Elizabeth was excessively disappointed; she had set her heart on seeing the Lakes;
and still thought there might have been time enough. But it was her business to
be satisfied -- and certainly her temper to be happy; and all was soon right again.
With the mention of Derbyshire, there were many ideas connected. It was impossible
for her to see the word without thinking of Pemberley and its owner. "But surely,"
said she, "I may enter his county with impunity, and rob it of a few petrified spars
without his perceiving me."
The period of expectation was now doubled. Four weeks were to pass away before
her uncle and aunt's arrival. But they did pass away, and Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner,
with their four children, did at length appear at Longbourn. The children, two girls
of six and eight years old, and two younger boys, were to be left under the particular
care of their cousin Jane, who was the general favourite, and whose steady sense
and sweetness of temper exactly adapted her for attending to them in every way --
teaching them, playing with them, and loving them.
The Gardiners staid only one night at Longbourn, and set off the next morning
with Elizabeth in pursuit of novelty and amusement. One enjoyment was certain --
that of suitableness as companions; a suitableness which comprehended health and
temper to bear inconveniences -- cheerfulness to enhance every pleasure -- and affection
and intelligence, which might supply it among themselves if there were disappointments
It is not the object of this work to give a description of Derbyshire, nor of
any of the remarkable places through which their route thither lay; Oxford, Blenheim,
Warwick, Kenelworth, Birmingham, &c. are sufficiently known. A small part of Derbyshire
is all the present concern. To the little town of Lambton, the scene of Mrs. Gardiner's
former residence, and where she had lately learned that some acquaintance still
remained, they bent their steps, after having seen all the principal wonders of
the country; and within five miles of Lambton, Elizabeth found from her aunt that
Pemberley was situated. It was not in their direct road, nor more than a mile or
two out of it. In talking over their route the evening before, Mrs. Gardiner expressed
an inclination to see the place again. Mr. Gardiner declared his willingness, and
Elizabeth was applied to for her approbation.
"My love, should not you like to see a place of which you have heard so much?"
said her aunt. "A place too, with which so many of your acquaintance are connected.
Wickham passed all his youth there, you know."
Elizabeth was distressed. She felt that she had no business at Pemberley, and
was obliged to assume a disinclination for seeing it. She must own that she was
tired of great houses; after going over so many, she really had no pleasure in fine
carpets or satin curtains.
Mrs. Gardiner abused her stupidity. "If it were merely a fine house richly furnished,"
said she, "I should not care about it myself; but the grounds are delightful. They
have some of the finest woods in the country."
Elizabeth said no more -- but her mind could not acquiesce.
The possibility of meeting Mr. Darcy, while viewing the place, instantly occurred.
It would be dreadful! She blushed at the very idea; and thought it would be better
to speak openly to her aunt than to run such a risk. But against this there were
objections; and she finally resolved that it could be the last resource, if her
private enquiries as to the absence of the family were unfavourably answered.
Accordingly, when she retired at night, she asked the chambermaid whether Pemberley
were not a very fine place, what was the name of its proprietor, and, with no little
alarm, whether the family were down for the summer. A most welcome negative followed
the last question -- and her alarms being now removed, she was at leisure to feel
a great deal of curiosity to see the house herself; and when the subject was revived
the next morning, and she was again applied to, could readily answer, and with a
proper air of indifference, that she had not really any dislike to the scheme.
To Pemberley, therefore, they were to go.
<END OF THE SECOND VOLUME> <VOLUME III> <CHAPTER I (43)>
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 high flutter.
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
"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