"My beauty you had early withstood, and as for my manners -- my behaviour to
you was at least always bordering on the uncivil, and I never spoke to you without
rather wishing to give you pain than not. Now be sincere; did you admire me for
"For the liveliness of your mind, I did."
"You may as well call it impertinence at once. It was very little less. The fact
is, that you were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. You were
disgusted with the women who were always speaking, and looking, and thinking for
your approbation alone. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike
them. Had you not been really amiable, you would have hated me for it; but in
spite of the pains you took to disguise yourself, your feelings were always noble
and just; and in your heart, you thoroughly despised the persons who so assiduously
courted you. There -- I have saved you the trouble of accounting for it; and really,
all things considered, I begin to think it perfectly reasonable. To be sure, you
knew no actual good of me -- but nobody thinks of that when they fall in love."
"Was there no good in your affectionate behaviour to Jane while she was ill at
"Dearest Jane! who could have done less for her? But make a virtue of it by all
means. My good qualities are under your protection, and you are to exaggerate them
as much as possible; and, in return, it belongs to me to find occasions for teazing
and quarrelling with you as often as may be; and I shall begin directly by asking
you what made you so unwilling to come to the point at last. What made you so shy
of me, when you first called, and afterwards dined here? Why, especially, when you
called, did you look as if you did not care about me?"
"Because you were grave and silent, and gave me no encouragement."
"But I was embarrassed."
"And so was I."
"You might have talked to me more when you came to dinner."
"A man who had felt less, might."
"How unlucky that you should have a reasonable answer to give, and that I should
be so reasonable as to admit it! But I wonder how long you would have gone on,
if you had been left to yourself. I wonder when you would have spoken, if I had
not asked you! My resolution of thanking you for your kindness to Lydia had certainly
great effect. Too much, I am afraid; for what becomes of the moral, if our comfort
springs from a breach of promise? for I ought not to have mentioned the subject.
This will never do."
"You need not distress yourself. The moral will be perfectly fair. Lady Catherine's
unjustifiable endeavours to separate us were the means of removing all my doubts.
I am not indebted for my present happiness to your eager desire of expressing your
gratitude. I was not in a humour to wait for any opening of your's. My aunt's intelligence
had given me hope, and I was determined at once to know every thing."
"Lady Catherine has been of infinite use, which ought to make her happy, for
she loves to be of use. But tell me, what did you come down to Netherfield for?
Was it merely to ride to Longbourn and be embarrassed? or had you intended any more
"My real purpose was to see you, and to judge, if I could, whether I might
ever hope to make you love me. My avowed one, or what I avowed to myself, was to
see whether your sister were still partial to Bingley, and if she were, to make
the confession to him which I have since made."
"Shall you ever have courage to announce to Lady Catherine what is to befall
"I am more likely to want more time than courage, Elizabeth.
But it ought to done, and if you will give me a sheet of paper, it shall be done
"And if I had not a letter to write myself, I might sit by you and admire the
eveness of your writing, as another young lady once did. But I have an aunt, too,
who must not be longer neglected."
From an unwillingness to confess how much her intimacy with Mr. Darcy had been
over-rated, Elizabeth had never yet answered Mrs. Gardiner's long letter; but now,
having that to communicate which she knew would be most welcome, she was almost
ashamed to find that her uncle and aunt had already lost three days of happiness,
and immediately wrote as follows: "I would have thanked you before, my dear aunt,
as I ought to have done, for your long, kind, satisfactory, detail of particulars;
but to say the truth, I was too cross to write.
You supposed more than really existed. But now suppose as much as you chuse;
give a loose to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible flight which
the subject will afford, and unless you believe me actually married, you cannot
greatly err. You must write again very soon, and praise him a great deal more than
you did in your last. I thank you, again and again, for not going to the Lakes.
How could I be so silly as to wish it! Your idea of the ponies is delightful. We
will go round the Park every day. I am the happiest creature in the world. Perhaps
other people have said so before, but not one with such justice. I am happier even
than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh. Mr. Darcy sends you all the love in the world
that he can spare from me. You are all to come to Pemberley at Christmas. Your's,
Mr. Darcy's letter to Lady Catherine was in a different style; and still different
from either was what Mr. Bennet sent to Mr. Collins, in reply to his last.
"DEAR SIR, I must trouble you once more for congratulations. Elizabeth will soon
be the wife of Mr. Darcy. Console Lady Catherine as well as you can. But, if I were
you, I would stand by the nephew. He has more to give.
Your's sincerely, &c."
Miss Bingley's congratulations to her brother, on his approaching marriage, were
all that was affectionate and insincere. She wrote even to Jane on the occasion,
to express her delight, and repeat all her former professions of regard.
Jane was not deceived, but she was affected; and though feeling no reliance on
her, could not help writing her a much kinder answer than she knew was deserved.
The joy which Miss Darcy expressed on receiving similar information, was as sincere
as her brother's in sending it.
Four sides of paper were insufficient to contain all her delight, and all her
earnest desire of being loved by her sister.
Before any answer could arrive from Mr. Collins, or any congratulations to Elizabeth
from his wife, the Longbourn family heard that the Collinses were come themselves
to Lucas lodge. The reason of this sudden removal was soon evident.
Lady Catherine had been rendered so exceedingly angry by the contents of her
nephew's letter, that Charlotte, really rejoicing in the match, was anxious to get
away till the storm was blown over. At such a moment, the arrival of her friend
was a sincere pleasure to Elizabeth, though in the course of their meetings she
must sometimes think the pleasure dearly bought, when she saw Mr. Darcy exposed
to all the parading and obsequious civility of her husband. He bore it, however,
with admirable calmness. He could even listen to Sir William Lucas, when he complimented
him on carrying away the brightest jewel of the country, and expressed his hopes
of their all meeting frequently at St. James's, with very decent composure. If he
did shrug his shoulders, it was not till Sir William was out of sight.
Mrs. Philips's vulgarity was another, and perhaps a greater, tax on his forbearance;
and though Mrs. Philips, as well as her sister, stood in too much awe of him to
speak with the familiarity which Bingley's good humour encouraged, yet, whenever
she did speak, she must be vulgar. Nor was her respect for him, though it made
her more quiet, at all likely to make her more elegant. Elizabeth did all she could
to shield him from the frequent notice of either, and was ever anxious to keep him
to herself, and to those of her family with whom he might converse without mortification;
and though the uncomfortable feelings arising from all this took from the season
of courtship much of its pleasure, it added to the hope of the future; and she looked
forward with delight to the time when they should be removed from society so little
pleasing to either, to all the comfort and elegance of their family party at Pemberley.
<CHAPTER XIX (61)>
HAPPY for all her maternal feelings was the day on which Mrs. Bennet got rid
of her two most deserving daughters.
With what delighted pride she afterwards visited Mrs. Bingley, and talked of
Mrs. Darcy, may be guessed. I wish I could say, for the sake of her family, that
the accomplishment of her earnest desire in the establishment of so many of her
children produced so happy an effect as to make her a sensible, amiable, well-informed
woman for the rest of her life; though perhaps it was lucky for her husband, who
might not have relished domestic felicity in so unusual a form, that she still was
occasionally nervous and invariably silly.
Mr. Bennet missed his second daughter exceedingly; his affection for her drew
him oftener from home than any thing else could do. He delighted in going to Pemberley,
especially when he was least expected.
Mr. Bingley and Jane remained at Netherfield only a twelvemonth. So near a vicinity
to her mother and Meryton relations was not desirable even to his easy temper,
or her affectionate heart. The darling wish of his sisters was then gratified;
he bought an estate in a neighbouring county to Derbyshire, and Jane and Elizabeth,
in addition to every other source of happiness, were within thirty miles of each