Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

Wayne Josephson

Readable Classics

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen
and Wayne Josephson

Readable Classics
Charlottesville VA 22901

Readable Classics
Readable Classics gently edits great works of literature, retaining the original authors' voices, and making them less frustrating for students and more enjoyable for modern readers.

Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen·s 1813 masterpiece traces the intricacies of Regency England mating rituals, as Mrs. Bennet hopes to find rich husbands for her five penniless daughters. Mr. Bingley, a man of good fortune, is easily charmed by Jane, but Mr. Darcy·s excessive pride offends Elizabeth. The delightful romp is full of romantic misunderstandings, rejected proposals, disastrous elopements, and happy endings.

Copyright 2010 by Readable Classics All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. ISBN: 978-0-615-32444-9 Library of Congress Control Number: 2009937410 Readable Classics Charlottesville, VA 22901

Chapter 1
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. Regardless of his intentions upon moving into a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that such a gentleman is considered the rightful property of at least one of their daughters. ´My dear Mr. Bennet,µ said Mrs. Bennet to her husband one day, ´have you heard that Netherfield Park has been rented at last?µ Mr. Bennet replied that he had not. ´But it is,µ returned she. ´Mrs. Long has just visited me and she told me all about it.µ Mr. Bennet made no answer. ´Do you not want to know who has rented it?µ cried his wife impatiently. ´You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.µ This was invitation enough. ´My dear, Netherfield has been taken by a young man of large fortune from northern England. He came down on Monday and was so delighted with it that he immediately made an agreement with the landlord, Mr. Morris. He is to take possession before the end of September, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the end of next week.µ ´What is his name?µ ´Bingley--Mr. Charles Bingley.µ ´Is he married or single?µ ´Oh, single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large fortune. What a fine thing for our girls!µ ´How so? How can it affect them?µ ´My dear Mr. Bennet,µ replied his wife, ´how tiresome you can be! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them.µ ´Is that his intention in settling here?µ ´Intention! Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that he may fall in love with one of our daughters, and therefore you must visit him as soon as he arrives.µ

´I see no occasion for that,µ he replied. ´You and the girls may go and, since you are as handsome as any of our daughters, Mr. Bingley might like you the best of the party.µ ´My dear, you flatter me. I certainly have had my share of beauty, but I do not pretend to be anything extraordinary now. When a woman has five grownup daughters, she ought to give up thinking of her own beauty.µ ´Often, in such cases, a woman has not much beauty to think of.µ ´But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he comes into the neighbourhood and properly introduce yourself, so that we may then visit him.µ After all, the Bennets, who lived on a large estate named Longbourn, were the most respectable family in the village. She added, ´Consider your daughters, Mr. Bennet. Think what stability it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are going to visit Mr. Bingley on behalf of their daughter Charlotte. Indeed you must go, for it will be impossible for us to visit him unless you visit first.µ ´You are overly attentive to manners,µ said he. ´I dare say Mr. Bingley will be very glad to see you, and I will send along a short letter to assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying whichever of the girls he chooses--though I must throw in a good word for my Lizzy.µ ´You will do no such thing. Elizabeth is not a bit better than the others, and I am sure she is not half as handsome as Jane, nor half as good-humoured as Lydia. But you are always giving Elizabeth the preference.µ ´None of them have much to recommend them,µ replied he. ´They are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quickness than her sisters.µ ´Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such way? You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my poor nerves.µ ´You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with concern these past twenty years.µ ´Ah! You do not know what I suffer.µ ´But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many wealthy young men come into the neighbourhood.µ ´It will be no use to us if twenty should come, since you will not visit them.µ ´Depend upon it, my dear. When there are twenty, I will visit them all.µ Mr. Bennet was such an odd mixture of sarcastic humour, reserve, and unpredictability, that after twenty-three years of marriage, his wife could still not understand his personality.


Her mind, however, was less difficult to understand. She was a woman of small intelligence, little information, and uncertain mood. When she was unhappy, she imagined herself nervous. The business of her life was to get her daughters married; her source of comfort was visiting and news.


Chapter 2
Mr. Bennet was among the first who visited Mr. Bingley. He had always intended to, though always assuring his wife that he would not go. And till the evening after the visit was paid, Mrs. Bennet had no knowledge of it. It was then disclosed in the following manner: Observing his second daughter Elizabeth trying on a hat, he suddenly addressed her with, ´I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy.µ ´We cannot know what Mr. Bingley likes,µ said her mother resentfully, ´since we are not able to visit.µ ´But you forget, Mama,µ said Elizabeth, ´that we shall meet him at the ball, and that Mrs. Long has promised to introduce him.µ ´I do not believe Mrs. Long will do any such thing. She has two nieces of her own. She is a selfish, hypocritical woman, and I have no good opinion of her.µ ´Nor have I,µ said Mr. Bennet, ´and I am glad to find that you do not depend on her helping you.µ Mrs. Bennet did not demean herself by replying. But unable to contain herself, she began scolding one of her daughters: ´Don·t keep coughing so, Kitty, for heaven·s sake! Have a little compassion on my nerves. You tear them to pieces.µ ´Kitty has no discretion in her coughs,µ said her father. ´I do not cough for my own amusement,µ replied Kitty fretfully. ´When is your next ball to be, Lizzy?µ ´A fortnight after tomorrow.µ ´So it is,µ cried her mother, ´and Mrs. Long does not return till the day before. So it will be impossible for her to introduce Mr. Bingley to us, for she does not yet know him herself.µ ´Then, my dear,µ said her husband, ´you may have the advantage over Mrs. Long, and introduce Mr. Bingley to her.µ ´Impossible, impossible, when I am not acquainted with him myself. How can you be so teasing?µ ´True,µ said Mr. Bennet, ´a fortnight·s acquaintance is certainly very little.

One cannot know what a man is really like in two weeks. But if we do not introduce Mrs. Long to Mr. Bingley, somebody else will. After all, Mrs. Long and her nieces must get their chance, and therefore, as an act of kindness, I will make the introduction myself.µ The girls stared at their father. Mrs. Bennet said only, ´Nonsense, nonsense!µ ´Do you consider proper introductions as nonsense?µ cried he. ´I cannot quite agree with you there. What say you, Mary? For you are a young lady of deep reflection, and read great books.µ Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how. ´While Mary is forming her ideas,µ he continued, ´let us return to Mr. Bingley.µ ´I am sick of Mr. Bingley!µ cried his wife. ´I am sorry to hear that--but why did you not tell me so before? If I had known as much this morning, I certainly would not have called upon him. It is very unlucky. But as I have actually paid the visit, we cannot escape the acquaintance now.µ The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished--Mrs. Bennet·s surpassing the rest--though after the uproar of joy was over, she declared that she had expected it all the while. ´How good of you, my dear Mr. Bennet! But I knew I would persuade you at last. I was sure you loved our girls too well to neglect such an acquaintance. 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.µ ´Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you choose,µ said Mr. Bennet. As he spoke, he left the room, fatigued with the raptures of his wife. ´What an excellent father you have, girls,µ said their mother, when the door was shut. ´I do not know how you will ever repay his kindness--or me either, for that matter. At our age, I can tell you it is not so pleasant to make new acquaintances every day; but for your sakes, we would do anything. Lydia, my love, though you are the youngest, I dare say Mr. Bingley will dance with you at the next ball.µ ´Oh!µ said Lydia stoutly. ´I am not afraid, for though I am the youngest, I·m the tallest.µ The rest of the evening was spent guessing how soon Mr. Bingley would return their father·s visit, and determining when they should ask Mr. Bingley to dinner.


Chapter 3
Despite all the questions that Mrs. Bennet and her five daughters asked about Mr. Bingley, they could not gather from Mr. Bennet any satisfactory description of their new neighbour. They had to settle for second-hand intelligence from their neighbour Lady Lucas. Her report was highly favourable. Mr. Bingley was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely agreeable and, to crown the whole, he planned to attend the next ball with a large party. Nothing could be more delightful! To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love, and Mrs. Bennet entertained very lively hopes for Mr. Bingley·s heart. ´If I can see but one of my daughters happily settled at Netherfield,µ said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, ´and all the others equally well-married, I shall have nothing to wish for.µ *** A few days later, Mr. Bingley politely returned Mr. Bennet·s visit, and sat about ten minutes with him in the library. Mr. Bingley had hoped to catch a glimpse of the young ladies, of whose beauty he had heard much, but he saw only the father. The ladies were somewhat more fortunate, for they had the advantage, from an upper window, of seeing that he wore a blue coat and rode a black horse. The Bennets soon afterward sent Mr. Bingley an invitation to dinner, and already Mrs. Bennet had planned the courses that would impress him, when an answer arrived. Regrettably, Mr. Bingley had to be in London the following day, and consequently was unable to accept the honour of their invitation. Mrs. Bennet was quite disconcerted. She could not imagine what business Mr. Bingley could have in London so soon after his arrival, and she began to fear that he might always fly about from one place to another, and never settle at Netherfield. Lady Lucas quieted her fears a little by suggesting that he had gone to London only to get a large party together for the ball--and a report soon

followed that, indeed, Mr. Bingley was to bring twelve ladies and seven gentlemen with him to the assembly. The Bennet girls grieved over such a large number of ladies, but were comforted the day before the ball by hearing that, instead of twelve ladies, he had brought only six with him from London--his five sisters and a cousin. *** The evening of the ball came and, when Mr. Bingley entered the assembly room, his party consisted of only four besides himself--two of his sisters, his brother-in-law, and another young man named Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Mr. Bingley was good-looking and gentlemanlike, and he had a pleasant face and easy, unaffected manners. His brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked like any other gentleman. But his friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the entire room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble bearing, and the report--which was in general circulation within five minutes after his entrance--of his having a large fortune. The gentlemen at the ball pronounced Mr. Darcy to be a fine figure of a man, and the ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley. Mr. Darcy was looked upon with great admiration for about half the evening, till his manners turned the tide of his popularity--for he was discovered to be proud, to hold himself above everyone else, and above being pleased in any way. Not even his large estate in Derbyshire could save him from his disagreeable personality, and being unworthy to be compared with his friend Mr. Bingley. Mr. Bingley soon acquainted himself with all the principal people in the room. He was lively and unreserved, danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early, and talked of giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable qualities he had, and what a contrast between him and his friend! Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mr. Bingley·s two sisters, Mrs. Hurst and Miss Caroline Bingley; he declined being introduced to any other lady; and he spent the rest of the evening walking about the room, speaking occasionally to one of his own party of three. His character was decided. He was the proudest, most disagreeable man in the world, and everybody hoped that he would never come there again. Amongst the most violent people against him was Mrs. Bennet, whose dislike of him was sharpened into particular resentment after he slighted her daughter Elizabeth. It happened that Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged to sit down for two


dances, due to the scarcity of gentlemen. During part of that time, she overheard a conversation between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, both of whom had been standing nearby. ´Come, Darcy,µ said Mr. Bingley, ´you must dance. I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner.µ ´I certainly shall not. You know how I detest dancing, unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. Your sisters are presently engaged, and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be a punishment to dance with.µ ´Upon my honour,µ cried Bingley, ´I never met so many pleasant girls in my life as I have this evening--and several of them are uncommonly pretty.µ ´You are dancing with the only beautiful girl in the room,µ said Mr. Darcy, looking at the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane. ´Oh, yes! She is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But her sister, Elizabeth, who is sitting down just behind you, is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me have Jane introduce you to her.µ ´Which do you mean?µ he asked, and turning round, he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, caught her eye, then withdrew and coldly said, ´She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me--and I am in no humour to pay attention to young ladies who are ignored by other men. You had better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles, for you are wasting your time with me.µ Mr. Bingley followed his advice, and Mr. Darcy walked off. Elizabeth remained with no cordial feelings towards him. She told the story with great energy, however, to her friends, for she had a lively, playful disposition which delighted in anything ridiculous. The evening altogether passed pleasantly for the Bennets. Mrs. Bennet had seen her eldest daughter Jane much admired by the Netherfield party--Mr. Bingley had danced twice with her, and she had been admired by his sisters. Jane was as much gratified by this as her mother could be, though in a quieter way. Elizabeth felt Jane·s pleasure. Mary had heard herself mentioned to Miss Caroline Bingley as the most accomplished girl in the neighbourhood; and Catherine and Lydia had been fortunate enough to never be without dancing partners, which was all that they cared about at a ball. *** The Bennets returned to Longbourn, therefore, in good spirits. They found Mr. Bennet still up, with a book, in spite of the late hour.


He had a good deal of curiosity about an evening which had raised such splendid expectations. He had rather hoped that his wife would be disappointed in her opinion of Mr. Bingley, but he soon found that he had a very different story to hear. ´Oh! My dear Mr. Bennet,µ as she entered the room, ´we have had a most delightful evening, a most excellent ball. I wish you had been there. Jane was so admired, nothing could compare. Everybody said how well she looked, and Mr. Bingley thought her quite beautiful, and danced with her twice. 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. ´First he asked Charlotte Lucas. I was so vexed to see him dance with her, but he did not admire her at all--indeed, nobody can, you know. And he seemed quite struck with Jane as she was dancing, so he inquired who she was, and got introduced, and asked her for the next two. Then the next two he danced with Miss King, and the next two with Maria Lucas, and the next two with Jane again, and the next two with Lizzy, and the Boulanger--µ ´If Mr. Bingley had had any compassion for me,µ cried her husband impatiently, ´he would not have danced half so much! For God·s sake, say no more of his partners. Oh! That he had sprained his ankle in the first dance!µ ´Oh! My dear,µ continued Mrs. Bennet, ´I am quite delighted with Mr. Bingley. He is so excessively handsome! And his sisters are charming women. I never in my life saw anything more elegant than their dresses. I dare say the lace upon Mrs. Hurst·s gown--µ Here she was interrupted again. Mr. Bennet protested against any description of finery. She was therefore obliged to change the subject, and related with much bitterness and some exaggeration the shocking rudeness of Mr. Darcy. ´But I can assure you,µ she added, ´that Elizabeth does not lose much by not suiting his fancy, for he is a most disagreeable, horrid man, not at all worth pleasing, so conceited that there was no enduring him! He walked here, and he walked there, fancying himself so very great! Lizzy not beautiful enough to dance with, indeed! I wish you had been there, my dear, to have given him one of your put downs. I quite detest the man!µ


Chapter 4
When Jane and Elizabeth were alone, Jane, who had been cautious in her praise of Mr. Bingley before, expressed to her sister how very much she admired him. ´He is just what a young man ought to be,µ said Jane. ´Sensible, goodhumoured, and lively, and I never saw such happy manners! So much ease, with such perfect breeding!µ ´He is also handsome,µ replied Elizabeth, ´which a young man ought to be if he possibly can. His character is thereby complete.µ ´I was very flattered by his asking me to dance a second time. I did not expect such a compliment.µ ´I did. But that is one great difference between us, dear Jane. Compliments always take you by surprise, and me never. 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. Well, he certainly is very agreeable, and I give you permission to like him. You have liked many a stupider person.µ ´Dear Lizzy!µ ´Oh! You are too quick to like people in general. You never see a fault in anybody. I never heard you speak ill of a human being in my life.µ ´I wish to not be quick in criticizing anyone,µ said Jane, ´but I always say what I think.µ ´I know you do,µ said Elizabeth, ´and that is what I cannot understand about you. With your good sense, to be honestly blind to the follies and nonsense of others! To take the good of everybody·s character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad, belongs to you alone.µ Elizabeth paused a moment, then added, ´And so, you like Mr. Bingley·s sisters, too, do you? Their manners are not equal to his.µ ´Certainly not, at first. But Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst are very pleasing women when you converse with them. Caroline Bingley plans to live at Netherfield with her brother and take care of his house; and I think we shall find a very charming neighbour in her.µ Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced. Their behaviour at the

assembly had not been pleasing, and she was not inclined to approve of them. They were, in fact, very fine ladies, and quite agreeable when they chose to be. But they were proud and conceited. They were rather handsome, had been educated in one of the finest private schools, had a quite a large fortune, were in the habit of spending more than they ought, and of associating with people of high social rank--and therefore felt entitled to think well of themselves and little of others. The Bingley sisters came from a perfectly respectable family in northern England, but preferred to forget that their father·s fortune had been earned, not inherited. Their father, with his new wealth, had intended to purchase an estate, but did not live long enough to do it. Their brother Mr. Bingley, who had inherited nearly one hundred thousand pounds, had also intended to purchase an estate. But now, with his easiness of manner, he found it comfortable merely renting at Netherfield, and might therefore leave it to the next generation to purchase an estate. His sisters, however, were very anxious for their brother to have an estate of his own. And though Mr. Bingley was just a tenant, his sister Caroline was more than willing to preside at his table. And Mrs. Hurst, who had married a man of more fashion than fortune, was equally disposed to consider her brother·s house as her home when it suited her. Regarding Mr. Darcy, there was a very steady friendship between him and Mr. Bingley, in spite of a great difference in character. Darcy liked Bingley for the ease and openness of his personality, which was so great a contrast to his own. In return, Bingley had the highest opinion of Darcy·s judgment, knowledge, and cleverness. But Darcy was haughty, reserved, and fussy; and his manners, though well bred, were not inviting. In that respect, Bingley had greatly the advantage. Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared; Darcy was continually giving offence. The manner in which the two gentlemen spoke about the recent ball showed their characters. Bingley had never met with pleasanter people or prettier girls in his life; everybody had been most kind and attentive to him, and there had been no stiffness; he had soon felt comfortable with everyone; and as to Jane Bennet, he could not imagine an angel more beautiful. Darcy, on the contrary, saw a collection of people with little beauty and no fashion, no one in whom he had the smallest interest, nor from whom he had received either attention or pleasure. He acknowledged Jane to be pretty, but she smiled too much. Mr. Bingley·s sisters agreed that Jane smiled too much, but said they admired and liked her, and thought her to be a sweet girl, and one whom they should not


object to know better. Jane Bennet, therefore, received the commendation of Bingley·s sisters, giving Mr. Bingley the approval to admire Jane as much as he chose.


Chapter 5
Within a short walk of Longbourn lived a family with whom the Bennets were particularly intimate. Sir William Lucas had formerly been in business in Meryton, where he had made a respectable fortune and risen to the honour of knighthood. The distinction of becoming Sir William had perhaps too strong an effect on him--he became disgusted with his business and with living in a small town. Quitting them both, he had moved his family to a large house about a mile from Meryton, which he named Lucas Lodge, where he could think about his own importance with pleasure, and occupy himself solely with being polite to all the world. For though elated by his new rank, it did not make him haughty. On the contrary, since he was by nature friendly and agreeable, his presentation at the Court of St. James had made him courteous. Lady Lucas was a very good woman, not too clever, and a valuable neighbour to Mrs. Bennet. They had several children, the eldest of whom was Charlotte--a sensible, intelligent young woman of twenty-seven, and Elizabeth·s closest friend. It was absolutely necessary for the Miss Lucases and the Miss Bennets to meet and talk over the ball, and so the morning after the assembly, the Lucases came to Longbourn. ´You began the evening well, Charlotte,µ said Mrs. Bennet politely. ´You were Mr. Bingley·s first choice.µ ´Yes,µ she replied, ´but he seemed to like his second choice better.µ ´Oh! You mean Jane, I suppose, because he danced with her twice. To be sure, it did seem as if he admired her--I rather believe he did--I heard something about it--but I hardly know what--something about Mr. Robinson.µ ´Perhaps you refer to what I overheard between Mr. Bingley and Mr. Robinson. Mr. Robinson asked him how he liked our Meryton balls, and whether he did not think there were a great many pretty women in the room, and which he thought the prettiest, and he answered immediately, ¶Oh! The eldest Miss Bennet beyond a doubt, there cannot be two opinions on that

point.·µ ´Upon my word!µ replied Mrs. Bennet. ´Well, that was very decided indeed-it does seem as if--but, however, it may all come to nothing, you know.µ Charlotte turned to Elizabeth. ´My overhearings were more favourable than yours. Mr. Darcy is not so well worth listening to as Mr. Bingley, is he? Poor Eliza! To be regarded by Mr. Darcy as only tolerable.µ Mrs. Bennet then spoke. ´I beg you not to put it into Lizzy·s head to be vexed by his ill-treatment, for Darcy is such a disagreeable man that it would be quite a misfortune to be liked by him. Mrs. Long told me last night that he sat close to her for half an hour without once opening his lips.µ ´Are you quite sure, Ma·am?µ said Jane. ´Is there not a little mistake? I certainly saw Mr. Darcy speaking to her.µ ´Aye, because she asked him how he liked Netherfield, and he could not help answering her. But she said Darcy seemed very angry at being spoken to.µ ´Mr. Bingley·s sister told me,µ said Jane, ´that Darcy never speaks much except with his intimate acquaintances. With them, he is remarkably agreeable.µ ´I do not believe a word of it, my dear. If he had been so very agreeable, he would have talked to Mrs. Long. But I can guess how it was--everybody says that he is full of pride, and I dare say he had heard somehow that Mrs. Long does not own a carriage and came to the ball in a taxi.µ ´I do not mind Darcy not talking to Mrs. Long,µ said Charlotte, ´but I wish he had danced with Eliza.µ ´Next time, Lizzy,µ said Mrs. Bennet, ´I would not dance with him, if I were you.µ ´I believe, Mother, I may safely promise you that I will never dance with him.µ ´His pride,µ said Charlotte, ´does not offend me so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it. It is no wonder that so very fine a young man--with family, fortune, everything in his favour--should think highly of himself. If I may say so, he has a right to be proud.µ ´That is very true,µ replied Elizabeth, ´and I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.µ ´Pride,µ observed Mary, ´is a very common failing, I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed, and human nature is particularly prone to it. Vanity and pride are different things, though. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.µ ´If I were as rich as Mr. Darcy,µ cried a young Lucas boy who came with his sisters, ´I should not care how proud I was. I would keep a pack of foxhounds, and drink a bottle of wine every day.µ


´Then you would drink a great deal more than you ought,µ said Mrs. Bennet, ´and if I were to see you going at it, I should take away your bottle directly.µ The boy protested that she should not; she continued to declare that she would; and the argument ended only when the visit did.


Chapter 6
The Bennet ladies of Longbourn soon visited the Bingley sisters of Netherfield. Jane Bennet·s manners were pleasing to Miss Caroline Bingley and Mrs. Hurst, and although Mrs. Bennet was found to be intolerable and the younger sisters not worth speaking to, the Bingley sisters expressed a wish of being better acquainted with the two eldest, Jane and Elizabeth. Jane received this attention with the greatest pleasure--but Elizabeth still saw arrogance in their treatment of everybody, and could not like them. Their kindness to Jane, such as it was, did have a value, probably arising from the influence of Mr. Bingley·s admiration--it was generally evident, whenever they met, that he did admire Jane. To Elizabeth, it was equally evident that Jane was beginning to be very much in love; but Elizabeth was pleased that Jane was composed around Bingley and did not reveal her feelings. Elizabeth mentioned this to her friend Charlotte Lucas. ´It may be pleasant to keep the world in the dark,µ replied Charlotte, ´but sometimes that is a disadvantage. If a woman conceals her affection too much, she may lose the gentleman·s affection, and it will then be poor consolation. It is not safe to leave love to itself. There are very few of us who can be really in love without some encouragement. In nine cases out of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels. Bingley undoubtedly likes your sister, but he may never do more than like her if she does not help him along.µ ´But Jane does help him along--as much as her nature will allow. If I can sense her affection for Mr. Bingley, he must be a simpleton not to realise it, too.µ ´Remember, Eliza, that he does not know Jane·s nature as you do.µ ´But if a woman has affection for a man and does not conceal it, then he must find out.µ ´Perhaps--if he sees enough of her. But though Bingley and Jane meet reasonably often, it is never for many hours together. And since they always see each other in large, mixed parties, it is impossible that every moment should be employed in conversation. Jane should therefore make the most of every half hour in which she can command his full attention. When she is secure in his

affection, there will plenty of leisure time for falling in love as much as she chooses.µ ´Your plan is a good one,µ replied Elizabeth, ´where one·s only desire is getting married; and if I were determined to get a rich husband, or any husband, I dare say I should adopt it. But these are not Jane·s feelings or intentions. ´As yet, however, Jane cannot even be certain of the degree of her own affection for Mr. Bingley. She has known him only a fortnight. She danced four dances with him at Meryton, saw him one morning at his own house, and has since dined in company with him four times. This is not quite enough to make her understand his character.µ ´Not the way you present it,µ said Charlotte. ´Had Jane merely dined with Mr. Bingley, she might only have discovered whether he had a good appetite; but you must remember that four evenings have been also spent together--and four evenings may do a great deal.µ ´Yes,µ replied Elizabeth, ´those four evenings have enabled them to ascertain that they both like card games better than business; but with respect to any other leading characteristic, I do not imagine that much has been discovered.µ ´Well,µ said Charlotte, ´I wish Jane success with all my heart; and if she were married to him tomorrow, I should think she has as good a chance of happiness as if she had studied his character for a year. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. Whether the personalities of the couple are wellknown or similar to each other beforehand, it does not enhance their happiness in the least. They will always grow sufficiently apart afterwards to have their share of problems; and it is always better to know as little as possible about the defects of the person with whom you are to spend your life.µ ´You make me laugh, Charlotte, but your logic is not sound. You know it is not sound, and you would never act this way yourself.µ Elizabeth was so occupied in observing Mr. Bingley·s attentions to Jane that she was far from suspecting that she was becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of Mr. Darcy. He had, at first, scarcely allowed her to be pretty. He had looked at her without admiration at the ball, and when they next met, he looked at her only to criticize. But no sooner had Darcy made it clear to himself and his friends that Elizabeth had hardly any good features in her face, than he began to regard how the beautiful expression of her dark eyes made her face appear uncommonly intelligent. Darcy made other equally mortifying discoveries as well. Though he had criticized Elizabeth·s figure as lacking perfect symmetry, he was forced to


acknowledge that it was light and pleasing; and though he asserted that her manners were not upper class, he was caught by their easy playfulness. Elizabeth was perfectly unaware of all this. To her, Darcy was only the man who made himself nowhere agreeable, and who had not thought her beautiful enough to dance with. *** Darcy found himself wishing to know more about Elizabeth and, as a step towards conversing with her, began to eavesdrop on her conversations with others. His doing so caught her attention. It happened at a large party at Sir William Lucas·s house. ´What does Mr. Darcy mean,µ Elizabeth said to Charlotte, ´by listening to my conversation with Colonel Forster?µ ´That is a question which only Mr. Darcy can answer.µ ´If he does it any more, I shall certainly let him know that I see what he is doing. He has a very satirical eye, and if I do not begin being rude to him, I shall soon grow afraid of him.µ When Darcy approached them soon afterwards, Elizabeth had no intention of mentioning it. But when Charlotte dared her to, Elizabeth was immediately provoked, and she turned to Darcy and said: ´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?µ ´With great energy,µ he replied. ´But it is a subject which always makes a lady energetic.µ ´How critical you are of us,µ said Elizabeth. Charlotte then said to Mr. Darcy, ´It will soon be Eliza·s turn to be teased. I am going to open the piano, and you know what follows--she will play and sing for us.µ ´Charlotte,µ said Elizabeth, ´you are a very strange creature of a friend! Always wanting me to play and sing for anybody and everybody! If my vanity were my music, you would be a valuable friend--but I would really rather not play for those who are in the habit of hearing the very best performers.µ Charlotte persevered, however, and finally Elizabeth said, ´Very well, if it must be so, it must.µ Then, glancing gravely at Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth added, ´There is a fine old saying which everybody here is familiar with: ¶Keep your breath to cool your porridge.· I shall keep mine to sing my song.µ Her performance was pleasing, though by no means capital. After a song or two, and before she could be persuaded to sing again, she was eagerly followed


at the piano by her younger sister. Since Mary was the only plain one in the family, she had worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments, and was always impatient to display them. Mary had neither genius nor taste, but she had become conceited. Elizabeth, who was easy and unaffected, had been listened to with much more pleasure, though not playing half so well. At the end of a long concerto, Mary was glad to receive praise by playing Scotch and Irish dances, at the request of her younger sisters. They, along with some of the Lucases and two or three officers, joined eagerly in dancing at one end of the room. Mr. Darcy stood near them, silently indignant that the evening would be passed by dancing to the exclusion of all conversation. He was too engrossed in his own thoughts to realise that Sir William Lucas was standing beside him, till Sir William thus began: ´What a charming amusement this is for young people, Mr. Darcy! There is nothing like dancing, after all. I consider it as one of the first refinements of polished societies.µ ´Certainly, Sir, and it has the advantage of also being in vogue amongst the less polished societies of the world--every savage can dance.µ Sir William only smiled. After a pause he continued, ´Your friend Bingley dances delightfully, and I have no doubt that you are an accomplished dancer yourself, Mr. Darcy.µ ´You saw me dance at Meryton, I believe, Sir.µ ´Yes, indeed, and received considerable pleasure from the sight.µ He paused, then added, ´You have a house in London, I conclude?µ Mr. Darcy bowed. ´I once had some thoughts of living 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.µ Sir William paused in hopes of an answer, but Darcy was not disposed to make any. At that instant, Elizabeth moved towards them, and Sir William was struck with the idea of doing a very gallant thing, and called out to her: ´My dear Miss Eliza, why are not you dancing? Mr. Darcy, you must allow me to present this young lady to you as a very desirable partner. You cannot refuse to dance, I am sure, when so much beauty is before you.µ Sir William took Elizabeth·s hand and he would have given it to Mr. Darcy who, though extremely surprised, was willing to receive it, when she instantly drew back, and said with some annoyance to Sir William: ´Indeed, Sir, I have not the least intention of dancing. I beg you not to assume that I walked this way in order to beg for a partner.µ


Mr. Darcy, with utmost propriety, requested to be allowed the honour of her hand, but in vain. Elizabeth was determined. Nor did Sir William at all change her mind by his attempt at persuasion: ´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 dancing in general, he can have no objection, I am sure, to oblige us for one half-hour.µ ´Mr. Darcy is all politeness,µ said Elizabeth, smiling. ´He is indeed,µ said Sir William, ´but my dear Miss Eliza, we cannot wonder at his desire to please--for who would object to such a partner as you?µ Elizabeth looked at Darcy playfully, and then turned away. Her resistance had not diminished Darcy·s admiration of her, and he was thinking of her with satisfaction, when Miss Caroline Bingley approached him. ´I can guess the subject of your dreaming,µ she said. ´I should imagine not.µ ´You are considering,µ said Miss Bingley, ´how unpleasant it would be to spend many evenings with these people, and indeed I am quite of your opinion. I was never more annoyed! The dullness and the noise, the nothingness and yet the self-importance of all these people! What I would give to hear your criticisms of them!µ ´Your assumption is totally wrong, I assure you,µ said Darcy. ´I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which the face of a pretty woman can bestow.µ Miss Bingley immediately fixed her eyes on his face, and desired him to tell her what lady had inspired such reflections. Mr. Darcy replied with great boldness, ´Miss Elizabeth Bennet.µ ´Miss Elizabeth Bennet!µ repeated Miss Bingley. ´I am all astonishment! How long has she been such a favourite? And pray when am I to wish you joy on your engagement?µ ´That is exactly the question which I expected you to ask. A lady·s imagination is very rapid--it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment. I knew you would be wishing me joy.µ ´Nay, if you are so serious about it, I shall consider the matter as absolutely settled. You will have a charming mother-in-law indeed, in Mrs. Bennet, and of course she will always be at Pemberley with you.µ Darcy listened to her with perfect indifference while she chose to entertain herself in this manner and, as his calmness convinced her that she was right, her wit flowed long.


Chapter 7
Mrs. Bennet was particularly anxious to have her daughters well-married, or else they would all have no place to live upon the decease of Mr. Bennet. The family home, Longbourn, would unfortunately be inherited not by Mr. Bennet·s daughters, but by a distant male relative, since women were not permitted to own property. Mrs. Bennet·s sister was married to a Mr. Philips, who lived in Meryton, only one mile from Longbourn. The youngest Bennet daughters, Lydia and Catherine, visited their aunt three or four times a week. Their minds were more vacant than their older sisters· and, when nothing better offered, a walk to Meryton amused their morning hours. Any news from their aunt would furnish conversation for the evening. This day, the girls learned of the recent arrival of a regiment of soldiers, headquartered at Meryton for the winter. The girls· visits to Mrs. Philips now produced daily news about the officers· names and backgrounds. Mr. Philips regularly visited the officers, and soon the girls began to know them as well. Lydia and Catherine could talk of nothing but officers--and Mr. Bingley·s large fortune was worthless in their eyes, compared to the uniform of an officer. One morning Mr. Bennet, after listening to his daughters· outbursts about the officers, coolly observed, ´By your manner of talking, my dears, you must be two of the silliest girls in the country. I have suspected it for some time, but I am now convinced.µ Catherine was flustered and made no answer; but Lydia continued to express her admiration of Captain Carter, and her hope of seeing him that day, as he was going to London the next morning. ´I am astonished, my dear,µ said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, ´that you should be so ready to think your own children silly. You must not expect young girls to have the sense of their father and mother. When they get to our age, I dare say they will not think about officers any more than we do. ´I remember the time when I liked a redcoat myself--I still do in my heart-and if a smart young colonel with a large fortune should want one of my girls, I

shall not prevent it. I thought Colonel Forster looked very becoming the other night at Sir William·s in his uniform.µ At that moment, a servant from Netherfield entered with a note for Jane; he waited for an answer. Mrs. Bennet·s eyes sparkled with pleasure and, while her daughter read the note, she called out: ´Well, Jane, who is it from? What is it about? What does he say? Make haste and tell us--make haste, my love.µ ´It is from Miss Caroline Bingley,µ said Jane, and then she read it aloud: ´My dear Friend, if you are not so kind as to dine with me and my sister Louisa Hurst today, we shall be in danger of hating each other for the rest of our lives--for a whole day·s conversation between two women can never end without a quarrel. Come as soon as you can on the receipt of this. My brother Charles and Mr. Darcy are dining out tonight with the officers. Yours ever, Caroline Bingley.µ ´With the officers!µ cried Lydia. ´I wonder why our aunt did not tell us about that.µ ´Mr. Bingley dining out,µ said Mrs. Bennet. ´That is very unlucky.µ ´Can I have the carriage?µ asked Jane. ´No, my dear,µ said her mother, ´you had better go on horseback, because it seems likely to rain, and then you would have to stay the night. The more time spent at Netherfield, the better your chances for an attachment to Mr. Bingley.µ ´That is indeed a good scheme,µ said Elizabeth. Jane was therefore obliged to go on horseback, and her mother saw her to the door with many cheerful predictions of bad weather. Her hopes were answered; Jane had not been gone long before it rained hard. Her sisters were uneasy for her, but her mother was delighted. The rain continued the whole evening without intermission; Jane certainly could not come back that night. ´This was a lucky idea of mine, indeed!µ said Mrs. Bennet more than once, as if the credit for making it rain were all her own. The next morning, Mrs. Bennet·s happiness was extended when a servant from Netherfield brought the following note for Elizabeth: ´My dearest Lizzy, I find myself very unwell this morning which, I suppose, is attributed to my getting wet yesterday. My kind friends, Caroline and Louisa, will not hear of my returning home till I am better. They also insist on my seeing the doctor, Mr. Jones. Therefore do not be alarmed if you should hear of his having been to see me and, excepting a sore throat and headache, there is not much the matter with me. Yours, Jane.µ ´Well, my dear,µ said Mr. Bennet, ´if Jane should have a dangerous fit of illness and should die, it would be a comfort to know that it was all in pursuit of Mr. Bingley, and under your orders.µ


´Oh! I am not afraid of her dying. People do not die of little trifling colds. She will be taken good care of. As long as she stays there, it is all very well.µ Elizabeth, feeling really anxious, was determined to walk to Netherfield to visit Jane. She announced her decision. ´How can you be so silly,µ cried her mother, ´as to think of such a thing, in all this mud! You will not be fit to be seen when you get there.µ ´The distance is nothing,µ said Elizabeth, ´when one has a motive--only three miles. I shall be back by dinner.µ ´I admire the extent of your kindness,µ observed Mary, ´but every impulse should be guided by reason; and, in my opinion, every effort should be in proportion to what is required.µ ´We will go with you as far as Meryton,µ said Catherine. ´If we make haste,µ said Lydia, ´perhaps we may see something of Captain Carter before he leaves.µ Elizabeth accepted their company, and the three young ladies set off together. In Meryton they parted--the two youngest repaired to the lodgings of one of the officers· wives, and Elizabeth continued her walk alone. Elizabeth crossed field after field at a quick pace, jumping over fences and springing over puddles with impatient activity, and finding herself at last within view of Netherfield, with weary ankles, dirty stockings, and a face glowing with the warmth of exercise. Elizabeth was shown into the breakfast parlour, where everyone was assembled but Jane, and her appearance created a great deal of surprise. It was almost incredible to Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst that Elizabeth should have walked three miles so early in the day, in such dirty weather, and by herself; and Elizabeth was convinced that they were disgusted by her. She was received very politely by them, however, and Mr. Bingley·s manner showed more than politeness--there was good humour and kindness. Mr. Darcy said very little, and Mr. Hurst said nothing at all. Mr. Darcy was divided between admiring how the long walk had made Elizabeth·s complexion glow, and doubt about the logic of her coming so far alone. Mr. Hurst was thinking only of his breakfast. Elizabeth inquired after her sister and was told that Jane had slept poorly, and was very feverish and not well enough to leave her room. Elizabeth was glad to be taken to her immediately, and Jane was delighted at her entrance. When breakfast was over, Elizabeth and Jane joined the rest of the group, and Elizabeth began to like the Bingley sisters when she saw how much affection and care they showed for Jane. The doctor came and, having examined his patient, said that Jane had caught a violent cold and advised her to return to bed. The advice was followed


readily, for the feverish symptoms had increased, and her head ached acutely. Elizabeth and the Bingley sisters remained with Jane in her room--the gentlemen being out, the ladies had in fact nothing else to do. When the clock struck three, Elizabeth felt that she must go, and very unwillingly said so. Jane was so upset at parting with her sister that Miss Bingley invited Elizabeth to remain at Netherfield for the present. Elizabeth most thankfully consented, and a servant was dispatched to Longbourn to inform the Bennets of her stay, and to bring back a supply of clothes.


Chapter 8
At dinner, the Bingley sisters politely inquired of Elizabeth about Jane·s condition, and then they went on about how grieved they were, how shocking it was to have a bad cold, and how excessively they disliked being ill themselves-then forgot about Jane altogether. Their indifference restored to Elizabeth all her original dislike of the sisters. Mr. Bingley was the only one whose anxiety for Jane was evident. His attentions, which were most pleasing to Elizabeth, prevented her from feeling like an intruder. She had very little notice from anyone but him. Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst were attentive only to Mr. Darcy. And Mr. Hurst, who sat next to Elizabeth, was a lazy man who lived only to eat, drink, and play cards. When he found out that Elizabeth preferred a plain dish to a rich stew, he had nothing more to say to her. When dinner was over, Elizabeth returned directly to Jane·s room. As soon as she was out of the dining parlour, Miss Bingley began insulting her. She pronounced Elizabeth·s manners to be very bad indeed--a mixture of pride and rudeness, no conversation, no style, no taste, and no beauty. Mrs. Hurst thought the same, and added: ´She has nothing, in short, to recommend her, but being an excellent walker. I shall never forget her appearance this morning when she arrived-looking almost wild.µ ´She did indeed, Louisa. I could hardly keep my composure. Very foolish of her to come at all! Why must she be scampering about the country, just because her sister had a cold? Her hair so untidy, so blowsy!µ ´Yes, and her petticoat. I hope you saw her petticoat--six inches deep in mud, I am absolutely certain.µ Mr. Bingley spoke. ´Your picture may be very exact, Louisa, but this was all lost upon me. I thought Miss Elizabeth Bennet looked remarkably well when she came into the room this morning. Her dirty petticoat quite escaped my notice.µ ´You observed it, Mr. Darcy, I am sure,µ said Miss Bingley, ´and I would imagine you would not wish to see your sister make such an exhibition.µ

´Certainly not.µ ´To walk three miles, above her ankles in dirt, and alone, quite alone! It seems to me that she showed a horrid sort of pride. Country people care nothing about dignity and good taste.µ ´On the contrary,µ said Bingley. ´It shows an affection for her sister Jane that is very pleasing.µ ´I am afraid, Mr. Darcy,µ observed Miss Bingley in a half-whisper, ´that this escapade has rather changed your admiration of Elizabeth·s fine eyes.µ ´Not at all,µ he replied. ´Her eyes were brightened by the exercise.µ A short pause followed this remark, and Mrs. Hurst began again. ´I have a great regard for Jane Bennet; she is really a very sweet girl, and I wish with all my heart she is well-married. But with such a father and mother, and such low connections, I am afraid there is no chance of it.µ ´I think I have heard,µ said Miss Bingley, ´that they have an uncle who lives in Cheapside.µ ´That is capital!µ added her sister, and they both laughed heartily. ´If they had enough uncles to fill all of Cheapside,µ cried Bingley, ´it would not make them one bit less agreeable.µ Darcy replied, ´But it must significantly lessen their chances of marrying men of any substance.µ To this, Bingley made no answer; but his sisters gave it their hearty approval, and enjoyed themselves for some time discussing their dear friend·s vulgar relations. With renewed tenderness, however, the Bingley sisters then visited Jane·s room and sat with her till coffee was served. Jane was still very ill, and Elizabeth would not leave her till late in the evening, till Jane fell asleep. Elizabeth then felt it would be polite, rather than pleasant, to go downstairs. Upon entering the drawing-room, she found the whole party playing cards. They invited her to join them, but she declined and said she would amuse herself with a book. ´Do you prefer reading to cards?µ asked Mr. Hurst. ´That is rather odd.µ ´Miss Eliza Bennet,µ said Miss Bingley, ´despises cards. She is a great reader and has no pleasure in anything else.µ ´I am not a great reader,µ cried Elizabeth, ´and I have pleasure in many things.µ ´I am sure you have pleasure in nursing your sister,µ said Bingley, ´and I hope your pleasure will soon be increased by seeing her quite well.µ Elizabeth thanked him from her heart, and then walked towards a table where a few books were lying.


Bingley immediately offered to fetch her some other books. ´I wish my library were larger, for your benefit and my own credit.µ Elizabeth assured him that she could suit herself perfectly with those in the room. ´I am astonished,µ said Miss Bingley, as she laid a card on the table, ´that my father should have left so small a collection of books.µ Then she added, ´What a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy!µ ´It ought to be good,µ he replied. ´It has been the work of many generations.µ ´And you have added so much to it yourself--you are always buying books.µ ´I cannot imagine neglecting a family library,µ said Darcy. ´Neglect! I am sure you neglect nothing that can add to the beauty of that noble estate.µ To her brother, she said, ´Charles, when you build your house, I wish it may be half as delightful as Pemberley.µ ´I wish it may,µ he said. ´I would really advise you to purchase a house in the neighbourhood near Pemberley--an estate similar to Mr. Darcy·s.µ ´With all my heart,µ said Bingley, ´I would buy Pemberley itself if Darcy would sell it.µ Elizabeth, caught up in the conversation, had very little attention for her book; and soon, laying it aside, she drew near the card table and stood between Mr. Bingley and his eldest sister to observe the game. ´Mr. Darcy, has your sister grown much since the spring?µ asked Miss Bingley. ´Will she be as tall as I am?µ ´I think she will,µ replied Darcy. ´She is now about Miss Elizabeth Bennet·s height, or rather taller.µ ´How I long to see her again! I never met anybody who delighted me so much. Such a face, such manners, and so extremely accomplished for her age! Her performance on the piano is exquisite.µ ´It is amazing to me,µ said Bingley, ´how young ladies can have the patience to be so very accomplished as they all are.µ ´All young ladies accomplished?µ said Miss Bingley. ´My dear Charles, what do you mean?µ ´Yes, they all paint tables, cover screens, and net purses. I scarcely know anyone who cannot do all this.µ ´I am very far from agreeing with you,µ said Darcy. ´I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen women that are really accomplished.µ ´Nor I,µ said Miss Bingley. ´Then,µ observed Elizabeth, ´your idea of what defines an accomplished woman must be a long list.µ ´Certainly,µ cried Darcy. ´A woman must have a thorough knowledge of


music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, and must possess a certain something in her air, and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, and her speech and expressions. She must possess all this, and she must improve her mind by extensive reading.µ ´Then I am no longer surprised,µ said Elizabeth, ´at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder at your knowing any.µ ´Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this?µ said Darcy. ´I never saw such a woman with all these qualities united,µ replied Elizabeth. Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley both protested that they knew many women who answered this description. But then, when Mr. Hurst complained bitterly about their inattention to the card game, all conversation ended and Elizabeth soon left the room to tend to Jane. ´Eliza Bennet,µ said Miss Bingley, when the door was closed, ´is one of those young ladies who seeks to impress men by undervaluing other women-and I dare say it succeeds with many men. But, in my opinion, it is a very cruel art.µ ´Undoubtedly,µ replied Darcy, to whom this remark was addressed, ´there is cruelness in all the arts which ladies sometimes employ for captivating men.µ Miss Bingley was not satisfied with this reply and did not continue the subject. Elizabeth joined them again only to say that Jane was worse, and that she could not leave her. Bingley urged that Mr. Jones be sent for immediately. His sisters, however, were convinced that no country doctor could be of any service and recommended summoning one of the most eminent physicians from London. Elizabeth would not hear of this, and it was settled that Mr. Jones should be sent for early in the morning if Jane were not decidedly better. Bingley was quite anxious and instructed his housekeeper to pay every possible attention to the sick lady and her sister.


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