything!” said her mother.            
  “And then when you go away,  you may leave one or two of my sis‐
ters behind you;  and I dare say I shall get husbands for them be‐
fore the winter is over.”                                         
  “I  thank you for my share of the favour,” said Elizabeth;  “but
I do not particularly like your way of getting husbands.”         
  Their visitors were not to remain above ten days with them.  Mr.
Wickham had received his commission before he left London,  and he
was to join his regiment at the end of a fortnight.               
  No one but Mrs.  Bennet regretted  that their  stay would  be so
short;  and she  made the most of the  time by visiting about with
her  daughter,  and having  very frequent parties  at home.  These
parties were acceptable to all;  to avoid a family circle was even
more desirable to such as did think, than such as did not.        
  Wickham's affection for Lydia was just what Elizabeth had expec‐
ted  to find it;  not  equal to Lydia's for him.  She had scarcely
needed her present  observation to be  satisfied,  from the reason
of  things,  that  their  elopement  had been  brought  on  by the
strength of her love,  rather  than  by his;  and  she would  have
wondered why,  without violently caring for her, he chose to elope
with her at  all,  had she not  felt certain that  his  flight was
rendered necessary by distress of circumstances;  and if that were
the case,  he was  not the  young man to resist  an opportunity of
having a companion.                                               
  Lydia  was exceedingly fond of him.  He was  her dear Wickham on
every occasion;  no one was to be put in competition with him.  He
did every thing best in the world;  and she was sure he would kill
more  birds on  the first of September,  than any body else in the
  One morning,  soon after their arrival,  as she was sitting with
her two elder sisters, she said to Elizabeth:                     
  “Lizzy, I never gave _you_ an account of my wedding,  I believe.
You were not by,  when  I told mamma and the others all  about it.
Are not you curious to hear how it was managed?”                  
  “No  really,” replied  Elizabeth;  “I think there  cannot be too
little said on the subject.”                                      
  “La!  You are so strange!  But I must tell you how  it went off.
We were married,  you know,  at St.  Clement's,  because Wickham's
lodgings were  in that  parish.  And it was settled that we should
all be there by eleven o'clock.  My  uncle and  aunt and I were to
go together;  and the others were to meet us at the church.  Well,
Monday morning came,  and I  was in such a fuss!  I was so afraid,
you know,  that something  would happen to put it off,  and then I
should have gone quite distracted.  And there was my aunt, all the
time I was dressing,  preaching  and  talking  away just as if she
was reading a sermon.  However,  I  did not hear above one word in
ten,  for I was thinking,  you  may suppose, of my dear Wickham. I
longed to know whether he would be married in his blue coat.”     
  “Well,  and so we  breakfasted at  ten  as usual;  I  thought it
would never be over; for, by the bye, you are to understand,  that
my uncle and  aunt were horrid unpleasant all the time  I was with
them.  If  you'll believe me,  I did  not once put my foot  out of
doors,  though I was there a fortnight.  Not one party, or scheme,
or anything. To be sure London was rather thin, but, however,  the
Little Theatre was open.  Well,  and  so just as the carriage came
to the door,  my uncle was called  away upon business to that hor‐
rid man Mr. Stone. And then, you know,  when once they get togeth‐
er,  there is no end of it.  Well,  I was  so frightened I did not
know what to do,  for my uncle was to give me away; and if we were
beyond the  hour,  we could not be married all day.  But, luckily,
he came back again in ten minutes' time,  and then we all set out.
However,  I  recollected afterwards  that if he had been prevented
going,  the wedding need not be put off, for Mr.  Darcy might have
done as well.”                                                    
  “Mr. Darcy!” repeated Elizabeth, in utter amazement.            
  “Oh, yes!—he was to come there with Wickham, you know.  But gra‐
cious me!  I quite forgot!  I ought not  to have said a word about
it. I promised them so faithfully!  What will Wickham say?  It was
to be such a secret!”                                             
  “If it was to be secret,”  said Jane,  “say not  another word on
the subject. You may depend upon my seeking no further.”          
  “Oh! certainly,” said Elizabeth,  though burning with curiosity;
“we will ask you no questions.”                                   
  “Thank you,” said Lydia,  “for  if  you did,  I should certainly
tell you all, and then Wickham would be angry.”                   
  On such encouragement to ask,  Elizabeth  was  forced  to put it
out of her power, by running away.                                
  But to live in ignorance on such a point was  impossible;  or at
least it was impossible not to try for information.  Mr. Darcy had
been at her sister's wedding. It was exactly a scene,  and exactly
among people,  where he  had apparently  least  to  do,  and least
temptation to go.  Conjectures as to the meaning of it,  rapid and
wild,  hurried into  her brain;  but she  was satisfied with none.
Those  that  best  pleased  her,  as  placing  his conduct in  the
noblest light,  seemed most improbable.  She  could  not bear such
suspense; and hastily seizing a sheet of paper, wrote a short let‐
ter to  her aunt,  to  request an explanation  of  what Lydia  had
dropt,  if it were compatible with the secrecy  which had been in‐
  “You  may readily  comprehend,”  she added,  “what my  curiosity
must be to know how a person unconnected with any of us, and (com‐
paratively speaking) a  stranger to our  family,  should have been
amongst you at such a time.  Pray write instantly,  and let me un‐
derstand  it—unless it is,  for very cogent reasons,  to remain in
the secrecy which Lydia seems to think necessary;  and then I must
endeavour to be satisfied with ignorance.”                        
  “Not that I _shall_,  though,” she added to herself, as she fin‐
ished the letter;  “and my dear aunt,  if you do not tell me in an
honourable manner,  I  shall certainly be  reduced  to  tricks and
stratagems to find it out.”                                       
  Jane's delicate sense  of honour would not allow her to speak to
Elizabeth  privately  of  what Lydia had let  fall;  Elizabeth was
glad of it;—till it  appeared whether her inquiries  would receive
any satisfaction, she had rather be without a confidante.         

                            Chapter 52                            

Elizabeth had the satisfaction of receiving an answer to  her let‐
ter as soon as she  possibly  could.  She was no sooner in posses‐
sion  of  it than,  hurrying into the little copse,  where she was
least likely  to  be  interrupted,  she  sat  down on  one  of the
benches and  prepared  to be happy;  for the length  of the letter
convinced her that it did not contain a denial.                   
  “Gracechurch street, Sept. 6.                                   
  “MY DEAR NIECE,                                                 
  “I have just received your letter,  and shall devote this  whole
morning to  answering it,  as I foresee  that a  _little_  writing
will not comprise what I have to tell you.  I  must confess myself
surprised  by your application;  I  did not expect it  from _you_.
Don't think  me angry,  however,  for I  only mean to let you know
that I had not  imagined such inquiries to be necessary on  _your_
side.  If you do not choose to understand me, forgive my impertin‐
ence.  Your uncle is as much surprised as I am—and nothing but the
belief of your being a party concerned  would have  allowed him to
act as he has done.  But if  you are really innocent and ignorant,
I must be more explicit.                                          
  “On the very  day of my coming home from Longbourn,  your  uncle
had a most unexpected visitor.  Mr.  Darcy called, and was shut up
with him several  hours.  It was all over before I arrived;  so my
curiosity was  not so dreadfully racked as  _yours_ seems  to have
been.  He  came to tell Mr.  Gardiner  that he had found out where
your sister and Mr. Wickham were,  and that he had seen and talked
with them both;  Wickham repeatedly,  Lydia once.  From what I can
collect,  he  left Derbyshire only one  day after  ourselves,  and
came to town with  the resolution of hunting for them.  The motive
professed  was his conviction of its being  owing to himself  that
Wickham's worthlessness had not been  so  well known as to make it
impossible for  any young woman of character to love or confide in
him.  He generously  imputed the whole to his mistaken pride,  and
confessed that  he  had before  thought it beneath him  to lay his
private actions open to the world.  His character was to speak for
itself. He called it, therefore, his duty to step forward, and en‐
deavour to  remedy  an  evil which had been brought on by himself.
If he _had  another_ motive,  I am sure  it  would never  disgrace
him.  He had been  some days in  town,  before he was able to dis‐
cover them;  but he had something to direct his search,  which was
more  than _we_ had;  and the consciousness  of this  was  another
reason for his resolving to follow us.                            
  “There is a lady,  it seems,  a Mrs. Younge, who was  some  time
ago governess to Miss Darcy,  and was dismissed from her charge on
some  cause of disapprobation,  though he did  not say  what.  She
then took a large house  in  Edward-street,  and  has since  main‐
tained  herself by letting  lodgings.  This  Mrs.  Younge was,  he
knew,  intimately acquainted with Wickham;  and he went to her for
intelligence of him  as soon as he got to town.  But it was two or
three days before he could get from her what he wanted.  She would
not betray her trust,  I suppose,  without bribery and corruption,
for she really did know where her friend was to be found.  Wickham
indeed had gone to her on their first arrival  in London,  and had
she been able to receive  them into  her  house,  they  would have
taken  up their  abode  with her.  At  length,  however,  our kind
friend  procured the wished-for direction.  They were in ― street.
He  saw  Wickham,  and afterwards  insisted  on seeing Lydia.  His
first object with her,  he acknowledged,  had been to persuade her
to quit  her present  disgraceful  situation,  and  return to  her
friends as soon as they could be prevailed on to receive her,  of‐
fering his assistance,  as far as it would go.  But he found Lydia
absolutely  resolved on remaining where she  was.  She  cared  for
none of her friends;  she  wanted no help  of his;  she would  not
hear of leaving Wickham.  She was sure they should be married some
time or other,  and it did not much signify when.  Since such were
her feelings,  it only remained, he thought,  to secure and exped‐
ite a marriage,  which,  in his very first conversation with Wick‐
ham,  he easily learnt had never been _his_  design.  He confessed
himself obliged to leave the  regiment,  on account  of some debts
of honour,  which were very pressing;  and scrupled not to lay all
the ill-consequences of Lydia's flight on her own folly alone.  He
meant to  resign his commission immediately;  and as to his future
situation,  he could conjecture very  little about it.  He must go
somewhere,  but he did not know where,  and he knew he should have
nothing to live on.                                               
  “Mr.  Darcy asked  him why  he  had  not married your  sister at
once.  Though  Mr.  Bennet was not  imagined to be very  rich,  he
would have been  able to do something  for him,  and his situation
must have been benefited  by marriage.  But he found,  in reply to
this question,  that Wickham still cherished the hope  of more ef‐
fectually  making his  fortune by marriage in some  other country.
Under such circumstances,  however,  he was not likely to be proof
against the temptation of immediate relief.                       
  “They met  several times,  for there was  much to  be discussed.
Wickham  of course  wanted more than he could  get;  but at length
was reduced to be reasonable.                                     
  “Every  thing being settled between  _them_,  Mr.  Darcy's  next
step was  to  make  your uncle acquainted with  it,  and  he first
called in  Gracechurch street the evening before I came home.  But
Mr.  Gardiner could not be seen,  and  Mr. Darcy found, on further
inquiry, that your father was still with him,  but would quit town
the next morning.  He did  not judge  your father to  be a  person
whom he could  so properly consult  as your  uncle,  and therefore
readily  postponed  seeing him  till after  the  departure  of the
former.  He did not leave  his name,  and till the next day it was
only known that a gentleman had called on business.               
  “On Saturday he came again. Your father was gone,  your uncle at
home, and, as I said before, they had a great deal of talk togeth‐
  “They met again on Sunday, and then _I_ saw him too.  It was not
all  settled before Monday:  as  soon as it was,  the  express was
sent  off  to  Longbourn.  But our visitor was very  obstinate.  I
fancy,  Lizzy, that obstinacy is the real defect of his character,
after all.  He has been accused of many faults at different times,
but _this_ is the  true one.  Nothing  was to be done  that he did
not do himself;  though I am sure  (and I  do  not speak it to  be
thanked,  therefore say nothing about it),  your uncle would  most
readily have settled the whole.                                   
  “They battled it together for a long time,  which was more  than
either the  gentleman  or lady  concerned in it  deserved.  But at
last your uncle was forced to yield,  and instead of being allowed
to be of use to his  niece,  was forced to put up with only having
the probable  credit of it,  which went sorely against  the grain;
and I  really  believe your  letter  this morning  gave  him great
pleasure,  because it required  an explanation  that would rob him
of his borrowed feathers,  and give the  praise where it  was due.
But,  Lizzy,  this must go no farther  than yourself,  or Jane  at
  “You know pretty well,  I suppose,  what  has been  done for the
young people. His debts are to be paid,  amounting, I believe,  to
considerably more than a thousand pounds,  another thousand in ad‐
dition to  her own settled  upon  _her_,  and his  commission pur‐
chased.  The reason why all this was to be done by him alone,  was
such as I have given above.  It  was owing to him,  to his reserve
and  want of proper consideration,  that Wickham's  character  had
been so misunderstood,  and consequently that he had been received
and noticed  as he was.  Perhaps there  was some  truth in _this_;
though I doubt whether _his_ reserve, or _anybody's_ reserve,  can
be answerable for the event.  But in spite of all this fine  talk‐
ing,  my  dear Lizzy,  you may  rest perfectly  assured  that your
uncle  would never have  yielded,  if  we had not given him credit
for _another interest_ in the affair.                             
  “When  all this  was  resolved  on,  he  returned again  to  his
friends,  who were still  staying at Pemberley;  but it was agreed
that he should be  in  London  once  more  when  the  wedding took
place,  and all  money matters were then  to receive the last fin‐
  “I  believe  I have now  told you every thing.  It is a relation
which you tell me is to  give you great surprise;  I hope at least
it will  not afford you any  displeasure.  Lydia came to  us;  and
Wickham  had  constant admission  to  the house.  _He_ was exactly
what he had been,  when I knew him in  Hertfordshire;  but I would
not tell you how  little I was  satisfied with her behaviour while
she staid with us,  if I had not perceived,  by Jane's letter last
Wednesday,  that her conduct on coming home was exactly of a piece
with it,  and therefore what I now tell you can  give you no fresh
pain. I talked to her repeatedly in the most serious manner,  rep‐
resenting to her all the wickedness of what she had done,  and all
the unhappiness she had brought  on her  family.  If she heard me,
it was by good luck, for I am sure she did not listen. I was some‐
times quite  provoked,  but then I  recollected my  dear Elizabeth
and Jane, and for their sakes had patience with her.              
  “Mr.  Darcy  was punctual in his return,  and as Lydia  informed
you, attended the wedding. He dined with us the next day,  and was
to leave town again on Wednesday or  Thursday.  Will you  be  very
angry with me,  my dear Lizzy,  if I take this opportunity of say‐
ing (what I  was never bold enough to say before) how much  I like
him. His behaviour to us has,  in every respect,  been as pleasing
as when we were in Derbyshire.  His understanding and opinions all
please  me;  he wants nothing  but  a little more liveliness,  and
_that_,  if  he  marry  _prudently_,  his  wife  may teach him.  I
thought him very sly;—he hardly ever mentioned your name. But sly‐
ness seems the fashion.                                           
  “Pray forgive me if I have been very  presuming,  or at least do
not punish  me so far as  to exclude  me from P.  I shall never be
quite happy till I have  been all round  the park.  A low phaeton,
with a nice little pair of ponies, would be the very thing.       
  “But I must write no  more.  The  children  have been wanting me
this half hour.                                                   
  “Yours, very sincerely,                                         
  “M. GARDINER.”                                                  
  The contents  of this letter  threw Elizabeth into a flutter  of
spirits,  in  which it was difficult to determine whether pleasure
or pain bore the greatest  share.  The vague and  unsettled suspi‐
cions which uncertainty had produced of what Mr.  Darcy might have
been doing to forward her sister's match,  which she had feared to
encourage as an  exertion  of goodness too  great  to be probable,
and at the same time dreaded to be just,  from the pain of obliga‐
tion,  were proved beyond their greatest extent to be true! He had
followed them purposely to town,  he  had taken on himself all the
trouble and mortification  attendant on such a research;  in which
supplication had been necessary to a woman  whom he must abominate
and despise,  and where he  was reduced to meet,  frequently meet,
reason with,  persuade,  and finally bribe, the man whom he always
most  wished  to avoid,  and whose  very name it was punishment to
him to pronounce.  He had done all  this for a girl whom he  could
neither regard nor esteem.  Her heart did whisper that he had done
it for her.  But it was a hope shortly checked by other considera‐
tions,  and she  soon  felt that even her vanity was insufficient,
when required to depend on his  affection  for her—for a woman who
had already refused him—as able  to  overcome  a sentiment so nat‐
ural as abhorrence against relationship with Wickham.  Brother-in‐
law of  Wickham!  Every kind of pride must revolt from the connec‐
tion. He had, to be sure,  done much. She was ashamed to think how
much.  But he had given a reason for his interference, which asked
no  extraordinary stretch  of belief.  It  was reasonable that  he
should feel he had been wrong;  he had liberality,  and he had the
means of exercising it;  and though she would not place herself as
his principal inducement, she could, perhaps, believe that remain‐
ing partiality  for  her  might assist his endeavours  in  a cause
where her peace of mind must be materially concerned. It was pain‐
ful,  exceedingly  painful,  to know that they were  under obliga‐
tions to a person who could never receive a return.  They owed the
restoration of Lydia,  her character, every thing, to him. Oh! how
heartily did  she grieve  over every  ungracious sensation she had
ever encouraged,  every saucy speech she had ever directed towards
him.  For herself she was humbled; but she was proud of him. Proud
that in a cause of compassion and honour,  he had been able to get
the better of himself.  She  read over her  aunt's commendation of
him again and  again.  It  was hardly enough;  but it pleased her.
She was even sensible of some pleasure,  though mixed with regret,
on finding how steadfastly both  she  and  her uncle had been per‐
suaded that affection and confidence subsisted between  Mr.  Darcy
and herself.                                                      
  She was  roused  from  her seat,  and her  reflections,  by some
one's approach;  and  before  she could strike into  another path,
she was overtaken by Wickham.                                     
  “I am afraid I interrupt your solitary ramble,  my dear sister?”
said he, as he joined her.                                        
  “You certainly  do,” she replied with a smile;  “but it does not
follow that the interruption must be unwelcome.”                  
  “I should  be sorry  indeed,  if  it were.  We were  always good
friends; and now we are better.”                                  
  “True. Are the others coming out?”                              
  “I do not know.  Mrs. Bennet and Lydia are going in the carriage
to Meryton.  And so,  my dear  sister, I find, from  our uncle and
aunt, that you have actually seen Pemberley.”                     
  She replied in the affirmative.                                 
  “I almost envy you  the pleasure,  and yet I believe it would be
too much for me,  or else I could take it in  my way to Newcastle.
And you  saw the old housekeeper,  I suppose? Poor  Reynolds,  she
was always very fond  of me.  But of course she did not mention my
name to you.”                                                     
  “Yes, she did.”                                                 
  “And what did she say?”                                         
  “That you were  gone into the army,  and she was  afraid had—not
turned out well.  At such a distance as _that_,  you know,  things
are strangely misrepresented.”                                    
  “Certainly,” he replied,  biting his lips.  Elizabeth  hoped she
had silenced him; but he soon afterwards said:                    
  “I  was surprised to see Darcy  in  town last  month.  We passed
each other several times. I wonder what he can be doing there.”   
  “Perhaps preparing for his marriage with Miss  de Bourgh,”  said
Elizabeth.  “It must be something particular, to take him there at
this time of year.”                                               
  “Undoubtedly.  Did you  see  him  while you  were at Lambton?  I
thought I understood from the Gardiners that you had.”            
  “Yes; he introduced us to his sister.”                          
  “And do you like her?”                                          
  “Very much.”                                                    
  “I have  heard,  indeed,  that she is uncommonly improved within
this year  or two.  When I last saw her,  she  was not  very prom‐
ising.  I am very glad you  liked her.  I hope  she will  turn out
  “I dare say she will; she has got over the most trying age.”    
  “Did you go by the village of Kympton?”                         
  “I do not recollect that we did.”                               
  “I mention it,  because  it is the living which I  ought to have
had. A most delightful place!—Excellent Parsonage House!  It would
have suited me in every respect.”                                 
  “How should you have liked making sermons?”                     
  “Exceedingly well.  I  should have  considered it  as part of my
duty,  and the exertion  would soon have been  nothing.  One ought
not  to repine;—but,  to be sure,  it would have been such a thing
for me!  The quiet,  the retirement of  such  a  life  would  have
answered all my ideas of happiness! But it was not to be.  Did you
ever  hear  Darcy mention  the  circumstance,  when  you  were  in
  “I have heard from authority,  which  I thought _as good_,  that
it  was  left you  conditionally  only,  and  at the  will of  the
present patron.”                                                  
  “You have.  Yes,  there was something in _that_;  I  told you so
from the first, you may remember.”                                
  “I _did_ hear,  too, that there was  a time,  when sermon-making
was  not so  palatable to you as it seems to be at  present;  that
you actually declared your resolution of never taking orders,  and
that the business had been compromised accordingly.”              
  “You did! and it was not wholly without foundation.  You may re‐
member what I told  you  on that  point,  when first  we talked of
  They were now almost  at the  door  of the house,  for  she  had
walked fast  to get rid of him;  and  unwilling,  for her sister's
sake,  to provoke him,  she  only said in  reply,  with a good-hu‐
moured smile:                                                     
  “Come, Mr. Wickham, we are brother and sister, you know.  Do not
let us quarrel about the past.  In future,  I hope we shall be al‐
ways of one mind.”                                                
  She  held out her hand;  he  kissed it  with  affectionate  gal‐
lantry,  though he hardly knew how to  look,  and they entered the

                            Chapter 53                            

Mr.  Wickham  was  so perfectly  satisfied  with this conversation
that he never again distressed himself,  or provoked his dear sis‐
ter  Elizabeth,  by  introducing  the  subject of it;  and she was
pleased to find that she had said enough to keep him quiet.       
  The day of his and Lydia's departure soon came, and Mrs.  Bennet
was forced to submit to a separation,  which, as her husband by no
means  entered into her  scheme of their  all going to  Newcastle,
was likely to continue at least a twelvemonth.                    
  “Oh! my dear Lydia,” she cried, “when shall we meet again?”     
  “Oh, lord! I don't know. Not these two or three years, perhaps.”
  “Write to me very often, my dear.”                              
  “As often as I can.  But you know married women have never  much
time for writing.  My sisters  may write to _me_.  They  will have
nothing else to do.”                                              
  Mr.  Wickham's  adieus  were  much more  affectionate  than  his
wife's. He smiled, looked handsome, and said many pretty things.  
  “He is as fine a fellow,” said Mr.  Bennet, as soon as they were
out of the  house,  “as  ever I saw.  He  simpers, and smirks, and
makes love to us all.  I am prodigiously proud of him. I defy even
Sir William  Lucas  himself to produce  a  more  valuable  son-in‐
  The loss of her daughter made Mrs.  Bennet very dull for several
  “I often think,”  said  she,  “that there  is nothing so  bad as
parting with one's friends. One seems so forlorn without them.”   
  “This is the consequence,  you see, Madam,  of marrying a daugh‐
ter,”  said  Elizabeth.  “It must  make  you better satisfied that
your other four are single.”                                      
  “It  is no such  thing.  Lydia does  not leave me because she is
married,  but only because her husband's regiment happens to be so
far  off.  If that had been nearer,  she would  not have  gone  so
  But  the  spiritless condition which  this event threw  her into
was shortly relieved,  and  her mind opened again to the agitation
of hope,  by an article of news which then began to be in circula‐
tion.  The housekeeper at Netherfield  had received orders to pre‐
pare for the arrival of her master,  who was coming down in a  day
or two,  to shoot there for several weeks.  Mrs.  Bennet was quite
in the fidgets.  She looked at Jane, and smiled and shook her head
by turns.                                                         
  “Well,  well,  and so Mr. Bingley is coming down,  sister,” (for
Mrs. Phillips first brought her the news). “Well, so much the bet‐
ter.  Not that I care about it, though.  He is nothing to us,  you
know,  and I  am  sure _I_  never  want  to  see him  again.  But,
however,  he is  very welcome to come to Netherfield,  if he likes
it.  And who knows what _may_ happen?  But that is  nothing to us.
You  know,  sister,  we agreed long ago  never  to mention  a word
about it. And so, is it quite certain he is coming?”              
  “You may depend on it,” replied  the other,  “for Mrs.  Nicholls
was in Meryton last night; I saw her passing by,  and went out my‐
self on purpose to know the truth of it;  and  she told me that it
was  certain true.  He comes down on Thursday at the latest,  very
likely on Wednesday. She was going to the butcher's,  she told me,
on purpose to  order in some  meat on Wednesday,  and she  has got
three couple of ducks just fit to be killed.”                     
  Miss  Bennet had  not  been  able to hear of  his coming without
changing colour.  It was many months since she  had  mentioned his
name to Elizabeth;  but now,  as soon as they were alone together,
she said:                                                         
  “I saw you  look at me to-day,  Lizzy,  when my aunt told  us of
the  present report;  and I know I appeared distressed.  But don't
imagine it was from any silly cause.  I was only  confused for the
moment,  because I felt that I _should_ be looked at.  I do assure
you  that  the  news  does not affect me either with  pleasure  or
pain.  I am glad  of one  thing,  that he comes  alone; because we
shall see the less of him.  Not that I am afraid of _myself_,  but
I dread other people's remarks.”                                  
  Elizabeth did not know what to make of it.  Had she not seen him
in Derbyshire,  she  might  have  supposed him  capable of  coming
there  with no other  view than  what  was  acknowledged;  but she
still  thought him  partial  to Jane,  and she  wavered  as to the
greater  probability  of his coming there _with_ his friend's per‐
mission, or being bold enough to come without it.                 
  “Yet  it is hard,” she  sometimes thought,  “that this  poor man
cannot come  to a house which he has legally hired,  without rais‐
ing all this speculation! I _will_ leave him to himself.”         
  In spite of what her sister declared,  and really believed to be
her  feelings in the expectation  of his arrival,  Elizabeth could
easily perceive that her  spirits were affected by  it.  They were
more disturbed, more unequal, than she had often seen them.       
  The subject which had been  so  warmly canvassed  between  their
parents, about a twelvemonth ago, was now brought forward again.  
  “As soon as ever Mr. Bingley comes,  my dear,” said Mrs. Bennet,
“you will wait on him of course.”                                 
  “No,  no. You forced me into visiting him last  year,  and prom‐
ised,  if I went to see him,  he should marry one of my daughters.
But it ended  in nothing,  and I  will not be sent on a fool's er‐
rand again.”                                                      
  His wife represented to him how absolutely necessary such an at‐
tention would be from all the neighbouring gentlemen,  on  his re‐
turning to Netherfield.                                           
  “'Tis an etiquette I despise,” said he.  “If he wants our  soci‐
ety,  let him seek it. He knows where we live. I will not spend my
hours in running after my neighbours  every  time they go away and
come back again.”                                                 
  “Well,  all I know is, that it will be abominably rude if you do
not wait on him.  But,  however, that shan't prevent my asking him
to dine  here,  I am determined.  We must have  Mrs. Long and  the
Gouldings soon.  That will make thirteen with ourselves,  so there
will be just room at table for him.”                              
  Consoled  by this resolution,  she was the better able  to  bear
her husband's incivility;  though it was very mortifying  to  know
that her neighbours might all see Mr.  Bingley,  in consequence of
it, before _they_ did. As the day of his arrival drew near,—      
  “I begin to be sorry  that he  comes at all,”  said  Jane to her
sister.  “It would be nothing; I could see him with perfect indif‐
ference,  but I can hardly bear to hear it thus perpetually talked
of. My mother means well; but she does not know,  no one can know,
how much I suffer from what she says.  Happy shall I be,  when his
stay at Netherfield is over!”                                     
  “I wish I could say  anything  to  comfort  you,” replied Eliza‐
beth;  “but it is wholly out of my power.  You must  feel it;  and
the  usual satisfaction  of preaching  patience to a  sufferer  is
denied me, because you have always so much.”                      
  Mr. Bingley arrived. Mrs. Bennet, through the assistance of ser‐
vants,  contrived  to have the  earliest tidings of it,  that  the
period of anxiety  and fretfulness on her side might be as long as
it  could.  She counted the days  that must intervene before their
invitation  could be sent;  hopeless of seeing him before.  But on
the  third  morning after his arrival  in  Hertfordshire,  she saw
him, from her dressing-room window, enter the paddock and ride to‐
wards the house.                                                  
  Her  daughters were eagerly  called to partake of her joy.  Jane
resolutely kept her place at the table;  but Elizabeth, to satisfy
her mother,  went to the window—she looked,—she saw Mr. Darcy with
him, and sat down again by her sister.                            
  “There is a gentleman with him,  mamma,” said Kitty; “who can it
  “Some acquaintance or other,  my dear, I suppose; I am sure I do
not know.”                                                        
  “La!” replied Kitty,  “it looks just  like that man that used to
be with him before. Mr. what's-his-name. That tall, proud man.”   
  “Good gracious!  Mr.  Darcy!—and so  it does, I vow.  Well,  any
friend of Mr.  Bingley's will always be welcome here,  to be sure;
but else I must say that I hate the very sight of him.”           
  Jane looked at Elizabeth  with surprise  and  concern.  She knew
but little of their meeting in Derbyshire,  and therefore felt for
the awkwardness  which must attend her sister,  in seeing him  al‐
most for  the first time after  receiving his  explanatory letter.
Both sisters were uncomfortable enough.  Each felt for the  other,
and of course for themselves;  and their mother talked on,  of her
dislike of Mr.  Darcy,  and her resolution to be civil to him only
as Mr.  Bingley's  friend,  without being heard by either of them.
But Elizabeth had sources of uneasiness which could not be suspec‐
ted by Jane,  to whom she had  never yet had courage  to shew Mrs.
Gardiner's letter,  or to  relate her own  change of sentiment to‐
wards him.  To Jane,  he  could be only a man whose  proposals she
had refused,  and whose merit she had undervalued;  but to her own
more  extensive information,  he  was the person to whom the whole
family  were indebted for the first of benefits,  and whom she re‐
garded herself with an interest,  if not quite so tender, at least
as reasonable and just as what Jane felt  for Bingley.  Her aston‐
ishment at his coming—at his coming to Netherfield,  to Longbourn,
and voluntarily seeking  her again,  was almost equal to what  she
had  known on  first witnessing his  altered  behaviour  in Derby‐
  The  colour which had been  driven from her face,  returned  for
half a minute with an additional glow,  and a smile of delight ad‐
ded lustre to her eyes,  as  she  thought  for that space of  time
that his affection  and wishes  must still be  unshaken.  But  she
would not be secure.                                              
  “Let me first  see how he behaves,” said she;  “it will then  be
early enough for expectation.”                                    
  She sat intently at work,  striving to be composed,  and without
daring to lift up her  eyes,  till  anxious curiosity carried them
to the  face  of her  sister  as the  servant  was approaching the
door. Jane looked a little paler than usual,  but more sedate than
Elizabeth had expected.  On the gentlemen's appearing,  her colour
increased;  yet she received them with tolerable ease,  and with a
propriety of  behaviour equally free from  any symptom  of resent‐
ment or any unnecessary complaisance.                             
  Elizabeth said as little to either as civility would allow,  and
sat down again to her work, with an eagerness which it did not of‐
ten command. She had ventured only one glance at Darcy.  He looked
serious,  as usual; and, she thought,  more as he had been used to
look in Hertfordshire,  than  as she  had  seen him  at Pemberley.
But,  perhaps he could not in her mother's presence be what he was
before her uncle and aunt.  It was a painful,  but not an  improb‐
able, conjecture.                                                 
  Bingley,  she had likewise  seen  for an  instant,  and in  that
short period saw him looking both pleased and embarrassed.  He was
received by Mrs.  Bennet with a degree of  civility which made her
two  daughters ashamed,  especially when  contrasted with the cold
and  ceremonious  politeness  of her  curtsey  and address to  his
  Elizabeth,  particularly,  who knew that her  mother owed to the
latter  the preservation of her favourite daughter  from irremedi‐
able infamy,  was hurt and distressed to a most painful  degree by
a distinction so ill applied.                                     
  Darcy,  after inquiring of her how Mr.  and Mrs. Gardiner did, a
question  which  she  could  not  answer  without confusion,  said
scarcely anything. He was not seated by her;  perhaps that was the
reason of his silence;  but it  had  not been  so  in  Derbyshire.
There he had talked to her friends,  when he could not to herself.
But now several minutes elapsed without bringing  the sound of his
voice;  and  when  occasionally,  unable to resist the impulse  of
curiosity,  she raised her eyes to his  face,  she as  often found
him looking at  Jane as at  herself,  and frequently on no  object
but  the  ground.  More thoughtfulness and less anxiety to please,
than  when they last met,  were plainly expressed.  She was disap‐
pointed, and angry with herself for being so.                     
  “Could I expect it to be otherwise!”  said she.  “Yet why did he
  She was in no humour  for conversation  with anyone but himself;
and to him she had hardly courage to speak.                       
  She inquired after his sister, but could do no more.            
  “It is a long time,  Mr.  Bingley,  since you  went away,”  said
Mrs. Bennet.                                                      
  He readily agreed to it.                                        
  “I began to be afraid you would never  come back  again.  People
_did_  say you meant to  quit  the place  entirely  at Michaelmas;
but,  however,  I hope it is not true. A great  many  changes have
happened in the neighbourhood, since you went away.  Miss Lucas is
married and settled.  And one of my own daughters.  I  suppose you
have heard of it;  indeed, you must have seen it in the papers. It
was in The  Times and The Courier,  I know;  though it was not put
in as it ought to be.  It was only said,  'Lately, George Wickham,
Esq.  to  Miss  Lydia Bennet,' without there being a syllable said
of her father,  or the place where she lived, or anything.  It was
my brother Gardiner's drawing up too,  and I wonder how he came to
make such an awkward business of it. Did you see it?”             
  Bingley  replied  that  he  did,  and made  his congratulations.
Elizabeth dared not lift up her eyes. How Mr. Darcy looked, there‐
fore, she could not tell.                                         
  “It is a delightful thing,  to be sure,  to have a daughter well
married,”  continued her  mother,  “but  at  the  same  time,  Mr.
Bingley,  it is very hard to have her  taken such  a  way from me.
They are gone  down  to Newcastle,  a  place quite  northward,  it
seems, and there they are to stay I do not know how long.  His re‐
giment  is there;  for I suppose you have heard of his leaving the
―shire, and of his being gone into the regulars. Thank Heaven!  he
has _some_ friends, though perhaps not so many as he deserves.”   
  Elizabeth,  who knew this to be levelled  at Mr.  Darcy,  was in
such  misery  of shame,  that she  could hardly keep her seat.  It
drew from her,  however,  the exertion of speaking,  which nothing
else  had  so  effectually  done  before;  and  she  asked Bingley
whether he meant to make  any  stay in the  country at present.  A
few weeks, he believed.                                           
  “When you have killed  all your own birds,  Mr.  Bingley,”  said
her  mother,  “I beg you will come here,  and shoot as many as you
please on  Mr.  Bennet's manor.  I am sure he will be vastly happy
to oblige you,  and  will save all  the  best of  the  covies  for
  Elizabeth's misery  increased,  at such unnecessary,  such offi‐
cious attention!  Were  the same fair prospect to arise at present
as had flattered them a year ago,  every thing, she was persuaded,
would be hastening to the same  vexatious conclusion.  At that in‐
stant,  she  felt that years  of happiness could  not make Jane or
herself amends for moments of such painful confusion.             
  “The first  wish of my  heart,” said she  to herself,  “is never
more to be in company with either of them.  Their society can  af‐
ford no pleasure that will atone for such  wretchedness  as  this!
Let me never see either one or the other again!”                  
  Yet  the misery,  for which years  of happiness were to offer no
compensation,  received soon afterwards material relief,  from ob‐
serving how much the  beauty of her  sister re-kindled the admira‐
tion of her former lover. When first he came in,  he had spoken to
her  but little;  but every five minutes seemed  to be  giving her
more of his attention.  He found  her as  handsome as she had been
last year;  as good natured,  and as unaffected, though not  quite
so  chatty.  Jane was anxious  that  no  difference should be per‐
ceived in her at all,  and was really persuaded that she talked as
much as ever.  But her  mind was so busily  engaged,  that she did
not always know when she was silent.                              
  When the gentlemen rose to go away,  Mrs.  Bennet was mindful of
her intended civility,  and they were  invited and engaged to dine
at Longbourn in a few days time.                                  
  “You  are quite a visit  in my  debt,  Mr.  Bingley,” she added,
“for when you  went  to town last winter,  you  promised to take a
family dinner with us,  as soon as you returned.  I  have not for‐
got, you see; and I assure you,  I was very much disappointed that
you did not come back and keep your engagement.”                  
  Bingley looked a little silly at this reflection, and said some‐
thing of  his concern at  having been prevented by business.  They
then went away.                                                   
  Mrs.  Bennet  had been strongly inclined to ask them to stay and
dine there that day;  but,  though  she always kept  a  very  good
table,  she did not think anything less than  two courses could be
good enough for  a man on  whom she had such anxious  designs,  or
satisfy the  appetite and  pride  of one  who  had  ten thousand a

                            Chapter 54                            

As soon  as they were gone,  Elizabeth  walked out to  recover her
spirits;  or in  other  words,  to  dwell without interruption  on
those subjects that must deaden them more.  Mr.  Darcy's behaviour
astonished and vexed her.                                         
  “Why,  if  he came only to  be silent, grave,  and indifferent,”
said she, “did he come at all?”                                   
  She could settle it in no way that gave her pleasure.           
  “He could be  still  amiable,  still  pleasing,  to my uncle and
aunt, when he was in town; and why not to me?  If he fears me, why
come hither?  If he no longer cares for me,  why silent?  Teasing,
teasing, man! I will think no more about him.”                    
  Her resolution was  for a short  time involuntarily  kept by the
approach  of her  sister,  who  joined  her with a cheerful  look,
which showed her better satisfied with their visitors, than Eliza‐
  “Now,” said she,  “that this first meeting is over,  I feel per‐
fectly easy.  I know my own strength,  and I shall never be embar‐
rassed again by his coming.  I am glad  he dines here  on Tuesday.
It will then be publicly seen that,  on both  sides,  we meet only
as common and indifferent acquaintance.”                          
  “Yes,  very  indifferent  indeed,” said  Elizabeth,  laughingly.
“Oh, Jane, take care.”                                            
  “My dear Lizzy, you cannot think me so weak,  as to be in danger
  “I think you are in very great danger  of making  him as much in
love with you as ever.”                                           


  They did not see the gentlemen again till Tuesday; and Mrs. Ben‐
net,  in the meanwhile,  was giving way to all  the happy schemes,
which the  good humour and common politeness of Bingley,  in  half
an hour's visit, had revived.                                     
  On Tuesday there was  a large party assembled at Longbourn;  and
the two who  were most anxiously expected,  to the credit of their
punctuality as sportsmen,  were in very good  time.  When they re‐
paired  to the  dining-room,  Elizabeth  eagerly  watched  to  see
whether Bingley would take the place,  which,  in all their former
parties,  had belonged to him, by her sister.  Her prudent mother,
occupied  by the same ideas,  forbore to invite him to sit by her‐
self.  On  entering the  room,  he seemed to  hesitate;  but  Jane
happened to look round,  and happened to smile: it was decided. He
placed himself by her.                                            
  Elizabeth,  with  a  triumphant  sensation,  looked towards  his
friend.  He bore  it with  noble indifference,  and she would have
imagined that Bingley had received his sanction to be  happy,  had
she not seen his eyes likewise turned towards Mr.  Darcy,  with an
expression of half-laughing alarm.                                
  His  behaviour to her sister was such,  during dinner  time,  as
showed  an  admiration of her,  which,  though more  guarded  than
formerly,  persuaded  Elizabeth,  that if left  wholly to himself,
Jane's happiness, and his own,  would be speedily secured.  Though
she dared not depend upon the consequence, she yet received pleas‐
ure  from observing his behaviour.  It gave her all  the animation
that her spirits could boast;  for  she was in no cheerful humour.
Mr.  Darcy was  almost as far  from her  as the table could divide
them.  He was on one side of her mother.  She knew how little such
a situation would give pleasure  to either,  or make either appear
to  advantage.  She  was not near enough to hear any of their dis‐
course,  but  she could  see how  seldom they spoke to each other,
and how formal  and cold was their  manner whenever they did.  Her
mother's  ungraciousness,  made the sense  of what  they owed  him
more painful to Elizabeth's mind;  and she would,  at times,  have
given anything to be privileged to  tell him that his kindness was
neither unknown nor unfelt by the whole of the family.            
  She  was in hopes that the evening would afford some opportunity
of bringing them together;  that the whole of  the visit would not
pass away without  enabling them  to enter into something more  of
conversation than  the  mere ceremonious salutation  attending his
entrance. Anxious and uneasy, the period which passed in the draw‐
ing-room,  before the gentlemen came,  was wearisome and dull to a
degree that almost made her uncivil.  She looked  forward to their
entrance as the point on which all her chance  of pleasure for the
evening must depend.                                              
  “If he does not come to  me,  _then_,” said she,  “I shall  give
him up for ever.”                                                 
  The gentlemen came;  and she thought  he looked as if  he  would
have answered her hopes;  but,  alas! the ladies had crowded round
the table,  where Miss Bennet was making tea,  and Elizabeth pour‐
ing out the coffee,  in  so close a confederacy that there was not
a  single vacancy near her  which would admit of a chair.  And  on
the gentlemen's approaching,  one of the girls moved closer to her
than ever, and said, in a whisper:                                
  “The men shan't come and part us,  I am determined. We want none
of them; do we?”                                                  
  Darcy had walked away to another part of the room.  She followed
him with her eyes, envied everyone to whom he spoke,  had scarcely
patience enough  to help anybody to coffee;  and then was  enraged
against herself for being so silly!                               
  “A  man who has once been refused!  How  could I ever be foolish
enough to expect a renewal  of his love?  Is  there  one among the
sex,  who  would not protest against such a  weakness as  a second
proposal to the same woman?  There is no indignity so abhorrent to
their feelings!”                                                  
  She was a little revived, however, by his bringing back his cof‐
fee cup himself; and she seized the opportunity of saying:        
  “Is your sister at Pemberley still?”                            
  “Yes, she will remain there till Christmas.”                    
  “And quite alone? Have all her friends left her?”               
  “Mrs.  Annesley  is with  her.  The others have been gone  on to
Scarborough, these three weeks.”                                  
  She could think of nothing more to say; but if he wished to con‐
verse  with her,  he might have  better success.  He stood by her,
however, for some minutes, in silence;  and, at last, on the young
lady's whispering to Elizabeth again, he walked away.             
  When  the tea-things were removed,  and  the card-tables placed,
the  ladies all  rose,  and Elizabeth was  then hoping to be  soon
joined by him,  when all her  views were overthrown by  seeing him
fall a victim to her  mother's rapacity for whist players,  and in
a few moments after seated with  the  rest of  the party.  She now
lost  every expectation of pleasure.  They were  confined  for the
evening at different  tables,  and  she had nothing to  hope,  but
that  his eyes were so often turned towards her  side of the room,
as to make him play as unsuccessfully as herself.                 
  Mrs.  Bennet had designed to keep  the two Netherfield gentlemen
to supper;  but their carriage was unluckily ordered before any of
the others, and she had no opportunity of detaining them.         
  “Well girls,”  said she,  as  soon as  they  were left  to them‐
selves,  “What say you to the day?  I think every thing has passed
off uncommonly well, I assure you.  The dinner was as well dressed
as  any I ever  saw.  The venison was roasted to a turn—and every‐
body said they  never  saw  so  fat a haunch.  The soup  was fifty
times better than what we had at the Lucases' last week;  and even
Mr.  Darcy acknowledged,  that the partridges were remarkably well
done;  and I  suppose he has two or  three French  cooks at least.
And,  my dear Jane,  I never saw you look in greater beauty.  Mrs.
Long said so too,  for I asked her whether  you did not.  And what
do you think she said besides?  'Ah!  Mrs.  Bennet,  we shall have
her at Netherfield at last.' She did indeed. I do think Mrs.  Long
is as  good a  creature  as  ever  lived—and her  nieces are  very
pretty behaved girls,  and not at all handsome: I like them prodi‐
  Mrs.  Bennet, in short,  was in very great spirits; she had seen
enough  of Bingley's behaviour to Jane,  to be convinced  that she
would get him at last;  and her expectations of  advantage to  her
family,  when in a happy humour,  were so far beyond reason,  that
she was quite disappointed at not seeing  him there again the next
day, to make his proposals.                                       
  “It has been a very agreeable day,” said  Miss Bennet  to Eliza‐
beth.  “The  party seemed  so well selected,  so suitable one with
the other. I hope we may often meet again.”                       
  Elizabeth smiled.                                               
  “Lizzy,  you must not do so.  You must not suspect me. It morti‐
fies me.  I assure you that I have now learnt to enjoy his conver‐
sation as  an agreeable  and sensible young man,  without having a
wish beyond it.  I am perfectly satisfied,  from  what his manners
now are,  that he never had any design  of engaging my  affection.
It is only that he  is blessed with  greater sweetness of address,
and a  stronger  desire  of  generally pleasing,  than  any  other
  “You are very cruel,” said her  sister,  “you  will  not let  me
smile, and are provoking me to it every moment.”                  
  “How hard it is in some cases to be believed!”                  
  “And how impossible in others!”                                 
  “But why should you wish to persuade me that I feel more  than I
  “That  is a question  which I hardly know how to answer.  We all
love to instruct, though we can teach only what is not worth know‐
ing.  Forgive me;  and if you persist in indifference, do not make
me your confidante.”                                              

                            Chapter 55                            

A few days after this visit,  Mr. Bingley called again, and alone.
His friend had  left him  that morning for London,  but was to re‐
turn home  in ten days time.  He sat with them above an hour,  and
was  in remarkably good spirits.  Mrs.  Bennet invited him to dine
with them;  but,  with  many expressions  of concern, he confessed
himself engaged elsewhere.                                        
  “Next time you call,” said she, “I hope we shall be more lucky.”
  He should be particularly happy at any time, etc.  etc.;  and if
she would give him leave, would take an early opportunity of wait‐
ing on them.                                                      
  “Can you come to-morrow?”                                       
  Yes,  he had no engagement at all for to-morrow; and her invita‐
tion was accepted with alacrity.                                  
  He came,  and in such  very good time  that the ladies were none
of them dressed.  In ran  Mrs.  Bennet  to her daughter's room, in
her dressing gown, and with her hair half finished, crying out:   
  “My  dear Jane,  make  haste  and  hurry  down.  He  is come—Mr.
Bingley  is come.  He is,  indeed.  Make haste, make  haste. Here,
Sarah,  come to Miss Bennet this moment,  and help her on with her
gown. Never mind Miss Lizzy's hair.”                              
  “We will be down as soon as we can,” said Jane;  “but I dare say
Kitty is forwarder than either of us,  for she went up stairs half
an hour ago.”                                                     
  “Oh! hang Kitty!  what has she to do with it?  Come be quick, be
quick! Where is your sash, my dear?”                              
  But when her mother was gone,  Jane would not be prevailed on to
go down without one of her sisters.                               
  The same anxiety to get  them by themselves was visible again in
the evening. After tea, Mr.  Bennet retired to the library, as was
his custom,  and  Mary  went  up  stairs  to her  instrument.  Two
obstacles of the five being thus removed, Mrs.  Bennet sat looking
and winking at Elizabeth  and Catherine  for a  considerable time,
without making  any  impression  on them.  Elizabeth would not ob‐
serve her;  and when at last Kitty did,  she very innocently said,
“What is the matter mamma?  What do you  keep  winking at  me for?
What am I to do?”                                                 
  “Nothing child,  nothing.  I did not wink  at you.” She then sat
still five minutes longer; but unable to waste such a precious oc‐
casion,  she suddenly got up,  and saying to Kitty, “Come here, my
love, I want to speak to you,” took her out of the room.  Jane in‐
stantly gave a look at Elizabeth  which spoke her distress at such
premeditation,  and  her entreaty that _she_ would not give  in to
it. In a few minutes,  Mrs. Bennet half-opened the door and called
  “Lizzy, my dear, I want to speak with you.”                     
  Elizabeth was forced to go.                                     
  “We  may  as well leave them  by themselves you know;” said  her
mother, as soon as she was in the hall.  “Kitty and I are going up
stairs to sit in my dressing-room.”                               
  Elizabeth made  no attempt  to reason with her mother,  but  re‐
mained quietly in the hall,  till she and Kitty were out of sight,
then returned into the drawing-room.                              
  Mrs.  Bennet's schemes for this day  were  ineffectual.  Bingley
was every thing  that was charming,  except the professed lover of
her daughter. His ease and cheerfulness rendered him a most agree‐
able addition to their evening  party;  and he bore with  the ill‐
judged officiousness  of  the mother,  and heard all her silly re‐
marks  with a  forbearance and command of countenance particularly
grateful to the daughter.                                         
  He scarcely needed an invitation  to stay supper;  and before he
went away,  an engagement was formed,  chiefly through his own and
Mrs.  Bennet's  means,  for his coming next morning  to shoot with
her husband.                                                      
  After this day,  Jane said  no more of  her indifference.  Not a
word passed between the sisters concerning Bingley;  but Elizabeth
went  to  bed in the happy belief that all must  speedily  be con‐
cluded,  unless Mr.  Darcy returned  within the stated time. Seri‐
ously,  however,  she felt tolerably persuaded  that all this must
have taken place with that gentleman's concurrence.               
  Bingley was punctual to his appointment;  and he and Mr.  Bennet
spent the morning together, as had been agreed on.  The latter was
much more agreeable than his companion  expected.  There was noth‐
ing of presumption or folly in Bingley that could  provoke his ri‐
dicule,  or disgust him into silence;  and he was more communicat‐
ive,  and  less  eccentric,  than  the  other had ever  seen  him.
Bingley of course returned with him to dinner;  and in the evening
Mrs.  Bennet's invention was again at work to get every body  away
from him and her daughter.  Elizabeth,  who had a letter to write,
went into the breakfast room for that purpose soon after tea;  for
as the others were all going to sit down to  cards,  she could not
be wanted to counteract her mother's schemes.                     
  But on returning  to the drawing-room,  when her letter was fin‐
ished,  she  saw,  to her infinite surprise,  there was  reason to
fear  that her mother  had been too ingenious for her.  On opening
the door,  she perceived her sister and Bingley  standing together
over the hearth,  as if engaged in earnest  conversation;  and had
this  led to  no suspicion,  the  faces of both,  as they  hastily
turned round and moved away  from each other,  would have told  it
all.  Their situation was awkward enough;  but _hers_ she  thought
was still worse.  Not a syllable was uttered by either; and Eliza‐
beth was on the  point of going away again,  when Bingley,  who as
well as  the other had sat down,  suddenly rose,  and whispering a
few words to her sister, ran out of the room.                     
  Jane could have  no reserves  from  Elizabeth,  where confidence
would give pleasure;  and instantly  embracing her,  acknowledged,
with the liveliest emotion,  that she was the happiest creature in
the world.                                                        
  “'Tis too much!” she added,  “by far too much.  I do not deserve
it. Oh! why is not everybody as happy?”                           
  Elizabeth's  congratulations  were given  with  a  sincerity,  a
warmth,  a delight,  which words could  but poorly express.  Every
sentence of kindness was a fresh source of happiness to Jane.  But
she would not  allow herself to stay with her sister,  or say half
that remained to be said for the present.                         
  “I  must go instantly to my mother;” she cried.  “I would not on
any account trifle with her affectionate solicitude;  or allow her
to  hear  it from  anyone but  myself.  He  is  gone to my  father
already.  Oh! Lizzy,  to know that what I have to relate will give
such pleasure to all my dear family! how shall I bear so much hap‐
  She then  hastened away to her mother,  who had purposely broken
up the card party, and was sitting up stairs with Kitty.          
  Elizabeth,  who was left by herself,  now smiled at the rapidity
and ease with which an affair was finally settled,  that had given
them so many previous months of suspense and vexation.            
  “And this,” said she,  “is the  end of  all his friend's anxious
circumspection!  of all his  sister's falsehood  and  contrivance!
the happiest, wisest, most reasonable end!”                       
  In  a few  minutes she was joined by Bingley,  whose  conference
with her father had been short and to the purpose.                
  “Where is your sister?” said he hastily, as he opened the door. 
  “With my mother up stairs. She will be down in a moment,  I dare
  He then shut the door,  and,  coming up to her, claimed the good
wishes and affection of a sister.  Elizabeth honestly and heartily
expressed her delight in the prospect of their relationship.  They
shook hands with great cordiality; and then,  till her sister came
down,  she had  to listen to all he had to say  of  his own happi‐
ness, and of Jane's perfections;  and in spite of his being a lov‐
er,  Elizabeth really believed all his expectations of felicity to
be rationally  founded,  because they had  for basis the excellent
understanding, and super-excellent disposition of Jane, and a gen‐
eral similarity of feeling and taste between her and himself.     
  It was an evening of no common  delight to them all;  the satis‐
faction of Miss Bennet's mind gave a  glow of such sweet animation
to her face, as made her look handsomer than ever.  Kitty simpered
and smiled,  and hoped her turn was coming soon. Mrs. Bennet could
not  give  her consent or  speak her  approbation  in  terms  warm
enough to satisfy her  feelings,  though she talked to Bingley  of
nothing else for half an hour; and when Mr.  Bennet joined them at
supper,  his voice and manner plainly  showed  how really happy he
  Not a word,  however,  passed  his lips  in allusion to it, till
their visitor took his leave for the night;  but as soon as he was
gone, he turned to his daughter, and said:                        
  “Jane, I congratulate you. You will be a very happy woman.”     
  Jane went to him instantly,  kissed him, and thanked him for his
  “You are a good  girl;”  he replied,  “and I have great pleasure
in thinking you will be so happily settled.  I have not a doubt of
your doing  very well  together.  Your tempers are by no means un‐
like. You are each of you so complying,  that nothing will ever be
resolved on;  so easy,  that every servant will cheat you;  and so
generous, that you will always exceed your income.”               
  “I hope not so.  Imprudence or thoughtlessness  in money matters
would be unpardonable in me.”                                     
  “Exceed  their  income!  My dear Mr.  Bennet,”  cried his  wife,
“what are you  talking of?  Why,  he has four or five  thousand  a
year,  and  very likely more.” Then addressing her daughter,  “Oh!
my dear, dear Jane,  I am so happy!  I am sure I shan't get a wink
of sleep all night. I knew how it would be.  I always said it must
be so, at last. I was sure you could not be so beautiful for noth‐
ing!  I remember,  as soon as ever I saw him,  when he first  came
into  Hertfordshire  last year,  I thought how likely it was  that
you should come together. Oh!  he is the handsomest young man that
ever was seen!”                                                   
  Wickham, Lydia,  were all forgotten. Jane was beyond competition
her favourite child. At that moment,  she cared for no other.  Her
younger sisters soon began to  make interest  with her for objects
of happiness which she might in future be able to dispense.       
  Mary petitioned for the  use of the library at Netherfield;  and
Kitty begged very hard for a few balls there every winter.        
  Bingley,  from this time, was of course a daily visitor at Long‐
bourn;  coming frequently before  breakfast,  and always remaining
till  after supper;  unless  when  some  barbarous neighbour,  who
could not be enough detested,  had given him an invitation to din‐
ner which he thought himself obliged to accept.                   
  Elizabeth had now but little time for conversation with her sis‐
ter; for while he was present,  Jane had no attention to bestow on
anyone else;  but she found herself considerably useful to both of
them  in those hours of separation that  must sometimes occur.  In
the absence of Jane, he always attached himself to Elizabeth,  for
the pleasure of talking  of her;  and when Bingley was gone,  Jane
constantly sought the same means of relief.                       
  “He has made me so  happy,” said she,  one evening,  “by telling
me that he was  totally ignorant of  my being in town last spring!
I had not believed it possible.”                                  
  “I  suspected as much,” replied  Elizabeth.  “But how did he ac‐
count for it?”                                                    
  “It must have been his  sister's doing.  They were certainly  no
friends to  his  acquaintance with me,  which I cannot  wonder at,
since he might have chosen so much more advantageously in many re‐
spects.  But when  they see,  as I  trust they  will,  that  their
brother is happy with me, they will learn to be contented,  and we
shall be on good terms again;  though we can never be what we once
were to each other.”                                              
  “That is the most unforgiving speech,” said  Elizabeth,  “that I
ever heard you utter.  Good girl!  It would vex me, indeed, to see
you again the dupe of Miss Bingley's pretended regard.”           
  “Would  you believe it,  Lizzy,  that when  he went to town last
November,  he really loved me,  and nothing  but  a  persuasion of
_my_  being  indifferent  would  have prevented  his  coming  down
  “He made a little mistake  to be sure;  but it  is to the credit
of his modesty.”                                                  
  This  naturally  introduced a panegyric from Jane on his diffid‐
ence,  and the  little  value he put on his  own  good  qualities.
Elizabeth was pleased to find that he had  not betrayed the inter‐
ference of his friend;  for, though Jane had the most generous and
forgiving  heart in  the world,  she knew it  was  a  circumstance
which must prejudice her against him.                             
  “I am certainly the most  fortunate creature that ever existed!”
cried Jane. “Oh! Lizzy, why am I thus singled from my family,  and
blessed above  them all!  If I could  but see _you_ as  happy!  If
there _were_ but such another man for you!”                       
  “If you were  to give me forty such  men,  I never  could be  so
happy as you.  Till  I  have your  disposition, your  goodness,  I
never can have your happiness.  No,  no, let me  shift for myself;
and,  perhaps,  if I have very good luck,  I may meet with another
Mr. Collins in time.”                                             
  The situation of affairs  in the  Longbourn  family could not be
long a secret.  Mrs.  Bennet was privileged  to whisper it to Mrs.
Phillips,  and she  ventured,  without  any permission, to  do the
same by all her neighbours in Meryton.                            
  The Bennets were  speedily pronounced to be  the luckiest family
in  the world,  though only a  few  weeks before,  when Lydia  had
first run away,  they  had been generally proved to  be marked out
for misfortune.                                                   

                            Chapter 56                            

One morning,  about  a week after Bingley's  engagement with  Jane
had been formed,  as he and the females of the family were sitting
together in  the  dining-room,  their attention was suddenly drawn
to  the window,  by the sound of a carriage;  and they perceived a
chaise and four driving up the lawn. It was too early in the morn‐
ing for visitors,  and  besides,  the equipage  did not answer  to
that of  any  of  their  neighbours.  The horses  were  post;  and
neither the carriage,  nor the  livery of the servant who preceded
it, were familiar to them.  As it was certain, however, that some‐
body was coming,  Bingley instantly  prevailed  on Miss Bennet  to
avoid  the  confinement of  such an intrusion,  and walk away with
him into the shrubbery. They both set off,  and the conjectures of
the remaining  three continued,  though with  little satisfaction,
till the door was thrown  open and their  visitor entered.  It was
Lady Catherine de Bourgh.                                         
  They were of course all intending to be surprised; but their as‐
tonishment was  beyond their expectation;  and on the part of Mrs.
Bennet and Kitty,  though she was perfectly unknown to them,  even
inferior to what Elizabeth felt.                                  
  She entered the room with  an air more  than usually ungracious,
made  no other reply  to Elizabeth's salutation than a slight  in‐
clination of the head, and sat down without saying a word.  Eliza‐
beth had  mentioned her  name  to her mother on her ladyship's en‐
trance, though no request of introduction had been made.          
  Mrs.  Bennet,  all amazement, though flattered by having a guest
of such high importance,  received her with the utmost politeness.
After sitting for a  moment in silence,  she said very stiffly  to
  “I hope you  are well,  Miss Bennet.  That lady,  I suppose,  is
your mother.”                                                     
  Elizabeth replied very concisely that she was.                  
  “And _that_ I suppose is one of your sisters.”                  
  “Yes, madam,” said Mrs. Bennet, delighted to speak to Lady Cath‐
erine.  “She is  my youngest girl but one.  My youngest of all  is
lately  married,  and  my eldest  is somewhere about  the grounds,
walking with a young man who,  I believe,  will soon become a part
of the family.”                                                   
  “You  have a very  small park  here,”  returned  Lady  Catherine
after a short silence.                                            
  “It is nothing in  comparison of Rosings,  my lady,  I dare say;
but I assure you it is much larger than Sir William Lucas's.”     
  “This must be a most inconvenient sitting room  for the evening,
in summer; the windows are full west.”                            
  Mrs.  Bennet assured her that they never sat there after dinner,
and then added:                                                   
  “May I  take  the liberty  of asking  your  ladyship whether you
left Mr. and Mrs. Collins well.”                                  
  “Yes, very well. I saw them the night before last.”             
  Elizabeth  now expected that she would  produce a letter for her
from  Charlotte,  as  it seemed  the only probable  motive for her
calling. But no letter appeared, and she was completely puzzled.  
  Mrs.  Bennet,  with great civility, begged her  ladyship to take
some  refreshment;  but Lady Catherine  very  resolutely,  and not
very  politely,  declined eating  anything; and then,  rising  up,
said to Elizabeth,                                                
  “Miss Bennet,  there seemed  to be a prettyish kind  of a little
wilderness on one side of your lawn.  I  should  be glad to take a
turn in it, if you will favour me with your company.”             
  “Go,  my dear,”  cried her mother,  “and show her ladyship about
the different walks.  I think she will be pleased with the hermit‐
  Elizabeth  obeyed,  and running into her own room  for her para‐
sol,  attended her noble guest downstairs.  As they passed through
the hall,  Lady Catherine opened the doors into the dining-parlour
and drawing-room, and pronouncing them,  after a short survey,  to
be decent looking rooms, walked on.                               
  Her carriage remained at the door,  and Elizabeth  saw  that her
waiting-woman  was  in it.  They proceeded  in  silence  along the
gravel walk that  led  to  the copse;  Elizabeth was determined to
make no  effort for conversation  with a  woman who  was now  more
than usually insolent and disagreeable.                           
  “How could I ever think  her like her nephew?” said she,  as she
looked in her face.                                               
  As  soon as they entered the copse,  Lady Catherine began in the
following manner:—                                                
  “You  can be at no loss,  Miss Bennet,  to understand the reason
of my journey hither.  Your own  heart,  your own conscience, must
tell you why I come.”                                             
  Elizabeth looked with unaffected astonishment.                  
  “Indeed,  you are mistaken,  Madam.  I have not been at all able
to account for the honour of seeing you here.”                    
  “Miss  Bennet,” replied  her  ladyship,  in an angry tone,  “you
ought to know,  that I am not to be trifled with.  But however in‐
sincere _you_  may choose to  be,  you shall not find _me_ so.  My
character  has ever  been celebrated for  its sincerity and frank‐
ness,  and in a cause  of such  moment as this,  I shall certainly
not depart from it.  A report of a most alarming nature reached me
two days ago.  I was told that not  only your  sister was  on  the
point  of  being most advantageously married,  but that you,  that
Miss Elizabeth  Bennet,  would,  in all likelihood, be soon after‐
wards united to  my nephew,  my own nephew,  Mr.  Darcy.  Though I
_know_ it must be a scandalous falsehood,  though I would  not in‐
jure him so much as  to suppose the truth  of  it possible,  I in‐
stantly resolved on setting off for this place,  that I might make
my sentiments known to you.”                                      
  “If you believed it impossible to be true,” said Elizabeth, col‐
ouring  with  astonishment and  disdain,  “I  wonder you took  the
trouble of coming  so  far.  What could your  ladyship propose  by
  “At once to insist upon having such a report universally contra‐
  “Your coming to Longbourn, to see me and my family,” said Eliza‐
beth coolly,  “will  be rather  a confirmation of it; if,  indeed,
such a report is in existence.”                                   
  “If!  Do you then pretend to be ignorant of it?  Has it not been
industriously circulated by yourselves?  Do you not know that such
a report is spread abroad?”                                       
  “I never heard that it was.”                                    
  “And can you likewise declare,  that there is  no foundation for
  “I  do  not  pretend to possess equal  frankness with your lady‐
ship. You may ask questions which I shall not choose to answer.”  
  “This is not to be borne.  Miss Bennet, I insist on being satis‐
fied. Has he, has my nephew, made you an offer of marriage?”      
  “Your ladyship has declared it to be impossible.”               
  “It ought to be so;  it must be so,  while he retains the use of
his reason. But your arts and allurements may,  in a moment of in‐
fatuation,  have made him forget what he  owes to  himself  and to
all his family. You may have drawn him in.”                       
  “If I have, I shall be the last person to confess it.”          
  “Miss Bennet,  do you know who I am?  I have not been accustomed
to such language as this.  I am almost the nearest relation he has
in the world, and am entitled to know all his dearest concerns.”  
  “But you are not entitled to know mine;  nor will such behaviour
as this, ever induce me to be explicit.”                          
  “Let me be rightly understood.  This  match,  to  which you have
the presumption to aspire,  can never take  place.  No, never. Mr.
Darcy is engaged to my daughter. Now what have you to say?”       
  “Only this; that if he is so,  you can have no reason to suppose
he will make an offer to me.”                                     
  Lady Catherine hesitated for a moment, and then replied:        
  “The engagement between them is of  a peculiar kind.  From their
infancy,  they have been  intended for each other.  It was the fa‐
vourite wish of _his_ mother,  as well as of hers.  While in their
cradles,  we planned  the union:  and now, at the moment when  the
wishes  of both sisters would  be  accomplished in their marriage,
to be prevented by a young woman of inferior birth,  of no import‐
ance in the world,  and wholly unallied to the family!  Do you pay
no regard to the  wishes of  his friends?  To his tacit engagement
with  Miss de Bourgh?  Are you lost  to every feeling of propriety
and delicacy?  Have you not heard  me say  that from his  earliest
hours he was destined for his cousin?”                            
  “Yes,  and I had heard it before.  But  what is that to  me?  If
there is no other  objection  to my marrying your nephew,  I shall
certainly not be kept  from it by knowing that his mother and aunt
wished him to marry  Miss de Bourgh.  You both did as  much as you
could in planning the marriage.  Its  completion  depended on oth‐
ers.  If Mr.  Darcy is neither by honour nor inclination  confined
to his cousin,  why is not he to make another choice?  And if I am
that choice, why may not I accept him?”                           
  “Because honour, decorum, prudence,  nay,  interest,  forbid it.
Yes,  Miss Bennet, interest;  for  do  not expect to be noticed by
his family or friends,  if you  wilfully  act against the inclina‐
tions of all.  You will be censured,  slighted,  and despised,  by
everyone  connected with  him.  Your alliance will be a  disgrace;
your name will never even be mentioned by any of us.”             
  “These are heavy misfortunes,” replied Elizabeth.  “But the wife
of Mr. Darcy must have such extraordinary sources of happiness ne‐
cessarily  attached to her situation,  that  she  could,  upon the
whole, have no cause to repine.”                                  
  “Obstinate,  headstrong girl! I am ashamed of you!  Is this your
gratitude for my attentions to you last spring?  Is nothing due to
me on that  score?  Let us sit down.  You are to understand,  Miss
Bennet,  that I came here with the determined resolution of carry‐
ing my purpose;  nor will I be dissuaded from it.  I have not been
used  to submit to  any  person's  whims.  I have  not been in the
habit of brooking disappointment.”                                
  “_That_ will make your  ladyship's situation at present more pi‐
tiable; but it will have no effect on me.”                        
  “I will not be interrupted.  Hear me in silence. My daughter and
my nephew are formed for  each other.  They are descended,  on the
maternal side,  from  the same noble line;  and,  on the father's,
from respectable,  honourable,  and ancient—though untitled—famil‐
ies.  Their fortune on both sides is  splendid.  They are destined
for each  other by the voice  of every  member of their respective
houses;  and what is to divide them?  The upstart pretensions of a
young woman without family,  connections,  or fortune.  Is this to
be  endured!  But it must not, shall not be.  If you were sensible
of your own good,  you would not wish to quit the sphere in  which
you have been brought up.”                                        
  “In marrying your nephew,  I should not consider myself as quit‐
ting that sphere.  He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter;
so far we are equal.”                                             
  “True.  You  _are_ a  gentleman's  daughter.  But who  was  your
mother?  Who are your uncles and aunts? Do not imagine me ignorant
of their condition.”                                              
  “Whatever  my  connections may  be,”  said Elizabeth,  “if  your
nephew does not object to them, they can be nothing to _you_.”    
  “Tell me once for all, are you engaged to him?”                 
  Though Elizabeth would  not,  for the  mere purpose of  obliging
Lady Catherine,  have answered  this  question,  she could not but
say, after a moment's deliberation:                               
  “I am not.”                                                     
  Lady Catherine seemed pleased.                                  
  “And will you promise  me,  never to enter into such  an engage‐
  “I will make no promise of the kind.”                           
  “Miss Bennet I  am shocked and astonished.  I expected to find a
more reasonable  young  woman.  But do not deceive yourself into a
belief that I will ever recede.  I shall not go away till you have
given me the assurance I require.”                                
  “And I certainly _never_ shall give it.  I am not to be intimid‐
ated into anything so  wholly  unreasonable.  Your ladyship  wants
Mr.  Darcy to marry your daughter;  but  would  my giving you  the
wished-for promise make their marriage at all more probable?  Sup‐
posing  him to be attached to me,  would my refusing to accept his
hand make him wish to  bestow it on his cousin?  Allow me to  say,
Lady Catherine,  that  the arguments with which you have supported
this extraordinary  application have been as frivolous as  the ap‐
plication was ill-judged.  You have widely mistaken my  character,
if you think I can be worked on by such persuasions as these.  How
far  your  nephew might  approve  of  your interference in his af‐
fairs,  I cannot tell;  but you have certainly no right to concern
yourself  in mine.  I must beg,  therefore,  to  be  importuned no
farther on the subject.”                                          
  “Not so hasty,  if you please.  I have  by no means done. To all
the objections I have already urged,  I have still another to add.
I  am no stranger to the particulars of your youngest sister's in‐
famous elopement.  I know it all;  that  the young  man's marrying
her was a patched-up business,  at the expence of your father  and
uncles.  And is such a girl to be my nephew's sister?  Is her hus‐
band, is the son of his late father's steward,  to be his brother?
Heaven and earth!—of what are you thinking? Are the shades of Pem‐
berley to be thus polluted?”                                      
  “You  can  now have nothing  further  to say,”  she  resentfully
answered.  “You have insulted me in every possible method.  I must
beg to return to the house.”                                      
  And she rose as she spoke.  Lady Catherine  rose also,  and they
turned back. Her ladyship was highly incensed.                    
  “You have no regard, then, for the honour and credit of my neph‐
ew!  Unfeeling,  selfish girl! Do you  not consider that a connec‐
tion with you must disgrace him in the eyes of everybody?”        
  “Lady Catherine, I have nothing further to say. You know my sen‐
  “You are then resolved to have him?”                            
  “I  have said no  such thing.  I am only resolved to act in that
manner,  which will,  in my own opinion,  constitute my happiness,
without reference to _you_,  or to  any person so wholly unconnec‐
ted with me.”                                                     
  “It is well. You refuse,  then, to oblige me. You refuse to obey
the claims of duty,  honour,  and gratitude. You are determined to
ruin him in the opinion of all his friends,  and make him the con‐
tempt of the world.”                                              
  “Neither duty,  nor honour,  nor gratitude,” replied  Elizabeth,
“have any possible claim on me, in the present instance.  No prin‐
ciple of either  would be violated by my marriage with Mr.  Darcy.
And with regard to the resentment of his family,  or  the indigna‐
tion of the world,  if the  former _were_  excited by his marrying
me,  it  would  not give me one moment's concern—and the world  in
general would have too much sense to join in the scorn.”          
  “And  this  is  your real opinion!  This  is your final resolve!
Very well. I shall now know how to act.  Do not imagine, Miss Ben‐
net,  that  your ambition  will  ever be gratified.  I came to try
you.  I hoped to find you reasonable; but, depend upon it,  I will
carry my point.”                                                  
  In this manner Lady Catherine talked on,  till they were at  the
door of the carriage, when,  turning hastily round,  she added, “I
take no leave of you,  Miss Bennet.  I send no compliments to your
mother.  You deserve no such  attention.  I am most seriously dis‐
  Elizabeth made no answer;  and without  attempting  to  persuade
her ladyship to return into the house, walked quietly into it her‐
self.  She  heard the  carriage  drive  away  as she  proceeded up
stairs.  Her mother impatiently met  her at the door of the dress‐
ing-room,  to  ask why Lady Catherine would  not come in again and
rest herself.                                                     
  “She did not choose it,” said her daughter, “she would go.”     
  “She is  a very  fine-looking woman!  and her calling  here  was
prodigiously civil! for she only came,  I suppose,  to tell us the
Collinses were well.  She  is on her  road somewhere,  I dare say,
and  so,  passing through Meryton,  thought she might as well call
on you.  I  suppose  she  had  nothing particular to  say  to you,
  Elizabeth was forced to give into  a little falsehood here;  for
to  acknowledge  the  substance  of  their  conversation  was  im‐

                            Chapter 57                            

The discomposure of spirits which this  extraordinary  visit threw
Elizabeth into, could not be easily overcome;  nor could she,  for
many hours, learn to think of it less than incessantly. Lady Cath‐
erine,  it appeared,  had actually taken the trouble of this jour‐
ney  from Rosings,  for  the sole purpose of breaking off her sup‐
posed engagement with Mr.  Darcy. It was a rational scheme,  to be
sure!  but from what the report of their engagement could  origin‐
ate,  Elizabeth was  at  a  loss to imagine;  till she recollected
that _his_ being  the intimate friend of Bingley,  and _her_ being
the sister of Jane,  was enough, at a time when the expectation of
one wedding made everybody eager for another,  to supply the idea.
She had not  herself forgotten to feel  that the  marriage  of her
sister must bring them more frequently  together.  And  her neigh‐
bours at Lucas Lodge,  therefore (for through  their communication
with the Collinses,  the report, she concluded,  had reached  Lady
Catherine),  had only set that down as  almost certain and immedi‐
ate,  which she had looked forward to  as possible at  some future
  In  revolving Lady Catherine's expressions,  however,  she could
not help feeling some  uneasiness as  to the  possible consequence
of her persisting in this interference.  From what she had said of
her resolution to prevent their marriage,  it  occurred to  Eliza‐
beth that she must meditate an application to her nephew;  and how
_he_ might take a similar representation of  the evils attached to
a connection with her,  she dared not pronounce.  She knew not the
exact degree of his affection for his aunt,  or  his dependence on
her judgment,  but it was natural to suppose that  he thought much
higher of her ladyship than  _she_  could  do;  and it was certain
that, in enumerating the miseries of a marriage with _one_,  whose
immediate connections were so unequal  to his own,  his aunt would
address him on his weakest side.  With his notions of dignity,  he
would probably feel that the arguments, which to Elizabeth had ap‐
peared weak and ridiculous,  contained much  good sense  and solid
  If he had  been wavering before as  to what he should do,  which
had often seemed likely,  the advice and entreaty of so near a re‐
lation might settle  every doubt,  and determine him at once to be
as happy  as dignity unblemished could make him.  In that  case he
would  return no more.  Lady  Catherine might see him in  her  way
through  town;  and his engagement  to Bingley  of coming again to
Netherfield must give way.                                        
  “If,  therefore,  an excuse for not  keeping  his promise should
come to his friend  within a few days,” she  added,  “I shall know
how to understand it.  I  shall then give over  every expectation,
every wish of his constancy.  If he is satisfied with only regret‐
ting me,  when he  might have  obtained my affections and hand,  I
shall soon cease to regret him at all.”                           


  The surprise of the rest of the family,  on  hearing  who  their
visitor had been,  was very great;  but  they obligingly satisfied
it, with the same kind of supposition which had appeased Mrs. Ben‐
net's curiosity;  and Elizabeth was  spared from much  teasing  on
the subject.                                                      
  The next morning,  as  she was going downstairs,  she was met by
her  father,  who came out of his library  with a  letter  in  his
  “Lizzy,” said he,  “I was  going to look for you;  come into  my
  She followed him thither;  and her curiosity to know what he had
to tell  her was heightened  by the  supposition of  its being  in
some manner connected with the letter he held.  It suddenly struck
her that  it  might  be from Lady  Catherine;  and she anticipated
with dismay all the consequent explanations.                      
  She followed her father to  the  fire place,  and  they both sat
down. He then said,                                               
  “I have  received a letter this morning  that  has astonished me
exceedingly.  As  it principally  concerns yourself,  you ought to
know its contents.  I  did not know before,  that I had two daugh‐
ters on the brink of matrimony.  Let me congratulate you on a very
important conquest.”                                              
  The colour now rushed into Elizabeth's cheeks in the  instantan‐
eous conviction of its being a letter from the nephew,  instead of
the aunt;  and  she was undetermined  whether  most  to be pleased
that he explained himself at all,  or offended that his letter was
not rather addressed to herself; when her father continued:       
  “You  look  conscious.  Young ladies  have great penetration  in
such  matters as these;  but I think I  may defy even _your_ saga‐
city,  to discover the name  of your admirer.  This letter is from
Mr. Collins.”                                                     
  “From Mr. Collins! and what can _he_ have to say?”              
  “Something very much to the purpose  of  course.  He begins with
congratulations on the approaching nuptials  of my  eldest  daugh‐
ter,  of which,  it  seems,  he has been told by some of the good‐
natured,  gossiping Lucases.  I shall  not sport  with  your impa‐
tience,  by reading what he says on  that point.  What  relates to
yourself, is as follows: 'Having thus offered you the sincere con‐
gratulations of Mrs.  Collins and myself on this happy event,  let
me now add a short hint  on  the subject of  another;  of which we
have  been advertised by the same authority.  Your daughter Eliza‐
beth,  it  is presumed,  will not  long bear  the name of  Bennet,
after her elder sister has resigned it,  and the chosen partner of
her fate may be reasonably looked up  to as one of the most illus‐
trious personages in this land.'                                  
  “Can you possibly  guess,  Lizzy,  who  is meant by this?” 'This
young  gentleman is blessed,  in a peculiar way,  with every thing
the heart  of mortal  can most  desire,—splendid  property,  noble
kindred,  and  extensive  patronage.  Yet  in spite  of all  these
temptations,  let me warn my cousin  Elizabeth,  and yourself,  of
what evils you  may incur by  a precipitate closure with this gen‐
tleman's proposals,  which,  of course,  you  will be inclined  to
take immediate advantage of.'                                     
  “Have you any idea,  Lizzy,  who  this gentleman is?  But now it
comes out:                                                        
  “'My motive for cautioning you is as follows.  We have reason to
imagine that his aunt,  Lady Catherine de Bourgh, does not look on
the match with a friendly eye.'                                   
  “_Mr. Darcy_, you see, is the man!  Now, Lizzy, I think I _have_
surprised you.  Could he,  or the Lucases, have pitched on any man
within the circle  of  our  acquaintance,  whose  name  would have
given the lie more  effectually to what they related?  Mr.  Darcy,
who never looks at any woman but to see  a blemish,  and who prob‐
ably never looked at you in his life! It is admirable!”           
  Elizabeth tried  to join  in her father's pleasantry,  but could
only force one most reluctant smile. Never had his wit been direc‐
ted in a manner so little agreeable to her.                       
  “Are you not diverted?”                                         
  “Oh! yes. Pray read on.”                                        
  “'After mentioning the likelihood of this marriage to  her lady‐
ship last night,  she immediately,  with her  usual condescension,
expressed what she felt on the occasion;  when it became apparent,
that  on the score  of some family objections  on the  part  of my
cousin,  she  would never give  her consent to what she  termed so
disgraceful  a match.  I thought it my duty to give  the speediest
intelligence of this to my cousin,  that she and her noble admirer
may be aware of what they are about,  and not  run hastily  into a
marriage which  has  not been  properly sanctioned.'  Mr.  Collins
moreover  adds,  'I am  truly rejoiced that my cousin  Lydia's sad
business has been so  well hushed up,  and  am only concerned that
their living together before the  marriage took place should be so
generally known.  I must  not,  however, neglect the  duties of my
station,  or  refrain  from declaring my amazement at hearing that
you  received the  young  couple into  your house  as soon as they
were married. It was an encouragement of vice;  and had I been the
rector of Longbourn,  I  should very  strenuously have opposed it.
You ought certainly to forgive them,  as a Christian, but never to
admit them in your sight,  or allow their names to be mentioned in
your hearing.' That  is his notion of  Christian forgiveness!  The
rest of  his letter  is only about his dear Charlotte's situation,
and his expectation of a young olive-branch.  But, Lizzy, you look
as if you did not enjoy it.  You are not going to be _missish_,  I
hope,  and pretend to be affronted at an idle report.  For what do
we live,  but to make sport for our neighbours,  and laugh at them
in our turn?”                                                     
  “Oh!” cried Elizabeth, “I am excessively diverted.  But it is so
  “Yes—_that_ is  what  makes it amusing.  Had they  fixed on  any
other man it would have been nothing;  but _his_ perfect indiffer‐
ence,  and _your_ pointed dislike, make it so delightfully absurd!
Much as I abominate  writing,  I would  not give up Mr.  Collins's
correspondence for  any consideration.  Nay,  when I read a letter
of his,  I cannot help giving him the preference  even  over Wick‐
ham,  much as I value the impudence  and  hypocrisy  of my son-in‐
law.  And pray, Lizzy, what said Lady Catherine about this report?
Did she call to refuse her consent?”                              
  To this question his daughter replied only with a laugh;  and as
it had been asked without the  least suspicion,  she was  not dis‐
tressed by his repeating it.  Elizabeth  had  never been more at a
loss to make her feelings appear what they were not. It was neces‐
sary to laugh,  when she would rather  have cried.  Her father had
most cruelly mortified her,  by what he said of Mr. Darcy's indif‐
ference,  and  she  could do nothing but  wonder at such a want of
penetration,  or  fear  that perhaps,  instead of his  seeing  too
little, she might have fancied too much.                          

                            Chapter 58                            

Instead of  receiving any  such letter of excuse from his  friend,
as Elizabeth  half expected Mr.  Bingley to do,  he  was  able  to
bring Darcy  with  him to Longbourn before  many days  had  passed
after  Lady Catherine's visit.  The gentlemen arrived early;  and,
before Mrs.  Bennet had time to tell him  of their having seen his
aunt, of which her daughter sat in momentary dread,  Bingley,  who
wanted to be alone with Jane,  proposed their all walking out.  It
was agreed to.  Mrs. Bennet was not in the habit of walking;  Mary
could never spare time;  but the remaining five  set off together.
Bingley and Jane,  however,  soon allowed the others  to  outstrip
them. They lagged behind, while Elizabeth,  Kitty,  and Darcy were
to entertain each  other.  Very  little was said by either;  Kitty
was too  much afraid of him to talk;  Elizabeth was secretly form‐
ing a  desperate resolution;  and  perhaps  he  might be doing the
  They walked towards the  Lucases,  because  Kitty wished to call
upon Maria;  and as Elizabeth saw no occasion for making it a gen‐
eral  concern,  when Kitty left them she went boldly  on  with him
alone. Now was the moment for her resolution to be executed,  and,
while her courage was high, she immediately said:                 
  “Mr. Darcy, I am a very selfish creature;  and,  for the sake of
giving relief  to my  own  feelings,  care not how  much I may  be
wounding yours.  I can  no longer help  thanking you  for your un‐
exampled kindness to my  poor sister.  Ever since I have known it,
I have been most  anxious to acknowledge to  you  how gratefully I
feel it.  Were it known to  the  rest of my family,  I should  not
have merely my own gratitude to express.”                         
  “I am sorry,  exceedingly  sorry,”  replied Darcy,  in a tone of
surprise and emotion,  “that  you have ever been  informed of what
may,  in a mistaken  light,  have given you  uneasiness. I did not
think Mrs. Gardiner was so little to be trusted.”                 
  “You must not blame  my aunt.  Lydia's thoughtlessness first be‐
trayed to me  that you had been concerned in the matter;  and,  of
course,  I could  not rest till  I knew  the  particulars.  Let me
thank you again and again,  in the name of all my family, for that
generous compassion  which induced you  to  take  so much trouble,
and bear  so many  mortifications,  for  the  sake  of discovering
  “If you  _will_ thank me,” he replied,  “let  it be for yourself
alone.  That  the wish of giving happiness  to you might add force
to the other  inducements which led me on,  I shall not attempt to
deny.  But your _family_ owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I
believe I thought only of _you_.”                                 
  Elizabeth was too much embarrassed to say a word.  After a short
pause,  her companion added,  “You are too generous to trifle with
me. If your feelings are still what they were last April,  tell me
so at  once.  _My_  affections and wishes are unchanged,  but  one
word from you will silence me on this subject for ever.”          
  Elizabeth,  feeling  all the more than  common  awkwardness  and
anxiety of his situation, now forced herself to speak; and immedi‐
ately,  though not very fluently,  gave him to understand that her
sentiments  had undergone  so material a change,  since the period
to which he alluded,  as to  make her  receive  with gratitude and
pleasure  his present assurances.  The happiness which  this reply
produced,  was such as he had  probably never felt before;  and he
expressed himself on  the occasion  as sensibly and as warmly as a
man violently in  love can be supposed to do.  Had  Elizabeth been
able  to encounter his eye,  she might have  seen how well the ex‐
pression  of  heartfelt delight,  diffused over his  face,  became
him;  but,  though she could not look,  she  could listen,  and he
told her of feelings,  which,  in proving  of what importance  she
was to him, made his affection every moment more valuable.        
  They walked  on,  without knowing  in what direction.  There was
too much to be thought,  and felt,  and said, for attention to any
other objects.  She soon learnt that they were indebted for  their
present good understanding  to the efforts of  his aunt,  who  did
call on him in  her  return through London,  and there  relate her
journey to Longbourn, its motive, and the substance of her conver‐
sation with  Elizabeth;  dwelling emphatically on every expression
of the latter which,  in her ladyship's  apprehension,  peculiarly
denoted her perverseness and assurance;  in the belief that such a
relation  must assist her endeavours  to obtain that promise  from
her nephew which she had refused to give.  But,  unluckily for her
ladyship, its effect had been exactly contrariwise.               
  “It taught me  to hope,” said he,  “as I had  scarcely ever  al‐
lowed myself to hope before.  I knew enough of your disposition to
be certain  that,  had you  been absolutely,  irrevocably  decided
against me,  you  would have  acknowledged  it to  Lady Catherine,
frankly and openly.”                                              
  Elizabeth coloured  and laughed as she replied,  “Yes,  you know
enough of my frankness to believe me capable of _that_.  After ab‐
using you  so abominably to your face,  I could have no scruple in
abusing you to all your relations.”                               
  “What did  you say of me,  that  I did not deserve?  For, though
your accusations were ill-founded,  formed  on mistaken  premises,
my behaviour to you at the time had merited the  severest reproof.
It was unpardonable. I cannot think of it without abhorrence.”    
  “We will  not quarrel for  the greater share of blame annexed to
that  evening,”  said  Elizabeth.  “The  conduct  of  neither,  if
strictly examined,  will be  irreproachable;  but  since then,  we
have both, I hope, improved in civility.”                         
  “I cannot be so  easily reconciled  to myself.  The recollection
of what I  then said,  of my conduct,  my manners,  my expressions
during the whole of it,  is now,  and has been many months,  inex‐
pressibly painful to  me.  Your reproof,  so well applied, I shall
never forget:  'had you behaved in a more  gentlemanlike  manner.'
Those  were your words.  You know not,  you can scarcely conceive,
how they have tortured me;—though it was some time, I confess, be‐
fore I was reasonable enough to allow their justice.”             
  “I  was certainly very far from expecting them to make so strong
an impression.  I  had not  the smallest idea  of their being ever
felt in such a way.”                                              
  “I can easily believe  it.  You thought me  then devoid of every
proper feeling, I am sure you did.  The turn of your countenance I
shall  never forget,  as  you said that I could not have addressed
you in any possible way that would induce you to accept me.”      
  “Oh!  do  not repeat what I then said.  These recollections will
not do  at all.  I assure  you that I have long been most heartily
ashamed of it.”                                                   
  Darcy mentioned his letter.  “Did it,” said  he,  “did  it  soon
make you think better  of me?  Did you,  on reading it,  give  any
credit to its contents?”                                          
  She explained  what its  effect on her had been,  and how gradu‐
ally all her former prejudices had been removed.                  
  “I knew,” said he,  “that what  I wrote must give you pain,  but
it was necessary.  I hope you have destroyed the letter. There was
one part especially,  the opening of it, which I should dread your
having  the power of reading  again.  I  can remember some expres‐
sions which might justly make you hate me.”                       
  “The letter shall  certainly be burnt,  if you believe it essen‐
tial to the  preservation of my regard;  but,  though we have both
reason  to think my  opinions not entirely  unalterable,  they are
not, I hope, quite so easily changed as that implies.”            
  “When I wrote  that letter,” replied Darcy,  “I  believed myself
perfectly calm  and cool,  but I  am  since convinced  that it was
written in a dreadful bitterness of spirit.”                      
  “The letter,  perhaps,  began in bitterness,  but it did not end
so. The adieu is charity itself.  But think no more of the letter.
The feelings of the person who wrote,  and the person who received
it,  are now so widely different  from what they were  then,  that
every  unpleasant circumstance attending it ought to be forgotten.
You must  learn some of my philosophy.  Think only of  the past as
its remembrance gives you pleasure.”                              
  “I  cannot give you credit for any philosophy of the kind.  Your
retrospections must be so totally void of reproach,  that the con‐
tentment arising from them  is  not  of philosophy,  but,  what is
much better,  of innocence. But with me, it is not so. Painful re‐
collections will intrude which cannot, which ought not,  to be re‐
pelled.  I have been a selfish being  all  my  life,  in practice,
though not in principle.  As a child  I was taught what was right,
but I was not taught to correct my temper.  I was given good prin‐
ciples,  but left to  follow them in pride  and conceit.  Unfortu‐
nately an  only son (for many years an  only child),  I was spoilt
by my parents,  who,  though good themselves (my father,  particu‐
larly,  all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged,
almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing;  to care for  none
beyond my own  family circle;  to think meanly of  all the rest of
the  world;  to wish at least to think  meanly  of their sense and
worth compared with my own.  Such I  was,  from eight to eight and
twenty;  and  such I might  still have been but for you,  dearest,
loveliest Elizabeth!  What do I not owe you!  You taught me a les‐
son,  hard indeed at first,  but  most advantageous. By you, I was
properly humbled.  I came to you without a doubt of  my reception.
You showed me how insufficient were all my  pretensions  to please
a woman worthy of being pleased.”                                 
  “Had you then persuaded yourself that I should?”                
  “Indeed I had. What will you think of my vanity?  I believed you
to be wishing, expecting my addresses.”                           
  “My manners must have been in fault,  but not  intentionally,  I
assure you. I never meant to deceive you, but my spirits might of‐
ten lead me wrong.  How you must have hated me after _that_  even‐
  “Hate  you!  I was angry  perhaps  at  first,  but my anger soon
began to take a proper direction.”                                
  “I am almost afraid of asking what you thought  of  me,  when we
met at Pemberley. You blamed me for coming?”                      
  “No indeed; I felt nothing but surprise.”                       
  “Your surprise could not be  greater than _mine_  in  being  no‐
ticed by you. My conscience told me that I deserved no extraordin‐
ary  politeness,  and I confess  that I  did not expect to receive
_more_ than my due.”                                              
  “My object then,” replied Darcy,  “was to show you, by every ci‐
vility in my power,  that I was not so mean as to resent the past;
and I hoped to obtain your forgiveness,  to lessen  your ill opin‐
ion,  by letting you see that your  reproofs had been attended to.
How soon any  other  wishes  introduced  themselves I  can  hardly
tell, but I believe in about half an hour after I had seen you.”  
  He  then  told her of Georgiana's delight  in her  acquaintance,
and of her disappointment at its sudden interruption; which natur‐
ally leading to the  cause  of that interruption,  she soon learnt
that his resolution of following her from Derbyshire in  quest  of
her sister had been  formed before he quitted  the inn,  and  that
his gravity  and  thoughtfulness there  had arisen  from no  other
struggles than what such a purpose must comprehend.               
  She expressed her gratitude again, but it was too painful a sub‐
ject to each, to be dwelt on farther.                             
  After walking several miles in a leisurely manner,  and too busy
to know anything about it,  they found at last, on examining their
watches, that it was time to be at home.                          
  “What could become of Mr.  Bingley and Jane!” was a wonder which
introduced the discussion of  their affairs.  Darcy  was delighted
with their  engagement;  his friend had given him the earliest in‐
formation of it.                                                  
  “I must ask whether you were surprised?” said Elizabeth.        
  “Not at all.  When I went away,  I felt that it would soon  hap‐
  “That is to say,  you had given your permission.  I  guessed  as
much.” And though he exclaimed at the term,  she found that it had
been pretty much the case.                                        
  “On the evening  before my going to London,” said he,  “I made a
confession to him,  which I believe I ought to have made long ago.
I told  him  of all that had occurred to make my  former interfer‐
ence in his  affairs  absurd and  impertinent.  His  surprise  was
great.  He had  never  had the slightest suspicion.  I  told  him,
moreover,  that I believed myself mistaken in supposing,  as I had
done, that your sister was indifferent to him; and as I could eas‐
ily  perceive that his attachment to her was unabated,  I  felt no
doubt of their happiness together.”                               
  Elizabeth  could not help  smiling at his easy manner of direct‐
ing his friend.                                                   
  “Did you speak from your own observation,” said  she,  “when you
told him that my sister loved him,  or merely from  my information
last spring?”                                                     
  “From the  former.  I had narrowly  observed her  during the two
visits  which I had  lately made here;  and I was convinced of her
  “And your assurance of it, I suppose,  carried immediate convic‐
tion to him.”                                                     
  “It did.  Bingley  is  most unaffectedly modest.  His diffidence
had  prevented  his depending on his own judgment  in so anxious a
case,  but his reliance on mine made every thing easy.  I was  ob‐
liged to confess  one thing,  which for a time,  and not unjustly,
offended him.  I  could not allow myself to conceal that your sis‐
ter had been in town three  months last  winter,  that I had known
it,  and purposely kept it from him.  He was angry. But his anger,
I am persuaded,  lasted no longer than he remained in any doubt of
your sister's sentiments. He has heartily forgiven me now.”       
  Elizabeth longed to observe that Mr. Bingley had been a most de‐
lightful friend;  so easily guided that his  worth was invaluable;
but she checked  herself.  She remembered that he had yet to learn
to be laughed at,  and it was rather too early to begin.  In anti‐
cipating the happiness of Bingley,  which of course was  to be in‐
ferior only to his  own,  he  continued the conversation till they
reached the house. In the hall they parted.                       

                            Chapter 59                            

“My dear Lizzy,  where can you have been walking to?” was  a ques‐
tion which  Elizabeth received from  Jane as  soon as she  entered
their room,  and from all the others when they sat  down to table.
She had only to say in reply,  that they had wandered about,  till
she was beyond her own knowledge.  She coloured as she spoke;  but
neither  that,  nor anything  else,  awakened a  suspicion  of the
  The evening passed quietly,  unmarked by anything extraordinary.
The  acknowledged lovers talked  and  laughed,  the unacknowledged
were silent.  Darcy was not  of a disposition in  which  happiness
overflows in mirth;  and Elizabeth, agitated and confused,  rather
_knew_ that she was happy than _felt_ herself to be so;  for,  be‐
sides the immediate embarrassment,  there were other  evils before
her.  She anticipated what would be  felt in  the family when  her
situation became known;  she  was aware that no one  liked him but
Jane;  and even feared that with the others it was a dislike which
not all his fortune and consequence might do away.                
  At  night  she opened her  heart to  Jane.  Though suspicion was
very far from Miss Bennet's general habits, she was absolutely in‐
credulous here.                                                   
  “You are joking,  Lizzy.  This cannot be!—engaged to Mr.  Darcy!
No, no, you shall not deceive me. I know it to be impossible.”    
  “This is a wretched beginning indeed!  My sole dependence was on
you;  and I am  sure nobody else will believe me,  if you do  not.
Yet,  indeed,  I am in earnest. I speak nothing but the  truth. He
still loves me, and we are engaged.”                              
  Jane looked at her doubtingly. “Oh, Lizzy! it cannot be.  I know
how much you dislike him.”                                        
  “You  know nothing of the matter.  _That_  is  all to be forgot.
Perhaps I  did  not always  love him so well as I  do now.  But in
such cases as these,  a good  memory is unpardonable.  This is the
last time I shall ever remember it myself.”                       
  Miss  Bennet  still looked all amazement.  Elizabeth again,  and
more seriously assured her of its truth.                          
  “Good Heaven! can it be really so!  Yet now I must believe you,”
cried  Jane.  “My  dear,  dear Lizzy,  I would—I  do  congratulate
you—but are you certain?  forgive the question—are you quite  cer‐
tain that you can be happy with him?”                             
  “There can be no  doubt  of  that.  It  is  settled  between  us
already,  that we are to be the happiest couple in the world.  But
are you pleased, Jane? Shall you like to have such a brother?”    
  “Very,  very  much.  Nothing could give either Bingley or myself
more delight.  But  we considered  it,  we  talked  of  it as  im‐
possible.  And do you  really  love  him  quite  well enough?  Oh,
Lizzy!  do anything rather  than marry without affection.  Are you
quite sure that you feel what you ought to do?”                   
  “Oh, yes!  You will only think I feel _more_ than I ought to do,
when I tell you all.”                                             
  “What do you mean?”                                             
  “Why,  I must confess that I love him better  than I do Bingley.
I am afraid you will be angry.”                                   
  “My dearest sister,  now _be_ serious. I want to talk very seri‐
ously.  Let me know every thing that I am to know,  without delay.
Will you tell me how long you have loved him?”                    
  “It has been coming on so gradually,  that I hardly know when it
began. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beau‐
tiful grounds at Pemberley.”                                      
  Another entreaty that she would be  serious,  however,  produced
the desired effect;  and she soon satisfied Jane by her solemn as‐
surances of attachment.  When convinced on that article, Miss Ben‐
net had nothing further to wish.                                  
  “Now I am quite  happy,” said she,  “for you will be as happy as
myself. I always had a value for him.  Were it for nothing but his
love  of you,  I  must  always  have esteemed  him;  but  now,  as
Bingley's friend and your husband,  there can be only Bingley  and
yourself more dear to me. But Lizzy,  you have been very sly, very
reserved with  me.  How little did you tell me of  what  passed at
Pemberley and Lambton!  I owe all that I know  of  it  to another,
not to you.”                                                      
  Elizabeth told her the motives of her secrecy.  She had been un‐
willing to  mention Bingley;  and  the unsettled state of  her own
feelings had made her equally  avoid the name of his  friend.  But
now she would no longer conceal from her his share in Lydia's mar‐
riage. All was acknowledged, and half the night spent in conversa‐


  “Good  gracious!” cried Mrs.  Bennet,  as  she stood at a window
the next morning,  “if  that disagreeable Mr.  Darcy is not coming
here again with our  dear Bingley!  What can  he mean  by being so
tiresome  as to be always  coming  here?  I had  no notion  but he
would go a-shooting,  or something or  other,  and not disturb  us
with his company. What shall we do with him?  Lizzy, you must walk
out with him again, that he may not be in Bingley's way.”         
  Elizabeth could hardly help laughing at so convenient a  propos‐
al;  yet was really vexed that her mother  should be always giving
him such an epithet.                                              
  As soon as they entered,  Bingley looked at her so expressively,
and shook hands with such warmth, as left no doubt of his good in‐
formation; and he soon afterwards said aloud, “Mrs.  Bennet,  have
you no more  lanes hereabouts  in which Lizzy  may  lose  her  way
again to-day?”                                                    
  “I advise Mr.  Darcy,  and Lizzy, and Kitty,” said Mrs.  Bennet,
“to  walk to  Oakham Mount this morning.  It is a nice  long walk,
and Mr. Darcy has never seen the view.”                           
  “It may do very well for the others,” replied Mr. Bingley;  “but
I am sure it will be too much for Kitty.  Won't it,  Kitty?” Kitty
owned that she had  rather stay at home.  Darcy professed a  great
curiosity  to see the view from the Mount,  and Elizabeth silently
consented.  As she went up stairs  to get ready,  Mrs. Bennet fol‐
lowed her, saying:                                                
  “I  am quite sorry,  Lizzy,  that  you should be  forced to have
that disagreeable man all to yourself.  But I  hope you  will  not
mind it:  it is all for Jane's sake, you know; and there is no oc‐
casion for talking to him,  except just now and then.  So,  do not
put yourself to inconvenience.”                                   
  During  their walk,  it  was resolved that Mr.  Bennet's consent
should be  asked in the course of the evening.  Elizabeth reserved
to herself the application for her mother's. She could not determ‐
ine how her mother would take it;  sometimes doubting whether  all
his  wealth  and  grandeur would be  enough to overcome her abhor‐
rence of the man.  But whether she  were violently set against the
match,  or  violently delighted  with it,  it was certain that her
manner would be  equally  ill adapted  to do  credit to her sense;
and she could no more bear that Mr.  Darcy should hear  the  first
raptures of her  joy,  than the first vehemence of her disapproba‐


  In the evening,  soon after Mr.  Bennet withdrew to the library,
she saw Mr.  Darcy rise also and follow him,  and her agitation on
seeing it was extreme.  She did not fear  her father's opposition,
but he was  going to  be  made  unhappy;  and  that it  should  be
through her means—that _she_, his favourite child,  should be dis‐
tressing him by her  choice,  should be filling him with fears and
regrets in  disposing  of her—was  a wretched reflection,  and she
sat in misery till Mr.  Darcy  appeared again,  when,  looking  at
him,  she was a little relieved by his smile.  In a few minutes he
approached the table where she was sitting with Kitty;  and, while
pretending  to  admire  her work said  in a whisper,  “Go  to your
father, he wants you in the library.” She was gone directly.      
  Her  father  was  walking  about  the  room,  looking grave  and
anxious.  “Lizzy,” said he,  “what are  you doing?  Are you out of
your senses,  to be accepting this man?  Have not you always hated
  How earnestly  did she then wish that her  former  opinions  had
been more reasonable,  her  expressions more  moderate!  It  would
have spared her from explanations and professions which it was ex‐
ceedingly  awkward to give;  but they were now necessary,  and she
assured him,  with  some  confusion,  of  her  attachment  to  Mr.
  “Or,  in other words,  you are determined  to  have  him.  He is
rich, to be sure, and you may have more fine clothes and fine car‐
riages than Jane. But will they make you happy?”                  
  “Have you any other objection,”  said Elizabeth,  “than your be‐
lief of my indifference?”                                         
  “None at all.  We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of
man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him.”          
  “I do,  I do like him,” she replied,  with tears in her eyes, “I
love  him.  Indeed he has no improper pride.  He is perfectly ami‐
able. You do not know what he really is;  then pray do not pain me
by speaking of him in such terms.”                                
  “Lizzy,” said her father,  “I have given him my consent.  He  is
the kind of man,  indeed,  to whom I should never dare refuse any‐
thing,  which he condescended to ask.  I now give it to _you_,  if
you are  resolved  on having him.  But let me advise  you to think
better of it.  I  know your  disposition,  Lizzy. I  know that you
could be neither happy nor respectable,  unless you truly esteemed
your  husband;  unless you looked  up to  him as a superior.  Your
lively talents would place you in  the  greatest danger in an  un‐
equal  marriage.  You could scarcely escape discredit and  misery.
My child,  let me not have the grief of seeing _you_ unable to re‐
spect your partner in life. You know not what you are about.”     
  Elizabeth,  still more  affected,  was earnest and solemn in her
reply;  and at length,  by repeated assurances that Mr.  Darcy was
really the object of her choice,  by explaining the gradual change
which her estimation of him  had undergone,  relating her absolute
certainty  that  his affection was not the work of a day,  but had
stood the test of many months' suspense,  and enumerating with en‐
ergy all his good qualities, she did conquer her father's incredu‐
lity, and reconcile him to the match.                             
  “Well, my dear,” said he,  when she ceased speaking,  “I have no
more to say.  If this be the  case, he deserves you.  I could  not
have parted with you, my Lizzy, to anyone less worthy.”           
  To complete the favourable  impression,  she then told  him what
Mr. Darcy had voluntarily done for Lydia. He heard her with aston‐
  “This is an evening of wonders,  indeed! And so, Darcy did every
thing;  made up  the  match, gave  the money,  paid  the  fellow's
debts,  and got him  his commission!  So much the better.  It will
save me a world of trouble and economy.  Had it  been your uncle's
doing,  I must and _would_ have paid him;  but these violent young
lovers carry every thing their own  way.  I shall offer to pay him
to-morrow;  he will  rant  and storm about  his love for you,  and
there will be an end of the matter.”                              
  He then recollected her embarrassment a few days before,  on his
reading  Mr.  Collins's letter;  and after  laughing at  her  some
time,  allowed her at last to go—saying,  as she quitted the room,
“If any young men come for Mary or Kitty,  send them in,  for I am
quite at leisure.”                                                
  Elizabeth's mind was now  relieved  from a  very  heavy  weight;
and,  after half an hour's quiet reflection  in her own room,  she
was able to join the others with tolerable composure.  Every thing
was too recent  for gaiety,  but  the  evening  passed  tranquilly
away;  there was no longer anything  material to be  dreaded,  and
the comfort of ease and familiarity would come in time.           
  When her mother went up to her dressing-room at night,  she fol‐
lowed her,  and made the important communication.  Its effect  was
most  extraordinary;  for on  first hearing it,  Mrs.  Bennet  sat
quite still,  and unable to  utter a syllable.  Nor was  it  under
many,  many  minutes that  she could  comprehend what  she  heard;
though not in general backward to credit what was for  the advant‐
age of her family,  or that came in the shape of a lover to any of
them.  She began  at length to recover,  to  fidget  about  in her
chair, get up, sit down again, wonder, and bless herself.         
  “Good gracious!  Lord bless me! only think! dear me! Mr.  Darcy!
Who would have thought it!  And is it really true? Oh! my sweetest
Lizzy!  how rich and how great you  will be! What pin-money,  what
jewels,  what  carriages  you  will  have!  Jane's  is  nothing to
it—nothing at  all.  I  am so pleased—so  happy.  Such a  charming
man!—so handsome!  so tall!—Oh, my dear Lizzy!  pray apologise for
my having disliked  him so much before.  I  hope  he will overlook
it. Dear, dear Lizzy.  A house in town! Every thing that is charm‐
ing! Three daughters married!  Ten thousand a year! Oh, Lord! What
will become of me. I shall go distracted.”                        
  This was  enough to  prove that  her  approbation  need  not  be
doubted:  and Elizabeth, rejoicing that such an effusion was heard
only by herself,  soon went away.  But before  she  had been three
minutes in her own room, her mother followed her.                 
  “My dearest  child,” she  cried,  “I  can think of nothing else!
Ten  thousand a year,  and  very likely  more!  'Tis as  good as a
Lord!  And a  special licence.  You must and shall be married by a
special licence.  But my dearest love, tell me what dish Mr. Darcy
is particularly fond of, that I may have it to-morrow.”           
  This was  a sad omen of what her mother's  behaviour to the gen‐
tleman himself might be;  and Elizabeth found that,  though in the
certain possession of his warmest affection, and secure of her re‐
lations' consent,  there was still something to be wished for. But
the morrow passed off much better than she expected; for Mrs. Ben‐
net luckily stood in such  awe of her intended son-in-law that she
ventured not to speak to him,  unless it was in her power to offer
him any attention, or mark her deference for his opinion.         
  Elizabeth  had  the  satisfaction of  seeing her  father  taking
pains to get acquainted with him;  and Mr. Bennet soon assured her
that he was rising every hour in his esteem.                      
  “I  admire all my three sons-in-law highly,” said he.  “Wickham,
perhaps,  is my favourite; but I think I shall like _your_ husband
quite as well as Jane's.”                                         

                            Chapter 60                            

Elizabeth's spirits soon  rising to playfulness again,  she wanted
Mr.  Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love with her.
“How could you begin?” said she.  “I can comprehend  your going on
charmingly,  when you had once made a  beginning;  but what  could
set you off in the first place?”                                  
  “I cannot  fix on the hour,  or the spot,  or the look,  or  the
words,  which laid the foundation.  It is too long ago.  I  was in
the middle before I knew that I _had_ begun.”                     
  “My beauty you had early withstood, and as for my manners—my be‐
haviour  to _you_ was at least  always  bordering  on the uncivil,
and I  never spoke to you without rather wishing to give you  pain
than not.  Now be  sincere;  did  you  admire me  for my impertin‐
  “For the liveliness of your mind, I did.”                       
  “You may  as well  call it impertinence  at  once.  It  was very
little less. The fact is,  that you were sick of civility,  of de‐
ference,  of officious attention.  You were disgusted with the wo‐
men who were always speaking,  and looking,  and thinking for  _y‐
our_ approbation alone.  I roused,  and interested  you, because I
was so unlike _them_.  Had you not been really amiable,  you would
have hated me for it;  but  in spite of the pains you took to dis‐
guise yourself,  your feelings were always noble and just;  and in
your heart,  you thoroughly despised  the persons who  so  assidu‐
ously courted you.  There—I have saved you the trouble of account‐
ing for it;  and really,  all things considered,  I begin to think
it perfectly  reasonable.  To be sure,  you knew no actual good of
me—but nobody thinks of _that_ when they fall in love.”           
  “Was there no good in your  affectionate behaviour to Jane while
she was ill at Netherfield?”                                      
  “Dearest Jane! who could have done less for her? But make a vir‐
tue of it by all means.  My good  qualities are under your protec‐
tion, and you are to exaggerate them as much as possible;  and, in
return,  it belongs to  me to find occasions for teasing and quar‐
relling with  you as often as may  be;  and I shall begin directly
by asking you  what made you so unwilling to  come to the point at
last.  What made you so shy of me, when you first called,  and af‐
terwards dined here?  Why,  especially,  when you called,  did you
look as if you did not care about me?”                            
  “Because you were  grave and silent,  and gave me  no encourage‐
  “But I was embarrassed.”                                        
  “And so was I.”                                                 
  “You might have talked to me more when you came to dinner.”     
  “A man who had felt less, might.”                               
  “How  unlucky that you should have a reasonable answer  to give,
and that  I  should be so reasonable as to admit it!  But I wonder
how long you _would_ have gone on,  if you had been left to  your‐
self.  I  wonder when you _would_ have spoken,  if I had not asked
you!  My resolution of thanking you for your kindness to Lydia had
certainly great effect. _Too much_,  I am afraid; for what becomes
of the  moral,  if our comfort springs from  a breach of  promise?
for I  ought not to have  mentioned the  subject.  This will never
  “You need  not  distress yourself.  The moral will  be perfectly
fair.  Lady  Catherine's unjustifiable  endeavours to  separate us
were the means  of removing all my doubts.  I  am not indebted for
my present happiness to your eager desire of expressing your grat‐
itude. I was not in a humour to wait for any opening of yours.  My
aunt's intelligence  had given  me hope,  and I was determined  at
once to know every thing.”                                        
  “Lady  Catherine has  been of infinite use,  which ought to make
her happy,  for she loves to be of use.  But tell me, what did you
come down to  Netherfield for?  Was it merely to ride to Longbourn
and  be embarrassed?  or  had you  intended any more  serious con‐
  “My real purpose was to  see _you_,  and  to judge,  if I could,
whether I might ever hope to make you love me.  My avowed one,  or
what  I  avowed to myself,  was  to  see whether your sister  were
still partial to Bingley, and if she were,  to make the confession
to him which I have since made.”                                  
  “Shall you ever have courage to announce  to Lady Catherine what
is to befall her?”                                                
  “I am more  likely to want more time  than  courage,  Elizabeth.
But it ought to  be done,  and if you will give me a  sheet of pa‐
per, it shall be done directly.”                                  
  “And if I had not a  letter to write myself,  I might sit by you
and admire the evenness  of your  writing,  as another  young lady
once  did.  But I have an aunt,  too, who must  not be longer neg‐
  From  an unwillingness to confess how much her intimacy with Mr.
Darcy had been  over-rated,  Elizabeth had never yet answered Mrs.
Gardiner's long letter;  but  now,  having  _that_ to  communicate
which she knew  would be most welcome,  she was almost ashamed  to
find that her uncle and aunt had already lost three days of happi‐
ness, and immediately wrote as follows:                           
  “I would have thanked you before,  my dear aunt,  as I ought  to
have done,  for your long, kind, satisfactory,  detail of particu‐
lars;  but to say the truth,  I was too cross to write.  You  sup‐
posed more than really existed.  But _now_ suppose as much  as you
choose;  give a loose rein to your fancy, indulge your imagination
in every possible  flight which the  subject will afford,  and un‐
less you believe me actually married, you cannot greatly err.  You
must write again very soon,  and praise him a great deal more than
you did in your last. I thank you, again and again,  for not going
to the Lakes.  How could I be so silly as to wish it! Your idea of
the ponies is delightful.  We will go round the Park every day.  I
am the happiest  creature in the world.  Perhaps other people have
said so before,  but not one with such justice.  I am happier even
than Jane; she only smiles,  I laugh. Mr.  Darcy sends you all the
love in the world that he can spare  from me.  You are all to come
to Pemberley at Christmas. Yours, etc.”                           
  Mr.  Darcy's letter to Lady Catherine was in a different  style;
and still different from either  was what Mr.  Bennet sent to  Mr.
Collins, in reply to his last.                                    
  “DEAR SIR,                                                      
  “I must trouble  you once  more for  congratulations.  Elizabeth
will soon be the  wife of Mr.  Darcy.  Console Lady  Catherine  as
well as you can. But,  if I were you, I would stand by the nephew.
He has more to give.                                              
  “Yours sincerely, etc.”                                         
  Miss Bingley's congratulations to her brother,  on his approach‐
ing marriage,  were all that was  affectionate and insincere.  She
wrote even to Jane  on the occasion,  to express her delight,  and
repeat all  her former professions  of regard.  Jane was  not  de‐
ceived,  but she was affected;  and though feeling no reliance  on
her,  could  not help writing her a much kinder  answer  than  she
knew was deserved.                                                
  The joy which Miss Darcy expressed on receiving similar informa‐
tion,  was as sincere as her  brother's in sending it.  Four sides
of  paper were insufficient to contain all her  delight,  and  all
her earnest desire of being loved by her sister.                  
  Before any answer could arrive from Mr. Collins, or any congrat‐
ulations  to Elizabeth from  his wife,  the Longbourn family heard
that  the  Collinses  were come  themselves  to Lucas  Lodge.  The
reason of this sudden  removal  was  soon evident.  Lady Catherine
had been  rendered  so  exceedingly  angry by the contents  of her
nephew's letter,  that  Charlotte,  really rejoicing in the match,
was anxious to get away  till the storm was blown over.  At such a
moment, the arrival of her friend was a sincere pleasure to Eliza‐
beth,  though in the  course of their  meetings she must sometimes
think the pleasure dearly bought,  when she saw Mr.  Darcy exposed
to all the  parading and  obsequious civility of her  husband.  He
bore it,  however,  with  admirable calmness. He could even listen
to Sir William  Lucas,  when he complimented him on carrying  away
the brightest jewel  of the country,  and expressed  his  hopes of
their all meeting frequently at St. James's, with very decent com‐
posure.  If he did shrug his shoulders,  it was not  till Sir Wil‐
liam was out of sight.                                            
  Mrs.  Phillips's  vulgarity was another,  and perhaps a greater,
tax on his forbearance; and though Mrs.  Phillips,  as well as her
sister,  stood in too much  awe of him to speak with the familiar‐
ity which Bingley's good  humour  encouraged,  yet,  whenever  she
_did_  speak,  she  must be vulgar.  Nor was her respect  for him,
though it made her more quiet,  at all likely to make her more el‐
egant.  Elizabeth did all  she  could to shield him from  the fre‐
quent notice of either,  and was ever  anxious to keep him to her‐
self,  and to  those of  her family  with  whom he  might converse
without  mortification;  and  though  the  uncomfortable  feelings
arising  from all this took from the season of  courtship  much of
its pleasure,  it added to the hope of the future;  and she looked
forward with delight to the time  when they should be removed from
society so little pleasing to either, to all the comfort and eleg‐
ance of their family party at Pemberley.                          

                            Chapter 61                            

Happy for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Ben‐
net got rid  of  her two most deserving daughters.  With  what de‐
lighted pride she afterwards visited Mrs.  Bingley,  and talked of
Mrs.  Darcy,  may be guessed.  I wish I could say, for the sake of
her family,  that the accomplishment of her earnest desire in  the
establishment of so many of her children produced so  happy an ef‐
fect as to make her a sensible,  amiable,  well-informed woman for
the rest  of her  life;  though perhaps  it was lucky for her hus‐
band,  who might not have relished domestic felicity in so unusual
a form,  that she  still was occasionally  nervous  and invariably
  Mr.  Bennet  missed his second daughter exceedingly;  his affec‐
tion for her drew  him oftener  from home than anything else could
do.  He delighted in  going to Pemberley,  especially when  he was
least expected.                                                   
  Mr.  Bingley  and Jane  remained  at Netherfield only  a twelve‐
month.  So near a vicinity to her mother and Meryton relations was
not desirable  even to _his_  easy temper,  or _her_  affectionate
heart.  The  darling  wish  of his sisters was then gratified;  he
bought an estate in a neighbouring county to Derbyshire,  and Jane
and  Elizabeth,  in addition to  every other source of  happiness,
were within thirty miles of each other.                           
  Kitty,  to her  very material advantage,  spent the chief of her
time with her two elder sisters.  In society so  superior  to what
she  had generally known,  her improvement was great.  She was not
of so ungovernable a temper as Lydia; and, removed from the influ‐
ence of Lydia's example,  she became, by proper attention and man‐
agement,  less irritable,  less ignorant,  and less insipid.  From
the further disadvantage of Lydia's  society  she  was  of  course
carefully kept,  and though Mrs. Wickham frequently invited her to
come and stay with her,  with the  promise of balls and young men,
her father would never consent to her going.                      
  Mary was the only daughter who remained at home; and she was ne‐
cessarily drawn  from the pursuit of accomplishments by Mrs.  Ben‐
net's being  quite unable to sit alone.  Mary  was  obliged to mix
more with the world, but she could still moralize over every morn‐
ing visit;  and  as  she  was no longer mortified  by  comparisons
between her sisters' beauty and her  own,  it was suspected by her
father that she submitted to the change without much reluctance.  
  As for Wickham and Lydia,  their characters  suffered no revolu‐
tion from the  marriage of her sisters.  He bore  with  philosophy
the  conviction that  Elizabeth must  now become  acquainted  with
whatever of his ingratitude  and falsehood had before been unknown
to her;  and in spite of every thing,  was not wholly without hope
that Darcy might yet be prevailed on to make his fortune. The con‐
gratulatory letter which Elizabeth received from Lydia on her mar‐
riage, explained to her that, by his wife at least, if not by him‐
self, such a hope was cherished. The letter was to this effect:   
  “MY DEAR LIZZY,                                                 
  “I wish you joy.  If you love Mr.  Darcy half as well as I do my
dear Wickham,  you must be very  happy.  It is  a great comfort to
have you so rich,  and  when you have nothing else to do,  I  hope
you will think of  us.  I  am sure Wickham would like a  place  at
court  very much,  and I  do not think we  shall have quite  money
enough  to  live upon without some help.  Any place  would do,  of
about three or four hundred a year;  but however,  do not speak to
Mr. Darcy about it, if you had rather not.                        
  “Yours, etc.”                                                   
  As it happened that Elizabeth had _much_ rather not, she endeav‐
oured in  her answer to put an end  to every entreaty and expecta‐
tion of the kind.  Such relief, however, as it was in her power to
afford,  by  the practice  of what  might be called economy in her
own private  expences,  she  frequently sent them.  It  had always
been evident to her that such an income as theirs,  under the dir‐
ection of two persons so extravagant in their wants,  and heedless
of  the future,  must be very insufficient to  their support;  and
whenever they changed their quarters,  either Jane or herself were
sure of  being applied to  for some little assistance towards dis‐
charging their bills.  Their manner of living,  even when the res‐
toration of peace dismissed them to a home,  was  unsettled in the
extreme.  They were always moving from place to place  in quest of
a cheap situation,  and always spending more than they ought.  His
affection  for her  soon  sunk into  indifference;  hers  lasted a
little longer; and in spite of her youth and her manners,  she re‐
tained all the claims to reputation which her  marriage had  given
  Though  Darcy could never receive _him_ at Pemberley,  yet,  for
Elizabeth's sake,  he assisted him further in his profession.  Ly‐
dia was occasionally a visitor there,  when her husband  was  gone
to enjoy  himself in London or Bath;  and  with the  Bingleys they
both of them frequently staid so  long,  that  even Bingley's good
humour was overcome,  and he proceeded so far as to talk of giving
them a hint to be gone.                                           
  Miss Bingley was very deeply mortified by Darcy's marriage;  but
as she thought  it advisable  to retain the right  of  visiting at
Pemberley,  she dropt all her resentment;  was fonder than ever of
Georgiana,  almost as attentive  to Darcy as heretofore,  and paid
off every arrear of civility to Elizabeth.                        
  Pemberley was now Georgiana's home;  and  the  attachment of the
sisters was exactly what Darcy had  hoped  to see.  They were able
to  love each other  even as well as they intended.  Georgiana had
the  highest opinion in the  world of Elizabeth;  though at  first
she often listened with an astonishment bordering on alarm at  her
lively,  sportive, manner of talking to her  brother.  He, who had
always inspired in herself a respect which almost overcame her af‐
fection,  she now saw the object of open pleasantry.  Her mind re‐
ceived  knowledge which  had  never before fallen  in her way.  By
Elizabeth's instructions,  she  began to comprehend  that a  woman
may  take  liberties with her husband which a brother will not al‐
ways allow in a sister more than ten years younger than himself.  
  Lady  Catherine  was extremely indignant on the marriage  of her
nephew;  and  as  she gave way to all the genuine frankness of her
character in her reply to the letter  which announced its arrange‐
ment, she sent him language so very abusive,  especially of Eliza‐
beth,  that for  some time all intercourse was at an end.  But  at
length,  by Elizabeth's persuasion,  he was  prevailed on to over‐
look the offence,  and seek a reconciliation;  and, after a little
further  resistance  on the part of his aunt,  her resentment gave
way, either to her affection for him,  or her curiosity to see how
his wife conducted herself;  and  she condescended to wait on them
at Pemberley,  in spite of  that pollution which its woods had re‐
ceived,  not merely from the presence of such a mistress,  but the
visits of her uncle and aunt from the city.                       
  With the  Gardiners,  they  were  always on  the  most  intimate
terms.  Darcy,  as well as Elizabeth,  really loved them; and they
were both ever  sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the per‐
sons who,  by bringing her into Derbyshire,  had been the means of
uniting them.