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Chapter 41

12 May 2023

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The first week of their return was soon gone. The second began. It was the last of the regiment’s stay in Meryton, and all the young ladies in the neighbourhood were drooping apace. The dejection was almost universal. The elder Miss Bennets alone were still able to eat, drink, and sleep, and pursue the usual course of their employments. Very frequently were they reproached for this insensibility by Kitty and Lydia, whose own misery was extreme, and who could not comprehend such hard-heartedness in any of the family.

“Good Heaven! what is to become of us? What are we to do?” would they often exclaiming the bitterness of woe. “How can you be smiling so, Lizzy?”

Their affectionate mother shared all their grief; she remembered what she had herself endured on a similar occasion, five-and-twenty years ago.

“I am sure,” said she, “I cried for two days together when Colonel Miller’s regiment went away. I thought I should have broken my heart.”

“I am sure I shall break MINE,” said Lydia.

“If one could but go to Brighton!” observed Mrs. Bennet.

“Oh, yes!–if one could but go to Brighton! But papa is so disagreeable.”

“A little sea-bathing would set me up forever.”

“And my aunt Phillips is sure it would do ME a great deal of good,” added Kitty.

Such were the kind of lamentations resounding perpetually through Longbourn House. Elizabeth tried to be diverted by them; but all sense of pleasure was lost in shame. She felt anew the justice of Mr. Darcy’s objections; and never had she been so much disposed to pardon his interference in the views of his friend.

But the gloom of Lydia’s prospect was shortly cleared away; for she received an invitation from Mrs. Forster, the wife of the colonel of the regiment, to accompany her to Brighton. This invaluable friend was a very young woman, and very lately married. A resemblance in good humour and good spirits had recommended her and Lydia to each other, and out of their THREE months’ acquaintance they had been intimate TWO.

The rapture of Lydia on this occasion, her adoration of Mrs. Forster, the delight of Mrs. Bennet, and the mortification of Kitty, are scarcely to be described. Wholly inattentive to her sister’s feelings, Lydia flew about the house in restless ecstasy, calling for everyone’s congratulations, and laughing and talking with more violence than ever; whilst the luckless Kitty continued in the parlour repined at her fate in terms as unreasonable as her accent was peevish.

“I cannot see why Mrs. Forster should not ask ME as well as Lydia,” said she, “Though I am NOT her particular friend. I have just as much right to be asked as she has, and more too, for I am two years older.”

In vain did Elizabeth attempt to make her reasonable, and Jane to make her resigned. As for Elizabeth herself, this invitation was so far from exciting in her the same feelings as in her mother and Lydia, that she considered it as the death warrant of all possibility of common sense for the latter; and detestable as such a step must make her were it known, she could not help secretly advising her father not to let her go. She represented to him all the improprieties of Lydia’s general behaviour, the little advantage she could derive from the friendship of such a woman as Mrs. Forster, and the probability of her being yet more imprudent with such a companion at Brighton, where the temptations must be greater than at home. He heard her attentively, and then said:

“Lydia will never be easy until she has exposed herself in some public place or other, and we can never expect her to do it with so little expense or inconvenience to her family as under the present circumstances.”

“If you were aware,” said Elizabeth, “of the very great disadvantage to us all which must arise from the public notice of Lydia’s unguarded and imprudent manner–nay, which has already arisen from it, I am sure you would judge differently in the affair.”

“Already arisen?” repeated Mr. Bennet. “What, has she frightened away some of your lovers? Poor little Lizzy! But do not be cast down. Such squeamish youths as cannot bear to be connected with a little absurdity are not worth a regret. Come, let me see the list of pitiful fellows who have been kept aloof by Lydia’s folly.”

“Indeed you are mistaken. I have no such injuries to resent. It is not of particular, but of general evils, which I am now complaining. Our importance, our respectability in the world must be affected by the wild volatility, the assurance and disdain of all restraint which mark Lydia’s character. Excuse me, for I must speak plainly. If you, my dear father, will not take the trouble of checking her exuberant spirits, and of teaching her that her present pursuits are not to be the business of her life, she will soon be beyond the reach of amendment. Her character will be fixed, and she will, at sixteen, be the most determined flirt that ever made herself or her family ridiculous; a flirt, too, in the worst and meanest degree of flirtation; without any attraction beyond youth and a tolerable person; and, from the ignorance and emptiness of her mind, wholly unable to ward off any portion of that universal contempt which her rage for admiration will excite. In this danger Kitty also is comprehended. She will follow wherever Lydia leads. Vain, ignorant, idle, and absolutely uncontrolled! Oh! my dear father, can you suppose it possible that they will not be censured and despised wherever they are known, and that their sisters will not be often involved in the disgrace?”

Mr. Bennet saw that her whole heart was in the subject, and affectionately taking her hand said in reply:

“Do not make yourself uneasy, my love. Wherever you and Jane are known you must be respected and valued; and you will not appear to less advantage for having a couple of–or I may say, three–very silly sisters. We shall have no peace at Longbourn if Lydia does not go to Brighton. Let her go, then. Colonel Forster is a sensible man, and will keep her out of any real mischief; and she is luckily too poor to be an object of prey to anybody. At Brighton she will be of less importance even as a common flirt than she has been here. The officers will find women better worth their notice. Let us hope, therefore, that her being there may teach her her own insignificance. At any rate, she cannot grow many degrees worse, without authorising us to lock her up for the rest of her life.”

With this answer Elizabeth was forced to be content; but her own opinion continued the same, and she left him disappointed and sorry. It was not in her nature, however, to increase her vexations by dwelling on them. She was confident of having performed her duty, and to fret over unavoidable evils, or augment them by anxiety, was no part of her disposition.

Had Lydia and her mother known the substance of her conference with her father, their indignation would hardly have found expression in their united volubility. In Lydia’s imagination, a visit to Brighton comprised every possibility of earthly happiness. She saw, with the creative eye of fancy, the streets of that gay bathing-place covered with officers. She saw herself the object of attention, to tens and to scores of them at present unknown. She saw all the glories of the camp–its tents stretched forth in beauteous uniformity of lines, crowded with the young and the gay, and dazzling with scarlet; and, to complete the view, she saw herself seated beneath a tent, tenderly flirting with at least six officers at once.

Had she known her sister sought to tear her from such prospects and such realities as these, what would have been her sensations? They could have been understood only by her mother, who might have felt nearly the same. Lydia’s going to Brighton was all that consoled her for her melancholy conviction of her husband’s never intending to go there himself.

But they were entirely ignorant of what had passed; and their raptures continued, with little intermission, to the very day of Lydia’s leaving home.

Elizabeth was now to see Mr. Wickham for the last time. Having been frequently in company with him since her return, agitation was pretty well over; the agitations of formal partiality entirely so. She had even learnt to detect, in the very gentleness which had first delighted her, an affectation and a sameness to disgust and weary. In his present behaviour to herself, moreover, she had a fresh source of displeasure, for the inclination he soon testified of renewing those intentions which had marked the early part of their acquaintance could only serve, after what had since passed, to provoke her. She lost all concern for him in finding herself thus selected as the object of such idle and frivolous gallantry; and while she steadily repressed it, could not but feel the reproof contained in his believing, that however long, and for whatever cause, his attentions had been withdrawn, her vanity would be gratified, and her preference secured at any time by their renewal.

On the very last day of the regiment’s remaining at Meryton, he dined, with other of the officers, at Longbourn; and so little was Elizabeth disposed to part from him in good humour, that on his making some inquiry as to the manner in which her time had passed at Hunsford, she mentioned Colonel Fitzwilliam’s and Mr. Darcy’s having both spent three weeks at Rosings, and asked him, if he was acquainted with the former.

He looked surprised, displeased, alarmed; but with a moment’s recollection and a returning smile, replied, that he had formerly seen him often; and, after observing that he was a very gentlemanlike man, asked her how she had liked him. Her answer was warmly in his favour. With an air of indifference he soon afterwards added:

“How long did you say he was at Rosings?”

“Nearly three weeks.”

“And you saw him frequently?”

“Yes, almost every day.”

“His manners are very different from his cousin’s.”

“Yes, very different. But I think Mr. Darcy improves upon acquaintance.”

“Indeed!” cried Mr. Wickham with a look which did not escape her. “And pray, may I ask?–” But checking himself, he added, in a gayer tone, “Is it in address that he improves? Has he deigned to add aught of civility to his ordinary style?–for I dare not hope,” he continued in a lower and more serious tone, “that he is improved in essentials.”

“Oh, no!” said Elizabeth. “In essentials, I believe, he is very much what he ever was.”

While she spoke, Wickham looked as if scarcely knowing whether to rejoice over her words, or to distrust their meaning. There was a something in her countenance which made him listen with an apprehensive and anxious attention, while she added:

“When I said that he improved on acquaintance, I did not mean that his mind or his manners were in a state of improvement, but that, from knowing him better, his disposition was better understood.”

Wickham’s alarm now appeared in a heightened complexion and agitated look; for a few minuted he was silent, till, shaking off his embarrassment, he turned to her again, and said in the gentlest of accents:

“You, who so well know my feeling towards Mr. Darcy, will readily comprehend how sincerely I must rejoice that he is wise enough to assume even the APPEARANCE of what is right. His pride, in that direction, may be of service, if not to himself, to many others, for it must only deter him from such foul misconduct as I have suffered by. I only fear that the sort of cautiousness to which you, I imagine, have been alluding, is merely adopted on his visits to his aunt, of whose good opinion and judgement he stands much in awe. His fear of her has always operated, I know, when they were together; and a good deal is to be imputed to his wish of forwarding the match with Miss de Bourgh, which I am certain he has very much at heart.”

Elizabeth could not repress a smile at this, but she answered only by a slight inclination of the head. She saw that he wanted to engage her on the old subject of his grievances, and she was in no humour to indulge him. The rest of the evening passed with the APPEARANCE, on his side, of usual cheerfulness, but with no further attempt to distinguish Elizabeth; and they parted at last with mutual civility, and possibly a mutual desire of never meeting again.

When the party broke up, Lydia returned with Mrs. Forster to Meryton, from whence they were to set out early the next morning. The separation between her and her family was rather noisy than pathetic. Kitty was the only one who shed tears; but she did weep from vexation and envy. Mrs. Bennet was diffuse in her good wishes for the felicity of her daughter, and impressive in her injunctions that she should not miss the opportunity of enjoying herself as much as possible–advice which there was every reason to believe would be well attended to; and in the clamorous happiness of Lydia herself in bidding farewell, the more gentle adieus of her sisters were uttered without being heard. 

61
Articles
Pride And Prejudice
4.7
Famous book by jane austen, pride and prejudice. Pride and Prejudice follows the turbulent relationship between Elizabeth Bennet, the daughter of a country gentleman, and Fitzwilliam Darcy, a rich aristocratic landowner. They must overcome the titular sins of pride and prejudice in order to fall in love and marry.
1

Chapter 1

5 May 2023
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1
11

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.  However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first ent

2

Chapter 2

6 May 2023
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Mr. Bennet was among the earliest of those who waited on Mr. Bingley. He had always intended to visit him, though to the last always assuring his wife that he should not go; and till the evening after

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Chapter 3

6 May 2023
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Not all that Mrs. Bennet, however, with the assistance of her five daughters, could ask on the subject, was sufficient to draw from her husband any satisfactory description of Mr. Bingley. They atta

4

Chapter 4

6 May 2023
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When Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the former, who had been cautious in her praise of Mr. Bingley before, expressed to her sister just how very much she admired him. “He is just what a young man oug

5

Chapter 5

8 May 2023
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Within a short walk of Longbourn lived a family with whom the Bennets were particularly intimate. Sir William Lucas had been formerly in trade in Meryton, where he had made a tolerable fortune, and ri

6

Chapter 6

8 May 2023
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The ladies of Longbourn soon waited on those of Netherfield. The visit was soon returned in due form. Miss Bennet’s pleasing manners grew on the goodwill of Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley; and though the

7

Chapter 7

8 May 2023
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Mr. Bennet’s property consisted almost entirely in an estate of two thousand a year, which, unfortunately for his daughters, was entailed, in default of heirs male, on a distant relation; and their mo

8

Chapter 8

8 May 2023
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At five o’clock the two ladies retired to dress, and at half-past six Elizabeth was summoned to dinner. To the civil inquiries which then poured in, and amongst which she had the pleasure of distingui

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Chapter 9

9 May 2023
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Elizabeth passed the chief of the night in her sister’s room, and in the morning had the pleasure of being able to send a tolerable answer to the inquiries which she very early received from Mr. Bingl

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Chapter 10

9 May 2023
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The day passed much as the day before had done. Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley had spent some hours of the morning with the invalid, who continued, though slowly, to mend; and in the evening Elizabeth jo

11

Chapter 11

9 May 2023
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When the ladies removed after dinner, Elizabeth ran up to her sister, and seeing her well guarded from cold, attended her into the drawing-room, where she was welcomed by her two friends with many pro

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Chapter 12

9 May 2023
1
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In consequence of an agreement between the sisters, Elizabeth wrote the next morning to their mother, to beg that the carriage might be sent for them in the course of the day. But Mrs. Bennet, who had

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Chapter 13

9 May 2023
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“I hope, my dear,” said Mr. Bennet to his wife, as they were at breakfast the next morning, “that you have ordered a good dinner to-day, because I have reason to expect an addition to our family party

14

Chapter 14

9 May 2023
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During dinner, Mr. Bennet scarcely spoke at all; but when the servants were withdrawn, he thought it time to have some conversation with his guest, and therefore started a subject in which he expected

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Chapter 15

9 May 2023
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Mr. Collins was not a sensible man, and the deficiency of nature had been but little assisted by education or society; the greatest part of his life having been spent under the guidance of an illitera

16

Chapter 16

9 May 2023
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As no objection was made to the young people’s engagement with their aunt, and all Mr. Collins’s scruples of leaving Mr. and Mrs. Bennet for a single evening during his visit were most steadily resist

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Chapter 17

9 May 2023
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Elizabeth related to Jane the next day what had passed between Mr. Wickham and herself. Jane listened with astonishment and concern; she knew not how to believe that Mr. Darcy could be so unworthy of

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Chapter 18

9 May 2023
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Till Elizabeth entered the drawing-room at Netherfield, and looked in vain for Mr. Wickham among the cluster of red coats there assembled, a doubt of his being present had never occurred to her. The c

19

Chapter 19

10 May 2023
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The next day opened a new scene at Longbourn. Mr. Collins made his declaration in form. Having resolved to do it without loss of time, as his leave of absence extended only to the following Saturday,

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Chapter 20

10 May 2023
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Mr. Collins was not left long to the silent contemplation of his successful love; for Mrs. Bennet, having dawdled about in the vestibule to watch for the end of the conference, no sooner saw Elizabeth

21

Chapter 21

10 May 2023
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The discussion of Mr. Collins’s offer was now nearly at an end, and Elizabeth had only to suffer from the uncomfortable feelings necessarily attending it, and occasionally from some peevish allusions

22

Chapter 22

10 May 2023
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The Bennets were engaged to dine with the Lucases and again during the chief of the day was Miss Lucas so kind as to listen to Mr. Collins. Elizabeth took an opportunity of thanking her. “It keeps him

23

Chapter 23

10 May 2023
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Elizabeth was sitting with her mother and sisters, reflecting on what she had heard, and doubting whether she was authorised to mention it, when Sir William Lucas himself appeared, sent by his daughte

24

Chapter 24

10 May 2023
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Miss Bingley’s letter arrived, and put an end to doubt. The very first sentence conveyed the assurance of their being all settled in London for the winter, and concluded with her brother’s regret at n

25

Chapter 25

10 May 2023
1
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After a week spent in professions of love and schemes of felicity, Mr. Collins was called from his amiable Charlotte by the arrival of Saturday. The pain of separation, however, might be alleviated on

26

Chapter 26

11 May 2023
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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

27

Chapter 27

11 May 2023
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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. Marc

28

Chapter 28

11 May 2023
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Every object in the next day’s journey was new and interesting to Elizabeth; and her spirits were in a state of enjoyment; for she had seen her sister looking so well as to banish all fear for her hea

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Chapter 29

11 May 2023
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Mr. Collins’s triumph, in consequence of this invitation, was complete. The power of displaying the grandeur of his patroness to his wondering visitors, and of letting them see her civility towards hi

30

Chapter 30

11 May 2023
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Sir William stayed only a week at Hunsford, but his visit was long enough to convince him of his daughter’s being most comfortably settled, and of her possessing such a husband and such a neighbour as

31

Chapter 31

11 May 2023
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Colonel Fitzwilliam’s manners were very much admired at the Parsonage, and the ladies all felt that he must add considerably to the pleasures of their engagements at Rosings. It was some days, however

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Chapter 32

11 May 2023
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Elizabeth was sitting by herself the next morning, and writing to Jane while Mrs. Collins and Maria were gone on business into the village, when she was startled by a ring at the door, the certain sig

33

Chapter 33

11 May 2023
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More than once did Elizabeth, in her ramble within the park, unexpectedly meet Mr. Darcy. She felt all the perverseness of the mischance that should bring him where no one else was brought, and, to pr

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Chapter 34

11 May 2023
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When they were gone, Elizabeth, as if intending to exasperate herself as much as possible against Mr. Darcy, chose for her employment the examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her s

35

Chapter 35

11 May 2023
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Elizabeth awoke the next morning to the same thoughts and meditations which had at length closed her eyes. She could not yet recover from the surprise of what had happened; it was impossible to think

36

Chapter 36

11 May 2023
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If Elizabeth, when Mr. Darcy gave her the letter, did not expect it to contain a renewal of his offers, she had formed no expectation at all of its contents. But such as they were, it may well be supp

37

Chapter 37

11 May 2023
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The two gentlemen left Rosings the next morning, and Mr. Collins having been in waiting near the lodges, to make them his parting obeisance, was able to bring home the pleasing intelligence, of their

38

Chapter 38

12 May 2023
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On Saturday morning Elizabeth and Mr. Collins met for breakfast a few minutes before the others appeared; and he took the opportunity of paying the parting civilities which he deemed indispensably nec

39

Chapter 39

12 May 2023
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It was the second week in May, in which the three young ladies set out together from Gracechurch Street for the town of —-, in Hertfordshire; and, as they drew near the appointed inn where Mr. Bennet’

40

Chapter 40

12 May 2023
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Elizabeth’s impatience to acquaint Jane with what had happened could no longer be overcome; and at length, resolving to suppress every particular in which her sister was concerned, and preparing her t

41

Chapter 41

12 May 2023
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The first week of their return was soon gone. The second began. It was the last of the regiment’s stay in Meryton, and all the young ladies in the neighbourhood were drooping apace. The dejection was

42

Chapter 42

12 May 2023
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Had Elizabeth’s opinion been all drawn from her own family, she could not have formed a very pleasing opinion of conjugal felicity or domestic comfort. Her father, captivated by youth and beauty, and

43

Chapter 43

12 May 2023
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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 par

44

Chapter 44

12 May 2023
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Elizabeth had settled it that Mr. Darcy would bring his sister to visit her the very day after her reaching Pemberley; and was consequently resolved not to be out of sight of the inn the whole of that

45

Chapter 45

12 May 2023
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Convinced as Elizabeth now was that Miss Bingley’s dislike of her had originated in jealousy, she could not help feeling how unwelcome her appearance at Pemberley must be to her, and was curious to kn

46

Chapter 46

12 May 2023
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Elizabeth had been a good deal disappointed in not finding a letter from Jane on their first arrival at Lambton; and this disappointment had been renewed on each of the mornings that had now been spen

47

Chapter 47

12 May 2023
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“I have been thinking it over again, Elizabeth,” said her uncle, as they drove from the town; “and really, upon serious consideration, I am much more inclined than I was to judge as your eldest sister

48

Chapter 48

12 May 2023
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The whole party were in hopes of a letter from Mr. Bennet the next morning, but the post came in without bringing a single line from him. His family knew him to be, on all common occasions, a most neg

49

Chapter 49

12 May 2023
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Two days after Mr. Bennet’s return, as Jane and Elizabeth were walking together in the shrubbery behind the house, they saw the housekeeper coming towards them, and, concluding that she came to call t

50

Chapter 50

13 May 2023
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Mr. Bennet had very often wished before this period of his life that, instead of spending his whole income, he had laid by an annual sum for the better provision of his children, and of his wife, if s

51

Chapter 51

13 May 2023
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Their sister’s wedding day arrived; and Jane and Elizabeth felt for her probably more than she felt for herself. The carriage was sent to meet them at —-, and they were to return in it by dinner-time.

52

Chapter 52

13 May 2023
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Elizabeth had the satisfaction of receiving an answer to her letter as soon as she possibly could. She was no sooner in possession of it than, hurrying into the little copse, where she was least likel

53

Chapter 53

13 May 2023
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Mr. Wickham was so perfectly satisfied with this conversation that he never again distressed himself, or provoked his dear sister Elizabeth, by introducing the subject of it; and she was pleased to fi

54

Chapter 54

13 May 2023
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As soon as they were gone, Elizabeth walked out to recover her spirits; or in other words, to dwell without interruption on those subjects that must deaden them more. Mr. Darcy’s behaviour astonished

55

Chapter 55

13 May 2023
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A few days after this visit, Mr. Bingley called again, and alone. His friend had left him that morning for London, but was to return home in ten days time. He sat with them above an hour, and was in r

56

Chapter 56

13 May 2023
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One morning, about a week after Bingley’s engagement with Jane had been formed, as he and the females of the family were sitting together in the dining-room, their attention was suddenly drawn to the

57

Chapter 57

13 May 2023
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The discomposure of spirits which this extraordinary visit threw Elizabeth into, could not be easily overcome; nor could she, for many hours, learn to think of it less than incessantly. Lady Catherine

58

Chapter 58

13 May 2023
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Instead of receiving any such letter of excuse from his friend, as Elizabeth half expected Mr. Bingley to do, he was able to bring Darcy with him to Longbourn before many days had passed after Lady Ca

59

Chapter 59

13 May 2023
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“My dear Lizzy, where can you have been walking to?” was a question which Elizabeth received from Jane as soon as she entered their room, and from all the others when they sat down to table. She had o

60

Chapter 60

13 May 2023
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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 char

61

Chapter 61

13 May 2023
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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. Darc

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