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|Chapter 27 (Vol. II, Chap. IV)|
|(Vol. II, Chap. 3)
||Table of Contents
||(Vol. II, Chap. 5)|
|Chapter 27 (Vol. II, Chap. IV)
|With no greater events than these in the Longbourn family, and
otherwise diversified by little beyond the walks to Meryton,
sometimes dirty and sometimes cold, did January and February
pass away. March was to take Elizabeth to Hunsford. She had
not at first thought very seriously of going thither; but
Charlotte, she soon found, was depending on the plan, and she
gradually learned to consider it herself with greater pleasure
as well as greater certainty. Absence had increased her desire
of seeing Charlotte again, and weakened her disgust of Mr.
Collins. There was novelty in the scheme; and as, with such a
mother and such uncompanionable sisters, home could not be
faultless, a little change was not unwelcome for its own sake.
The journey would moreover give her a peep at Jane; and, in
short, as the time drew near, she would have been very sorry
for any delay. Every thing, however, went on smoothly, and was
finally settled according to Charlotte's first sketch. She was
to accompany Sir William and his second daughter. The
improvement of spending a night in London was added in time,
and the plan became perfect as plan could be.
|The only pain was in leaving her father, who would certainly
miss her, and who, when it came to the point, so little liked
her going that he told her to write to him, and almost promised
to answer her letter.
|The farewell between herself and Mr. Wickham was perfectly
friendly; on his side even more. His present pursuit could not
make him forget that Elizabeth had been the first to excite and
to deserve his attention, the first to listen and to pity, the
first to be admired; and in his manner of bidding her adieu,
wishing her every enjoyment, reminding her of what she was to
expect in Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and trusting their opinion
of her -- their opinion of every body -- would always coincide,
there was a solicitude, an interest which she felt must ever
attach her to him with a most sincere regard; and she parted
from him convinced that, whether married or single, he must
always be her model of the amiable and pleasing.
|Her fellow-travellers the next day were not of a kind to make
her think him less agreeable. Sir William Lucas and his
daughter Maria, a good humoured girl, but as empty-headed as
himself, had nothing to say that could be worth hearing, and
were listened to with about as much delight as the rattle of
the chaise. Elizabeth loved absurdities, but she had known Sir
William's too long. He could tell her nothing new of the
wonders of his presentation and knighthood; and his civilities
were worn out like his information.
|It was a journey of only twenty-four miles, and they began it
so early as to be in Gracechurch-street by noon. As they drove
to Mr. Gardiner's door, Jane was at a drawing-room window
watching their arrival; when they entered the passage she was
there to welcome them, and Elizabeth, looking earnestly in her
face, was pleased to see it healthful and lovely as ever. On
the stairs were a troop of little boys and girls, whose
eagerness for their cousin's appearance would not allow them to
wait in the drawing-room, and whose shyness, as they had not
seen her for a twelvemonth, prevented their coming lower. All
was joy and kindness. The day passed most pleasantly away; the
morning in bustle and shopping, and the evening at one of the
|Elizabeth then contrived to sit by her aunt. Their first
subject was her sister; and she was more grieved than
astonished to hear, in reply to her minute enquiries, that
though Jane always struggled to support her spirits, there were
periods of dejection. It was reasonable, however, to hope,
that they would not continue long. Mrs. Gardiner gave her the
particulars also of Miss Bingley's visit in Gracechurch-street,
and repeated conversations occurring at different times between
Jane and herself, which proved that the former had, from her
heart, given up the acquaintance.
|Mrs. Gardiner then rallied her niece on Wickham's desertion,
and complimented her on bearing it so well.
|"But, my dear Elizabeth," she added, "what sort of girl is Miss
King? I should be sorry to think our friend mercenary."
|"Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matrimonial
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."
|"If you will only tell me what sort of girl Miss King is,
I shall know what to think."
|"She is a very good kind of girl, I believe. I know no harm of
|"But he paid her not the smallest attention, till her
grandfather's death made her mistress of this fortune."
|"No -- why should he? If it was not allowable for him to gain
my affections, because I had no money, what occasion could
there be for making love to a girl whom he did not care about,
and who was equally poor?"
|"But there seems indelicacy in directing his attentions towards
her, so soon after this event."
|"A man in distressed circumstances has not time for all those
elegant decorums which other people may observe. If she does
not object to it, why should we?"
|"Her not objecting, does not justify him. It only shows
her being deficient in something herself -- sense or feeling."
|"Well," cried Elizabeth, "have it as you choose. He shall be
mercenary, and she shall be foolish."
|"No, Lizzy, that is what I do not choose. I should be sorry,
you know, to think ill of a young man who has lived so long in
|"Oh! if that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young men
who live in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in
Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick of them all.
Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where I shall find a man
who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner nor
sense to recommend him. Stupid men are the only ones worth
knowing, after all."
|"Take care, Lizzy; that speech savours strongly of
|Before they were separated by the conclusion of the play, she
had the unexpected happiness of an invitation to accompany her
uncle and aunt in a tour of pleasure which they proposed taking
in the summer.
|"We have not quite determined how far it shall carry us," said
Mrs. Gardiner, "but perhaps to the Lakes."
|No scheme could have been more agreeable to Elizabeth, and her
acceptance of the invitation was most ready and grateful. "My
dear, dear aunt," she rapturously cried, "what delight! what
felicity! You give me fresh life and vigour. Adieu to
disappointment and spleen. What are 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 any thing. We
will know where we have gone -- we will recollect what we
have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers, shall not be jumbled
together in our imaginations; nor, when we attempt to describe
any particular scene, will we begin quarrelling about its
relative situation. Let our first effusions be less
insupportable than those of the generality of travellers."
|(Vol. II, Chap. 3)
||Table of Contents
||(Vol. II, Chap. 5)|
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in English and Chinese