and yourself more dear to me. But Lizzy, you have been very
sly, very reserved with me. How little did you tell me of what
passed at Pemberley and Lambton! I owe all that I know of it
to another, not to you."
Elizabeth told her the motives of her secrecy. She had been
unwilling to mention Bingley; and the unsettled state of her
own feelings had made her equally avoid the name of his friend.
But now she would no longer conceal from her his share in
Lydia's marriage. All was acknowledged, and half the night
spent in conversation.
* * * * *
"Good gracious!" cried Mrs. Bennet, as she stood at a window
the next morning, "if that disagreeable Mr. Darcy is not coming
here again with our dear Bingley! What can he mean by being so
tiresome as to be always coming here? I had no notion but he
would go a-shooting, or something or other, and not disturb us
with his company. What shall we do with him? Lizzy, you must
walk out with him again, that he may not be in Bingley's way."
Elizabeth could hardly help laughing at so convenient a
proposal; yet was really vexed that her mother should be
always giving him such an epithet.
As soon as they entered, Bingley looked at her so expressively,
and shook hands with such warmth, as left no doubt of his good
information; and he soon afterwards said aloud, "Mrs. Bennet,
have you no more lanes hereabouts in which Lizzy may lose her
way again to-day?"
"I advise Mr. Darcy, and Lizzy, and Kitty," said Mrs. Bennet,
"to walk to Oakham Mount this morning. It is a nice long walk,
and Mr. Darcy has never seen the view."
"It may do very well for the others," replied Mr. Bingley; "but
I am sure it will be too much for Kitty. Won't it, Kitty?"
Kitty owned that she had rather stay at home. Darcy professed
a great curiosity to see the view from the Mount, and Elizabeth
silently consented. As she went up stairs to get ready,
Mrs. Bennet followed her, saying:
"I am quite sorry, Lizzy, that you should be forced to have
that disagreeable man all to yourself. But I hope you will not
mind it: it is all for Jane's sake, you know; and there is no
occasion for talking to him, except just now and then. So, do
not put yourself to inconvenience."
During their walk, it was resolved that Mr. Bennet's consent
should be asked in the course of the evening. Elizabeth
reserved to herself the application for her mother's. She
could not determine how her mother would take it; sometimes
doubting whether all his wealth and grandeur would be enough
to overcome her abhorrence of the man. But whether she were
violently set against the match, or violently delighted with
it, it was certain that her manner would be equally ill adapted
to do credit to her sense; and she could no more bear that
Mr. Darcy should hear the first raptures of her joy, than the
first vehemence of her disapprobation.
* * * * *
In the evening, soon after Mr. Bennet withdrew to the library,
she saw Mr. Darcy rise also and follow him, and her agitation
on seeing it was extreme. She did not fear her father's
opposition, but he was going to be made unhappy; and that it
should be through her means - that _she_, his favourite child,
should be distressing him by her choice, should be filling him
with fears and regrets in disposing of her - was a wretched
reflection, and she sat in misery till Mr. Darcy appeared
again, when, looking at him, she was a little relieved by his
smile. In a few minutes he approached the table where she was
sitting with Kitty; and, while pretending to admire her work
said in a whisper, "Go to your father, he wants you in the
library." She was gone directly.
Her father was walking about the room, looking grave and
anxious. "Lizzy," said he, "what are you doing? Are you out
of your senses, to be accepting this man? Have not you always
How earnestly did she then wish that her former opinions had
been more reasonable, her expressions more moderate! It would
have spared her from explanations and professions which it was
exceedingly awkward to give; but they were now necessary, and
she assured him, with some confusion, of her attachment to
"Or, in other words, you are determined to have him. He is
rich, to be sure, and you may have more fine clothes and fine
carriages than Jane. But will they make you happy?"
"Have you any other objection," said Elizabeth, "than your
belief of my indifference?"
"None at all. We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort
of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him."
"I do, I do like him," she replied, with tears in her eyes,
"I love him. Indeed he has no improper pride. He is perfectly
amiable. You do not know what he really is; then pray do not
pain me by speaking of him in such terms."
"Lizzy," said her father, "I have given him my consent.
He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I should never dare
refuse anything, which he condescended to ask. I now give it
to _you_, if you are resolved on having him. But let me advise
you to think better of it. I know your disposition, Lizzy.
I know that you could be neither happy nor respectable, unless
you truly esteemed your husband; unless you looked up to him
as a superior. Your lively talents would place you in the
greatest danger in an unequal marriage. You could scarcely
escape discredit and misery. My child, let me not have the
grief of seeing _you_ unable to respect your partner in life.
You know not what you are about."
Elizabeth, still more affected, was earnest and solemn in her
reply; and at length, by repeated assurances that Mr. Darcy was
really the object of her choice, by explaining the gradual
change which her estimation of him had undergone, relating her
absolute certainty that his affection was not the work of a
day, but had stood the test of many months' suspense, and
enumerating with energy all his good qualities, she did conquer
her father's incredulity, and reconcile him to the match.
"Well, my dear," said he, when she ceased speaking, "I have no
more to say. If this be the case, he deserves you. I could
not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to anyone less worthy."
To complete the favourable impression, she then told him what
Mr. Darcy had voluntarily done for Lydia. He heard her with
"This is an evening of wonders, indeed! And so, Darcy did
every thing; made up the match, gave the money, paid the
fellow's debts, and got him his commission! So much the
better. It will save me a world of trouble and economy.
Had it been your uncle's doing, I must and _would_ have paid
him; but these violent young lovers carry every thing their
own way. I shall offer to pay him to-morrow; he will rant
and storm about his love for you, and there will be an end
of the matter."
He then recollected her embarrassment a few days before, on his
reading Mr. Collins's letter; and after laughing at her some
time, allowed her at last to go - saying, as she quitted the
room, "If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in,
for I am quite at leisure."
Elizabeth's mind was now relieved from a very heavy weight;
and, after half an hour's quiet reflection in her own room,
she was able to join the others with tolerable composure.
Every thing was too recent for gaiety, but the evening passed
tranquilly away; there was no longer anything material to
be dreaded, and the comfort of ease and familiarity would
come in time.
When her mother went up to her dressing-room at night, she
followed her, and made the important communication. Its effect
was most extraordinary; for on first hearing it, Mrs. Bennet
sat quite still, and unable to utter a syllable. Nor was it
under many, many minutes that she could comprehend what she
heard; though not in general backward to credit what was for
the advantage of her family, or that came in the shape of a
lover to any of them. She began at length to recover, to
fidget about in her chair, get up, sit down again, wonder,
and bless herself.
"Good gracious! Lord bless me! only think! dear me!
Mr. Darcy! Who would have thought it! And is it really true?
Oh! my sweetest Lizzy! how rich and how great you will be!
What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have!
Jane's is nothing to it - nothing at all. I am so pleased - so
happy. Such a charming man! - so handsome! so tall! - Oh, my
dear Lizzy! pray apologise for my having disliked him so much
before. I hope he will overlook it. Dear, dear Lizzy. A house
in town! Every thing that is charming! Three daughters
married! Ten thousand a year! Oh, Lord! What will become of
me. I shall go distracted."
This was enough to prove that her approbation need not be
doubted: and Elizabeth, rejoicing that such an effusion was
heard only by herself, soon went away. But before she had
been three minutes in her own room, her mother followed her.
"My dearest child," she cried, "I can think of nothing else!
Ten thousand a year, and very likely more! 'Tis as good as a
Lord! And a special licence. You must and shall be married
by a special licence. But my dearest love, tell me what dish
Mr. Darcy is particularly fond of, that I may have it to-morrow."
This was a sad omen of what her mother's behaviour to the
gentleman himself might be; and Elizabeth found that, though in
the certain possession of his warmest affection, and secure of
her relations' consent, there was still something to be wished
for. But the morrow passed off much better than she expected;
for Mrs. Bennet luckily stood in such awe of her intended
son-in-law that she ventured not to speak to him, unless it was
in her power to offer him any attention, or mark her deference
for his opinion.
Elizabeth had the satisfaction of seeing her father taking
pains to get acquainted with him; and Mr. Bennet soon assured
her that he was rising every hour in his esteem.
"I admire all my three sons-in-law highly," said he. "Wickham,
perhaps, is my favourite; but I think I shall like _your_ husband
quite as well as Jane's."
Elizabeth's spirits soon rising to playfulness again, she
wanted Mr. Darcy to account for his having ever fallen in love
with her. "How could you begin?" said she. "I can comprehend
your going on charmingly, when you had once made a beginning;
but what could set you off in the first place?"
"I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the
words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was
in the middle before I knew that I _had_ begun."
"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 my impertinence?"
"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 Netherfield?"
"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 teasing
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 her?"
"I am more likely to want more time than courage, Elizabeth.
But it ought to be done, and if you will give me a sheet of paper,
it shall be done directly."
"And if I had not a letter to write myself, I might sit by you
and admire the evenness of your writing, as another young lady
once did. But I have an aunt, too, who must not be longer
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 choose; give a loose rein 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. Yours, etc."
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.
"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.
"Yours sincerely, etc."
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
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. Phillips's vulgarity was another, and perhaps a greater,
tax on his forbearance; and though Mrs. Phillips, 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
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 anything
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 other.
Kitty, to her very material advantage, spent the chief of her
time with her two elder sisters. In society so superior to
what she had generally known, her improvement was great. She
was not of so ungovernable a temper as Lydia; and, removed from
the influence of Lydia's example, she became, by proper
attention and management, less irritable, less ignorant, and
less insipid. From the further disadvantage of Lydia's society
she was of course carefully kept, and though Mrs. Wickham
frequently invited her to come and stay with her, with the
promise of balls and young men, her father would never consent
to her going.
Mary was the only daughter who remained at home; and she was
necessarily drawn from the pursuit of accomplishments by
Mrs. Bennet's being quite unable to sit alone. Mary was
obliged to mix more with the world, but she could still
moralize over every morning visit; and as she was no longer
mortified by comparisons between her sisters' beauty and her
own, it was suspected by her father that she submitted to
the change without much reluctance.
As for Wickham and Lydia, their characters suffered no
revolution from the marriage of her sisters. He bore with
philosophy the conviction that Elizabeth must now become
acquainted with whatever of his ingratitude and falsehood
had before been unknown to her; and in spite of every thing,
was not wholly without hope that Darcy might yet be prevailed
on to make his fortune. The congratulatory letter which
Elizabeth received from Lydia on her marriage, explained to
her that, by his wife at least, if not by himself, such a
hope was cherished. The letter was to this effect:
"MY DEAR LIZZY,
"I wish you joy. If you love Mr. Darcy half as well as I do my
dear Wickham, you must be very happy. It is a great comfort to
have you so rich, and when you have nothing else to do, I hope
you will think of us. I am sure Wickham would like a place at
court very much, and I do not think we shall have quite money
enough to live upon without some help. Any place would do, of
about three or four hundred a year; but however, do not speak
to Mr. Darcy about it, if you had rather not.
As it happened that Elizabeth had _much_ rather not, she
endeavoured in her answer to put an end to every entreaty
and expectation of the kind. Such relief, however, as it
was in her power to afford, by the practice of what might be
called economy in her own private expences, she frequently
sent them. It had always been evident to her that such an
income as theirs, under the direction of two persons so
extravagant in their wants, and heedless of the future, must
be very insufficient to their support; and whenever they
changed their quarters, either Jane or herself were sure of
being applied to for some little assistance towards discharging
their bills. Their manner of living, even when the restoration
of peace dismissed them to a home, was unsettled in the
extreme. They were always moving from place to place in quest
of a cheap situation, and always spending more than they ought.
His affection for her soon sunk into indifference; her's lasted
a little longer; and in spite of her youth and her manners, she
retained all the claims to reputation which her marriage had
Though Darcy could never receive _him_ at Pemberley, yet, for
Elizabeth's sake, he assisted him further in his profession.
Lydia was occasionally a visitor there, when her husband was
gone to enjoy himself in London or Bath; and with the Bingleys
they both of them frequently staid so long, that even Bingley's
good humour was overcome, and he proceeded so far as to talk
of giving them a hint to be gone.
Miss Bingley was very deeply mortified by Darcy's marriage; but
as she thought it advisable to retain the right of visiting at
Pemberley, she dropt all her resentment; was fonder than ever
of Georgiana, almost as attentive to Darcy as heretofore, and
paid off every arrear of civility to Elizabeth.
Pemberley was now Georgiana's home; and the attachment of the
sisters was exactly what Darcy had hoped to see. They were able
to love each other even as well as they intended. Georgiana had
the highest opinion in the world of Elizabeth; though at first
she often listened with an astonishment bordering on alarm at
her lively, sportive, manner of talking to her brother. He, who