kommoden für schrägen

kommoden für schrägen

chapter 1 it is a truth universally acknowledged,that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. however little known the feelings or viewsof such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so wellfixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other oftheir daughters. "my dear mr. bennet," said his lady to himone 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 allabout it." mr. bennet made no answer. "do you not want to know who has taken it?"cried his wife impatiently. "you want to tell me, and i have noobjection to hearing it." this was invitation enough. "why, my dear, you must know, mrs. longsays that netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north ofengland; that he came down on monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was

so much delighted with it, that he agreedwith mr. morris immediately; that he is to take possession before michaelmas, and someof his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week." "what is his name?""bingley." "is he married or single?""oh! single, my dear, to be sure! a single man of large fortune; four or fivethousand a year. what a fine thing for our girls!""how so? how can it affect them?" "my dear mr. bennet," replied his wife,"how can you be so tiresome!

you must know that i am thinking of hismarrying one of them." "is that his design in settling here?" "design!nonsense, how can you talk so! but it is very likely that he may fall inlove 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 sendthem by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome asany 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 anythingextraordinary 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 seemr. 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 determinedto go, merely on that account, for in general, you know, they visit no newcomers. indeed you must go, for it will beimpossible for us to visit him if you do not.""you are over-scrupulous, surely. i dare say mr. bingley will be very glad tosee you; and i will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to hismarrying whichever he chooses of the girls; though i must throw in a good word for mylittle 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 aslydia. but you are always giving her thepreference." "they have none of them much to recommendthem," replied he; "they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but lizzy hassomething more of quickness than her sisters." "mr. bennet, how can you abuse your ownchildren 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 withconsideration 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 ayear come into the neighbourhood." "it will be no use to us, if twenty suchshould 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 quickparts, sarcastic humour, 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 herdaughters married; its solace was visiting and news. > chapter 2

mr. bennet was among the earliest of thosewho waited on mr. bingley. he had always intended to visit him, thoughto the last always assuring his wife that he should not go; and till the eveningafter the visit was paid she had no knowledge of it. it was then disclosed in the followingmanner. observing his second daughter employed intrimming a hat, he suddenly addressed her with: "i hope mr. bingley will like it, lizzy.""we are not in a way to know what mr. bingley likes," said her motherresentfully, "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 introducehim." "i do not believe mrs. long will do anysuch 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 iam glad to find that you do not depend on her serving you." mrs. bennet deigned not to make any reply,but, unable to contain herself, began scolding one of her daughters."don't keep coughing so, kitty, for

heaven's sake! have a little compassion on my nerves.you tear them to pieces." "kitty has no discretion in her coughs,"said her father; "she times them ill." "i do not cough for my own amusement,"replied kitty fretfully. "when is your next ball to be, lizzy?""to-morrow fortnight." "aye, so it is," cried her mother, "andmrs. long does not come back till the day before; so it will be impossible for her tointroduce him, for she will not know him herself." "then, my dear, you may have the advantageof your friend, and introduce mr. bingley

to her." "impossible, mr. bennet, impossible, when iam not acquainted with him myself; how can you be so teasing?""i honour your circumspection. a fortnight's acquaintance is certainlyvery little. one cannot know what a man really is by theend of a fortnight. but if we do not venture somebody elsewill; 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 willtake it on myself." the girls stared at their father.mrs. bennet said only, "nonsense,

nonsense!" "what can be the meaning of that emphaticexclamation?" 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 deepreflection, i know, and read great books and make extracts." mary wished to say something sensible, butknew not how. "while mary is adjusting her ideas," hecontinued, "let us return to mr. bingley."

"i am sick of mr. bingley," cried his wife. "i am sorry to hear that; but why did notyou tell me that before? if i had known as much this morning icertainly would not have called on him. it is very unlucky; but as i have actuallypaid the visit, we cannot escape the acquaintance now." the astonishment of the ladies was justwhat he wished; that of mrs. bennet perhaps surpassing the rest; though, when the firsttumult of joy was over, she began to declare that it was what she had expectedall 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 toneglect such an acquaintance. well, how pleased i am! and it is such agood joke, too, that you should have gone this morning and never said a word about ittill now." "now, kitty, you may cough as much as youchoose," said mr. bennet; and, as he spoke, he left the room, fatigued with theraptures 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 himamends for his kindness; or me, either, for that matter.

at our time of life it is not so pleasant,i can tell you, to be making new acquaintances every day; but for yoursakes, we would do anything. lydia, my love, though you are theyoungest, 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 inconjecturing how soon he would return mr. bennet's visit, and determining when theyshould ask him to dinner. chapter 3

not all that mrs. bennet, however, with theassistance of her five daughters, could ask on the subject, was sufficient to draw fromher husband any satisfactory description of mr. bingley. they attacked him in various ways--withbarefaced questions, ingenious suppositions, and distant surmises; but heeluded the skill of them all, and they were at last obliged to accept the second-hand intelligence of their neighbour, ladylucas. her report was highly favourable.sir william had been delighted with him. he was quite young, wonderfully handsome,extremely agreeable, and, to crown the

whole, he meant to be at the next assemblywith a large party. nothing could be more delightful! to be fond of dancing was a certain steptowards falling in love; and very lively hopes of mr. bingley's heart wereentertained. "if i can but see one of my daughtershappily settled at netherfield," said mrs. bennet to her husband, "and all the othersequally 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 admittedto a sight of the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard much; but he saw onlythe father. the ladies were somewhat more fortunate,for they had the advantage of ascertaining from an upper window that he wore a bluecoat, and rode a black horse. an invitation to dinner was soon afterwardsdispatched; and already had mrs. bennet planned the courses that were to do creditto her housekeeping, when an answer arrived which deferred it all. mr. bingley was obliged to be in town thefollowing day, and, consequently, unable to accept the honour of their invitation, etc.mrs. bennet was quite disconcerted.

she could not imagine what business hecould have in town so soon after his arrival in hertfordshire; and she began tofear that he might be always flying about from one place to another, and neversettled at netherfield as he ought to be. lady lucas quieted her fears a little bystarting the idea of his being gone to london only to get a large party for theball; and a report soon followed that mr. bingley was to bring twelve ladies andseven gentlemen with him to the assembly. the girls grieved over such a number ofladies, but were comforted the day before the ball by hearing, that instead of twelvehe brought only six with him from london-- his five sisters and a cousin.

and when the party entered the assemblyroom it consisted of only five altogether-- mr. bingley, his two sisters, the husbandof the eldest, and another young man. mr. bingley was good-looking andgentlemanlike; he had a pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners.his sisters were fine women, with an air of decided fashion. his brother-in-law, mr. hurst, merelylooked the gentleman; but his friend mr. darcy soon drew the attention of the roomby his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien, and the report which was in general circulation within fiveminutes after his entrance, of his having

ten thousand a year. the gentlemen pronounced him to be a finefigure of a man, the ladies declared he was much handsomer than mr. bingley, and he waslooked at with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of hispopularity; for he was discovered to be proud; to be above his company, and abovebeing pleased; and not all his large estate in derbyshire could then save him from having a most forbidding, disagreeablecountenance, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend.

mr. bingley had soon made himselfacquainted with all the principal people in the room; he was lively and unreserved,danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early, and talked of giving onehimself at netherfield. such amiable qualities must speak forthemselves. what a contrast between him and his friend! mr. darcy danced only once with mrs. hurstand once with miss bingley, declined being introduced to any other lady, and spent therest of the evening in walking about the room, speaking occasionally to one of hisown party. his character was decided.

he was the proudest, most disagreeable manin the world, and everybody hoped that he would never come there again. amongst the most violent against him wasmrs. bennet, whose dislike of his general behaviour was sharpened into particularresentment by his having slighted one of her daughters. elizabeth bennet had been obliged, by thescarcity of gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of that time, mr.darcy had been standing near enough for her to hear a conversation between him and mr. bingley, who came from the dance for a fewminutes, to press his friend to join it.

"come, darcy," said he, "i must have youdance. i hate to see you standing about byyourself in this stupid manner. you had much better dance.""i certainly shall not. you know how i detest it, unless i amparticularly acquainted with my partner. at such an assembly as this it would beinsupportable. your sisters are engaged, and there is notanother woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with.""i would not be so fastidious as you are," cried mr. bingley, "for a kingdom! upon my honour, i never met with so manypleasant girls in my life as i have this

evening; and there are several of them yousee uncommonly pretty." "you are dancing with the only handsomegirl 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 sittingdown just behind you, who is very pretty, and i dare say very agreeable.do let me ask my partner to introduce you." "which do you mean?" and turning round helooked for a moment at elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own andcoldly said: "she is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; i am in no

humour at present to give consequence toyoung ladies who are slighted by other men. you had better return to your partner andenjoy 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 feelingstoward him. she told the story, however, with greatspirit among her friends; for she had a lively, playful disposition, whichdelighted in anything ridiculous. the evening altogether passed offpleasantly to the whole family. mrs. bennet had seen her eldest daughtermuch admired by the netherfield party.

mr. bingley had danced with her twice, andshe had been distinguished by his sisters. jane was as much gratified by this as hermother could be, though in a quieter way. elizabeth felt jane's pleasure. mary had heard herself mentioned to missbingley as the most accomplished girl in the neighbourhood; and catherine and lydiahad been fortunate enough never to be without partners, which was all that theyhad yet learnt to care for at a ball. they returned, therefore, in good spiritsto longbourn, the village where they lived, and of which they were the principalinhabitants. they found mr. bennet still up.

with a book he was regardless of time; andon the present occasion he had a good deal of curiosity as to the event of an eveningwhich had raised such splendid expectations. he had rather hoped that his wife's viewson the stranger would be disappointed; but he soon found out that he had a differentstory to hear. "oh! my dear mr. bennet," as she enteredthe 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 likeit. everybody said how well she looked; and mr.bingley thought her quite beautiful, and

danced with her twice! only think of that, my dear; he actuallydanced with her twice! and she was the only creature in the room that he asked a secondtime. first of all, he asked miss lucas. i was so vexed to see him stand up withher! but, however, he did not admire her at all;indeed, nobody can, you know; and he seemed quite struck with jane as she was goingdown the dance. so he inquired who she was, and gotintroduced, and asked her for the two next. then the two third he danced with missking, and the two fourth with maria lucas,

and the two fifth with jane again, and thetwo sixth with lizzy, and the boulanger--" "if he had had any compassion for me,"cried her husband impatiently, "he would not have danced half so much!for god's sake, say no more of his partners. o that he had sprained his ankle in thefirst dance!" "oh! my dear, i am quite delighted withhim. he is so excessively handsome! and his sisters are charming women.i never in my life saw anything more elegant than their dresses.i dare say the lace upon mrs. hurst's gown-

-" here she was interrupted again.mr. bennet protested against any description of finery. she was therefore obliged to seek anotherbranch of the subject, and related, with much bitterness of spirit and someexaggeration, the shocking rudeness of mr. darcy. "but i can assure you," she added, "thatlizzy 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 noenduring 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 havegiven him one of your set-downs. i quite detest the man." chapter 4 when jane and elizabeth were alone, theformer, who had been cautious in her praise of mr. bingley before, expressed to hersister 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!--somuch 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 meto dance a second time. i did not expect such a compliment.""did not you? i did for you. but that is one great difference betweenus. compliments always take you by surprise,and me never. what could be more natural than his askingyou again?

he could not help seeing that you wereabout 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, youknow, 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 humanbeing in your life."

"i would not wish to be hasty in censuringanyone; but i always speak what i think." "i know you do; and it is that which makesthe wonder. with your good sense, to be so honestlyblind to the follies and nonsense of others! affectation of candour is common enough--one meets with it everywhere. but to be candid without ostentation ordesign--to take the good of everybody's character and make it still better, and saynothing of the bad--belongs to you alone. and so you like this man's sisters, too, doyou? their manners are not equal to his.""certainly not--at first.

but they are very pleasing women when youconverse 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 charmingneighbour in her." elizabeth listened in silence, but was notconvinced; their behaviour at the assembly had not been calculated to please ingeneral; and with more quickness of observation and less pliancy of temper than her sister, and with a judgement toounassailed by any attention to herself, she was very little disposed to approve them. they were in fact very fine ladies; notdeficient in good humour when they were

pleased, nor in the power of makingthemselves agreeable when they chose it, but proud and conceited. they were rather handsome, had beeneducated in one of the first private seminaries in town, had a fortune of twentythousand pounds, were in the habit of spending more than they ought, and of associating with people of rank, and weretherefore in every respect entitled to think well of themselves, and meanly ofothers. they were of a respectable family in thenorth of england; a circumstance more deeply impressed on their memories thanthat their brother's fortune and their own

had been acquired by trade. mr. bingley inherited property to theamount of nearly a hundred thousand pounds from his father, who had intended topurchase an estate, but did not live to do it. mr. bingley intended it likewise, andsometimes made choice of his county; but as he was now provided with a good house andthe liberty of a manor, it was doubtful to many of those who best knew the easiness of his temper, whether he might not spend theremainder of his days at netherfield, and leave the next generation to purchase.

his sisters were anxious for his having anestate of his own; but, though he was now only established as a tenant, miss bingleywas by no means unwilling to preside at his table--nor was mrs. hurst, who had married a man of more fashion than fortune, lessdisposed 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 netherfieldhouse. he did look at it, and into it for half-an-hour--was pleased with the situation and the principal rooms, satisfied with whatthe owner said in its praise, and took it

immediately. between him and darcy there was a verysteady friendship, in spite of great opposition of character. bingley was endeared to darcy by theeasiness, openness, and ductility of his temper, though no disposition could offer agreater contrast to his own, and though with his own he never appeareddissatisfied. on the strength of darcy's regard, bingleyhad the firmest reliance, and of his judgement the highest opinion. in understanding, darcy was the superior.bingley was by no means deficient, but

darcy was clever. he was at the same time haughty, reserved,and fastidious, and his manners, though well-bred, were not inviting.in that respect his friend had greatly the advantage. bingley was sure of being liked wherever heappeared, darcy was continually giving offense. the manner in which they spoke of themeryton assembly was sufficiently characteristic. bingley had never met with more pleasantpeople or prettier girls in his life;

everybody had been most kind and attentiveto him; there had been no formality, no stiffness; he had soon felt acquainted with all the room; and, as to miss bennet, hecould not conceive an angel more beautiful. darcy, on the contrary, had seen acollection of people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for none ofwhom he had felt the smallest interest, and from none received either attention orpleasure. miss bennet he acknowledged to be pretty,but she smiled too much. mrs. hurst and her sister allowed it to beso--but still they admired her and liked her, and pronounced her to be a sweet girl,and one whom they would not object to know

more of. miss bennet was therefore established as asweet girl, and their brother felt authorized by such commendation to think ofher as he chose. chapter 5 within a short walk of longbourn lived afamily with whom the bennets were particularly intimate. sir william lucas had been formerly intrade in meryton, where he had made a tolerable fortune, and risen to the honourof knighthood by an address to the king during his mayoralty.

the distinction had perhaps been felt toostrongly. it had given him a disgust to his business,and to his residence in a small market town; and, in quitting them both, he hadremoved with his family to a house about a mile from meryton, denominated from that period lucas lodge, where he could thinkwith pleasure of his own importance, and, unshackled by business, occupy himselfsolely in being civil to all the world. for, though elated by his rank, it did notrender him supercilious; on the contrary, he was all attention to everybody. by nature inoffensive, friendly, andobliging, 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, intelligentyoung woman, about twenty-seven, was elizabeth's intimate friend. that the miss lucases and the miss bennetsshould meet to talk over a ball was absolutely necessary; and the morning afterthe assembly brought the former to longbourn to hear and to communicate. "you began the evening well, charlotte,"said mrs. bennet with civil self-command to

miss lucas."you were mr. bingley's first choice." "yes; but he seemed to like his secondbetter." "oh! you mean jane, i suppose, because hedanced with her twice. to be sure that did seem as if he admiredher--indeed i rather believe he did--i heard something about it--but i hardly knowwhat--something about mr. robinson." "perhaps you mean what i overheard betweenhim and mr. robinson; did not i mention it to you? mr. robinson's asking him how he liked ourmeryton assemblies, and whether he did not think there were a great many pretty womenin the room, and which he thought the

prettiest? and his answering immediately to the last question: 'oh! the eldest missbennet, beyond a doubt; there cannot be two opinions on that point.'""upon my word! well, that is very decided indeed--thatdoes 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 listeningto as his friend, is he?--poor eliza!--to be only just tolerable." "i beg you would not put it into lizzy'shead to be vexed by his ill-treatment, for

he is such a disagreeable man, that itwould be quite a misfortune to be liked by him. mrs. long told me last night that he satclose 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 toher." "aye--because she asked him at last how heliked netherfield, and he could not help answering her; but she said he seemed quiteangry at being spoke to." "miss bingley told me," said jane, "that henever speaks much, unless among his

intimate acquaintances.with them he is remarkably agreeable." "i do not believe a word of it, my dear. if he had been so very agreeable, he wouldhave talked to mrs. long. but i can guess how it was; everybody saysthat he is eat up with pride, and i dare say he had heard somehow that mrs. longdoes 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 younever to dance with him." "his pride," said miss lucas, "does notoffend me so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. one cannot wonder that so very fine a youngman, with family, fortune, everything in his favour, should think highly of himself.if i may so express it, he has a right to be proud." "that is very true," replied elizabeth,"and i could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine." "pride," observed mary, who piqued herselfupon the solidity of her reflections, "is a

very common failing, i believe. by all that i have ever read, i amconvinced that it is very common indeed; that human nature is particularly prone toit, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self- complacency on the score of some quality orother, real or imaginary. vanity and pride are different things,though the words are often used synonymously. a person may be proud without being vain.pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would haveothers think of us."

"if i were as rich as mr. darcy," cried ayoung 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 morethan you ought," said mrs. bennet; "and if i were to see you at it, i should take awayyour bottle directly." the boy protested that she should not; shecontinued to declare that she would, and the argument ended only with the visit. chapter 6 the ladies of longbourn soon waited onthose of netherfield.

the visit was soon returned in due form. miss bennet's pleasing manners grew on thegoodwill of mrs. hurst and miss bingley; and though the mother was found to beintolerable, and the younger sisters not worth speaking to, a wish of being better acquainted with them was expressed towardsthe two eldest. by jane, this attention was received withthe greatest pleasure, but elizabeth still saw superciliousness in their treatment ofeverybody, hardly excepting even her sister, and could not like them; though their kindness to jane, such as it was, hada value as arising in all probability from

the influence of their brother'sadmiration. it was generally evident whenever they met,that he did admire her and to her it was equally evident that jane was yielding tothe preference which she had begun to entertain for him from the first, and was in a way to be very much in love; but sheconsidered with pleasure that it was not likely to be discovered by the world ingeneral, since jane united, with great strength of feeling, a composure of temper and a uniform cheerfulness of manner whichwould guard her from the suspicions of the impertinent.she mentioned this to her friend miss

lucas. "it may perhaps be pleasant," repliedcharlotte, "to be able to impose on the public in such a case; but it is sometimesa disadvantage to be so very guarded. if a woman conceals her affection with thesame skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and itwill then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark. there is so much of gratitude or vanity inalmost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. we can all begin freely--a slightpreference is natural enough; but there are

very few of us who have heart enough to bereally in love without encouragement. in nine cases out of ten a women had bettershow more affection than she feels. bingley likes your sister undoubtedly; buthe may never do more than like her, if she does not help him on." "but she does help him on, as much as hernature will allow. if i can perceive her regard for him, hemust be a simpleton, indeed, not to discover it too." "remember, eliza, that he does not knowjane's disposition as you do." "but if a woman is partial to a man, anddoes 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 tolerablyoften, it is never for many hours together; and, as they always see each other in largemixed parties, it is impossible that every moment should be employed in conversingtogether. jane should therefore make the most ofevery half-hour in which she can command his attention. when she is secure of him, there will bemore leisure for falling in love as much as she chooses."

"your plan is a good one," repliedelizabeth, "where nothing is in question but the desire of being well married, andif i were determined to get a rich husband, or any husband, i dare say i should adoptit. but these are not jane's feelings; she isnot acting by design. as yet, she cannot even be certain of thedegree 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 companyfour times. this is not quite enough to make herunderstand his character."

"not as you represent it. had she merely dined with him, she mightonly have discovered whether he had a good appetite; but you must remember that fourevenings have also been spent together--and four evenings may do a great deal." "yes; these four evenings have enabled themto ascertain that they both like vingt-un better than commerce; but with respect toany other leading characteristic, i do not imagine that much has been unfolded." "well," said charlotte, "i wish janesuccess with all my heart; and if she were married to him to-morrow, i should thinkshe had as good a chance of happiness as if

she were to be studying his character for atwelvemonth. happiness in marriage is entirely a matterof chance. if the dispositions of the parties are everso well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advancetheir felicity in the least. they always continue to grow sufficientlyunlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know aslittle as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass yourlife." "you make me laugh, charlotte; but it isnot sound. you know it is not sound, and that youwould never act in this way yourself."

occupied in observing mr. bingley'sattentions to her sister, elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was herselfbecoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his friend. mr. darcy had at first scarcely allowed herto be pretty; he had looked at her without admiration at the ball; and when they nextmet, he looked at her only to criticise. but no sooner had he made it clear tohimself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he beganto find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression ofher dark eyes. to this discovery succeeded some othersequally mortifying.

though he had detected with a critical eyemore than one failure of perfect symmetry in her form, he was forced to acknowledgeher figure to be light and pleasing; and in spite of his asserting that her manners were not those of the fashionable world, hewas caught by their easy playfulness. of this she was perfectly unaware; to herhe was only the man who made himself agreeable nowhere, and who had not thoughther handsome enough to dance with. he began to wish to know more of her, andas a step towards conversing with her himself, attended to her conversation withothers. his doing so drew her notice.

it was at sir william lucas's, where alarge party were assembled. "what does mr. darcy mean," said she tocharlotte, "by listening to my conversation with colonel forster?" "that is a question which mr. darcy onlycan answer." "but if he does it any more i shallcertainly let him know that i see what he is about. he has a very satirical eye, and if i donot 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 defiedher friend to mention such a subject to him; which immediately provoking elizabethto do it, she turned to him and said: "did you not think, mr. darcy, that iexpressed myself uncommonly well just now, when i was teasing colonel forster to giveus a ball at meryton?" "with great energy; but it is always asubject 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 follows." "you are a very strange creature by way ofa friend!--always wanting me to play and

sing before anybody and everybody! if my vanity had taken a musical turn, youwould have been invaluable; but as it is, i would really rather not sit down beforethose who must be in the habit of hearing the very best performers." on miss lucas's persevering, however, sheadded, "very well, if it must be so, it must." and gravely glancing at mr. darcy, "thereis a fine old saying, which everybody here is of course familiar with: 'keep yourbreath to cool your porridge'; and i shall keep mine to swell my song."

her performance was pleasing, though by nomeans capital. after a song or two, and before she couldreply to the entreaties of several that she would sing again, she was eagerly succeededat the instrument by her sister mary, who having, in consequence of being the only plain one in the family, worked hard forknowledge and accomplishments, was always impatient for display. mary had neither genius nor taste; andthough vanity had given her application, it had given her likewise a pedantic air andconceited manner, which would have injured a higher degree of excellence than she hadreached.

elizabeth, easy and unaffected, had beenlistened to with much more pleasure, though not playing half so well; and mary, at theend of a long concerto, was glad to purchase praise and gratitude by scotch and irish airs, at the request of her youngersisters, who, with some of the lucases, and two or three officers, joined eagerly indancing at one end of the room. mr. darcy stood near them in silentindignation at such a mode of passing the evening, to the exclusion of allconversation, and was too much engrossed by his thoughts to perceive that sir william lucas was his neighbour, till sir williamthus began:

"what a charming amusement for young peoplethis is, mr. darcy! there is nothing like dancing after all. i consider it as one of the firstrefinements of polished society." "certainly, sir; and it has the advantagealso of being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world. every savage can dance."sir william only smiled. "your friend performs delightfully," hecontinued after a pause, on seeing bingley join the group; "and i doubt not that youare an adept in the science yourself, mr. darcy."

"you saw me dance at meryton, i believe,sir." "yes, indeed, and received noinconsiderable 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 intown myself--for i am fond of superior society; but i did not feel quite certainthat the air of london would agree with

lady lucas." he paused in hopes of an answer; but hiscompanion was not disposed to make any; and elizabeth at that instant moving towardsthem, he was struck with the action of doing a very gallant thing, and called outto her: "my dear miss eliza, why are you notdancing? mr. darcy, you must allow me to presentthis young lady to you as a very desirable partner.you cannot refuse to dance, i am sure when so much beauty is before you." and, taking her hand, he would have givenit to mr. darcy who, though extremely

surprised, was not unwilling to receive it,when she instantly drew back, and said with some discomposure to sir william: "indeed, sir, i have not the leastintention of dancing. i entreat you not to suppose that i movedthis way in order to beg for a partner." mr. darcy, with grave propriety, requestedto be allowed the honour of her hand, but in vain. elizabeth was determined; nor did sirwilliam at all shake her purpose by his attempt at persuasion. "you excel so much in the dance, misseliza, that it is cruel to deny me the

happiness of seeing you; and though thisgentleman dislikes the amusement in general, he can have no objection, i amsure, to oblige us for one half-hour." "mr. darcy is all politeness," saidelizabeth, smiling. "he is, indeed; but, considering theinducement, my dear miss eliza, we cannot wonder at his complaisance--for who wouldobject to such a partner?" elizabeth looked archly, and turned away. her resistance had not injured her with thegentleman, and he was thinking of her with some complacency, when thus accosted bymiss 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 thismanner--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 ofall those people! what would i give to hear your strictureson them!" "your conjecture is totally wrong, i assureyou. my mind was more agreeably engaged. i have been meditating on the very greatpleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the

face of a pretty woman can bestow." miss bingley immediately fixed her eyes onhis face, and desired he would tell her what lady had the credit of inspiring suchreflections. mr. darcy replied with great intrepidity: "miss elizabeth bennet.""miss elizabeth bennet!" repeated miss bingley."i am all astonishment. how long has she been such a favourite?--and pray, when am i to wish you joy?" "that is exactly the question which iexpected you to ask. a lady's imagination is very rapid; itjumps 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 shallconsider the matter is absolutely settled. you will be having a charming mother-in-law, indeed; and, of course, she will always be at pemberley with you." he listened to her with perfectindifference while she chose to entertain herself in this manner; and as hiscomposure convinced her that all was safe, her wit flowed long. chapter 7 mr. bennet's property consisted almostentirely in an estate of two thousand a

year, which, unfortunately for hisdaughters, was entailed, in default of heirs male, on a distant relation; and their mother's fortune, though ample forher 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 abrother settled in london in a respectable line of trade. the village of longbourn was only one milefrom meryton; a most convenient distance

for the young ladies, who were usuallytempted thither three or four times a week, to pay their duty to their aunt and to amilliner's shop just over the way. the two youngest of the family, catherineand lydia, were particularly frequent in these attentions; their minds were morevacant than their sisters', and when nothing better offered, a walk to meryton was necessary to amuse their morning hoursand furnish conversation for the evening; and however bare of news the country ingeneral might be, they always contrived to learn some from their aunt. at present, indeed, they were well suppliedboth with news and happiness by the recent

arrival of a militia regiment in theneighbourhood; it was to remain the whole winter, and meryton was the headquarters. their visits to mrs. phillips were nowproductive of the most interesting intelligence. every day added something to theirknowledge of the officers' names and connections. their lodgings were not long a secret, andat length they began to know the officers themselves. mr. phillips visited them all, and thisopened to his nieces a store of felicity

unknown before. they could talk of nothing but officers;and mr. bingley's large fortune, the mention of which gave animation to theirmother, was worthless in their eyes when opposed to the regimentals of an ensign. after listening one morning to theireffusions on this subject, mr. bennet coolly observed: "from all that i can collect by your mannerof talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country.i have suspected it some time, but i am now convinced."

catherine was disconcerted, and made noanswer; but lydia, with perfect indifference, continued to express heradmiration of captain carter, and her hope of seeing him in the course of the day, ashe 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 ofanybody's children, it should not be of my own, however.""if my children are silly, i must hope to be always sensible of it." "yes--but as it happens, they are all ofthem very clever."

"this is the only point, i flatter myself,on which we do not agree. i had hoped that our sentiments coincidedin every particular, but i must so far differ from you as to think our twoyoungest daughters uncommonly foolish." "my dear mr. bennet, you must not expectsuch girls to have the sense of their father and mother. when they get to our age, i dare say theywill not think about officers any more than we do. i remember the time when i liked a red coatmyself very well--and, indeed, so i do still at my heart; and if a smart youngcolonel, with five or six thousand a year,

should want one of my girls i shall not say nay to him; and i thought colonel forsterlooked very becoming the other night at sir william's in his regimentals." "mamma," cried lydia, "my aunt says thatcolonel forster and captain carter do not go so often to miss watson's as they didwhen they first came; she sees them now very often standing in clarke's library." mrs. bennet was prevented replying by theentrance of the footman with a note for miss bennet; it came from netherfield, andthe servant waited for an answer. mrs. bennet's eyes sparkled with pleasure,and she was eagerly calling out, while her

daughter read,"well, jane, who is it from? what is it about? what does he say?well, jane, make haste and tell us; make haste, my love.""it is from miss bingley," said jane, and then read it aloud. "my dear friend,-- "if you are not so compassionate as to dineto-day with louisa and me, we shall be in danger of hating each other for the rest ofour lives, for a whole day's tete-a-tete between two women can never end without aquarrel.

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," saidelizabeth, "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 thehorses, i am sure. they are wanted in the farm, mr. bennet,are they not?" "they are wanted in the farm much oftenerthan i can get them." "but if you have got them to-day," saidelizabeth, "my mother's purpose will be answered." she did at last extort from her father anacknowledgment that the horses were engaged.

jane was therefore obliged to go onhorseback, and her mother attended her to the door with many cheerful prognostics ofa bad day. her hopes were answered; jane had not beengone long before it rained hard. her sisters were uneasy for her, but hermother was delighted. the rain continued the whole eveningwithout 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 notaware of all the felicity of her

contrivance. breakfast was scarcely over when a servantfrom 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 insist also on my seeing mr. jones--therefore do not be alarmed if you should hear of his having been to me--and,excepting a sore throat and headache, there is not much the matter with me.--yours,etc."

"well, my dear," said mr. bennet, whenelizabeth had read the note aloud, "if your daughter should have a dangerous fit ofillness--if she should die, it would be a comfort to know that it was all in pursuitof 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 verywell. i would go and see her if i could have thecarriage." elizabeth, feeling really anxious, wasdetermined to go to her, though the carriage was not to be had; and as she wasno horsewoman, walking was her only

alternative. she declared her resolution."how can you be so silly," cried her mother, "as to think of such a thing, inall this dirt! you will not be fit to be seen when you getthere." "i shall be very fit to see jane--which isall i want." "is this a hint to me, lizzy," said herfather, "to send for the horses?" "no, indeed, i do not wish to avoid thewalk. the distance is nothing when one has amotive; only three miles. i shall be back by dinner."

"i admire the activity of yourbenevolence," observed mary, "but every impulse of feeling should be guided byreason; and, in my opinion, exertion should always be in proportion to what isrequired." "we will go as far as meryton with you,"said catherine and lydia. elizabeth accepted their company, and thethree young ladies set off together. "if we make haste," said lydia, as theywalked along, "perhaps we may see something of captain carter before he goes." in meryton they parted; the two youngestrepaired to the lodgings of one of the officers' wives, and elizabeth continuedher walk alone, crossing field after field

at a quick pace, jumping over stiles and springing over puddles with impatientactivity, and finding herself at last within view of the house, with wearyankles, 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 dealof surprise. that she should have walked three miles soearly in the day, in such dirty weather, and by herself, was almost incredible tomrs. hurst and miss bingley; and elizabeth was convinced that they held her incontempt for it.

she was received, however, very politely bythem; and in their brother's manners there was something better than politeness; therewas good humour and kindness. mr. darcy said very little, and mr. hurstnothing at all. the former was divided between admirationof the brilliancy which exercise had given to her complexion, and doubt as to theoccasion's justifying her coming so far alone. the latter was thinking only of hisbreakfast. her inquiries after her sister were notvery favourably answered. miss bennet had slept ill, and though up,was very feverish, and not well enough to

leave her room. elizabeth was glad to be taken to herimmediately; and jane, who had only been withheld by the fear of giving alarm orinconvenience from expressing in her note how much she longed for such a visit, wasdelighted at her entrance. she was not equal, however, to muchconversation, and when miss bingley left them together, could attempt little besidesexpressions of gratitude for the extraordinary kindness she was treatedwith. elizabeth silently attended her. when breakfast was over they were joined bythe sisters; and elizabeth began to like

them herself, when she saw how muchaffection and solicitude they showed for jane. the apothecary came, and having examinedhis patient, said, as might be supposed, that she had caught a violent cold, andthat they must endeavour to get the better of it; advised her to return to bed, andpromised her some draughts. the advice was followed readily, for thefeverish symptoms increased, and her head ached acutely. elizabeth did not quit her room for amoment; nor were the other ladies often absent; the gentlemen being out, they had,in fact, nothing to do elsewhere.

when the clock struck three, elizabeth feltthat she must go, and very unwillingly said so. miss bingley offered her the carriage, andshe only wanted a little pressing to accept it, when jane testified such concern inparting with her, that miss bingley was obliged to convert the offer of the chaise to an invitation to remain at netherfieldfor the present. elizabeth most thankfully consented, and aservant was dispatched to longbourn to acquaint the family with her stay and bringback a supply of clothes. chapter 8

at five o'clock the two ladies retired todress, and at half-past six elizabeth was summoned to dinner. to the civil inquiries which then pouredin, and amongst which she had the pleasure of distinguishing the much superiorsolicitude of mr. bingley's, she could not make a very favourable answer. jane was by no means better. the sisters, on hearing this, repeatedthree or four times how much they were grieved, how shocking it was to have a badcold, and how excessively they disliked being ill themselves; and then thought no

more of the matter: and their indifferencetowards jane when not immediately before them restored elizabeth to the enjoyment ofall her former dislike. their brother, indeed, was the only one ofthe party whom she could regard with any complacency. his anxiety for jane was evident, and hisattentions to herself most pleasing, and they prevented her feeling herself so muchan intruder as she believed she was considered by the others. she had very little notice from any buthim. miss bingley was engrossed by mr. darcy,her sister scarcely less so; and as for mr.

hurst, by whom elizabeth sat, he was anindolent man, who lived only to eat, drink, and play at cards; who, when he found her to prefer a plain dish to a ragout, hadnothing to say to her. when dinner was over, she returned directlyto jane, and miss bingley began abusing her as soon as she was out of the room. her manners were pronounced to be very badindeed, a mixture of pride and impertinence; she had no conversation, nostyle, no beauty. mrs. hurst thought the same, and added: "she has nothing, in short, to recommendher, but being an excellent walker.

i shall never forget her appearance thismorning. she really looked almost wild." "she did, indeed, louisa.i could hardly keep my countenance. very nonsensical to come at all!why must she be scampering about the country, because her sister had a cold? her hair, so untidy, so blowsy!" "yes, and her petticoat; i hope you saw herpetticoat, six inches deep in mud, i am absolutely certain; and the gown which hadbeen 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 lookedremarkably 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 yoursister make such an exhibition." "certainly not." "to walk three miles, or four miles, orfive 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 sortof conceited independence, a most country- town indifference to decorum.""it shows an affection for her sister that is very pleasing," said bingley. "i am afraid, mr. darcy," observed missbingley in a half whisper, "that this adventure has rather affected youradmiration of her fine eyes." "not at all," he replied; "they werebrightened by the exercise." a short pause followed this speech, andmrs. hurst began again: "i have an excessive regard for miss janebennet, she is really a very sweet girl,

and i wish with all my heart she were wellsettled. but with such a father and mother, and suchlow connections, i am afraid there is no chance of it.""i think i have heard you say that their uncle is an attorney on meryton." "yes; and they have another, who livessomewhere near cheapside." "that is capital," added her sister, andthey both laughed heartily. "if they had uncles enough to fill allcheapside," cried bingley, "it would not make them one jot less agreeable." "but it must very materially lessen theirchance of marrying men of any consideration

in the world," replied darcy. to this speech bingley made no answer; buthis sisters gave it their hearty assent, and indulged their mirth for some time atthe expense of their dear friend's vulgar relations. with a renewal of tenderness, however, theyreturned to her room on leaving the dining- parlour, and sat with her till summoned tocoffee. she was still very poorly, and elizabethwould not quit her at all, till late in the evening, when she had the comfort of seeingher sleep, and when it seemed to her rather right than pleasant that she should godownstairs herself.

on entering the drawing-room she found thewhole party at loo, and was immediately invited to join them; but suspecting themto be playing high she declined it, and making her sister the excuse, said she would amuse herself for the short time shecould stay below, with a book. mr. hurst looked at her with astonishment."do you prefer reading to cards?" said he; "that is rather singular." "miss eliza bennet," said miss bingley,"despises cards. she is a great reader, and has no pleasurein anything else." "i deserve neither such praise nor suchcensure," cried elizabeth; "i am not a

great reader, and i have pleasure in manythings." "in nursing your sister i am sure you havepleasure," said bingley; "and i hope it will be soon increased by seeing her quitewell." elizabeth thanked him from her heart, andthen 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 foryour benefit and my own credit; but i am an idle fellow, and though i have not many, ihave more than i ever looked into." elizabeth assured him that she could suitherself perfectly with those in the room.

"i am astonished," said miss bingley, "thatmy father should have left so small a collection of books. what a delightful library you have atpemberley, mr. darcy!" "it ought to be good," he replied, "it hasbeen the work of many generations." "and then you have added so much to ityourself, you are always buying books." "i cannot comprehend the neglect of afamily library in such days as these." "neglect! i am sure you neglect nothing that can addto the beauties of that noble place. charles, when you build your house, i wishit may be half as delightful as pemberley."

"i wish it may." "but i would really advise you to make yourpurchase 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 pemberleyitself if darcy will sell it." "i am talking of possibilities, charles." "upon my word, caroline, i should think itmore possible to get pemberley by purchase than by imitation." elizabeth was so much caught with whatpassed, as to leave her very little

attention for her book; and soon laying itwholly aside, she drew near the card-table, and stationed herself between mr. bingleyand his eldest sister, to observe the game. "is miss darcy much grown since thespring?" 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 delighted meso much. such a countenance, such manners!and so extremely accomplished for her age! her performance on the pianoforte isexquisite."

"it is amazing to me," said bingley, "howyoung ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished as they all are." "all young ladies accomplished!my dear charles, what do you mean?" "yes, all of them, i think.they all paint tables, cover screens, and net purses. i scarcely know anyone who cannot do allthis, and i am sure i never heard a young lady spoken of for the first time, withoutbeing informed that she was very accomplished." "your list of the common extent ofaccomplishments," said darcy, "has too much

truth. the word is applied to many a woman whodeserves it no otherwise than by netting a purse or covering a screen.but i am very far from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in general. i cannot boast of knowing more than half-a-dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are reallyaccomplished." "nor i, i am sure," said miss bingley. "then," observed elizabeth, "you mustcomprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman.""yes, i do comprehend a great deal in it."

"oh! certainly," cried his faithfulassistant, "no one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpasswhat is usually met with. a woman must have a thorough knowledge ofmusic, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; andbesides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her addressand expressions, or the word will be but half-deserved." "all this she must possess," added darcy,"and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of hermind by extensive reading."

"i am no longer surprised at your knowingonly six accomplished women. i rather wonder now at your knowing any.""are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this?" "i never saw such a woman.i never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describeunited." mrs. hurst and miss bingley both cried outagainst the injustice of her implied doubt, and were both protesting that they knewmany women who answered this description, when mr. hurst called them to order, with bitter complaints of their inattention towhat was going forward.

as all conversation was thereby at an end,elizabeth soon afterwards left the room. "elizabeth bennet," said miss bingley, whenthe door was closed on her, "is one of those young ladies who seek to recommendthemselves 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 thisremark was chiefly addressed, "there is a meanness in all the arts which ladiessometimes condescend to employ for captivation. whatever bears affinity to cunning isdespicable."

miss bingley was not so entirely satisfiedwith this reply as to continue the subject. elizabeth joined them again only to saythat her sister was worse, and that she could not leave her. bingley urged mr. jones being sent forimmediately; while his sisters, convinced that no country advice could be of anyservice, recommended an express to town for one of the most eminent physicians. this she would not hear of; but she was notso unwilling to comply with their brother's proposal; and it was settled that mr. jonesshould be sent for early in the morning, if miss bennet were not decidedly better.

bingley was quite uncomfortable; hissisters declared that they were miserable. they solaced their wretchedness, however,by duets after supper, while he could find no better relief to his feelings than bygiving his housekeeper directions that every attention might be paid to the sicklady and her sister. chapter 9 elizabeth passed the chief of the night inher sister's room, and in the morning had the pleasure of being able to send atolerable answer to the inquiries which she very early received from mr. bingley by a housemaid, and some time afterwards fromthe two elegant ladies who waited on his

sisters. in spite of this amendment, however, sherequested to have a note sent to longbourn, desiring her mother to visit jane, and formher own judgement of her situation. the note was immediately dispatched, andits contents as quickly complied with. mrs. bennet, accompanied by her twoyoungest girls, reached netherfield soon after the family breakfast. had she found jane in any apparent danger,mrs. bennet would have been very miserable; but being satisfied on seeing her that herillness was not alarming, she had no wish of her recovering immediately, as her

restoration to health would probably removeher from netherfield. she would not listen, therefore, to herdaughter's proposal of being carried home; neither did the apothecary, who arrivedabout the same time, think it at all advisable. after sitting a little while with jane, onmiss bingley's appearance and invitation, the mother and three daughters all attendedher into the breakfast parlour. bingley met them with hopes that mrs.bennet had not found miss bennet worse than she expected."indeed i have, sir," was her answer. "she is a great deal too ill to be moved.

mr. jones says we must not think of movingher. we must trespass a little longer on yourkindness." "removed!" cried bingley. "it must not be thought of.my sister, i am sure, will not hear of her removal." "you may depend upon it, madam," said missbingley, with cold civility, "that miss bennet will receive every possibleattention while she remains with us." mrs. bennet was profuse in heracknowledgments. "i am sure," she added, "if it was not forsuch good friends i do not know what would

become of her, for she is very ill indeed,and suffers a vast deal, though with the greatest patience in the world, which is always the way with her, for she has,without exception, the sweetest temper i have ever met with.i often tell my other girls they are nothing to 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 netherfield. you will not think of quitting it in ahurry, i hope, though you have but a short

lease." "whatever i do is done in a hurry," repliedhe; "and therefore if i should resolve to quit netherfield, i should probably be offin five minutes. at present, however, i consider myself asquite fixed here." "that is exactly what i should havesupposed of you," said elizabeth. "you begin to comprehend me, do you?" criedhe, turning towards her. "oh! yes--i understand you perfectly." "i wish i might take this for a compliment;but to be so easily seen through i am afraid is pitiful.""that is as it happens.

it does not follow that a deep, intricatecharacter is more or less estimable than such a one as yours." "lizzy," cried her mother, "remember whereyou are, and do not run on in the wild manner that you are suffered to do athome." "i did not know before," continued bingleyimmediately, "that you were a studier of character.it must be an amusing study." "yes, but intricate characters are the mostamusing. they have at least that advantage.""the country," said darcy, "can in general supply but a few subjects for such a study.

in a country neighbourhood you move in avery confined and unvarying society." "but people themselves alter so much, thatthere is something new to be observed in them for ever." "yes, indeed," cried mrs. bennet, offendedby his manner of mentioning 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, afterlooking at her for a moment, turned silently away. mrs. bennet, who fancied she had gained acomplete victory over him, continued her

triumph. "i cannot see that london has any greatadvantage over the country, 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, "inever 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 rightdisposition. but that gentleman," looking at darcy,"seemed to think the country was nothing at

all." "indeed, mamma, you are mistaken," saidelizabeth, blushing for her mother. "you quite mistook mr. darcy. he only meant that there was not such avariety of people to be met with in the country as in the town, which you mustacknowledge to be true." "certainly, my dear, nobody said therewere; but as to not meeting with many people in this neighbourhood, i believethere are few neighbourhoods larger. i know we dine with four-and-twentyfamilies." nothing but concern for elizabeth couldenable bingley to keep his countenance.

his sister was less delicate, and directedher eyes towards mr. darcy with a very expressive smile. elizabeth, for the sake of saying somethingthat might turn her mother's thoughts, now asked her if charlotte lucas had been atlongbourn 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 had always something to say toeverybody. that is my idea of good breeding; and thosepersons 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 keepservants that can do their own work; my daughters are brought up very differently. but everybody is to judge for themselves,and the lucases are a very good sort of girls, i assure you.it is a pity they are not handsome! not that i think charlotte so 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, andenvied me jane's beauty. i do not like to boast of my own child, butto 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 manat my brother gardiner's in town so much in love with her that my sister-in-law wassure 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, andvery pretty they were." "and so ended his affection," saidelizabeth impatiently. "there has been many a one, i fancy,overcome in the same way. i wonder who first discovered the efficacyof poetry in driving away love!" "i have been used to consider poetry as thefood of love," said darcy. "of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. everything nourishes what is strongalready. but if it be only a slight, thin sort ofinclination, i am convinced that one good

sonnet will starve it entirely away." darcy only smiled; and the general pausewhich ensued made elizabeth tremble lest her mother should be exposing herselfagain. she longed to speak, but could think ofnothing to say; and after a short silence mrs. bennet began repeating her thanks tomr. bingley for his kindness to jane, with an apology for troubling him also withlizzy. mr. bingley was unaffectedly civil in hisanswer, and forced his younger sister to be civil also, and say what the occasionrequired. she performed her part indeed without muchgraciousness, but mrs. bennet was

satisfied, and soon afterwards ordered hercarriage. upon this signal, the youngest of herdaughters put herself forward. the two girls had been whispering to eachother during the whole visit, and the result of it was, that the youngest shouldtax mr. bingley with having promised on his first coming into the country to give aball at netherfield. lydia was a stout, well-grown girl offifteen, with a fine complexion and good- humoured countenance; a favourite with hermother, whose affection had brought her into public at an early age. she had high animal spirits, and a sort ofnatural self-consequence, which the

attention of the officers, to whom heruncle's good dinners, and her own easy manners recommended her, had increased intoassurance. she was very equal, therefore, to addressmr. bingley on the subject of the ball, and abruptly reminded him of his promise;adding, that it would be the most shameful thing in the world if he did not keep it. his answer to this sudden attack wasdelightful to their mother's ear: "i am perfectly ready, i assure you, tokeep my engagement; and when your sister is recovered, you shall, if you please, namethe very day of the ball. but you would not wish to be dancing whenshe is ill."

lydia declared herself satisfied. "oh! yes--it would be much better to waittill jane was well, and by that time most likely captain carter would be at merytonagain. and when you have given your ball," sheadded, "i shall insist on their giving one also.i shall tell colonel forster it will be quite a shame if he does not." mrs. bennet and her daughters thendeparted, and elizabeth returned instantly to jane, leaving her own and her relations'behaviour to the remarks of the two ladies and mr. darcy; the latter of whom, however,

could not be prevailed on to join in theircensure of her, in spite of all miss bingley's witticisms on fine eyes. chapter 10 the day passed much as the day before haddone. mrs. hurst and miss bingley had spent somehours of the morning with the invalid, who continued, though slowly, to mend; and inthe 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 progressof his letter and repeatedly calling off

his attention by messages to his sister. mr. hurst and mr. bingley were at piquet,and mrs. hurst was observing their game. elizabeth took up some needlework, and wassufficiently 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 ofhis letter, with the perfect unconcern with which her praises were received, formed a curious dialogue, and was exactly in unionwith her opinion of each. "how delighted miss darcy will be toreceive 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 them!" "it is fortunate, then, that they fall tomy lot instead of yours." "pray tell your sister that i long to seeher." "i have already told her so once, by yourdesire." "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 ofher improvement on the harp; and pray let her know that i am quite in raptures withher beautiful little design for a table, and i think it infinitely superior to missgrantley's." "will you give me leave to defer yourraptures till i write again? at present i have not room to do themjustice." "oh! it is of no consequence.i shall see her in january.

but do you always write such charming longletters to her, mr. darcy?" "they are generally long; but whetheralways charming it is not for me to determine." "it is a rule with me, that a person whocan write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill." "that will not do for a compliment todarcy, 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 therest." "my ideas flow so rapidly that i have nottime to express them--by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all tomy correspondents." "your humility, mr. bingley," saidelizabeth, "must disarm reproof." "nothing is more deceitful," said darcy,"than the appearance of humility. it is often only carelessness of opinion,and sometimes an indirect boast." "and which of the two do you call my littlerecent piece of modesty?"

"the indirect boast; for you are reallyproud of your defects in writing, because you consider them as proceeding from arapidity of thought and carelessness of execution, which, if not estimable, youthink at least highly interesting. the power of doing anything with quicknessis always prized much by the possessor, and often without any attention to theimperfection of the performance. when you told mrs. bennet this morning thatif you ever resolved upon quitting netherfield you should be gone in fiveminutes, you meant it to be a sort of panegyric, of compliment to yourself--and yet what is there so very laudable in aprecipitance which must leave very

necessary business undone, and can be of noreal advantage to yourself or anyone else?" "nay," cried bingley, "this is too much, toremember at night all the foolish things that were said in the morning. and yet, upon my honour, i believe what isaid of myself to be true, and i believe it at this moment. at least, therefore, i did not assume thecharacter of needless precipitance merely to show off before the ladies." "i dare say you believed it; but i am by nomeans convinced that you would be gone with such celerity.

your conduct would be quite as dependent onchance as that of any man i know; and if, as you were mounting your horse, a friendwere to say, 'bingley, you had better stay till next week,' you would probably do it, you would probably not go--and at anotherword, might stay a month." "you have only proved by this," criedelizabeth, "that mr. bingley did not do justice to his own disposition. you have shown him off now much more thanhe did himself." "i am exceedingly gratified," said bingley,"by your converting what my friend says into a compliment on the sweetness of mytemper.

but i am afraid you are giving it a turnwhich that gentleman did by no means intend; for he would certainly think betterof me, if under such a circumstance i were to give a flat denial, and ride off as fastas i could." "would mr. darcy then consider the rashnessof your original intentions as atoned for by your obstinacy in adhering to it?" "upon my word, i cannot exactly explain thematter; darcy must speak for himself." "you expect me to account for opinionswhich you choose to call mine, but which i have never acknowledged. allowing the case, however, to standaccording to your representation, you must

remember, miss bennet, that the friend whois supposed to desire his return to the house, and the delay of his plan, has merely desired it, asked it withoutoffering one argument in favour of its propriety." "to yield readily--easily--to thepersuasion of a friend is no merit with you.""to yield without conviction is no compliment to the understanding of either." "you appear to me, mr. darcy, to allownothing for the influence of friendship and affection.

a regard for the requester would often makeone readily yield to a request, without waiting for arguments to reason one intoit. i am not particularly speaking of such acase as you have supposed about mr. bingley. we may as well wait, perhaps, till thecircumstance occurs before we discuss the discretion of his behaviour thereupon. but in general and ordinary cases betweenfriend and friend, where one of them is desired by the other to change a resolutionof no very great moment, should you think ill of that person for complying with the

desire, without waiting to be argued intoit?" "will it not be advisable, before weproceed on this subject, to arrange with rather more precision the degree ofimportance which is to appertain to this request, as well as the degree of intimacysubsisting between the parties?" "by all means," cried bingley; "let us hearall the particulars, not forgetting their comparative height and size; for that willhave more weight in the argument, miss bennet, than you may be aware of. i assure you, that if darcy were not such agreat tall fellow, in comparison with myself, i should not pay him half so muchdeference.

i declare i do not know a more awful objectthan darcy, on particular occasions, and in particular places; at his own houseespecially, and of a sunday evening, when he has nothing to do." mr. darcy smiled; but elizabeth thought shecould perceive that he was rather offended, and therefore checked her laugh. miss bingley warmly resented the indignityhe had received, in an expostulation with her brother for talking such nonsense."i see your design, bingley," said his friend. "you dislike an argument, and want tosilence this."

"perhaps i do.arguments are too much like disputes. if you and miss bennet will defer yourstill i am out of the room, i shall be very thankful; and then you may say whatever youlike of me." "what you ask," said elizabeth, "is nosacrifice 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 tomiss bingley and elizabeth for an indulgence of some music. miss bingley moved with some alacrity tothe pianoforte; and, after a polite request

that elizabeth would lead the way which theother as politely and more earnestly negatived, she seated herself. mrs. hurst sang with her sister, and whilethey were thus employed, elizabeth could not help observing, as she turned over somemusic-books that lay on the instrument, how frequently mr. darcy's eyes were fixed onher. she hardly knew how to suppose that shecould be an object of admiration to so great a man; and yet that he should look ather because he disliked her, was still more strange. she could only imagine, however, at lastthat she drew his notice because there was

something more wrong and reprehensible,according to his ideas of right, than in any other person present. the supposition did not pain her.she liked him too little to care for his approbation. after playing some italian songs, missbingley varied the charm by a lively scotch air; and soon afterwards mr. darcy, drawingnear elizabeth, said to her: "do not you feel a great inclination, missbennet, to seize such an opportunity of dancing a reel?"she smiled, but made no answer. he repeated the question, with somesurprise at her silence.

"oh!" said she, "i heard you before, but icould not immediately determine what to say in reply. you wanted me, i know, to say 'yes,' thatyou might have the pleasure of despising my taste; but i always delight in overthrowingthose kind of schemes, and cheating a person of their premeditated contempt. i have, therefore, made up my mind to tellyou, 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 toaffront him, was amazed at his gallantry; but there was a mixture of sweetness andarchness in her manner which made it

difficult for her to affront anybody; and darcy had never been so bewitched by anywoman as he was by her. he really believed, that were it not forthe inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger. miss bingley saw, or suspected enough to bejealous; and her great anxiety for the recovery of her dear friend jane receivedsome assistance from her desire of getting rid of elizabeth. she often tried to provoke darcy intodisliking her guest, by talking of their supposed marriage, and planning hishappiness in such an alliance.

"i hope," said she, as they were walkingtogether in the shrubbery the next day, "you will give your mother-in-law a fewhints, when this desirable event takes place, as to the advantage of holding her tongue; and if you can compass it, do curethe younger girls of running after officers. and, if i may mention so delicate asubject, endeavour to check that little something, bordering on conceit andimpertinence, which your lady possesses." "have you anything else to propose for mydomestic felicity?" "oh! yes.

do let the portraits of your uncle and auntphillips 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 mustnot have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes?" "it would not be easy, indeed, to catchtheir expression, but their colour and shape, and the eyelashes, so remarkablyfine, might be copied." at that moment they were met from anotherwalk 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, andimmediately said: "this walk is not wide enough for ourparty. we had better go into the avenue."

but elizabeth, who had not the leastinclination to remain with them, laughingly answered:"no, no; stay where you are. you are charmingly grouped, and appear touncommon advantage. the picturesque would be spoilt byadmitting a fourth. good-bye." she then ran gaily off, rejoicing as sherambled about, in the hope of being at home again in a day or two. jane was already so much recovered as tointend leaving her room for a couple of hours that evening.

chapter 11 when the ladies removed after dinner,elizabeth ran up to her sister, and seeing her well guarded from cold, attended herinto the drawing-room, where she was welcomed by her two friends with many professions of pleasure; and elizabeth hadnever seen them so agreeable as they were during the hour which passed before thegentlemen appeared. their powers of conversation wereconsiderable. they could describe an entertainment withaccuracy, relate an anecdote with humour, and laugh at their acquaintance withspirit.

but when the gentlemen entered, jane was nolonger the first object; miss bingley's eyes were instantly turned toward darcy,and she had something to say to him before he had advanced many steps. he addressed himself to miss bennet, with apolite congratulation; mr. hurst also made her a slight bow, and said he was "veryglad;" but diffuseness and warmth remained for bingley's salutation. he was full of joy and attention. the first half-hour was spent in piling upthe fire, lest she should suffer from the change of room; and she removed at hisdesire to the other side of the fireplace,

that she might be further from the door. he then sat down by her, and talkedscarcely to anyone else. elizabeth, at work in the opposite corner,saw it all with great delight. when tea was over, mr. hurst reminded hissister-in-law of the card-table--but in vain. she had obtained private intelligence thatmr. darcy did not wish for cards; and mr. hurst soon found even his open petitionrejected. she assured him that no one intended toplay, and the silence of the whole party on the subject seemed to justify her.

mr. hurst had therefore nothing to do, butto stretch himself on one of the sofas and go to sleep. darcy took up a book; miss bingley did thesame; and mrs. hurst, principally occupied in playing with her bracelets and rings,joined now and then in her brother's conversation with miss bennet. miss bingley's attention was quite as muchengaged 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 anyconversation; he merely answered her

question, and read on. at length, quite exhausted by the attemptto be amused with her own book, which she had only chosen because it was the secondvolume of his, she gave a great yawn and said, "how pleasant it is to spend anevening in this way! i declare after all there is no enjoymentlike reading! how much sooner one tires of anything thanof a book! when i have a house of my own, i shall bemiserable if i have not an excellent library." no one made any reply.

she then yawned again, threw aside herbook, and cast her eyes round the room in quest for some amusement; when hearing herbrother mentioning a ball to miss bennet, she turned suddenly towards him and said: "by the bye, charles, are you reallyserious in meditating a dance at netherfield? i would advise you, before you determine onit, to consult the wishes of the present party; i am much mistaken if there are notsome among us to whom a ball would be rather a punishment than a pleasure." "if you mean darcy," cried her brother, "hemay go to bed, if he chooses, before it

begins--but as for the ball, it is quite asettled thing; and as soon as nicholls has made white soup enough, i shall send roundmy cards." "i should like balls infinitely better,"she replied, "if they were carried on in a different manner; but there is somethinginsufferably tedious in the usual process of such a meeting. it would surely be much more rational ifconversation instead of dancing were made the order of the day." "much more rational, my dear caroline, idare say, but it would not be near so much like a ball."

miss bingley made no answer, and soonafterwards she got up and walked about the room. her figure was elegant, and she walkedwell; but darcy, at whom it was all aimed, was still inflexibly studious. in the desperation of her feelings, sheresolved on one effort more, and, turning to elizabeth, said: "miss eliza bennet, let me persuade you tofollow my example, and take a turn about the room.i assure you it is very refreshing after sitting so long in one attitude."

elizabeth was surprised, but agreed to itimmediately. miss bingley succeeded no less in the realobject of her civility; mr. darcy looked up. he was as much awake to the novelty ofattention in that quarter as elizabeth herself could be, and unconsciously closedhis book. he was directly invited to join theirparty, but he declined it, observing that he could imagine but two motives for theirchoosing to walk up and down the room together, with either of which motives hisjoining them would interfere. "what could he mean?

she was dying to know what could be hismeaning?"--and asked elizabeth whether she could at all understand him? "not at all," was her answer; "but dependupon it, he means to be severe on us, and our surest way of disappointing him will beto ask nothing about it." miss bingley, however, was incapable ofdisappointing mr. darcy in anything, and persevered therefore in requiring anexplanation of his two motives. "i have not the smallest objection toexplaining them," said he, as soon as she allowed him to speak. "you either choose this method of passingthe evening because you are in each other's

confidence, and have secret affairs todiscuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking; if the first, i wouldbe completely in your way, and if the second, i can admire you much better as isit 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 theinclination," said elizabeth. "we can all plague and punish one another. tease him--laugh at him.intimate as you are, you must know how it

is to be done.""but upon my honour, i do not. i do assure you that my intimacy has notyet taught me that. tease calmness of manner and presence ofmind! no, no--feel he may defy us there. and as to laughter, we will not exposeourselves, if you please, by attempting to laugh without a subject.mr. darcy may hug himself." "mr. darcy is not to be laughed at!" criedelizabeth. "that is an uncommon advantage, anduncommon i hope it will continue, for it would be a great loss to me to have manysuch acquaintances.

i dearly love a laugh." "miss bingley," said he, "has given me morecredit than can be. the wisest and the best of men--nay, thewisest and best of their actions--may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose firstobject in life is a joke." "certainly," replied elizabeth--"there aresuch people, but i hope i am not one of them.i hope i never ridicule what is wise and good. follies and nonsense, whims andinconsistencies, 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 astrong 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 alwaysunder good regulation." elizabeth turned away to hide a smile. "your examination of mr. darcy is over, ipresume," 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 temper i dare not vouch for.it is, i believe, too little yielding-- certainly too little for the convenience ofthe world. i cannot forget the follies and vices ofothers 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 calledresentful. my good opinion once lost, is lostforever." "that is a failing indeed!" criedelizabeth. "implacable resentment is a shade in acharacter. but you have chosen your fault well. i really cannot laugh at it.you are safe from me." "there is, i believe, in every dispositiona tendency to some particular evil--a natural defect, which not even the besteducation can overcome." "and your defect is to hate everybody."

"and yours," he replied with a smile, "iswillfully to misunderstand them." "do let us have a little music," cried missbingley, 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 notsorry for it. he began to feel the danger of payingelizabeth too much attention. chapter 12 in consequence of an agreement between thesisters, elizabeth wrote the next morning

to their mother, to beg that the carriagemight be sent for them in the course of the day. but mrs. bennet, who had calculated on herdaughters remaining at netherfield till the following tuesday, which would exactlyfinish jane's week, could not bring herself to receive them with pleasure before. her answer, therefore, was not propitious,at least not to elizabeth's wishes, for she was impatient to get home. mrs. bennet sent them word that they couldnot possibly have the carriage before tuesday; and in her postscript it wasadded, that if mr. bingley and his sister

pressed them to stay longer, she couldspare them very well. against staying longer, however, elizabethwas positively resolved--nor did she much expect it would be asked; and fearful, onthe contrary, as being considered as intruding themselves needlessly long, she urged jane to borrow mr. bingley's carriageimmediately, and at length it was settled that their original design of leavingnetherfield that morning should be mentioned, and the request made. the communication excited many professionsof concern; and enough was said of wishing them to stay at least till the followingday to work on jane; and till the morrow

their going was deferred. miss bingley was then sorry that she hadproposed the delay, for her jealousy and dislike of one sister much exceeded heraffection for the other. the master of the house heard with realsorrow that they were to go so soon, and repeatedly tried to persuade miss bennetthat it would not be safe for her--that she was not enough recovered; but jane was firmwhere 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--andmiss bingley was uncivil to her, and more

teasing than usual to himself. he wisely resolved to be particularlycareful that no sign of admiration should now escape him, nothing that could elevateher with the hope of influencing his felicity; sensible that if such an idea had been suggested, his behaviour during thelast day must have material weight in confirming or crushing it. steady to his purpose, he scarcely spoketen words to her through the whole of saturday, and though they were at one timeleft 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, theseparation, so agreeable to almost all, took place. miss bingley's civility to elizabethincreased at last very rapidly, as well as her affection for jane; and when theyparted, after assuring the latter of the pleasure it would always give her to see her either at longbourn or netherfield, andembracing 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 cordiallyby their mother.

mrs. bennet wondered at their coming, andthought them very wrong to give so much trouble, and was sure jane would havecaught cold again. but their father, though very laconic inhis expressions of pleasure, was really glad to see them; he had felt theirimportance in the family circle. the evening conversation, when they wereall assembled, had lost much of its animation, and almost all its sense by theabsence of jane and elizabeth. they found mary, as usual, deep in thestudy of thorough-bass and human nature; and had some extracts to admire, and somenew observations of threadbare morality to listen to.

catherine and lydia had information forthem of a different sort. much had been done and much had been saidin the regiment since the preceding wednesday; several of the officers haddined lately with their uncle, a private had been flogged, and it had actually been hinted that colonel forster was going to bemarried. chapter 13 "i hope, my dear," said mr. bennet to hiswife, as they were at breakfast the next morning, "that you have ordered a gooddinner to-day, because i have reason to expect an addition to our family party."

"who do you mean, my dear?i know of nobody that is coming, i am sure, unless charlotte lucas should happen tocall in--and i hope my dinners are good enough for her. i do not believe she often sees such athome." "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 gladto 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 speakto 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 hehad the pleasure of being eagerly questioned by his wife and his fivedaughters at once. after amusing himself some time with theircuriosity, he thus explained: "about a month ago i received this letter;and about a fortnight ago i answered it, for i thought it a case of some delicacy,and requiring early attention.

it is from my cousin, mr. collins, who,when i am dead, may turn you all out of this house as soon as he pleases.""oh! my dear," cried his wife, "i cannot bear to hear that mentioned. pray do not talk of that odious man. i do think it is the hardest thing in theworld, 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 herthe nature of an entail. they had often attempted to do it before,but it was a subject on which mrs. bennet

was beyond the reach of reason, and shecontinued to rail bitterly against the cruelty of settling an estate away from a family of five daughters, in favour of aman 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 inheritinglongbourn. but if you will listen to his letter, youmay perhaps be a little softened by his manner of expressing himself." "no, that i am sure i shall not; and ithink it is very impertinent of him to write to you at all, and very hypocritical.i hate such false friends.

why could he not keep on quarreling withyou, as his father did before him?" "why, indeed; he does seem to have had somefilial scruples on that head, as you will hear." "hunsford, near westerham, kent, 15thoctober. "dear sir,-- "the disagreement subsisting betweenyourself and my late honoured father always gave me much uneasiness, and since i havehad the misfortune to lose him, i have frequently wished to heal the breach; but for some time i was kept back by my owndoubts, fearing lest it might seem

disrespectful to his memory for me to be ongood terms with anyone with whom it had always pleased him to be at variance.-- 'there, mrs. bennet.'--my mind, however, isnow made up on the subject, for having received ordination at easter, i have beenso fortunate as to be distinguished by the patronage of the right honourable lady catherine de bourgh, widow of sir lewis debourgh, whose bounty and beneficence has preferred me to the valuable rectory ofthis parish, where it shall be my earnest endeavour to demean myself with grateful respect towards her ladyship, and be everready to perform those rites and ceremonies

which are instituted by the church ofengland. as a clergyman, moreover, i feel it my dutyto promote and establish the blessing of peace in all families within the reach ofmy influence; and on these grounds i flatter myself that my present overtures are highly commendable, and that thecircumstance of my being next in the entail of longbourn estate will be kindlyoverlooked on your side, and not lead you to reject the offered olive-branch. i cannot be otherwise than concerned atbeing the means of injuring your amiable daughters, and beg leave to apologise forit, as well as to assure you of my

readiness to make them every possibleamends--but of this hereafter. if you should have no objection to receiveme into your house, i propose myself the satisfaction of waiting on you and yourfamily, monday, november 18th, by four o'clock, and shall probably trespass on your hospitality till the saturdayse'ennight following, which i can do without any inconvenience, as ladycatherine is far from objecting to my occasional absence on a sunday, provided that some other clergyman is engaged to dothe duty of the day.--i remain, dear sir, with respectful compliments to your ladyand daughters, your well-wisher and friend,

"william collins" "at four o'clock, therefore, we may expectthis peace-making gentleman," said mr. bennet, as he folded up the letter. "he seems to be a most conscientious andpolite young man, upon my word, and i doubt not will prove a valuable acquaintance,especially if lady catherine should be so indulgent as to let him come to us again." "there is some sense in what he says aboutthe girls, however, and if he is disposed to make them any amends, i shall not be theperson to discourage him." "though it is difficult," said jane, "toguess in what way he can mean to make us

the atonement he thinks our due, the wishis certainly to his credit." elizabeth was chiefly struck by hisextraordinary 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 somethingvery pompous in his style.--and what can he mean by apologising for being next in theentail?--we cannot suppose he would help it if he could.--could he be a sensible man,sir?" "no, my dear, i think not.i have great hopes of finding him quite the

reverse. there is a mixture of servility and self-importance in his letter, which promises well.i am impatient to see him." "in point of composition," said mary, "theletter does not seem defective. the idea of the olive-branch perhaps is notwholly new, yet i think it is well expressed." to catherine and lydia, neither the letternor its writer were in any degree interesting. it was next to impossible that their cousinshould come in a scarlet coat, and it was

now some weeks since they had receivedpleasure from the society of a man in any other colour. as for their mother, mr. collins's letterhad done away much of her ill-will, and she was preparing to see him with a degree ofcomposure which astonished her husband and daughters. mr. collins was punctual to his time, andwas received with great politeness by the whole family. mr. bennet indeed said little; but theladies were ready enough to talk, and mr. collins seemed neither in need ofencouragement, nor inclined to be silent

himself. he was a tall, heavy-looking young man offive-and-twenty. his air was grave and stately, and hismanners were very formal. he had not been long seated before hecomplimented mrs. bennet on having so fine a family of daughters; said he had heardmuch of their beauty, but that in this instance fame had fallen short of the truth; and added, that he did not doubt herseeing them all in due time disposed of in marriage. this gallantry was not much to the taste ofsome of his hearers; but mrs. bennet, who

quarreled with no compliments, answeredmost readily. "you are very kind, i am sure; and i wishwith 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 thisestate." "ah! sir, i do indeed.it is a grievous affair to my poor girls, you must confess. not that i mean to find fault with you, forsuch things i know are all chance in this world.there is no knowing how estates will go when once they come to be entailed."

"i am very sensible, madam, of the hardshipto my fair cousins, and could say much on the subject, but that i am cautious ofappearing forward and precipitate. but i can assure the young ladies that icome prepared to admire them. at present i will not say more; but,perhaps, when we are better acquainted--" he was interrupted by a summons to dinner;and the girls smiled on each other. they were not the only objects of mr.collins's admiration. the hall, the dining-room, and all itsfurniture, were examined and praised; and his commendation of everything would havetouched mrs. bennet's heart, but for the mortifying supposition of his viewing itall as his own future property.

the dinner too in its turn was highlyadmired; and he begged to know to which of his fair cousins the excellency of itscooking was owing. but he was set right there by mrs. bennet,who assured him with some asperity that they were very well able to keep a goodcook, 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 toapologise for about a quarter of an hour. chapter 14 during dinner, mr. bennet scarcely spoke atall; but when the servants were withdrawn,

he thought it time to have someconversation with his guest, and therefore started a subject in which he expected him to shine, by observing that he seemed veryfortunate in his patroness. lady catherine de bourgh's attention to hiswishes, and consideration for his comfort, appeared very remarkable. mr. bennet could not have chosen better.mr. collins was eloquent in her praise. the subject elevated him to more than usualsolemnity of manner, and with a most important aspect he protested that "he hadnever in his life witnessed such behaviour in a person of rank--such affability and

condescension, as he had himselfexperienced from lady catherine. she had been graciously pleased to approveof both of the discourses which he had already had the honour of preaching beforeher. she had also asked him twice to dine atrosings, and had sent for him only the saturday before, to make up her pool ofquadrille in the evening. lady catherine was reckoned proud by manypeople he knew, but he had never seen anything but affability in her. she had always spoken to him as she wouldto any other gentleman; she made not the smallest objection to his joining in thesociety of the neighbourhood nor to his

leaving the parish occasionally for a weekor two, to visit his relations. she had even condescended to advise him tomarry as soon as he could, provided he chose with discretion; and had once paidhim a visit in his humble parsonage, where she had perfectly approved all the alterations he had been making, and hadeven vouchsafed to suggest some herself-- some shelves in the closet upstairs." "that is all very proper and civil, i amsure," said mrs. bennet, "and i dare say she is a very agreeable woman.it is a pity that great ladies in general are not more like her.

does she live near you, sir?""the garden in which stands my humble abode is separated only by a lane from rosingspark, 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 handsome?" "she is a most charming young lady indeed. lady catherine herself says that, in pointof true beauty, miss de bourgh is far

superior to the handsomest of her sex,because there is that in her features which marks the young lady of distinguishedbirth. she is unfortunately of a sicklyconstitution, which has prevented her from making that progress in manyaccomplishments 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 oftencondescends 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 unhappilyprevents her being in town; and by that means, as i told lady catherine one day,has deprived the british court of its brightest ornaments. her ladyship seemed pleased with the idea;and you may imagine that i am happy on every occasion to offer those littledelicate compliments which are always acceptable to ladies. i have more than once observed to ladycatherine, that her charming daughter seemed born to be a duchess, and that themost elevated rank, instead of giving her

consequence, would be adorned by her. these are the kind of little things whichplease her ladyship, and it is a sort of attention which i conceive myselfpeculiarly 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 attentionsproceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?" "they arise chiefly from what is passing atthe time, and though i sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging suchlittle elegant compliments as may be

adapted to ordinary occasions, i always wish to give them as unstudied an air aspossible." mr. bennet's expectations were fullyanswered. his cousin was as absurd as he had hoped,and he listened to him with the keenest enjoyment, maintaining at the same time themost resolute composure of countenance, and, except in an occasional glance at elizabeth, requiring no partner in hispleasure. by tea-time, however, the dose had beenenough, 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 bookwas produced; but, on beholding it (for everything announced it to be from acirculating library), he started back, and begging pardon, protested that he neverread 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, andbefore he had, with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, sheinterrupted him with: "do you know, mamma, that my uncle phillipstalks 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 hearmore about it, and to ask when mr. denny comes back from town." lydia was bid by her two eldest sisters tohold her tongue; but mr. collins, much offended, laid aside his book, and said: "i have often observed how little youngladies are interested by books of a serious stamp, though written solely for theirbenefit. it amazes me, i confess; for, certainly,there can be nothing so advantageous to them as instruction.but i will no longer importune my young

cousin." then turning to mr. bennet, he offeredhimself as his antagonist at backgammon. mr. bennet accepted the challenge,observing that he acted very wisely in leaving the girls to their own triflingamusements. mrs. bennet and her daughters apologisedmost civilly for lydia's interruption, and promised that it should not occur again, ifhe would resume his book; but mr. collins, after assuring them that he bore his young cousin no ill-will, and should never resenther 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 thedeficiency of nature had been but little assisted by education or society; thegreatest part of his life having been spent under the guidance of an illiterate and miserly father; and though he belonged toone of the universities, he had merely kept the necessary terms, without forming at itany useful acquaintance. the subjection in which his father hadbrought him up had given him originally great humility of manner; but it was now agood deal counteracted by the self-conceit of a weak head, living in retirement, and

the consequential feelings of early andunexpected prosperity. a fortunate chance had recommended him tolady catherine de bourgh when the living of hunsford was vacant; and the respect whichhe felt for her high rank, and his veneration for her as his patroness, mingling with a very good opinion ofhimself, of his authority as a clergyman, and his right as a rector, made himaltogether a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, self-importance andhumility. having now a good house and a verysufficient income, he intended to marry; and in seeking a reconciliation with thelongbourn family he had a wife in view, as

he meant to choose one of the daughters, if he found them as handsome and amiable asthey 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 ofeligibility and suitableness, and excessively generous and disinterested onhis own part. his plan did not vary on seeing them. miss bennet's lovely face confirmed hisviews, and established all his strictest notions of what was due to seniority; andfor the first evening she was his settled choice.

the next morning, however, made analteration; for in a quarter of an hour's tete-a-tete with mrs. bennet beforebreakfast, a conversation beginning with his parsonage-house, and leading naturally to the avowal of his hopes, that a mistressmight be found for it at longbourn, produced from her, amid very complaisantsmiles and general encouragement, a caution against the very jane he had fixed on. "as to her younger daughters, she could nottake upon her to say--she could not positively answer--but she did not know ofany prepossession; her eldest daughter, she must just mention--she felt it incumbent on

her to hint, was likely to be very soonengaged." mr. collins had only to change from jane toelizabeth--and it was soon done--done while mrs. bennet was stirring the fire. elizabeth, equally next to jane in birthand beauty, succeeded her of course. mrs. bennet treasured up the hint, andtrusted that she might soon have two daughters married; and the man whom shecould not bear to speak of the day before was now high in her good graces. lydia's intention of walking to meryton wasnot forgotten; every sister except mary agreed to go with her; and mr. collins wasto attend them, at the request of mr.

bennet, who was most anxious to get rid of him, and have his library to himself; forthither mr. collins had followed him after breakfast; and there he would continue,nominally engaged with one of the largest folios in the collection, but really talking to mr. bennet, with littlecessation, of his house and garden at hunsford.such doings discomposed mr. bennet exceedingly. in his library he had been always sure ofleisure and tranquillity; and though prepared, as he told elizabeth, to meetwith folly and conceit in every other room

of the house, he was used to be free from them there; his civility, therefore, wasmost prompt in inviting mr. collins to join his daughters in their walk; and mr.collins, being in fact much better fitted for a walker than a reader, was extremelypleased to close his large book, and go. in pompous nothings on his side, and civilassents on that of his cousins, their time passed till they entered meryton. the attention of the younger ones was thenno longer to be gained by him. their eyes were immediately wandering up inthe street in quest of the officers, and nothing less than a very smart bonnetindeed, or a really new muslin in a shop

window, could recall them. but the attention of every lady was sooncaught by a young man, whom they had never seen before, of most gentlemanlikeappearance, walking with another officer on the other side of the way. the officer was the very mr. dennyconcerning whose return from london lydia came to inquire, and he bowed as theypassed. 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 justgained the pavement when the two gentlemen, turning back, had reached the same spot. mr. denny addressed them directly, andentreated permission to introduce his friend, mr. wickham, who had returned withhim the day before from town, and he was happy to say had accepted a commission intheir corps. this was exactly as it should be; for theyoung man wanted only regimentals to make him completely charming. his appearance was greatly in his favour;he had all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure, and verypleasing address.

the introduction was followed up on hisside by a happy readiness of conversation-- a readiness at the same time perfectlycorrect and unassuming; and the whole party were still standing and talking together very agreeably, when the sound of horsesdrew their notice, and darcy and bingley were seen riding down the street. on distinguishing the ladies of the group,the two gentlemen came directly towards them, and began the usual civilities.bingley was the principal spokesman, and miss bennet the principal object. he was then, he said, on his way tolongbourn on purpose to inquire after her.

mr. darcy corroborated it with a bow, andwas beginning to determine not to fix his eyes on elizabeth, when they were suddenlyarrested by the sight of the stranger, and elizabeth happening to see the countenance of both as they looked at each other, wasall astonishment at the effect of the meeting.both changed colour, one looked white, the other red. mr. wickham, after a few moments, touchedhis hat--a salutation which mr. darcy just deigned to return.what could be the meaning of it? it was impossible to imagine; it wasimpossible not to long to know.

in another minute, mr. bingley, but withoutseeming to have noticed what passed, took leave and rode on with his friend. mr. denny and mr. wickham walked with theyoung ladies to the door of mr. phillip's house, and then made their bows, in spiteof miss lydia's pressing entreaties that they should come in, and even in spite of mrs. phillips's throwing up the parlourwindow and loudly seconding the invitation. mrs. phillips was always glad to see hernieces; 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 werecome away, when her civility was claimed towards mr. collins by jane's introductionof him. she received him with her very bestpoliteness, which he returned with as much more, apologising for his intrusion,without any previous acquaintance with her, which he could not help flattering himself, however, might be justified by hisrelationship to the young ladies who

introduced him to her notice. mrs. phillips was quite awed by such anexcess of good breeding; but her contemplation of one stranger was soon putto an end by exclamations and inquiries about the other; of whom, however, she could only tell her nieces what theyalready knew, that mr. denny had brought him from london, and that he was to have alieutenant'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, kittyand lydia would certainly have continued the occupation, but unluckily no one passed

windows now except a few of the officers,who, in comparison with the stranger, were become "stupid, disagreeable fellows." some of them were to dine with thephillipses the next day, and their aunt promised to make her husband call on mr.wickham, and give him an invitation also, if the family from longbourn would come inthe evening. this was agreed to, and mrs. phillipsprotested that they would have a nice comfortable noisy game of lottery tickets,and a little bit of hot supper afterwards. the prospect of such delights was verycheering, and they parted in mutual good spirits.

mr. collins repeated his apologies inquitting the room, and was assured with unwearying civility that they wereperfectly needless. as they walked home, elizabeth related tojane what she had seen pass between the two gentlemen; but though jane would havedefended either or both, had they appeared to be in the wrong, she could no moreexplain such behaviour than her sister. mr. collins on his return highly gratifiedmrs. bennet by admiring mrs. phillips's manners and politeness. he protested that, except lady catherineand her daughter, he had never seen a more elegant woman; for she had not onlyreceived him with the utmost civility, but

even pointedly included him in her invitation for the next evening, althoughutterly unknown to her before. something, he supposed, might be attributedto his connection with them, but yet he had never met with so much attention in thewhole course of his life.

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