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|Chapter 33 (Vol. II, Chap. X)|
|(Vol. II, Chap. 9)
||Table of Contents
||(Vol. II, Chap. 11)|
|Chapter 33 (Vol. II, Chap. X)
|More than once did Elizabeth in her ramble within the Park,
unexpectedly meet Mr. Darcy. -- She felt all the perverseness
of the mischance that should bring him where no one else was
brought; and to prevent its ever happening again, took care to
inform him at first that it was a favourite haunt of hers. --
How it could occur a second time, therefore, was very odd! --
Yet it did, and even a third. It seemed like wilful
ill-nature, or a voluntary penance, for on these occasions it
was not merely a few formal enquiries and an awkward pause and
then away, but he actually thought it necessary to turn back
and walk with her. He never said a great deal, nor did she
give herself the trouble of talking or of listening much; but
it struck her in the course of their third rencontre that he
was asking some odd unconnected questions -- about her pleasure
in being at Hunsford, her love of solitary walks, and her
opinion of Mr. and Mrs. Collins's happiness; and that in
speaking of Rosings, and her not perfectly understanding the
house, he seemed to expect that whenever she came into Kent
again she would be staying there too. His words seemed to
imply it. Could he have Colonel Fitzwilliam in his thoughts?
She supposed, if he meant any thing, he must mean an allusion
to what might arise in that quarter. It distressed her a
little, and she was quite glad to find herself at the gate in
the pales opposite the Parsonage.
|She was engaged one day, as she walked, in re-perusing Jane's
last letter, and dwelling on some passages which proved that
Jane had not written in spirits, when, instead of being again
surprised by Mr. Darcy, she saw on looking up, that Colonel
Fitzwilliam was meeting her. Putting away the letter
immediately and forcing a smile, she said,
|"I did not know before that you ever walked this way."
|"I have been making the tour of the Park," he replied, "as I
generally do every year, and intend to close it with a call at
the Parsonage. Are you going much farther?"
|"No, I should have turned in a moment."
|And accordingly she did turn, and they walked towards the
|"Do you certainly leave Kent on Saturday?" said she.
|"Yes -- if Darcy does not put it off again. But I am at his
disposal. He arranges the business just as he pleases."
|"And if not able to please himself in the arrangement, he has
at least great pleasure in the power of choice. I do not know
any body who seems more to enjoy the power of doing what he
likes than Mr. Darcy."
|"He likes to have his own way very well," replied Colonel
Fitzwilliam. "But so we all do. It is only that he has better
means of having it than many others, because he is rich, and
many others are poor. I speak feelingly. A younger son, you
know, must be inured to self-denial and dependence."
|"In my opinion, the younger son of an Earl can know very little
of either. Now, seriously, what have you ever known of
self-denial and dependence? When have you been prevented by
want of money from going wherever you chose, or procuring any
thing you had a fancy for?"
|"These are home questions -- and perhaps I cannot say that
I have experienced many hardships of that nature. But in
matters of greater weight, I may suffer from the want of money.
Younger sons cannot marry where they like."
|"Unless where they like women of fortune, which I think they
very often do."
|"Our habits of expence make us too dependant, and there are not
many in my rank of life who can afford to marry without some
attention to money."
|"Is this," thought Elizabeth, "meant for me?" and she coloured
at the idea; but, recovering herself, said in a lively tone,
"And pray, what is the usual price of an Earl's younger son?
Unless the elder brother is very sickly, I suppose you would
not ask above fifty thousand pounds."
|He answered her in the same style, and the subject dropped.
To interrupt a silence which might make him fancy her affected
with what had passed, she soon afterwards said,
|"I imagine your cousin brought you down with him chiefly for
the sake of having somebody at his disposal. I wonder he does
not marry, to secure a lasting convenience of that kind. 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."
|"No," said Colonel Fitzwilliam, "that is an advantage which he
must divide with me. I am joined with him in the guardianship
of Miss Darcy."
|"Are you, indeed? And pray what sort of guardians do you make?
Does your charge give you much trouble? Young ladies of her
age are sometimes a little difficult to manage, and if she has
the true Darcy spirit, she may like to have her own way."
|As she spoke, she observed him looking at her earnestly, and
the manner in which he immediately asked her why she supposed
Miss Darcy likely to give them any uneasiness, convinced her
that she had somehow or other got pretty near the truth. She
|"You need not be frightened. I never heard any harm of her;
and I dare say she is one of the most tractable creatures in
the world. She is a very great favourite with some ladies of
my acquaintance, Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley. I think I have
heard you say that you know them."
|"I know them a little. Their brother is a pleasant
gentleman-like man -- he is a great friend of Darcy's."
|"Oh! yes," said Elizabeth drily -- "Mr. Darcy is uncommonly
kind to Mr. Bingley, and takes a prodigious deal of care of
|"Care of him! -- Yes, I really believe Darcy does take care
of him in those points where he most wants care. From
something that he told me in our journey hither, I have reason
to think Bingley very much indebted to him. But I ought to beg
his pardon, for I have no right to suppose that Bingley was the
person meant. It was all conjecture."
|"What is it you mean?"
|"It is a circumstance which Darcy, of course, would not wish to
be generally known, because if it were to get round to the
lady's family, it would be an unpleasant thing."
|"You may depend upon my not mentioning it."
|"And remember that I have not much reason for supposing it to
be Bingley. What he told me was merely this; that he
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."
|"Did Mr. Darcy give you his reasons for this interference?"
|"I understood that there were some very strong objections
against the lady."
|"And what arts did he use to separate them?"
|"He did not talk to me of his own arts," said Fitzwilliam
smiling. "He only told me what I have now told you."
|Elizabeth made no answer, and walked on, her heart swelling
with indignation. After watching her a little, Fitzwilliam
asked her why she was so thoughtful.
|"I am thinking of what you have been telling me," said she.
"Your cousin's conduct does not suit my feelings. Why was
he to be the judge?"
|"You are rather disposed to call his interference officious?"
|"I do not see what right Mr. Darcy had to decide on the
propriety of his friend's inclination, or why, upon his own
judgment alone, he was to determine and direct in what manner
that friend was to be happy." "But," she continued,
recollecting herself, "as we know none of the particulars, it
is not fair to condemn him. It is not to be supposed that
there was much affection in the case."
|"That is not an unnatural surmise," said Fitzwilliam, "but it
is lessening the honour of my cousin's triumph very sadly."
|This was spoken jestingly, but it appeared to her so just a
picture of Mr. Darcy that she would not trust herself with an
answer; and, therefore, abruptly changing the conversation,
talked on indifferent matters till they reached the parsonage.
There, shut into her own room as soon as their visitor left
them, she could think without interruption of all that she had
heard. It was not to be supposed that any other people could
be meant than those with whom she was connected. There could
not exist in the world two men over whom Mr. Darcy could have
such boundless influence. That he had been concerned in the
measures taken to separate Mr. Bingley and Jane, she had never
doubted; but she had always attributed to Miss Bingley the
principal design and arrangement of them. If his own vanity,
however, did not mislead him, he was the cause, his pride and
caprice were the cause, of all that Jane had suffered, and
still continued to suffer. He had ruined for a while every
hope of happiness for the most affectionate, generous heart in
the world; and no one could say how lasting an evil he might
|"There were some very strong objections against the lady," were
Colonel Fitzwilliam's words, and these strong objections
probably were, her having one uncle who was a country attorney,
and another who was in business in London.
|"To Jane herself," she exclaimed, "there could be no
possibility of objection. All loveliness and goodness as she
is! Her understanding excellent, her mind improved, and her
manners captivating. Neither could any thing be urged against
my father, who, though with some peculiarities, has abilities
which Mr. Darcy himself need not disdain, and respectability
which he will probably never reach." When she thought of her
mother, indeed, her confidence gave way a little, but she would
not allow that any objections there had material weight with
Mr. Darcy, whose pride, she was convinced, would receive a
deeper wound from the want of importance in his friend's
connections, than from their want of sense; and she was quite
decided at last, that he had been partly governed by this worst
kind of pride, and partly by the wish of retaining Mr. Bingley
for his sister.
|The agitation and tears which the subject occasioned brought on
a headache; and it grew so much worse towards the evening that,
added to her unwillingness to see Mr. Darcy, it determined her
not to attend her cousins to Rosings, where they were engaged
to drink tea. Mrs. Collins, seeing that she was really unwell,
did not press her to go, and as much as possible prevented her
husband from pressing her, but Mr. Collins could not conceal
his apprehension of Lady Catherine's being rather displeased by
her staying at home.
|(Vol. II, Chap. 9)
||Table of Contents
||(Vol. II, Chap. 11)|
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in English and Chinese