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|Chapter 43 (Vol. III, Chap. I)|
|(Vol. II, Chap. 19)
||Table of Contents
||(Vol. III, Chap. 2)|
|Chapter 43 (Vol. III, Chap. I)
|Elizabeth, as they drove along, watched for the first
appearance of Pemberley Woods with some perturbation; and when
at length they turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a
|The park was very large, and contained great variety of ground.
They entered it in one of its lowest points, and drove for some
time through a beautiful wood, stretching over a wide extent.
|Elizabeth's mind was too full for conversation, but she saw
and admired every remarkable spot and point of view. They
gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves
at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased,
and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated
on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road, with
some abruptness, wound. It was a large, handsome, stone
building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge
of high woody hills; -- and in front, a stream of some natural
importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial
appearance. Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely
adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place
for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had
been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all
of them warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt
that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!
|They descended the hill, crossed the bridge, and drove to the
door; and, while examining the nearer aspect of the house, all
her apprehensions of meeting its owner returned. She dreaded
lest the chambermaid had been mistaken. On applying to see the
place, they were admitted into the hall; and Elizabeth, as they
waited for the housekeeper, had leisure to wonder at her being
where she was.
|The housekeeper came; a respectable-looking, elderly woman,
much less fine, and more civil, than she had any notion of
finding her. They followed her into the dining-parlour. It
was a large, well-proportioned room, handsomely fitted up.
Elizabeth, after slightly surveying it, went to a window to
enjoy its prospect. The hill, crowned with wood, from which
they had descended, receiving increased abruptness from the
distance, was a beautiful object. Every disposition of the
ground was good; and she looked on the whole scene -- the
river, the trees scattered on its banks, and the winding of the
valley, as far as she could trace it -- with delight. As they
passed into other rooms, these objects were taking different
positions; but from every window there were beauties to be
seen. The rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furniture
suitable to the fortune of their proprietor; but Elizabeth saw,
with admiration of his taste, that it was neither gaudy nor
uselessly fine; with less of splendor, and more real elegance,
than the furniture of Rosings.
|"And of this place," thought she, "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. -- But no," -- recollecting herself, -- "that could never
be: my uncle and aunt would have been lost to me: I should not
have been allowed to invite them." This was a lucky
recollection -- it saved her from something like regret.
|She longed to enquire of the housekeeper whether her master
were really absent, but had not courage for it. At length,
however, the question was asked by her uncle; and she turned
away with alarm, while Mrs. Reynolds replied that he was,
adding, "but we expect him tomorrow, with a large party of
friends." How rejoiced was Elizabeth that their own journey
had not by any circumstance been delayed a day!
|Her aunt now called her to look at a picture. She approached,
and saw the likeness of Mr. Wickham suspended, amongst several
other miniatures, over the mantlepiece. Her aunt asked her,
smilingly, how she liked it. The housekeeper came forward, and
told them it was the picture of a young gentleman, the son of
her late master's steward, who had been brought up by him at
his own expence. -- "He is now gone into the army," she added,
"but I am afraid he has turned out very wild."
|Mrs. Gardiner looked at her niece with a smile, but Elizabeth
could not return it.
|"And that," said Mrs. Reynolds, pointing to another of the
miniatures, "is my master -- and very like him. It was drawn
at the same time as the other -- about eight years ago."
|"I have heard much of your master's fine person," said
Mrs. Gardiner, looking at the picture; "it is a handsome face.
But, Lizzy, you can tell us whether it is like or not."
|Mrs. Reynolds's respect for Elizabeth seemed to increase on
this intimation of her knowing her master.
|"Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy?"
|Elizabeth coloured, and said -- "A little."
|"And do not you think him a very handsome gentleman, Ma'am?"
|"Yes, very handsome."
|"I am sure I know none so handsome; but in the gallery
up stairs you will see a finer, larger picture of him than
this. This room was my late master's favourite room, and
these miniatures are just as they used to be then. He was
very fond of them."
|This accounted to Elizabeth for Mr. Wickham's being among them.
|Mrs. Reynolds then directed their attention to one of Miss
Darcy, drawn when she was only eight years old.
|"And is Miss Darcy as handsome as her brother?" said
|"Oh! yes -- the handsomest young lady that ever was seen;
and so accomplished! -- She plays and sings all day long.
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."
|Mr. Gardiner, whose manners were easy and pleasant, encouraged
her communicativeness by his questions and remarks;
Mrs. Reynolds, either from pride or attachment, had evidently
great pleasure in talking of her master and his sister.
|"Is your master much at Pemberley in the course of the year?"
|"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."
|"Except," thought Elizabeth, "when she goes to Ramsgate."
|"If your master would marry, you might see more of him."
|"Yes, Sir; but I do not know when that will be. I do not
know who is good enough for him."
|Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner smiled. Elizabeth could not help saying,
"It is very much to his credit, I am sure, that you should
|"I say no more than the truth, and what every body will say
that knows him," replied the other. Elizabeth thought this was
going pretty far; and she listened with increasing astonishment
as the housekeeper added, "I have never had a cross word from
him in my life, and I have known him ever since he was four
|This was praise, of all others most extraordinary, most
opposite to her ideas. That he was not a good tempered man had
been her firmest opinion. Her keenest attention was awakened;
she longed to hear more, and was grateful to her uncle for
|"There are very few people of whom so much can be said.
You are lucky in having such a master."
|"Yes, Sir, I know I am. If I was to go through the world,
I could not meet with a better. 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."
|Elizabeth almost stared at her. -- "Can this be Mr. Darcy!"
|"His father was an excellent man," said Mrs. Gardiner.
|"Yes, Ma'am, that he was indeed; and his son will be just like
him -- just as affable to the poor."
|Elizabeth listened, wondered, doubted, and was impatient for
more. Mrs. Reynolds could interest her on no other point. She
related the subject of the pictures, the dimensions of the
rooms, and the price of the furniture, in vain. Mr. Gardiner,
highly amused by the kind of family prejudice to which he
attributed her excessive commendation of her master, soon led
again to the subject; and she dwelt with energy on his many
merits, as they proceeded together up the great staircase.
|"He is the best landlord, and the best master," said she, "that
ever lived. Not like the wild young men now-a-days, who think
of nothing but themselves. There is not one of his tenants or
servants but what will give him a good name. Some people call
him proud; but I am sure I never saw any thing of it. To my
fancy, it is only because he does not rattle away like other
|"In what an amiable light does this place him!" thought
|"This fine account of him," whispered her aunt, as they walked,
"is not quite consistent with his behaviour to our poor
|"Perhaps we might be deceived."
|"That is not very likely; our authority was too good."
|On reaching the spacious lobby above, they were shown into
a very pretty sitting-room, lately fitted up with greater
elegance and lightness than the apartments below; and were
informed that it was but just done to give pleasure to Miss
Darcy, who had taken a liking to the room when last at
|"He is certainly a good brother," said Elizabeth, as she walked
towards one of the windows.
|Mrs. Reynolds anticipated Miss Darcy's delight when she should
enter the room. "And this is always the way with him," she
added. -- "Whatever can give his sister any pleasure is sure to
be done in a moment. There is nothing he would not do for
|The picture gallery, and two or three of the principal
bedrooms, were all that remained to be shown. In the former
were many good paintings; but Elizabeth knew nothing of the
art; and from such as had been already visible below, she had
willingly turned to look at some drawings of Miss Darcy's, in
crayons, whose subjects were usually more interesting, and also
|In the gallery there were many family portraits, but they could
have little to fix the attention of a stranger. Elizabeth
walked on in quest of the only face whose features would be
known to her. At last it arrested her -- and she beheld a
striking resemblance of Mr. Darcy, with such a smile over the
face as she remembered to have sometimes seen, when he looked
at her. She stood several minutes before the picture in
earnest contemplation, and returned to it again before they
quitted the gallery. Mrs. Reynolds informed them that it had
been taken in his father's life time.
|There was certainly at this moment, in Elizabeth's mind, a more
gentle sensation towards the original than she had ever felt in
the height of their acquaintance. The commendation bestowed on
him by Mrs. Reynolds was of no trifling nature. What praise is
more valuable than the praise of an intelligent servant? As a
brother, a landlord, a master, she considered how many people's
happiness were in his guardianship! -- How much of pleasure or
pain it was in his power to bestow! -- How much of good or evil
must be done by him! Every idea that had been brought forward
by the housekeeper was favourable to his character, and as she
stood before the canvas, on which he was represented, and fixed
his eyes upon herself, she thought of his regard with a deeper
sentiment of gratitude than it had ever raised before; she
remembered its warmth, and softened its impropriety of
|When all of the house that was open to general inspection had
been seen, they returned down stairs, and, taking leave of the
housekeeper, were consigned over to the gardener, who met them
at the hall door.
|As they walked across the lawn towards the river, Elizabeth
turned back to look again; her uncle and aunt stopped also, and
while the former was conjecturing as to the date of the
building, the owner of it himself suddenly came forward from
the road, which led behind it to the stables.
|They were within twenty yards of each other, and so abrupt was
his appearance, that it was impossible to avoid his sight.
Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of each were
overspread with the deepest blush. He absolutely started, and
for a moment seemed immoveable from surprise; but shortly
recovering himself, advanced towards the party, and spoke to
Elizabeth, if not in terms of perfect composure, at least of
|She had instinctively turned away; but, stopping on his
approach, received his compliments with an embarrassment
impossible to be overcome. Had his first appearance, or his
resemblance to the picture they had just been examining, been
insufficient to assure the other two that they now saw Mr.
Darcy, the gardener's expression of surprise on beholding his
master must immediately have told it. They stood a little
aloof while he was talking to their niece, who, astonished and
confused, scarcely dared lift her eyes to his face, and knew
not what answer she returned to his civil enquiries after her
family. Amazed at the alteration in his manner since they last
parted, every sentence that he uttered was increasing her
embarrassment; and every idea of the impropriety of her being
found there recurring to her mind, the few minutes in which
they continued together were some of the most uncomfortable of
her life. Nor did he seem much more at ease; when he spoke,
his accent had none of its usual sedateness; and he repeated
his enquiries as to the time of her having left Longbourn, and
of her stay in Derbyshire, so often, and in so hurried a way,
as plainly spoke the distraction of his thoughts.
|At length, every idea seemed to fail him; and, after standing a
few moments without saying a word, he suddenly recollected
himself, and took leave.
|The others then joined her, and expressed their admiration of
his figure; but Elizabeth heard not a word, and, wholly
engrossed by her own feelings, followed them in silence. She
was overpowered by shame and vexation. Her coming there was
the most unfortunate, the most ill-judged thing in the world!
How strange must it appear to him! In what a disgraceful light
might it not strike so vain a man! It might seem as if she had
purposely thrown herself in his way again! Oh! why did she
come? or, why did he thus come a day before he was expected?
Had they been only ten minutes sooner, they should have been
beyond the reach of his discrimination, for it was plain that
he was that moment arrived, that moment alighted from his horse
or his carriage. She blushed again and again over the
perverseness of the meeting. And his behaviour, so strikingly
altered, -- what could it mean? That he should even speak to
her was amazing! -- but to speak with such civility, to enquire
after her family! Never in her life had she seen his manners
so little dignified, never had he spoken with such gentleness
as on this unexpected meeting. What a contrast did it offer to
his last address in Rosings Park, when he put his letter into
her hand! She knew not what to think, nor how to account for
|They had now entered a beautiful walk by the side of the water,
and every step was bringing forward a nobler fall of ground, or
a finer reach of the woods to which they were approaching; but
it was some time before Elizabeth was sensible of any of it;
and, though she answered mechanically to the repeated appeals
of her uncle and aunt, and seemed to direct her eyes to such
objects as they pointed out, she distinguished no part of the
scene. Her thoughts were all fixed on that one spot of
Pemberley House, whichever it might be, where Mr. Darcy then
was. She longed to know what at that moment was passing in his
mind; in what manner he thought of her, and whether, in
defiance of every thing, she was still dear to him. Perhaps he
had been civil only because he felt himself at ease; yet there
had been that in his voice which was not like ease. Whether
he had felt more of pain or of pleasure in seeing her, she
could not tell, but he certainly had not seen her with
|At length, however, the remarks of her companions on her
absence of mind roused her, and she felt the necessity of
appearing more like herself.
|They entered the woods, and bidding adieu to the river for a
while, ascended some of the higher grounds; whence, in spots
where the opening of the trees gave the eye power to wander,
were many charming views of the valley, the opposite hills,
with the long range of woods overspreading many, and
occasionally part of the stream. Mr. Gardiner expressed a wish
of going round the whole Park, but feared it might be beyond a
walk. With a triumphant smile, they were told that it was ten
miles round. It settled the matter; and they pursued the
accustomed circuit; which brought them again, after some time,
in a descent among hanging woods, to the edge of the water, in
one of its narrowest parts. They crossed it by a simple
bridge, in character with the general air of the scene; it was
a spot less adorned than any they had yet visited; and the
valley, here contracted into a glen, allowed room only for the
stream, and a narrow walk amidst the rough coppice-wood which
bordered it. Elizabeth longed to explore its windings; but
when they had crossed the bridge, and perceived their distance
from the house, Mrs. Gardiner, who was not a great walker,
could go no farther, and thought only of returning to the
carriage as quickly as possible. Her niece was, therefore,
obliged to submit, and they took their way towards the house on
the opposite side of the river, in the nearest direction; but
their progress was slow, for Mr. Gardiner, though seldom able
to indulge the taste, was very fond of fishing, and was so much
engaged in watching the occasional appearance of some trout in
the water, and talking to the man about them, that he advanced
but little. Whilst wandering on in this slow manner, they were
again surprised, and Elizabeth's astonishment was quite equal
to what it had been at first, by the sight of Mr. Darcy
approaching them, and at no great distance. The walk being
here less sheltered than on the other side, allowed them to see
him before they met. Elizabeth, however astonished, was at
least more prepared for an interview than before, and resolved
to appear and to speak with calmness, if he really intended to
meet them. For a few moments, indeed, she felt that he would
probably strike into some other path. This idea lasted while a
turning in the walk concealed him from their view; the turning
past, he was immediately before them. With a glance she saw
that he had lost none of his recent civility; and, to imitate
his politeness, she began, as they met, to admire the beauty of
the place; but she had not got beyond the words "delightful,"
and "charming," when some unlucky recollections obtruded, and
she fancied that praise of Pemberley from her might be
mischievously construed. Her colour changed, and she said no
|Mrs. Gardiner was standing a little behind; and on her pausing,
he asked her if she would do him the honour of introducing him
to her friends. This was a stroke of civility for which she
was quite unprepared; and she could hardly suppress a smile at
his being now seeking the acquaintance of some of those very
people against whom his pride had revolted, in his offer to
herself. "What will be his surprise," thought she, "when he
knows who they are! He takes them now for people of fashion."
|The introduction, however, was immediately made; and as she
named their relationship to herself, she stole a sly look at
him, to see how he bore it; and was not without the expectation
of his decamping as fast as he could from such disgraceful
companions. That he was surprised by the connexion was
evident; he sustained it however with fortitude, and so far
from going away, turned back with them, and entered into
conversation with Mr. Gardiner. Elizabeth could not but be
pleased, could not but triumph. It was consoling that he
should know she had some relations for whom there was no need
to blush. She listened most attentively to all that passed
between them, and gloried in every expression, every sentence
of her uncle, which marked his intelligence, his taste, or his
|The conversation soon turned upon fishing, and she heard
Mr. Darcy invite him, with the greatest civility, to fish there
as often as he chose while he continued in the neighbourhood,
offering at the same time to supply him with fishing tackle,
and pointing out those parts of the stream where there was
usually most sport. Mrs. Gardiner, who was walking arm in arm
with Elizabeth, gave her a look expressive of her wonder.
Elizabeth said nothing, but it gratified her exceedingly; the
compliment must be all for herself. Her astonishment, however,
was extreme; and continually was she repeating, "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. My
reproofs at Hunsford could not work such a change as this. It
is impossible that he should still love me."
|After walking some time in this way, the two ladies in front,
the two gentlemen behind, on resuming their places after
descending to the brink of the river for the better inspection
of some curious water-plant, there chanced to be a little
alteration. It originated in Mrs. Gardiner, who, fatigued by
the exercise of the morning, found Elizabeth's arm inadequate
to her support, and consequently preferred her husband's.
Mr. Darcy took her place by her niece, and they walked on
together. After a short silence, the lady first spoke. She
wished him to know that she had been assured of his absence
before she came to the place, and accordingly began by
observing that his arrival had been very unexpected -- "for
your housekeeper," she added, "informed us that you would
certainly not be here till to-morrow; and indeed, before we
left Bakewell we understood that you were not immediately
expected in the country." He acknowledged the truth of it all;
and said that business with his steward had occasioned his
coming forward a few hours before the rest of the party with
whom he had been travelling. "They will join me early
tomorrow," he continued, "and among them are some who will
claim an acquaintance with you, -- Mr. Bingley and his
|Elizabeth answered only by a slight bow. Her thoughts were
instantly driven back to the time when Mr. Bingley's name had
been last mentioned between them; and if she might judge from
his complexion, his mind was not very differently engaged.
|"There is also one other person in the party," he continued
after a pause, "who more particularly wishes to be known to
you, -- Will you allow me, or do I ask too much, to introduce
my sister to your acquaintance during your stay at Lambton?"
|The surprise of such an application was great indeed; it was
too great for her to know in what manner she acceded to it.
She immediately felt that whatever desire Miss Darcy might have
of being acquainted with her must be the work of her brother,
and without looking farther, it was satisfactory; it was
gratifying to know that his resentment had not made him think
really ill of her.
|They now walked on in silence; each of them deep in thought.
Elizabeth was not comfortable; that was impossible; but she was
flattered and pleased. His wish of introducing his sister to
her was a compliment of the highest kind. They soon
outstripped the others, and when they had reached the carriage,
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner were half a quarter of a mile behind.
|He then asked her to walk into the house -- but she declared
herself not tired, and they stood together on the lawn. At
such a time, much might have been said, and silence was very
awkward. She wanted to talk, but there seemed an embargo on
every subject. At last she recollected that she had been
travelling, and they talked of Matlock and Dove-Dale with great
perseverance. Yet time and her aunt moved slowly -- and her
patience and her ideas were nearly worn out before the
tete-a-tete was over. On Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner's coming
up, they were all pressed to go into the house and take some
refreshment; but this was declined, and they parted on each
side with the utmost politeness. Mr. Darcy handed the ladies
into the carriage, and when it drove off, Elizabeth saw him
walking slowly towards the house.
|The observations of her uncle and aunt now began; and each of
them pronounced him to be infinitely superior to any thing they
had expected. "He is perfectly well behaved, polite, and
unassuming," said her uncle.
|"There is something a little stately in him to be sure,"
replied her aunt, "but it is confined to his air, and is not
unbecoming. I can now say with the housekeeper, that though
some people may call him proud, I have seen nothing of it."
|"I was never more surprised than by his behaviour to us. It
was more than civil; it was really attentive; and there was no
necessity for such attention. His acquaintance with Elizabeth
was very trifling."
|"To be sure, Lizzy," said her aunt, "he is not so handsome as
Wickham; or rather he has not Wickham's countenance, for his
features are perfectly good. But how came you to tell us that
he was so disagreeable?"
|Elizabeth excused herself as well as she could; said that she
had liked him better when they met in Kent than before, and
that she had never seen him so pleasant as this morning.
|"But perhaps he may be a little whimsical in his civilities,"
replied her uncle. "Your great men often are; and therefore
I shall not take him at his word about fishing, as he might
change his mind another day, and warn me off his grounds."
|Elizabeth felt that they had entirely mistaken his character,
but said nothing.
|"From what we have seen of him," continued Mrs. Gardiner,
"I really should not have thought that he could have behaved in
so cruel a way by any body, as he has done by poor Wickham. He
has not an ill-natured look. On the contrary, there is
something pleasing about his mouth when he speaks. And there
is something of dignity in his countenance, that would not give
one an unfavourable idea of his heart. But to be sure, the
good lady who showed us the house did give him a most flaming
character! I could hardly help laughing aloud sometimes. But
he is a liberal master, I suppose, and that in the eye of a
servant comprehends every virtue."
|Elizabeth here felt herself called on to say something in
vindication of his behaviour to Wickham; and therefore gave
them to understand, in as guarded a manner as she could, that
by what she had heard from his relations in Kent, his actions
were capable of a very different construction; and that his
character was by no means so faulty, nor Wickham's so amiable,
as they had been considered in Hertfordshire. In confirmation
of this, she related the particulars of all the pecuniary
transactions in which they had been connected, without actually
naming her authority, but stating it to be such as might be
|Mrs. Gardiner was surprised and concerned; but as they were now
approaching the scene of her former pleasures, every idea gave
way to the charm of recollection; and she was too much engaged
in pointing out to her husband all the interesting spots in its
environs to think of any thing else. Fatigued as she had been
by the morning's walk, they had no sooner dined than she set
off again in quest of her former acquaintance, and the evening
was spent in the satisfactions of an intercourse renewed after
many years discontinuance.
|The occurrences of the day were too full of interest to leave
Elizabeth much attention for any of these new friends; and she
could do nothing but think, and think with wonder, of
Mr. Darcy's civility, and above all, of his wishing her to be
acquainted with his sister.
|(Vol. II, Chap. 19)
||Table of Contents
||(Vol. III, Chap. 2)|
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in English and Chinese