Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • CHAPTER 26

  • Mrs. Gardiner's caution to Elizabeth was punctually and kindly given on the first

  • favourable opportunity of speaking to her alone; after honestly telling her what she

  • thought, she thus went on:

  • "You are too sensible a girl, Lizzy, to fall in love merely because you are warned

  • against it; and, therefore, I am not afraid of speaking openly.

  • Seriously, I would have you be on your guard.

  • Do not involve yourself or endeavour to involve him in an affection which the want

  • of fortune would make so very imprudent.

  • I have nothing to say against him; he is a most interesting young man; and if he had

  • the fortune he ought to have, I should think you could not do better.

  • But as it is, you must not let your fancy run away with you.

  • You have sense, and we all expect you to use it.

  • Your father would depend on your resolution and good conduct, I am sure.

  • You must not disappoint your father." "My dear aunt, this is being serious

  • indeed."

  • "Yes, and I hope to engage you to be serious likewise."

  • "Well, then, you need not be under any alarm.

  • I will take care of myself, and of Mr. Wickham too.

  • He shall not be in love with me, if I can prevent it."

  • "Elizabeth, you are not serious now."

  • "I beg your pardon, I will try again. At present I am not in love with Mr.

  • Wickham; no, I certainly am not.

  • But he is, beyond all comparison, the most agreeable man I ever saw--and if he becomes

  • really attached to me--I believe it will be better that he should not.

  • I see the imprudence of it.

  • Oh! that abominable Mr. Darcy! My father's opinion of me does me the

  • greatest honour, and I should be miserable to forfeit it.

  • My father, however, is partial to Mr. Wickham.

  • In short, my dear aunt, I should be very sorry to be the means of making any of you

  • unhappy; but since we see every day that where there is affection, young people are

  • seldom withheld by immediate want of

  • fortune from entering into engagements with each other, how can I promise to be wiser

  • than so many of my fellow-creatures if I am tempted, or how am I even to know that it

  • would be wisdom to resist?

  • All that I can promise you, therefore, is not to be in a hurry.

  • I will not be in a hurry to believe myself his first object.

  • When I am in company with him, I will not be wishing.

  • In short, I will do my best." "Perhaps it will be as well if you

  • discourage his coming here so very often.

  • At least, you should not remind your mother of inviting him."

  • "As I did the other day," said Elizabeth with a conscious smile: "very true, it will

  • be wise in me to refrain from that.

  • But do not imagine that he is always here so often.

  • It is on your account that he has been so frequently invited this week.

  • You know my mother's ideas as to the necessity of constant company for her

  • friends.

  • But really, and upon my honour, I will try to do what I think to be the wisest; and

  • now I hope you are satisfied."

  • Her aunt assured her that she was, and Elizabeth having thanked her for the

  • kindness of her hints, they parted; a wonderful instance of advice being given on

  • such a point, without being resented.

  • Mr. Collins returned into Hertfordshire soon after it had been quitted by the

  • Gardiners and Jane; but as he took up his abode with the Lucases, his arrival was no

  • great inconvenience to Mrs. Bennet.

  • His marriage was now fast approaching, and she was at length so far resigned as to

  • think it inevitable, and even repeatedly to say, in an ill-natured tone, that she

  • "wished they might be happy."

  • Thursday was to be the wedding day, and on Wednesday Miss Lucas paid her farewell

  • visit; and when she rose to take leave, Elizabeth, ashamed of her mother's

  • ungracious and reluctant good wishes, and

  • sincerely affected herself, accompanied her out of the room.

  • As they went downstairs together, Charlotte said:

  • "I shall depend on hearing from you very often, Eliza."

  • "That you certainly shall." "And I have another favour to ask you.

  • Will you come and see me?"

  • "We shall often meet, I hope, in Hertfordshire."

  • "I am not likely to leave Kent for some time.

  • Promise me, therefore, to come to Hunsford."

  • Elizabeth could not refuse, though she foresaw little pleasure in the visit.

  • "My father and Maria are coming to me in March," added Charlotte, "and I hope you

  • will consent to be of the party. Indeed, Eliza, you will be as welcome as

  • either of them."

  • The wedding took place; the bride and bridegroom set off for Kent from the church

  • door, and everybody had as much to say, or to hear, on the subject as usual.

  • Elizabeth soon heard from her friend; and their correspondence was as regular and

  • frequent as it had ever been; that it should be equally unreserved was

  • impossible.

  • Elizabeth could never address her without feeling that all the comfort of intimacy

  • was over, and though determined not to slacken as a correspondent, it was for the

  • sake of what had been, rather than what was.

  • Charlotte's first letters were received with a good deal of eagerness; there could

  • not but be curiosity to know how she would speak of her new home, how she would like

  • Lady Catherine, and how happy she would

  • dare pronounce herself to be; though, when the letters were read, Elizabeth felt that

  • Charlotte expressed herself on every point exactly as she might have foreseen.

  • She wrote cheerfully, seemed surrounded with comforts, and mentioned nothing which

  • she could not praise.

  • The house, furniture, neighbourhood, and roads, were all to her taste, and Lady

  • Catherine's behaviour was most friendly and obliging.

  • It was Mr. Collins's picture of Hunsford and Rosings rationally softened; and

  • Elizabeth perceived that she must wait for her own visit there to know the rest.

  • Jane had already written a few lines to her sister to announce their safe arrival in

  • London; and when she wrote again, Elizabeth hoped it would be in her power to say

  • something of the Bingleys.

  • Her impatience for this second letter was as well rewarded as impatience generally

  • is. Jane had been a week in town without either

  • seeing or hearing from Caroline.

  • She accounted for it, however, by supposing that her last letter to her friend from

  • Longbourn had by some accident been lost.

  • "My aunt," she continued, "is going to- morrow into that part of the town, and I

  • shall take the opportunity of calling in Grosvenor Street."

  • She wrote again when the visit was paid, and she had seen Miss Bingley.

  • "I did not think Caroline in spirits," were her words, "but she was very glad to see

  • me, and reproached me for giving her no notice of my coming to London.

  • I was right, therefore, my last letter had never reached her.

  • I inquired after their brother, of course. He was well, but so much engaged with Mr.

  • Darcy that they scarcely ever saw him.

  • I found that Miss Darcy was expected to dinner.

  • I wish I could see her. My visit was not long, as Caroline and Mrs.

  • Hurst were going out.

  • I dare say I shall see them soon here." Elizabeth shook her head over this letter.

  • It convinced her that accident only could discover to Mr. Bingley her sister's being

  • in town.

  • Four weeks passed away, and Jane saw nothing of him.

  • She endeavoured to persuade herself that she did not regret it; but she could no

  • longer be blind to Miss Bingley's inattention.

  • After waiting at home every morning for a fortnight, and inventing every evening a

  • fresh excuse for her, the visitor did at last appear; but the shortness of her stay,

  • and yet more, the alteration of her manner

  • would allow Jane to deceive herself no longer.

  • The letter which she wrote on this occasion to her sister will prove what she felt.

  • "My dearest Lizzy will, I am sure, be incapable of triumphing in her better

  • judgement, at my expense, when I confess myself to have been entirely deceived in

  • Miss Bingley's regard for me.

  • But, my dear sister, though the event has proved you right, do not think me obstinate

  • if I still assert that, considering what her behaviour was, my confidence was as

  • natural as your suspicion.

  • I do not at all comprehend her reason for wishing to be intimate with me; but if the

  • same circumstances were to happen again, I am sure I should be deceived again.

  • Caroline did not return my visit till yesterday; and not a note, not a line, did

  • I receive in the meantime.

  • When she did come, it was very evident that she had no pleasure in it; she made a

  • slight, formal apology, for not calling before, said not a word of wishing to see

  • me again, and was in every respect so

  • altered a creature, that when she went away I was perfectly resolved to continue the

  • acquaintance no longer. I pity, though I cannot help blaming her.

  • She was very wrong in singling me out as she did; I can safely say that every

  • advance to intimacy began on her side.

  • But I pity her, because she must feel that she has been acting wrong, and because I am

  • very sure that anxiety for her brother is the cause of it.

  • I need not explain myself farther; and though we know this anxiety to be quite

  • needless, yet if she feels it, it will easily account for her behaviour to me; and

  • so deservedly dear as he is to his sister,

  • whatever anxiety she must feel on his behalf is natural and amiable.

  • I cannot but wonder, however, at her having any such fears now, because, if he had at

  • all cared about me, we must have met, long ago.

  • He knows of my being in town, I am certain, from something she said herself; and yet it

  • would seem, by her manner of talking, as if she wanted to persuade herself that he is

  • really partial to Miss Darcy.

  • I cannot understand it. If I were not afraid of judging harshly, I

  • should be almost tempted to say that there is a strong appearance of duplicity in all

  • this.

  • But I will endeavour to banish every painful thought, and think only of what

  • will make me happy--your affection, and the invariable kindness of my dear uncle and

  • aunt.

  • Let me hear from you very soon. Miss Bingley said something of his never

  • returning to Netherfield again, of giving up the house, but not with any certainty.

  • We had better not mention it.

  • I am extremely glad that you have such pleasant accounts from our friends at

  • Hunsford. Pray go to see them, with Sir William and

  • Maria.

  • I am sure you will be very comfortable there.--Yours, etc."

  • This letter gave Elizabeth some pain; but her spirits returned as she considered that

  • Jane would no longer be duped, by the sister at least.

  • All expectation from the brother was now absolutely over.

  • She would not even wish for a renewal of his attentions.

  • His character sunk on every review of it; and as a punishment for him, as well as a

  • possible advantage to Jane, she seriously hoped he might really soon marry Mr.

  • Darcy's sister, as by Wickham's account,

  • she would make him abundantly regret what he had thrown away.

  • Mrs. Gardiner about this time reminded Elizabeth of her promise concerning that

  • gentleman, and required information; and Elizabeth had such to send as might rather

  • give contentment to her aunt than to herself.

  • His apparent partiality had subsided, his attentions were over, he was the admirer of

  • some one else.

  • Elizabeth was watchful enough to see it all, but she could see it and write of it

  • without material pain.

  • Her heart had been but slightly touched, and her vanity was satisfied with believing

  • that she would have been his only choice, had fortune permitted it.

  • The sudden acquisition of ten thousand pounds was the most remarkable charm of the

  • young lady to whom he was now rendering himself agreeable; but Elizabeth, less

  • clear-sighted perhaps in this case than in

  • Charlotte's, did not quarrel with him for his wish of independence.

  • Nothing, on the contrary, could be more natural; and while able to suppose that it

  • cost him a few struggles to relinquish her, she was ready to allow it a wise and

  • desirable measure for both, and could very sincerely wish him happy.

  • All this was acknowledged to Mrs. Gardiner; and after relating the circumstances, she

  • thus went on: "I am now convinced, my dear aunt, that I have never been much in love;

  • for had I really experienced that pure and

  • elevating passion, I should at present detest his very name, and wish him all

  • manner of evil.

  • But my feelings are not only cordial towards him; they are even impartial

  • towards Miss King.

  • I cannot find out that I hate her at all, or that I am in the least unwilling to

  • think her a very good sort of girl. There can be no love in all this.

  • My watchfulness has been effectual; and though I certainly should be a more

  • interesting object to all my acquaintances were I distractedly in love with him, I

  • cannot say that I regret my comparative insignificance.

  • Importance may sometimes be purchased too dearly.

  • Kitty and Lydia take his defection much more to heart than I do.

  • They are young in the ways of the world, and not yet open to the mortifying

  • conviction that handsome young men must have something to live on as well as the

  • plain."

  • >

  • CHAPTER 27

  • With no greater events than these in the Longbourn family, and otherwise diversified

  • by little beyond the walks to Meryton, sometimes dirty and sometimes cold, did

  • January and February pass away.

  • March was to take Elizabeth to Hunsford.

  • She had not at first thought very seriously of going thither; but Charlotte, she soon

  • found, was depending on the plan and she gradually learned to consider it herself

  • with greater pleasure as well as greater certainty.

  • Absence had increased her desire of seeing Charlotte again, and weakened her disgust

  • of Mr. Collins.

  • There was novelty in the scheme, and as, with such a mother and such uncompanionable

  • sisters, home could not be faultless, a little change was not unwelcome for its own

  • sake.

  • The journey would moreover give her a peep at Jane; and, in short, as the time drew

  • near, she would have been very sorry for any delay.

  • Everything, however, went on smoothly, and was finally settled according to

  • Charlotte's first sketch. She was to accompany Sir William and his

  • second daughter.

  • The improvement of spending a night in London was added in time, and the plan

  • became perfect as plan could be.

  • The only pain was in leaving her father, who would certainly miss her, and who, when

  • it came to the point, so little liked her going, that he told her to write to him,

  • and almost