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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 only to say in reply,
that they had wandered about, till she was beyond her own knowledge. She
coloured as she spoke; but neither that, nor anything else, awakened a
suspicion of the truth.
The evening passed quietly, unmarked by anything extraordinary. The
acknowledged lovers talked and laughed, the unacknowledged were silent.
Darcy was not of a disposition in which happiness overflows in mirth; and
Elizabeth, agitated and confused, rather <i>knew</i> that she was happy
than <i>felt</i> herself to be so; for, besides the immediate
embarrassment, there were other evils before her. She anticipated what
would be felt in the family when her situation became known; she was aware
that no one liked him but Jane; and even feared that with the others it
was a dislike which not all his fortune and consequence might do away.
At night she opened her heart to Jane. Though suspicion was very far from
Miss Bennet's general habits, she was absolutely incredulous here.
"You are joking, Lizzy. This cannot be!—engaged to Mr. Darcy! No,
no, you shall not deceive me. I know it to be impossible."
"This is a wretched beginning indeed! My sole dependence was on you; and I
am sure nobody else will believe me, if you do not. Yet, indeed, I am in
earnest. I speak nothing but the truth. He still loves me, and we are
Jane looked at her doubtingly. "Oh, Lizzy! it cannot be. I know how much
you dislike him."
"You know nothing of the matter. <i>That</i> is all to be forgot. Perhaps
I did not always love him so well as I do now. But in such cases as these,
a good memory is unpardonable. This is the last time I shall ever remember
Miss Bennet still looked all amazement. Elizabeth again, and more
seriously assured her of its truth.
"Good Heaven! can it be really so! Yet now I must believe you," cried
Jane. "My dear, dear Lizzy, I would—I do congratulate you—but
are you certain? forgive the question—are you quite certain that you
can be happy with him?"
"There can be no doubt of that. It is settled between us already, that we
are to be the happiest couple in the world. But are you pleased, Jane?
Shall you like to have such a brother?"
"Very, very much. Nothing could give either Bingley or myself more
delight. But we considered it, we talked of it as impossible. And do you
really love him quite well enough? Oh, Lizzy! do anything rather than
marry without affection. Are you quite sure that you feel what you ought
"Oh, yes! You will only think I feel <i>more</i> than I ought to do, when
I tell you all."
"What do you mean?"
"Why, I must confess that I love him better than I do Bingley. I am afraid
you will be angry."
"My dearest sister, now <i>be</i> serious. I want to talk very seriously.
Let me know every thing that I am to know, without delay. Will you tell me
how long you have loved him?"
"It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But
I believe I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds at
Another entreaty that she would be serious, however, produced the desired
effect; and she soon satisfied Jane by her solemn assurances of
attachment. When convinced on that article, Miss Bennet had nothing
further to wish.
"Now I am quite happy," said she, "for you will be as happy as myself. I
always had a value for him. Were it for nothing but his love of you, I
must always have esteemed him; but now, as Bingley's friend and your
husband, there can be only Bingley 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 <i>she</i>,
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 hated him?"
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 Mr. Darcy.
"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
"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
"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 <i>you</i>, 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 <i>you</i> 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 astonishment.
"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 <i>would</i> 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
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
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 <i>your</i> husband quite as well