Mary and Kitty, thank Heaven, are quite well. Can you yourself, Lizzy, so wholly give him up, as to believe him capable of it? Not at all but depend upon it, he means to be severe on us, and our surest way of disappointing him will be to ask nothing about it. You refuse, then, to oblige me. I am not now to learn that it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second, or even a third time. Thoughtlessness, want of attention to other people's feelings, and want of resolution, will do the business. Come here, my love, I want to speak to you. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient. I pity, though I cannot help blaming her. _My_ overhearings were more to the purpose than _yours_, Eliza Mr. Darcy is not so well worth listening to as his friend, is he?--poor Eliza!--to be only just _tolerable_. It seems likely to have been a desirable match for Jane I am sorry it went off. She is a great reader, and has no pleasure in anything else. Anne would have been a delightful performer, had her health allowed her to learn. It is not quite a week since they left Brighton. Miss Bennet you ought to know, that I am not to be trifled with. And what arts did he use to separate them? A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half-deserved. Wickham indeed had gone to her on their first arrival in London, and had she been able to receive them into her house, they would have taken up their abode with her. Lizzy, when you first read that letter, I am sure you could not treat the matter as you do now. Certainly not--at first. But _now_ we may be silent. But, perhaps, Mr. Bingley did not take the house so much for the convenience of the neighbourhood as for his own, and we must expect him to keep it or quit it on the same principle. Books--oh! no. They may be there, though for the purpose of concealment, for no more exceptional purpose. It keeps him in good humour and I am more obliged to you than I can express. In short, my dear aunt, I should be very sorry to be the means of making any of you unhappy; but since we see every day that where there is affection, young people are seldom withheld by immediate want of fortune from entering into engagements with each other, how can I promise to be wiser than so many of my fellow-creatures if I am tempted, or how am I even to know that it would be wisdom to resist? All that I can promise you, therefore, is not to be in a hurry. Remember that she is one of a large family; that as to fortune, it is a most eligible match; and be ready to believe, for everybody's sake, that she may feel something like regard and esteem for our cousin. I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere. No I have not forgotten him; but I have nothing satisfactory to tell you. And _your_ defect is to hate everybody. He has made me so happy by telling me that he was totally ignorant of my being in town last spring! I had not believed it possible. Not yet But now that my dear uncle is come, I hope everything will be well. He _was_ coming to us, in order to assure us of his concern, before he had any idea of their not being gone to Scotland: when that apprehension first got abroad, it hastened his journey. Lizzy, my dear, run down to your father, and ask him how much he will give her. How very ill Miss Eliza Bennet looks this morning, Mr. Darcy I never in my life saw anyone so much altered as she is since the winter. That will make thirteen with ourselves, so there will be just room at table for him. No; he never saw him till the other morning at Meryton. And this is all the reply which I am to have the honour of expecting! I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little _endeavour_ at civility, I am thus rejected. Jane, I congratulate you. His pride, in that direction, may be of service, if not to himself, to many others, for it must only deter him from such foul misconduct as I have suffered by. At present I will not say more; but, perhaps, when we are better acquainted-- There can be no occasion for your going so soon. I was never more surprised than by his behaviour to us. A report of a most alarming nature reached me two days ago. I am perfectly satisfied, from what his manners now are, that he never had any design of engaging my affection. He had before believed her to return his affection with sincere, if not with equal regard. Are not you curious to hear how it was managed? But in such cases as these, a good memory is unpardonable. What congratulations will then flow in! I appeal to Mr. Darcy:--but let me not interrupt you, sir. Thank you, sir, but a less agreeable man would satisfy me. But do you think she would be prevailed upon to go back with us? Change of scene might be of service--and perhaps a little relief from home may be as useful as anything. You are very cruel you will not let me smile, and are provoking me to it every moment. I hope there was. His being so sure of succeeding was wrong and certainly ought not to have appeared; but consider how much it must increase his disappointment! You may depend upon my seeking no further. You must send John with the young ladies, Mrs. Collins. The part which I acted is now to be explained. Well, all I know is, that it will be abominably rude if you do not wait on him. You supposed more than really existed. You may, in fact, carry a very favourable report of us into Hertfordshire, my dear cousin. Sir William could not have interrupted two people in the room who had less to say for themselves. I confess that I should not have been at all surprised by her ladyship's asking us on Sunday to drink tea and spend the evening at Rosings. You write uncommonly fast. You must not disappoint your father. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. Shall we ask your cousin the reason of this? Shall we ask him why a man of sense and education, and who has lived in the world, is ill qualified to recommend himself to strangers? I begin to be sorry that he comes at all It would be nothing; I could see him with perfect indifference, but I can hardly bear to hear it thus perpetually talked of. Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Miss Bennet, there seemed to be a prettyish kind of a little wilderness on one side of your lawn. Charles, when you build _your_ house, I wish it may be half as delightful as Pemberley. And did Colonel Forster appear to think well of Wickham himself? Does he know his real character? They battled it together for a long time, which was more than either the gentleman or lady concerned in it deserved. Not that I am afraid of _myself_, but I dread other people's remarks. Are you pleased with Kent? I have often observed how little young ladies are interested by books of a serious stamp, though written solely for their benefit. You have sense, and we all expect you to use it. Indeed I do not dare. I have known him too long and too well to be a fair judge. I hope I never ridicule what is wise and good. But you see that Jane does not think so very ill of Wickham as to believe him capable of the attempt. But she is too much like her brother--very, very proud. Both for I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. 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. What relates to yourself, is as follows: 'Having thus offered you the sincere congratulations of Mrs. Collins and myself on this happy event, let me now add a short hint on the subject of another; of which we have been advertised by the same authority. I cannot do justice to his kindness. What will be his surprise when he knows who they are? He takes them now for people of fashion. Your humility, Mr. Bingley must disarm reproof. No, no. And as to laughter, we will not expose ourselves, if you please, by attempting to laugh without a subject. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins's character, connection, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state. I rather wonder now at your knowing _any_. I am now convinced, my dear aunt, that I have never been much in love; for had I really experienced that pure and elevating passion, I should at present detest his very name, and wish him all manner of evil. If _she_ does not object to it, why should _we_? My poor father! how he must have felt it! Poor Kitty has anger for having concealed their attachment; but as it was a matter of confidence, one cannot wonder. He made her an offer in this very room, and she refused him. Unless where they like women of fortune, which I think they very often do. My style of writing is very different from yours. As for myself, it is many, many years since I first began to think of him in a very different manner. I _should_ say, one of her ladyship's carriages, for she has several. But don't imagine it was from any silly cause. We are persuaded that he has pledged himself to assist Mr. Wickham with money. Could he, or the Lucases, have pitched on any man within the circle of our acquaintance, whose name would have given the lie more effectually to what they related? Mr. Darcy, who never looks at any woman but to see a blemish, and who probably never looked at you in his life! It is admirable! I do not trust my own partiality. Do not let us quarrel about the past. Hunsford, near Westerham, Kent, 15th October. No, my dear, I think not. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. I almost envy you the pleasure, and yet I believe it would be too much for me, or else I could take it in my way to Newcastle. When you met us there the other day, we had just been forming a new acquaintance. All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. After this period every appearance of acquaintance was dropped. I write rather slowly. I have nothing to say against _him_; he is a most interesting young man; and if he had the fortune he ought to have, I should think you could not do better. Pray go to see them, with Sir William and Maria. My dear madam this invitation is particularly gratifying, because it is what I have been hoping to receive; and you may be very certain that I shall avail myself of it as soon as possible. Well girls What say you to the day? I think every thing has passed off uncommonly well, I assure you. If I wished to think slightingly of anybody's children, it should not be of my own, however. He is now gone into the army but I am afraid he has turned out very wild. And as to my father, I never in my life saw him so affected. Well, well, and so Mr. Bingley is coming down, sister Well, so much the better. Is Miss Darcy much grown since the spring? will she be as tall as I am? I can no longer help thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor sister. On this subject I have nothing more to say, no other apology to offer. Why should you be surprised, my dear Eliza? Do you think it incredible that Mr. Collins should be able to procure any woman's good opinion, because he was not so happy as to succeed with you? How I long to see her again! I never met with anybody who delighted me so much. I am the less surprised at what has happened from that knowledge of what the manners of the great really are, which my situation in life has allowed me to acquire. You will not, I hope, consider me as showing any disrespect to your family, my dear madam, by thus withdrawing my pretensions to your daughter's favour, without having paid yourself and Mr. Bennet the compliment of requesting you to interpose your authority in my behalf. I am astonished that my father should have left so small a collection of books. I saw you look at me to-day, Lizzy, when my aunt told us of the present report; and I know I appeared distressed. My dear Jane! you are too good. But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood. Every savage can dance. Perhaps we might be deceived. That you were gone into the army, and she was afraid had--not turned out well. And as I come back, I can call on Lady Lucas and Mrs. Long. They were in ---- street. Have you anything else to propose for my domestic felicity? I have this comfort immediately, that it has not been more than an error of fancy on my side, and that it has done no harm to anyone but myself. And so ended his affection There has been many a one, I fancy, overcome in the same way. Has she been presented? I do not remember her name among the ladies at court. It is something to think of, and it gives her a sort of distinction among her companions. And men take care that they should. I am sure you will be very comfortable there. I will speak to her about it directly. My mother means well; but she does not know, no one can know, how much I suffer from what she says. We may as well leave them by themselves you know; Kitty and I are going upstairs to sit in my dressing-room. Oh, my dear Eliza! pray make haste and come into the dining-room, for there is such a sight to be seen! I will not tell you what it is. While in their cradles, we planned the union: and now, at the moment when the wishes of both sisters would be accomplished in their marriage, to be prevented by a young woman of inferior birth, of no importance in the world, and wholly unallied to the family! Do you pay no regard to the wishes of his friends? To his tacit engagement with Miss de Bourgh? Are you lost to every feeling of propriety and delicacy? Have you not heard me say that from his earliest hours he was destined for his cousin? And tell my dear Lydia not to give any directions about her clothes till she has seen me, for she does not know which are the best warehouses. Aye--that is because you have the right disposition. I never saw anyone so shocked. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense. Anything beyond the very neighbourhood of Longbourn, I suppose, would appear far. I will only say farther that from what passed that evening, my opinion of all parties was confirmed, and every inducement heightened which could have led me before, to preserve my friend from what I esteemed a most unhappy connection. I dearly love a laugh. Merely to the illustration of _your_ character I am trying to make it out. I can answer your question without applying to him. You have a very small park here. He must write his own sermons; and the time that remains will not be too much for his parish duties, and the care and improvement of his dwelling, which he cannot be excused from making as comfortable as possible. Regard for my sister's credit and feelings prevented any public exposure; but I wrote to Mr. Wickham, who left the place immediately, and Mrs. Younge was of course removed from her charge. My uncle is to send a servant for us. Most willingly. But why all this secrecy? Why any fear of detection? Why must their marriage be private? Oh, no, no--this is not likely. The Lucases are very artful people indeed, sister. I am sorry to say it of them, but so it is. No man of common humanity, no man who had any value for his character, could be capable of it. Heaven forbid! _That_ would be the greatest misfortune of all! To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate! Do not wish me such an evil. I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. I do not know of any other designs that he had formed; but he was in such a hurry to be gone, and his spirits so greatly discomposed, that I had difficulty in finding out even so much as this. Perhaps I am not doing her justice. I had not at that time the honour of knowing any lady in the assembly beyond my own party. In my opinion, the younger son of an earl can know very little of either. Certainly, sir; and it has the advantage also of being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world. It was owing to him, to his reserve and want of proper consideration, that Wickham's character had been so misunderstood, and consequently that he had been received and noticed as he was. He does not exactly recollect the circumstances, though he has heard them from Mr. Darcy more than once, but he believes that it was left to him _conditionally_ only. Gracechurch street, Sept. Hate you! I was angry perhaps at first, but my anger soon began to take a proper direction. Soon after you left me on Saturday, I was fortunate enough to find out in what part of London they were. Upon the whole, I am much pleased with him. Far be it from me to resent the behaviour of your daughter. I do think it is the hardest thing in the world, that your estate should be entailed away from your own children; and I am sure, if I had been you, I should have tried long ago to do something or other about it. Beyond a doubt, they _do_ wish him to choose Miss Darcy but this may be from better feelings than you are supposing. Oh! yes--the handsomest young lady that ever was seen; and so accomplished!--She plays and sings all day long. Who should suffer but myself? It has been my own doing, and I ought to feel it. Lord, how tired I am! But I confess they would have no charms for _me_--I should infinitely prefer a book. I am not particularly speaking of such a case as you have supposed about Mr. Bingley. I am glad you are come back, Lizzy. My dear, dear Lydia! This is delightful indeed! She will be married! I shall see her again! She will be married at sixteen! My good, kind brother! I knew how it would be. When I went away, I felt that it would soon happen. Yes, you know enough of my frankness to believe me capable of _that_. We shall often meet, I hope, in Hertfordshire. I thought it my duty to give the speediest intelligence of this to my cousin, that she and her noble admirer may be aware of what they are about, and not run hastily into a marriage which has not been properly sanctioned. Nor I, I am sure. To-morrow fortnight. And they _must_ marry! Yet he is _such_ a man! She was then but fifteen, which must be her excuse; and after stating her imprudence, I am happy to add, that I owed the knowledge of it to herself. If Mr. Darcy is neither by honour nor inclination confined to his cousin, why is not he to make another choice? And if I am that choice, why may not I accept him? You begin to comprehend me, do you? But, luckily, he came back again in ten minutes' time, and then we all set out. I thank you, again and again, for not going to the Lakes. Only think of its being three months since I went away; it seems but a fortnight I declare; and yet there have been things enough happened in the time. I believe, ma'am, I may safely promise you _never_ to dance with him. But as it is, you must not let your fancy run away with you. The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this. Seriously, I would have you be on your guard. I cannot boast of knowing more than half-a-dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are really accomplished. Very well. I had not the smallest idea of their being ever felt in such a way. You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for the influence of friendship and affection. I do not know who is good enough for him. No thanks to his gallantry for that. He is his own master. I feel as if I had never done you justice, or loved you as you deserve. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. Oh! do not repeat what I then said. I rather wished, than believed him to be sincere; but, at any rate, was perfectly ready to accede to his proposal. My dear Mr. Bennet how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them. Not these two or three years, perhaps. I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him as a superior. It is not that I do not believe _my_ fingers as capable as any other woman's of superior execution. My father is gone to London, and Jane has written to beg my uncle's immediate assistance; and we shall be off, I hope, in half-an-hour. There certainly was some great mismanagement in the education of those two young men. I find myself very unwell this morning, which, I suppose, is to be imputed to my getting wet through yesterday. I know not in what manner, under what form of falsehood he had imposed on you; but his success is not perhaps to be wondered at. We both know that he has been profligate in every sense of the word; that he has neither integrity nor honour; that he is as false and deceitful as he is insinuating. Their conduct has been such as neither you, nor I, nor anybody can ever forget. I have seen them both-- We must have Mrs. Long and the Gouldings soon. What sort of girl is Miss Darcy? You mean to frighten me, Mr. Darcy, by coming in all this state to hear me? I will not be alarmed though your sister _does_ play so well. When I wrote that letter I believed myself perfectly calm and cool, but I am since convinced that it was written in a dreadful bitterness of spirit. Let us hope, therefore, that her being there may teach her her own insignificance. I have not the pleasure of understanding you Of what are you talking? Oh, yes! They left Brighton together on Sunday night, and were traced almost to London, but not beyond; they are certainly not gone to Scotland. Indeed, sir, I have not the least intention of dancing. My father was not only fond of this young man's society, whose manner were always engaging; he had also the highest opinion of him, and hoping the church would be his profession, intended to provide for him in it. Will you come and see me? But everybody is to judge for themselves, and the Lucases are a very good sort of girls, I assure you. When _my_ eyes were opened to his real character--Oh! had I known what I ought, what I dared to do! But I knew not--I was afraid of doing too much. But I think Mr. Darcy improves upon acquaintance. He brought it with him for us to see. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. I know you do; and it is _that_ which makes the wonder. You allude, perhaps, to the entail of this estate. They arise chiefly from what is passing at the time, and though I sometimes amuse myself with suggesting and arranging such little elegant compliments as may be adapted to ordinary occasions, I always wish to give them as unstudied an air as possible. In everything else she is as good-natured a girl as ever lived. He is as fine a fellow as ever I saw. Go to your father, he wants you in the library. I am afraid, Mr. Darcy that this adventure has rather affected your admiration of her fine eyes. There were some very strong objections against the lady. Having said thus much, I feel no doubt of your secrecy. Your father's estate is entailed on Mr. Collins, I think. In the next room is a new instrument just come down for her--a present from my master; she comes here to-morrow with him. We have heard only twice. He answered me with the utmost civility, and even paid me the compliment of saying that he was so well convinced of Lady Catherine's discernment as to be certain she could never bestow a favour unworthily. I cannot forget the follies and vices of other so soon as I ought, nor their offenses against myself. I happened to overhear the gentleman himself mentioning to the young lady who does the honours of the house the names of his cousin Miss de Bourgh, and of her mother Lady Catherine. My feelings in every respect forbid it. Well, he is a very undeserving young man--and I do not suppose there's the least chance in the world of her ever getting him now. I should take him, even on _my_ slight acquaintance, to be an ill-tempered man. But to be candid without ostentation or design--to take the good of everybody's character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad--belongs to you alone. Neither could anything be urged against my father, who, though with some peculiarities, has abilities Mr. Darcy himself need not disdain, and respectability which he will probably never each. Pardon me. These bitter accusations might have been suppressed, had I, with greater policy, concealed my struggles, and flattered you into the belief of my being impelled by unqualified, unalloyed inclination; by reason, by reflection, by everything. And will you promise me, never to enter into such an engagement? There is but such a quantity of merit between them; just enough to make one good sort of man; and of late it has been shifting about pretty much. I am most seriously displeased. And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice? My situation in life, my connections with the family of de Bourgh, and my relationship to your own, are circumstances highly in my favour; and you should take it into further consideration, that in spite of your manifold attractions, it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made you. Besides, there was truth in his looks. He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter; so far we are equal. For the liveliness of your mind, I did. I need not explain myself farther; and though _we_ know this anxiety to be quite needless, yet if she feels it, it will easily account for her behaviour to me; and so deservedly dear as he is to his sister, whatever anxiety she must feel on his behalf is natural and amiable. I did not wink at you. That is not very likely; our authority was too good. Lady Catherine will not think the worse of you for being simply dressed. I have no wish of denying that I did everything in my power to separate my friend from your sister, or that I rejoice in my success. No, no, let me shift for myself; and, perhaps, if I have very good luck, I may meet with another Mr. Collins in time. No, never. Well, but now for my news; it is about dear Wickham; too good for the waiter, is it not? There is no danger of Wickham's marrying Mary King. It cannot be concealed from anyone. He can be a conversible companion if he thinks it worth his while. She had better have stayed at home perhaps she _meant_ well, but, under such a misfortune as this, one cannot see too little of one's neighbours. I beg your pardon, I will try again. --I remain, dear sir, with respectful compliments to your lady and daughters, your well-wisher and friend, I know your disposition, Lizzy. My temper I dare not vouch for. On the contrary, there is something pleasing about his mouth when he speaks. No--I cannot talk of books in a ball-room; my head is always full of something else. I must now mention a circumstance which I would wish to forget myself, and which no obligation less than the present should induce me to unfold to any human being. If you are not so compassionate as to dine to-day with Louisa and me, we shall be in danger of hating each other for the rest of our lives, for a whole day's tete-a-tete between two women can never end without a quarrel. Because you were grave and silent, and gave me no encouragement. Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. Lady Catherine de Bourgh has very lately given him a living. His father was an excellent man. He cannot afford it. I am not going to run away, papa If I should ever go to Brighton, I would behave better than Lydia. Who would have thought that she could be so thin and small? I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. Yes, she called yesterday with her father. But if you will listen to his letter, you may perhaps be a little softened by his manner of expressing himself. No, she would go home. I shall see her in January. I can remember no symptom of affection on either side; and had anything of the kind been perceptible, you must be aware that ours is not a family on which it could be thrown away. You need not. Two offenses of a very different nature, and by no means of equal magnitude, you last night laid to my charge. That is his notion of Christian forgiveness! The rest of his letter is only about his dear Charlotte's situation, and his expectation of a young olive-branch. I do not think we were speaking at all. And in the first place, let us hear what has happened to you all since you went away. I _did_ hear, too, that there was a time, when sermon-making was not so palatable to you as it seems to be at present; that you actually declared your resolution of never taking orders, and that the business had been compromised accordingly. It makes me very nervous and poorly, to be thwarted so in my own family, and to have neighbours who think of themselves before anybody else. You will be censured, slighted, and despised, by everyone connected with him. But in general and ordinary cases between friend and friend, where one of them is desired by the other to change a resolution of no very great moment, should you think ill of that person for complying with the desire, without waiting to be argued into it? I have the greatest dislike in the world to that sort of thing. But do not deceive yourself into a belief that I will ever recede. Yes, very handsome. Can I have the carriage? Then you would drink a great deal more than you ought and if I were to see you at it, I should take away your bottle directly. Was there no good in your affectionate behaviour to Jane while she was ill at Netherfield? Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then. Oh! Charles writes in the most careless way imaginable. Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion. I beg your pardon Excuse my interference--it was kindly meant. Your friend performs delightfully and I doubt not that you are an adept in the science yourself, Mr. Darcy. That is a question which Mr. Darcy only can answer. Promise me, therefore, to come to Hunsford. And what sort of table do they keep? Charlotte is an excellent manager, I dare say. A man of honour could not have doubted the intention, but Mr. Darcy chose to doubt it--or to treat it as a merely conditional recommendation, and to assert that I had forfeited all claim to it by extravagance, imprudence--in short anything or nothing. It would surely be much more rational if conversation instead of dancing were made the order of the day. I shall be back by dinner. If he could anyhow discover at what house the coachman had before set down his fare, he determined to make inquiries there, and hoped it might not be impossible to find out the stand and number of the coach. His manners are very different from his cousin's. I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished society. At least, you should not _remind_ your mother of inviting him. How long did you say he was at Rosings? But his anger, I am persuaded, lasted no longer than he remained in any doubt of your sister's sentiments. My mother would have had no objection, but my father hates London. But if that is the case, you must write to your mother and beg that you may stay a little longer. Say that urgent business calls us home immediately. I cannot acquit him of that duty; nor could I think well of the man who should omit an occasion of testifying his respect towards anybody connected with the family. Look here, I have bought this bonnet. But, however, he did not. She then took a large house in Edward-street, and has since maintained herself by letting lodgings. You would have been less amiable in my eyes had there _not_ been this little unwillingness; but allow me to assure you, that I have your respected mother's permission for this address. To Jane herself there could be no possibility of objection; all loveliness and goodness as she is!--her understanding excellent, her mind improved, and her manners captivating. But however insincere _you_ may choose to be, you shall not find _me_ so. I promised them so faithfully! What will Wickham say? It was to be such a secret! But who could have foreseen such an attention as this? Who could have imagined that we should receive an invitation to dine there (an invitation, moreover, including the whole party) so immediately after your arrival! Your affectionate friend, We dine at Rosings twice every week, and are never allowed to walk home. Haye Park might do if the Gouldings could quit it--or the great house at Stoke, if the drawing-room were larger; but Ashworth is too far off! I could not bear to have her ten miles from me; and as for Pulvis Lodge, the attics are dreadful. I shall not be able to keep you--and so I warn you. Wherever you and Jane are known you must be respected and valued; and you will not appear to less advantage for having a couple of--or I may say, three--very silly sisters. My object has been to secure an amiable companion for myself, with due consideration for the advantage of all your family, and if my _manner_ has been at all reprehensible, I here beg leave to apologise. And I do not think it of light importance that he should have attentive and conciliatory manner towards everybody, especially towards those to whom he owes his preferment. We can all _begin_ freely--a slight preference is natural enough; but there are very few of us who have heart enough to be really in love without encouragement. He likes to have his own way very well But so we all do. She comes to us to-day. I do not know a place in the country that is equal to Netherfield. Were it for nothing but his love of you, I must always have esteemed him; but now, as Bingley's friend and your husband, there can be only Bingley and yourself more dear to me. Do not involve yourself or endeavour to involve him in an affection which the want of fortune would make so very imprudent. Miss Bingley said something of his never returning to Netherfield again, of giving up the house, but not with any certainty. Send back your answer as fast as you can, and be careful to write explicitly. Her face is too thin; her complexion has no brilliancy; and her features are not at all handsome. Oh! my dear I cannot bear to hear that mentioned. It was greatly my wish that he should do so as soon as his marriage was fixed on. He had found the law a most unprofitable study, and was now absolutely resolved on being ordained, if I would present him to the living in question--of which he trusted there could be little doubt, as he was well assured that I had no other person to provide for, and I could not have forgotten my revered father's intentions. You must not blame my aunt. She is well, and begs to be dutifully remembered to you and your mother. Mr. Jones says we must not think of moving her. Our importance, our respectability in the world must be affected by the wild volatility, the assurance and disdain of all restraint which mark Lydia's character. If I have wounded your sister's feelings, it was unknowingly done and though the motives which governed me may to you very naturally appear insufficient, I have not yet learnt to condemn them. I imagine your cousin brought you down with him chiefly for the sake of having someone at his disposal. One does not know what to think. Oh! my dear Mr. Bennet we have had a most delightful evening, a most excellent ball. Exceed their income! My dear Mr. Bennet what are you talking of? Why, he has four or five thousand a year, and very likely more. Allow me to say, however, that your fair partner does not disgrace you, and that I must hope to have this pleasure often repeated, especially when a certain desirable event, my dear Eliza (glancing at her sister and Bingley) shall take place. Well, and so we breakfasted at ten as usual; I thought it would never be over; for, by the bye, you are to understand, that my uncle and aunt were horrid unpleasant all the time I was with them. He is not at all liked in Hertfordshire. Whatever my connections may be if your nephew does not object to them, they can be nothing to _you_. Forgive me; and if you persist in indifference, do not make me your confidante. It is on your account that he has been so frequently invited this week. You know pretty well, I suppose, what has been done for the young people. Your mother should have taken you to town every spring for the benefit of masters. I see your design, Bingley You dislike an argument, and want to silence this. She is grown so brown and coarse! Louisa and I were agreeing that we should not have known her again. I fancy, Lizzy, that obstinacy is the real defect of his character, after all. I am sure we never read the same, or not with the same feelings. I would not trust you so near it as Eastbourne for fifty pounds! No, Kitty, I have at last learnt to be cautious, and you will feel the effects of it. Not so much as I could wish, sir; but I dare say he may spend half his time here; and Miss Darcy is always down for the summer months. I have no reason, I assure you to be dissatisfied with my reception. But here, by carrying with me one ceaseless source of regret in my sister's absence, I may reasonably hope to have all my expectations of pleasure realised. How delighted Miss Darcy will be to receive such a letter! Do you often dance at St. We know how little there is to tempt anyone to our humble abode. My manners must have been in fault, but not intentionally, I assure you. Certainly, my dear, nobody said there were; but as to not meeting with many people in this neighbourhood, I believe there are few neighbourhoods larger. Oh! it is of no consequence. She is a great fool for going away, if she liked him. Yes, my youngest is not sixteen. It is impossible. Thank Heaven! he has _some_ friends, though perhaps not so many as he deserves. Mrs. Bennet and Lydia are going in the carriage to Meryton. If a woman conceals her affection with the same skill from the object of it, she may lose the opportunity of fixing him; and it will then be but poor consolation to believe the world equally in the dark. How could he spare half ten thousand pounds? By the bye, Charles, are you really serious in meditating a dance at Netherfield? I would advise you, before you determine on it, to consult the wishes of the present party; I am much mistaken if there are not some among us to whom a ball would be rather a punishment than a pleasure. On the very day of my coming home from Longbourn, your uncle had a most unexpected visitor. The liberty of communication cannot be mine till it has lost all its value! The kindness of my uncle and aunt can never be requited. Of whom does Jane ever think ill? And who is there, whatever might be their former conduct, that she would think capable of such an attempt, till it were proved against them? But Jane knows, as well as I do, what Wickham really is. I always thought they were very unfit to have the charge of her; but I was overruled, as I always am. Haggerston has our directions, and all will be completed in a week. We must not all expect Jane's good fortune. I have written to Colonel Forster, to inform him of our present arrangements, and to request that he will satisfy the various creditors of Mr. Wickham in and near Brighton, with assurances of speedy payment, for which I have pledged myself. No, I believe not. I have no right to give _my_ opinion as to his being agreeable or otherwise. How unlucky that you should have a reasonable answer to give, and that I should be so reasonable as to admit it! But I wonder how long you _would_ have gone on, if you had been left to yourself. I would not wish to be hasty in censuring anyone; but I always speak what I think. Stay, stay, I will go myself. People _did_ say you meant to quit the place entirely at Michaelmas; but, however, I hope it is not true. Will you tell me how long you have loved him? I never in my life saw anything more elegant than their dresses. When you told Mrs. Bennet this morning that if you ever resolved upon quitting Netherfield you should be gone in five minutes, you meant it to be a sort of panegyric, of compliment to yourself--and yet what is there so very laudable in a precipitance which must leave very necessary business undone, and can be of no real advantage to yourself or anyone else? At such a distance as _that_, you know, things are strangely misrepresented. Did you ever hear Darcy mention the circumstance, when you were in Kent? How thankful am I that we never let them know what has been said against him; we must forget it ourselves. Is it true? Very well--and this offer of marriage you have refused? To my fancy, it is only because he does not rattle away like other young men. He was my godfather, and excessively attached to me. Thank you--but I always mend my own. My reasons for believing it are briefly these: It does not appear to me that my hand is unworthy your acceptance, or that the establishment I can offer would be any other than highly desirable. With all my heart; I will buy Pemberley itself if Darcy will sell it. You must learn some of my philosophy. My brother admires her greatly already; he will have frequent opportunity now of seeing her on the most intimate footing; her relations all wish the connection as much as his own; and a sister's partiality is not misleading me, I think, when I call Charles most capable of engaging any woman's heart. But, my dearest Jane, you cannot seriously imagine that because Miss Bingley tells you her brother greatly admires Miss Darcy, he is in the smallest degree less sensible of _your_ merit than when he took leave of you on Tuesday, or that it will be in her power to persuade him that, instead of being in love with you, he is very much in love with her friend. In town I believe he chiefly lived, but his studying the law was a mere pretence, and being now free from all restraint, his life was a life of idleness and dissipation. I send no compliments to your mother. Oh! mamma, do the people hereabouts know I am married to-day? I was afraid they might not; and we overtook William Goulding in his curricle, so I was determined he should know it, and so I let down the side-glass next to him, and took off my glove, and let my hand just rest upon the window frame, so that he might see the ring, and then I bowed and smiled like anything. We neither of us perform to strangers. How hard it is in some cases to be believed! I like her appearance She looks sickly and cross. But that expression of 'violently in love' is so hackneyed, so doubtful, so indefinite, that it gives me very little idea. I am certainly the most fortunate creature that ever existed! Oh! Lizzy, why am I thus singled from my family, and blessed above them all! If I could but see _you_ as happy! If there _were_ but such another man for you! Intimate as you are, you must know how it is to be done. I dare say I shall see them soon here. I defy even Sir William Lucas himself to produce a more valuable son-in-law. Probably not; but Mr. Darcy can please where he chooses. Towards _him_ I have been kinder than towards myself. I do not deserve it. They are wanted in the farm, Mr. Bennet, are they not? I was surprised to see Darcy in town last month. You and papa, and my sisters, must come down and see us. Lydia, my love, ring the bell--I must speak to Hill this moment. And this is always the way with him Whatever can give his sister any pleasure is sure to be done in a moment. But from the severity of that blame which was last night so liberally bestowed, respecting each circumstance, I shall hope to be in the future secured, when the following account of my actions and their motives has been read. A most delightful place!--Excellent Parsonage House! It would have suited me in every respect. To fortune I am perfectly indifferent, and shall make no demand of that nature on your father, since I am well aware that it could not be complied with; and that one thousand pounds in the four per cents, which will not be yours till after your mother's decease, is all that you may ever be entitled to. Dear, dear Lizzy. These are the kind of little things which please her ladyship, and it is a sort of attention which I conceive myself peculiarly bound to pay. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault--because I will not take the trouble of practising. Yes, but intricate characters are the _most_ amusing. What did Colonel Forster say? Had they no apprehension of anything before the elopement took place? They must have seen them together for ever. That such a consequence as _this_ could ensue, you may easily believe, was far enough from my thoughts. My dear Lizzy, where can you have been walking to? You forced me into visiting him last year, and promised, if I went to see him, he should marry one of my daughters. We must not make him desperate. Mr. Bingley does not know the whole of his history, and is quite ignorant of the circumstances which have principally offended Mr. Darcy; but he will vouch for the good conduct, the probity, and honour of his friend, and is perfectly convinced that Mr. Wickham has deserved much less attention from Mr. Darcy than he has received; and I am sorry to say by his account as well as his sister's, Mr. Wickham is by no means a respectable young man. Forgive me for having taken up so much of your time, and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness. But I have always observed, that they who are good-natured when children, are good-natured when they grow up; and he was always the sweetest-tempered, most generous-hearted boy in the world. I really cannot _laugh_ at it. Oh! no, my regret and compassion are all done away by seeing you so full of both. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you. May we take my uncle's letter to read to her? Do not make yourself uneasy, my dear cousin, about your apparel. I do not pretend to possess equal frankness with your ladyship. I entreat you not to suppose that I moved this way in order to beg for a partner. As that was the case, neither Jane, to whom I related the whole, nor I, thought it necessary to make our knowledge public; for of what use could it apparently be to any one, that the good opinion which all the neighbourhood had of him should then be overthrown? And even when it was settled that Lydia should go with Mrs. Forster, the necessity of opening her eyes to his character never occurred to me. I know not what to think. It did. This room was my late master's favourite room, and these miniatures are just as they used to be then. But there are two things that I want very much to know; one is, how much money your uncle has laid down to bring it about; and the other, how am I ever to pay him. My dear, do not give way to such gloomy thoughts. I often think that there is nothing so bad as parting with one's friends. The first mentioned was, that, regardless of the sentiments of either, I had detached Mr. Bingley from your sister, and the other, that I had, in defiance of various claims, in defiance of honour and humanity, ruined the immediate prosperity and blasted the prospects of Mr. Wickham. The moral will be perfectly fair. No, indeed, I did not. Mr. Collins moreover adds, 'I am truly rejoiced that my cousin Lydia's sad business has been so well hushed up, and am only concerned that their living together before the marriage took place should be so generally known.' It will pass away soon enough. I think I have heard you say that their uncle is an attorney on Meryton. And how much I shall have to conceal! He came to tell Mr. Gardiner that he had found out where your sister and Mr. Wickham were, and that he had seen and talked with them both; Wickham repeatedly, Lydia once. It was more than civil; it was really attentive; and there was no necessity for such attention. Your tempers are by no means unlike. You have a house in town, I conclude? He could not speak a word for full ten minutes. And do you impute it to either of those? I am not one-and-twenty. But I know the foundation is unjust. Obstinate, headstrong girl! I am ashamed of you! Is this your gratitude for my attentions to you last spring? Is nothing due to me on that score? Let us sit down. You are too hasty, sir You forget that I have made no answer. Did Mr. Darcy give you reasons for this interference? I flatter myself at least that you will be able to do so. Not that I care about it, though. Why will you think so? It must be his own doing. After mentioning the likelihood of this marriage to her ladyship last night, she immediately, with her usual condescension, expressed what she felt on the occasion; when it became apparent, that on the score of some family objections on the part of my cousin, she would never give her consent to what she termed so disgraceful a match. So, do not put yourself to inconvenience. Make haste, and come down this moment. Why should they not go on to Scotland if that had been the case? Do not be afraid of my running into any excess, of my encroaching on your privilege of universal good-will. They are gone down to Newcastle, a place quite northward, it seems, and there they are to stay I do not know how long. What is Mr. Darcy to me, pray, that I should be afraid of him? I am sure we owe him no such particular civility as to be obliged to say nothing _he_ may not like to hear. You did! and it was not wholly without foundation. My dearest sister, now _be_ serious. His pride never deserts him; but with the rich he is liberal-minded, just, sincere, rational, honourable, and perhaps agreeable--allowing something for fortune and figure. To walk three miles, or four miles, or five miles, or whatever it is, above her ankles in dirt, and alone, quite alone! What could she mean by it? It seems to me to show an abominable sort of conceited independence, a most country-town indifference to decorum. I see no occasion for that. Oh! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. It is a compliment which I never pay to any place if I can avoid it. But, perhaps, his sister does as well for the present, and, as she is under his sole care, he may do what he likes with her. The far and the near must be relative, and depend on many varying circumstances. For the truth of everything here related, I can appeal more particularly to the testimony of Colonel Fitzwilliam, who, from our near relationship and constant intimacy, and, still more, as one of the executors of my father's will, has been unavoidably acquainted with every particular of these transactions. Did it did it soon make you think better of me? Did you, on reading it, give any credit to its contents? Very true, my dear, that is exactly what I say. I have written to Colonel Forster to desire him to find out, if possible, from some of the young man's intimates in the regiment, whether Wickham has any relations or connections who would be likely to know in what part of town he has now concealed himself. I do not know whether I ever before mentioned to you my feelings on this subject; but I will not leave the country without confiding them, and I trust you will not esteem them unreasonable. He meant to resign his commission immediately; and as to his future situation, he could conjecture very little about it. I thought him very sly;--he hardly ever mentioned your name. And _that_ made the men suspect something, and then they soon found out what was the matter. I am sorry, exceedingly sorry that you have ever been informed of what may, in a mistaken light, have given you uneasiness. But we considered it, we talked of it as impossible. The consequence of it is, that Lady Lucas will have a daughter married before I have, and that the Longbourn estate is just as much entailed as ever. Let me take it in the best light, in the light in which it may be understood. I was told that not only your sister was on the point of being most advantageously married, but that you, that Miss Elizabeth Bennet, would, in all likelihood, be soon afterwards united to my nephew, my own nephew, Mr. Darcy. I am glad he dines here on Tuesday. Well, any friend of Mr. Bingley's will always be welcome here, to be sure; but else I must say that I hate the very sight of him. Yes, Miss Bennet, interest; for do not expect to be noticed by his family or friends, if you wilfully act against the inclinations of all. I will read it to you: They are all for what they can get. I knew you would be wishing me joy. Lady Catherine has been of infinite use, which ought to make her happy, for she loves to be of use. He did not repeat his persuasion of their not marrying--and from _that_, I am inclined to hope, he might have been misunderstood before. You are joking, Lizzy. Mr. Bingley does not know Mr. Wickham himself? It was really a very handsome thought. He has heartily forgiven me now. Your alliance will be a disgrace; your name will never even be mentioned by any of us. It is what everybody says. Mr. and Mrs. Collins have a comfortable income, but not such a one as will allow of frequent journeys--and I am persuaded my friend would not call herself _near_ her family under less than _half_ the present distance. Very well, if it must be so, it must. She really looked almost wild. Give my love to Colonel Forster. I am joined with him in the guardianship of Miss Darcy. It is useless to talk of it. Nothing so easy, if you have but the inclination We can all plague and punish one another. You must decide for yourself and if, upon mature deliberation, you find that the misery of disobliging his two sisters is more than equivalent to the happiness of being his wife, I advise you by all means to refuse him. Nearly three weeks. Yes; these four evenings have enabled them to ascertain that they both like Vingt-un better than Commerce; but with respect to any other leading characteristic, I do not imagine that much has been unfolded. Well, Lizzy what is your opinion _now_ of this sad business of Jane's? For my part, I am determined never to speak of it again to anybody. Well, my dear I have no more to say. Jane was so admired, nothing could be like it. Oh, lord! I don't know. Indeed I am heartily sorry for him; but he has other feelings, which will probably soon drive away his regard for me. The country can in general supply but a few subjects for such a study. Indeed! Will you be very angry with me, my dear Lizzy, if I take this opportunity of saying (what I was never bold enough to say before) how much I like him. They are generally long; but whether always charming it is not for me to determine. I shall entreat his pardon for not having done it earlier. Pardon me for interrupting you, madam but if she is really headstrong and foolish, I know not whether she would altogether be a very desirable wife to a man in my situation, who naturally looks for happiness in the marriage state. I wish it may. They are young in the ways of the world, and not yet open to the mortifying conviction that handsome young men must have something to live on as well as the plain. I cannot believe it. It certainly is a most iniquitous affair and nothing can clear Mr. Collins from the guilt of inheriting Longbourn. Caroline did not return my visit till yesterday; and not a note, not a line, did I receive in the meantime. Among those who are at all his equals in consequence, he is a very different man from what he is to the less prosperous. To be sure that _did_ seem as if he admired her--indeed I rather believe he _did_--I heard something about it--but I hardly know what--something about Mr. Robinson. Ah! Jane, I take your place now, and you must go lower, because I am a married woman. We must not expect a lively young man to be always so guarded and circumspect. A small sum could not do all this. You dare not, you cannot deny, that you have been the principal, if not the only means of dividing them from each other--of exposing one to the censure of the world for caprice and instability, and the other to its derision for disappointed hopes, and involving them both in misery of the acutest kind. She seems perfectly happy, however, and in a prudential light it is certainly a very good match for her. Bingley is most unaffectedly modest. I cannot understand it. I am impatient to see him. I should like it beyond anything! This matter may be considered, therefore, as finally settled. The younger ones out before the elder ones are married! Your younger sisters must be very young? We had better not mention it. No, indeed, I do not wish to avoid the walk. She did, indeed, Louisa. I did not think Mrs. Gardiner was so little to be trusted. My child, let me not have the grief of seeing _you_ unable to respect your partner in life. Kitty, run down and order the carriage. Your ladyship wants Mr. Darcy to marry your daughter; but would my giving you the wished-for promise make their marriage at all more probable? Supposing him to be attached to me, would my refusing to accept his hand make him wish to bestow it on his cousin? Allow me to say, Lady Catherine, that the arguments with which you have supported this extraordinary application have been as frivolous as the application was ill-judged. But if you have got them to-day my mother's purpose will be answered. At present I will say nothing about it. You may well warn me against such an evil. I wish you joy. Let me recommend you, however, as a friend, not to give implicit confidence to all his assertions; for as to Mr. Darcy's using him ill, it is perfectly false; for, on the contrary, he has always been remarkably kind to him, though George Wickham has treated Mr. Darcy in a most infamous manner. He still loves me, and we are engaged. I knew it myself, as it was known to Miss Bingley; but her brother is even yet ignorant of it. I am extremely glad that you have such pleasant accounts from our friends at Hunsford. I wonder what he can be doing there. Mr. Darcy, I am a very selfish creature; and, for the sake of giving relief to my own feelings, care not how much I may be wounding your's. If I can perceive her regard for him, he must be a simpleton, indeed, not to discover it too. What is the matter mamma? What do you keep winking at me for? What am I to do? Neglect! I am sure you neglect nothing that can add to the beauties of that noble place. He confessed himself obliged to leave the regiment, on account of some debts of honour, which were very pressing; and scrupled not to lay all the ill-consequences of Lydia's flight on her own folly alone. The feelings of the person who wrote, and the person who received it, are now so widely different from what they were then, that every unpleasant circumstance attending it ought to be forgotten. I have just as much right to be asked as she has, and more too, for I am two years older. You both did as much as you could in planning the marriage. Not that I have much pleasure, indeed, in talking to anybody. You have delighted us long enough. But the misfortune of speaking with bitterness is a most natural consequence of the prejudices I had been encouraging. These are conditions which, considering everything, I had no hesitation in complying with, as far as I thought myself privileged, for you. Mamma my aunt says that Colonel Forster and Captain Carter do not go so often to Miss Watson's as they did when they first came; she sees them now very often standing in Clarke's library. In this danger Kitty also is comprehended. No, I should have turned in a moment. How so? How can it affect them? _You_ think it a faithful portrait undoubtedly. When I am in company with him, I will not be wishing. From something that he told me in our journey hither, I have reason to think Bingley very much indebted to him. But, Lizzy, you look as if you did not enjoy it. I hardly know how Mr. Collins was first introduced to her notice, but he certainly has not known her long. I have a warm, unguarded temper, and I may have spoken my opinion _of_ him, and _to_ him, too freely. I do not believe he will ever live at Netherfield any more. But our visitor was very obstinate. Dear Lizzy! Yes, and I had heard it before. All that is required of you is, to assure to your daughter, by settlement, her equal share of the five thousand pounds secured among your children after the decease of yourself and my sister; and, moreover, to enter into an engagement of allowing her, during your life, one hundred pounds per annum. Upon my word, I say no more _here_ than I might say in any house in the neighbourhood, except Netherfield. Nay, if you are serious about it, I shall consider the matter is absolutely settled. Removed! It must not be thought of. I had hoped that our sentiments coincided in every particular, but I must so far differ from you as to think our two youngest daughters uncommonly foolish. Oh! _that_ abominable Mr. Darcy! My father's opinion of me does me the greatest honour, and I should be miserable to forfeit it. I hope that no consideration with regard to this young man will influence her. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation. He must know that she was as amiable and unpretending as we have found her. That would be a good scheme if you were sure that they would not offer to send her home. He is, indeed. My objections to the marriage were not merely those which I last night acknowledged to have the utmost force of passion to put aside, in my own case; the want of connection could not be so great an evil to my friend as to me. When I last saw her, she was not very promising. We are speaking of music, madam. But he is a liberal master, I suppose, and _that_ in the eye of a servant comprehends every virtue. Jane will be quite an old maid soon, I declare. But, on second thoughts, perhaps, Lizzy could tell us what relations he has now living, better than any other person. I am almost afraid of asking what you thought of me, when we met at Pemberley. His father, Miss Bennet, the late Mr. Darcy, was one of the best men that ever breathed, and the truest friend I ever had; and I can never be in company with this Mr. Darcy without being grieved to the soul by a thousand tender recollections. Let me call your maid. Well, then--supposing them to be in London. The church _ought_ to have been my profession--I was brought up for the church, and I should at this time have been in possession of a most valuable living, had it pleased the gentleman we were speaking of just now. I have no pleasure in talking to undutiful children. Yes, ma'am, all. We will not quarrel for the greater share of blame annexed to that evening The conduct of neither, if strictly examined, will be irreproachable; but since then, we have both, I hope, improved in civility. At present, however, I consider myself as quite fixed here. What is all settled? And are they upon such terms as for her to disclose the real truth? Oh, that I knew how it was! And then when you go away, you may leave one or two of my sisters behind you; and I dare say I shall get husbands for them before the winter is over. No indeed; I felt nothing but surprise. Come, Darcy I must have you dance. Oh! my dear father come back and write immediately. Now be sincere; did you admire me for my impertinence? I did not believe her to be indifferent because I wished it; I believed it on impartial conviction, as truly as I wished it in reason. And to be kept back on _such_ a motive! I think it would not be very likely to promote sisterly affection or delicacy of mind. The indirect boast; for you are really proud of your defects in writing, because you consider them as proceeding from a rapidity of thought and carelessness of execution, which, if not estimable, you think at least highly interesting. He must go somewhere, but he did not know where, and he knew he should have nothing to live on. But at last your uncle was forced to yield, and instead of being allowed to be of use to his niece, was forced to put up with only having the probable credit of it, which went sorely against the grain; and I really believe your letter this morning gave him great pleasure, because it required an explanation that would rob him of his borrowed feathers, and give the praise where it was due. Poor Wickham! there is such an expression of goodness in his countenance! such an openness and gentleness in his manner! I am very glad you liked her. And you saw the old housekeeper, I suppose? Poor Reynolds, she was always very fond of me. I want to know what you have learnt about Mr. Wickham. Good gracious! Mr. Darcy!--and so it does, I vow. However, your coming just at this time is the greatest of comforts, and I am very glad to hear what you tell us, of long sleeves. His attachment to Rosings certainly increases. Perhaps you mean what I overheard between him and Mr. Robinson; did not I mention it to you? Mr. Robinson's asking him how he liked our Meryton assemblies, and whether he did not think there were a great many pretty women in the room, and _which_ he thought the prettiest? and his answering immediately to the last question: 'Oh! the eldest Miss Bennet, beyond a doubt; there cannot be two opinions on that point. Well, if they can be easy with an estate that is not lawfully their own, so much the better. They will ruin your happiness. Is there nothing you could take to give you present relief? A glass of wine; shall I get you one? You are very ill. Come, Mr. Wickham, we are brother and sister, you know. His circumstances, he assured me, and I had no difficulty in believing it, were exceedingly bad. My dear aunt, this is being serious indeed. You are a very strange creature by way of a friend!--always wanting me to play and sing before anybody and everybody! If my vanity had taken a musical turn, you would have been invaluable; but as it is, I would really rather not sit down before those who must be in the habit of hearing the very best performers. Let me mend it for you. We have tried two or three subjects already without success, and what we are to talk of next I cannot imagine. 'Tis an etiquette I despise If he wants our society, let him seek it. I have not been in the habit of brooking disappointment. For my part, I am inclined to believe it all Darcy's; but you shall do as you choose. If my children are silly, I must hope to be always sensible of it. Well! I am so happy! In a short time I shall have a daughter married. You are perfectly right. You will easily comprehend, from these particulars, that Mr. Wickham's circumstances are not so hopeless as they are generally believed to be. They are in the same profession, you know, only in different lines. La! You are so strange! But I must tell you how it went off. Have you seen any pleasant men? Have you had any flirting? I was in great hopes that one of you would have got a husband before you came back. Tell your sister I am delighted to hear of her improvement on the harp; and pray let her know that I am quite in raptures with her beautiful little design for a table, and I think it infinitely superior to Miss Grantley's. When all this was resolved on, he returned again to his friends, who were still staying at Pemberley; but it was agreed that he should be in London once more when the wedding took place, and all money matters were then to receive the last finish. Young ladies have great penetration in such matters as these; but I think I may defy even _your_ sagacity, to discover the name of your admirer. I did not think Caroline in spirits but she was very glad to see me, and reproached me for giving her no notice of my coming to London. I am glad it occurred to me to mention it; for it would really be discreditable to _you_ to let them go alone. And it was settled that we should all be there by eleven o'clock. It had better have happened to _you_, Lizzy; you would have laughed yourself out of it sooner. I see what you are feeling You must be surprised, very much surprised--so lately as Mr. Collins was wishing to marry you. My conduct may, I fear, be objectionable in having accepted my dismission from your daughter's lips instead of your own. You know, sister, we agreed long ago never to mention a word about it. He has been so unlucky as to lose _your_ friendship and in a manner which he is likely to suffer from all his life. It is a grievous affair to my poor girls, you must confess. I really do not think Georgiana Darcy has her equal for beauty, elegance, and accomplishments; and the affection she inspires in Louisa and myself is heightened into something still more interesting, from the hope we dare entertain of her being hereafter our sister. His choice is disinterested at least, for he must know my father can give her nothing. Very much. You have only proved by this that Mr. Bingley did not do justice to his own disposition. Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. I am not equal to it. I did not know before that you were a studier of character. I must conclude, for I cannot be long from my poor mother. I am sure Wickham would like a place at court very much, and I do not think we shall have quite money enough to live upon without some help. I cannot think of it without abhorrence. Why could he not keep on quarreling with you, as his father did before him? I have just received your letter, and shall devote this whole morning to answering it, as I foresee that a _little_ writing will not comprise what I have to tell you. I scarcely know anyone who cannot do all this, and I am sure I never heard a young lady spoken of for the first time, without being informed that she was very accomplished. I shall not say you are mistaken because you could not really believe me to entertain any design of alarming you; and I have had the pleasure of your acquaintance long enough to know that you find great enjoyment in occasionally professing opinions which in fact are not your own. I can easily believe it. Your father was gone, your uncle at home, and, as I said before, they had a great deal of talk together. As long as she stays there, it is all very well. Oh, Lydia! Not, perhaps, of neglecting his own interest; but of every other neglect I can believe him capable. It will not do. But when they see, as I trust they will, that their brother is happy with me, they will learn to be contented, and we shall be on good terms again; though we can never be what we once were to each other. I never thought Mr. Darcy so deficient in the _appearance_ of it as you used to do. Lizzy I was going to look for you; come into my room. I am very glad to hear such a good account of her and pray tell her from me, that she cannot expect to excel if she does not practice a good deal. Yes, very different. Do not make yourself uneasy, my love. O that he had sprained his ankle in the first place! But in spite of all this fine talking, my dear Lizzy, you may rest perfectly assured that your uncle would never have yielded, if we had not given him credit for _another interest_ in the affair. You shall not, for the sake of one individual, change the meaning of principle and integrity, nor endeavour to persuade yourself or me, that selfishness is prudence, and insensibility of danger security for happiness. There are very few people of whom so much can be said. I can remember some expressions which might justly make you hate me. You have widely mistaken my character, if you think I can be worked on by such persuasions as these. So much the better. Arguments are too much like disputes. Yes, very indifferent indeed Oh, Jane, take care. We have not determined how far it shall carry us but, perhaps, to the Lakes. He meant I believe to go to Epsom, the place where they last changed horses, see the postilions and try if anything could be made out from them. Read it aloud for I hardly know myself what it is about. Your superior knowledge of your sister must make the latter probable. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. Unfortunately an only son (for many years an only child), I was spoilt by my parents, who, though good themselves (my father, particularly, all that was benevolent and amiable), allowed, encouraged, almost taught me to be selfish and overbearing; to care for none beyond my own family circle; to think meanly of all the rest of the world; to wish at least to think meanly of their sense and worth compared with my own. You must come and make Lizzy marry Mr. Collins, for she vows she will not have him, and if you do not make haste he will change his mind and not have _her_. You may depend upon my not mentioning it. May I take the liberty of asking your ladyship whether you left Mr. and Mrs. Collins well. But to be guarded at such a time is very difficult. He did not talk to me of his own arts He only told me what I have now told you. From what we have seen of him I really should not have thought that he could have behaved in so cruel a way by anybody as he has done by poor Wickham. I know it to be impossible. Since such were her feelings, it only remained, he thought, to secure and expedite a marriage, which, in his very first conversation with Wickham, he easily learnt had never been _his_ design. How nicely we are all crammed in I am glad I bought my bonnet, if it is only for the fun of having another bandbox! Well, now let us be quite comfortable and snug, and talk and laugh all the way home. Resignation to inevitable evils is the evil duty of us all; the peculiar duty of a young man who has been so fortunate as I have been in early preferment; and I trust I am resigned. Her ladyship seemed pleased with the idea; and you may imagine that I am happy on every occasion to offer those little delicate compliments which are always acceptable to ladies. She is a very fine-looking woman! and her calling here was prodigiously civil! for she only came, I suppose, to tell us the Collinses were well. That tall, proud man. She danced four dances with him at Meryton; she saw him one morning at his own house, and has since dined with him in company four times. But he is, beyond all comparison, the most agreeable man I ever saw--and if he becomes really attached to me--I believe it will be better that he should not. I hope not so. If she heard me, it was by good luck, for I am sure she did not listen. Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your original intentions as atoned for by your obstinacy in adhering to it? I wish I might take this for a compliment; but to be so easily seen through I am afraid is pitiful. Her dirty petticoat quite escaped my notice. 'Lady Catherine,' said she, 'you have given me a treasure.' Risk anything rather than her displeasure; and if you find it likely to be raised by your coming to us again, which I should think exceedingly probable, stay quietly at home, and be satisfied that _we_ shall take no offence. Wickham is not so undeserving, then, as we thought him My dear father, I congratulate you. One seems so forlorn without them. Well have it as you choose. Have you never happened to see her there? May I ask to what these questions tend? It is impossible for _me_ to be impartial. I know little of the game at present but I shall be glad to improve myself, for in my situation in life-- I am sure there is not on _his_. But what is that to me? If there is no other objection to my marrying your nephew, I shall certainly not be kept from it by knowing that his mother and aunt wished him to marry Miss de Bourgh. One cannot wonder that so very fine a young man, with family, fortune, everything in his favour, should think highly of himself. You excel so much in the dance, Miss Eliza, that it is cruel to deny me the happiness of seeing you; and though this gentleman dislikes the amusement in general, he can have no objection, I am sure, to oblige us for one half-hour. The first time of my ever seeing him in Hertfordshire, you must know, was at a ball--and at this ball, what do you think he did? He danced only four dances, though gentlemen were scarce; and, to my certain knowledge, more than one young lady was sitting down in want of a partner. Have you any idea, Lizzy, who this gentleman is? But now it comes out: Yes, sir; but I do not know when _that_ will be. And will you give yourself the trouble of carrying similar assurances to his creditors in Meryton, of whom I shall subjoin a list according to his information? He has given in all his debts; I hope at least he has not deceived us. What did you say of me, that I did not deserve? For, though your accusations were ill-founded, formed on mistaken premises, my behaviour to you at the time had merited the severest reproof. And remember that I have not much reason for supposing it to be Bingley. We shall be at Newcastle all the winter, and I dare say there will be some balls, and I will take care to get good partners for them all. You must not suspect me. Had it been your uncle's doing, I must and _would_ have paid him; but these violent young lovers carry every thing their own way. Those who chose to be idle, certainly might. She is the sort of woman whom one cannot regard with too much deference. I was sure you could not be so beautiful for nothing! I remember, as soon as ever I saw him, when he first came into Hertfordshire last year, I thought how likely it was that you should come together. Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex. My father is going to London with Colonel Forster instantly, to try to discover her. On Saturday he came again. Young women should always be properly guarded and attended, according to their situation in life. My dear sir I am particularly obliged to you for this friendly caution, and you may depend upon my not taking so material a step without her ladyship's concurrence. Indeed! And pray, may I ask?-- Is it in address that he improves? Has he deigned to add aught of civility to his ordinary style?--for I dare not hope that he is improved in essentials. Every thing being settled between _them_, Mr. Darcy's next step was to make your uncle acquainted with it, and he first called in Gracechurch street the evening before I came home. What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclamation? Do you consider the forms of introduction, and the stress that is laid on them, as nonsense? I cannot quite agree with you _there_. Aye, no doubt; but that is what a governess will prevent, and if I had known your mother, I should have advised her most strenuously to engage one. I cannot think so very ill of Wickham. I am no stranger to the particulars of your youngest sister's infamous elopement. That is not an unnatural surmise but it is a lessening of the honour of my cousin's triumph very sadly. I do think Mrs. Long is as good a creature as ever lived--and her nieces are very pretty behaved girls, and not at all handsome: I like them prodigiously. I should be sorry, you know, to think ill of a young man who has lived so long in Derbyshire. Well, much good may it do them! And so, I suppose, they often talk of having Longbourn when your father is dead. I see the imprudence of it. Pray, Miss Eliza, are not the ----shire Militia removed from Meryton? They must be a great loss to _your_ family. She will be taken good care of. And, above all, keep Mr. Bennet from fighting. Had the late Mr. Darcy liked me less, his son might have borne with me better; but his father's uncommon attachment to me irritated him, I believe, very early in life. With the kindest concern he came on to Longbourn, and broke his apprehensions to us in a manner most creditable to his heart. A man in distressed circumstances has not time for all those elegant decorums which other people may observe. I inquired after their brother, of course. We all love to instruct, though we can teach only what is not worth knowing. If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield and all the others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for. She had known, it seems, of their being in love with each other, many weeks. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased. Compared with some families, I believe we were; but such of us as wished to learn never wanted the means. A great deal of good management, depend upon it. I was never more annoyed! The insipidity, and yet the noise--the nothingness, and yet the self-importance of all those people! What would I give to hear your strictures on them! She likes to have the distinction of rank preserved. Yes, yes. He is nothing to us, you know, and I am sure _I_ never want to see him again. Elizabeth, you are not serious now. But no, that could never be; my uncle and aunt would have been lost to me; I should not have been allowed to invite them. But consider your daughters. I cannot find out that I hate her at all, or that I am in the least unwilling to think her a very good sort of girl. I am by no means of the opinion, I assure you that a ball of this kind, given by a young man of character, to respectable people, can have any evil tendency; and I am so far from objecting to dancing myself, that I shall hope to be honoured with the hands of all my fair cousins in the course of the evening; and I take this opportunity of soliciting yours, Miss Elizabeth, for the two first dances especially, a preference which I trust my cousin Jane will attribute to the right cause, and not to any disrespect for her. Its completion depended on others. Well, he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leave to like him. And till Colonel Forster came himself, not one of you entertained a doubt, I suppose, of their being really married? Yes, very well. But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever. Wilfully and wantonly to have thrown off the companion of my youth, the acknowledged favourite of my father, a young man who had scarcely any other dependence than on our patronage, and who had been brought up to expect its exertion, would be a depravity, to which the separation of two young persons, whose affection could be the growth of only a few weeks, could bear no comparison. I certainly _have_ had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. If you are a good girl for the next ten years, I will take you to a review at the end of them. Say nothing of that. In such an exigence, my uncle's advice and assistance would be everything in the world; he will immediately comprehend what I must feel, and I rely upon his goodness. You could not have met with a person more capable of giving you certain information on that head than myself, for I have been connected with his family in a particular manner from my infancy. And what am I to do on the occasion? It seems an hopeless business. Let her be called down. I am going to Gretna Green, and if you cannot guess with who, I shall think you a simpleton, for there is but one man in the world I love, and he is an angel. It will then be publicly seen that, on both sides, we meet only as common and indifferent acquaintance. They all paint tables, cover screens, and net purses. Oh! Mr. Bennet, you are wanted immediately; we are all in an uproar. That is very strange. Oh! Mr. Collins! I have no such injuries to resent. How far your nephew might approve of your interference in his affairs, I cannot tell; but you have certainly no right to concern yourself in mine. One may be continually abusive without saying anything just; but one cannot always be laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty. In truth I must acknowledge that, with all the disadvantages of this humble parsonage, I should not think anyone abiding in it an object of compassion, while they are sharers of our intimacy at Rosings. How could you begin? I can comprehend your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning; but what could set you off in the first place? Wretched, wretched mistake! Is this to be endured! But it must not, shall not be. And quite alone? Have all her friends left her? Has he, has my nephew, made you an offer of marriage? Lydia came to us; and Wickham had constant admission to the house. She is unfortunately of a sickly constitution, which has prevented her from making that progress in many accomplishments which she could not have otherwise failed of, as I am informed by the lady who superintended her education, and who still resides with them. I may thank you, Eliza, for this piece of civility. Oh! you mean Jane, I suppose, because he danced with her twice. Not at all they were brightened by the exercise. I do assure you, sir, that I have no pretensions whatever to that kind of elegance which consists in tormenting a respectable man. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable. My real purpose was to see _you_, and to judge, if I could, whether I might ever hope to make you love me. Mr. Wickham is blessed with such happy manners as may ensure his _making_ friends--whether he may be equally capable of _retaining_ them, is less certain. She did not choose it she would go. I dare say you will find him very agreeable. You used us abominably ill running away without telling us that you were coming out. At any rate, she cannot grow many degrees worse, without authorising us to lock her up for the rest of her life. I see nothing in it but your own wilful ignorance and the malice of Mr. Darcy. I do assure you that the news does not affect me either with pleasure or pain. He had been some days in town, before he was able to discover them; but he had something to direct his search, which was more than _we_ had; and the consciousness of this was another reason for his resolving to follow us. You shall hear what she says. You have no regard, then, for the honour and credit of my nephew! Unfeeling, selfish girl! Do you not consider that a connection with you must disgrace him in the eyes of everybody? An express came at twelve last night, just as we were all gone to bed, from Colonel Forster, to inform us that she was gone off to Scotland with one of his officers; to own the truth, with Wickham! Imagine our surprise. But how came you to tell me that he was so disagreeable? He could be still amiable, still pleasing, to my uncle and aunt, when he was in town; and why not to me? If he fears me, why come hither? If he no longer cares for me, why silent? Teasing, teasing, man! I will think no more about him. Yes, and her petticoat; I hope you saw her petticoat, six inches deep in mud, I am absolutely certain; and the gown which had been let down to hide it not doing its office. But is there not danger of Lady Catherine's disapprobation here, my good sir? You had better neglect your relations than run the risk of offending your patroness. Those were your words. But I must write no more. _He_ was exactly what he had been, when I knew him in Hertfordshire; but I would not tell you how little I was satisfied with her behaviour while she staid with us, if I had not perceived, by Jane's letter last Wednesday, that her conduct on coming home was exactly of a piece with it, and therefore what I now tell you can give you no fresh pain. He is now, perhaps, sorry for what he has done, and anxious to re-establish a character. His acquaintance with Elizabeth was very trifling. If you are looking for my master, ma'am, he is walking towards the little copse. I am sure I shall break _mine_. At four o'clock, therefore, we may expect this peace-making gentleman He seems to be a most conscientious and polite young man, upon my word, and I doubt not will prove a valuable acquaintance, especially if Lady Catherine should be so indulgent as to let him come to us again. Oh, Lizzy! it cannot be. Lizzy, you must not do so. Some people call him proud; but I am sure I never saw anything of it. I have, sir. No, not at all. Let me congratulate you on a very important conquest. That is the most unforgiving speech that I ever heard you utter. --There is something very pompous in his style. What are young men to rocks and mountains? Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we _do_ return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of anything. I was sure you loved your girls too well to neglect such an acquaintance. _You_ observed it, Mr. Darcy, I am sure and I am inclined to think that you would not wish to see _your_ sister make such an exhibition. It is not likely that money should be very abundant on either side; and it might strike them that they could be more economically, though less expeditiously, married in London than in Scotland. Oh! why is not everybody as happy? Let me hear from you very soon. Clement's, because Wickham's lodgings were in that parish. I do assure you that I am not one of those young ladies (if such young ladies there are) who are so daring as to risk their happiness on the chance of being asked a second time. However, I did not hear above one word in ten, for I was thinking, you may suppose, of my dear Wickham. My youngest of all is lately married, and my eldest is somewhere about the grounds, walking with a young man who, I believe, will soon become a part of the family. But there seems an indelicacy in directing his attentions towards her so soon after this event. I should be glad to take a turn in it, if you will favour me with your company. Thus much for my general intention in favour of matrimony; it remains to be told why my views were directed towards Longbourn instead of my own neighbourhood, where I can assure you there are many amiable young women. Such squeamish youths as cannot bear to be connected with a little absurdity are not worth a regret. In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of. I should not mind anything at all. Yes but _that_ was only when I first saw her, for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance. For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn? When first he entered the corps, she was ready enough to admire him; but so we all were. Don't think me angry, however, for I only mean to let you know that I had not imagined such inquiries to be necessary on _your_ side. But as to your other objection, I am afraid it will hardly hold good. Mr. Darcy, you cannot deny the fact. About the court, such instances of elegant breeding are not uncommon. That is very true and I could easily forgive _his_ pride, if he had not mortified _mine_. Yes--if Darcy does not put it off again. I am the happiest creature in the world. Your surprise could not be greater than _mine_ in being noticed by you. She has been doing everything in her power by thinking and talking on the subject, to give greater--what shall I call it? susceptibility to her feelings; which are naturally lively enough. Do not imagine, Miss Bennet, that your ambition will ever be gratified. Lord! how I laughed! and so did Mrs. Forster. All that is known after this is, that they were seen to continue the London road. Certainly not. I shall walk to Meryton to-morrow to hear more about it, and to ask when Mr. Denny comes back from town. Yes, indeed, and received no inconsiderable pleasure from the sight. She does not yet leave her dressing-room. He is the best landlord, and the best master that ever lived; not like the wild young men nowadays, who think of nothing but themselves. I was obliged to confess one thing, which for a time, and not unjustly, offended him. I have great hopes of finding him quite the reverse. Aye, there she comes looking as unconcerned as may be, and caring no more for us than if we were at York, provided she can have her own way. The venison was roasted to a turn--and everybody said they never saw so fat a haunch. But there were other causes of repugnance; causes which, though still existing, and existing to an equal degree in both instances, I had myself endeavoured to forget, because they were not immediately before me. They were certainly no friends to his acquaintance with me, which I cannot wonder at, since he might have chosen so much more advantageously in many respects. There can be no doubt of that. What could he mean? She was dying to know what could be his meaning? How shall we punish him for such a speech? This is my advice. I am sincerely grieved for him and Mrs. F. I do not like to boast of my own child, but to be sure, Jane--one does not often see anybody better looking. But do you always write such charming long letters to her, Mr. Darcy? It is a rule with me, that a person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill. On that head, therefore, I shall be uniformly silent; and you may assure yourself that no ungenerous reproach shall ever pass my lips when we are married. Allowing the case, however, to stand according to your representation, you must remember, Miss Bennet, that the friend who is supposed to desire his return to the house, and the delay of his plan, has merely desired it, asked it without offering one argument in favour of its propriety. I congratulate her. A house in town! Every thing that is charming! Three daughters married! Ten thousand a year! Oh, Lord! What will become of me. But, whatever may be their own wishes, it is very unlikely they should have opposed their brother's. She has only one daughter, the heiress of Rosings, and of very extensive property. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life. Are you going much farther? I had much rather go in the coach. The dinner was as well dressed as any I ever saw. All! What, all five out at once? Very odd! And you only the second. In a few days more we may gain some news of them; and till we know that they are not married, and have no design of marrying, do not let us give the matter over as lost. --And what can he mean by apologising for being next in the entail?--We cannot suppose he would help it if he could. My good opinion once lost, is lost forever. I do assure you that my intimacy has not yet taught me _that_. I had supposed him to be despising his fellow-creatures in general, but did not suspect him of descending to such malicious revenge, such injustice, such inhumanity as this. Of music! Then pray speak aloud. Will you do me the honour of reading that letter? I am not afraid of being overpowered by the impression. Oh, lord! yes;--there is nothing in that. There is not a finer county in England than Derbyshire. Take care, Lizzy; that speech savours strongly of disappointment. Who is to fight Wickham, and make him marry her, if he comes away? I write without any intention of paining you, or humbling myself, by dwelling on wishes which, for the happiness of both, cannot be too soon forgotten; and the effort which the formation and the perusal of this letter must occasion, should have been spared, had not my character required it to be written and read. Write to me very often, my dear. Ah, you do not know what I suffer. You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound. But it was not till the evening of the dance at Netherfield that I had any apprehension of his feeling a serious attachment. Your father would depend on _your_ resolution and good conduct, I am sure. My dear Jane, make haste and hurry down. There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. It is difficult indeed--it is distressing. Ever since I have known it, I have been most anxious to acknowledge to you how gratefully I feel it. You may as well call it impertinence at once. She cared for none of her friends; she wanted no help of his; she would not hear of leaving Wickham. The letter, perhaps, began in bitterness, but it did not end so. You may depend on it for Mrs. Nicholls was in Meryton last night; I saw her passing by, and went out myself on purpose to know the truth of it; and she told me that it was certain true. She is a very great favourite with some ladies of my acquaintance, Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley. Why did the Forsters ever let her go out of their sight? I am sure there was some great neglect or other on their side, for she is not the kind of girl to do such a thing if she had been well looked after. Their fortune on both sides is splendid. One ought not to repine;--but, to be sure, it would have been such a thing for me! The quiet, the retirement of such a life would have answered all my ideas of happiness! But it was not to be. But is it certain--absolutely certain? I must find Mr. Gardiner this moment, on business that cannot be delayed; I have not an instant to lose. Yes, sir, I know I am. Mr. Wickham's chief object was unquestionably my sister's fortune, which is thirty thousand pounds; but I cannot help supposing that the hope of revenging himself on me was a strong inducement. But I pity her, because she must feel that she has been acting wrong, and because I am very sure that anxiety for her brother is the cause of it. We have judged it best that my niece should be married from this house, of which I hope you will approve. But last summer he was again most painfully obtruded on my notice. Whatever I do is done in a hurry and therefore if I should resolve to quit Netherfield, I should probably be off in five minutes. I have been used to consider poetry as the _food_ of love. I am satisfied. I am almost the nearest relation he has in the world, and am entitled to know all his dearest concerns. Lakes, mountains, and rivers shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarreling about its relative situation. My father and mother believe the worst, but I cannot think so ill of him. And Lady Lucas has been very kind; she walked here on Wednesday morning to condole with us, and offered her services, or any of her daughters', if they should be of use to us. It was unpardonable. You certainly do but it does not follow that the interruption must be unwelcome. Four nieces of Mrs. Jenkinson are most delightfully situated through my means; and it was but the other day that I recommended another young person, who was merely accidentally mentioned to me, and the family are quite delighted with her. But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood. There is a gentleman with him, mamma who can it be? He comes down on Thursday at the latest, very likely on Wednesday. --'There, Mrs. Bennet. Your reproof, so well applied, I shall never forget: 'had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner. But disguise of every sort is my abhorrence. You are uniformly charming! and I am persuaded that when sanctioned by the express authority of both your excellent parents, my proposals will not fail of being acceptable. With three younger sisters grown up your ladyship can hardly expect me to own it. _That_ is all settled. A little time, therefore--I shall certainly try to get the better. Such a disappointment! and with the knowledge of your ill opinion, too! and having to relate such a thing of his sister! It is really too distressing. Now what have you to say? A little. I pity you, Miss Eliza, for this discovery of your favourite's guilt; but really, considering his descent, one could not expect much better. My feelings will not be repressed. But, Lizzy, this must go no farther than yourself, or Jane at most. My dear Mr. Bennet, you must not expect such girls to have the sense of their father and mother. I am afraid I interrupt your solitary ramble, my dear sister? I do not know. And then, you know, when once they get together, there is no end of it. No, nothing at all. For my own part I must confess that I never could see any beauty in her. Painful recollections will intrude which cannot, which ought not, to be repelled. Why, at that rate, you will have been here only six weeks. How could I ever think her like her nephew? My dear Lizzy, you cannot think me so weak, as to be in danger now? You know nothing of the matter. It is no such thing. I leave it to yourself to determine. And do not you think him a very handsome gentleman, ma'am? May I hope, madam, for your interest with your fair daughter Elizabeth, when I solicit for the honour of a private audience with her in the course of this morning? Why, indeed; he does seem to have had some filial scruples on that head, as you will hear. Yes, ma'am, that he was indeed; and his son will be just like him--just as affable to the poor. But really, ma'am, I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters, that they should not have their share of society and amusement, because the elder may not have the means or inclination to marry early. I must beg to return to the house. I have not been used to submit to any person's whims. Speak to Lizzy about it yourself. And if not able to please himself in the arrangement, he has at least pleasure in the great power of choice. Indeed I am. It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour and shape, and the eyelashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied. I did not know that you intended to walk. Indeed, Mr. Darcy, it is very ungenerous in you to mention all that you knew to my disadvantage in Hertfordshire--and, give me leave to say, very impolitic too--for it is provoking me to retaliate, and such things may come out as will shock your relations to hear. He cannot know what Mr. Darcy is. I knew that Mr. Wickham ought not to be a clergyman; the business was therefore soon settled--he resigned all claim to assistance in the church, were it possible that he could ever be in a situation to receive it, and accepted in return three thousand pounds. Oh! but there were two or three much uglier in the shop; and when I have bought some prettier-coloured satin to trim it with fresh, I think it will be very tolerable. But do not imagine that he is always here so often. On the evening before my going to London I made a confession to him, which I believe I ought to have made long ago. If he _had another_ motive, I am sure it would never disgrace him. Many of my acquaintances are already there for the winter; I wish that I could hear that you, my dearest friend, had any intention of making one of the crowd--but of that I despair. The whole party have left Netherfield by this time, and are on their way to town--and without any intention of coming back again. I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love! My watchfulness has been effectual; and though I certainly should be a more interesting object to all my acquaintances were I distractedly in love with him, I cannot say that I regret my comparative insignificance. Since her father's death, her home has been London, where a lady lives with her, and superintends her education. Mr. Collins speaks highly both of Lady Catherine and her daughter; but from some particulars that he has related of her ladyship, I suspect his gratitude misleads him, and that in spite of her being his patroness, she is an arrogant, conceited woman. No arguments shall be wanting on my part that can alleviate so severe a misfortune--or that may comfort you, under a circumstance that must be of all others the most afflicting to a parent's mind. But if I do not take your likeness now, I may never have another opportunity. You are very kind, I am sure; and I wish with all my heart it may prove so, for else they will be destitute enough. If you were to give me forty such men, I never could be so happy as you. Every time they met, it was more decided and remarkable. Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you choose. But it is fortunate that I have something to wish for. From that moment I observed my friend's behaviour attentively; and I could then perceive that his partiality for Miss Bennet was beyond what I had ever witnessed in him. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, _do_ divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can. You do not look well. As to her _younger_ daughters, she could not take upon her to say--she could not positively answer--but she did not _know_ of any prepossession; her _eldest_ daughter, she must just mention--she felt it incumbent on her to hint, was likely to be very soon engaged. How soon any other wishes introduced themselves I can hardly tell, but I believe in about half an hour after I had seen you. Why, if he came only to be silent, grave, and indifferent did he come at all? I found as the time drew near that I had better not meet Mr. Darcy; that to be in the same room, the same party with him for so many hours together, might be more than I could bear, and that scenes might arise unpleasant to more than myself. When she is secure of him, there will be more leisure for falling in love as much as she chooses. Now I have got some news for you What do you think? It is excellent news--capital news--and about a certain person we all like! James's? You have withheld the advantages which you must know to have been designed for him. Good gracious! it seems but a day or two since we first came! and yet how many things have happened! I shall like it of all things. I do not mean to say that a woman may not be settled too near her family. If, in the explanation of them, which is due to myself, I am under the necessity of relating feelings which may be offensive to yours, I can only say that I am sorry. Their brother is a pleasant gentlemanlike man--he is a great friend of Darcy's. But she is nothing to me now. And you are never to stir out of doors till you can prove that you have spent ten minutes of every day in a rational manner. How could I be so silly as to wish it! Your idea of the ponies is delightful. You see on what a footing we are. It may do very well for the others but I am sure it will be too much for Kitty. But I cannot find out that Jane saw anything of him in London. Could there be finer symptoms? Is not general incivility the very essence of love? But, Lizzy, you can tell us whether it is like or not. Will it not be advisable, before we proceed on this subject, to arrange with rather more precision the degree of importance which is to appertain to this request, as well as the degree of intimacy subsisting between the parties? How strange! How abominable! I wonder that the very pride of this Mr. Darcy has not made him just to you! If from no better motive, that he should not have been too proud to be dishonest--for dishonesty I must call it. With respect to that other, more weighty accusation, of having injured Mr. Wickham, I can only refute it by laying before you the whole of his connection with my family. I certainly shall not. I do not get on at all. We will be down as soon as we can but I dare say Kitty is forwarder than either of us, for she went up stairs half an hour ago. But gracious me! I quite forgot! I ought not to have said a word about it. My dear madam let us be for ever silent on this point. I knew that what I wrote must give you pain, but it was necessary. This is no very striking resemblance of your own character, I am sure How near it may be to _mine_, I cannot pretend to say. Nonsense, nonsense! It mortifies me. A great many changes have happened in the neighbourhood, since you went away. And I certainly _never_ shall give it. You must feel it; and the usual satisfaction of preaching patience to a sufferer is denied me, because you have always so much. At last I am able to send you some tidings of my niece, and such as, upon the whole, I hope it will give you satisfaction. They have known her much longer than they have known me; no wonder if they love her better. But, if I were you, I would stand by the nephew. Interested people have perhaps misrepresented each to the other. Could she have seen half as much love in Mr. Darcy for herself, she would have ordered her wedding clothes. He is perfectly well behaved, polite, and unassuming. You will not think of quitting it in a hurry, I hope, though you have but a short lease. You know not what you are about. I can readily believe that reports may vary greatly with respect to me; and I could wish, Miss Bennet, that you were not to sketch my character at the present moment, as there is reason to fear that the performance would reflect no credit on either. It is a pity they are not handsome! Not that I think Charlotte so _very_ plain--but then she is our particular friend. If I were so fortunate as to be able to sing, I should have great pleasure, I am sure, in obliging the company with an air; for I consider music as a very innocent diversion, and perfectly compatible with the profession of a clergyman. My fingers do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. That _she_ could be in any danger from the deception never entered my head. Yes, indeed I assure you there is quite as much of _that_ going on in the country as in town. His misfortunes! yes, his misfortunes have been great indeed. That reply will do for the present. You are all to come to Pemberley at Christmas. It must be an amusing study. I understood that there were some very strong objections against the lady. Miss Bennet I am shocked and astonished. You look conscious. You ought certainly to forgive them, as a Christian, but never to admit them in your sight, or allow their names to be mentioned in your hearing. An airing would do me a great deal of good, I am sure. I do not mean, however, to assert that we can be justified in devoting too much of our time to music, for there are certainly other things to be attended to. Imprudence or thoughtlessness in money matters would be unpardonable in me. At present I am not in love with Mr. Wickham; no, I certainly am not. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. You may ask questions which I shall not choose to answer. My motive for cautioning you is as follows. His disposition must be dreadful. Oh dear!--yes--certainly. This is not quite enough to make her understand his character. These are home questions--and perhaps I cannot say that I have experienced many hardships of that nature. You know I always speak my mind, and I cannot bear the idea of two young women travelling post by themselves. His resentment was in proportion to the distress of his circumstances--and he was doubtless as violent in his abuse of me to others as in his reproaches to myself. Is my father in town? I always say that nothing is to be done in education without steady and regular instruction, and nobody but a governess can give it. This is from Caroline Bingley; what it contains has surprised me a good deal. Oh, yes! You will only think I feel _more_ than I ought to do, when I tell you all. I thank you again and again for the honour you have done me in your proposals, but to accept them is absolutely impossible. I know my dear uncle and aunt so well, that I am not afraid of requesting it, though I have still something more to ask of the former. What advantage can it be for you to offend Mr. Darcy? You will never recommend yourself to his friend by so doing! I never saw such a woman. One of them does. Oh, brother, how kind you are! I know you will contrive it all. I know how much you dislike him. You must not be too severe upon yourself. He can have nothing to say to me that anybody need not hear. As soon as I get to town I shall go to my brother, and make him come home with me to Gracechurch Street; and then we may consult together as to what is to be done. But I can assure the young ladies that I come prepared to admire them. He begins with congratulations on the approaching nuptials of my eldest daughter, of which, it seems, he has been told by some of the good-natured, gossiping Lucases. She is almost three-and-twenty! Lord, how ashamed I should be of not being married before three-and-twenty! My aunt Phillips wants you so to get husbands, you can't think. I knew he would manage everything! How I long to see her! and to see dear Wickham too! But the clothes, the wedding clothes! I will write to my sister Gardiner about them directly. With great energy; but it is always a subject which makes a lady energetic. He is gone to my father already. In nine cases out of ten a women had better show _more_ affection than she feels. But, my dear sister, though the event has proved you right, do not think me obstinate if I still assert that, considering what her behaviour was, my confidence was as natural as your suspicion. He was angry. She has the reputation of being remarkably sensible and clever; but I rather believe she derives part of her abilities from her rank and fortune, part from her authoritative manner, and the rest from the pride for her nephew, who chooses that everyone connected with him should have an understanding of the first class. No motive can excuse the unjust and ungenerous part you acted _there_. I am only resolved to act in that manner, which will, in my own opinion, constitute my happiness, without reference to _you_, or to any person so wholly unconnected with me. I never saw such a long chin in my life. I fancy she was wanted about the mince-pies. True; and nobody can ever be introduced in a ball-room. Are any of your younger sisters out, Miss Bennet? What could be more natural than his asking you again? He could not help seeing that you were about five times as pretty as every other woman in the room. I should be sorry indeed, if it were. You are not going to introduce yourself to Mr. Darcy! Yes; but, when questioned by _him_, Denny denied knowing anything of their plans, and would not give his real opinion about it. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley. He promises fairly; and I hope among different people, where they may each have a character to preserve, they will both be more prudent. Exceedingly well. When she was only fifteen, there was a man at my brother Gardiner's in town so much in love with her that my sister-in-law was sure he would make her an offer before we came away. If I were to go through the world, I could not meet with a better. My kind friends will not hear of my returning till I am better. Your attendance upon her has been too much for you. I always had a value for him. It is _not_ Mr. Bingley it is a person whom I never saw in the whole course of my life. I quite detest the man. My father and mother knew nothing of that; they only felt how imprudent a match it must be. But think no more of the letter. When is your turn to come? You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Yes. There is no talk of his coming to Netherfield again in the summer; and I have inquired of everybody, too, who is likely to know. My father, however, is partial to Mr. Wickham. Under such circumstances, however, he was not likely to be proof against the temptation of immediate relief. Since writing the above, dearest Lizzy, something has occurred of a most unexpected and serious nature; but I am afraid of alarming you--be assured that we are all well. 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! Not that I mean to find fault with _you_, for such things I know are all chance in this world. And which of the two do you call _my_ little recent piece of modesty? If there were anyone that one could apply to with a probability of gaining such a clue as that, it might be of essential consequence. Miss Bingley told me that he never speaks much, unless among his intimate acquaintances. Pardon me for neglecting to profit by your advice, which on every other subject shall be my constant guide, though in the case before us I consider myself more fitted by education and habitual study to decide on what is right than a young lady like yourself. I think I have heard you say that you know them. Is he married or single? The wisest and the best of men--nay, the wisest and best of their actions--may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke. But your arts and allurements may, in a moment of infatuation, have made him forget what he owes to himself and to all his family. I never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe united. In future, I hope we shall be always of one mind. Good Heaven! what is to become of us? What are we to do? How can you be smiling so, Lizzy? You have. But if _we_ do not venture somebody else will; and after all, Mrs. Long and her daughters must stand their chance; and, therefore, as she will think it an act of kindness, if you decline the office, I will take it on myself. I do indeed I told you, the other day, of his infamous behaviour to Mr. Darcy; and you yourself, when last at Longbourn, heard in what manner he spoke of the man who had behaved with such forbearance and liberality towards him. But I can guess how it was; everybody says that he is eat up with pride, and I dare say he had heard somehow that Mrs. Long does not keep a carriage, and had come to the ball in a hack chaise. Some acquaintance or other, my dear, I suppose; I am sure I do not know. Their mutual affection will steady them; and I flatter myself they will settle so quietly, and live in so rational a manner, as may in time make their past imprudence forgotten. But it is not merely this affair on which my dislike is founded. What a fine thing for our girls! It is an advantage to have it so far from this part of the kingdom. There is nothing extravagant in _their_ housekeeping, I dare say. For your sake I am glad of it; but otherwise I see no occasion for entailing estates from the female line. If I had been able to carry my point in going to Brighton, with all my family, _this_ would not have happened; but poor dear Lydia had nobody to take care of her. But _now_ suppose as much as you choose; give a loose rein to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible flight which the subject will afford, and unless you believe me actually married, you cannot greatly err. And _that_ is quite impossible; for he is now in the custody of his friend, and Mr. Darcy would no more suffer him to call on Jane in such a part of London! My dear aunt, how could you think of it? Mr. Darcy may perhaps have _heard_ of such a place as Gracechurch Street, but he would hardly think a month's ablution enough to cleanse him from its impurities, were he once to enter it; and depend upon it, Mr. Bingley never stirs without him. If you were sensible of your own good, you would not wish to quit the sphere in which you have been brought up. But does Lydia know nothing of this? can she be ignorant of what you and Jane seem so well to understand? Indeed, Eliza, you will be as welcome as either of them. Oh! but their removing from the chaise into a hackney coach is such a presumption! And, besides, no traces of them were to be found on the Barnet road. Yes; but he seemed to like his second better. I understand that Mr. Collins has made you an offer of marriage. Yes, always I remember hearing you once say, Mr. Darcy, that you hardly ever forgave, that your resentment once created was unappeasable. How very suddenly you all quitted Netherfield last November, Mr. Darcy! It must have been a most agreeable surprise to Mr. Bingley to see you all after him so soon; for, if I recollect right, he went but the day before. We have dined nine times at Rosings, besides drinking tea there twice! How much I shall have to tell! Can this be Mr. Darcy? I wish I could say anything to comfort you but it is wholly out of my power. Can I speak plainer? Do not consider me now as an elegant female, intending to plague you, but as a rational creature, speaking the truth from her heart. I have more than once observed to Lady Catherine, that her charming daughter seemed born to be a duchess, and that the most elevated rank, instead of giving her consequence, would be adorned by her. I did not know before that you ever walked this way. Your list of the common extent of accomplishments has too much truth. It is too long ago. His own father did not long survive mine, and within half a year from these events, Mr. Wickham wrote to inform me that, having finally resolved against taking orders, he hoped I should not think it unreasonable for him to expect some more immediate pecuniary advantage, in lieu of the preferment, by which he could not be benefited. To oblige you, I would try to believe almost anything, but no one else could be benefited by such a belief as this; for were I persuaded that Charlotte had any regard for him, I should only think worse of her understanding than I now do of her heart. His regiment is there; for I suppose you have heard of his leaving the ----shire, and of his being gone into the regulars. They met again on Sunday, and then _I_ saw him too. I have not the smallest objection to explaining them You either choose this method of passing the evening because you are in each other's confidence, and have secret affairs to discuss, or because you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage in walking; if the first, I would be completely in your way, and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire. Mrs. Bennet, before you take any or all of these houses for your son and daughter, let us come to a right understanding. You are over-scrupulous, surely. We live in so different a part of town, all our connections are so different, and, as you well know, we go out so little, that it is very improbable that they should meet at all, unless he really comes to see her. If it were merely a fine house richly furnished I should not care about it myself; but the grounds are delightful. Ah! then she is better off than many girls. What an excellent father you have, girls! I do not know how you will ever make him amends for his kindness; or me, either, for that matter. I want to talk very seriously. I will not spend my hours in running after my neighbours every time they go away and come back again. The dear Colonel rallied his spirits tolerably till just at last; but Darcy seemed to feel it most acutely, more, I think, than last year. I knew nothing at all of Lady Catherine's connections. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me;--though it was some time, I confess, before I was reasonable enough to allow their justice. They will then join his regiment, unless they are first invited to Longbourn; and I understand from Mrs. Gardiner, that my niece is very desirous of seeing you all before she leaves the South. Excuse me, for I must speak plainly. Their taking her home, and affording her their personal protection and countenance, is such a sacrifice to her advantage as years of gratitude cannot enough acknowledge. This Mrs. Younge was, he knew, intimately acquainted with Wickham; and he went to her for intelligence of him as soon as he got to town. Such a charming man!--so handsome! so tall!--Oh, my dear Lizzy! pray apologise for my having disliked him so much before. I perfectly comprehend your feelings, and have now only to be ashamed of what my own have been. Good Lord! Sir William, how can you tell such a story? Do not you know that Mr. Collins wants to marry Lizzy? They have both been deceived, I dare say, in some way or other, of which we can form no idea. Really, Mr. Collins you puzzle me exceedingly. But you forget, mamma that we shall meet him at the assemblies, and that Mrs. Long promised to introduce him. Here again I shall give you pain--to what degree you only can tell. Money! My uncle! what do you mean, sir? Believe her to be deceived, by all means. Jane should therefore make the most of every half-hour in which she can command his attention. But perhaps he may be a little whimsical in his civilities Your great men often are; and therefore I shall not take him at his word, as he might change his mind another day, and warn me off his grounds. Do you know, mamma, that my uncle Phillips talks of turning away Richard; and if he does, Colonel Forster will hire him. To yield readily--easily--to the _persuasion_ of a friend is no merit with you. I was only confused for the moment, because I felt that I _should_ be looked at. Are the others coming out? You are very cautious, I suppose, as to its _being created_. It is nothing in comparison of Rosings, my lady, I dare say; but I assure you it is much larger than Sir William Lucas's. If I may so express it, he has a _right_ to be proud. I think you are in very great danger of making him as much in love with you as ever. You are lucky in having such a master. I did not expect such a compliment. Such very superior dancing is not often seen. My dear Lizzy, they must have passed within ten miles of us. No one admitted to the privilege of hearing you can think anything wanting. It is, in short, impossible for us to conjecture the causes or circumstances which may have alienated them, without actual blame on either side. When I consider that I might have prevented it! I, who knew what he was. No; it would have been strange if they had; but I make no doubt they often talk of it between themselves. You do not make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper. At our time of life it is not so pleasant, I can tell you, to be making new acquaintances every day; but for your sakes, we would do anything. No, my dear, you had better go on horseback, because it seems likely to rain; and then you must stay all night. Indeed, you are mistaken, Madam. But we expect him to-morrow, with a large party of friends. If they had uncles enough to fill _all_ Cheapside it would not make them one jot less agreeable. Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this? But, to be sure, the good lady who showed us his house did give him a most flaming character! I could hardly help laughing aloud sometimes. So, Lizzy your sister is crossed in love, I find. What, is he coming home, and without poor Lydia? Sure he will not leave London before he has found them. I shall then give over every expectation, every wish of his constancy. It is very much to his credit, I am sure, that you should think so. There's for you! She is gone down to her uncle at Liverpool: gone to stay. I assure you, madam that she does not need such advice. And have you answered the letter? But perhaps you have been too pleasantly engaged to think of any third person; in which case you may be sure of my pardon. His fear of her has always operated, I know, when they were together; and a good deal is to be imputed to his wish of forwarding the match with Miss de Bourgh, which I am certain he has very much at heart. They met several times, for there was much to be discussed. If you should have no objection to receive me into your house, I propose myself the satisfaction of waiting on you and your family, Monday, November 18th, by four o'clock, and shall probably trespass on your hospitality till the Saturday se'ennight following, which I can do without any inconvenience, as Lady Catherine is far from objecting to my occasional absence on a Sunday, provided that some other clergyman is engaged to do the duty of the day. My aunt's intelligence had given me hope, and I was determined at once to know every thing. I would advise you merely to put on whatever of your clothes is superior to the rest--there is no occasion for anything more. It is from Miss Bingley. Since the ----shire were first quartered in Meryton, nothing but love, flirtation, and officers have been in her head. Oh! Lizzy, to know that what I have to relate will give such pleasure to all my dear family! how shall I bear so much happiness! No officer is ever to enter into my house again, nor even to pass through the village. Then, my dear, you may have the advantage of your friend, and introduce Mr. Bingley to _her_. It may perhaps be pleasant to be able to impose on the public in such a case; but it is sometimes a disadvantage to be so very guarded. 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 to everybody. Is that his design in settling here? Things are settled so oddly. That is very true though it had not occurred to me before. What do you mean, Mr. Bennet, in talking this way? You promised me to _insist_ upon her marrying him. I have every reason in the world to think ill of you. You thought the waiter must not hear, as if he cared! I dare say he often hears worse things said than I am going to say. I thought I should have broken my heart. Well, my dear if your daughter should have a dangerous fit of illness--if she should die, it would be a comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley, and under your orders. One must speak a little, you know. A fortnight's acquaintance is certainly very little. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. _You_ cannot have been always at Longbourn. Come, let me see the list of pitiful fellows who have been kept aloof by Lydia's folly. I was so vexed to see him stand up with her! But, however, he did not admire her at all; indeed, nobody can, you know; and he seemed quite struck with Jane as she was going down the dance. You need not distress yourself. Lydia does not leave me because she is married, but only because her husband's regiment happens to be so far off. And you saw him frequently? His first object with her, he acknowledged, had been to persuade her to quit her present disgraceful situation, and return to her friends as soon as they could be prevailed on to receive her, offering his assistance, as far as it would go. It is wonderful how many families I have been the means of supplying in that way. How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library. My aunt is going to-morrow into that part of the town, and I shall take the opportunity of calling in Grosvenor Street. It was my brother Gardiner's drawing up too, and I wonder how he came to make such an awkward business of it. You shall have it in a few words. _You_ go to Brighton. Lady Catherine, I believe, did a great deal to it when Mr. Collins first came to Hunsford. He is perfectly amiable. I have been walking in the grove some time in the hope of meeting you. The garden in which stands my humble abode is separated only by a lane from Rosings Park, her ladyship's residence. I am afraid you will be angry. I am always glad to get a young person well placed out. We never had any governess. He arranges the business just as he pleases. From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. There--I have saved you the trouble of accounting for it; and really, all things considered, I begin to think it perfectly reasonable. His character was to speak for itself. That is right. Yes his estate there is a noble one. 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! I must not, however, neglect the duties of my station, or refrain from declaring my amazement at hearing that you received the young couple into your house as soon as they were married. Then it is as I always hoped they are married! We are not on friendly terms, and it always gives me pain to meet him, but I have no reason for avoiding _him_ but what I might proclaim before all the world, a sense of very great ill-usage, and most painful regrets at his being what he is. Good gracious! Lord bless me! only think! dear me! Mr. Darcy! Who would have thought it! And is it really true? Oh! my sweetest Lizzy! how rich and how great you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have! Jane's is nothing to it--nothing at all. They are descended, on the maternal side, from the same noble line; and, on the father's, from respectable, honourable, and ancient--though untitled--families. I must be in town next Saturday. First of all, he asked Miss Lucas. A gentleman and a stranger! It is Mr. Bingley, I am sure! Well, I am sure I shall be extremely glad to see Mr. Bingley. But, however, he is very welcome to come to Netherfield, if he likes it. He has also _brotherly_ pride, which, with _some_ brotherly affection, makes him a very kind and careful guardian of his sister, and you will hear him generally cried up as the most attentive and best of brothers. Mr. Darcy! You might have talked to me more when you came to dinner. He leaves out half his words, and blots the rest. We want none of them; do we? Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit them all. There is a lady, it seems, a Mrs. Younge, who was some time ago governess to Miss Darcy, and was dismissed from her charge on some cause of disapprobation, though he did not say what. I guessed as much. I do not see what right Mr. Darcy had to decide on the propriety of his friend's inclination, or why, upon his own judgement alone, he was to determine and direct in what manner his friend was to be happy. I know no harm of her. You will not thank me for detaining you from the bewitching converse of that young lady, whose bright eyes are also upbraiding me. Who do you mean, my dear? I know of nobody that is coming, I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in--and I hope _my_ dinners are good enough for her. It pains me to offend you. This is the last time I shall ever remember it myself. Who that knows what his misfortunes have been, can help feeling an interest in him? What would she have said? how would she have behaved? Hear me in silence. You and the girls may go, or you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley may like you the best of the party. Oh! my dear, I am quite delighted with him. I thought I should have died. My daughter and my nephew are formed for each other. They agree with me in apprehending that this false step in one daughter will be injurious to the fortunes of all the others; for who, as Lady Catherine herself condescendingly says, will connect themselves with such a family? And this consideration leads me moreover to reflect, with augmented satisfaction, on a certain event of last November; for had it been otherwise, I must have been involved in all your sorrow and disgrace. They are gone off together from Brighton. The recollection of what I then said, of my conduct, my manners, my expressions during the whole of it, is now, and has been many months, inexpressibly painful to me. Tell him I hope he will excuse me when he knows all; and tell him I will dance with him at the next ball we meet, with great pleasure. Lady Catherine is far from requiring that elegance of dress in us which becomes herself and her daughter. As for my fair cousins, though my absence may not be long enough to render it necessary, I shall now take the liberty of wishing them health and happiness, not excepting my cousin Elizabeth. His sisters' uneasiness had been equally excited with my own; our coincidence of feeling was soon discovered, and, alike sensible that no time was to be lost in detaching their brother, we shortly resolved on joining him directly in London. Lizzy, I bear you no ill-will for being justified in your advice to me last May, which, considering the event, shows some greatness of mind. You are charmingly grouped, and appear to uncommon advantage. Oh! if that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young men who live in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. It would look odd to be entirely silent for half an hour together; and yet for the advantage of _some_, conversation ought to be so arranged, as that they may have the trouble of saying as little as possible. But I was embarrassed. What I have to say relates to poor Lydia. Your daughter Elizabeth, it is presumed, will not long bear the name of Bennet, after her elder sister has resigned it, and the chosen partner of her fate may be reasonably looked up to as one of the most illustrious personages in this land. His coming into the country at all is a most insolent thing, indeed, and I wonder how he could presume to do it. How much you must have gone through! I am sick of them all. I admire the activity of your benevolence but every impulse of feeling should be guided by reason; and, in my opinion, exertion should always be in proportion to what is required. I will not be in a hurry to believe myself his first object. I could hardly keep my countenance. I will make no promise of the kind. You may imagine what I felt and how I acted. But if you are really innocent and ignorant, I must be more explicit. I am not indebted for my present happiness to your eager desire of expressing your gratitude. Tell me once for all, are you engaged to him? My visit was not long, as Caroline and Mrs. Hurst were going out. His revenge would have been complete indeed. Perhaps there was some truth in _this_; though I doubt whether _his_ reserve, or _anybody's_ reserve, can be answerable for the event. If _he_ wishes to avoid seeing _me_, he must go. He must be an oddity, I think I cannot make him out. What he told me was merely this: that he congratulated himself on having lately saved a friend from the inconveniences of a most imprudent marriage, but without mentioning names or any other particulars, and I only suspected it to be Bingley from believing him the kind of young man to get into a scrape of that sort, and from knowing them to have been together the whole of last summer. But not before they went to Brighton? It gives me great pleasure to hear that you have passed your time not disagreeably. Into _one_ house in this neighbourhood they shall never have admittance. Are you indeed? And pray what sort of guardians do you make? Does your charge give you much trouble? Young ladies of her age are sometimes a little difficult to manage, and if she has the true Darcy spirit, she may like to have her own way. This cannot be!--engaged to Mr. Darcy! No, no, you shall not deceive me. I cannot misunderstand you, but I entreat you, dear Lizzy, not to pain me by thinking _that person_ to blame, and saying your opinion of him is sunk. If you believed it impossible to be true I wonder you took the trouble of coming so far. Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our acquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. My character has ever been celebrated for its sincerity and frankness, and in a cause of such moment as this, I shall certainly not depart from it. If I were not afraid of judging harshly, I should be almost tempted to say that there is a strong appearance of duplicity in all this. You are severe on us. I am not. You need not send them word at Longbourn of my going, if you do not like it, for it will make the surprise the greater, when I write to them and sign my name 'Lydia Wickham. Thoughtless and indiscreet I can easily believe him, but this step (and let us rejoice over it) marks nothing bad at heart. I thought Miss Elizabeth Bennet looked remarkably well when she came into the room this morning. La! my dear it is not Lady Catherine. You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner. Yes, she will remain there till Christmas. Perhaps I did not always love him so well as I do now. He has not an ill-natured look. Certainly, there are such people, but I hope I am not one of _them_. I shall send for my clothes when I get to Longbourn; but I wish you would tell Sally to mend a great slit in my worked muslin gown before they are packed up. But who was your mother? Who are your uncles and aunts? Do not imagine me ignorant of their condition. And if you will stay another _month_ complete, it will be in my power to take one of you as far as London, for I am going there early in June, for a week; and as Dawson does not object to the barouche-box, there will be very good room for one of you--and indeed, if the weather should happen to be cool, I should not object to taking you both, as you are neither of you large. Sir, you quite misunderstand me Lizzy is only headstrong in such matters as these. I will go to Meryton as soon as I am dressed, and tell the good, good news to my sister Philips. It is Mr. Wickham's intention to go into the regulars; and among his former friends, there are still some who are able and willing to assist him in the army. But really, and upon my honour, I will try to do what I think to be the wisest; and now I hope you are satisfied. Though I shall always say he used my daughter extremely ill; and if I was her, I would not have put up with it. And then when we came away it was such fun! I thought we never should have got into the coach. My mother is tolerably well, I trust; though her spirits are greatly shaken. Oh! I am not afraid of her dying. Only let me assure you, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that I can from my heart most cordially wish you equal felicity in marriage. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of _you_. What a pity it is, mamma, we did not all go. Lydia has no brothers to step forward; and he might imagine, from my father's behaviour, from his indolence and the little attention he has ever seemed to give to what was going forward in his family, that _he_ would do as little, and think as little about it, as any father could do, in such a matter. He has many friends, and is at a time of life when friends and engagements are continually increasing. And then we were so merry all the way home! we talked and laughed so loud, that anybody might have heard us ten miles off! I will have no reserves from _you_. However, I recollected afterwards that if he had been prevented going, the wedding need not be put off, for Mr. Darcy might have done as well. When she did come, it was very evident that she had no pleasure in it; she made a slight, formal apology, for not calling before, said not a word of wishing to see me again, and was in every respect so altered a creature, that when she went away I was perfectly resolved to continue the acquaintance no longer. Till I have your disposition, your goodness, I never can have your happiness. It is _your_ turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. I am afraid you do not like your pen. Do not you feel a great inclination, Miss Bennet, to seize such an opportunity of dancing a reel? By this time she is actually with them! If such goodness does not make her miserable now, she will never deserve to be happy! What a meeting for her, when she first sees my aunt! I am afraid you will not be able to make it out, but I hardly know what I have written. It is the greatest of favours when Miss de Bourgh comes in. But what can have been his motive? What can have induced him to behave so cruelly? And so you like this man's sisters, too, do you? Their manners are not equal to his. But I tell you, Miss Lizzy--if you take it into your head to go on refusing every offer of marriage in this way, you will never get a husband at all--and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when your father is dead. But that is one great difference between us. Neither duty, nor honour, nor gratitude have any possible claim on me, in the present instance. Caroline decidedly says that none of the party will return into Hertfordshire this winter. Will you give me leave to defer your raptures till I write again? At present I have not room to do them justice. Kitty and Lydia take his defection much more to heart than I do. But it is so strange! I wish I could call her amiable. I shall not go away till you have given me the assurance I require. It was only said, 'Lately, George Wickham, Esq. Your first position is false. To have his errors made public might ruin him for ever. You are rather disposed to call his interference officious? Because honour, decorum, prudence, nay, interest, forbid it. Though Lydia's short letter to Mrs. F. I am glad of one thing, that he comes alone; because we shall see the less of him. But I will endeavour to banish every painful thought, and think only of what will make me happy--your affection, and the invariable kindness of my dear uncle and aunt. My reasons for marrying are, first, that I think it a right thing for every clergyman in easy circumstances (like myself) to set the example of matrimony in his parish; secondly, that I am convinced that it will add very greatly to my happiness; and thirdly--which perhaps I ought to have mentioned earlier, that it is the particular advice and recommendation of the very noble lady whom I have the honour of calling patroness. I wonder when you _would_ have spoken, if I had not asked you! My resolution of thanking you for your kindness to Lydia had certainly great effect. But we are none of us consistent, and in his behaviour to me there were stronger impulses even than pride. I shall write again as soon as anything more is determined on. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me. The soup was fifty times better than what we had at the Lucases' last week; and even Mr. Darcy acknowledged, that the partridges were remarkably well done; and I suppose he has two or three French cooks at least. Do you draw? Lydia left a few lines for his wife, informing her of their intention. I will only add, God bless you. Our distress, my dear Lizzy, is very great. He will be forgot, and we shall all be as we were before. But my feelings are not only cordial towards _him_; they are even impartial towards Miss King. The necessity must be obeyed, and further apology would be absurd. Good Heaven! can it be really so! Yet now I must believe you My dear, dear Lizzy, I would--I do congratulate you--but are you certain? forgive the question--are you quite certain that you can be happy with him? Mr. Wickham is the son of a very respectable man, who had for many years the management of all the Pemberley estates, and whose good conduct in the discharge of his trust naturally inclined my father to be of service to him; and on George Wickham, who was his godson, his kindness was therefore liberally bestowed. But let me advise you to think better of it. Not as you represent it. And so was I. And is Miss Darcy as handsome as her brother? Let me know every thing that I am to know, without delay. I am. Well, Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do I play next? My fingers wait your orders. Lydia's thoughtlessness first betrayed to me that you had been concerned in the matter; and, of course, I could not rest till I knew the particulars. But I am afraid you are giving it a turn which that gentleman did by no means intend; for he would certainly think better of me, if under such a circumstance I were to give a flat denial, and ride off as fast as I could. I am not ashamed of having been mistaken--or, at least, it is light, it is nothing in comparison of what I should feel in thinking ill of him or his sisters. I told him, moreover, that I believed myself mistaken in supposing, as I had done, that your sister was indifferent to him; and as I could easily perceive that his attachment to her was unabated, I felt no doubt of their happiness together. I must ask whether you were surprised? If we thought alike of Miss Bingley your representation of all this might make me quite easy. There is no knowing how estates will go when once they come to be entailed. She is a most charming young lady indeed. _Mr. Darcy_, you see, is the man! Now, Lizzy, I think I _have_ surprised you. Yet he knew to the contrary himself. What a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy! You conjecture is totally wrong, I assure you. Here you are in your own family. How is such a man to be worked on? How are they even to be discovered? I have not the smallest hope. No that is an advantage which he must divide with me. Compliments always take _you_ by surprise, and _me_ never. He saw Wickham, and afterwards insisted on seeing Lydia. You can now have nothing further to say You have insulted me in every possible method. They are destined for each other by the voice of every member of their respective houses; and what is to divide them? The upstart pretensions of a young woman without family, connections, or fortune. And so, my dear sister, I find, from our uncle and aunt, that you have actually seen Pemberley. Engaged to Mr. Collins! My dear Charlotte--impossible! It is of all subjects my delight. Put them next to your great-uncle the judge. What shall we do with him? Lizzy, you must walk out with him again, that he may not be in Bingley's way. Besides, it will not much signify what one wears this summer, after the ----shire have left Meryton, and they are going in a fortnight. I am not afraid of you. Miss Bingley has given me more credit than can be. Oh, no! In essentials, I believe, he is very much what he ever was. Perhaps he must, if he sees enough of her. Yet it is hard that this poor man cannot come to a house which he has legally hired, without raising all this speculation! I _will_ leave him to himself. She is so fond of Mrs. Forster it will be quite shocking to send her away! And there are several of the young men, too, that she likes very much. And so, is it quite certain he is coming? Nobody can tell what I suffer! But it is always so. I assure you that I have now learnt to enjoy his conversation as an agreeable and sensible young man, without having a wish beyond it. You know I have. Bingley likes your sister undoubtedly; but he may never do more than like her, if she does not help him on. And I think you will agree with me, in considering the removal from that corps as highly advisable, both on his account and my niece's. _He_ shall be mercenary, and _she_ shall be foolish. Nay, were your friend Lady Catherine to know me, I am persuaded she would find me in every respect ill qualified for the situation. If it was to be secret say not another word on the subject. Well it is all very right; who should do it but her own uncle? If he had not had a family of his own, I and my children must have had all his money, you know; and it is the first time we have ever had anything from him, except a few presents. It is more than I engage for, I assure you. My aunt told me so herself on Saturday. The children have been wanting me this half hour. And Lydia used to want to go to London. I depend on you for that. Mr. Darcy often acknowledged himself to be under the greatest obligations to my father's active superintendence, and when, immediately before my father's death, Mr. Darcy gave him a voluntary promise of providing for me, I am convinced that he felt it to be as much a debt of gratitude to _him_, as of his affection to myself. We were always encouraged to read, and had all the masters that were necessary. Perfectly so, I thank you. But surely I may enter his county without impunity, and rob it of a few petrified spars without his perceiving me. Pride is a very common failing, I believe. I am quite sorry, Lizzy, that you should be forced to have that disagreeable man all to yourself. 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. As it principally concerns yourself, you ought to know its contents. Thank you for if you did, I should certainly tell you all, and then Wickham would be angry. But with me, it is not so. That is as it happens. We passed each other several times. Colonel Forster will, I dare say, do everything in his power to satisfy us on this head. A low phaeton, with a nice little pair of ponies, would be the very thing. It does not often happen that the interference of friends will persuade a young man of independent fortune to think no more of a girl whom he was violently in love with only a few days before. If you mean Darcy he may go to bed, if he chooses, before it begins--but as for the ball, it is quite a settled thing; and as soon as Nicholls has made white soup enough, I shall send round my cards. She is a selfish, hypocritical woman, and I have no opinion of her. With _your_ good sense, to be so honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! Affectation of candour is common enough--one meets with it everywhere. I am no longer surprised at your knowing _only_ six accomplished women. You _are_ a gentleman's daughter. It was the favourite wish of _his_ mother, as well as of her's. And who knows what _may_ happen? But that is nothing to us. I am not to be intimidated into anything so wholly unreasonable. For we must attribute this happy conclusion in a great measure to his kindness. Well, Monday morning came, and I was in such a fuss! I was so afraid, you know, that something would happen to put it off, and then I should have gone quite distracted. Complied with! I am only ashamed of his asking so little. She is all affability and condescension, and I doubt not but you will be honoured with some portion of her notice when service is over. She is a very good kind of girl, I believe. She seems a very pleasant young woman. I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to anyone less worthy. Yes, she did. Never mind Miss Lizzy's hair. Already arisen? What, has she frightened away some of your lovers? Poor little Lizzy! But do not be cast down. I have by no means done. I cannot see why Mrs. Forster should not ask _me_ as well as Lydia Though I am _not_ her particular friend. But it has been the study of my life to avoid those weaknesses which often expose a strong understanding to ridicule. You cannot be more than twenty, I am sure, therefore you need not conceal your age. One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it. They are wanted in the farm much oftener than I can get them. They have some of the finest woods in the country. She is not such a simpleton. To be sure, Lizzy he is not so handsome as Wickham; or, rather, he has not Wickham's countenance, for his features are perfectly good. I was uncomfortable enough, I may say unhappy. For heaven's sake, madam, speak lower. I have, therefore, made up my mind to tell you, that I do not want to dance a reel at all--and now despise me if you dare. If you and Miss Bennet will defer yours till I am out of the room, I shall be very thankful; and then you may say whatever you like of me. Except when she goes to Ramsgate. She would be in nobody's way, you know, in that part of the house. But when you have had time to think it over, I hope you will be satisfied with what I have done. He shall not be in love with me, if I can prevent it. Assistance is impossible; condolence insufferable. I always said it must be so, at last. You can be at no loss, Miss Bennet, to understand the reason of my journey hither. Next time you call I hope we shall be more lucky. I am perfectly serious in my refusal. You may possibly wonder why all this was not told you last night; but I was not then master enough of myself to know what could or ought to be revealed. He merely added that he should not write again till he had something of importance to mention. Be assured, my dear sir, that Mrs. Collins and myself sincerely sympathise with you and all your respectable family, in your present distress, which must be of the bitterest kind, because proceeding from a cause which no time can remove. It must be very agreeable for her to be settled within so easy a distance of her own family and friends. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike _them_. I beg your pardon, madam, for interrupting you, but I was in hopes you might have got some good news from town, so I took the liberty of coming to ask. There is also one other person in the party who more particularly wishes to be known to you. He did trace them easily to Clapham, but no further; for on entering that place, they removed into a hackney coach, and dismissed the chaise that brought them from Epsom. Why was he to be the judge? Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matrimonial affairs, between the mercenary and the prudent motive? Where does discretion end, and avarice begin? Last Christmas you were afraid of his marrying me, because it would be imprudent; and now, because he is trying to get a girl with only ten thousand pounds, you want to find out that he is mercenary. Oh! yes. Mrs. Collins, did I tell you of Lady Metcalf's calling yesterday to thank me? She finds Miss Pope a treasure. That it ought not to be attempted. _You_ wish to think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak ill of anybody. But Lizzy! Oh, sister! It is very hard to think that she might have been Mr. Collins's wife by this time, had it not been for her own perverseness. Mr. Darcy has not authorised me to make his communication public. This is quite shocking! He deserves to be publicly disgraced. I honour your circumspection. Indeed, I could not. You had much better dance. But Mr. Gardiner could not be seen, and Mr. Darcy found, on further inquiry, that your father was still with him, but would quit town the next morning. What is your opinion? If therefore she actually persists in rejecting my suit, perhaps it were better not to force her into accepting me, because if liable to such defects of temper, she could not contribute much to my felicity. My faults, according to this calculation, are heavy indeed! But perhaps these offenses might have been overlooked, had not your pride been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that had long prevented my forming any serious design. I have told Miss Bennet several times, that she will never play really well unless she practises more; and though Mrs. Collins has no instrument, she is very welcome, as I have often told her, to come to Rosings every day, and play on the pianoforte in Mrs. Jenkinson's room. Well, I was so frightened I did not know what to do, for my uncle was to give me away; and if we were beyond the hour, we could not be married all day. If I were as rich as Mr. Darcy I should not care how proud I was. My father and Maria are coming to me in March and I hope you will consent to be of the party. We may as well wait, perhaps, till the circumstance occurs before we discuss the discretion of his behaviour thereupon. I shall now know how to act. He had not a temper to bear the sort of competition in which we stood--the sort of preference which was often given me. Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. Lydia, my love, though you _are_ the youngest, I dare say Mr. Bingley will dance with you at the next ball. It was all over before I arrived; so my curiosity was not so dreadfully racked as _your's_ seems to have been. This walk is not wide enough for our party. We were married, you know, at St. I remember, when we first knew her in Hertfordshire, how amazed we all were to find that she was a reputed beauty; and I particularly recollect your saying one night, after they had been dining at Netherfield, '_She_ a beauty!--I should as soon call her mother a wit. Not the slightest. Any place would do, of about three or four hundred a year; but however, do not speak to Mr. Darcy about it, if you had rather not. But what is to be done about Pemberley? John told us Mr. Darcy was here when you sent for us; was it so? Mr. Darcy seemed much pleased with the attention. Indeed I had. Gracechurch Street, Monday, August 2. He generously imputed the whole to his mistaken pride, and confessed that he had before thought it beneath him to lay his private actions open to the world. They were off Saturday night about twelve, as is conjectured, but were not missed till yesterday morning at eight. He spoke of it as a certain event, of which the time alone could be undecided. You may readily comprehend what my curiosity must be to know how a person unconnected with any of us, and (comparatively speaking) a stranger to our family, should have been amongst you at such a time. I am sure Lizzy will be very happy--I am sure she can have no objection. I am more likely to want more time than courage, Elizabeth. By you, I was properly humbled. And with regard to the resentment of his family, or the indignation of the world, if the former _were_ excited by his marrying me, it would not give me one moment's concern--and the world in general would have too much sense to join in the scorn. It was not all settled before Monday: as soon as it was, the express was sent off to Longbourn. Is this a hint to me, Lizzy to send for the horses? Well I wish Jane success with all my heart; and if she were married to him to-morrow, I should think she had as good a chance of happiness as if she were to be studying his character for a twelvemonth. No; but it must be done soon. I never saw a more promising inclination; he was growing quite inattentive to other people, and wholly engrossed by her. My aunt Phillips came to Longbourn on Tuesday, after my father went away; and was so good as to stay till Thursday with me. And since this sad affair has taken place, it is said that he left Meryton greatly in debt; but I hope this may be false. I am grieved indeed grieved--shocked. People do not die of little trifling colds. Oh, yes. Mr. Darcy would never have come so soon to wait upon me. I would keep a pack of foxhounds, and drink a bottle of wine a day. You know of course that Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Lady Anne Darcy were sisters; consequently that she is aunt to the present Mr. Darcy. That is all very proper and civil, I am sure and I dare say she is a very agreeable woman. I often tell young ladies that no excellence in music is to be acquired without constant practice. Mr. Collins appears to be very fortunate in his choice of a wife. I am confident that she would have performed delightfully. Miss Bennet, do you know who I am? I have not been accustomed to such language as this. Something very much to the purpose of course. Miss Eliza Bennet, let me persuade you to follow my example, and take a turn about the room. No more have I and I am glad to find that you do not depend on her serving you. As for your Elizabeth's picture, you must not have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes? It cannot last long. You are determined to ruin him in the opinion of all his friends, and make him the contempt of the world. While I can have my mornings to myself it is enough--I think it is no sacrifice to join occasionally in evening engagements. Pray tell your sister that I long to see her. But you blame me for having spoken so warmly of Wickham? His character is thereby complete. Let Wickham be _your_ man. Everybody said how well she looked; and Mr. Bingley thought her quite beautiful, and danced with her twice! Only think of _that_, my dear; he actually danced with her twice! and she was the only creature in the room that he asked a second time. In marrying your nephew, I should not consider myself as quitting that sphere. Poor Jane! I am sorry for her, because, with her disposition, she may not get over it immediately. But as we know none of the particulars, it is not fair to condemn him. Is your sister at Pemberley still? His behaviour to myself has been scandalous; but I verily believe I could forgive him anything and everything, rather than his disappointing the hopes and disgracing the memory of his father. But nothing can be done--I know very well that nothing can be done. Mr. Darcy is all politeness. It is a nice long walk, and Mr. Darcy has never seen the view. I have been a disappointed man, and my spirits will not bear solitude. I only fear that the sort of cautiousness to which you, I imagine, have been alluding, is merely adopted on his visits to his aunt, of whose good opinion and judgement he stands much in awe. Now that this first meeting is over, I feel perfectly easy. And, my dear Jane, I never saw you look in greater beauty. What made you so shy of me, when you first called, and afterwards dined here? Why, especially, when you called, did you look as if you did not care about me? Accept my thanks for the compliment you are paying me. Till I can forget his father, I can never defy or expose _him_. Oh! he is the handsomest young man that ever was seen! And now do, when you get to town, find them out, wherever they may be; and if they are not married already, _make_ them marry. The distance is nothing when one has a motive; only three miles. What think you of books? And if I had not a letter to write myself, I might sit by you and admire the evenness of your writing, as another young lady once did. She is on her road somewhere, I dare say, and so, passing through Meryton, thought she might as well call on you. These are heavy misfortunes But the wife of Mr. Darcy must have such extraordinary sources of happiness necessarily attached to her situation, that she could, upon the whole, have no cause to repine. My father bears it better. The person of whom I speak is a gentleman, and a stranger. I do not at all comprehend her reason for wishing to be intimate with me; but if the same circumstances were to happen again, I am sure I should be deceived again. Perhaps it will be as well if you discourage his coming here so very often. There are undoubtedly many who could not say the same, but thanks to Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I am removed far beyond the necessity of regarding little matters. Is your master much at Pemberley in the course of the year? I believe I have now told you every thing. I am sure you must feel it so. You see how continually we are engaged there. It was drawn at the same time as the other--about eight years ago. I shall send this by express, that no time may be lost in bringing me your answer. Your ladyship has declared it to be impossible. You are all kindness, madam; but I believe we must abide by our original plan. That lady, I suppose, is your mother. Where is your sister? They may wish many things besides his happiness; they may wish his increase of wealth and consequence; they may wish him to marry a girl who has all the importance of money, great connections, and pride. Now, I do insist upon it, that you, all of you, hold your tongues, and let me and Mr. Collins have a little conversation together. This, madam, is a faithful narrative of every event in which we have been concerned together; and if you do not absolutely reject it as false, you will, I hope, acquit me henceforth of cruelty towards Mr. Wickham. We have certainly done our best; and most fortunately having it in our power to introduce you to very superior society, and, from our connection with Rosings, the frequent means of varying the humble home scene, I think we may flatter ourselves that your Hunsford visit cannot have been entirely irksome. I would have thanked you before, my dear aunt, as I ought to have done, for your long, kind, satisfactory, detail of particulars; but to say the truth, I was too cross to write. In nursing your sister I am sure you have pleasure and I hope it will be soon increased by seeing her quite well. It will be _her_ turn soon to be teased I am going to open the instrument, Eliza, and you know what follows. Such as vanity and pride. I can recall nothing worse. I do not believe she often sees such at home. Miss Bennet would not play at all amiss if she practised more, and could have the advantage of a London master. I often tell my other girls they are nothing to _her_. But you have chosen your fault well. But I suppose you had no opportunity. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. You could not have made the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it. At least, therefore, I did not assume the character of needless precipitance merely to show off before the ladies. Women fancy admiration means more than it does. I might as well inquire why with so evident a desire of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character? Was not this some excuse for incivility, if I _was_ uncivil? But I have other provocations. But if he returns no more this winter, my choice will never be required. This is not to be borne. The officers may not be so pleasant in General----'s regiment. Pray write instantly, and let me understand it--unless it is, for very cogent reasons, to remain in the secrecy which Lydia seems to think necessary; and then I must endeavour to be satisfied with ignorance. I was sometimes quite provoked, but then I recollected my dear Elizabeth and Jane, and for their sakes had patience with her. But it ought to be done, and if you will give me a sheet of paper, it shall be done directly. I say no more than the truth, and everybody will say that knows him I have never known a cross word from him in my life, and I have known him ever since he was four years old. My reproofs at Hunsford could not work such a change as this. He is come--Mr. Bingley is come. There _is_ something a little stately in him, to be sure but it is confined to his air, and is not unbecoming. You judge very properly and it is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. You must give me leave to flatter myself, my dear cousin, that your refusal of my addresses is merely words of course. Colonel Forster gives us reason to expect him here soon. We must endeavour to forget all that has passed on either side I hope and trust they will yet be happy. With all these circumstances to favour an attachment, and nothing to prevent it, am I wrong, my dearest Jane, in indulging the hope of an event which will secure the happiness of so many? I knew it to be a most respectable, agreeable corps, and my friend Denny tempted me further by his account of their present quarters, and the very great attentions and excellent acquaintances Meryton had procured them. In such cases as this, it is, I believe, the established mode to express a sense of obligation for the sentiments avowed, however unequally they may be returned. Dear madam, do not go. My dear Lizzy, do not give way to such feelings as these. It was the prospect of constant society, and good society which was my chief inducement to enter the ----shire. You have a sweet room here, Mr. Bingley, and a charming prospect over the gravel walk. Had not my feelings decided against you--had they been indifferent, or had they even been favourable, do you think that any consideration would tempt me to accept the man who has been the means of ruining, perhaps for ever, the happiness of a most beloved sister? Oh! your father of course may spare you, if your mother can. If he means to be but little at Netherfield, it would be better for the neighbourhood that he should give up the place entirely, for then we might possibly get a settled family there. I do not pretend to regret anything I shall leave in Hertfordshire, except your society, my dearest friend; but we will hope, at some future period, to enjoy many returns of that delightful intercourse we have known, and in the meanwhile may lessen the pain of separation by a very frequent and most unreserved correspondence. All connection between us seemed now dissolved. A great many indeed. Yes, there was something in _that_; I told you so from the first, you may remember. Oh! yes--it would be much better to wait till Jane was well, and by that time most likely Captain Carter would be at Meryton again. There was just such an informality in the terms of the bequest as to give me no hope from law. Lady Catherine's great attentions to Mrs. Collins you have been a daily witness of; and altogether I trust it does not appear that your friend has drawn an unfortunate--but on this point it will be as well to be silent. I did not know before, that I had two daughters on the brink of matrimony. I will not trust myself on the subject I can hardly be just to him. I am truly glad, dearest Lizzy, that you have been spared something of these distressing scenes; but now, as the first shock is over, shall I own that I long for your return? I am not so selfish, however, as to press for it, if inconvenient. Indeed, Mr. Bennet it is very hard to think that Charlotte Lucas should ever be mistress of this house, that I should be forced to make way for _her_, and live to see her take her place in it! No--what should he? If it were not allowable for him to gain _my_ affections because I had no money, what occasion could there be for making love to a girl whom he did not care about, and who was equally poor? I would not be so fastidious as you are for a kingdom! Upon my honour, I never met with so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening; and there are several of them you see uncommonly pretty. _My_ father began life in the profession which your uncle, Mr. Phillips, appears to do so much credit to--but he gave up everything to be of use to the late Mr. Darcy and devoted all his time to the care of the Pemberley property. If _you_ have not been mistaken here, _I_ must have been in error. He is rich, to be sure, and you may have more fine clothes and fine carriages than Jane. --Could he be a sensible man, sir? Very true; and if I had my will, we should. Elizabeth Bennet is one of those young ladies who seek to recommend themselves to the other sex by undervaluing their own; and with many men, I dare say, it succeeds. I do not cough for my own amusement When is your next ball to be, Lizzy? Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane's disposition as you do. Perhaps preparing for his marriage with Miss de Bourgh It must be something particular, to take him there at this time of year. Far be it from me, my dear sister, to depreciate such pleasures! They would doubtless be congenial with the generality of female minds. It is really too great a violation of decency, honour, and interest, for him to be guilty of. How can you contrive to write so even? May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study? With the officers! I wonder my aunt did not tell us of _that_. A scheme of which every part promises delight can never be successful; and general disappointment is only warded off by the defence of some little peculiar vexation. I think she will be pleased with the hermitage. You will find her manners beyond anything I can describe; and your wit and vivacity, I think, must be acceptable to her, especially when tempered with the silence and respect which her rank will inevitably excite. You doubt me indeed, you have no reason. I mention it, because it is the living which I ought to have had. And with no one to speak to about what I felt, no Jane to comfort me and say that I had not been so very weak and vain and nonsensical as I knew I had! Oh! how I wanted you! Our poor mother is sadly grieved. My mind was more agreeably engaged. Go, my dear and show her ladyship about the different walks. Your mother must have been quite a slave to your education. Her indifferent state of health unhappily prevents her being in town; and by that means, as I told Lady Catherine one day, has deprived the British court of its brightest ornaments. I shall not sport with your impatience, by reading what he says on that point. But you do not know _all_. I talked about the dance, and _you_ ought to make some sort of remark on the size of the room, or the number of couples. Her behaviour to my dear Charlotte is charming. We accordingly went--and there I readily engaged in the office of pointing out to my friend the certain evils of such a choice. He is certainly a good brother. She has no money, no connections, nothing that can tempt him to--she is lost for ever. I have said no such thing. And this is your real opinion! This is your final resolve! Very well. He only meant that there was not such a variety of people to be met with in the country as in the town, which you must acknowledge to be true. I was ready to die of laughter. Lady Catherine herself says that, in point of true beauty, Miss de Bourgh is far superior to the handsomest of her sex, because there is that in her features which marks the young lady of distinguished birth. Oh! Your uncle! He keeps a man-servant, does he? I am very glad you have somebody who thinks of these things. I am much obliged to your ladyship for your kind invitation but it is not in my power to accept it. Yes, in conjunction with his friend. From what I can collect, he left Derbyshire only one day after ourselves, and came to town with the resolution of hunting for them. If one could but go to Brighton! His consenting to marry her is a proof, I will believe, that he is come to a right way of thinking. But you would not wish to be dancing when she is ill. You are not well enough; you cannot go yourself. But the case is this: We are not rich enough or grand enough for them; and she is the more anxious to get Miss Darcy for her brother, from the notion that when there has been _one_ intermarriage, she may have less trouble in achieving a second; in which there is certainly some ingenuity, and I dare say it would succeed, if Miss de Bourgh were out of the way. And my aunt Phillips is sure it would do _me_ a great deal of good. The old lady is Mrs. Jenkinson, who lives with them; the other is Miss de Bourgh. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. I should like balls infinitely better if they were carried on in a different manner; but there is something insufferably tedious in the usual process of such a meeting. I was not in a humour to wait for any opening of your's. There was one part especially, the opening of it, which I should dread your having the power of reading again. I believe him to be Lady Catherine's _nephew_. I have heard from authority, which I thought _as good_, that it was left you conditionally only, and at the will of the present patron. That I was desirous of believing her indifferent is certain--but I will venture to say that my investigation and decisions are not usually influenced by my hopes or fears. I never heard that it was. When I said that he improved on acquaintance, I did not mean that his mind or his manners were in a state of improvement, but that, from knowing him better, his disposition was better understood. Very true, indeed; and now, my dear Jane, what have you got to say on behalf of the interested people who have probably been concerned in the business? Do clear _them_ too, or we shall be obliged to think ill of somebody. Had I but explained some part of it only--some part of what I learnt, to my own family! Had his character been known, this could not have happened. Mr. Darcy is engaged to my daughter. To treat in such a manner the godson, the friend, the favourite of his father! A young man, too, like _you_, whose very countenance may vouch for your being amiable and one, too, who had probably been his companion from childhood, connected together, as I think you said, in the closest manner! Do your sisters play and sing? 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. Why is he so altered? From what can it proceed? It cannot be for _me_--it cannot be for _my_ sake that his manners are thus softened. But I am at his disposal. But Bingley has great natural modesty, with a stronger dependence on my judgement than on his own. Care of him! Yes, I really believe Darcy _does_ take care of him in those points where he most wants care. You tear them to pieces. My dearest Lizzy will, I am sure, be incapable of triumphing in her better judgement, at my expense, when I confess myself to have been entirely deceived in Miss Bingley's regard for me. I saw them the night before last. I am not likely to leave Kent for some time. And your assurance of it, I suppose, carried immediate conviction to him. I am prodigiously proud of him. So he inquired who she was, and got introduced, and asked her for the two next. You must give me leave to judge for myself, and pay me the compliment of believing what I say. Yes; where else can they be so well concealed? Though Mr. Bennet was not imagined to be very rich, he would have been able to do something for him, and his situation must have been benefited by marriage. Good girl! It would vex me, indeed, to see you again the dupe of Miss Bingley's pretended regard. Miss Bennet, I insist on being satisfied. Mamma would like to go too of all things! Only think what a miserable summer else we shall have! But it is all--all too late now. We had better go into the avenue. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could _feel_ gratitude, I would now thank you. She has a very good notion of fingering, though her taste is not equal to Anne's. First, that you will allow me the free use of my understanding on the present occasion; and secondly, of my room. Yes; and they have another, who lives somewhere near Cheapside. Good Heaven! Brighton, and a whole campful of soldiers, to us, who have been overset already by one poor regiment of militia, and the monthly balls of Meryton! Find such a woman as soon as you can, bring her to Hunsford, and I will visit her. Her daughter, Miss de Bourgh, will have a very large fortune, and it is believed that she and her cousin will unite the two estates. An easy distance, do you call it? It is nearly fifty miles. You do not know what he really is; then pray do not pain me by speaking of him in such terms. The Miss Webbs all play, and their father has not so good an income as yours. This seems a very comfortable house. It only shows her being deficient in something herself--sense or feeling. I have suspected it some time, but I am now convinced. So, Miss Eliza, I hear you are quite delighted with George Wickham! Your sister has been talking to me about him, and asking me a thousand questions; and I find that the young man quite forgot to tell you, among his other communication, that he was the son of old Wickham, the late Mr. Darcy's steward. But they are very pleasing women when you converse with them. I do not believe Mrs. Long will do any such thing. I began to be afraid you would never come back again. Is this meant for me? And pray, what is the usual price of an earl's younger son? Unless the elder brother is very sickly, I suppose you would not ask above fifty thousand pounds. But my dearest love, tell me what dish Mr. Darcy is particularly fond of, that I may have it to-morrow. Could she exert herself, it would be better; but this is not to be expected. Let them triumph over us at a distance, and be satisfied. Lady Lucas herself has often said so, and envied me Jane's beauty. As soon as ever Mr. Bingley comes, my dear you will wait on him of course. No really I think there cannot be too little said on the subject. I hope she will turn out well. But I hope you will not mind it: it is all for Jane's sake, you know; and there is no occasion for talking to him, except just now and then. But I ought to beg his pardon, for I have no right to suppose that Bingley was the person meant. It does seem, and it is most shocking indeed that a sister's sense of decency and virtue in such a point should admit of doubt. And what did she say? Good heavens! but how could _that_ be? How could his will be disregarded? Why did you not seek legal redress? When they all removed to Brighton, therefore, you had no reason, I suppose, to believe them fond of each other? You do not blame me, however, for refusing him? You, who so well know my feeling towards Mr. Darcy, will readily comprehend how sincerely I must rejoice that he is wise enough to assume even the _appearance_ of what is right. But afterwards she seemed to improve on you, and I believe you thought her rather pretty at one time. He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I should never dare refuse anything, which he condescended to ask. Yes; and I told him we should not be able to keep our engagement. He did not judge your father to be a person whom he could so properly consult as your uncle, and therefore readily postponed seeing him till after the departure of the former. She shall hear my opinion. It was an encouragement of vice; and had I been the rector of Longbourn, I should very strenuously have opposed it. And there is something of dignity in his countenance that would not give one an unfavourable idea of his heart. I found that Miss Darcy was expected to dinner. All this she must possess and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading. Though it is difficult to guess in what way he can mean to make us the atonement he thinks our due, the wish is certainly to his credit. The men shan't come and part us, I am determined. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general, you know, they visit no newcomers. Till I was in Kent, and saw so much both of Mr. Darcy and his relation Colonel Fitzwilliam, I was ignorant of the truth myself. Wickham of course wanted more than he could get; but at length was reduced to be reasonable. Then you must comprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman. Let me thank you again and again, in the name of all my family, for that generous compassion which induced you to take so much trouble, and bear so many mortifications, for the sake of discovering them. Were it known to the rest of my family, I should not have merely my own gratitude to express. Why should they try to influence him? They can only wish his happiness; and if he is attached to me, no other woman can secure it. And what has been done, what has been attempted, to recover her? Oh, yes!--if one could but go to Brighton! But papa is so disagreeable. My beauty you had early withstood, and as for my manners--my behaviour to _you_ was at least always bordering on the uncivil, and I never spoke to you without rather wishing to give you pain than not. You are considering how insupportable it would be to pass many evenings in this manner--in such society; and indeed I am quite of your opinion. Indeed he has no improper pride. There is nothing else to be done. It amazes me, I confess; for, certainly, there can be nothing so advantageous to them as instruction. The reason why all this was to be done by him alone, was such as I have given above. A gamester! This is wholly unexpected. It has been a very agreeable day The party seemed so well selected, so suitable one with the other. Is not this nice? Is not this an agreeable surprise? I sincerely hope your Christmas in Hertfordshire may abound in the gaieties which that season generally brings, and that your beaux will be so numerous as to prevent your feeling the loss of the three of whom we shall deprive you. But will they make you happy? I must beg, therefore, to be importuned no farther on the subject. But in matters of greater weight, I may suffer from want of money. His surprise was great. Were the whole arrangement complete, my disappointment would be certain. I knew how it would be. What do you mean? His debts are to be paid, amounting, I believe, to considerably more than a thousand pounds, another thousand in addition to her own settled upon _her_, and his commission purchased. I cannot but wonder, however, at her having any such fears now, because, if he had at all cared about me, we must have met, long ago. How does Georgiana get on, Darcy? Shall you ever have courage to announce to Lady Catherine what is to befall her? I speak nothing but the truth. To be sure London was rather thin, but, however, the Little Theatre was open. I am quite well; I am only distressed by some dreadful news which I have just received from Longbourn. And when I returned home, the ----shire was to leave Meryton in a week or fortnight's time. And what is fifty miles of good road? Little more than half a day's journey. No, that I am sure I shall not; and I think it is very impertinent of him to write to you at all, and very hypocritical. She did indeed. Oh well! it is just as he chooses. Would you believe it, Lizzy, that when he went to town last November, he really loved me, and nothing but a persuasion of _my_ being indifferent would have prevented his coming down again! I am sure I cried for two days together when Colonel Miller's regiment went away. No, I thank you There is nothing the matter with me. Vain, ignorant, idle, and absolutely uncontrolled! Oh! my dear father, can you suppose it possible that they will not be censured and despised wherever they are known, and that their sisters will not be often involved in the disgrace? In point of composition the letter does not seem defective. And have you heard from him often? My younger sister has left all her friends--has eloped; has thrown herself into the power of--of Mr. Wickham. She has been allowed to dispose of her time in the most idle and frivolous manner, and to adopt any opinions that came in her way. There is a mixture of servility and self-importance in his letter, which promises well. Undoubtedly there is a meanness in _all_ the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. But he found Lydia absolutely resolved on remaining where she was. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done. It cannot be done too much; and when I next write to her, I shall charge her not to neglect it on any account. He is a sweet-tempered, amiable, charming man. I do not recollect that we did. I have certainly meant well through the whole affair. Lady Catherine's unjustifiable endeavours to separate us were the means of removing all my doubts. As I did the other day very true, it will be wise in me to refrain from _that_. Yet, indeed, I am in earnest. Be not alarmed, madam, on receiving this letter, by the apprehension of its containing any repetition of those sentiments or renewal of those offers which were last night so disgusting to you. It is such a spur to one's genius, such an opening for wit, to have a dislike of that kind. And now nothing remains for me but to assure you in the most animated language of the violence of my affection. It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking, and looking, and thinking for _your_ approbation alone. Do not give way to useless alarm though it is right to be prepared for the worst, there is no occasion to look on it as certain. Where shall you change horses? Oh! Bromley, of course. And what sort of young lady is she? Is she handsome? Lord! how I should like to be married before any of you; and then I would chaperon you about to all the balls. How long has she been such a favourite?--and pray, when am I to wish you joy? I comfort myself with thinking that he certainly would not marry Lydia if he had not a real regard for her. Elizabeth will soon be the wife of Mr. Darcy. I desire you will do no such thing. I will take care of myself, and of Mr. Wickham too. It will be in my power to assure him that her ladyship was quite well yesterday se'nnight. Perhaps other people have said so before, but not one with such justice. I had not been long in Hertfordshire, before I saw, in common with others, that Bingley preferred your elder sister to any other young woman in the country. If it was not for the entail, I should not mind it. His behaviour to us has, in every respect, been as pleasing as when we were in Derbyshire. The engagement between them is of a peculiar kind. It is a relation which you tell me is to give you great surprise; I hope at least it will not afford you any displeasure. It is a delightful thing, to be sure, to have a daughter well married but at the same time, Mr. Bingley, it is very hard to have her taken such a way from me. Surely there can be no occasion for exposing him so dreadfully. What do you think of _this_ sentence, my dear Lizzy? Is it not clear enough? Does it not expressly declare that Caroline neither expects nor wishes me to be her sister; that she is perfectly convinced of her brother's indifference; and that if she suspects the nature of my feelings for him, she means (most kindly!) to put me on my guard? Can there be any other opinion on the subject? You must contrive to send somebody. Your profusion makes me saving; and if you lament over him much longer, my heart will be as light as a feather. I am glad you are come, for there is such fun here! What do you think has happened this morning? Mr. Collins has made an offer to Lizzy, and she will not have him. She follows him to town in hope of keeping him there, and tries to persuade you that he does not care about you. If you'll believe me, I did not once put my foot out of doors, though I was there a fortnight. Do let us have a little music Louisa, you will not mind my waking Mr. Hurst? He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably. Had you then persuaded yourself that I should? But, my dear, your father cannot spare the horses, I am sure. It _is_ wonderful for almost all his actions may be traced to pride; and pride had often been his best friend. She is abominably rude to keep Charlotte out of doors in all this wind. Oh! no--it is not for _me_ to be driven away by Mr. Darcy. Here are officers enough in Meryton to disappoint all the young ladies in the country. Perhaps he thought her too young. I have done with you from this very day. You cannot be too much upon your guard. _That_ will make your ladyship's situation at present more pitiable; but it will have no effect on me. What, none of you? Perhaps I should have judged better, had I sought an introduction; but I am ill-qualified to recommend myself to strangers. I shall never forget her appearance this morning. But Lizzy, you have been very sly, very reserved with me. Undoubtedly. I beg you will not go. I could not allow myself to conceal that your sister had been in town three months last winter, that I had known it, and purposely kept it from him. My dear Mr. Bennet have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last? Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where I shall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner nor sense to recommend him. Colonel Forster did own that he had often suspected some partiality, especially on Lydia's side, but nothing to give him any alarm. Kitty then owned, with a very natural triumph on knowing more than the rest of us, that in Lydia's last letter she had prepared her for such a step. True but it is a comfort to think that whatever of that kind may befall you, you have an affectionate mother who will make the most of it. Good gracious! if that disagreeable Mr. Darcy is not coming here again with our dear Bingley! What can he mean by being so tiresome as to be always coming here? I had no notion but he would go a-shooting, or something or other, and not disturb us with his company. I dare say Mr. Bingley will be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever he chooses of the girls; though I must throw in a good word for my little Lizzy. That is the place to get husbands. _My_ affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever. But it is of small importance. It is unaccountable! In every view it is unaccountable! Howsoever that may be, you are grievously to be pitied; in which opinion I am not only joined by Mrs. Collins, but likewise by Lady Catherine and her daughter, to whom I have related the affair. Oh, papa, what news--what news? Have you heard from my uncle? Oh! dear, yes; but you must own she is very plain. But my father cannot. If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure. Perhaps that is not possible for anyone. Our plain manner of living, our small rooms and few domestics, and the little we see of the world, must make Hunsford extremely dull to a young lady like yourself; but I hope you will believe us grateful for the condescension, and that we have done everything in our power to prevent your spending your time unpleasantly. Wickham will never marry a woman without some money. Your sister I also watched. He has children of his own, and may have more. Indeed, Mr. Collins, all praise of me will be unnecessary. You are quite right. Colonel Forster came yesterday, having left Brighton the day before, not many hours after the express. Yes, and I hope to engage you to be serious likewise. He and his sisters were well, I hope, when you left London? Their society can afford no pleasure that will atone for such wretchedness as this! Let me never see either one or the other again! I shall be very fit to see Jane--which is all I want. But pride--where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation. Mr. Darcy may hug himself. Did you not think, Mr. Darcy, that I expressed myself uncommonly well just now, when I was teasing Colonel Forster to give us a ball at Meryton? Yes--the late Mr. Darcy bequeathed me the next presentation of the best living in his gift. A man who had felt less, might. My love, should not you like to see a place of which you have heard so much? a place, too, with which so many of your acquaintances are connected. He did not leave his name, and till the next day it was only known that a gentleman had called on business. You must and shall be married by a special licence. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. Our situation with regard to Lady Catherine's family is indeed the sort of extraordinary advantage and blessing which few can boast. Consider Mr. Collins's respectability, and Charlotte's steady, prudent character. Have you any other objection than your belief of my indifference? You are mistaken. Caroline is incapable of wilfully deceiving anyone; and all that I can hope in this case is that she is deceiving herself. Choose properly, choose a gentlewoman for _my_ sake; and for your _own_, let her be an active, useful sort of person, not brought up high, but able to make a small income go a good way. He dined with us the next day, and was to leave town again on Wednesday or Thursday. The _present_ always occupies you in such scenes--does it? Upon my word, I cannot exactly explain the matter; Darcy must speak for himself. These recollections will not do at all. I must think your language too strong in speaking of both and I hope you will be convinced of it by seeing them happy together. Take whatever you like, and get away. But the fact is, that we are very different sort of men, and that he hates me. I shall be glad to have the library to myself as soon as may be. As I must therefore conclude that you are not serious in your rejection of me, I shall choose to attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females. Are you much acquainted with Mr. Darcy? Let _our_ first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers. Tell her that you insist upon her marrying him. Adieu! I take up my pen again to do what I have just told you I would not; but circumstances are such that I cannot help earnestly begging you all to come here as soon as possible. But I will no longer importune my young cousin. Don't keep coughing so, Kitty, for Heaven's sake! Have a little compassion on my nerves. Your sweetness and disinterestedness are really angelic; I do not know what to say to you. _You_ cannot have a right to such very strong local attachment. Mr. Darcy asked him why he had not married your sister at once. He does not want abilities. It appears to me so very unlikely that any young man should form such a design against a girl who is by no means unprotected or friendless, and who was actually staying in his colonel's family, that I am strongly inclined to hope the best. The word is applied to many a woman who deserves it no otherwise than by netting a purse or covering a screen. He simpers, and smirks, and makes love to us all. Oh! my dear, dear Jane, I am so happy! I am sure I shan't get a wink of sleep all night. Do you not think it would be a proper compliment to the place? Daughters are never of so much consequence to a father. But with such a father and mother, and such low connections, I am afraid there is no chance of it. A little sea-bathing would set me up forever. And what is your success? It taught me to hope as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before. And of your infliction You have reduced him to his present state of poverty--comparative poverty. Not to appear to disgrace his family, to degenerate from the popular qualities, or lose the influence of the Pemberley House, is a powerful motive. I hope they will not meet at all. I hope we may often meet again. If you, my dear father, will not take the trouble of checking her exuberant spirits, and of teaching her that her present pursuits are not to be the business of her life, she will soon be beyond the reach of amendment. You will be a very happy woman. Oh! I am not afraid; for though I _am_ the youngest, I'm the tallest. Perhaps by and by I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones. Are you quite sure that you feel what you ought to do? You mentioned _two_ instances. Yes, there can; for mine is totally different. Some time or other he _will_ be--but it shall not be by _me_. If he had had any compassion for _me_ he would not have danced half so much! For God's sake, say no more of his partners. It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come, since you will not visit them. Yes--but as it happens, they are all of them very clever. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure. How wonderfully these sort of things occur! Who would have thought of my meeting with, perhaps, a nephew of Lady Catherine de Bourgh in this assembly! I am most thankful that the discovery is made in time for me to pay my respects to him, which I am now going to do, and trust he will excuse my not having done it before. Where there is fortune to make the expenses of travelling unimportant, distance becomes no evil. He is so excessively handsome! And his sisters are charming women. His debts to be discharged, and something still to remain! Oh! it must be my uncle's doings! Generous, good man, I am afraid he has distressed himself. Oh! I am excessively diverted. It is a pity that great ladies in general are not more like her. Can you possibly guess, Lizzy, who is meant by this? She will drop the acquaintance entirely. Yes, madam She is my youngest girl but one. Did you see him while you were at Lambton? I thought I understood from the Gardiners that you had. They must all go to Brighton. I admire all my three sons-in-law highly Wickham, perhaps, is my favourite; but I think I shall like _your_ husband quite as well as Jane's. We will settle with your father about the money afterwards; but the things should be ordered immediately. At that ball, while I had the honour of dancing with you, I was first made acquainted, by Sir William Lucas's accidental information, that Bingley's attentions to your sister had given rise to a general expectation of their marriage. Your cousin will give you a very pretty notion of me, and teach you not to believe a word I say. I dare say the lace upon Mrs. Hurst's gown-- Did not you? I did for you. One cannot know what a man really is by the end of a fortnight. When I am in the country I never wish to leave it; and when I am in town it is pretty much the same. We seem to have been designed for each other. I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library in such days as these. But she is very young; she has never been taught to think on serious subjects; and for the last half-year, nay, for a twelvemonth--she has been given up to nothing but amusement and vanity. I am so pleased--so happy. After making every possible inquiry on that side London, Colonel F. You take an eager interest in that gentleman's concerns. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed; that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. There is one point on which I want your advice. You have done all this! and yet you can treat the mention of his misfortune with contempt and ridicule. How you must have hated me after _that_ evening? I shall never be quite happy till I have been all round the park. When my niece Georgiana went to Ramsgate last summer, I made a point of her having two men-servants go with her. She will follow wherever Lydia leads. And this is the end of all his friend's anxious circumspection! of all his sister's falsehood and contrivance! the happiest, wisest, most reasonable end! I never heard any harm of her; and I dare say she is one of the most tractable creatures in the world. But does not Jane correspond with his sister? _She_ will not be able to help calling. Mrs. Long said so too, for I asked her whether you did not. Oh! certainly we will ask you no questions. Oh! then--some time or other we shall be happy to hear you. Till this moment I never knew myself. How despicably I have acted! I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable mistrust! How humiliating is this discovery! Yet, how just a humiliation! Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind! But vanity, not love, has been my folly. Had they fixed on any other man it would have been nothing; but _his_ perfect indifference, and _your_ pointed dislike, make it so delightfully absurd! Much as I abominate writing, I would not give up Mr. Collins's correspondence for any consideration. And poor Mr. Darcy! Dear Lizzy, only consider what he must have suffered. But that gentleman seemed to think the country was nothing at all. I cannot be otherwise than concerned at being the means of injuring your amiable daughters, and beg leave to apologise for it, as well as to assure you of my readiness to make them every possible amends--but of this hereafter. Tease him--laugh at him. Certain it is, that the living became vacant two years ago, exactly as I was of an age to hold it, and that it was given to another man; and no less certain is it, that I cannot accuse myself of having really done anything to deserve to lose it. My poor mother is really ill, and keeps her room. What a good joke it will be! I can hardly write for laughing. I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. You are safe from me. Let us hope for better things. This must be a most inconvenient sitting room for the evening, in summer; the windows are full west. Pray, how _violent was_ Mr. Bingley's love? There is some sense in what he says about the girls, however, and if he is disposed to make them any amends, I shall not be the person to discourage him. I shall offer to pay him to-morrow; he will rant and storm about his love for you, and there will be an end of the matter. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. Many circumstances might make it more eligible for them to be married privately in town than to pursue their first plan; and even if _he_ could form such a design against a young woman of Lydia's connections, which is not likely, can I suppose her so lost to everything? Impossible! I grieve to find, however, that Colonel F. Yes, he went on Tuesday, as I wrote you word. Oh! Jane was there a servant belonging to it who did not know the whole story before the end of the day? His most particular friend, you see by Jane's account, was persuaded of his never intending to marry her. We acted with the best intentions. Aye, so it is and Mrs. Long does not come back till the day before; so it will be impossible for her to introduce him, for she will not know him herself. My friend has an excellent understanding--though I am not certain that I consider her marrying Mr. Collins as the wisest thing she ever did. But, my dear sister, can I be happy, even supposing the best, in accepting a man whose sisters and friends are all wishing him to marry elsewhere? I think you said she was a widow, sir? Has she any family? But she is perfectly amiable, and often condescends to drive by my humble abode in her little phaeton and ponies. Not one party, or scheme, or anything. I never heard of her existence till the day before yesterday. That is capital. We do not suffer by _accident_. You deserve no such attention. The letter shall certainly be burnt, if you believe it essential to the preservation of my regard; but, though we have both reason to think my opinions not entirely unalterable, they are not, I hope, quite so easily changed as that implies. But you are not entitled to know mine; nor will such behaviour as this, ever induce me to be explicit. Well, and so just as the carriage came to the door, my uncle was called away upon business to that horrid man Mr. Stone. I must confess myself surprised by your application; I did not expect it from _you_. My dear Jane, Mr. Collins is a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man; you know he is, as well as I do; and you must feel, as well as I do, that the woman who married him cannot have a proper way of thinking. Indeed I have, sir She is a great deal too ill to be moved. I did not think you would; and that being the case, I cannot consider your situation with much compassion. But why should you wish to persuade me that I feel more than I acknowledge? And what do you think she said besides? 'Ah! Mrs. Bennet, we shall have her at Netherfield at last. He made a little mistake to be sure; but it is to the credit of his modesty. I remember the time when I liked a red coat myself very well--and, indeed, so I do still at my heart; and if a smart young colonel, with five or six thousand a year, should want one of my girls I shall not say nay to him; and I thought Colonel Forster looked very becoming the other night at Sir William's in his regimentals. Mrs. Collins will be very glad of your company, I am sure. Wickham passed all his youth there, you know. I am afraid you have been long desiring my absence, nor have I anything to plead in excuse of my stay, but real, though unavailing concern. Long before it had taken place my opinion of you was decided. I had once had some thought of fixing in town myself--for I am fond of superior society; but I did not feel quite certain that the air of London would agree with Lady Lucas. I came to try you. Every girl in or near Meryton was out of her senses about him for the first two months; but he never distinguished _her_ by any particular attention; and, consequently, after a moderate period of extravagant and wild admiration, her fancy for him gave way, and others of the regiment, who treated her with more distinction, again became her favourites. Mr. what's-his-name. Yes, Miss Elizabeth, you will have the honour of seeing Lady Catherine de Bourgh on the ensuing Sunday at church, and I need not say you will be delighted with her. He is, indeed; but, considering the inducement, my dear Miss Eliza, we cannot wonder at his complaisance--for who would object to such a partner? _Her_ not objecting does not justify _him_. We _will_ know where we have gone--we _will_ recollect what we have seen. Good God! what is the matter? I will not detain you a minute; but let me, or let the servant go after Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. And do you really know all this? I had not thought Mr. Darcy so bad as this--though I have never liked him. These causes must be stated, though briefly. How he lived I know not. Mrs. Bennet, have you no more lanes hereabouts in which Lizzy may lose her way again to-day? Importance may sometimes be purchased too dearly. Do let the portraits of your uncle and aunt Phillips be placed in the gallery at Pemberley. Everybody is disgusted with his pride. He studies too much for words of four syllables. Do you certainly leave Kent on Saturday? Are they indeed! If she is half as sharp as her mother, she is saving enough. I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance a second time. But he is an ugly fellow! I am glad he is gone. I take no leave of you, Miss Bennet. Could I expect it to be otherwise! Yet why did he come? You are not going to be _missish_, I hope, and pretend to be affronted at an idle report. But whatever may be the sentiments which Mr. Wickham has created, a suspicion of their nature shall not prevent me from unfolding his real character--it adds even another motive. _You_ are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room. At such an assembly as this it would be insupportable. Oh, yes!--he was to come there with Wickham, you know. I hope you have destroyed the letter. If, therefore, an excuse for not keeping his promise should come to his friend within a few days I shall know how to understand it. Only this; that if he is so, you can have no reason to suppose he will make an offer to me. Oh! my dear brother that is exactly what I could most wish for. Her nose wants character--there is nothing marked in its lines. Lizzy, I never gave _you_ an account of my wedding, I believe. Will you allow me, or do I ask too much, to introduce my sister to your acquaintance during your stay at Lambton? I believe she did--and I am sure she could not have bestowed her kindness on a more grateful object. Why, I must confess that I love him better than I do Bingley. Sometimes. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. Ignorant as you previously were of everything concerning either, detection could not be in your power, and suspicion certainly not in your inclination. How can you be so silly as to think of such a thing, in all this dirt! You will not be fit to be seen when you get there. But I shall not scruple to assert, that the serenity of your sister's countenance and air was such as might have given the most acute observer a conviction that, however amiable her temper, her heart was not likely to be easily touched. I only hope they may have half my good luck. The idea of the olive-branch perhaps is not wholly new, yet I think it is well expressed. She says Lizzy had better have taken Mr. Collins; but _I_ do not think there would have been any fun in it. But the fact is, that being, as I am, to inherit this estate after the death of your honoured father (who, however, may live many years longer), I could not satisfy myself without resolving to choose a wife from among his daughters, that the loss to them might be as little as possible, when the melancholy event takes place--which, however, as I have already said, may not be for several years. In the first place there is no absolute proof that they are not gone to Scotland. I will put on my things in a moment. Oh, yes!--of that kind of love which I suppose him to have felt. Well, Lizzy and so the Collinses live very comfortable, do they? Well, well, I only hope it will last. Your retrospections must be so totally void of reproach, that the contentment arising from them is not of philosophy, but, what is much better, of innocence. Society, I own, is necessary to me. I am so grieved for him! His behaviour was attentive and kind to the utmost. But you will of course wish to have your humble respects delivered to them, with your grateful thanks for their kindness to you while you have been here. I was certainly very far from expecting them to make so strong an impression. Did you go by the village of Kympton? We must trespass a little longer on your kindness. I beg you would not put it into Lizzy's head to be vexed by his ill-treatment, for he is such a disagreeable man, that it would be quite a misfortune to be liked by him. She is a handsome girl, about fifteen or sixteen, and, I understand, highly accomplished. I told you in the library, you know, that I should never speak to you again, and you will find me as good as my word. He may live in my memory as the most amiable man of my acquaintance, but that is all. But tell me, what did you come down to Netherfield for? Was it merely to ride to Longbourn and be embarrassed? or had you intended any more serious consequence? Nobody wants him to come. Oh that I had been with you! you have had every care and anxiety upon yourself alone. I should never have considered the distance as one of the _advantages_ of the match I should never have said Mrs. Collins was settled _near_ her family. Mr. Darcy was punctual in his return, and as Lydia informed you, attended the wedding. There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil--a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome. I hope he will overlook it. No, Lizzy, that is what I do _not_ choose. I know not, Miss Elizabeth whether Mrs. Collins has yet expressed her sense of your kindness in coming to us; but I am very certain you will not leave the house without receiving her thanks for it. At length, however, our kind friend procured the wished-for direction. Ah! sir, I do indeed. But are you pleased, Jane? Shall you like to have such a brother? I am far from attributing any part of Mr. Bingley's conduct to design but without scheming to do wrong, or to make others unhappy, there may be error, and there may be misery. What will you think of my vanity? I believed you to be wishing, expecting my addresses. Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all. Did Charlotte dine with you? I wonder he does not marry, to secure a lasting convenience of that kind. Dear madam don't you know there is an express come for master from Mr. Gardiner? He has been here this half-hour, and master has had a letter. I have not forgot, you see; and I assure you, I was very much disappointed that you did not come back and keep your engagement. This is a wretched beginning indeed! My sole dependence was on you; and I am sure nobody else will believe me, if you do not. We may compare our different opinions. My dear Charlotte and I have but one mind and one way of thinking. But these, I suppose, are precisely what you are without. Yes, almost every day. Tell him what a dreadful state I am in, that I am frighted out of my wits--and have such tremblings, such flutterings, all over me--such spasms in my side and pains in my head, and such beatings at heart, that I can get no rest by night nor by day. Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy? Of what he has _particularly_ accused me I am ignorant; but of the truth of what I shall relate, I can summon more than one witness of undoubted veracity. Aye, that is just like your formality and discretion. There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. It is well. They have each their advantages, and I can be equally happy in either. I should never be happy without him, so think it no harm to be off. And yet, upon my honour, I believe what I said of myself to be true, and I believe it at this moment. But amidst your concern for the defects of your nearest relations, and your displeasure at this representation of them, let it give you consolation to consider that, to have conducted yourselves so as to avoid any share of the like censure, is praise no less generally bestowed on you and your elder sister, than it is honourable to the sense and disposition of both. And they are really to be married! How strange this is! And for _this_ we are to be thankful. Tease calmness of manner and presence of mind! No, no--feel he may defy us there. Design! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he _may_ fall in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he comes. I assure you that I have long been most heartily ashamed of it. Nay this is not fair. I am sick of Mr. Bingley. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast. How should you have liked making sermons? Lizzy, my dear, I want to speak with you. But may we not hope that the period of future happiness to which Miss Bingley looks forward may arrive earlier than she is aware, and that the delightful intercourse you have known as friends will be renewed with yet greater satisfaction as sisters? Mr. Bingley will not be detained in London by them. And _that_ I suppose is one of your sisters. But enough of this. This letter is from Mr. Collins. The particulars I reserve till we meet; it is enough to know they are discovered. An excellent consolation in its way but it will not do for _us_. It is a proof of your own attachment to Hertfordshire. I do not at all know; but I _heard_ nothing of his going away when I was at Netherfield. I have not been at all able to account for the honour of seeing you here. If you love Mr. Darcy half as well as I do my dear Wickham, you must be very happy. Our instrument is a capital one, probably superior to----You shall try it some day. Must it be so? And what claims has Lydia--what attraction has she beyond youth, health, and good humour that could make him, for her sake, forego every chance of benefiting himself by marrying well? As to what restraint the apprehensions of disgrace in the corps might throw on a dishonourable elopement with her, I am not able to judge; for I know nothing of the effects that such a step might produce. I cannot be so easily reconciled to myself. But these things happen so often! A young man, such as you describe Mr. Bingley, so easily falls in love with a pretty girl for a few weeks, and when accident separates them, so easily forgets her, that these sort of inconsistencies are very frequent. It has often led him to be liberal and generous, to give his money freely, to display hospitality, to assist his tenants, and relieve the poor. Did you see it? If you were aware of the very great disadvantage to us all which must arise from the public notice of Lydia's unguarded and imprudent manner--nay, which has already arisen from it, I am sure you would judge differently in the affair. He called it, therefore, his duty to step forward, and endeavour to remedy an evil which had been brought on by himself. I hope your plans in favour of the ----shire will not be affected by his being in the neighbourhood. Yes, yes, they must marry. Oh! where, where is my uncle? I beg your pardon, but I must leave you. If you will only tell me what sort of girl Miss King is, I shall know what to think. Are you not diverted? My mother was taken ill immediately, and the whole house in such confusion! It ought to be so; it must be so, while he retains the use of his reason. You need not be frightened. If, as I conclude will be the case, you send me full powers to act in your name throughout the whole of this business, I will immediately give directions to Haggerston for preparing a proper settlement. I rather expected, from my knowledge of her affability, that it would happen. He wrote me a few lines on Wednesday to say that he had arrived in safety, and to give me his directions, which I particularly begged him to do. If it be not so, let Mr. Darcy contradict it. I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. And pray, Lizzy, what said Lady Catherine about this report? Did she call to refuse her consent? Aye--because she asked him at last how he liked Netherfield, and he could not help answering her; but she said he seemed quite angry at being spoke to. Almost as soon as I entered the house, I singled you out as the companion of my future life. I know my own strength, and I shall never be embarrassed again by his coming. I mean, that no man in his senses would marry Lydia on so slight a temptation as one hundred a year during my life, and fifty after I am gone. And my mother--how is she? How are you all? I must not decide on my own performance. It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us. We now come to the point. I have never heard him say so; but it is probable that he may spend very little of his time there in the future. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh. By all means let us hear all the particulars, not forgetting their comparative height and size; for that will have more weight in the argument, Miss Bennet, than you may be aware of. I must go instantly to my mother; I would not on any account trifle with her affectionate solicitude; or allow her to hear it from anyone but myself. I am perfectly ready, I assure you, to keep my engagement; and when your sister is recovered, you shall, if you please, name the very day of the ball. It was very little less. I have nothing either to hope or fear, and nothing to reproach him with. True. Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. And then if that very improbable event should ever take place, I shall merely be able to tell what Bingley may tell in a much more agreeable manner himself. And when you have given _your_ ball I shall insist on their giving one also. Pray read on. I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours. But you are always giving _her_ the preference. But slyness seems the fashion. You shall not defend her, though it is Charlotte Lucas. A thorough, determined dislike of me--a dislike which I cannot but attribute in some measure to jealousy. There is not one of his tenants or servants but will give him a good name. Had she merely _dined_ with him, she might only have discovered whether he had a good appetite; but you must remember that four evenings have also been spent together--and four evenings may do a great deal. I know very well, madam that when persons sit down to a card-table, they must take their chances of these things, and happily I am not in such circumstances as to make five shillings any object. I am talking of possibilities, Charles. Yes, I do comprehend a great deal in it. We will go as far as Meryton with you. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. That is to say, you had given your permission. Never, sir. I have been most highly gratified indeed, my dear sir. When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty. And you may be certain when I have the honour of seeing her again, I shall speak in the very highest terms of your modesty, economy, and other amiable qualification. _Too much_, I am afraid; for what becomes of the moral, if our comfort springs from a breach of promise? for I ought not to have mentioned the subject. The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth. You have no compassion for my poor nerves. That they should marry, small as is their chance of happiness, and wretched as is his character, we are forced to rejoice. I have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least. And I wish my collection were larger for your benefit and my own credit; but I am an idle fellow, and though I have not many, I have more than I ever looked into. --My mind, however, is now made up on the subject, for having received ordination at Easter, I have been so fortunate as to be distinguished by the patronage of the Right Honourable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, widow of Sir Lewis de Bourgh, whose bounty and beneficence has preferred me to the valuable rectory of this parish, where it shall be my earnest endeavour to demean myself with grateful respect towards her ladyship, and be ever ready to perform those rites and ceremonies which are instituted by the Church of England. Your picture may be very exact, Louisa but this was all lost upon me. I described, and enforced them earnestly. He was well, but so much engaged with Mr. Darcy that they scarcely ever saw him. She was of great use and comfort to us all. I do not mind his not talking to Mrs. Long but I wish he had danced with Eliza. On this subject, what can you have to say? In what imaginary act of friendship can you here defend yourself? or under what misrepresentation can you here impose upon others? Mr. Darcy is not to be laughed at! That is an uncommon advantage, and uncommon I hope it will continue, for it would be a great loss to _me_ to have many such acquaintances. We will go round the Park every day. But that is not the case _here_. And may I ask-- but the terms, I suppose, must be complied with. Oh, that my dear mother had more command over herself! She can have no idea of the pain she gives me by her continual reflections on him. I hope not. Just as you please. Make haste, make haste. She was going to the butcher's, she told me, on purpose to order in some meat on Wednesday, and she has got three couple of ducks just fit to be killed. I cannot pretend to be sorry that he or that any man should not be estimated beyond their deserts; but with _him_ I believe it does not often happen. I shall depend on hearing from you very often, Eliza. The power of doing anything with quickness is always prized much by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance. I hope, my dear that you have ordered a good dinner to-day, because I have reason to expect an addition to our family party. She will make him a very proper wife. Miss Darcy, the daughter of Mr. Darcy, of Pemberley, and Lady Anne, could not have appeared with propriety in a different manner. This is an evening of wonders, indeed! And so, Darcy did every thing; made up the match, gave the money, paid the fellow's debts, and got him his commission! So much the better. Miss Bingley sees that her brother is in love with you, and wants him to marry Miss Darcy. The adieu is charity itself. Can such abominable pride as his have ever done him good? Nay, when I read a letter of his, I cannot help giving him the preference even over Wickham, much as I value the impudence and hypocrisy of my son-in-law. And then you have added so much to it yourself, you are always buying books. When you have killed all your own birds, Mr. Bingley I beg you will come here, and shoot as many as you please on Mr. Bennet's manor. Indeed, Mamma, you are mistaken You quite mistook Mr. Darcy. If I have, I shall be the last person to confess it. It is, I believe, too little yielding--certainly too little for the convenience of the world. People who suffer as I do from nervous complaints can have no great inclination for talking. We shall have no peace at Longbourn if Lydia does not go to Brighton. I dare say she will; she has got over the most trying age. But, however this remonstrance might have staggered or delayed his determination, I do not suppose that it would ultimately have prevented the marriage, had it not been seconded by the assurance that I hesitated not in giving, of your sister's indifference. A clear ten thousand per annum. You will be having a charming mother-in-law, indeed; and, of course, she will always be at Pemberley with you. Let me be rightly understood. I want to be told whether I ought, or ought not, to make our acquaintances in general understand Wickham's character. It is fortunate, then, that they fall to my lot instead of yours. They are going to be encamped near Brighton; and I do so want papa to take us all there for the summer! It would be such a delicious scheme; and I dare say would hardly cost anything at all. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away. I suspected as much But how did he account for it? What is his name? There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. By supposing such an affection, you make everybody acting unnaturally and wrong, and me most unhappy. She is happy then and her residence there will probably be of some duration. If he does not come to me, _then_ I shall give him up for ever. Then, who taught you? who attended to you? Without a governess, you must have been neglected. This account then is what he has received from Mr. Darcy. Can you come to-morrow? My dear I have two small favours to request. As yet, she cannot even be certain of the degree of her own regard nor of its reasonableness. So high and so conceited that there was no enduring him! He walked here, and he walked there, fancying himself so very great! Not handsome enough to dance with! I wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him one of your set-downs. She is quite a little creature. Could he expect that her friends would not step forward? Could he expect to be noticed again by the regiment, after such an affront to Colonel Forster? His temptation is not adequate to the risk! They are not married, nor can I find there was any intention of being so; but if you are willing to perform the engagements which I have ventured to make on your side, I hope it will not be long before they are. I have already told her so once, by your desire. He left Netherfield for London, on the day following, as you, I am certain, remember, with the design of soon returning. Wickham is safe. If! Do you then pretend to be ignorant of it? Has it not been industriously circulated by yourselves? Do you not know that such a report is spread abroad? Give me further particulars. Well, well do not make yourself unhappy. The last-born has as good a right to the pleasures of youth at the first. Lady Catherine, I have nothing further to say. I have just had a letter from Jane, with such dreadful news. I do not know the particulars, but I know very well that Mr. Darcy is not in the least to blame, that he cannot bear to hear George Wickham mentioned, and that though my brother thought that he could not well avoid including him in his invitation to the officers, he was excessively glad to find that he had taken himself out of the way. And there are other circumstances which I am not at liberty--which it is not worth while to relate; but his lies about the whole Pemberley family are endless. I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has no defect. I deserve neither such praise nor such censure I am _not_ a great reader, and I have pleasure in many things. But I can assure you that Lizzy does not lose much by not suiting _his_ fancy; for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing. And of this place I might have been mistress! With these rooms I might now have been familiarly acquainted! Instead of viewing them as a stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own, and welcomed to them as visitors my uncle and aunt. Take your choice, but you must be satisfied with only one. I am astonished, my dear that you should be so ready to think your own children silly. I am excessively attentive to all those things. You are each of you so complying, that nothing will ever be resolved on; so easy, that every servant will cheat you; and so generous, that you will always exceed your income. Can his most intimate friends be so excessively deceived in him? Oh! no. Yes--_that_ is what makes it amusing. I believe her to be both in a great degree I have not seen her for many years, but I very well remember that I never liked her, and that her manners were dictatorial and insolent. Do you suppose them to be in London? But I would really advise you to make your purchase in that neighbourhood, and take Pemberley for a kind of model. Good-bye. Oh! shocking! I never heard anything so abominable. Perhaps it would have been better But to expose the former faults of any person without knowing what their present feelings were, seemed unjustifiable. My dearest Lizzy, do but consider in what a disgraceful light it places Mr. Darcy, to be treating his father's favourite in such a manner, one whom his father had promised to provide for. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow. She is upstairs and will have great satisfaction in seeing you all. I declare I do not know a more awful object than Darcy, on particular occasions, and in particular places; at his own house especially, and of a Sunday evening, when he has nothing to do. Oh, Jane, had we been less secret, had we told what we knew of him, this could not have happened! And is this all? I expected at least that the pigs were got into the garden, and here is nothing but Lady Catherine and her daughter. And do you really love him quite well enough? Oh, Lizzy! do anything rather than marry without affection. Younger sons cannot marry where they like. Won't it, Kitty? You are too sensible a girl, Lizzy, to fall in love merely because you are warned against it; and, therefore, I am not afraid of speaking openly. You are quite a visit in my debt, Mr. Bingley for when you went to town last winter, you promised to take a family dinner with us, as soon as you returned. Those who do not complain are never pitied. _You_ began the evening well, Charlotte _You_ were Mr. Bingley's first choice. _That_ you certainly shall. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. His understanding and opinions all please me; he wants nothing but a little more liveliness, and _that_, if he marry _prudently_, his wife may teach him. I hoped to find you reasonable; but, depend upon it, I will carry my point. What could become of Mr. Bingley and Jane! Kitty is slight and delicate; and Mary studies so much, that her hours of repose should not be broken in on. We are not in a way to know _what_ Mr. Bingley likes since we are not to visit. But we must stem the tide of malice, and pour into the wounded bosoms of each other the balm of sisterly consolation. It is impossible that he should still love me. Whatever he might afterwards persuade her to, it was not on her side a _scheme_ of infamy. The officers will find women better worth their notice. If we make haste perhaps we may see something of Captain Carter before he goes. You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long. For my part, Mr. Bingley, I always keep servants that can do their own work; _my_ daughters are brought up very differently. Yes, I call it a _very_ easy distance. I am very sensible of the honour of your proposals, but it is impossible for me to do otherwise than to decline them. The vicious propensities--the want of principle, which he was careful to guard from the knowledge of his best friend, could not escape the observation of a young man of nearly the same age with himself, and who had opportunities of seeing him in unguarded moments, which Mr. Darcy could not have. You alluded to something else. In the first place, he must make such an agreement for tithes as may be beneficial to himself and not offensive to his patron. You could not make _me_ happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in the world who could make you so. I am sure if it was not for such good friends I do not know what would become of her, for she is very ill indeed, and suffers a vast deal, though with the greatest patience in the world, which is always the way with her, for she has, without exception, the sweetest temper I have ever met with. Dear me! we had such a good piece of fun the other day at Colonel Forster's. I longed to know whether he would be married in his blue coat. Not so hasty, if you please. You will laugh when you know where I am gone, and I cannot help laughing myself at your surprise to-morrow morning, as soon as I am missed. She would not betray her trust, I suppose, without bribery and corruption, for she really did know where her friend was to be found. What should not you mind? I shall go distracted. Lizzy I have given him my consent. My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them--by which means my letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents. We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the eclat of a proverb. Certainly. It is evident by this that he comes back no more this winter. But it must very materially lessen their chance of marrying men of any consideration in the world. Your uncle is as much surprised as I am--and nothing but the belief of your being a party concerned would have allowed him to act as he has done. Your mother insists upon your accepting it. But it was two or three days before he could get from her what he wanted. Conceal the unhappy truth as long as it is possible, I know it cannot be long. This must be false! This cannot be! This must be the grossest falsehood! And there was my aunt, all the time I was dressing, preaching and talking away just as if she was reading a sermon. If he is satisfied with only regretting me, when he might have obtained my affections and hand, I shall soon cease to regret him at all. I am astonished at his intimacy with Mr. Bingley! How can Mr. Bingley, who seems good humour itself, and is, I really believe, truly amiable, be in friendship with such a man? How can they suit each other? Do you know Mr. Bingley? It is only that he is blessed with greater sweetness of address, and a stronger desire of generally pleasing, than any other man. This has been my motive, my fair cousin, and I flatter myself it will not sink me in your esteem. He had some intention, he added, of studying law, and I must be aware that the interest of one thousand pounds would be a very insufficient support therein. But of course she did not mention my name to you. No I have made no such pretension. Be so kind as to apologise for us to Miss Darcy. Undoubtedly; I cannot blame myself for having done thus much. I am sorry to hear _that_; but why did not you tell me that before? If I had known as much this morning I certainly would not have called on him. You may have drawn him in. But I cannot--I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. If you mention my name at the Bell, you will be attended to. It was a subject which they could not mention before me. If this be the case, he deserves you. Your mother will never see you again if you do _not_ marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you _do_. I assure you it is very refreshing after sitting so long in one attitude. This fine account of him is not quite consistent with his behaviour to our poor friend. You mistake me, my dear. But can you think that Lydia is so lost to everything but love of him as to consent to live with him on any terms other than marriage? I beg your pardon; one knows exactly what to think. To convince him, therefore, that he had deceived himself, was no very difficult point. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for _us_ to visit him if you do not. You blamed me for coming? To all the objections I have already urged, I have still another to add. They have a sharp, shrewish look, which I do not like at all; and in her air altogether there is a self-sufficiency without fashion, which is intolerable. As often as I can. Yes; to the last. Miss Elizabeth Bennet! I am all astonishment. I desire you to stay where you are. If what I have hitherto said can appear to you in the form of encouragement, I know not how to express my refusal in such a way as to convince you of its being one. Another time, Lizzy I would not dance with _him_, if I were you. I only want to think _you_ perfect, and you set yourself against it. Do you really think so? But, however, that shan't prevent my asking him to dine here, I am determined. But--good Lord! how unlucky! There is not a bit of fish to be got to-day. I am, dear sir, etc. My brother and the gentlemen are to dine with the officers. I can guess the subject of your reverie. He meant to provide for me amply, and thought he had done it; but when the living fell, it was given elsewhere. Not one. That will do extremely well, child. I think I have understood that Mr. Bingley has not much idea of ever returning to Netherfield again? I am very, very sorry. He has the promise of an ensigncy in General ----'s regiment, now quartered in the North. You may depend upon it, Madam that Miss Bennet will receive every possible attention while she remains with us. Your sisters are engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to me to stand up with. He believed him to be imprudent and extravagant. Is it possible? Can it be possible that he will marry her? You could not have started a more happy idea, since you will not take comfort in mine. I should have considered it as part of my duty, and the exertion would soon have been nothing. You can hardly doubt the purport of my discourse, however your natural delicacy may lead you to dissemble; my attentions have been too marked to be mistaken. For about three years I heard little of him; but on the decease of the incumbent of the living which had been designed for him, he applied to me again by letter for the presentation. It is evident that you belong to the first circles. That will not do for a compliment to Darcy, Caroline because he does _not_ write with ease. My total ignorance of the connection must plead my apology. He has a very satirical eye, and if I do not begin by being impertinent myself, I shall soon grow afraid of him. Let me then advise you, dear sir, to console yourself as much as possible, to throw off your unworthy child from your affection for ever, and leave her to reap the fruits of her own heinous offense. And one of my own daughters. It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion, to be secure of judging properly at first. That they might have met without ill consequence is perhaps probable; but his regard did not appear to me enough extinguished for him to see her without some danger. I am not qualified to form one. Thank God! I have not _that_ pain. How can you talk so? You must know that though I should be exceedingly grieved at their disapprobation, I could not hesitate. Pray let me hear what you have to accuse him of I should like to know how he behaves among strangers. I have not a doubt of Mr. Bingley's sincerity but you must excuse my not being convinced by assurances only. Oh! Mary I wish you had gone with us, for we had such fun! As we went along, Kitty and I drew up the blinds, and pretended there was nobody in the coach; and I should have gone so all the way, if Kitty had not been sick; and when we got to the George, I do think we behaved very handsomely, for we treated the other three with the nicest cold luncheon in the world, and if you would have gone, we would have treated you too. At once to insist upon having such a report universally contradicted. There is a fine old saying, which everybody here is of course familiar with: 'Keep your breath to cool your porridge'; and I shall keep mine to swell my song. I know it all; that the young man's marrying her was a patched-up business, at the expence of your father and uncles. No one who has ever seen you together can doubt his affection. I dislike it very much but it must be done. It shows an affection for her sister that is very pleasing. There can be no love in all this. Let me first see how he behaves it will then be early enough for expectation. A regard for the requester would often make one readily yield to a request, without waiting for arguments to reason one into it. Though our kind uncle has done something towards clearing him, I cannot believe that ten thousand pounds, or anything like it, has been advanced. Only look at her. My sister, I am sure, will not hear of her removal. Do you talk by rule, then, while you are dancing? Kitty has no discretion in her coughs she times them ill. Why did not you all learn? You ought all to have learned. Were it certain that Lady Catherine would think so, but I cannot imagine that her ladyship would at all disapprove of you. I must confess that he did not speak so well of Wickham as he formerly did. I am particularly unlucky in meeting with a person so able to expose my real character, in a part of the world where I had hoped to pass myself off with some degree of credit. Your examination of Mr. Darcy is over, I presume and pray what is the result? Mrs. Annesley is with her. It ought to be good it has been the work of many generations. No--I do not know that you were wrong in saying what you did. Miss Lucas is married and settled. My mother was in hysterics, and though I endeavoured to give her every assistance in my power, I am afraid I did not do so much as I might have done! But the horror of what might possibly happen almost took from me my faculties. Insolent girl! You are much mistaken if you expect to influence me by such a paltry attack as this. I speak feelingly. I have scarcely any hesitation in saying she will include you and my sister Maria in every invitation with which she honours us during your stay here. What could your ladyship propose by it? No principle of either would be violated by my marriage with Mr. Darcy. I should be sorry to think so ill of him, in the very beginning of our relationship. How was it possible that such an idea should enter our brains? I felt a little uneasy--a little fearful of my sister's happiness with him in marriage, because I knew that his conduct had not been always quite right. I _do_ remember his boasting one day, at Netherfield, of the implacability of his resentments, of his having an unforgiving temper. You persist, then, in supposing his sisters influence him? Perhaps this concealment, this disguise was beneath me; it is done, however, and it was done for the best. Perhaps I do. My uncle and aunt and I were to go together; and the others were to meet us at the church. It is very unlucky; but as I have actually paid the visit, we cannot escape the acquaintance now. They were natural and just. She has known him only a fortnight. He is also handsome which a young man ought likewise to be, if he possibly can. Not at all. But you know married women have never much time for writing. She is now about Miss Elizabeth Bennet's height, or rather taller. No Wickham's a fool if he takes her with a farthing less than ten thousand pounds. You could scarcely escape discredit and misery. I wish I could see her. From the former. Of Mr. Collins and Lizzy. My eldest sister has been in town these three months. I must have my share in the conversation if you are speaking of music. A military life is not what I was intended for, but circumstances have now made it eligible. The first wish of my heart is never more to be in company with either of them. You are then resolved to have him? By this time, my dearest sister, you have received my hurried letter; I wish this may be more intelligible, but though not confined for time, my head is so bewildered that I cannot answer for being coherent. What can be the meaning of this? My dear, Eliza, he must be in love with you, or he would never have called us in this familiar way. And, if I may mention so delicate a subject, endeavour to check that little something, bordering on conceit and impertinence, which your lady possesses. Nor am I ashamed of the feelings I related. They have at least that advantage. Your own heart, your own conscience, must tell you why I come. I have a high respect for your nerves. What does Mr. Darcy mean by listening to my conversation with Colonel Forster? I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and see if I can make it up any better. I suppose she had nothing particular to say to you, Lizzy? Oh, my dear, dear aunt what delight! what felicity! You give me fresh life and vigour. Dearest Jane! who could have done less for her? But make a virtue of it by all means. Such I was, from eight to eight and twenty; and such I might still have been but for you, dearest, loveliest Elizabeth! What do I not owe you! You taught me a lesson, hard indeed at first, but most advantageous. The express was sent off directly. You have liked many a stupider person. Come, Kitty, I want you upstairs. Mr. Bennet, how _can_ you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. I had narrowly observed her during the two visits which I had lately made here; and I was convinced of her affection. About a year ago, she was taken from school, and an establishment formed for her in London; and last summer she went with the lady who presided over it, to Ramsgate; and thither also went Mr. Wickham, undoubtedly by design; for there proved to have been a prior acquaintance between him and Mrs. Younge, in whose character we were most unhappily deceived; and by her connivance and aid, he so far recommended himself to Georgiana, whose affectionate heart retained a strong impression of his kindness to her as a child, that she was persuaded to believe herself in love, and to consent to an elopement. We have reason to imagine that his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, does not look on the match with a friendly eye. How unfortunate that you should have used such very strong expressions in speaking of Wickham to Mr. Darcy, for now they _do_ appear wholly undeserved. What he means to do I am sure I know not; but his excessive distress will not allow him to pursue any measure in the best and safest way, and Colonel Forster is obliged to be at Brighton again to-morrow evening. I do not blame Jane for Jane would have got Mr. Bingley if she could. Poor dear child! And now here's Mr. Bennet gone away, and I know he will fight Wickham, wherever he meets him and then he will be killed, and what is to become of us all? The Collinses will turn us out before he is cold in his grave, and if you are not kind to us, brother, I do not know what we shall do. Nothing child, nothing. You are to understand, Miss Bennet, that I came here with the determined resolution of carrying my purpose; nor will I be dissuaded from it. Pray forgive me if I have been very presuming, or at least do not punish me so far as to exclude me from P. His principal object must be to discover the number of the hackney coach which took them from Clapham. She has two nieces of her own. It is unlucky that you should not be able to see your friends before they leave the country. Well, my comfort is, I am sure Jane will die of a broken heart; and then he will be sorry for what he has done. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. I am not romantic, you know; I never was. That is exactly what I should have supposed of you. What is there of good to be expected? But perhaps you would like to read it. Upon my word you give your opinion very decidedly for so young a person. My dear Miss Elizabeth, I have the highest opinion in the world in your excellent judgement in all matters within the scope of your understanding; but permit me to say, that there must be a wide difference between the established forms of ceremony amongst the laity, and those which regulate the clergy; for, give me leave to observe that I consider the clerical office as equal in point of dignity with the highest rank in the kingdom--provided that a proper humility of behaviour is at the same time maintained. You shall hear then--but prepare yourself for something very dreadful. Can you deny that you have done it? His diffidence had prevented his depending on his own judgment in so anxious a case, but his reliance on mine made every thing easy. Lady Catherine is a very respectable, sensible woman indeed and a most attentive neighbour. The world has been deceived in that respect; and I am happy to say there will be some little money, even when all his debts are discharged, to settle on my niece, in addition to her own fortune. She will be down in a moment, I dare say. Mr. Collins must excuse me. _You_ know him too well to doubt the rest. This is a parade which does one good; it gives such an elegance to misfortune! Another day I will do the same; I will sit in my library, in my nightcap and powdering gown, and give as much trouble as I can; or, perhaps, I may defer it till Kitty runs away. But, though Bingley and Jane meet tolerably often, it is never for many hours together; and, as they always see each other in large mixed parties, it is impossible that every moment should be employed in conversing together. My avowed one, or what I avowed to myself, was to see whether your sister were still partial to Bingley, and if she were, to make the confession to him which I have since made. But I am very far from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in general. I thought too ill of him to invite him to Pemberley, or admit his society in town. It had come with a fare from London; and as he thought that the circumstance of a gentleman and lady's removing from one carriage into another might be remarked he meant to make inquiries at Clapham. I thank you for my share of the favour but I do not particularly like your way of getting husbands. Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. Let her go, then. Allow me, by the way, to observe, my fair cousin, that I do not reckon the notice and kindness of Lady Catherine de Bourgh as among the least of the advantages in my power to offer. I know you will do him such ample justice, that I am growing every moment more unconcerned and indifferent. 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. Did you speak from your own observation when you told him that my sister loved him, or merely from my information last spring? Dining out that is very unlucky. I had not thought so very ill of him. Which do you mean? She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt _me_; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. From their infancy, they have been intended for each other. At present we have nothing to guide us. I cannot give you credit for any philosophy of the kind. But, really, I know not what to say. I had often seen him in love before. Or, in other words, you are determined to have him. I do, I do like him I love him. You wanted me, I know, to say 'Yes,' that you might have the pleasure of despising my taste; but I always delight in overthrowing those kind of schemes, and cheating a person of their premeditated contempt. He was most highly esteemed by Mr. Darcy, a most intimate, confidential friend. I know them a little. We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him. My conscience told me that I deserved no extraordinary politeness, and I confess that I did not expect to receive _more_ than my due. There was also a legacy of one thousand pounds. I told my sister Phillips so the other day. Yes; he introduced us to his sister. Sir William's interruption has made me forget what we were talking of. Mr. Bingley's defense of his friend was a very able one, I dare say; but since he is unacquainted with several parts of the story, and has learnt the rest from that friend himself, I shall venture to still think of both gentlemen as I did before. But I have an aunt, too, who must not be longer neglected. You refuse to obey the claims of duty, honour, and gratitude. Oh! I heard you before, but I could not immediately determine what to say in reply. To yield without conviction is no compliment to the understanding of either. I told Mrs. Collins so before you came. When my brother left us yesterday, he imagined that the business which took him to London might be concluded in three or four days; but as we are certain it cannot be so, and at the same time convinced that when Charles gets to town he will be in no hurry to leave it again, we have determined on following him thither, that he may not be obliged to spend his vacant hours in a comfortless hotel. Nay this is too much, to remember at night all the foolish things that were said in the morning. Pray do not talk of that odious man. He had never had the slightest suspicion. You saw me dance at Meryton, I believe, sir. This was a lucky idea of mine, indeed! _That_ is all to be forgot. I am exceedingly gratified by your converting what my friend says into a compliment on the sweetness of my temper. There is in everything a most remarkable resemblance of character and ideas between us. And was Denny convinced that Wickham would not marry? Did he know of their intending to go off? Had Colonel Forster seen Denny himself? Mrs. Collins, you must send a servant with them. It is above eight months. Oh, Charlotte says she hardly ever does. But my dear Elizabeth what sort of girl is Miss King? I should be sorry to think our friend mercenary. I will not be interrupted. Very, very much. I advise Mr. Darcy, and Lizzy, and Kitty to walk to Oakham Mount this morning. It is not of particular, but of general evils, which I am now complaining. If, indeed, it should be so! But I dare not hope it. While Mary is adjusting her ideas let us return to Mr. Bingley. You will not find him more favourably spoken of by anyone. And yours is willfully to misunderstand them. Stop me whilst you can. I have met with two instances lately, one I will not mention; the other is Charlotte's marriage. Has your governess left you? Yes, all of them, I think. But you _will_ know it, when I tell you what happened the very next day. But I believe your opinion of him would in general astonish--and perhaps you would not express it quite so strongly anywhere else. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in your life. Good gracious! when I went away, I am sure I had no more idea of being married till I came back again! though I thought it would be very good fun if I was. My sisters may write to _me_. And it is the more to be lamented, because there is reason to suppose as my dear Charlotte informs me, that this licentiousness of behaviour in your daughter has proceeded from a faulty degree of indulgence; though, at the same time, for the consolation of yourself and Mrs. Bennet, I am inclined to think that her own disposition must be naturally bad, or she could not be guilty of such an enormity, at so early an age. Do not you, Darcy? The motive professed was his conviction of its being owing to himself that Wickham's worthlessness had not been so well known as to make it impossible for any young woman of character to love or confide in him. Her teeth are tolerable, but not out of the common way; and as for her eyes, which have sometimes been called so fine, I could never see anything extraordinary in them. Consider how important every moment is in such a case. And do you like her? This is the consequence, you see, Madam, of marrying a daughter It must make you better satisfied that your other four are single. Miss Bingley, I am sure, cannot. However, he wrote some verses on her, and very pretty they were. His pride does not offend _me_ so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. If your master would marry, you might see more of him. As a child, she was affectionate and pleasing, and extremely fond of me; and I have devoted hours and hours to her amusement. She practises very constantly. She was sure they should be married some time or other, and it did not much signify when. This will never do. I hate such false friends. The fact is, that you were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. I hear such different accounts of you as puzzle me exceedingly. I should imagine not. Let me do it without further loss of time. Oh! hang Kitty! what has she to do with it? Come be quick, be quick! Where is your sash, my dear? Such a countenance, such manners! And so extremely accomplished for her age! Her performance on the pianoforte is exquisite. To be sure, you knew no actual good of me--but nobody thinks of _that_ when they fall in love. He knows of my being in town, I am certain, from something she said herself; and yet it would seem, by her manner of talking, as if she wanted to persuade herself that he is really partial to Miss Darcy. But tell me all and everything about it which I have not already heard. I never meant to deceive you, but my spirits might often lead me wrong. To persuade him against returning into Hertfordshire, when that conviction had been given, was scarcely the work of a moment. I feel myself called upon, by our relationship, and my situation in life, to condole with you on the grievous affliction you are now suffering under, of which we were yesterday informed by a letter from Hertfordshire. I have not a doubt of your doing very well together. And I have another favour to ask you. That is a question which I hardly know how to answer. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage. A thousand things may arise in six months! Ten thousand pounds! Heaven forbid! How is half such a sum to be repaid? You know my mother's ideas as to the necessity of constant company for her friends. If your abhorrence of _me_ should make _my_ assertions valueless, you cannot be prevented by the same cause from confiding in my cousin; and that there may be the possibility of consulting him, I shall endeavour to find some opportunity of putting this letter in your hands in the course of the morning. Now I am quite happy for you will be as happy as myself. Yes, she will do for him very well. Your plan is a good one where nothing is in question but the desire of being well married, and if I were determined to get a rich husband, or any husband, I dare say I should adopt it. Yes _that_ would be a delightful scheme indeed, and completely do for us at once. _That_ is my idea of good breeding; and those persons who fancy themselves very important, and never open their mouths, quite mistake the matter. Nothing could give either Bingley or myself more delight. But you--how are you? You look pale. I have found out by a singular accident, that there is now in the room a near relation of my patroness. Well, then, you need not be under any alarm. You thought me then devoid of every proper feeling, I am sure you did. Upon my word, Caroline, I should think it more possible to get Pemberley by purchase than by imitation. Had you not been really amiable, you would have hated me for it; but in spite of the pains you took to disguise yourself, your feelings were always noble and just; and in your heart, you thoroughly despised the persons who so assiduously courted you. My good qualities are under your protection, and you are to exaggerate them as much as possible; and, in return, it belongs to me to find occasions for teasing and quarrelling with you as often as may be; and I shall begin directly by asking you what made you so unwilling to come to the point at last. Mr. Darcy sends you all the love in the world that he can spare from me. No governess! How was that possible? Five daughters brought up at home without a governess! I never heard of such a thing. With _them_ he is remarkably agreeable. My sister, who is more than ten years my junior, was left to the guardianship of my mother's nephew, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and myself. I shall tell Colonel Forster it will be quite a shame if he does not. I am sure he will be vastly happy to oblige you, and will save all the best of the covies for you. Oh! yes--I understand you perfectly. And how impossible in others! This is a most unfortunate affair, and will probably be much talked of. It gives me pain to speak ill of a Darcy. Much more rational, my dear Caroline, I dare say, but it would not be near so much like a ball. A person may be proud without being vain. 'Tis too much! by far too much. You have now done your duty by her, and must fret no longer. I think she will. But I will not repine. Oh! yes Mr. Darcy is uncommonly kind to Mr. Bingley, and takes a prodigious deal of care of him. I hope you will give your mother-in-law a few hints, when this desirable event takes place, as to the advantage of holding her tongue; and if you can compass it, do cure the younger girls of running after officers. I will answer for it, he never cared three straws about her--who could about such a nasty little freckled thing? But what does he say of the living? I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. As much as I ever wish to be I have spent four days in the same house with him, and I think him very disagreeable. Are you consulting your own feelings in the present case, or do you imagine that you are gratifying mine? You are a good girl; and I have great pleasure in thinking you will be so happily settled. My dear, dear Lydia! How merry we shall be together when we meet! I told him of all that had occurred to make my former interference in his affairs absurd and impertinent. Oh! certainly no one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. Some time hence it will be all found out, and then we may laugh at their stupidity in not knowing it before. Here, Sarah, come to Miss Bennet this moment, and help her on with her gown. In a country neighbourhood you move in a very confined and unvarying society. Do you play and sing, Miss Bennet? What is it you mean? Happy shall I be, when his stay at Netherfield is over! But upon my honour, I do _not_. Well, how pleased I am! and it is such a good joke, too, that you should have gone this morning and never said a word about it till now. I know we dine with four-and-twenty families. I never can be thankful, Mr. Bennet, for anything about the entail. Could Colonel Forster repeat the particulars of Lydia's note to his wife? I do not know when I have been more shocked Wickham so very bad! It is almost past belief. They will have nothing else to do. It has connected him nearer with virtue than with any other feeling. He owns it himself without disguise. In short, I will do my best. To Kitty, however, it does not seem so wholly unexpected. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me. And we all know that Wickham has every charm of person and address that can captivate a woman. Let us be thankful that you are preserved from a state of such insensibility. It will save me a world of trouble and economy. Your character was unfolded in the recital which I received many months ago from Mr. Wickham. I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy. At Brighton she will be of less importance even as a common flirt than she has been here. Mary and Kitty have been very kind, and would have shared in every fatigue, I am sure; but I did not think it right for either of them. I have received a letter this morning that has astonished me exceedingly. It was not thought necessary in Sir Lewis de Bourgh's family. And can you likewise declare, that there is no foundation for it? There is nothing he would not do for her. Family pride, and _filial_ pride--for he is very proud of what his father was--have done this. Do you prefer reading to cards? that is rather singular. Let us flatter ourselves that I may be the survivor. I am going away myself. I _will_ read you the passage which particularly hurts me. And we mean to treat you all but you must lend us the money, for we have just spent ours at the shop out there. A younger son, you know, must be inured to self-denial and dependence. Society has claims on us all; and I profess myself one of those who consider intervals of recreation and amusement as desirable for everybody. Not that I _shall_, though and my dear aunt, if you do not tell me in an honourable manner, I shall certainly be reduced to tricks and stratagems to find it out. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us. And this is your opinion of me! This is the estimation in which you hold me! I thank you for explaining it so fully. It is every way horrible! Miss Bingley is to live with her brother, and keep his house; and I am much mistaken if we shall not find a very charming neighbour in her. But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out. I cannot bear to think that they should have all this estate. My dearest child I can think of nothing else! Ten thousand a year, and very likely more! 'Tis as good as a Lord! And a special licence. Lizzy is not a bit better than the others; and I am sure she is not half so handsome as Jane, nor half so good-humoured as Lydia. I was in the middle before I knew that I _had_ begun. How good it was in you, my dear Mr. Bennet! But I knew I should persuade you at last. And yet I meant to be uncommonly clever in taking so decided a dislike to him, without any reason. About a month He is a man of very large property in Derbyshire, I understand. Do you not want to know who has taken it? If you do not choose to understand me, forgive my impertinence. I hope you will drink to our good journey. A clergyman like you must marry. I wonder whether he is likely to be in this country much longer. You have deprived the best years of his life of that independence which was no less his due than his desert. It is a long time, Mr. Bingley, since you went away. I expected to find a more reasonable young woman. The world is blinded by his fortune and consequence, or frightened by his high and imposing manners, and sees him only as he chooses to be seen. He is just what a young man ought to be sensible, good-humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners!--so much ease, with such perfect good breeding! Twice has she condescended to give me her opinion (unasked too!) on this subject; and it was but the very Saturday night before I left Hunsford--between our pools at quadrille, while Mrs. Jenkinson was arranging Miss de Bourgh's footstool, that she said, 'Mr. Collins, you must marry. Upon my word! Well, that is very decided indeed--that does seem as if--but, however, it may all come to nothing, you know. It is amazing to me how young ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished as they all are. You must therefore allow me to follow the dictates of my conscience on this occasion, which leads me to perform what I look on as a point of duty. If it is designedly done, they cannot be justified; but I have no idea of there being so much design in the world as some persons imagine. I certainly have not the talent which some people possess of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. He knows where we live. Perhaps _she_ is full young to be much in company. But we are all liable to error. But these are not Jane's feelings; she is not acting by design. What do you mean, Hill? We have heard nothing from town. From Mr. Collins! and what can _he_ have to say? Wickham will soon be gone; and therefore it will not signify to anyone here what he really is. If you _will_ thank me let it be for yourself alone. This match, to which you have the presumption to aspire, can never take place. I do not know anybody who seems more to enjoy the power of doing what he likes than Mr. Darcy. It is a circumstance which Darcy could not wish to be generally known, because if it were to get round to the lady's family, it would be an unpleasant thing. I suppose you have heard of it; indeed, you must have seen it in the papers. But I am particularly attached to these young men, and know them to be so much attached to me! They were excessively sorry to go! But so they always are. It is a great comfort to have you so rich, and when you have nothing else to do, I hope you will think of us. Lizzy declares she will not have Mr. Collins, and Mr. Collins begins to say that he will not have Lizzy. Do not distress me by the idea. All young ladies accomplished! My dear Charles, what do you mean? The turn of your countenance I shall never forget, as you said that I could not have addressed you in any possible way that would induce you to accept me. I should be ashamed of having one that was only entailed on me. Your portion is unhappily so small that it will in all likelihood undo the effects of your loveliness and amiable qualifications. Ring the bell, Kitty, for Hill. I am cruelly used, nobody feels for my poor nerves. I would go and see her if I could have the carriage. What you ask is no sacrifice on my side; and Mr. Darcy had much better finish his letter. Nothing was to be done that he did not do himself; though I am sure (and I do not speak it to be thanked, therefore say nothing about it), your uncle would most readily have settled the whole. Let me write for you if you dislike the trouble yourself. You may remember what I told you on that point, when first we talked of it. Everything nourishes what is strong already. And so would Anne, if her health had allowed her to apply. She has nothing, in short, to recommend her, but being an excellent walker. From what he said of Miss Darcy I was thoroughly prepared to see a proud, reserved, disagreeable girl. But if I go on, I shall displease you by saying what I think of persons you esteem. The disagreement subsisting between yourself and my late honoured father always gave me much uneasiness, and since I have had the misfortune to lose him, I have frequently wished to heal the breach; but for some time I was kept back by my own doubts, fearing lest it might seem disrespectful to his memory for me to be on good terms with anyone with whom it had always pleased him to be at variance. You know my sentiments. Come as soon as you can on receipt of this. I must trouble you once more for congratulations. I can much more easily believe Mr. Bingley's being imposed on, than that Mr. Wickham should invent such a history of himself as he gave me last night; names, facts, everything mentioned without ceremony. You may well be surprised, Miss Bennet, at such an assertion, after seeing, as you probably might, the very cold manner of our meeting yesterday. With my mother up stairs. I joined them unexpectedly a day or two before the intended elopement, and then Georgiana, unable to support the idea of grieving and offending a brother whom she almost looked up to as a father, acknowledged the whole to me. How anyone could have the conscience to entail away an estate from one's own daughters, I cannot understand; and all for the sake of Mr. Collins too! Why should _he_ have it more than anybody else? You cannot refuse to dance, I am sure when so much beauty is before you. This is the only point, I flatter myself, on which we do not agree. We were always good friends; and now we are better. Indeed, Jane, you ought to believe me. So imprudent a match on both sides! But I am willing to hope the best, and that his character has been misunderstood. Perhaps not the less so from feeling a doubt of my positive happiness had my fair cousin honoured me with her hand; for I have often observed that resignation is never so perfect as when the blessing denied begins to lose somewhat of its value in our estimation. Well, mamma and what do you think of my husband? Is not he a charming man? I am sure my sisters must all envy me. As a clergyman, moreover, I feel it my duty to promote and establish the blessing of peace in all families within the reach of my influence; and on these grounds I flatter myself that my present overtures are highly commendable, and that the circumstance of my being next in the entail of Longbourn estate will be kindly overlooked on your side, and not lead you to reject the offered olive-branch. But your _family_ owe me nothing. Mrs. Bennet could certainly spare you for another fortnight. The situation of your mother's family, though objectionable, was nothing in comparison to that total want of propriety so frequently, so almost uniformly betrayed by herself, by your three younger sisters, and occasionally even by your father. Miss Eliza Bennet despises cards. We have not met since the 26th of November, when we were all dancing together at Netherfield. It is highly improper. If he were ever able to learn what Wickham's debts have been and how much is settled on his side on our sister, we shall exactly know what Mr. Gardiner has done for them, because Wickham has not sixpence of his own. It is not to be supposed that there was much affection in the case. My dear Jane, I am in such a flutter, that I am sure I can't write; so I will dictate, and you write for me. You are too generous to trifle with me. You have employed your time much better. Will you hear it? How little did you tell me of what passed at Pemberley and Lambton! I owe all that I know of it to another, not to you. Why does she not come in? I have a excessive regard for Miss Jane Bennet, she is really a very sweet girl, and I wish with all my heart she were well settled. Lizzy, I _insist_ upon your staying and hearing Mr. Collins. Kitty and me were to spend the day there, and Mrs. Forster promised to have a little dance in the evening; (by the bye, Mrs. Forster and me are _such_ friends!) and so she asked the two Harringtons to come, but Harriet was ill, and so Pen was forced to come by herself; and then, what do you think we did? We dressed up Chamberlayne in woman's clothes on purpose to pass for a lady, only think what fun! Not a soul knew of it, but Colonel and Mrs. Forster, and Kitty and me, except my aunt, for we were forced to borrow one of her gowns; and you cannot imagine how well he looked! When Denny, and Wickham, and Pratt, and two or three more of the men came in, they did not know him in the least. I was right, therefore, my last letter had never reached her. When I do myself the honour of speaking to you next on the subject, I shall hope to receive a more favourable answer than you have now given me; though I am far from accusing you of cruelty at present, because I know it to be the established custom of your sex to reject a man on the first application, and perhaps you have even now said as much to encourage my suit as would be consistent with the true delicacy of the female character. I am sure I know none so handsome; but in the gallery upstairs you will see a finer, larger picture of him than this. Yes, indeed, his friends may well rejoice in his having met with one of the very few sensible women who would have accepted him, or have made him happy if they had. It is only that he has better means of having it than many others, because he is rich, and many others are poor. I had not an idea of it. I wish you had been there. Believe me, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that your modesty, so far from doing you any disservice, rather adds to your other perfections. Colonel Forster is a sensible man, and will keep her out of any real mischief; and she is luckily too poor to be an object of prey to anybody. Mr. Darcy is impatient to see his sister; and, to confess the truth, _we_ are scarcely less eager to meet her again. Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in general. Let the other young ladies have time to exhibit. Human nature is so prone to fall into it! No, Lizzy, let me once in my life feel how much I have been to blame. He wrote last week to hurry my return. It is because he will not give himself the trouble. Pray make my excuses to Pratt for not keeping my engagement, and dancing with him to-night. His guilt and his descent appear by your account to be the same for I have heard you accuse him of nothing worse than of being the son of Mr. Darcy's steward, and of _that_, I can assure you, he informed me himself. But it ended in nothing, and I will not be sent on a fool's errand again. I cannot see that London has any great advantage over the country, for my part, except the shops and public places. What is that you are saying, Fitzwilliam? What is it you are talking of? What are you telling Miss Bennet? Let me hear what it is. Imprudent as the marriage between Mr. Wickham and our poor Lydia would be, we are now anxious to be assured it has taken place, for there is but too much reason to fear they are not gone to Scotland. Mrs. Wickham! How well it sounds! And she was only sixteen last June. Now seriously, what have you ever known of self-denial and dependence? When have you been prevented by want of money from going wherever you chose, or procuring anything you had a fancy for? Oh, yes!--that, that is the worst of all. You expect me to account for opinions which you choose to call mine, but which I have never acknowledged. La! it looks just like that man that used to be with him before. Oh! but the gentlemen will have Mr. Bingley's chaise to go to Meryton, and the Hursts have no horses to theirs. I expected you to stay two months. What say you, Mary? For you are a young lady of deep reflection, I know, and read great books and make extracts. No, no, nonsense, Lizzy. Her character will be fixed, and she will, at sixteen, be the most determined flirt that ever made herself or her family ridiculous; a flirt, too, in the worst and meanest degree of flirtation; without any attraction beyond youth and a tolerable person; and, from the ignorance and emptiness of her mind, wholly unable to ward off any portion of that universal contempt which her rage for admiration will excite. In making me the offer, you must have satisfied the delicacy of your feelings with regard to my family, and may take possession of Longbourn estate whenever it falls, without any self-reproach. I have been thinking it over again, Elizabeth and really, upon serious consideration, I am much more inclined than I was to judge as your eldest sister does on the matter. Would to Heaven that anything could be either said or done on my part that might offer consolation to such distress! But I will not torment you with vain wishes, which may seem purposely to ask for your thanks. If it be so, if I have been misled by such error to inflict pain on her, your resentment has not been unreasonable. I will go directly to Mr. Bennet, and we shall very soon settle it with her, I am sure. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Upon my word I begin to be of your uncle's opinion. I have heard, indeed, that she is uncommonly improved within this year or two. Lizzy remember where you are, and do not run on in the wild manner that you are suffered to do at home. I assure you, I feel it exceedingly I believe no one feels the loss of friends so much as I do. _You_ want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it. And that is my master--and very like him. It was in The Times and The Courier, I know; though it was not put in as it ought to be. You have said quite enough, madam. I now give it to _you_, if you are resolved on having him. I have seen them both. I do not believe a word of it, my dear. Mrs. Long told me last night that he sat close to her for half-an-hour without once opening his lips. Pray do, my dear Miss Lucas for nobody is on my side, nobody takes part with me. He has more to give. The rector of a parish has much to do. My father supported him at school, and afterwards at Cambridge--most important assistance, as his own father, always poor from the extravagance of his wife, would have been unable to give him a gentleman's education. But he paid her not the smallest attention till her grandfather's death made her mistress of this fortune. You must, therefore, pardon the freedom with which I demand your attention; your feelings, I know, will bestow it unwillingly, but I demand it of your justice. My dear Miss Eliza, why are you not dancing? Mr. Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady to you as a very desirable partner. No, no; stay where you are. An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. But if he does it any more I shall certainly let him know that I see what he is about. I mend pens remarkably well. I _must_ have employment and society. I am sorry you think so; but if that be the case, there can at least be no want of subject. After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in abusing you to all your relations. When they get to our age, I dare say they will not think about officers any more than we do. She is a very headstrong, foolish girl, and does not know her own interest but I will _make_ her know it. You never see a fault in anybody. Balls will be absolutely prohibited, unless you stand up with one of your sisters. My dear, you flatter me. It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world. Yes I have had a letter from him by express. It is only evident that Miss Bingley does not mean that he _should_. That is exactly the question which I expected you to ask. I will not encourage the impudence of either, by receiving them at Longbourn. My excellent father died about five years ago; and his attachment to Mr. Wickham was to the last so steady, that in his will he particularly recommended it to me, to promote his advancement in the best manner that his profession might allow--and if he took orders, desired that a valuable family living might be his as soon as it became vacant. Come here, child I have sent for you on an affair of importance. My object then was to show you, by every civility in my power, that I was not so mean as to resent the past; and I hoped to obtain your forgiveness, to lessen your ill opinion, by letting you see that your reproofs had been attended to. There will not be the smallest occasion for your coming to town again; therefore stay quiet at Longbourn, and depend on my diligence and care. Now is your time. But my dear Lydia, I don't at all like your going such a way off. They are my old friends. But I hope there is no strong attachment on either side. But she does help him on, as much as her nature will allow. The favor of your company has been much felt, I assure you. A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. You must write again very soon, and praise him a great deal more than you did in your last. Is it not so, Mrs. Bennet? He was very fond of them. She was very wrong in singling me out as she did; I can safely say that every advance to intimacy began on her side. There is but one part of my conduct in the whole affair on which I do not reflect with satisfaction; it is that I condescended to adopt the measures of art so far as to conceal from him your sister's being in town. I hope you are well, Miss Bennet. I have been making the tour of the park as I generally do every year, and intend to close it with a call at the Parsonage. Lizzy what are you doing? Are you out of your senses, to be accepting this man? Have not you always hated him? I knew enough of your disposition to be certain that, had you been absolutely, irrevocably decided against me, you would have acknowledged it to Lady Catherine, frankly and openly. Though I _know_ it must be a scandalous falsehood, though I would not injure him so much as to suppose the truth of it possible, I instantly resolved on setting off for this place, that I might make my sentiments known to you. But it is for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it. Your coming to Longbourn, to see me and my family will be rather a confirmation of it; if, indeed, such a report is in existence. But, in my opinion, it is a paltry device, a very mean art. Blame you! Oh, no. The country is a vast deal pleasanter, is it not, Mr. Bingley? If he had been so very agreeable, he would have talked to Mrs. Long. Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down on Monday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted with it, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week. Mrs. Wickham This unfortunate affair will, I fear, prevent my sister's having the pleasure of seeing you at Pemberley to-day. They look upon it as quite their own, I dare say, whenever that happens. In vain I have struggled. It does not follow that a deep, intricate character is more or less estimable than such a one as yours. You were not by, when I told mamma and the others all about it. Lydia will never be easy until she has exposed herself in some public place or other, and we can never expect her to do it with so little expense or inconvenience to her family as under the present circumstances. You will hardly blame me for refusing to comply with this entreaty, or for resisting every repetition to it. And is such a girl to be my nephew's sister? Is her husband, is the son of his late father's steward, to be his brother? Heaven and earth!--of what are you thinking? Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted? Believe me, my dear sir, my gratitude is warmly excited by such affectionate attention; and depend upon it, you will speedily receive from me a letter of thanks for this, and for every other mark of your regard during my stay in Hertfordshire. Oh! my dear Lydia when shall we meet again? Then the two third he danced with Miss King, and the two fourth with Maria Lucas, and the two fifth with Jane again, and the two sixth with Lizzy, and the _Boulanger_-- Indeed you are mistaken. Girls, can I do anything for you in Meryton? Oh! Here comes Hill! My dear Hill, have you heard the good news? Miss Lydia is going to be married; and you shall all have a bowl of punch to make merry at her wedding. Her ladyship's carriage is regularly ordered for us. Pray, what is your age? We must not be so ready to fancy ourselves intentionally injured. I have heard much of your master's fine person it is a handsome face. He has been accused of many faults at different times, but _this_ is the true one. Your conduct would be quite as dependent on chance as that of any man I know; and if, as you were mounting your horse, a friend were to say, 'Bingley, you had better stay till next week,' you would probably do it, you would probably not go--and at another word, might stay a month. It must have been his sister's doing. I wish you very happy and very rich, and by refusing your hand, do all in my power to prevent your being otherwise. I am thinking of what you have been telling me Your cousin's conduct does not suit my feelings. On the contrary, every particular relative to his sister was meant to be kept as much as possible to myself; and if I endeavour to undeceive people as to the rest of his conduct, who will believe me? The general prejudice against Mr. Darcy is so violent, that it would be the death of half the good people in Meryton to attempt to place him in an amiable light. And as for wedding clothes, do not let them wait for that, but tell Lydia she shall have as much money as she chooses to buy them, after they are married. I am very sensible, madam, of the hardship to my fair cousins, and could say much on the subject, but that I am cautious of appearing forward and precipitate. Oh! thoughtless, thoughtless Lydia! What a letter is this, to be written at such a moment! But at least it shows that _she_ was serious on the subject of their journey. Dearest Lizzy, I hardly know what I would write, but I have bad news for you, and it cannot be delayed. Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections?--to congratulate myself on the hope of relations, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own? None at all. But before I am run away with by my feelings on this subject, perhaps it would be advisable for me to state my reasons for marrying--and, moreover, for coming into Hertfordshire with the design of selecting a wife, as I certainly did. But he found, in reply to this question, that Wickham still cherished the hope of more effectually making his fortune by marriage in some other country. I assure you, that if Darcy were not such a great tall fellow, in comparison with myself, I should not pay him half so much deference. This will not do you never will be able to make both of them good for anything. Yes, or I will never see her again. It is as often applied to feelings which arise from a half-hour's acquaintance, as to a real, strong attachment. You have shown him off now much more than he did himself. In what an amiable light does this place him! I can now say with the housekeeper, that though some people may call him proud, I have seen nothing of it. Her look and manners were open, cheerful, and engaging as ever, but without any symptom of peculiar regard, and I remained convinced from the evening's scrutiny, that though she received his attentions with pleasure, she did not invite them by any participation of sentiment. Mr. Darcy called, and was shut up with him several hours. If that had been nearer, she would not have gone so soon. It was all conjecture. There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. I do not imagine his business would have called him away just now, if he had not wanted to avoid a certain gentleman here. What sister would think herself at liberty to do it, unless there were something very objectionable? If they believed him attached to me, they would not try to part us; if he were so, they could not succeed. Impossible, Mr. Bennet, impossible, when I am not acquainted with him myself; how can you be so teasing? _They_ will never be distressed for money. Upon my word, sir your hope is a rather extraordinary one after my declaration. The others have been gone on to Scarborough, these three weeks. Our habits of expense make us too dependent, and there are not many in my rank of life who can afford to marry without some attention to money. We were born in the same parish, within the same park; the greatest part of our youth was passed together; inmates of the same house, sharing the same amusements, objects of the same parental care. I should not be surprised if he were to give it up as soon as any eligible purchase offers. _That_ is a failing indeed! Implacable resentment _is_ a shade in a character. A man who has once been refused! How could I ever be foolish enough to expect a renewal of his love? Is there one among the sex, who would not protest against such a weakness as a second proposal to the same woman? There is no indignity so abhorrent to their feelings! Well, and what news does it bring--good or bad? But, depend upon it, Mr. Collins that Lizzy shall be brought to reason. And Mary King is safe! safe from a connection imprudent as to fortune. At his own ball he offended two or three young ladies, by not asking them to dance; and I spoke to him twice myself, without receiving an answer. Are you quite sure, ma'am?--is not there a little mistake? I certainly saw Mr. Darcy speaking to her. I dare say you believed it; but I am by no means convinced that you would be gone with such celerity. I am afraid he has been very imprudent, and has deserved to lose Mr. Darcy's regard. Does she live near you, sir? They have none of them much to recommend them they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters. What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like dancing after all. I talked to her repeatedly in the most serious manner, representing to her all the wickedness of what she had done, and all the unhappiness she had brought on her family. From the very beginning--from the first moment, I may almost say--of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form the groundwork of disapprobation on which succeeding events have built so immovable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.