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. 'Lady Catherine,' said she, 'you have given me a treasure.' I have not been used to submit to any person's whims. Arguments are too much like disputes. You will be having a charming mother-in-law, indeed; and, of course, she will always be at Pemberley with you. 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. Yes, and I hope to engage you to be serious likewise. Oh! dear, yes; but you must own she is very plain. It is as often applied to feelings which arise from a half-hour's acquaintance, as to a real, strong attachment. Nobody wants him to come. But I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at Pemberley. We must not make him desperate. Good gracious! it seems but a day or two since we first came! and yet how many things have happened! 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. 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. But, Lizzy, you look as if you did not enjoy it. --Could he be a sensible man, sir? 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. I have a high respect for your nerves. 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. Far be it from me to resent the behaviour of your daughter. It certainly is a most iniquitous affair and nothing can clear Mr. Collins from the guilt of inheriting Longbourn. 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. 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. I do not get on at all. At least, therefore, I did not assume the character of needless precipitance merely to show off before the ladies. 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. 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. 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. Indeed he has no improper pride. 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. She is on her road somewhere, I dare say, and so, passing through Meryton, thought she might as well call on you. Well, he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you leave to like him. Were it known to the rest of my family, I should not have merely my own gratitude to express. Are you quite sure, ma'am?--is not there a little mistake? I certainly saw Mr. Darcy speaking to her. 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. He merely added that he should not write again till he had something of importance to mention. But I am at his disposal. He did not leave his name, and till the next day it was only known that a gentleman had called on business. 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. But does Lydia know nothing of this? can she be ignorant of what you and Jane seem so well to understand? I shall never forget her appearance this morning. 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. 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. Oh, yes!--that, that is the worst of all. Now is your time. My dear Lizzy, they must have passed within ten miles of us. Mr. Jones says we must not think of moving her. 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. You had much better dance. Oh! he is the handsomest young man that ever was seen! 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. I know your disposition, Lizzy. Mr. Darcy was punctual in his return, and as Lydia informed you, attended the wedding. 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. I should have considered it as part of my duty, and the exertion would soon have been nothing. Oh! your father of course may spare you, if your mother can. Oh! certainly we will ask you no questions. Mrs. Bennet, before you take any or all of these houses for your son and daughter, let us come to a right understanding. Upon my word you give your opinion very decidedly for so young a person. No I have made no such pretension. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done. I am perfectly satisfied, from what his manners now are, that he never had any design of engaging my affection. 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. She says Lizzy had better have taken Mr. Collins; but _I_ do not think there would have been any fun in it. It is above eight months. To Kitty, however, it does not seem so wholly unexpected. You persist, then, in supposing his sisters influence him? 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. No indeed; I felt nothing but surprise. Beyond a doubt, they _do_ wish him to choose Miss Darcy but this may be from better feelings than you are supposing. Miss Bennet, I insist on being satisfied. Lady Catherine is a very respectable, sensible woman indeed and a most attentive neighbour. I never saw such a woman. Your mother should have taken you to town every spring for the benefit of masters. Did you see it? 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. 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. I am sure I know none so handsome; but in the gallery upstairs you will see a finer, larger picture of him than this. 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. Do not you, Darcy? _You_ go to Brighton. 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. 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. He saw Wickham, and afterwards insisted on seeing Lydia. The reason why all this was to be done by him alone, was such as I have given above. 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. It gives me great pleasure to hear that you have passed your time not disagreeably. Lizzy I was going to look for you; come into my room. There certainly was some great mismanagement in the education of those two young men. People do not die of little trifling colds. 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. But why should you wish to persuade me that I feel more than I acknowledge? That is as it happens. I was sure you loved your girls too well to neglect such an acquaintance. We accordingly went--and there I readily engaged in the office of pointing out to my friend the certain evils of such a choice. Till I can forget his father, I can never defy or expose _him_. This is the consequence, you see, Madam, of marrying a daughter It must make you better satisfied that your other four are single. 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. 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. I had narrowly observed her during the two visits which I had lately made here; and I was convinced of her affection. His most particular friend, you see by Jane's account, was persuaded of his never intending to marry her. 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! Let me be rightly understood. Is there nothing you could take to give you present relief? A glass of wine; shall I get you one? You are very ill. 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. 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. Is it possible? Can it be possible that he will marry her? I do not know. Oh! Charles writes in the most careless way imaginable. At present I will say nothing about it. Lizzy, my dear, I want to speak with you. Only look at her. I dare say you will find him very agreeable. Your alliance will be a disgrace; your name will never even be mentioned by any of us. I thank you for my share of the favour but I do not particularly like your way of getting husbands. Engaged to Mr. Collins! My dear Charlotte--impossible! Not one. I see what you are feeling You must be surprised, very much surprised--so lately as Mr. Collins was wishing to marry you. Come, Darcy I must have you dance. I wonder whether he is likely to be in this country much longer. And pray, Lizzy, what said Lady Catherine about this report? Did she call to refuse her consent? A low phaeton, with a nice little pair of ponies, would be the very thing. That is a question which Mr. Darcy only can answer. I shall walk to Meryton to-morrow to hear more about it, and to ask when Mr. Denny comes back from town. She is abominably rude to keep Charlotte out of doors in all this wind. I rather wished, than believed him to be sincere; but, at any rate, was perfectly ready to accede to his proposal. 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. These are home questions--and perhaps I cannot say that I have experienced many hardships of that nature. I do not believe a word of it, my dear. That is to say, you had given your permission. I will read it to you: But I ought to beg his pardon, for I have no right to suppose that Bingley was the person meant. You could not have started a more happy idea, since you will not take comfort in mine. We are not in a way to know _what_ Mr. Bingley likes since we are not to visit. 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. His coming into the country at all is a most insolent thing, indeed, and I wonder how he could presume to do it. 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. It is only that he is blessed with greater sweetness of address, and a stronger desire of generally pleasing, than any other man. You could scarcely escape discredit and misery. Colonel Forster will, I dare say, do everything in his power to satisfy us on this head. I am not romantic, you know; I never was. 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. He could not speak a word for full ten minutes. What sort of girl is Miss Darcy? And, above all, keep Mr. Bennet from fighting. Good heavens! but how could _that_ be? How could his will be disregarded? Why did you not seek legal redress? But as we know none of the particulars, it is not fair to condemn him. My father and Maria are coming to me in March and I hope you will consent to be of the party. 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. If I wished to think slightingly of anybody's children, it should not be of my own, however. But my dear Lydia, I don't at all like your going such a way off. He leaves out half his words, and blots the rest. 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. Long before it had taken place my opinion of you was decided. I am not. I saw them the night before last. Pray, what is your age? It is not that I do not believe _my_ fingers as capable as any other woman's of superior execution. Upon my word, sir your hope is a rather extraordinary one after my declaration. Lady Catherine, I believe, did a great deal to it when Mr. Collins first came to Hunsford. You have. Nay, if you are serious about it, I shall consider the matter is absolutely settled. Did Charlotte dine with you? Perhaps I do. If that had been nearer, she would not have gone so soon. Undoubtedly; It is unlucky that you should not be able to see your friends before they leave the country. 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! 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. 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. No, my dear, I think not. Not the slightest. But my father cannot. This fine account of him is not quite consistent with his behaviour to our poor friend. No motive can excuse the unjust and ungenerous part you acted _there_. Poor Kitty has anger for having concealed their attachment; but as it was a matter of confidence, one cannot wonder. 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? I was in the middle before I knew that I _had_ begun. 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. 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. 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. There is in everything a most remarkable resemblance of character and ideas between us. I have heard much of your master's fine person it is a handsome face. I never in my life saw anything more elegant than their dresses. But he paid her not the smallest attention till her grandfather's death made her mistress of this fortune. 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! You refuse to obey the claims of duty, honour, and gratitude. 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. Are not you curious to hear how it was managed? 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 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. If I can perceive her regard for him, he must be a simpleton, indeed, not to discover it too. You might have talked to me more when you came to dinner. I shall be back by dinner. Pardon me. 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 am quite sorry, Lizzy, that you should be forced to have that disagreeable man all to yourself. Pray let me hear what you have to accuse him of I should like to know how he behaves among strangers. Why, at that rate, you will have been here only six weeks. Those were your words. She then took a large house in Edward-street, and has since maintained herself by letting lodgings. 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? 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. What did Colonel Forster say? Had they no apprehension of anything before the elopement took place? They must have seen them together for ever. You expect me to account for opinions which you choose to call mine, but which I have never acknowledged. The country is a vast deal pleasanter, is it not, Mr. Bingley? Your father's estate is entailed on Mr. Collins, I think. You supposed more than really existed. Those who chose to be idle, certainly might. It is _your_ turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. Yes; but, when questioned by _him_, Denny denied knowing anything of their plans, and would not give his real opinion about it. How much you must have gone through! So, Lizzy your sister is crossed in love, I find. I had much rather go in the coach. When I last saw her, she was not very promising. Here again I shall give you pain--to what degree you only can tell. Only let me assure you, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that I can from my heart most cordially wish you equal felicity in marriage. Mr. Darcy is engaged to my daughter. There is a mixture of servility and self-importance in his letter, which promises well. I should not be surprised if he were to give it up as soon as any eligible purchase offers. Interested people have perhaps misrepresented each to the other. 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 can guess the subject of your reverie. Kitty has no discretion in her coughs she times them ill. 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. 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. 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. Let me first see how he behaves it will then be early enough for expectation. From their infancy, they have been intended for each other. They were in ---- street. He has children of his own, and may have more. He did not repeat his persuasion of their not marrying--and from _that_, I am inclined to hope, he might have been misunderstood before. I cannot think of it without abhorrence. 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. Tell her that you insist upon her marrying him. And yet, upon my honour, I believe what I said of myself to be true, and I believe it at this moment. But with me, it is not so. 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. And which of the two do you call _my_ little recent piece of modesty? It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. 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. Never mind Miss Lizzy's hair. There was just such an informality in the terms of the bequest as to give me no hope from law. You will hardly blame me for refusing to comply with this entreaty, or for resisting every repetition to it. You must feel it; and the usual satisfaction of preaching patience to a sufferer is denied me, because you have always so much. I often tell young ladies that no excellence in music is to be acquired without constant practice. It was really a very handsome thought. This account then is what he has received from Mr. Darcy. Aye, that is just like your formality and discretion. But you blame me for having spoken so warmly of Wickham? You blamed me for coming? Probably not; but Mr. Darcy can please where he chooses. But how came you to tell me that he was so disagreeable? Can you come to-morrow? But why all this secrecy? Why any fear of detection? Why must their marriage be private? Oh, no, no--this is not likely. I told my sister Phillips so the other day. I thank you, again and again, for not going to the Lakes. Bingley likes your sister undoubtedly; but he may never do more than like her, if she does not help him on. 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. My motive for cautioning you is as follows. Your friend performs delightfully and I doubt not that you are an adept in the science yourself, Mr. Darcy. Our distress, my dear Lizzy, is very great. I wish you very happy and very rich, and by refusing your hand, do all in my power to prevent your being otherwise. 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. One of them does. You have a very small park here. Pray read on. Nearly three weeks. You certainly do but it does not follow that the interruption must be unwelcome. 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. 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. What, is he coming home, and without poor Lydia? Sure he will not leave London before he has found them. His regiment is there; for I suppose you have heard of his leaving the ----shire, and of his being gone into the regulars. 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. It is what everybody says. 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. Your affectionate friend, Your own heart, your own conscience, must tell you why I come. I must confess myself surprised by your application; I did not expect it from _you_. Do you talk by rule, then, while you are dancing? He was well, but so much engaged with Mr. Darcy that they scarcely ever saw him. We must endeavour to forget all that has passed on either side I hope and trust they will yet be happy. It is a proof of your own attachment to Hertfordshire. You are all kindness, madam; but I believe we must abide by our original plan. Consider Mr. Collins's respectability, and Charlotte's steady, prudent character. I wish it may. To persuade him against returning into Hertfordshire, when that conviction had been given, was scarcely the work of a moment. 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. You may depend upon my not mentioning it. This letter is from Mr. Collins. 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. Dearest Lizzy, I hardly know what I would write, but I have bad news for you, and it cannot be delayed. She is now about Miss Elizabeth Bennet's height, or rather taller. But you would not wish to be dancing when she is ill. Lady Lucas herself has often said so, and envied me Jane's beauty. So much the better. Miss Bennet, there seemed to be a prettyish kind of a little wilderness on one side of your lawn. Come here, my love, I want to speak to you. I have faults enough, but they are not, I hope, of understanding. 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. Well have it as you choose. But is it certain--absolutely certain? This cannot be!--engaged to Mr. Darcy! No, no, you shall not deceive me. You must not disappoint your father. I am not going to run away, papa If I should ever go to Brighton, I would behave better than Lydia. I know them a little. Will you do me the honour of reading that letter? But I believe your opinion of him would in general astonish--and perhaps you would not express it quite so strongly anywhere else. Your superior knowledge of your sister must make the latter probable. 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. I am not likely to leave Kent for some time. Oh! it is of no consequence. It was only said, 'Lately, George Wickham, Esq. They are all for what they can get. Upon my word, I cannot exactly explain the matter; Darcy must speak for himself. They were off Saturday night about twelve, as is conjectured, but were not missed till yesterday morning at eight. And poor Mr. Darcy! Dear Lizzy, only consider what he must have suffered. For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn? 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. 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. I pity you, Miss Eliza, for this discovery of your favourite's guilt; but really, considering his descent, one could not expect much better. It is a nice long walk, and Mr. Darcy has never seen the view. Yes; to the last. But, however, that shan't prevent my asking him to dine here, I am determined. I will go directly to Mr. Bennet, and we shall very soon settle it with her, I am sure. Why was he to be the judge? Wretched, wretched mistake! Yet, indeed, I am in earnest. I never can be thankful, Mr. Bennet, for anything about the entail. Pray go to see them, with Sir William and Maria. I never saw such a long chin in my life. Lizzy, I never gave _you_ an account of my wedding, I believe. We will go round the Park every day. It pains me to offend you. I am astonished, my dear that you should be so ready to think your own children silly. I am very glad you liked her. I know little of the game at present but I shall be glad to improve myself, for in my situation in life-- I am not afraid of you. 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. 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. You have employed your time much better. 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. 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. 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. 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. I did not expect such a compliment. I do not think we were speaking at all. Well, well do not make yourself unhappy. How does Georgiana get on, Darcy? If he had been so very agreeable, he would have talked to Mrs. Long. I cannot understand it. But when you have had time to think it over, I hope you will be satisfied with what I have done. 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. 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 hope your plans in favour of the ----shire will not be affected by his being in the neighbourhood. We may as well leave them by themselves you know; Kitty and I are going upstairs to sit in my dressing-room. I am not afraid of being overpowered by the impression. You are rather disposed to call his interference officious? 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. No that is an advantage which he must divide with me. 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. Caroline is incapable of wilfully deceiving anyone; and all that I can hope in this case is that she is deceiving herself. I have no right to give _my_ opinion as to his being agreeable or otherwise. His manners are very different from his cousin's. Forgive me; and if you persist in indifference, do not make me your confidante. 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. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me. 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! I am afraid you will not be able to make it out, but I hardly know what I have written. 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. 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. 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. With great energy; but it is always a subject which makes a lady energetic. But think no more of the letter. But your _family_ owe me nothing. But it is for Mrs. Long has just been here, and she told me all about it. And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice? You need not be frightened. Nothing could give either Bingley or myself more delight. 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. 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. It is wonderful how many families I have been the means of supplying in that way. For my part, Mr. Bingley, I always keep servants that can do their own work; _my_ daughters are brought up very differently. 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. Perhaps it would have been better But to expose the former faults of any person without knowing what their present feelings were, seemed unjustifiable. You have sense, and we all expect you to use it. Let me hear from you very soon. 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. 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. Charles, when you build _your_ house, I wish it may be half as delightful as Pemberley. No, I should have turned in a moment. It is because he will not give himself the trouble. We are speaking of music, madam. He is now, perhaps, sorry for what he has done, and anxious to re-establish a character. 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. But Bingley has great natural modesty, with a stronger dependence on my judgement than on his own. 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. 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. He was most highly esteemed by Mr. Darcy, a most intimate, confidential friend. Wickham will soon be gone; and therefore it will not signify to anyone here what he really is. You have widely mistaken my character, if you think I can be worked on by such persuasions as these. And have you heard from him often? But, luckily, he came back again in ten minutes' time, and then we all set out. I am sure I shall break _mine_. 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. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study? I am sure I cried for two days together when Colonel Miller's regiment went away. Has she been presented? I do not remember her name among the ladies at court. After this period every appearance of acquaintance was dropped. 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. I wish you joy. What a fine thing for our girls! How is such a man to be worked on? How are they even to be discovered? I have not the smallest hope. These causes must be stated, though briefly. 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. It will not do. The particulars I reserve till we meet; it is enough to know they are discovered. 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. Yes; and they have another, who lives somewhere near Cheapside. 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. 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 cannot be too much upon your guard. 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 must think your language too strong in speaking of both and I hope you will be convinced of it by seeing them happy together. My feelings are not puffed about with every attempt to move them. No officer is ever to enter into my house again, nor even to pass through the village. It ought to be so; it must be so, while he retains the use of his reason. 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. I did not know before, that I had two daughters on the brink of matrimony. 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. You refuse, then, to oblige me. 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. _They_ will never be distressed for money. 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. Those who do not complain are never pitied. You are a good girl; and I have great pleasure in thinking you will be so happily settled. 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. She follows him to town in hope of keeping him there, and tries to persuade you that he does not care about you. 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? Did you go by the village of Kympton? And who knows what _may_ happen? But that is nothing to us. You were not by, when I told mamma and the others all about it. 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. Oh that I had been with you! you have had every care and anxiety upon yourself alone. You do not look well. If one could but go to Brighton! I certainly _have_ had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. But let me advise you to think better of it. Well, and what news does it bring--good or bad? 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. I believe, ma'am, I may safely promise you _never_ to dance with him. I only hope they may have half my good luck. Had it been your uncle's doing, I must and _would_ have paid him; but these violent young lovers carry every thing their own way. I think I have understood that Mr. Bingley has not much idea of ever returning to Netherfield again? 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. 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. We dine at Rosings twice every week, and are never allowed to walk home. Compliments always take _you_ by surprise, and _me_ never. And _that_ made the men suspect something, and then they soon found out what was the matter. I am cruelly used, nobody feels for my poor nerves. Miss Bingley, I am sure, cannot. There is nothing he would not do for her. First, that you will allow me the free use of my understanding on the present occasion; and secondly, of my room. But I was embarrassed. But of course she did not mention my name to you. When she is secure of him, there will be more leisure for falling in love as much as she chooses. 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. Though Lydia's short letter to Mrs. F. When first he entered the corps, she was ready enough to admire him; but so we all were. 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. With my mother up stairs. What will you think of my vanity? I believed you to be wishing, expecting my addresses. 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. It will be in my power to assure him that her ladyship was quite well yesterday se'nnight. We are persuaded that he has pledged himself to assist Mr. Wickham with money. We passed each other several times. 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. Not at all. It is an advantage to have it so far from this part of the kingdom. I hope not so. But it is fortunate that I have something to wish for. Did you speak from your own observation when you told him that my sister loved him, or merely from my information last spring? An airing would do me a great deal of good, I am sure. I should be glad to take a turn in it, if you will favour me with your company. Nonsense, nonsense! No thanks to his gallantry for that. You both did as much as you could in planning the marriage. I am not qualified to form one. We all love to instruct, though we can teach only what is not worth knowing. 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! 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. You need not. I expected to find a more reasonable young woman. The adieu is charity itself. I do not know when I have been more shocked Wickham so very bad! It is almost past belief. When I am in the country I never wish to leave it; and when I am in town it is pretty much the same. I am very sensible of the honour of your proposals, but it is impossible for me to do otherwise than to decline them. 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! He simpers, and smirks, and makes love to us all. When I consider that I might have prevented it! I, who knew what he was. His principal object must be to discover the number of the hackney coach which took them from Clapham. You know I have. 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. If your master would marry, you might see more of him. Oh dear!--yes--certainly. 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. 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. But if you have got them to-day my mother's purpose will be answered. Thank you for if you did, I should certainly tell you all, and then Wickham would be angry. You will not thank me for detaining you from the bewitching converse of that young lady, whose bright eyes are also upbraiding me. _He_ shall be mercenary, and _she_ shall be foolish. Indeed, Mr. Collins, all praise of me will be unnecessary. It was unpardonable. My father and mother believe the worst, but I cannot think so ill of him. I am sure he will be vastly happy to oblige you, and will save all the best of the covies for you. He is perfectly well behaved, polite, and unassuming. Say that urgent business calls us home immediately. I do assure you, sir, that I have no pretensions whatever to that kind of elegance which consists in tormenting a respectable man. 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. Wickham is safe. She would not betray her trust, I suppose, without bribery and corruption, for she really did know where her friend was to be found. You did! and it was not wholly without foundation. 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. 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. How thankful am I that we never let them know what has been said against him; we must forget it ourselves. 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. For my own part I must confess that I never could see any beauty in her. Oh, Lydia! What is there of good to be expected? But perhaps you would like to read it. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us. My temper would perhaps be called resentful. 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. Lady Catherine's unjustifiable endeavours to separate us were the means of removing all my doubts. Something very much to the purpose of course. 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? No, not at all. Give my love to Colonel Forster. 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. All young ladies accomplished! My dear Charles, what do you mean? Another time, Lizzy I would not dance with _him_, if I were you. 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. The far and the near must be relative, and depend on many varying circumstances. And my mother--how is she? How are you all? She is not such a simpleton. 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 dear Mr. Bennet how can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them. Speak to Lizzy about it yourself. 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. _That_ will make your ladyship's situation at present more pitiable; but it will have no effect on me. 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. 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. We want none of them; do we? Well, much good may it do them! And so, I suppose, they often talk of having Longbourn when your father is dead. 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. He may live in my memory as the most amiable man of my acquaintance, but that is all. They battled it together for a long time, which was more than either the gentleman or lady concerned in it deserved. Very well, if it must be so, it must. My uncle is to send a servant for us. You used us abominably ill running away without telling us that you were coming out. Yes, I do comprehend a great deal in it. 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. 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. With three younger sisters grown up your ladyship can hardly expect me to own it. Your father would depend on _your_ resolution and good conduct, I am sure. And we all know that Wickham has every charm of person and address that can captivate a woman. 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. The Lucases are very artful people indeed, sister. If I were to go through the world, I could not meet with a better. That they should marry, small as is their chance of happiness, and wretched as is his character, we are forced to rejoice. I have no pleasure in talking to undutiful children. In the first place, he must make such an agreement for tithes as may be beneficial to himself and not offensive to his patron. And yours is willfully to misunderstand them. Here, Sarah, come to Miss Bennet this moment, and help her on with her gown. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. At present, however, I consider myself as quite fixed here. My poor mother is really ill, and keeps her room. You do not blame me, however, for refusing him? Do not let us quarrel about the past. Mr. Collins must excuse me. 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. But it has been the study of my life to avoid those weaknesses which often expose a strong understanding to ridicule. Do not be afraid of my running into any excess, of my encroaching on your privilege of universal good-will. I have just had a letter from Jane, with such dreadful news. Now I am quite happy for you will be as happy as myself. Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane's disposition as you do. Mr. Darcy called, and was shut up with him several hours. It was greatly my wish that he should do so as soon as his marriage was fixed on. 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. 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. 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. That is very true and I could easily forgive _his_ pride, if he had not mortified _mine_. Some time hence it will be all found out, and then we may laugh at their stupidity in not knowing it before. I flatter myself at least that you will be able to do so. She does not yet leave her dressing-room. In future, I hope we shall be always of one mind. I am sincerely grieved for him and Mrs. F. His character was to speak for itself. 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. If you will only tell me what sort of girl Miss King is, I shall know what to think. I never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe united. It will save me a world of trouble and economy. How so? How can it affect them? 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. What advantage can it be for you to offend Mr. Darcy? You will never recommend yourself to his friend by so doing! Can you deny that you have done it? Will it not be advisable, before we proceed on this subject, to arrange with rather more precision the degree of importance which is to appertain to this request, as well as the degree of intimacy subsisting between the parties? My mother means well; but she does not know, no one can know, how much I suffer from what she says. 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. He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably. If you love Mr. Darcy half as well as I do my dear Wickham, you must be very happy. I am sorry to say it of them, but so it is. _Her_ not objecting does not justify _him_. We were always good friends; and now we are better. I am sick of them all. Jane was so admired, nothing could be like it. Mr. Darcy is impatient to see his sister; and, to confess the truth, _we_ are scarcely less eager to meet her again. I will answer for it, he never cared three straws about her--who could about such a nasty little freckled thing? Mr. Darcy seemed much pleased with the attention. He is so excessively handsome! And his sisters are charming women. Is it true? Very well--and this offer of marriage you have refused? 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. I see no occasion for that. Do not make yourself uneasy, my dear cousin, about your apparel. Can this be Mr. Darcy? My feelings will not be repressed. You mentioned _two_ instances. Do you certainly leave Kent on Saturday? I am exceedingly gratified by your converting what my friend says into a compliment on the sweetness of my temper. 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. I certainly have not the talent which some people possess of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. 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. Could there be finer symptoms? Is not general incivility the very essence of love? That reply will do for the present. 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 shall now know how to act. I must be in town next Saturday. 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. 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. Take care, Lizzy; that speech savours strongly of disappointment. 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. When I went away, I felt that it would soon happen. When they get to our age, I dare say they will not think about officers any more than we do. She is a selfish, hypocritical woman, and I have no opinion of her. 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. It is, I believe, too little yielding--certainly too little for the convenience of the world. I am afraid he has been very imprudent, and has deserved to lose Mr. Darcy's regard. 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. I never heard that it was. 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. Won't it, Kitty? It is of all subjects my delight. She is a very good kind of girl, I believe. 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! No, she would go home. Ever since I have known it, I have been most anxious to acknowledge to you how gratefully I feel it. 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. She practises very constantly. I cannot believe it. 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. Such as vanity and pride. I have said no such thing. I am, dear sir, etc. 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. His misfortunes! yes, his misfortunes have been great indeed. 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. Then, my dear, you may have the advantage of your friend, and introduce Mr. Bingley to _her_. How could I ever think her like her nephew? No, never. And I have another favour to ask you. 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. I have great hopes of finding him quite the reverse. I suspected as much But how did he account for it? 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. 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. But, my dear, your father cannot spare the horses, I am sure. 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. It is the greatest of favours when Miss de Bourgh comes in. She has only one daughter, the heiress of Rosings, and of very extensive property. But are you pleased, Jane? Shall you like to have such a brother? Lady Catherine de Bourgh has very lately given him a living. He shall not be in love with me, if I can prevent it. But she does help him on, as much as her nature will allow. Oh! do not repeat what I then said. Yes, indeed, and received no inconsiderable pleasure from the sight. Ah! Jane, I take your place now, and you must go lower, because I am a married woman. 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. Caroline decidedly says that none of the party will return into Hertfordshire this winter. Mr. Bennet, how _can_ you abuse your own children in such a way? You take delight in vexing me. 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. I do not think it is very pretty; but I thought I might as well buy it as not. The children have been wanting me this half hour. And, my dear Jane, I never saw you look in greater beauty. But pride--where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation. 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! I shall write again as soon as anything more is determined on. Not so hasty, if you please. She is a most charming young lady indeed. You will not find him more favourably spoken of by anyone. 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. Oh! certainly no one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. I feel as if I had never done you justice, or loved you as you deserve. If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure. She likes to have the distinction of rank preserved. You thought me then devoid of every proper feeling, I am sure you did. Society has claims on us all; and I profess myself one of those who consider intervals of recreation and amusement as desirable for everybody. My sisters may write to _me_. But his anger, I am persuaded, lasted no longer than he remained in any doubt of your sister's sentiments. I can answer your question without applying to him. I was never more surprised than by his behaviour to us. We have dined nine times at Rosings, besides drinking tea there twice! How much I shall have to tell! From something that he told me in our journey hither, I have reason to think Bingley very much indebted to him. I am so grieved for him! His behaviour was attentive and kind to the utmost. Very true; and if I had my will, we should. 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 great deal of good management, depend upon it. Well, then, you need not be under any alarm. If it be so, if I have been misled by such error to inflict pain on her, your resentment has not been unreasonable. A report of a most alarming nature reached me two days ago. Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your original intentions as atoned for by your obstinacy in adhering to it? Let us hope for better things. An easy distance, do you call it? It is nearly fifty miles. 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. To oblige you, I would try to believe almost anything, but no one else could be benefited by such a belief as this; for were I persuaded that Charlotte had any regard for him, I should only think worse of her understanding than I now do of her heart. My dear, dear Lydia! How merry we shall be together when we meet! We shall have no peace at Longbourn if Lydia does not go to Brighton. 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. 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. Oh! _that_ abominable Mr. Darcy! My father's opinion of me does me the greatest honour, and I should be miserable to forfeit it. And there was my aunt, all the time I was dressing, preaching and talking away just as if she was reading a sermon. He is as fine a fellow as ever I saw. 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. But that gentleman seemed to think the country was nothing at all. But with such a father and mother, and such low connections, I am afraid there is no chance of it. The others have been gone on to Scarborough, these three weeks. Give me further particulars. And men take care that they should. It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion, to be secure of judging properly at first. Miss Bennet I am shocked and astonished. 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. 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. Very, very much. I always said it must be so, at last. I beg you will not go. 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. But gracious me! I quite forgot! I ought not to have said a word about it. I am perfectly serious in my refusal. 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. They are generally long; but whether always charming it is not for me to determine. 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. I longed to know whether he would be married in his blue coat. That is exactly the question which I expected you to ask. No, I thank you There is nothing the matter with me. I can recall nothing worse. I am no longer surprised at your knowing _only_ six accomplished women. It must be an amusing study. Clement's, because Wickham's lodgings were in that parish. There was one part especially, the opening of it, which I should dread your having the power of reading again. 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. You may well warn me against such an evil. The favor of your company has been much felt, I assure you. If you'll believe me, I did not once put my foot out of doors, though I was there a fortnight. Say nothing of that. Dear me! we had such a good piece of fun the other day at Colonel Forster's. I am thinking of what you have been telling me Your cousin's conduct does not suit my feelings. And quite alone? Have all her friends left her? Oh! yes Mr. Darcy is uncommonly kind to Mr. Bingley, and takes a prodigious deal of care of him. But you are always giving _her_ the preference. I have certainly meant well through the whole affair. 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. 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. Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. I am grieved indeed grieved--shocked. 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. You know, sister, we agreed long ago never to mention a word about it. So, do not put yourself to inconvenience. Why does she not come in? This walk is not wide enough for our party. 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. 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. I cannot see that London has any great advantage over the country, for my part, except the shops and public places. I never saw anyone so shocked. Oh! I am not afraid of her dying. 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. 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. 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. My dear, you flatter me. 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 knew it myself, as it was known to Miss Bingley; but her brother is even yet ignorant of it. 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. 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. _You_ know him too well to doubt the rest. 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. For the liveliness of your mind, I did. Yes. 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. My dear Jane! you are too good. And as I come back, I can call on Lady Lucas and Mrs. Long. You know it is not sound, and that you would never act in this way yourself. 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. Oh, Charlotte says she hardly ever does. And what sort of table do they keep? Charlotte is an excellent manager, I dare say. I should be sorry to think so ill of him, in the very beginning of our relationship. 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. I will not encourage the impudence of either, by receiving them at Longbourn. 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. 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. 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 should like it beyond anything! _That_ is all settled. This will never do. 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. 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. But if a woman is partial to a man, and does not endeavour to conceal it, he must find it out. Do you not think it would be a proper compliment to the place? 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. You are very cruel you will not let me smile, and are provoking me to it every moment. His father was an excellent man. 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. She is a handsome girl, about fifteen or sixteen, and, I understand, highly accomplished. 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. Upon my word I begin to be of your uncle's opinion. Nay this is too much, to remember at night all the foolish things that were said in the morning. But, Lizzy, you can tell us whether it is like or not. I see your design, Bingley You dislike an argument, and want to silence this. I am going away myself. The letter, perhaps, began in bitterness, but it did not end so. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. With the kindest concern he came on to Longbourn, and broke his apprehensions to us in a manner most creditable to his heart. You know my sentiments. And did Colonel Forster appear to think well of Wickham himself? Does he know his real character? There can be no occasion for your going so soon. I hope we may often meet again. Will you hear it? I send no compliments to your mother. I had hoped that our sentiments coincided in every particular, but I must so far differ from you as to think our two youngest daughters uncommonly foolish. My dear, do not give way to such gloomy thoughts. Can you yourself, Lizzy, so wholly give him up, as to believe him capable of it? I told him of all that had occurred to make my former interference in his affairs absurd and impertinent. This has been my motive, my fair cousin, and I flatter myself it will not sink me in your esteem. My aunt's intelligence had given me hope, and I was determined at once to know every thing. 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. With the officers! I wonder my aunt did not tell us of _that_. I should take him, even on _my_ slight acquaintance, to be an ill-tempered man. 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. It is impossible that he should still love me. Oh, Jane, had we been less secret, had we told what we knew of him, this could not have happened! When a woman has five grown-up daughters, she ought to give over thinking of her own beauty. 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! Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all. But do not imagine that he is always here so often. Come, Mr. Wickham, we are brother and sister, you know. As yet, she cannot even be certain of the degree of her own regard nor of its reasonableness. Well girls What say you to the day? I think every thing has passed off uncommonly well, I assure you. 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. They may be there, though for the purpose of concealment, for no more exceptional purpose. I am always glad to get a young person well placed out. 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. You shall not defend her, though it is Charlotte Lucas. I am. But that expression of 'violently in love' is so hackneyed, so doubtful, so indefinite, that it gives me very little idea. 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. 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. I _do_ remember his boasting one day, at Netherfield, of the implacability of his resentments, of his having an unforgiving temper. But she is nothing to me now. 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. 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. Not that I have much pleasure, indeed, in talking to anybody. About the court, such instances of elegant breeding are not uncommon. She will be taken good care of. My father, however, is partial to Mr. Wickham. I was only confused for the moment, because I felt that I _should_ be looked at. Oh! but the gentlemen will have Mr. Bingley's chaise to go to Meryton, and the Hursts have no horses to theirs. Not yet But now that my dear uncle is come, I hope everything will be well. Miss Bingley told me that he never speaks much, unless among his intimate acquaintances. 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? 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! If he does not come to me, _then_ I shall give him up for ever. 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. I did not wink at you. It was all conjecture. 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. 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. My aunt is going to-morrow into that part of the town, and I shall take the opportunity of calling in Grosvenor Street. 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. The person of whom I speak is a gentleman, and a stranger. Since the ----shire were first quartered in Meryton, nothing but love, flirtation, and officers have been in her head. Anne would have been a delightful performer, had her health allowed her to learn. He is, indeed. 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. I know my own strength, and I shall never be embarrassed again by his coming. 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. 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. The engagement between them is of a peculiar kind. 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. 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. Is your sister at Pemberley still? Lydia came to us; and Wickham had constant admission to the house. It shows an affection for her sister that is very pleasing. I congratulate her. 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 never saw a more promising inclination; he was growing quite inattentive to other people, and wholly engrossed by her. 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. I am almost afraid of asking what you thought of me, when we met at Pemberley. Can such abominable pride as his have ever done him good? My brother and the gentlemen are to dine with the officers. I hope I never ridicule what is wise and good. 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. 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. 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. I do not cough for my own amusement When is your next ball to be, Lizzy? Blame you! Oh, no. I never thought Mr. Darcy so deficient in the _appearance_ of it as you used to do. But to be guarded at such a time is very difficult. Perhaps I did not always love him so well as I do now. About a month He is a man of very large property in Derbyshire, I understand. Every savage can dance. 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. Is Miss Darcy much grown since the spring? will she be as tall as I am? But he is a liberal master, I suppose, and _that_ in the eye of a servant comprehends every virtue. 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! You must give me leave to judge for myself, and pay me the compliment of believing what I say. I shall depend on hearing from you very often, Eliza. Indeed, Mamma, you are mistaken You quite mistook Mr. Darcy. It is a pity they are not handsome! Not that I think Charlotte so _very_ plain--but then she is our particular friend. I assure you it is very refreshing after sitting so long in one attitude. 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. 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. No one admitted to the privilege of hearing you can think anything wanting. 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 do not believe Mrs. Long will do any such thing. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you. Are you quite sure that you feel what you ought to do? He made her an offer in this very room, and she refused him. He called it, therefore, his duty to step forward, and endeavour to remedy an evil which had been brought on by himself. That lady, I suppose, is your mother. Care of him! Yes, I really believe Darcy _does_ take care of him in those points where he most wants care. Mrs. Annesley is with her. From the former. What congratulations will then flow in! I appeal to Mr. Darcy:--but let me not interrupt you, sir. But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood. I always thought they were very unfit to have the charge of her; but I was overruled, as I always am. 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? Oh! I heard you before, but I could not immediately determine what to say in reply. Her nose wants character--there is nothing marked in its lines. I find myself very unwell this morning, which, I suppose, is to be imputed to my getting wet through yesterday. Where there is fortune to make the expenses of travelling unimportant, distance becomes no evil. You _are_ a gentleman's daughter. But I will no longer importune my young cousin. No Wickham's a fool if he takes her with a farthing less than ten thousand pounds. Did you ever hear Darcy mention the circumstance, when you were in Kent? He was my godfather, and excessively attached to me. But he is an ugly fellow! I am glad he is gone. You may as well call it impertinence at once. Find such a woman as soon as you can, bring her to Hunsford, and I will visit her. Why, indeed; he does seem to have had some filial scruples on that head, as you will hear. You doubt me indeed, you have no reason. Oh! my dear I cannot bear to hear that mentioned. I hope not. Perhaps he must, if he sees enough of her. In short, I will do my best. --I remain, dear sir, with respectful compliments to your lady and daughters, your well-wisher and friend, And as to my father, I never in my life saw him so affected. 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. You shall have it in a few words. We had better not mention it. I beg your pardon Excuse my interference--it was kindly meant. 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. Her dirty petticoat quite escaped my notice. We shall be at Newcastle all the winter, and I dare say there will be some balls, and I will take care to get good partners for them all. I 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. 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 only want to think _you_ perfect, and you set yourself against it. What is his name? Oh! my dear Mr. Bennet we have had a most delightful evening, a most excellent ball. 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. May I ask to what these questions tend? He has many friends, and is at a time of life when friends and engagements are continually increasing. He has the promise of an ensigncy in General ----'s regiment, now quartered in the North. You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for the influence of friendship and affection. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for _us_ to visit him if you do not. 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. Well, Lizzy and so the Collinses live very comfortable, do they? Well, well, I only hope it will last. I am perfectly convinced by it that Mr. Darcy has no defect. But really, ma'am, I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters, that they should not have their share of society and amusement, because the elder may not have the means or inclination to marry early. The men shan't come and part us, I am determined. But we are none of us consistent, and in his behaviour to me there were stronger impulses even than pride. The distance is nothing when one has a motive; only three miles. One has got all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it. 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. That is not very likely; our authority was too good. I do not believe she often sees such at home. 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. Intimate as you are, you must know how it is to be done. How soon any other wishes introduced themselves I can hardly tell, but I believe in about half an hour after I had seen you. 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 would keep a pack of foxhounds, and drink a bottle of wine a day. Indeed, Eliza, you will be as welcome as either of them. You may depend upon my seeking no further. Pray, Miss Eliza, are not the ----shire Militia removed from Meryton? They must be a great loss to _your_ family. It is a rule with me, that a person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill. For my part, I am inclined to believe it all Darcy's; but you shall do as you choose. I imagine your cousin brought you down with him chiefly for the sake of having someone at his disposal. 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. My kind friends will not hear of my returning till I am better. And now nothing remains for me but to assure you in the most animated language of the violence of my affection. How he lived I know not. It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come, since you will not visit them. Some people call him proud; but I am sure I never saw anything of it. 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. But it is all--all too late now. You know how I detest it, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. If you believed it impossible to be true I wonder you took the trouble of coming so far. What a good joke it will be! I can hardly write for laughing. 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. To my fancy, it is only because he does not rattle away like other young men. In my opinion, the younger son of an earl can know very little of either. 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 your arts and allurements may, in a moment of infatuation, have made him forget what he owes to himself and to all his family. 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. 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. 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. Excuse me, for I must speak plainly. You have done all this! and yet you can treat the mention of his misfortune with contempt and ridicule. 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. He made a little mistake to be sure; but it is to the credit of his modesty. 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. Our situation with regard to Lady Catherine's family is indeed the sort of extraordinary advantage and blessing which few can boast. I do not blame Jane for Jane would have got Mr. Bingley if she could. In what an amiable light does this place him! I shall go distracted. All that is known after this is, that they were seen to continue the London road. I have nothing either to hope or fear, and nothing to reproach him with. 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. 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. 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. Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable. 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. From what I can collect, he left Derbyshire only one day after ourselves, and came to town with the resolution of hunting for them. Do let me ask my partner to introduce you. It must have been his sister's doing. But it is not merely this affair on which my dislike is founded. It was not thought necessary in Sir Lewis de Bourgh's family. Pray, how _violent was_ Mr. Bingley's love? 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. 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. 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. My visit was not long, as Caroline and Mrs. Hurst were going out. 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. 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. But our visitor was very obstinate. 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. Sir, you quite misunderstand me Lizzy is only headstrong in such matters as these. If _you_ have not been mistaken here, _I_ must have been in error. _That_ is my idea of good breeding; and those persons who fancy themselves very important, and never open their mouths, quite mistake the matter. And do you really love him quite well enough? Oh, Lizzy! do anything rather than marry without affection. That is right. I wonder what he can be doing there. But last summer he was again most painfully obtruded on my notice. By supposing such an affection, you make everybody acting unnaturally and wrong, and me most unhappy. But we considered it, we talked of it as impossible. Indeed, Jane, you ought to believe me. But however insincere _you_ may choose to be, you shall not find _me_ so. 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 Darcy, the daughter of Mr. Darcy, of Pemberley, and Lady Anne, could not have appeared with propriety in a different manner. 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. 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. I have known him too long and too well to be a fair judge. He can be a conversible companion if he thinks it worth his while. 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. You cannot refuse to dance, I am sure when so much beauty is before you. 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. In vain I have struggled. 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. 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. 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. Some time or other he _will_ be--but it shall not be by _me_. I will not trust myself on the subject I can hardly be just to him. 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. We shall often meet, I hope, in Hertfordshire. You are charmingly grouped, and appear to uncommon advantage. Did Mr. Darcy give you reasons for this interference? 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. Mr. Darcy is all politeness. I have not the pleasure of understanding you Of what are you talking? It is highly improper. 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. 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. _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_. 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. Ignorant as you previously were of everything concerning either, detection could not be in your power, and suspicion certainly not in your inclination. Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. It cannot last long. Perhaps he thought her too young. He has more to give. He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I should never dare refuse anything, which he condescended to ask. 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. It is a long time, Mr. Bingley, since you went away. A most delightful place!--Excellent Parsonage House! It would have suited me in every respect. His attachment to Rosings certainly increases. Mrs. Long said so too, for I asked her whether you did not. It will pass away soon enough. And that is my master--and very like him. My dearest sister, now _be_ serious. They have at least that advantage. But these are not Jane's feelings; she is not acting by design. It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us. I am excessively attentive to all those things. I have been a disappointed man, and my spirits will not bear solitude. All connection between us seemed now dissolved. No more have I and I am glad to find that you do not depend on her serving you. 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. I am sorry you think so; but if that be the case, there can at least be no want of subject. To be sure London was rather thin, but, however, the Little Theatre was open. I have been most highly gratified indeed, my dear sir. 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. Take your choice, but you must be satisfied with only one. It is not to be supposed that there was much affection in the case. 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. I am the happiest creature in the world. 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. 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. Towards _him_ I have been kinder than towards myself. It did. When I am in company with him, I will not be wishing. You have said quite enough, madam. He is a sweet-tempered, amiable, charming man. Come here, child I have sent for you on an affair of importance. I did not know that you intended to walk. He knows where we live. Having said thus much, I feel no doubt of your secrecy. Believe her to be deceived, by all means. 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. 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. You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking, and looking, and thinking for _your_ approbation alone. But there seems an indelicacy in directing his attentions towards her so soon after this event. Well, my dear I have no more to say. I mention it, because it is the living which I ought to have had. She is well, and begs to be dutifully remembered to you and your mother. Her ladyship's carriage is regularly ordered for us. You will easily comprehend, from these particulars, that Mr. Wickham's circumstances are not so hopeless as they are generally believed to be. 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. I know it all; that the young man's marrying her was a patched-up business, at the expence of your father and uncles. One cannot wonder that so very fine a young man, with family, fortune, everything in his favour, should think highly of himself. I shall never be quite happy till I have been all round the park. Do you play and sing, Miss Bennet? Next time you call I hope we shall be more lucky. Pray do, my dear Miss Lucas for nobody is on my side, nobody takes part with me. Stop me whilst you can. 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. Read it aloud for I hardly know myself what it is about. It is _not_ Mr. Bingley it is a person whom I never saw in the whole course of my life. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast. Indeed I have, sir She is a great deal too ill to be moved. And is Miss Darcy as handsome as her brother? I have, sir. His pride does not offend _me_ so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. I shall see her in January. Mrs. Bennet and Lydia are going in the carriage to Meryton. 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. But, whatever may be their own wishes, it is very unlikely they should have opposed their brother's. 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. You must write again very soon, and praise him a great deal more than you did in your last. 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. Your surprise could not be greater than _mine_ in being noticed by you. 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! Hunsford, near Westerham, Kent, 15th October. It is settled between us already, that we are to be the happiest couple in the world. We now come to the point. I am very, very sorry. 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. We seem to have been designed for each other. Jane, I congratulate you. Mrs. Collins, you must send a servant with them. My aunt Phillips came to Longbourn on Tuesday, after my father went away; and was so good as to stay till Thursday with me. I am talking of possibilities, Charles. An excellent consolation in its way but it will not do for _us_. At least, you should not _remind_ your mother of inviting him. 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. His disposition must be dreadful. I wish I could see her. If I were as rich as Mr. Darcy I should not care how proud I was. His circumstances, he assured me, and I had no difficulty in believing it, were exceedingly bad. I leave it to yourself to determine. Miss Bingley sees that her brother is in love with you, and wants him to marry Miss Darcy. 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. And do you impute it to either of those? Society, I own, is necessary to me. You never see a fault in anybody. Accept my thanks for the compliment you are paying me. He must know that she was as amiable and unpretending as we have found her. You look conscious. I hate such false friends. 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 begin to comprehend me, do you? Perhaps _she_ is full young to be much in company. Are any of your younger sisters out, Miss Bennet? 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. 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. Because you were grave and silent, and gave me no encouragement. 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. But that is one great difference between us. 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? 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_-- 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. Well, if they can be easy with an estate that is not lawfully their own, so much the better. Do you often dance at St. Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you choose. Yes his estate there is a noble one. We have not met since the 26th of November, when we were all dancing together at Netherfield. She would be in nobody's way, you know, in that part of the house. When they all removed to Brighton, therefore, you had no reason, I suppose, to believe them fond of each other? This was a lucky idea of mine, indeed! They met again on Sunday, and then _I_ saw him too. At any rate, she cannot grow many degrees worse, without authorising us to lock her up for the rest of her life. She cared for none of her friends; she wanted no help of his; she would not hear of leaving Wickham. 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. If, indeed, it should be so! But I dare not hope it. Mr. Darcy, you cannot deny the fact. And do you like her? And so you like this man's sisters, too, do you? Their manners are not equal to his. 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.' What does Mr. Darcy mean by listening to my conversation with Colonel Forster? It does not follow that a deep, intricate character is more or less estimable than such a one as yours. You are determined to ruin him in the opinion of all his friends, and make him the contempt of the world. 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. Indeed I am heartily sorry for him; but he has other feelings, which will probably soon drive away his regard for me. I beg your pardon, I will try again. 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. Here are officers enough in Meryton to disappoint all the young ladies in the country. Upon the whole, I am much pleased with him. 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. It is fortunate, then, that they fall to my lot instead of yours. She did indeed. 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. Everybody is disgusted with his pride. 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. Not that I am afraid of _myself_, but I dread other people's remarks. You need not distress yourself. I beg your pardon; one knows exactly what to think. 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. 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. Caroline did not return my visit till yesterday; and not a note, not a line, did I receive in the meantime. Let me congratulate you on a very important conquest. A little time, therefore--I shall certainly try to get the better. This is quite shocking! He deserves to be publicly disgraced. It is, in short, impossible for us to conjecture the causes or circumstances which may have alienated them, without actual blame on either side. Do you know, mamma, that my uncle Phillips talks of turning away Richard; and if he does, Colonel Forster will hire him. I have received a letter this morning that has astonished me exceedingly. But, on second thoughts, perhaps, Lizzy could tell us what relations he has now living, better than any other person. Oh! no--it is not for _me_ to be driven away by Mr. Darcy. One does not know what to think. 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. 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. He brought it with him for us to see. I described, and enforced them earnestly. 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. The moral will be perfectly fair. And there is something of dignity in his countenance that would not give one an unfavourable idea of his heart. It is a pity that great ladies in general are not more like her. 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. Nothing so easy, if you have but the inclination We can all plague and punish one another. I often tell my other girls they are nothing to _her_. Since her father's death, her home has been London, where a lady lives with her, and superintends her education. Mr. what's-his-name. I rather expected, from my knowledge of her affability, that it would happen. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike _them_. Then it is as I always hoped they are married! One seems so forlorn without them. Nothing child, nothing. Compared with some families, I believe we were; but such of us as wished to learn never wanted the means. Have you any idea, Lizzy, who this gentleman is? But now it comes out: Very much. But do not deceive yourself into a belief that I will ever recede. 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? He meant to resign his commission immediately; and as to his future situation, he could conjecture very little about it. But I cannot find out that Jane saw anything of him in London. 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. You are too generous to trifle with me. If they had uncles enough to fill _all_ Cheapside it would not make them one jot less agreeable. I was surprised to see Darcy in town last month. Or, in other words, you are determined to have him. 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. Your cousin will give you a very pretty notion of me, and teach you not to believe a word I say. Your profusion makes me saving; and if you lament over him much longer, my heart will be as light as a feather. Tease him--laugh at him. Take whatever you like, and get away. As long as she stays there, it is all very well. No--I do not know that you were wrong in saying what you did. You see on what a footing we are. 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. At length, however, our kind friend procured the wished-for direction. They are gone off together from Brighton. He left Netherfield for London, on the day following, as you, I am certain, remember, with the design of soon returning. I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy. 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. Oh, yes. Are the others coming out? Our poor mother is sadly grieved. Are you pleased with Kent? This unfortunate affair will, I fear, prevent my sister's having the pleasure of seeing you at Pemberley to-day. Miss Elizabeth Bennet! I am all astonishment. 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. We have not determined how far it shall carry us but, perhaps, to the Lakes. 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. What is your opinion? They have each their advantages, and I can be equally happy in either. 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. 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. 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. Who that knows what his misfortunes have been, can help feeling an interest in him? 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. And so was I. I have suspected it some time, but I am now convinced. 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? Could I expect it to be otherwise! Yet why did he come? We know how little there is to tempt anyone to our humble abode. You have delighted us long enough. Lady Catherine has been of infinite use, which ought to make her happy, for she loves to be of use. I will speak to her about it directly. 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. I do not believe he will ever live at Netherfield any more. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. 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. You know nothing of the matter. 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. From all that I can collect by your manner of talking, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. 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. No one who has ever seen you together can doubt his affection. I had not thought Mr. Darcy so bad as this--though I have never liked him. Your ladyship has declared it to be impossible. If _he_ wishes to avoid seeing _me_, he must go. 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? It was all over before I arrived; so my curiosity was not so dreadfully racked as _your's_ seems to have been. I should be sorry, you know, to think ill of a young man who has lived so long in Derbyshire. I inquired after their brother, of course. I think I have heard you say that you know them. I found that Miss Darcy was expected to dinner. Come, Kitty, I want you upstairs. Do let us have a little music Louisa, you will not mind my waking Mr. Hurst? I rather wonder now at your knowing _any_. There is not one of his tenants or servants but will give him a good name. Her behaviour to my dear Charlotte is charming. You have a house in town, I conclude? Daughters are never of so much consequence to a father. Let them triumph over us at a distance, and be satisfied. 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. 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. 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. I thought him very sly;--he hardly ever mentioned your name. 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. 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. --'There, Mrs. Bennet. 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. If it was not for the entail, I should not mind it. Whatever he might afterwards persuade her to, it was not on her side a _scheme_ of infamy. Some acquaintance or other, my dear, I suppose; I am sure I do not know. 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. Dining out that is very unlucky. --And what can he mean by apologising for being next in the entail?--We cannot suppose he would help it if he could. 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. Well! I am so happy! In a short time I shall have a daughter married. 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. But don't imagine it was from any silly cause. 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. Your mother insists upon your accepting it. Oh! then--some time or other we shall be happy to hear you. He still loves me, and we are engaged. 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. Lady Catherine will not think the worse of you for being simply dressed. Miss Eliza Bennet despises cards. _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. 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. I told Mrs. Collins so before you came. Miss Bennet would not play at all amiss if she practised more, and could have the advantage of a London master. 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. There _is_ something a little stately in him, to be sure but it is confined to his air, and is not unbecoming. How could I be so silly as to wish it! Your idea of the ponies is delightful. But my dear Elizabeth what sort of girl is Miss King? I should be sorry to think our friend mercenary. Had you then persuaded yourself that I should? _That_ you certainly shall. 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. But not before they went to Brighton? None at all. 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. But you have chosen your fault well. I do not pretend to possess equal frankness with your ladyship. And then you have added so much to it yourself, you are always buying books. This is a most unfortunate affair, and will probably be much talked of. Can I have the carriage? Will you come and see me? He and his sisters were well, I hope, when you left London? I hope you will drink to our good journey. My uncle and aunt and I were to go together; and the others were to meet us at the church. They have both been deceived, I dare say, in some way or other, of which we can form no idea. 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. Was there no good in your affectionate behaviour to Jane while she was ill at Netherfield? --There is something very pompous in his style. If it was to be secret say not another word on the subject. She is a great reader, and has no pleasure in anything else. There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. Oh! my dear father come back and write immediately. Is that his design in settling here? 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. And how much I shall have to conceal! Undoubtedly there is a meanness in _all_ the arts which ladies sometimes condescend to employ for captivation. Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty, I will visit them all. Jane will be quite an old maid soon, I declare. How you must have hated me after _that_ evening? 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. 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. 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. Miss Bennet you ought to know, that I am not to be trifled with. 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. 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. Is he married or single? She is a very headstrong, foolish girl, and does not know her own interest but I will _make_ her know it. Go, my dear and show her ladyship about the different walks. Oh! Single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune; four or five thousand a year. Yes, you know enough of my frankness to believe me capable of _that_. He had never had the slightest suspicion. Your mother will never see you again if you do _not_ marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you _do_. My child, let me not have the grief of seeing _you_ unable to respect your partner in life. But I hope there is no strong attachment on either side. But I confess they would have no charms for _me_--I should infinitely prefer a book. I cannot boast of knowing more than half-a-dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are really accomplished. Yes, there can; for mine is totally different. The world is blinded by his fortune and consequence, or frightened by his high and imposing manners, and sees him only as he chooses to be seen. I 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. _That_ is all to be forgot. 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. Bingley is most unaffectedly modest. I have already told her so once, by your desire. Money! My uncle! what do you mean, sir? He cannot afford it. I am not indebted for my present happiness to your eager desire of expressing your gratitude. 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. Oh! yes--the handsomest young lady that ever was seen; and so accomplished!--She plays and sings all day long. But it ended in nothing, and I will not be sent on a fool's errand again. Gracechurch street, Sept. I cannot do justice to his kindness. Oh! where, where is my uncle? I beg your pardon, but I must leave you. On this subject I have nothing more to say, no other apology to offer. But will they make you happy? You are all to come to Pemberley at Christmas. 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. These recollections will not do at all. 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 will go to Meryton as soon as I am dressed, and tell the good, good news to my sister Philips. I pity, though I cannot help blaming her. I can now say with the housekeeper, that though some people may call him proud, I have seen nothing of it. No, Lizzy, that is what I do _not_ choose. You have only proved by this that Mr. Bingley did not do justice to his own disposition. And _your_ defect is to hate everybody. But it is so strange! Yes I have had a letter from him by express. I desire you will do no such thing. And they are really to be married! How strange this is! And for _this_ we are to be thankful. Miss Elizabeth Bennet. I hope he will overlook it. It is amazing to me how young ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished as they all are. I suppose you have heard of it; indeed, you must have seen it in the papers. I did not know before that you ever walked this way. 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. 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? Do not imagine, Miss Bennet, that your ambition will ever be gratified. Elizabeth, you are not serious now. No--I cannot talk of books in a ball-room; my head is always full of something else. 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. 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. Come as soon as you can on receipt of this. 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 cannot forget the follies and vices of other so soon as I ought, nor their offenses against myself. Their fortune on both sides is splendid. I guessed as much. 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. 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. 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. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault--because I will not take the trouble of practising. We must not all expect Jane's good fortune. But Lizzy, you have been very sly, very reserved with me. She was sure they should be married some time or other, and it did not much signify when. All! What, all five out at once? Very odd! And you only the second. Assistance is impossible; condolence insufferable. Lizzy I have given him my consent. It is impossible for _me_ to be impartial. Do not distress me by the idea. My conscience told me that I deserved no extraordinary politeness, and I confess that I did not expect to receive _more_ than my due. Merely to the illustration of _your_ character I am trying to make it out. But people themselves alter so much, that there is something new to be observed in them for ever. 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. I was sometimes quite provoked, but then I recollected my dear Elizabeth and Jane, and for their sakes had patience with her. We never had any governess. Come, let me see the list of pitiful fellows who have been kept aloof by Lydia's folly. I have found out by a singular accident, that there is now in the room a near relation of my patroness. We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him. If this be the case, he deserves you. Yes, my youngest is not sixteen. Though I shall always say he used my daughter extremely ill; and if I was her, I would not have put up with it. She is a great fool for going away, if she liked him. 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. 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 can no longer help thanking you for your unexampled kindness to my poor sister. Yes, she will remain there till Christmas. 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. 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? Let us hope, therefore, that her being there may teach her her own insignificance. It is too long ago. My father bears it better. It is impossible. I am sorry, exceedingly sorry that you have ever been informed of what may, in a mistaken light, have given you uneasiness. La! my dear it is not Lady Catherine. Oh! my dear, dear Jane, I am so happy! I am sure I shan't get a wink of sleep all night. They are wanted in the farm much oftener than I can get them. Let me take it in the best light, in the light in which it may be understood. Wickham will never marry a woman without some money. The kindness of my uncle and aunt can never be requited. _You_ wish to think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak ill of anybody. I mend pens remarkably well. Yes, madam She is my youngest girl but one. Your attendance upon her has been too much for you. I have not a doubt of your doing very well together. 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. 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. Do not make yourself uneasy, my love. Look here, I have bought this bonnet. You could not have made the offer of your hand in any possible way that would have tempted me to accept it. In marrying your nephew, I should not consider myself as quitting that sphere. There is, I believe, in every disposition a tendency to some particular evil--a natural defect, which not even the best education can overcome. No, no; stay where you are. My mother was taken ill immediately, and the whole house in such confusion! My dear Lizzy, you cannot think me so weak, as to be in danger now? 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. 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. You may remember what I told you on that point, when first we talked of it. I quite detest the man. I am prodigiously proud of him. They are gone down to Newcastle, a place quite northward, it seems, and there they are to stay I do not know how long. Every time they met, it was more decided and remarkable. We have reason to imagine that his aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, does not look on the match with a friendly eye. My conduct may, I fear, be objectionable in having accepted my dismission from your daughter's lips instead of your own. I had not been long in Hertfordshire, before I saw, in common with others, that Bingley preferred your elder sister to any other young woman in the country. But 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. 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. It was very little less. 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. We were always encouraged to read, and had all the masters that were necessary. Is my father in town? And will you promise me, never to enter into such an engagement? There are very few people of whom so much can be said. Thank God! I have not _that_ pain. If we make haste perhaps we may see something of Captain Carter before he goes. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. 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. A younger son, you know, must be inured to self-denial and dependence. First of all, he asked Miss Lucas. 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. You judge very properly and it is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. You are not going to introduce yourself to Mr. Darcy! I should be sorry indeed, if it were. Perhaps it will be as well if you discourage his coming here so very often. You have deprived the best years of his life of that independence which was no less his due than his desert. How I long to see her again! I never met with anybody who delighted me so much. _My_ affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever. Insolent girl! You are much mistaken if you expect to influence me by such a paltry attack as this. A person may be proud without being vain. He is certainly a good brother. There was also a legacy of one thousand pounds. It will then be publicly seen that, on both sides, we meet only as common and indifferent acquaintance. My temper I dare not vouch for. 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. Not as you represent it. If she heard me, it was by good luck, for I am sure she did not listen. Lydia left a few lines for his wife, informing her of their intention. Your reproof, so well applied, I shall never forget: 'had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner. I never heard of her existence till the day before yesterday. 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! 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. 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. You have liked many a stupider person. Yes, very well. At present we have nothing to guide us. 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. A house in town! Every thing that is charming! Three daughters married! Ten thousand a year! Oh, Lord! What will become of me. She will follow wherever Lydia leads. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Only this; that if he is so, you can have no reason to suppose he will make an offer to me. And have you answered the letter? 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. His diffidence had prevented his depending on his own judgment in so anxious a case, but his reliance on mine made every thing easy. You deserve no such attention. I saw you look at me to-day, Lizzy, when my aunt told us of the present report; and I know I appeared distressed. 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. There is so much of gratitude or vanity in almost every attachment, that it is not safe to leave any to itself. The death of your daughter would have been a blessing in comparison of this. I must not decide on my own performance. 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. 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. 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. As for your Elizabeth's picture, you must not have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes? 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. I believe I have now told you every thing. I hoped to find you reasonable; but, depend upon it, I will carry my point. From what he said of Miss Darcy I was thoroughly prepared to see a proud, reserved, disagreeable girl. Impossible, Mr. Bennet, impossible, when I am not acquainted with him myself; how can you be so teasing? If it were merely a fine house richly furnished I should not care about it myself; but the grounds are delightful. Oh, lord! I don't know. What a charming amusement for young people this is, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like dancing after all. I cannot see why Mrs. Forster should not ask _me_ as well as Lydia Though I am _not_ her particular friend. I cannot give you credit for any philosophy of the kind. 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. Tell me once for all, are you engaged to him? Well, then--supposing them to be in London. Their conduct has been such as neither you, nor I, nor anybody can ever forget. 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. Surely there can be no occasion for exposing him so dreadfully. Are you not diverted? I thought I should have died. Lord, how tired I am! It has been a very agreeable day The party seemed so well selected, so suitable one with the other. You know my mother's ideas as to the necessity of constant company for her friends. 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. I often think that there is nothing so bad as parting with one's friends. In nine cases out of ten a women had better show _more_ affection than she feels. To all the objections I have already urged, I have still another to add. 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_ cannot have been always at Longbourn. 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. How can you contrive to write so even? I know you will do him such ample justice, that I am growing every moment more unconcerned and indifferent. Gracechurch Street, Monday, August 2. I fancy, Lizzy, that obstinacy is the real defect of his character, after all. I hardly know how Mr. Collins was first introduced to her notice, but he certainly has not known her long. 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. 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. 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. But, in my opinion, it is a paltry device, a very mean art. I deserve neither such praise nor such censure I am _not_ a great reader, and I have pleasure in many things. Far be it from me, my dear sister, to depreciate such pleasures! They would doubtless be congenial with the generality of female minds. I am glad you are come back, Lizzy. 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. Oh! you mean Jane, I suppose, because he danced with her twice. It is no such thing. 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. I hope they will not meet at all. Not at all they were brightened by the exercise. Oh! no, my regret and compassion are all done away by seeing you so full of both. Besides, there was truth in his looks. 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. 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. But enough of this. Painful recollections will intrude which cannot, which ought not, to be repelled. Oh! Mr. Bennet, you are wanted immediately; we are all in an uproar. Sir William's interruption has made me forget what we were talking of. How should you have liked making sermons? What should not you mind? It is unaccountable! In every view it is unaccountable! I have a warm, unguarded temper, and I may have spoken my opinion _of_ him, and _to_ him, too freely. But it must very materially lessen their chance of marrying men of any consideration in the world. I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance a second time. 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. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on that account, for in general, you know, they visit no newcomers. I am no stranger to the particulars of your youngest sister's infamous elopement. Have you anything else to propose for my domestic felicity? I am sure you must feel it so. How long has she been such a favourite?--and pray, when am I to wish you joy? Is this to be endured! But it must not, shall not be. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. _You_ began the evening well, Charlotte _You_ were Mr. Bingley's first choice. Indeed, you are mistaken, Madam. I am sure we never read the same, or not with the same feelings. 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. I know it to be impossible. 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. Conceal the unhappy truth as long as it is possible, I know it cannot be long. 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. But we are all liable to error. You do not know what he really is; then pray do not pain me by speaking of him in such terms. It is really too great a violation of decency, honour, and interest, for him to be guilty of. But I have an aunt, too, who must not be longer neglected. His character is thereby complete. In nursing your sister I am sure you have pleasure and I hope it will be soon increased by seeing her quite well. There were some very strong objections against the lady. He owns it himself without disguise. 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. I wish you had been there. 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. You are mistaken. I dare say I shall see them soon here. 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. Certainly, sir; and it has the advantage also of being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world. I have met with two instances lately, one I will not mention; the other is Charlotte's marriage. My mind was more agreeably engaged. People _did_ say you meant to quit the place entirely at Michaelmas; but, however, I hope it is not true. 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. Thank you--but I always mend my own. I have no such injuries to resent. Nor I, I am sure. But I suppose you had no opportunity. He has been accused of many faults at different times, but _this_ is the true one. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away. If you were to give me forty such men, I never could be so happy as you. Where is your sister? But I am very far from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in general. She will make him a very proper wife. Lizzy remember where you are, and do not run on in the wild manner that you are suffered to do at home. 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. And so, is it quite certain he is coming? We had better go into the avenue. My real purpose was to see _you_, and to judge, if I could, whether I might ever hope to make you love me. Mamma would like to go too of all things! Only think what a miserable summer else we shall have! 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 can easily believe it. I am satisfied. Oh! yes--I understand you perfectly. 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. Most willingly. I can remember some expressions which might justly make you hate me. 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. It is more than I engage for, I assure you. I hope there was. 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! She did not choose it she would go. Because honour, decorum, prudence, nay, interest, forbid it. Perhaps that is not possible for anyone. His choice is disinterested at least, for he must know my father can give her nothing. You must not suspect me. 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. 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. The part which I acted is now to be explained. Could she have seen half as much love in Mr. Darcy for herself, she would have ordered her wedding clothes. May I take the liberty of asking your ladyship whether you left Mr. and Mrs. Collins well. Then you must comprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman. 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. I assure you, madam that she does not need such advice. Have you never happened to see her there? Complied with! I am only ashamed of his asking so little. 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. 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. There is a gentleman with him, mamma who can it be? I am afraid you will be angry. But, however, he is very welcome to come to Netherfield, if he likes it. 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. He is gone to my father already. Thank you, sir, but a less agreeable man would satisfy me. 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. My good opinion once lost, is lost forever. Consider how important every moment is in such a case. It cannot be done too much; and when I next write to her, I shall charge her not to neglect it on any account. Nobody can tell what I suffer! But it is always so. Oh! my dear brother that is exactly what I could most wish for. What shall we do with him? Lizzy, you must walk out with him again, that he may not be in Bingley's way. Mr. Bingley does not know Mr. Wickham himself? I take no leave of you, Miss Bennet. 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. My dear madam let us be for ever silent on this point. I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow. 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. The idea of the olive-branch perhaps is not wholly new, yet I think it is well expressed. Much more rational, my dear Caroline, I dare say, but it would not be near so much like a ball. 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. That would be a good scheme if you were sure that they would not offer to send her home. I _will_ read you the passage which particularly hurts me. Things are settled so oddly. This is the last time I shall ever remember it myself. About a year ago, she was taken from school, and an establishment formed for her in London; and last summer she went with the lady who presided over it, to Ramsgate; and thither also went Mr. Wickham, undoubtedly by design; for there proved to have been a prior acquaintance between him and Mrs. Younge, in whose character we were most 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. And when I returned home, the ----shire was to leave Meryton in a week or fortnight's time. Oh! my dear, I am quite delighted with him. 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. 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. He was very fond of them. Wickham of course wanted more than he could get; but at length was reduced to be reasonable. It was the prospect of constant society, and good society which was my chief inducement to enter the ----shire. But my feelings are not only cordial towards _him_; they are even impartial towards Miss King. And you saw the old housekeeper, I suppose? Poor Reynolds, she was always very fond of me. A thousand things may arise in six months! I shall not go away till you have given me the assurance I require. This is my advice. I certainly shall not. 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. I suppose she had nothing particular to say to you, Lizzy? Ring the bell, Kitty, for Hill. And it was settled that we should all be there by eleven o'clock. While Mary is adjusting her ideas let us return to Mr. Bingley. As often as I can. Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this? Nor am I ashamed of the feelings I related. You may imagine what I felt and how I acted. We may compare our different opinions. But surely I may enter his county without impunity, and rob it of a few petrified spars without his perceiving me. 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! Indeed, sir, I have not the least intention of dancing. The _present_ always occupies you in such scenes--does it? How hard it is in some cases to be believed! 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. But she is too much like her brother--very, very proud. Mrs. Long told me last night that he sat close to her for half-an-hour without once opening his lips. And of your infliction You have reduced him to his present state of poverty--comparative poverty. I had often seen him in love before. Kitty is slight and delicate; and Mary studies so much, that her hours of repose should not be broken in on. And what am I to do on the occasion? It seems an hopeless business. That is not an unnatural surmise but it is a lessening of the honour of my cousin's triumph very sadly. Miss Eliza Bennet, let me persuade you to follow my example, and take a turn about the room. 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. _That_ is a failing indeed! Implacable resentment _is_ a shade in a character. He will be forgot, and we shall all be as we were before. How good it was in you, my dear Mr. Bennet! But I knew I should persuade you at last. He has a very satirical eye, and if I do not begin by being impertinent myself, I shall soon grow afraid of him. We may as well wait, perhaps, till the circumstance occurs before we discuss the discretion of his behaviour thereupon. I had not an idea of it. Could she exert herself, it would be better; but this is not to be expected. 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. Indeed, I could not. Let me write for you if you dislike the trouble yourself. You are over-scrupulous, surely. 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 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. It was the favourite wish of _his_ mother, as well as of her's. Must it be so? I have every reason in the world to think ill of you. I shall like it of all things. Oh! Your uncle! He keeps a man-servant, does he? I am very glad you have somebody who thinks of these things. It will be _her_ turn soon to be teased I am going to open the instrument, Eliza, and you know what follows. No, indeed, I do not wish to avoid the walk. You must give me leave to flatter myself, my dear cousin, that your refusal of my addresses is merely words of course. On the very day of my coming home from Longbourn, your uncle had a most unexpected visitor. I expected you to stay two months. Your lively talents would place you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage. Your father was gone, your uncle at home, and, as I said before, they had a great deal of talk together. There's for you! She is gone down to her uncle at Liverpool: gone to stay. Yes--_that_ is what makes it amusing. But everybody is to judge for themselves, and the Lucases are a very good sort of girls, I assure you. I was given good principles, but left to follow them in pride and conceit. I do assure you that the news does not affect me either with pleasure or pain. However, he wrote some verses on her, and very pretty they were. 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. I am confident that she would have performed delightfully. It amazes me, I confess; for, certainly, there can be nothing so advantageous to them as instruction. Yes, there was something in _that_; I told you so from the first, you may remember. Miss Bingley said something of his never returning to Netherfield again, of giving up the house, but not with any certainty. 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. 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. From Mr. Collins! and what can _he_ have to say? I do not trust my own partiality. 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. Will you give me leave to defer your raptures till I write again? At present I have not room to do them justice. I never meant to deceive you, but my spirits might often lead me wrong. A man in distressed circumstances has not time for all those elegant decorums which other people may observe. You can be at no loss, Miss Bennet, to understand the reason of my journey hither. 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. 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. 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. No; it would have been strange if they had; but I make no doubt they often talk of it between themselves. 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. I shall entreat his pardon for not having done it earlier. What you ask is no sacrifice on my side; and Mr. Darcy had much better finish his letter. It was drawn at the same time as the other--about eight years ago. But nothing can be done--I know very well that nothing can be done. As a child I was taught what was right, but I was not taught to correct my temper. In point of composition the letter does not seem defective. I know you do; and it is _that_ which makes the wonder. Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. I speak feelingly. I know no harm of her. And yet I meant to be uncommonly clever in taking so decided a dislike to him, without any reason. 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. 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. 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. And they _must_ marry! Yet he is _such_ a man! You will be censured, slighted, and despised, by everyone connected with him. 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. But if that is the case, you must write to your mother and beg that you may stay a little longer. 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 have by no means done. 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. This must be a most inconvenient sitting room for the evening, in summer; the windows are full west. Yes, sir, I know I am. Lord! how I laughed! and so did Mrs. Forster. Family pride, and _filial_ pride--for he is very proud of what his father was--have done this. 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. He is not at all liked in Hertfordshire. Poor Wickham! there is such an expression of goodness in his countenance! such an openness and gentleness in his manner! You know not what you are about. Mrs. Bennet, have you no more lanes hereabouts in which Lizzy may lose her way again to-day? But I think Mr. Darcy improves upon acquaintance. You must not be too severe upon yourself. Thank Heaven! he has _some_ friends, though perhaps not so many as he deserves. And what arts did he use to separate them? I dare say the lace upon Mrs. Hurst's gown-- I will put on my things in a moment. And you saw him frequently? 'Tis an etiquette I despise If he wants our society, let him seek it. You ought certainly to forgive them, as a Christian, but never to admit them in your sight, or allow their names to be mentioned in your hearing. And your assurance of it, I suppose, carried immediate conviction to him. 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? The Miss Webbs all play, and their father has not so good an income as yours. I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished society. But, however, he did not. 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. Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion. I would advise you merely to put on whatever of your clothes is superior to the rest--there is no occasion for anything more. Almost as soon as I entered the house, I singled you out as the companion of my future life. 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! This matter may be considered, therefore, as finally settled. 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! 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. 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. 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. The officers may not be so pleasant in General----'s regiment. 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 one of my own daughters. 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 began to be afraid you would never come back again. But you do not know _all_. 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. And so would Anne, if her health had allowed her to apply. Mrs. Wickham I do not know a place in the country that is equal to Netherfield. My manners must have been in fault, but not intentionally, I assure you. They look upon it as quite their own, I dare say, whenever that happens. I am almost the nearest relation he has in the world, and am entitled to know all his dearest concerns. My total ignorance of the connection must plead my apology. He did not talk to me of his own arts He only told me what I have now told you. I thought I should have broken my heart. The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth. 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 was obliged to confess one thing, which for a time, and not unjustly, offended him. I must beg, therefore, to be importuned no farther on the subject. She is the sort of woman whom one cannot regard with too much deference. It is on your account that he has been so frequently invited this week. 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. A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment. 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. Do you prefer reading to cards? that is rather singular. Not, perhaps, of neglecting his own interest; but of every other neglect I can believe him capable. We _will_ know where we have gone--we _will_ recollect what we have seen. 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. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. 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. But I cannot--I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. On Saturday he came again. 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, I shall be the last person to confess it. Such a charming man!--so handsome! so tall!--Oh, my dear Lizzy! pray apologise for my having disliked him so much before. Dear, dear Lizzy. At such an assembly as this it would be insupportable. And was Denny convinced that Wickham would not marry? Did he know of their intending to go off? Had Colonel Forster seen Denny himself? She was very wrong in singling me out as she did; I can safely say that every advance to intimacy began on her side. Are you much acquainted with Mr. Darcy? You have shown him off now much more than he did himself. 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. 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. I always say that nothing is to be done in education without steady and regular instruction, and nobody but a governess can give it. You are severe on us. This will not do you never will be able to make both of them good for anything. Mr. Darcy asked him why he had not married your sister at once. The liberty of communication cannot be mine till it has lost all its value! Let Wickham be _your_ man. The first wish of my heart is never more to be in company with either of them. 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. You could not make _me_ happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in the world who could make you so. He believed him to be imprudent and extravagant. Did not you? I did for you. She will drop the acquaintance entirely. Kitty, run down and order the carriage. 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. 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. Does she live near you, sir? 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. 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. His surprise was great. I will not be interrupted. You mistake me, my dear. Oh, yes!--if one could but go to Brighton! But papa is so disagreeable. 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. Kitty and Lydia take his defection much more to heart than I do. A small sum could not do all this. Under such circumstances, however, he was not likely to be proof against the temptation of immediate relief. 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. 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. 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. 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. Indeed I had. I desire you to stay where you are. What would she have said? how would she have behaved? At present I will not say more; but, perhaps, when we are better acquainted-- Mr. Darcy may hug himself. 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. No; he never saw him till the other morning at Meryton. I think I have heard you say that their uncle is an attorney on Meryton. Your portion is unhappily so small that it will in all likelihood undo the effects of your loveliness and amiable qualifications. Not these two or three years, perhaps. 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. Let me mend it for you. 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. 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. Oh! why is not everybody as happy? Its completion depended on others. Make haste, and come down this moment. Yes, almost every day. You will be a very happy woman. 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. He does not want abilities. 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. I hope that no consideration with regard to this young man will influence her. Do let the portraits of your uncle and aunt Phillips be placed in the gallery at Pemberley. Oh, no! In essentials, I believe, he is very much what he ever was. I understand that Mr. Collins has made you an offer of marriage. I fancy she was wanted about the mince-pies. What a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy! I have the greatest dislike in the world to that sort of thing. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. Certainly not--at first. I shall send this by express, that no time may be lost in bringing me your answer. I must find Mr. Gardiner this moment, on business that cannot be delayed; I have not an instant to lose. I have just as much right to be asked as she has, and more too, for I am two years older. 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. O that he had sprained his ankle in the first place! Can you possibly guess, Lizzy, who is meant by this? 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. But the fact is, that we are very different sort of men, and that he hates me. He has not an ill-natured look. Haggerston has our directions, and all will be completed in a week. Mrs. Wickham! How well it sounds! And she was only sixteen last June. Really, Mr. Collins you puzzle me exceedingly. As for myself, it is many, many years since I first began to think of him in a very different manner. I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love! Perhaps there was some truth in _this_; though I doubt whether _his_ reserve, or _anybody's_ reserve, can be answerable for the event. I honour your circumspection. And what has been done, what has been attempted, to recover her? But as it is, you must not let your fancy run away with you. Your picture may be very exact, Louisa but this was all lost upon me. Only think what an establishment it would be for one of them. 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. Are you going much farther? My dear Mr. Bennet have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last? Yet he knew to the contrary himself. _Too much_, I am afraid; for what becomes of the moral, if our comfort springs from a breach of promise? for I ought not to have mentioned the subject. This is not to be borne. I do not at all know; but I _heard_ nothing of his going away when I was at Netherfield. 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. 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. 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. You must contrive to send somebody. She had known, it seems, of their being in love with each other, many weeks. Here you are in your own family. They are my old friends. You are very cautious, I suppose, as to its _being created_. You saw me dance at Meryton, I believe, sir. Mrs. Collins will be very glad of your company, I am sure. 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. For heaven's sake, madam, speak lower. Yes, sir; but I do not know when _that_ will be. But, depend upon it, Mr. Collins that Lizzy shall be brought to reason. But you see that Jane does not think so very ill of Wickham as to believe him capable of the attempt. My father and mother knew nothing of that; they only felt how imprudent a match it must be. I do not recollect that we did. 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. I knew how it would be. Yes; where else can they be so well concealed? Mr. Collins appears to be very fortunate in his choice of a wife. 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 am sick of Mr. Bingley. 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. They all paint tables, cover screens, and net purses. 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. La! it looks just like that man that used to be with him before. But you--how are you? You look pale. 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. But if you are really innocent and ignorant, I must be more explicit. Very well. You must not blame my aunt. 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. Among those who are at all his equals in consequence, he is a very different man from what he is to the less prosperous. 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? She was of great use and comfort to us all. 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. I am not one-and-twenty. Oh! I am not afraid; for though I _am_ the youngest, I'm the tallest. This seems a very comfortable house. 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. 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 what is fifty miles of good road? Little more than half a day's journey. It must be very agreeable for her to be settled within so easy a distance of her own family and friends. 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. I never heard any harm of her; and I dare say she is one of the most tractable creatures in the world. Why, I must confess that I love him better than I do Bingley. I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to anyone less worthy. Is your master much at Pemberley in the course of the year? 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. I may thank you, Eliza, for this piece of civility. I know how much you dislike him. Into _one_ house in this neighbourhood they shall never have admittance. Oh, Lizzy! it cannot be. They are wanted in the farm, Mr. Bennet, are they not? 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. Though our kind uncle has done something towards clearing him, I cannot believe that ten thousand pounds, or anything like it, has been advanced. I was uncomfortable enough, I may say unhappy. You are safe from me. Lydia does not leave me because she is married, but only because her husband's regiment happens to be so far off. It is difficult indeed--it is distressing. 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. In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of. Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy? If you mention my name at the Bell, you will be attended to. 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. But if he does it any more I shall certainly let him know that I see what he is about. I must ask whether you were surprised? Dearest Jane! who could have done less for her? But make a virtue of it by all means. It only shows her being deficient in something herself--sense or feeling. 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. What is the matter mamma? What do you keep winking at me for? What am I to do? I do not know who is good enough for him. 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. I assure you, I feel it exceedingly I believe no one feels the loss of friends so much as I do. 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. Yes--the late Mr. Darcy bequeathed me the next presentation of the best living in his gift. While I can have my mornings to myself it is enough--I think it is no sacrifice to join occasionally in evening engagements. We have judged it best that my niece should be married from this house, of which I hope you will approve. But it is of small importance. It is well. What say you, Mary? For you are a young lady of deep reflection, I know, and read great books and make extracts. As it principally concerns yourself, you ought to know its contents. Yes, in conjunction with his friend. Yes, she will do for him very well. Lizzy, you must not do so. After making every possible inquiry on that side London, Colonel F. Is it not so, Mrs. Bennet? These are conditions which, considering everything, I had no hesitation in complying with, as far as I thought myself privileged, for you. Your first position is false. Be so kind as to apologise for us to Miss Darcy. I did not know before that you were a studier of character. 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. 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. At such a distance as _that_, you know, things are strangely misrepresented. What do you mean, Mr. Bennet, in talking this way? You promised me to _insist_ upon her marrying him. 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. Their society can afford no pleasure that will atone for such wretchedness as this! Let me never see either one or the other again! 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. We must trespass a little longer on your kindness. Except when she goes to Ramsgate. But what does he say of the living? Of music! Then pray speak aloud. 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. I think you are in very great danger of making him as much in love with you as ever. I thought Miss Elizabeth Bennet looked remarkably well when she came into the room this morning. Till I have your disposition, your goodness, I never can have your happiness. Why should they not go on to Scotland if that had been the case? And remember that I have not much reason for supposing it to be Bingley. You may, in fact, carry a very favourable report of us into Hertfordshire, my dear cousin. And then, you know, when once they get together, there is no end of it. But it was two or three days before he could get from her what he wanted. But if you will listen to his letter, you may perhaps be a little softened by his manner of expressing himself. The rector of a parish has much to do. 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. 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. 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. Perhaps I should have judged better, had I sought an introduction; but I am ill-qualified to recommend myself to strangers. I should be ashamed of having one that was only entailed on me. You must send John with the young ladies, Mrs. Collins. If he _had another_ motive, I am sure it would never disgrace him. He comes down on Thursday at the latest, very likely on Wednesday. Unless where they like women of fortune, which I think they very often do. Do not you feel a great inclination, Miss Bennet, to seize such an opportunity of dancing a reel? But does not Jane correspond with his sister? _She_ will not be able to help calling. 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. Upon my word! Well, that is very decided indeed--that does seem as if--but, however, it may all come to nothing, you know. Make haste, make haste. At once to insist upon having such a report universally contradicted. It cannot be concealed from anyone. This room was my late master's favourite room, and these miniatures are just as they used to be then. On the evening before my going to London I made a confession to him, which I believe I ought to have made long ago. 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. 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? A gamester! This is wholly unexpected. Oh! Mr. Collins! I must confess that he did not speak so well of Wickham as he formerly did. Perhaps preparing for his marriage with Miss de Bourgh It must be something particular, to take him there at this time of year. You shall hear what she says. No man of common humanity, no man who had any value for his character, could be capable of it. But if he returns no more this winter, my choice will never be required. Let me do it without further loss of time. I see the imprudence of it. I believe him to be Lady Catherine's _nephew_. His consenting to marry her is a proof, I will believe, that he is come to a right way of thinking. We will go as far as Meryton with you. 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. I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle. He is nothing to us, you know, and I am sure _I_ never want to see him again. Has your governess left you? Already arisen? What, has she frightened away some of your lovers? Poor little Lizzy! But do not be cast down. Stay, stay, I will go myself. But my dearest love, tell me what dish Mr. Darcy is particularly fond of, that I may have it to-morrow. I would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere. You make me laugh, Charlotte; but it is not sound. This match, to which you have the presumption to aspire, can never take place. 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. So imprudent a match on both sides! But I am willing to hope the best, and that his character has been misunderstood. Not one party, or scheme, or anything. But consider your daughters. But if I do not take your likeness now, I may never have another opportunity. I shall not be able to keep you--and so I warn you. 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. Your sister I also watched. It was a subject which they could not mention before me. After abusing you so abominably to your face, I could have no scruple in abusing you to all your relations. 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. Importance may sometimes be purchased too dearly. The younger ones out before the elder ones are married! Your younger sisters must be very young? 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. 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. 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. I am sure you will be very comfortable there. But afterwards she seemed to improve on you, and I believe you thought her rather pretty at one time. Her face is too thin; her complexion has no brilliancy; and her features are not at all handsome. She really looked almost wild. 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. _You_ cannot have a right to such very strong local attachment. I do not imagine his business would have called him away just now, if he had not wanted to avoid a certain gentleman here. Oh! Jane was there a servant belonging to it who did not know the whole story before the end of the day? 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. I always had a value for him. 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. My dear I have two small favours to request. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. I must trouble you once more for congratulations. 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. 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. Hear me in silence. These are the kind of little things which please her ladyship, and it is a sort of attention which I conceive myself peculiarly bound to pay. You shall hear then--but prepare yourself for something very dreadful. I have often observed how little young ladies are interested by books of a serious stamp, though written solely for their benefit. My eldest sister has been in town these three months. What is it you mean? We have tried two or three subjects already without success, and what we are to talk of next I cannot imagine. And what sort of young lady is she? Is she handsome? But you forget, mamma that we shall meet him at the assemblies, and that Mrs. Long promised to introduce him. 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. 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! Your humility, Mr. Bingley must disarm reproof. 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. He dined with us the next day, and was to leave town again on Wednesday or Thursday. Will you be very angry with me, my dear Lizzy, if I take this opportunity of saying (what I was never bold enough to say before) how much I like him. I shall pull it to pieces as soon as I get home, and see if I can make it up any better. It was not all settled before Monday: as soon as it was, the express was sent off to Longbourn. 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. How long did you say he was at Rosings? His behaviour to us has, in every respect, been as pleasing as when we were in Derbyshire. That is the place to get husbands. As a child, she was affectionate and pleasing, and extremely fond of me; and I have devoted hours and hours to her amusement. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in your life. Yes, yes, they must marry. You know pretty well, I suppose, what has been done for the young people. Mr. Darcy sends you all the love in the world that he can spare from me. I am not particularly speaking of such a case as you have supposed about Mr. Bingley. I knew nothing at all of Lady Catherine's connections. Colonel Forster did own that he had often suspected some partiality, especially on Lydia's side, but nothing to give him any alarm. There can be no love in all this. He had not a temper to bear the sort of competition in which we stood--the sort of preference which was often given me. 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. I do not mind his not talking to Mrs. Long but I wish he had danced with Eliza. Do you really think so? But, really, I know not what to say. To convince him, therefore, that he had deceived himself, was no very difficult point. Your list of the common extent of accomplishments has too much truth. Very true, my dear, that is exactly what I say. It is from Miss Bingley. 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. And this is your real opinion! This is your final resolve! Very well. And this is always the way with him Whatever can give his sister any pleasure is sure to be done in a moment. _Mr. Darcy_, you see, is the man! Now, Lizzy, I think I _have_ surprised you. My father is going to London with Colonel Forster instantly, to try to discover her. 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. When you met us there the other day, we had just been forming a new acquaintance. Yes, she called yesterday with her father. I am most seriously displeased. 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. Good girl! It would vex me, indeed, to see you again the dupe of Miss Bingley's pretended regard. Mr. Darcy has not authorised me to make his communication public. _You_ want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it. It taught me to hope as I had scarcely ever allowed myself to hope before. Let me know every thing that I am to know, without delay. 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. My poor father! how he must have felt it! Yes; but he seemed to like his second better. 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. 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? The necessity must be obeyed, and further apology would be absurd. 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. 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. I would not wish to be hasty in censuring anyone; but I always speak what I think. Your tempers are by no means unlike. I have seen them both-- How shall we punish him for such a speech? And then when we came away it was such fun! I thought we never should have got into the coach. Is this a hint to me, Lizzy to send for the horses? Well, Colonel Fitzwilliam, what do I play next? My fingers wait your orders. If you do not choose to understand me, forgive my impertinence. He has heartily forgiven me now. Who is to fight Wickham, and make him marry her, if he comes away? 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. Well, well, and so Mr. Bingley is coming down, sister Well, so much the better. I write rather slowly. 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. She is a very great favourite with some ladies of my acquaintance, Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley. Pray tell your sister that I long to see her. I will take care of myself, and of Mr. Wickham too. I have been used to consider poetry as the _food_ of love. 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? And Mary King is safe! safe from a connection imprudent as to fortune. 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. The country can in general supply but a few subjects for such a study. But the misfortune of speaking with bitterness is a most natural consequence of the prejudices I had been encouraging. I wish I might take this for a compliment; but to be so easily seen through I am afraid is pitiful. Upon my word, I say no more _here_ than I might say in any house in the neighbourhood, except Netherfield. But you _will_ know it, when I tell you what happened the very next day. Indeed I do not dare. 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. There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. This must be false! This cannot be! This must be the grossest falsehood! I really cannot _laugh_ at it. Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies, _do_ divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can. In the first place there is no absolute proof that they are not gone to Scotland. You know I always speak my mind, and I cannot bear the idea of two young women travelling post by themselves. Thoughtlessness, want of attention to other people's feelings, and want of resolution, will do the business. I came to try you. I am afraid I interrupt your solitary ramble, my dear sister? 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. There is nothing else to be done. However, I did not hear above one word in ten, for I was thinking, you may suppose, of my dear Wickham. If she is half as sharp as her mother, she is saving enough. His acquaintance with Elizabeth was very trifling. Such very superior dancing is not often seen. It is a grievous affair to my poor girls, you must confess. I should never be happy without him, so think it no harm to be off. I had not the smallest idea of their being ever felt in such a way. 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 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. A clear ten thousand per annum. Yes, very indifferent indeed Oh, Jane, take care. Oh! I am excessively diverted. 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. Have you any other objection than your belief of my indifference? That is exactly what I should have supposed of you. She is quite a little creature. Yes, or I will never see her again. I am sure there is not on _his_. Let her go, then. You must and shall be married by a special licence. 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. Hate you! I was angry perhaps at first, but my anger soon began to take a proper direction. Jane should therefore make the most of every half-hour in which she can command his attention. This is not quite enough to make her understand his character. 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? I entreat you not to suppose that I moved this way in order to beg for a partner. And so ended his affection There has been many a one, I fancy, overcome in the same way. He can have nothing to say to me that anybody need not hear. 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. Perhaps this concealment, this disguise was beneath me; it is done, however, and it was done for the best. Yes--but as it happens, they are all of them very clever. 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. She seems perfectly happy, however, and in a prudential light it is certainly a very good match for her. Mr. Darcy would never have come so soon to wait upon me. 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. He had before believed her to return his affection with sincere, if not with equal regard. The last-born has as good a right to the pleasures of youth at the first. You may depend upon it, Madam that Miss Bennet will receive every possible attention while she remains with us. Let her be called down. We must not expect a lively young man to be always so guarded and circumspect. Women fancy admiration means more than it does. Thoughtless and indiscreet I can easily believe him, but this step (and let us rejoice over it) marks nothing bad at heart. Oh, yes! You will only think I feel _more_ than I ought to do, when I tell you all. She has known him only a fortnight. 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. I will not spend my hours in running after my neighbours every time they go away and come back again. Dear Lizzy! Never, sir. Oh, brother, how kind you are! I know you will contrive it all. 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. Pray forgive me if I have been very presuming, or at least do not punish me so far as to exclude me from P. Oh! hang Kitty! what has she to do with it? Come be quick, be quick! Where is your sash, my dear? And my aunt Phillips is sure it would do _me_ a great deal of good. There can be no doubt of that. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. In everything else she is as good-natured a girl as ever lived. That _she_ could be in any danger from the deception never entered my head. And can you likewise declare, that there is no foundation for it? 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. We will settle with your father about the money afterwards; but the things should be ordered immediately. My aunt told me so herself on Saturday. And do not you think him a very handsome gentleman, ma'am? I want to talk very seriously. He is perfectly amiable. His revenge would have been complete indeed. 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. No, my dear, you had better go on horseback, because it seems likely to rain; and then you must stay all night. Certainly, there are such people, but I hope I am not one of _them_. This is from Caroline Bingley; what it contains has surprised me a good deal. Were it certain that Lady Catherine would think so, but I cannot imagine that her ladyship would at all disapprove of you. 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. Ah! sir, I do indeed. Lady Catherine, I have nothing further to say. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me. Shall you ever have courage to announce to Lady Catherine what is to befall her? A man who had felt less, might. 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. 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. To yield without conviction is no compliment to the understanding of either. Undoubtedly. _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. I have done with you from this very day. 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. Not that I care about it, though. But you know married women have never much time for writing. I do not deserve it. Yes, very handsome. He spoke of it as a certain event, of which the time alone could be undecided. 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. Yes, he went on Tuesday, as I wrote you word. 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. I have heard, indeed, that she is uncommonly improved within this year or two. Let _our_ first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers. Do you not want to know who has taken it? We do not suffer by _accident_. But he found Lydia absolutely resolved on remaining where she was. 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. I promised them so faithfully! What will Wickham say? It was to be such a secret! I knew you would be wishing me joy. I perfectly comprehend your feelings, and have now only to be ashamed of what my own have been. If _she_ does not object to it, why should _we_? Tease calmness of manner and presence of mind! No, no--feel he may defy us there. But I know the foundation is unjust. La! You are so strange! But I must tell you how it went off. You are too hasty, sir You forget that I have made no answer. 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. You and papa, and my sisters, must come down and see us. He likes to have his own way very well But so we all do. 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. Will you tell me how long you have loved him? What could become of Mr. Bingley and Jane! 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. He is also handsome which a young man ought likewise to be, if he possibly can. 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. Anything beyond the very neighbourhood of Longbourn, I suppose, would appear far. Perfectly so, I thank you. 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. She seems a very pleasant young woman. Yes, always I remember hearing you once say, Mr. Darcy, that you hardly ever forgave, that your resentment once created was unappeasable. No, no. 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. One must speak a little, you know. There is nothing extravagant in _their_ housekeeping, I dare say. I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours. You have a sweet room here, Mr. Bingley, and a charming prospect over the gravel walk. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation. It had better have happened to _you_, Lizzy; you would have laughed yourself out of it sooner. He cannot know what Mr. Darcy is. 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. Why could he not keep on quarreling with you, as his father did before him? I cannot blame myself for having done thus much. She has no money, no connections, nothing that can tempt him to--she is lost for ever. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient. We have heard only twice. Ten thousand pounds! Heaven forbid! How is half such a sum to be repaid? And what do you think she said besides? 'Ah! Mrs. Bennet, we shall have her at Netherfield at last. 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. There is no knowing how estates will go when once they come to be entailed. It is very much to his credit, I am sure, that you should think so. Promise me, therefore, to come to Hunsford. I like her appearance She looks sickly and cross. Indeed I am. She is grown so brown and coarse! Louisa and I were agreeing that we should not have known her again. I depend on you for that. 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. But we must stem the tide of malice, and pour into the wounded bosoms of each other the balm of sisterly consolation. You will laugh when you know where I am gone, and I cannot help laughing myself at your surprise to-morrow morning, as soon as I am missed. I am not equal to it. Neglect! I am sure you neglect nothing that can add to the beauties of that noble place. Who would have thought that she could be so thin and small? Of Mr. Collins and Lizzy. I will only add, God bless you. I dislike it very much but it must be done. And I certainly _never_ shall give it. That will do extremely well, child. Wickham passed all his youth there, you know. Ah, you do not know what I suffer. As I did the other day very true, it will be wise in me to refrain from _that_. Pray make my excuses to Pratt for not keeping my engagement, and dancing with him to-night. You have now done your duty by her, and must fret no longer. 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. I want to know what you have learnt about Mr. Wickham. 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. Your examination of Mr. Darcy is over, I presume and pray what is the result? I have never heard him say so; but it is probable that he may spend very little of his time there in the future. The officers will find women better worth their notice. I comfort myself with thinking that he certainly would not marry Lydia if he had not a real regard for her. I shall then give over every expectation, every wish of his constancy. I know we dine with four-and-twenty families. And may I ask-- but the terms, I suppose, must be complied with. They are in the same profession, you know, only in different lines. Are they indeed! My fingers do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of _you_. My style of writing is very different from yours. I must have my share in the conversation if you are speaking of music. 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. Yes, but intricate characters are the _most_ amusing. Younger sons cannot marry where they like. Do you draw? 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_. No, no, let me shift for myself; and, perhaps, if I have very good luck, I may meet with another Mr. Collins in time. It gives me pain to speak ill of a Darcy. Happy shall I be, when his stay at Netherfield is over! A clergyman like you must marry. You take an eager interest in that gentleman's concerns. What could he mean? She was dying to know what could be his meaning? Yes, very different. Books--oh! no. How could he spare half ten thousand pounds? Why, if he came only to be silent, grave, and indifferent did he come at all? I hope she will turn out 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. 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! Both for I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. 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. 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. Yes; and I told him we should not be able to keep our engagement. I was right, therefore, my last letter had never reached her. 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. He must go somewhere, but he did not know where, and he knew he should have nothing to live on. 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. 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. He arranges the business just as he pleases. You forced me into visiting him last year, and promised, if I went to see him, he should marry one of my daughters. 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. Their brother is a pleasant gentlemanlike man--he is a great friend of Darcy's. But who was your mother? Who are your uncles and aunts? Do not imagine me ignorant of their condition. I am much obliged to your ladyship for your kind invitation but it is not in my power to accept it. No principle of either would be violated by my marriage with Mr. Darcy. Indeed you are mistaken. _You_ think it a faithful portrait undoubtedly. No, nothing at all. No really I think there cannot be too little said on the subject. 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. Ah! then she is better off than many girls. My sister, I am sure, will not hear of her removal. We must have Mrs. Long and the Gouldings soon. That is the most unforgiving speech that I ever heard you utter. 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. Forgive me for having taken up so much of your time, and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness. And what did she say? I am so pleased--so happy. But that is not the case _here_. I would go and see her if I could have the carriage. You cannot be more than twenty, I am sure, therefore you need not conceal your age. 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. And so, my dear sister, I find, from our uncle and aunt, that you have actually seen Pemberley. 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. He promises fairly; and I hope among different people, where they may each have a character to preserve, they will both be more prudent. Believe me, my dear Miss Elizabeth, that your modesty, so far from doing you any disservice, rather adds to your other perfections. An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. That tall, proud man. 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. How delighted Miss Darcy will be to receive such a letter! But--good Lord! how unlucky! There is not a bit of fish to be got to-day. But disguise of every sort is my abhorrence. But, if I were you, I would stand by the nephew. 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. Let us flatter ourselves that I may be the survivor. True. Perhaps by and by I may observe that private balls are much pleasanter than public ones. My dear Lizzy, where can you have been walking to? Neither duty, nor honour, nor gratitude have any possible claim on me, in the present instance. A thorough, determined dislike of me--a dislike which I cannot but attribute in some measure to jealousy. To be sure, you knew no actual good of me--but nobody thinks of _that_ when they fall in love. 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. But _now_ we may be silent. My mother would have had no objection, but my father hates London. 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. He is a gentleman; I am a gentleman's daughter; so far we are equal. As soon as ever Mr. Bingley comes, my dear you will wait on him of course. What could your ladyship propose by it? It is not of particular, but of general evils, which I am now complaining. No, indeed, I did not. I shall be very fit to see Jane--which is all I want. Lizzy, my dear, run down to your father, and ask him how much he will give her. But I can assure the young ladies that I come prepared to admire them. 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. And how impossible in others! I cannot be so easily reconciled to myself. 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. My daughter and my nephew are formed for each other. 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. My dear aunt, this is being serious indeed. But perhaps you have been too pleasantly engaged to think of any third person; in which case you may be sure of my pardon. It is evident by this that he comes back no more this winter. Yes--if Darcy does not put it off again. By you, I was properly humbled. My reproofs at Hunsford could not work such a change as this. 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. Your sweetness and disinterestedness are really angelic; I do not know what to say to you. Our instrument is a capital one, probably superior to----You shall try it some day. My sister, who is more than ten years my junior, was left to the guardianship of my mother's nephew, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and myself. It was more than civil; it was really attentive; and there was no necessity for such attention. The fact is, that you were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. Has he, has my nephew, made you an offer of marriage? He is come--Mr. Bingley is come. She has nothing, in short, to recommend her, but being an excellent walker. 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. 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. Lady Catherine is far from requiring that elegance of dress in us which becomes herself and her daughter. 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. A military life is not what I was intended for, but circumstances have now made it eligible. They were natural and just. Let me call your maid. 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. 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. My feelings in every respect forbid it. 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. 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. 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. If I may so express it, he has a _right_ to be proud. In a country neighbourhood you move in a very confined and unvarying society. 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. He is his own master. 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. You must learn some of my philosophy. I shall tell Colonel Forster it will be quite a shame if he does not. They have known her much longer than they have known me; no wonder if they love her better. There is not a finer county in England than Derbyshire. Don't keep coughing so, Kitty, for Heaven's sake! Have a little compassion on my nerves. It is evident that you belong to the first circles. There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. I see nothing in it but your own wilful ignorance and the malice of Mr. Darcy. I assure you that I have long been most heartily ashamed of it. 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 has connected him nearer with virtue than with any other feeling. They met several times, for there was much to be discussed. Could Colonel Forster repeat the particulars of Lydia's note to his wife? I am afraid you do not like your pen. Will you allow me, or do I ask too much, to introduce my sister to your acquaintance during your stay at Lambton? My dear Jane, make haste and hurry down. Miss Bennet, do you know who I am? I have not been accustomed to such language as this. 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. 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. They have some of the finest woods in the country. Sir William could not have interrupted two people in the room who had less to say for themselves. 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. And when you have given _your_ ball I shall insist on their giving one also. But these, I suppose, are precisely what you are without. 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? If it be not so, let Mr. Darcy contradict it. 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. It is not quite a week since they left Brighton. 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? Oh! my dear Lydia when shall we meet again? 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. To have his errors made public might ruin him for ever. With _them_ he is remarkably agreeable. 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. 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. No I have not forgotten him; but I have nothing satisfactory to tell you. You see how continually we are engaged there. Such squeamish youths as cannot bear to be connected with a little absurdity are not worth a regret. 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 have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least. You conjecture is totally wrong, I assure you. 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. It was in The Times and The Courier, I know; though it was not put in as it ought to be. I should imagine not. Lydia, my love, though you _are_ the youngest, I dare say Mr. Bingley will dance with you at the next ball. Sometimes. What think you of books? 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. It was an encouragement of vice; and had I been the rector of Longbourn, I should very strenuously have opposed it. A little. That will not do for a compliment to Darcy, Caroline because he does _not_ write with ease. 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. If you are a good girl for the next ten years, I will take you to a review at the end of them. I wish I could call her amiable. The garden in which stands my humble abode is separated only by a lane from Rosings Park, her ladyship's residence. But what can have been his motive? What can have induced him to behave so cruelly? 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. I think she will. 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. He studies too much for words of four syllables. I should not mind anything at all. 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. To-morrow fortnight. 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. 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. But we expect him to-morrow, with a large party of friends. So he inquired who she was, and got introduced, and asked her for the two next. She has a very good notion of fingering, though her taste is not equal to Anne's. What a pity it is, mamma, we did not all go. Just as you please. Put them next to your great-uncle the judge. I cannot comprehend the neglect of a family library in such days as these. It seems likely to have been a desirable match for Jane I am sorry it went off. Oh, my dear, dear aunt what delight! what felicity! You give me fresh life and vigour. _You_ are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room. They will ruin your happiness. Good Lord! Sir William, how can you tell such a story? Do not you know that Mr. Collins wants to marry Lizzy? I cannot think so very ill of Wickham. The express was sent off directly. They will have nothing else to do. Yes, indeed I assure you there is quite as much of _that_ going on in the country as in town. 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. She is upstairs and will have great satisfaction in seeing you all. I do not know anybody who seems more to enjoy the power of doing what he likes than Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth will soon be the wife of Mr. Darcy. I dearly love a laugh. It _is_ wonderful for almost all his actions may be traced to pride; and pride had often been his best friend. And Lydia used to want to go to London. A fortnight's acquaintance is certainly very little. There is also one other person in the party who more particularly wishes to be known to you. I am more likely to want more time than courage, Elizabeth. True; and nobody can ever be introduced in a ball-room. It is very unlucky; but as I have actually paid the visit, we cannot escape the acquaintance now. Pride is a very common failing, I believe. No governess! How was that possible? Five daughters brought up at home without a governess! I never heard of such a thing. Young women should always be properly guarded and attended, according to their situation in life. 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. Everything nourishes what is strong already. A little sea-bathing would set me up forever. Yes, yes. A regard for the requester would often make one readily yield to a request, without waiting for arguments to reason one into it. And as to laughter, we will not expose ourselves, if you please, by attempting to laugh without a subject. He is rich, to be sure, and you may have more fine clothes and fine carriages than Jane. 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. If you were sensible of your own good, you would not wish to quit the sphere in which you have been brought up. Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility. 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 advise Mr. Darcy, and Lizzy, and Kitty to walk to Oakham Mount this morning. Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure. 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. 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. 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. But slyness seems the fashion. I know not what to think. 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. Colonel Forster came yesterday, having left Brighton the day before, not many hours after the express. 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 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. My younger sister has left all her friends--has eloped; has thrown herself into the power of--of Mr. Wickham. And, if I may mention so delicate a subject, endeavour to check that little something, bordering on conceit and impertinence, which your lady possesses. 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. If you are looking for my master, ma'am, he is walking towards the little copse. Go to your father, he wants you in the library. I am glad it occurred to me to mention it; for it would really be discreditable to _you_ to let them go alone. Lydia, my love, ring the bell--I must speak to Hill this moment. I will have no reserves from _you_. He must be an oddity, I think I cannot make him out. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. Do not involve yourself or endeavour to involve him in an affection which the want of fortune would make so very imprudent. You may ask questions which I shall not choose to answer. 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. I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh. I was not in a humour to wait for any opening of your's. If we thought alike of Miss Bingley your representation of all this might make me quite easy. Mary and Kitty, thank Heaven, are quite well. Good Heaven! what is to become of us? What are we to do? How can you be smiling so, Lizzy? Yes, all of them, I think. 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. Yes, and I had heard it before. That is very true though it had not occurred to me before. I did not think you would; and that being the case, I cannot consider your situation with much compassion. 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. He has been so unlucky as to lose _your_ friendship and in a manner which he is likely to suffer from all his life. 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. Are you consulting your own feelings in the present case, or do you imagine that you are gratifying mine? 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? I speak nothing but the truth. 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. I do, I do like him I love him. 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! You are joking, Lizzy. 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. 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. Now that this first meeting is over, I feel perfectly easy. And till Colonel Forster came himself, not one of you entertained a doubt, I suppose, of their being really married? But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood. 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. How can you talk so? You must know that though I should be exceedingly grieved at their disapprobation, I could not hesitate. Colonel Forster gives us reason to expect him here soon. There--I have saved you the trouble of accounting for it; and really, all things considered, I begin to think it perfectly reasonable. Your character was unfolded in the recital which I received many months ago from Mr. Wickham. That is very strange. 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. You do not make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper. No, no, nonsense, Lizzy. You will not think of quitting it in a hurry, I hope, though you have but a short lease. A great many indeed. Who should suffer but myself? It has been my own doing, and I ought to feel it. But, Lizzy, this must go no farther than yourself, or Jane at most. You can now have nothing further to say You have insulted me in every possible method. It ought to be good it has been the work of many generations. 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. It keeps him in good humour and I am more obliged to you than I can express. You have no compassion for my poor nerves. Yes, ma'am, that he was indeed; and his son will be just like him--just as affable to the poor. Perhaps other people have said so before, but not one with such justice. On the contrary, there is something pleasing about his mouth when he speaks. I am afraid, Mr. Darcy that this adventure has rather affected your admiration of her fine eyes. I shall not sport with your impatience, by reading what he says on that point. Yes, I call it a _very_ easy distance. 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. But if I go on, I shall displease you by saying what I think of persons you esteem. Upon my word, Caroline, I should think it more possible to get Pemberley by purchase than by imitation. She shall hear my opinion. I hope you are well, Miss Bennet. Perhaps we might be deceived. 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. I knew that what I wrote must give you pain, but it was necessary. Such a countenance, such manners! And so extremely accomplished for her age! Her performance on the pianoforte is exquisite. I believe she did--and I am sure she could not have bestowed her kindness on a more grateful object. Did you see him while you were at Lambton? I thought I understood from the Gardiners that you had. For your sake I am glad of it; but otherwise I see no occasion for entailing estates from the female line. But it was not till the evening of the dance at Netherfield that I had any apprehension of his feeling a serious attachment. It mortifies me. He meant to provide for me amply, and thought he had done it; but when the living fell, it was given elsewhere. Oh well! it is just as he chooses. What I have to say relates to poor Lydia. I now give it to _you_, if you are resolved on having him. I have been walking in the grove some time in the hope of meeting you. Oh, yes!--he was to come there with Wickham, you know. Why will you think so? It must be his own doing. I thought too ill of him to invite him to Pemberley, or admit his society in town. Well, all I know is, that it will be abominably rude if you do not wait on him. You showed me how insufficient were all my pretensions to please a woman worthy of being pleased. I dare say you believed it; but I am by no means convinced that you would be gone with such celerity. Certainly not. I _should_ say, one of her ladyship's carriages, for she has several. I am quite well; I am only distressed by some dreadful news which I have just received from Longbourn. 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. I came to you without a doubt of my reception. 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 understood that there were some very strong objections against the lady. No; but it must be done soon. But you are not entitled to know mine; nor will such behaviour as this, ever induce me to be explicit. They must all go to Brighton. Yes, ma'am, all. What will be his surprise when he knows who they are? He takes them now for people of fashion. It may do very well for the others but I am sure it will be too much for Kitty. 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. 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. Good gracious! Mr. Darcy!--and so it does, I vow. Lizzy what are you doing? Are you out of your senses, to be accepting this man? Have not you always hated him? What, none of you? You write uncommonly fast. Mr. Darcy! That such a consequence as _this_ could ensue, you may easily believe, was far enough from my thoughts. I am not to be intimidated into anything so wholly unreasonable. 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. 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. We were married, you know, at St. 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. 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. 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. She comes to us to-day. 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? And if not able to please himself in the arrangement, he has at least pleasure in the great power of choice. But tell me all and everything about it which I have not already heard. When my niece Georgiana went to Ramsgate last summer, I made a point of her having two men-servants go with her. The dinner was as well dressed as any I ever saw. It is natural that obligation should be felt, and if I could _feel_ gratitude, I would now thank you. My dear Mr. Bennet, you must not expect such girls to have the sense of their father and mother. I dare say she will; she has got over the most trying age. Lizzy, I _insist_ upon your staying and hearing Mr. Collins. Now what have you to say? Do you suppose them to be in London? I _must_ have employment and society. Removed! It must not be thought of. 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. I could hardly keep my countenance. 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. My dear Charlotte and I have but one mind and one way of thinking. 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. Write to me very often, my dear. But they are very pleasing women when you converse with them. 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 must beg to return to the house. I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. I have not a doubt of Mr. Bingley's sincerity but you must excuse my not being convinced by assurances only. 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. I am glad he dines here on Tuesday. That you were gone into the army, and she was afraid had--not turned out well. And in the first place, let us hear what has happened to you all since you went away. My dear Lizzy, do not give way to such feelings as these. At Brighton she will be of less importance even as a common flirt than she has been here. Mrs. Collins, did I tell you of Lady Metcalf's calling yesterday to thank me? She finds Miss Pope a treasure. It is useless to talk of it. Good-bye. 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. I am glad of one thing, that he comes alone; because we shall see the less of him. I thank you again and again for the honour you have done me in your proposals, but to accept them is absolutely impossible. 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. Where shall you change horses? Oh! Bromley, of course. 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. I am impatient to see him. 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. 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. When is your turn to come? You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. But she is perfectly amiable, and often condescends to drive by my humble abode in her little phaeton and ponies. Oh, lord! yes;--there is nothing in that. It is a compliment which I never pay to any place if I can avoid it. My mother is tolerably well, I trust; though her spirits are greatly shaken. If you _will_ thank me let it be for yourself alone. 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. It is every way horrible! That is a question which I hardly know how to answer. 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. All the world are good and agreeable in your eyes. 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. 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. I do not like to boast of my own child, but to be sure, Jane--one does not often see anybody better looking. Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed a little in love now and then. Perhaps I am not doing her justice. I hope you have destroyed the letter. At present I am not in love with Mr. Wickham; no, I certainly am not. This is the only point, I flatter myself, on which we do not agree. And what is your success? He was angry. She is happy then and her residence there will probably be of some duration. 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. I do assure you that my intimacy has not yet taught me _that_. I am astonished that my father should have left so small a collection of books. 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. 'Tis too much! by far too much. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long. I do not mean to say that a woman may not be settled too near her family. The venison was roasted to a turn--and everybody said they never saw so fat a haunch. But it ought to be done, and if you will give me a sheet of paper, it shall be done directly. I hear such different accounts of you as puzzle me exceedingly. I wonder he does not marry, to secure a lasting convenience of that kind. 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. Then, who taught you? who attended to you? Without a governess, you must have been neglected. But do you always write such charming long letters to her, Mr. Darcy? Oh, yes!--of that kind of love which I suppose him to have felt. And do you really know all this? Is not this nice? Is not this an agreeable surprise? She has two nieces of her own. 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. Nay this is not fair. 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. Till this moment I never knew myself. Yes, she did. Let us be thankful that you are preserved from a state of such insensibility. 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? I defy even Sir William Lucas himself to produce a more valuable son-in-law. There is one point on which I want your advice. But I would really advise you to make your purchase in that neighbourhood, and take Pemberley for a kind of model. I shall be glad to have the library to myself as soon as may be. 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. I was certainly very far from expecting them to make so strong an impression. You are lucky in having such a master. 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. You are not well enough; you cannot go yourself. 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. Do your sisters play and sing? For we must attribute this happy conclusion in a great measure to his kindness. 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. I cannot bear to think that they should have all this estate. What do you mean, Hill? We have heard nothing from town. You may have drawn him in. I had not at that time the honour of knowing any lady in the assembly beyond my own party. Imprudence or thoughtlessness in money matters would be unpardonable in me. That will make thirteen with ourselves, so there will be just room at table for him. Let the other young ladies have time to exhibit. Yes; he introduced us to his sister. Wickham is not so undeserving, then, as we thought him My dear father, I congratulate you. We acted with the best intentions. I had once had some thought of fixing in town myself--for I am fond of superior society; but I did not feel quite certain that the air of London would agree with Lady Lucas. He is now gone into the army but I am afraid he has turned out very wild. Oh! shocking! I never heard anything so abominable. 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. 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? Mrs. Bennet could certainly spare you for another fortnight. Soon after you left me on Saturday, I was fortunate enough to find out in what part of London they were. That is all very proper and civil, I am sure and I dare say she is a very agreeable woman. Whatever my connections may be if your nephew does not object to them, they can be nothing to _you_. Why did not you all learn? You ought all to have learned. 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. I will make no promise of the kind. It is such a spur to one's genius, such an opening for wit, to have a dislike of that kind. If my children are silly, I must hope to be always sensible of it. Oh! yes. Certainly. That is capital. I am sure Lizzy will be very happy--I am sure she can have no objection. Two offenses of a very different nature, and by no means of equal magnitude, you last night laid to my charge. _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. I have not been at all able to account for the honour of seeing you here. You are perfectly right. 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. The word is applied to many a woman who deserves it no otherwise than by netting a purse or covering a screen. The old lady is Mrs. Jenkinson, who lives with them; the other is Miss de Bourgh. It is something to think of, and it gives her a sort of distinction among her companions. To yield readily--easily--to the _persuasion_ of a friend is no merit with you. People who suffer as I do from nervous complaints can have no great inclination for talking. May we take my uncle's letter to read to her? Oh, papa, what news--what news? Have you heard from my uncle? Did it did it soon make you think better of me? Did you, on reading it, give any credit to its contents? Lord! how I should like to be married before any of you; and then I would chaperon you about to all the balls. 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. Balls will be absolutely prohibited, unless you stand up with one of your sisters. And _that_ I suppose is one of your sisters. 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. One cannot know what a man really is by the end of a fortnight. 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. But upon my honour, I do _not_. I want to be told whether I ought, or ought not, to make our acquaintances in general understand Wickham's character. I have not been in the habit of brooking disappointment. 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. That it ought not to be attempted. You tear them to pieces. Poor Jane! I am sorry for her, because, with her disposition, she may not get over it immediately. I have no reason, I assure you to be dissatisfied with my reception. 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. 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. Yes _that_ would be a delightful scheme indeed, and completely do for us at once. What do you mean? 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. Miss Bingley has given me more credit than can be. Dear madam, do not go. We must not be so ready to fancy ourselves intentionally injured. You alluded to something else. Aye--that is because you have the right disposition. You are not going to be _missish_, I hope, and pretend to be affronted at an idle report. Can his most intimate friends be so excessively deceived in him? Oh! no. It is only that he has better means of having it than many others, because he is rich, and many others are poor. A great many changes have happened in the neighbourhood, since you went away. Your mother must have been quite a slave to your education. 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. It would surely be much more rational if conversation instead of dancing were made the order of the day. 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. I have seen them both. Exceedingly well. 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. He wrote last week to hurry my return. I will not be in a hurry to believe myself his first object. 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_. Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in general. --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. I think you said she was a widow, sir? Has she any family? 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. 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. 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 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. 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. 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. I did not think Mrs. Gardiner was so little to be trusted. She did, indeed, Louisa. 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. No, I believe not. But I must write no more. With all my heart; I will buy Pemberley itself if Darcy will sell it. 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. It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour and shape, and the eyelashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied. You are quite right. Seriously, I would have you be on your guard. I think she will be pleased with the hermitage. I wish I could say anything to comfort you but it is wholly out of my power. I must conclude, for I cannot be long from my poor mother. Send back your answer as fast as you can, and be careful to write explicitly. I had not thought so very ill of him. You have withheld the advantages which you must know to have been designed for him. But what is to be done about Pemberley? John told us Mr. Darcy was here when you sent for us; was it so? 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 as to your other objection, I am afraid it will hardly hold good. Lizzy, when you first read that letter, I am sure you could not treat the matter as you do now. 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. It was my brother Gardiner's drawing up too, and I wonder how he came to make such an awkward business of it. I am joined with him in the guardianship of Miss Darcy. You allude, perhaps, to the entail of this estate. 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. You are then resolved to have him? Now be sincere; did you admire me for my impertinence? Not that I mean to find fault with _you_, for such things I know are all chance in this world. 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. Pray do not talk of that odious man. 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. 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. Nay, were your friend Lady Catherine to know me, I am persuaded she would find me in every respect ill qualified for the situation. But in such cases as these, a good memory is unpardonable. We neither of us perform to strangers. James's? 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. 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. But in matters of greater weight, I may suffer from want of money. In this danger Kitty also is comprehended. 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. She will be down in a moment, I dare say. But I will not repine. I was ready to die of laughter. Miss Lucas is married and settled. 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. Were the whole arrangement complete, my disappointment would be certain. 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. I am extremely glad that you have such pleasant accounts from our friends at Hunsford. Lizzy declares she will not have Mr. Collins, and Mr. Collins begins to say that he will not have Lizzy. 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. It is only evident that Miss Bingley does not mean that he _should_.