PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN

Originally written in 1813.

Corrected against the 1923 R.W.Chapman edition.

Pride And Prejudice

A Novel in Three Volumes

VOLUME I

CHAPTER I (1)

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 entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well

fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is

considered as the rightful property of some one or other of

their daughters.

"My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница day, "have you

heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?"

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

"But it is," returned she; "for Mrs. Long has just been here,

and she told me all about it."

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

"Do not you want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife

impatiently.

"_You_ want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it."

This was invitation enough.

"Why, my dear, you must know, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield

is taken by a young man of large fortune from the north of

England; that he came down on PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница Monday in a chaise and four to

see the place, and was so much delighted with it that he agreed

with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possession

before Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the

house by the end of next week."

"What is his name?"

"Bingley."

"Is he married or single?"

"Oh! single, my dear, to be sure! A single man of large

fortune; four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for

our girls!"

"How so? how can it affect them?"

"My dear Mr. Bennet," replied his wife, "how can you be so

tiresome! You PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница must know that I am thinking of his marrying

one of them."

"Is that his design in settling here?"

"Design! nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely

that he _may_ fall in love with one of them, and therefore you

must visit him as soon as he comes."

"I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or

you may send them by themselves, which perhaps will be still

better; for, as you are as handsome as any of them, Mr. Bingley

might like you the best of the party."

"My dear, you flatter me. I certainly _have_ had my PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница share of

beauty, but I do not pretend to be any thing extraordinary now.

When a woman has five grown up daughters, she ought to give

over thinking of her own beauty."

"In such cases, a woman has not often much beauty to think of."

"But, my dear, you must indeed go and see Mr. Bingley when he

comes into the neighbourhood."

"It is more than I engage for, I assure you."

"But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment

it would be for one of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are

determined to go, merely on that account PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница, for in general, you

know they visit no new comers. Indeed you must go, for it will

be impossible for us to visit him, if you do not."

"You are over-scrupulous, surely. I dare say Mr. Bingley will

be very glad to see you; and I will send a few lines by you to

assure him of my hearty consent to his marrying which ever he

chuses of the girls; though I must throw in a good word for my

little Lizzy."

"I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better

than the others; and I am sure she is not half so PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница handsome as

Jane, nor half so good humoured as Lydia. But you are always

giving _her_ the preference."

"They have none of them much to recommend them," replied he;

"they are all silly and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy

has something more of quickness than her sisters."

"Mr. Bennet, how can you abuse your own children in such way?

You take delight in vexing me. You have no compassion on my



poor nerves."

"You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your

nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention

them with consideration these twenty PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница years at least."

"Ah! you do not know what I suffer."

"But I hope you will get over it, and live to see many young

men of four thousand a year come into the neighbourhood."

"It will be no use to us if twenty such should come, since you

will not visit them."

"Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are twenty I will

visit them all."

Mr. Bennet was so odd a mixture of quick parts, sarcastic

humour, reserve, and caprice, that the experience of three

and twenty years had been insufficient to make his wife

understand his character. _Her_ mind was less PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница difficult to

develope. She was a woman of mean understanding, little

information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented,

she fancied herself nervous. The business of her life was to

get her daughters married; its solace was visiting and news.

__

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 the visit was paid, she had no

knowledge of it. It was then disclosed in the following

manner. Observing his second daughter employed in trimming

a hat, he suddenly addressed PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница her with,

"I hope Mr. Bingley will like it, Lizzy."

"We are not in a way to know _what_ Mr. Bingley likes," said

her mother resentfully, "since we are not to visit."

"But you forget, mama," said Elizabeth, "that we shall meet him

at the assemblies, and that Mrs. Long has promised to introduce

him."

"I do not believe Mrs. Long will do any such thing. She has

two nieces of her own. She is a selfish, hypocritical woman,

and I have no opinion of her."

"No more have I," said Mr. Bennet; "and I am glad to find that

you do not PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница depend on her serving you."

Mrs. Bennet deigned not to make any reply; but unable to

contain herself, began scolding one of her daughters.

"Don't keep coughing so, Kitty, for heaven's sake! Have a

little compassion on my nerves. You tear them to pieces."

"Kitty has no discretion in her coughs," said her father;

"she times them ill."

"I do not cough for my own amusement," replied Kitty fretfully.

"When is your next ball to be, Lizzy?"

"To-morrow fortnight."

"Aye, so it is," cried her mother, "and Mrs. Long does not come

back till the day before; so it will PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница be impossible for her to

introduce him, for she will not know him herself."

"Then, my dear, you may have the advantage of your friend, and

introduce Mr. Bingley to _her_."

"Impossible, Mr. Bennet, impossible, when I am not acquainted

with him myself; how can you be so teazing?"

"I honour your circumspection. A fortnight's acquaintance is

certainly very little. One cannot know what a man really is by

the end of a fortnight. But if we do not venture, somebody

else will; and after all, Mrs. Long and her nieces must stand

their chance; and therefore, as she will think it an act of

kindness, if PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница you decline the office, I will take it on myself."

The girls stared at their father. Mrs. Bennet said only,

"Nonsense, nonsense!"

"What can be the meaning of that emphatic exclamation?" cried

he. "Do you consider the forms of introduction, and the stress

that is laid on them, as nonsense? I cannot quite agree with

you _there_. What say you, Mary? for you are a young lady of

deep reflection I know, and read great books, and make

extracts."

Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how.

"While Mary is adjusting her ideas," he continued, "let us

return to Mr. Bingley."

"I am PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница sick of Mr. Bingley," cried his wife.

"I am sorry to hear _that_; but why did not you tell me so

before? If I had known as much this morning, I certainly would

not have called on him. It is very unlucky; but as I have

actually paid the visit, we cannot escape the acquaintance

now."

The astonishment of the ladies was just what he wished; that of

Mrs. Bennet perhaps surpassing the rest; though when the first

tumult of joy was over, she began to declare that it was what

she had expected all the while.

"How good it was in you PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница, my dear Mr. Bennet! But I knew I

should persuade you at last. I was sure you loved our girls

too well to neglect such an acquaintance. Well, how pleased

I am! and it is such a good joke, too, that you should have

gone this morning, and never said a word about it till now."

"Now, Kitty, you may cough as much as you chuse," said

Mr. Bennet; and, as he spoke, he left the room, fatigued with

the raptures of his wife.

"What an excellent father you have, girls," said she, when the

door was shut. "I do not know how you will ever make PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница him

amends for his kindness; or me either, for that matter. At our

time of life, it is not so pleasant I can tell you, to be

making new acquaintance every day; but for your sakes, we would

do any thing. Lydia, my love, though you _are_ the youngest,

I dare say Mr. Bingley will dance with you at the next ball."

"Oh!" said Lydia stoutly, "I am not afraid; for though I _am_

the youngest, I'm the tallest."

The rest of the evening was spent in conjecturing how soon he

would return Mr. Bennet's visit, and determining when they

should ask him to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница dinner.

__

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 attacked him in various ways; with barefaced questions,

ingenious suppositions, and distant surmises; but he eluded the

skill of them all; and they were at last obliged to accept the

second-hand intelligence of their neighbour Lady Lucas. Her

report was highly favourable. Sir William had been delighted

with him. He was quite young, wonderfully handsome, extremely

agreeable, and, to crown the whole, he meant to be at the next

assembly with a PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница large party. Nothing could be more delightful!

To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in

love; and very lively hopes of Mr. Bingley's heart were

entertained.

"If I can but see one of my daughters happily settled at

Netherfield," said Mrs. Bennet to her husband, "and all the

others equally well married, I shall have nothing to wish for."

In a few days Mr. Bingley returned Mr. Bennet's visit, and sat

about ten minutes with him in his library. He had entertained

hopes of being admitted to a sight of the young ladies, of

whose beauty he had heard much PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница; but he saw only the father.

The ladies were somewhat more fortunate, for they had the

advantage of ascertaining, from an upper window, that he wore a

blue coat and rode a black horse.

An invitation to dinner was soon afterwards dispatched; and

already had Mrs. Bennet planned the courses that were to do

credit to her housekeeping, when an answer arrived which

deferred it all. Mr. Bingley was obliged to be in town the

following day, and consequently unable to accept the honour of

their invitation, &c. Mrs. Bennet was quite disconcerted. She

could not imagine what business he could have in town so soon

after his PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница arrival in Hertfordshire; and she began to fear that

he might be always flying about from one place to another, and

never settled at Netherfield as he ought to be. Lady Lucas

quieted her fears a little by starting the idea of his being

gone to London only to get a large party for the ball; and a

report soon followed that Mr. Bingley was to bring twelve

ladies and seven gentlemen with him to the assembly. The girls

grieved over such a large number of ladies; but were comforted

the day before the ball by hearing that, instead of twelve, he

had brought only six with him PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница from London, his five sisters and

a cousin. And when the party entered the assembly room, it

consisted of only five altogether; Mr. Bingley, his two

sisters, the husband of the oldest, and another young man.

Mr. Bingley was good looking and gentlemanlike; he had a

pleasant countenance, and easy, unaffected manners. His

brother-in-law, Mr. Hurst, merely looked the gentleman; but his

friend Mr. Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his

fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien; and the

report which was in general circulation within five minutes

after his entrance, of his having ten thousand a year. The

gentlemen pronounced him to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница be a fine figure of a man, the

ladies declared he was much handsomer than Mr. Bingley, and he

was looked at with great admiration for about half the evening,

till his manners gave a disgust which turned the tide of his

popularity; for he was discovered to be proud, to be above his

company, and above being pleased; and not all his large estate

in Derbyshire could then save him from having a most

forbidding, disagreeable countenance, and being unworthy to be

compared with his friend.

Mr. Bingley had soon made himself acquainted with all the

principal people in the room; he was lively and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница unreserved,

danced every dance, was angry that the ball closed so early,

and talked of giving one himself at Netherfield. Such amiable

qualities must speak for themselves. What a contrast between

him and his friend! Mr. Darcy danced only once with Mrs.

Hurst and once with Miss Bingley, declined being introduced to

any other lady, and spent the rest of the evening in walking

about the room, speaking occasionally to one of his own party.

His character was decided. He was the proudest, most

disagreeable man in the world, and every body hoped that he

would never come there again. Amongst the most violent against

him PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница was Mrs. Bennet, whose dislike of his general behaviour was

sharpened into particular resentment by his having slighted one

of her daughters.

Elizabeth Bennet had been obliged, by the scarcity of

gentlemen, to sit down for two dances; and during part of

that time, Mr. Darcy had been standing near enough for her

to overhear a conversation between him and Mr. Bingley, who

came from the dance for a few minutes to press his friend

to join it.

"Come, Darcy," said he, "I must have you dance. I hate to see

you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner. You had

much better dance."

"I certainly shall PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница not. You know how I detest it, unless I am

particularly acquainted with my partner. At such an assembly

as this, it would be insupportable. Your sisters are engaged,

and there is not another woman in the room whom it would not be

a punishment to me to stand up with."

"I would not be so fastidious as you are," cried Bingley, "for

a kingdom! Upon my honour I never met with so many pleasant

girls in my life, as I have this evening; and there are several

of them, you see, uncommonly pretty."

"_You_ are dancing with the only handsome girl in the room,"

said Mr PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница. Darcy, looking at the eldest Miss Bennet.

"Oh! she is the most beautiful creature I ever beheld! But

there is one of her sisters sitting down just behind you, who

is very pretty, and I dare say very agreeable. Do let me ask

my partner to introduce you."

"Which do you mean?" and turning round, he looked for a

moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his

own and coldly said, "She is tolerable; but not handsome

enough to tempt _me_; and I am in no humour at present to give

consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.

You had PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница better return to your partner and enjoy her smiles,

for you are wasting your time with me."

Mr. Bingley followed his advice. Mr. Darcy walked off; and

Elizabeth remained with no very cordial feelings towards him.

She told the story however with great spirit among her friends;

for she had a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in

any thing ridiculous.

The evening altogether passed off pleasantly to the whole

family. Mrs. Bennet had seen her eldest daughter much admired

by the Netherfield party. Mr. Bingley had danced with her

twice, and she had been distinguished by his sisters. Jane was

as much gratified by this as PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница her mother could be, though in a

quieter way. Elizabeth felt Jane's pleasure. Mary had heard

herself mentioned to Miss Bingley as the most accomplished girl

in the neighbourhood; and Catherine and Lydia had been

fortunate enough to be never without partners, which was all

that they had yet learnt to care for at a ball. They returned

therefore, in good spirits to Longbourn, the village where they

lived, and of which they were the principal inhabitants. They

found Mr. Bennet still up. With a book, he was regardless of

time; and on the present occasion he had a good deal of

curiosity as to the PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница event of an evening which had raised such

splendid expectations. He had rather hoped that all his wife's

views on the stranger would be disappointed; but he soon found

that he had a very different story to hear.

"Oh! my dear Mr. Bennet," as she entered the room, "we have

had a most delightful evening, a most excellent ball. I wish

you had been there. Jane was so admired, nothing could be like

it. Every body said how well she looked; and Mr. Bingley

thought her quite beautiful, and danced with her twice. Only

think of _that_ my dear; he actually danced with her twice; and

she was the only PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница creature in the room that he asked a second

time. First of all, he asked Miss Lucas. I was so vexed to

see him stand up with her; but, however, he did not admire her

at all: indeed, nobody can, you know; and he seemed quite

struck with Jane as she was going down the dance. So, he

enquired who she was, and got introduced, and asked her for the

two next. Then, the two third he danced with Miss King, and

the two fourth with Maria Lucas, and the two fifth with Jane

again, and the two sixth with Lizzy, and the Boulanger PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница -- "

"If he had had any compassion for _me_," cried her husband

impatiently, "he would not have danced half so much! For God's

sake, say no more of his partners. Oh! that he had sprained

his ancle in the first dance!"

"Oh! my dear," continued Mrs. Bennet, "I am quite delighted

with him. He is so excessively handsome! and his sisters are

charming women. I never in my life saw any thing more elegant

than their dresses. I dare say the lace upon Mrs. Hurst's

gown -- "

Here she was interrupted again. Mr. Bennet protested against

any description of finery. She was therefore obliged to seek

another branch of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница the subject, and related, with much

bitterness of spirit and some exaggeration, the shocking

rudeness of Mr. Darcy.

"But I can assure you," she added, "that Lizzy does not lose

much by not suiting _his_ fancy; for he is a most disagreeable,

horrid man, not at all worth pleasing. So high and so

conceited that there was no enduring him! He walked here, and

he walked there, fancying himself so very great! Not handsome

enough to dance with! I wish you had been there, my dear, to

have given him one of your set downs. I quite detest the man."

__

WHEN Jane and Elizabeth were alone, the PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница former, who had been

cautious in her praise of Mr. Bingley before, expressed to her

sister how very much she admired him.

"He is just what a young man ought to be," said she, "sensible,

good humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners! --

so much ease, with such perfect good breeding!"

"He is also handsome," replied Elizabeth, "which a young man

ought likewise to be, if he possibly can. His character is

thereby complete."

"I was very much flattered by his asking me to dance a second

time. I did not expect such a compliment."

"Did not you? _I_ did PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница for you. But that is one great

difference between us. Compliments always take _you_ by

surprise, and _me_ never. What could be more natural than his

asking you again? He could not help seeing that you were about

five times as pretty as every other women in the room. No

thanks to his gallantry for that. Well, he certainly is very

agreeable, and I give you leave to like him. You have liked

many a stupider person."

"Dear Lizzy!"

"Oh! you are a great deal too apt, you know, to like people in

general. You never see a fault in any body. All the world are

good and PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница agreeable in your eyes. I never heard you speak ill

of a human being in my life."

"I would wish not to be hasty in censuring any one; but I

always speak what I think."

"I know you do; and it is _that_ which makes the wonder.

With _your_ good sense, to be honestly blind to the follies

and nonsense of others! Affectation of candour is common

enough; -- one meets it every where. But to be candid without

ostentation or design -- to take the good of every body's

character and make it still better, and say nothing of the bad

-- belongs to you alone. And so PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница, you like this man's sisters

too, do you? Their manners are not equal to his."

"Certainly not; at first. But they are very pleasing women

when you converse with them. Miss Bingley is to live with her

brother and keep his house; and I am much mistaken if we shall

not find a very charming neighbour in her."

Elizabeth listened in silence, but was not convinced. Their

behaviour at the assembly had not been calculated to please in

general; and with more quickness of observation and less

pliancy of temper than her sister, and with a judgment, too,

unassailed by any attention to herself, she was very PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница little

disposed to approve them. They were in fact very fine ladies,

not deficient in good humour when they were pleased, nor in the

power of being agreeable where they chose it; but proud and

conceited. They were rather handsome, had been educated in one

of the first private seminaries in town, had a fortune of

twenty thousand pounds, were in the habit of spending more than

they ought, and of associating with people of rank; and were

therefore in every respect entitled to think well of

themselves, and meanly of others. They were of a respectable

family in the north of England; a circumstance more deeply

impressed PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница on their memories than that their brother's fortune

and their own had been acquired by trade.

Mr. Bingley inherited property to the amount of nearly an

hundred thousand pounds from his father, who had intended to

purchase an estate, but did not live to do it. -- Mr. Bingley

intended it likewise, and sometimes made choice of his county;

but as he was now provided with a good house and the liberty of

a manor, it was doubtful to many of those who best knew the

easiness of his temper, whether he might not spend the

remainder of his days at Netherfield, and leave PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница the next

generation to purchase.

His sisters were very anxious for his having an estate of his

own; but though he was now established only as a tenant, Miss

Bingley was by no means unwilling to preside at his table, nor

was Mrs. Hurst, who had married a man of more fashion than

fortune, less disposed to consider his house as her home when

it suited her. Mr. Bingley had not been of age two years, when

he was tempted by an accidental recommendation to look at

Netherfield House. He did look at it and into it for half an

hour, was pleased with the situation and the principal rooms PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница,

satisfied with what the owner said in its praise, and took it

immediately.

Between him and Darcy there was a very steady friendship, in

spite of a great opposition of character. -- Bingley was

endeared to Darcy by the easiness, openness, ductility of his

temper, though no disposition could offer a greater contrast to

his own, and though with his own he never appeared

dissatisfied. On the strength of Darcy's regard Bingley had

the firmest reliance, and of his judgment the highest opinion.

In understanding, Darcy was the superior. Bingley was by no

means deficient, but Darcy was clever. He was at the same time

haughty PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well

bred, were not inviting. In that respect his friend had

greatly the advantage. Bingley was sure of being liked

wherever he appeared; Darcy was continually giving offence.

The manner in which they spoke of the Meryton assembly was

sufficiently characteristic. Bingley had never met with

pleasanter people or prettier girls in his life; every body had

been most kind and attentive to him, there had been no

formality, no stiffness; he had soon felt acquainted with all

the room; and as to Miss Bennet, he could not conceive an angel

more beautiful. Darcy, on the contrary, had seen a collection

of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by JANE AUSTEN 1 страница people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for

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