小說:《傲慢與偏見》 第46章 (中英對照)

簡.奧斯汀
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              第 46 章

伊莉莎白到藍白屯的時候,因為沒有立即接到吉英的來信,感到非常失望;第二天早上又感到同樣的失望。可是到了第三天,她就再也不用焦慮了,再也不埋怨她的姐姐了,因為她這一天收到了姐姐兩封信,其中一封注明曾經送錯了地方。伊莉莎白並不覺得詫異,因為吉英確實把位址寫得很潦草。

  那兩封信送來的時候,他們剛剛要出去溜達;舅父母管自己走了,讓她一個人去靜靜地讀信。誤投過的那封信當然要先讀,那還是五天前寫的。信上先講了一些小規模的宴會和約會之類的事,又報導了一些鄉下的新聞;後一半卻報導了重要消息,而且注明是下一天寫的,顯見得寫信人提筆時心緒很亂。後半封內容如下:

  親愛的麗萃,寫了上半封信之後,發生了一件極其出人意料、極其嚴重的事;可是我又怕嚇壞了你。請放心吧,家裏人都好,我這裏要說的是關於可憐的麗迪雅的事。昨天晚上十二點鐘,我們正要睡覺和時候,突然接到弗斯脫上校一封快信,告訴我們說,麗迪雅跟他部下的一個軍官到蘇格蘭去了;老實說,就是跟韋翰私奔了!你想像我們當時多麼驚奇。不過吉蒂卻以為這件事並非完全出人意料。我真難受。這兩個男女就這樣冒冒失失地配成了一對!可是我還是願意從最好的方面去著想,希望別人都是誤解了他的人品。我固然認為他為人輕率冒昧,不過他這次的舉動未必就是存心不良(讓我們但願如此吧)。至少他選中這個物件不是為了有利可圖,因為他一定知道父親沒有一個錢給她。可憐的母親傷心得要命。父親總算還支持得住。謝天謝地,好在我們從來沒有讓他們老人家知道外界對他的議論。我們自己也不必把它放在心上。據大家猜想,他們大概是星期六晚上十二點鐘走的,但是一直到昨天早上八點鐘,才發現這兩個失了蹤。於是弗斯脫上校連忙寫信告訴我們。親愛的麗萃,他們所經過的地方離開我們一定不滿十英里。弗斯脫上校說,他一定立刻就到我們這裏來。麗迪雅留了一封短信給弗斯脫太太,把他們兩人的意圖告訴了她。我不得不停筆了,因為我不能離開母親太久。我怕你一定覺得莫明其妙吧,我自己也簡直不知道在寫些什麼。

  伊莉莎白讀完了這封信以後,幾乎說不出自己是怎樣的感覺,想也沒有想一下,便連忙抓起另一封信,迫不及待一拆開就看。這封信比第一封信遲寫一天。

  親愛的妹妹,你現在大概收到了我那封匆促草成的信了吧。我希望這封信會把問題說得明白些;不過,時間雖然並不是急促,我的頭腦卻糊裏糊塗,因此並不是擔保這封信一定會寫得有條有理。我的親麗萃,我簡直不知道該寫些什麼,但是我總得把壞消息報導給你,而且事不宜遲。儘管韋翰先生和我們可憐的麗迪雅的婚姻是多麼荒唐,可是我們卻巴不得聽到他們已經結婚的消息,因為我們非常擔心他們並沒有到蘇格蘭去。弗斯脫上校前天寄出那封快信以後,稍隔數小時即由白利屯出發到我們這兒來,已於昨日抵達此間。雖然麗迪雅給弗太太的那封短信裏說,他們倆要到格利那草場去,可是根據丹呢透露出來的口風,他相信韋決不打算到那兒去,也根本不打算跟麗迪雅結婚。弗上校一聽此話,大為駭異,便連忙從白出發,希望能追到他們。他一路追蹤覓跡,追到克拉普汗,這倒還不費什麼事,可是再往前追便不容易,因為他們兩人到達此地後,便把從艾普桑雇來的馬車打發走了,重新雇了出租馬車。以後的先蹤去跡便頗難打聽,只聽見有人說,看見他們繼續往倫敦那方面去。我不知道應該怎樣想法。弗上校在倫敦竭力仔細打聽了一番以後,便來到哈福德郡,在沿路的關卡上以及巴納特和帽場兩地所有的旅館裏,統統探尋了一遍,可是不得要領而返。大家都說沒有看見這樣的人走過。他無限關切地來到了浪搏恩,把他的種種疑慮全都誠心誠意地告訴了我們。我實在替他和弗太太難過;誰也不能怪他們夫婦倆。親愛的麗萃,我們真是痛苦到極點。父親和母親都以為,這事情的下場勢必糟透壞極,可是我卻不忍心把他看作那麼壞。也許為了種種關係,他們覺得在城裏私下結婚,比較合適,故未按照原來計畫進行;縱使他欺侮麗迪雅年幼無知,沒有顯親貴戚,因而對她存心不良,難道麗迪雅自己也會不顧一切嗎?這件事絕對不可能!不過,聽到弗上校不大相信他們倆會結婚,我又不免傷心。我把我的心願說給他聽,他只是頻頻搖頭,又說韋恐怕是個靠不住的人。可憐的媽真要病倒了,整天不出房門。要是她能勉強克制一下,事情也許要好些,可惜她無法辦到。講到父親,我一輩子也沒見過他這樣難受。可憐的吉蒂也很氣憤,她怪她自己沒有把他們倆的親密關係預先告訴家裏;但是他們倆既然信任她能夠保守秘密,我也不便怪她沒有早講。最親愛的麗萃,我真替你高興,這些痛苦的場面對你說來,真是眼不見為淨。不過,開頭一場驚險既已過去,我很希望你回來,你不會覺得我這是不合情理吧?如果你不方便,自然我也不會太自私,非要逼你回來不可。再見吧!剛剛才告訴過你,我不願意逼你回來,現在我又要拿起筆來逼你了,因為照目前情況看來,我不得不誠懇地請求你們盡可能快些回來。舅父母和我相知頗深,決不會見怪,我因此才大膽提出要求,而且我還有別的事要求舅父幫忙。父親馬上就要跟弗斯脫上校到倫敦去想辦法找她。他的具體打算我無從知道,可是看他那麼痛苦萬狀,就知道他辦起事來決不會十分穩妥,而弗斯脫上校明天晚上就得回白利屯。情況如此緊急,萬萬非請舅父前來協助指示不可。我相信他一定會體諒我此刻的心情,我相信他一定肯來幫忙。

  伊莉莎白讀完信以後,不禁失聲叫道:”舅父上哪兒去啦?”她連忙從椅子上跳起來急急去找尋舅父。時間太寶貴,一分鐘也不能錯過。她剛走到門口,恰逢傭人把門打開,達西先生走了進來。他看見她臉色蒼白,神情倉皇,不由得吃了一驚。他還沒有定下心來說一句話,她卻因為一心只想到麗迪雅的處境,卻連忙叫起來了:”對不起,不能奉陪。我有緊要的事要去找嘉丁納先生,一分鐘也不能耽擱。”

  他抑制不住一時的感情衝動,便也顧不得禮貌。大聲嚷道:”老天爺,這究竟是怎麼回事?”他讓自己定了一下心,然後接下去說:”我不願意耽擱你一分鐘;不過還是讓我去替你找嘉丁納先生夫婦吧,或是讓傭人去也好。你身體不好;你不能去。”

  伊莉莎白猶豫不定,但是她已經雙膝發抖,也覺得自己沒有辦法去找他們。她只得叫傭人來,打發他去把主人和主婦立刻找回來。她說話的時候上氣不接下氣,幾乎叫人家聽不清楚。

  傭人走出去以後,她便坐下來,達西見她身體已經支持不住,臉色非常難看,簡直不放心離開她,便用了一種溫柔體貼的聲調跟她說:”讓我把你的女傭人叫來吧。你能不能吃點東西,叫你自己好過一些?要我給你弄一杯酒嗎?你好象有病呢。”

  她竭力保持鎮靜,回答他道:”不要,謝謝你。我沒有什麼。我很好;只是剛剛從浪搏恩傳來了一個不幸的消息,使我很難受。”

  她說到這裏,不禁哭了起來,半天說不出一句話。達西一時摸不著頭腦,只得含含糊糊說了些慰問的話,默默無言地望著她,心裏很是同情。後來她便向他吐露實情:”我剛剛收到吉英一封信,告訴我一個非常不幸的消息,反正這也瞞不住任何人。告訴你,我那最小的妹妹丟了她所有的親友……私奔了……落入了韋翰先生的圈套。他們倆是從白利屯逃走的。你深知他的為人,下文也就不必提了。她沒錢沒勢,沒有任何地方足以使他要……麗迪雅一生完了。”

  達西給嚇呆了。伊莉莎白又用一種更激動的聲調接下去說:”我本來是可以阻止這一件事的!我知道他的真面目!我只要把那件事的一部分……我所聽到的一部分,早講給家裏人聽就好了,要是大家都知道了他的品格,就不會出這一場亂子了,但現在事已太遲。”

  達西叫道:”我真痛心,又痛心又驚嚇。但是這消息靠得住嗎,完全靠得住嗎?”

  ”當然靠得住!他們是星期日晚上從白利屯出奔的,人家追他們一直追到倫敦,可是無法再追下去。他們一定沒有去蘇格蘭。”

  ”那麼,有沒有想什麼辦法去找她呢?”

  ”我父親到倫敦去了,吉英寫信來,要舅父立刻回去幫忙,我希望我們在半個鐘頭之內就能動身。可是事情毫無辦法,我認為一定毫無辦法。這樣的一個人,有什麼辦法對付得了?又想得出什麼辦法去找他們?我實在不敢存一線的希望。想來想去真可怕。”

  達西搖搖頭,表示默認。

  ”我當初本已看穿了他的人品,只怪我一時缺乏果斷,沒有大著膽子去辦事。我只怕做得太過火,這真是千不該萬不該!”

  達西沒有回答。他好象完全沒有聽到她的話,只是在房間裏踱來踱去,煞費苦心地在深思默想。他雙眉緊蹙,滿臉憂愁。伊莉莎白立刻看到了他這副面容,而且隨即明白了他的心思。她對他的魔力一步步在消退了;家庭這樣不爭氣,招來了這樣的奇恥大辱,自然處處都會惹得人家一天比一天看不起。她絲毫不覺得詫異,也不怪別人。她即使姑且認為他願意委曲求全,也未必就會感到安慰,未必就會減輕痛苦。這反而足發使她愈加有自知之明。現在千恩萬愛都已落空,她倒第一次感覺到真心真意地愛他。

  她雖然難免想到自己,卻並不是完全只想到自己。只要一想到麗迪雅給大家帶來的恥辱和痛苦,她立刻就打消了一切的個人顧慮。她用一條手絹掩住了臉,便一切都不聞不問了。過了好一會兒,她聽到她朋友的聲音,這才神志清醒過來。只聽得達西說話的聲調裏滿含著同情,也帶著一些拘束;”我恐怕你早就希望我走開了吧,我實在沒有理由待在這兒,不過我無限地同情你,雖然這種同情無濟於事。天哪,我但願能夠說幾句什麼話,或是盡我一份力量,來安慰安慰你這樣深切的痛苦!可是我不願意說些空洞的漂亮話,讓你受罪,這樣做倒好象是我故意要討你的好。我恐怕這樁不幸的事,會使得你們今天不能到彭伯裏去看我妹妹了。”

  ”哦!是呀,請你替我們向達西小姐道個歉吧。就說我們有緊要的事,非立刻回家不可。請你把這一樁不幸的事盡可能多隱瞞一些時候。不過我也知道隱瞞不了多久。”

  他立刻答應替她保守秘密,又重新說他非常同情她的苦痛,希望這一件事會得到比較圓滿的結局,不至於象現在所想像的這樣糟糕,又請她代為問候她家裏人,然後鄭重地望了她一眼便告辭了。

  他一走出房門,伊莉莎白就不禁想到;這一次居然能和他在德比郡見面,而且好幾次見面都蒙他竭誠相待,這簡直是出人意料。她又回想了一下他們整個一段交情,真是矛盾百出,千變萬化,她以前曾經巴不得斷絕這一段交情,如今卻又希望能繼續下去,想到這種顛三倒四的地方,不由得歎了口氣。

  如果說,大凡一個人愛上一個人,都是因為先有了感激之心,器重之意,那麼,伊莉莎白這次感情的變化當然既合情理,又叫人無可非議。反而言之,世人有所謂一見傾心的場面,也有雙方未曾交談三言兩語就相互傾心的場面,如果說,由感激和器重產生的愛情,比起一見傾心的愛情來,就顯得不近人情事理,那我們當然就不能夠再袒護伊莉莎白,不過還有一點可以替她交待清楚一下;當初韋翰使他動心的時候,她也許多少就採用了另一種比較乏味的戀愛方式。這且不提,卻說她看見達西走了,真是十分惆悵;麗迪雅這次的醜行,一開頭就造成了這樣不良的後果,再想起這件糟糕的事,她心裏更加痛苦。自從她讀了吉英的第二封信以後,她再也不指望韋翰會存心和麗迪雅結婚了。她想,只有吉英會存這種希望,此外誰都不會。關於這件事的發展趨勢,她絲毫不覺得奇怪。當她唯讀到第一封信的時候,她的確覺得太奇怪,太驚訝……韋翰怎麼會跟這樣一個無利可圖的姑娘結婚?麗迪雅又怎麼會愛上他?實在叫人不可理解。可是現在看來,真是再自然也沒有了。象這一類的苟合,麗迪雅的風流嫵媚可能也就足夠了。

  她雖然並不以為麗迪雅會存心跟人家私奔頁不打算結婚,可是麗迪雅無論在品德方面或見識方面,的確都很欠缺,當然經不起人家勾引,這也是她意料中事。

  民兵團駐紮在哈福德郡的時候,她完全沒有看出麗迪雅對韋翰有什麼傾心的地方,可是她深深認識到麗迪雅只要隨便哪個人勾引一下就會上鉤。她今天喜歡這個軍官,明天又喜歡那個軍官,只要你對她獻殷勤,她就看得中你。她平常的情感極不專一,可是從來沒有缺少過談情說愛的物件。這只怪一向沒有家教,對她任意縱容,結果使這樣的一個姑娘落得這般下場。天哪!她現在實在體會得太深刻啦!

  她非回家不可了……要親自去聽聽清楚,看看明白,要趕快去給吉英分擔一份憂勞。家裏給弄得那麼糟,父親不在家,母親撐不起身,又隨時要人侍候,千斤重擔都壓在吉英一個人身上。關於麗迪雅的事,她雖然認為已經無法可想,可是她又認為舅父的幫助是極其重要的,她等他回來真等得萬分焦急。且說嘉丁納夫婦聽了僕人的話還以為是外甥女得了急病,便連忙慌慌張張趕回來。伊莉莎白見到他們,馬上說明並非得了急病,他們方才放心,她又連忙講清楚找他們回來的原因,把那兩封信讀出來,又氣急敗壞地念著第二封信後面補寫的那一段話。雖然舅父母平常並不喜愛麗迪雅,可是他們卻不得不感到深切的憂慮,因為這件事不單是牽涉到麗迪雅,而是對於大家都體面攸關。嘉丁納先生開頭大為駭異,連聲慨歎,然後便一口答應竭盡一切力量幫忙到底。伊莉莎白雖然並沒有覺得事出意外,可還是感激涕零。於是三個人協力同心,一刹那工夫就樣樣收拾妥貼,只等上路。他們要走得越快越好。”可是怎樣向彭伯裏交待呢?”嘉丁納太太大聲地說:”約翰跟我們說,當你在找我們的時候,達西先生正在這兒,這是真的嗎?”

  ”是真的;我已經告訴過他,我們不能赴約了。這件事算是交待清楚了。”

  ”這件事算是交待清楚了,”舅母一面重說了一遍,一面跑回房間去準備。”難道他們兩人的交情已經好到這步田地,她可以把事實真相都說給他聽了嗎?哎唷,我真想弄明白這究竟是怎麼回事!”

  可惜她這個願望落空了,最多不過在這匆匆忙忙、慌慌亂亂的一個鐘頭裏面,寬慰了一下她自己的心。縱使伊莉莎白能夠偷閒摸空跟她談談,在這種狼狽不堪的情況下,哪里還會有閒情逸致來談這種事,何況她也和她舅母一樣,有多少事情要料理;別的且不說,藍白屯所有的朋友們就得由她寫信去通知,執行捏造一些藉口,說明他們為什麼要突然離去。她在一小時以後,樣樣事情都已經料理妥貼,嘉丁納先生也和旅館裏算清了賬,只等動身。伊莉莎白苦悶了整整一個上午,想不到在極短的時間裏,居然坐上馬車,向浪搏恩出發了。

Chapter 46

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 spent there; but on the third, her repining was over, and her sister justified, by the receipt of two letters from her at once, on one of which was marked that it had been missent elsewhere. Elizabeth was not surprised at it, as Jane had written the direction remarkably ill.
They had just been preparing to walk as the letters came in; and her uncle and aunt, leaving her to enjoy them in quiet, set off by themselves. The one missent must be first attended to; it had been written five days ago. The beginning contained an account of all their little parties and engagements, with such news as the country afforded; but the latter half, which was dated a day later, and written in evident agitation, gave more important intelligence. It was to this effect:
“Since writing the above, dearest Lizzy, something has occurred of a most unexpected and serious nature; but I am afraid of alarming you — be assured that we are all well. What I have to say relates to poor Lydia. An express came at twelve last night, just as we were all gone to bed, from Colonel Forster, to inform us that she was gone off to Scotland with one of his officers; to own the truth, with Wickham! — Imagine our surprise. To Kitty, however, it does not seem so wholly unexpected. I am very, very sorry. So imprudent a match on both sides! — But I am willing to hope the best, and that his character has been misunderstood. Thoughtless and indiscreet I can easily believe him, but this step (and let us rejoice over it) marks nothing bad at heart. His choice is disinterested at least, for he must know my father can give her nothing. Our poor mother is sadly grieved. My father bears it better. How thankful am I, that we never let them know what has been said against him; we must forget it ourselves. They were off Saturday night about twelve, as is conjectured, but were not missed till yesterday morning at eight. The express was sent off directly. My dear Lizzy, they must have passed within ten miles of us. Colonel Forster gives us reason to expect him here soon. Lydia left a few lines for his wife, informing her of their intention. I must conclude, for I cannot be long from my poor mother. I am afraid you will not be able to make it out, but I hardly know what I have written.”
Without allowing herself time for consideration, and scarcely knowing what she felt, Elizabeth, on finishing this letter, instantly seized the other, and opening it with the utmost impatience, read as follows — it had been written a day later than the conclusion of the first:
“By this time, my dearest sister, you have received my hurried letter; I wish this may be more intelligible, but though not confined for time, my head is so bewildered that I cannot answer for being coherent. Dearest Lizzy, I hardly know what I would write, but I have bad news for you, and it cannot be delayed. Imprudent as a marriage between Mr. Wickham and our poor Lydia would be, we are now anxious to be assured it has taken place, for there is but too much reason to fear they are not gone to Scotland. Colonel Forster came yesterday, having left Brighton the day before, not many hours after the express. Though Lydia’s short letter to Mrs. F. gave them to understand that they were going to Gretna Green, something was dropped by Denny expressing his belief that W. never intended to go there, or to marry Lydia at all, which was repeated to Colonel F., who, instantly taking the alarm, set off from B. intending to trace their route. He did trace them easily to Clapham, but no farther; for on entering that place they removed into a hackney-coach and dismissed the chaise that brought them from Epsom. All that is known after this is that they were seen to continue the London road. I know not what to think. After making every possible enquiry on that side London, Colonel F. came on into Hertfordshire, anxiously renewing them at all the turnpikes, and at the inns in Barnet and Hatfield, but without any success; no such people had been seen to pass through. With the kindest concern he came on to Longbourn, and broke his apprehensions to us in a manner most creditable to his heart. I am sincerely grieved for him and Mrs. F., but no one can throw any blame on them. Our distress, my dear Lizzy, is very great. My father and mother believe the worst, but I cannot think so ill of him. Many circumstances might make it more eligible for them to be married privately in town than to pursue their first plan; and even if he could form such a design against a young woman of Lydia’s connections, which is not likely, can I suppose her so lost to every thing? — Impossible. I grieve to find, however, that Colonel F. is not disposed to depend upon their marriage; he shook his head when I expressed my hopes, and said he feared W. was not a man to be trusted. My poor mother is really ill and keeps her room. Could she exert herself it would be better, but this is not to be expected; and as to my father, I never in my life saw him so affected. Poor Kitty has anger for having concealed their attachment; but as it was a matter of confidence, one cannot wonder. I am truly glad, dearest Lizzy, that you have been spared something of these distressing scenes; but now, as the first shock is over, shall I own that I long for your return? I am not so selfish, however, as to press for it, if inconvenient. Adieu. I take up my pen again to do what I have just told you I would not, but circumstances are such, that I cannot help earnestly begging you all to come here as soon as possible. I know my dear uncle and aunt so well that I am not afraid of requesting it, though I have still something more to ask of the former. My father is going to London with Colonel Forster instantly, to try to discover her. What he means to do, I am sure I know not; but his excessive distress will not allow him to pursue any measure in the best and safest way, and Colonel Forster is obliged to be at Brighton again to-morrow evening. In such an exigence my uncle’s advice and assistance would be every thing in the world; he will immediately comprehend what I must feel, and I rely upon his goodness.”
“Oh! where, where is my uncle?” cried Elizabeth, darting from her seat as she finished the letter, in eagerness to follow him without losing a moment of the time so precious; but as she reached the door, it was opened by a servant, and Mr. Darcy appeared. Her pale face and impetuous manner made him start, and before he could recover himself enough to speak, she, in whose mind every idea was superseded by Lydia’s situation, hastily exclaimed, “I beg your pardon, but I must leave you. I must find Mr. Gardiner this moment, on business that cannot be delayed; I have not a moment to lose.”
“Good God! what is the matter?” cried he, with more feeling than politeness; then recollecting himself, “I will not detain you a minute, but let me, or let the servant, go after Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. You are not well enough; — you cannot go yourself.”
Elizabeth hesitated, but her knees trembled under her, and she felt how little would be gained by her attempting to pursue them. Calling back the servant, therefore, she commissioned him, though in so breathless an accent as made her almost unintelligible, to fetch his master and mistress home instantly.
On his quitting the room, she sat down, unable to support herself, and looking so miserably ill that it was impossible for Darcy to leave her, or to refrain from saying, in a tone of gentleness and commiseration, “Let me call your maid. Is there nothing you could take, to give you present relief? — A glass of wine; — shall I get you one? — You are very ill.”
“No, I thank you;” she replied, endeavouring to recover herself. “There is nothing the matter with me. I am quite well. I am only distressed by some dreadful news which I have just received from Longbourn.”
She burst into tears as she alluded to it, and for a few minutes could not speak another word. Darcy, in wretched suspense, could only say something indistinctly of his concern, and observe her in compassionate silence. At length, she spoke again. “I have just had a letter from Jane, with such dreadful news. It cannot be concealed from any one. My youngest sister has left all her friends — has eloped; — has thrown herself into the power of — of Mr. Wickham. They are gone off together from Brighton. You know him too well to doubt the rest. She has no money, no connections, nothing that can tempt him to — she is lost for ever.”
Darcy was fixed in astonishment. “When I consider,” she added, in a yet more agitated voice, “that I might have prevented it! — I who knew what he was. Had I but explained some part of it only — some part of what I learnt — to my own family! Had his character been known, this could not have happened. But it is all, all too late now.”
“I am grieved, indeed,” cried Darcy; “grieved — shocked. But is it certain, absolutely certain?”
“Oh yes! — They left Brighton together on Sunday night, and were traced almost to London, but not beyond; they are certainly not gone to Scotland.”
“And what has been done, what has been attempted, to recover her?”
“My father is gone to London, and Jane has written to beg my uncle’s immediate assistance, and we shall be off, I hope, in half an hour. But nothing can be done; I know very well that nothing can be done. How is such a man to be worked on? How are they even to be discovered? I have not the smallest hope. It is every way horrible!”
Darcy shook his head in silent acquiescence.
“When my eyes were opened to his real character. — Oh! had I known what I ought, what I dared, to do! But I knew not — I was afraid of doing too much. Wretched, wretched, mistake!”
Darcy made no answer. He seemed scarcely to hear her, and was walking up and down the room in earnest meditation; his brow contracted, his air gloomy. Elizabeth soon observed and instantly understood it. Her power was sinking; every thing must sink under such a proof of family weakness, such an assurance of the deepest disgrace. She should neither wonder nor condemn, but the belief of his self-conquest brought nothing consolatory to her bosom, afforded no palliation of her distress. It was, on the contrary, exactly calculated to make her understand her own wishes; and never had she so honestly felt that she could have loved him, as now, when all love must be vain.
But self, though it would intrude, could not engross her. Lydia — the humiliation, the misery, she was bringing on them all — soon swallowed up every private care; and covering her face with her handkerchief, Elizabeth was soon lost to every thing else; and, after a pause of several minutes, was only recalled to a sense of her situation by the voice of her companion, who, in a manner, which though it spoke compassion, spoke likewise restraint, said, “I am afraid you have been long desiring my absence, nor have I any thing to plead in excuse of my stay, but real, though unavailing, concern. Would to heaven that any thing could be either said or done on my part, that might offer consolation to such distress! — But I will not torment you with vain wishes, which may seem purposely to ask for your thanks. This unfortunate affair will, I fear, prevent my sister’s having the pleasure of seeing you at Pemberley to-day.”
“Oh, yes. Be so kind as to apologize for us to Miss Darcy. Say that urgent business calls us home immediately. Conceal the unhappy truth as long as it is possible. — I know it cannot be long.”
He readily assured her of his secrecy — again expressed his sorrow for her distress, wished it a happier conclusion than there was at present reason to hope, and, leaving his compliments for her relations, with only one serious, parting, look, went away.
As he quitted the room, Elizabeth felt how improbable it was that they should ever see each other again on such terms of cordiality as had marked their several meetings in Derbyshire; and as she threw a retrospective glance over the whole of their acquaintance, so full of contradictions and varieties, sighed at the perverseness of those feelings which would now have promoted its continuance, and would formerly have rejoiced in its termination.
If gratitude and esteem are good foundations of affection, Elizabeth’s change of sentiment will be neither improbable nor faulty. But if otherwise, if the regard springing from such sources is unreasonable or unnatural, in comparison of what is so often described as arising on a first interview with its object, and even before two words have been exchanged, nothing can be said in her defence, except that she had given somewhat of a trial to the latter method in her partiality for Wickham, and that its ill-success might perhaps authorise her to seek the other less interesting mode of attachment. Be that as it may, she saw him go with regret; and in this early example of what Lydia’s infamy must produce, found additional anguish as she reflected on that wretched business. Never, since reading Jane’s second letter, had she entertained a hope of Wickham’s meaning to marry her. No one but Jane, she thought, could flatter herself with such an expectation. Surprise was the least of her feelings on this developement. While the contents of the first letter remained on her mind, she was all surprise — all astonishment that Wickham should marry a girl whom it was impossible he could marry for money; and how Lydia could ever have attached him had appeared incomprehensible. But now it was all too natural. For such an attachment as this, she might have sufficient charms; and though she did not suppose Lydia to be deliberately engaging in an elopement, without the intention of marriage, she had no difficulty in believing that neither her virtue nor her understanding would preserve her from falling an easy prey.
She had never perceived, while the regiment was in Hertfordshire, that Lydia had any partiality for him, but she was convinced that Lydia had wanted only encouragement to attach herself to any body. Sometimes one officer, sometimes another had been her favourite, as their attentions raised them in her opinion. Her affections had been continually fluctuating, but never without an object. The mischief of neglect and mistaken indulgence towards such a girl. — Oh! how acutely did she now feel it.
She was wild to be at home — to hear, to see, to be upon the spot, to share with Jane in the cares that must now fall wholly upon her, in a family so deranged; a father absent, a mother incapable of exertion and requiring constant attendance; and though almost persuaded that nothing could be done for Lydia, her uncle’s interference seemed of the utmost importance, and till he entered the room, the misery of her impatience was severe. Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner had hurried back in alarm, supposing, by the servant’s account, that their niece was taken suddenly ill; — but satisfying them instantly on that head, she eagerly communicated the cause of their summons, reading the two letters aloud, and dwelling on the postscript of the last with trembling energy. — Though Lydia had never been a favourite with them, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner could not but be deeply affected. Not Lydia only, but all were concerned in it; and after the first exclamations of surprise and horror, Mr. Gardiner readily promised every assistance in his power. — Elizabeth, though expecting no less, thanked him with tears of gratitude; and all three being actuated by one spirit, every thing relating to their journey was speedily settled. They were to be off as soon as possible. “But what is to be done about Pemberley?” cried Mrs. Gardiner. “John told us Mr. Darcy was here when you sent for us; — was it so?”
“Yes; and I told him we should not be able to keep our engagement. That is all settled.”
“That is all settled!” repeated the other, as she ran into her room to prepare. “And are they upon such terms as for her to disclose the real truth! Oh, that I knew how it was!”
But wishes were vain; or at best could serve only to amuse her in the hurry and confusion of the following hour. Had Elizabeth been at leisure to be idle, she would have remained certain that all employment was impossible to one so wretched as herself; but she had her share of business as well as her aunt, and amongst the rest there were notes to be written to all their friends in Lambton, with false excuses for their sudden departure. An hour, however, saw the whole completed; and Mr. Gardiner meanwhile having settled his account at the inn, nothing remained to be done but to go; and Elizabeth, after all the misery of the morning, found herself, in a shorter space of time than she could have supposed, seated in the carriage, and on the road to Longbourn.

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  •     第 45 章

    伊莉莎白現在認為,彬格萊小姐所以一向厭惡她,原因不外乎和她吃醋。她既然有了這種想法,便不禁覺得這次到彭伯裏去,彬格萊小姐一定不會歡迎她;儘管如此,她倒想看看這一次舊雨重逢,那位小姐是否會多少顧全一些大體。

  • 第 44 章

    伊莉莎白料定達西先生的妹妹一到彭伯裏,達西先生隔天就會帶著她來拜訪她,因此決定那天整個上午都不離開旅館,至多在附近走走。

  • 第 43 章 (下)

    他們只相隔二十碼路光景,他這樣突然出現,叫人家簡直來不及躲避。頃刻之間,四隻眼睛碰在一起,兩個人臉上都漲得血紅。只見主人吃驚非凡,竟楞在那兒一動不動,但是他立刻定了一定心,走到他們面前來,跟伊莉莎白說話,語氣之間即使不能算是十分鎮靜,至少十分有禮貌。

  • 第 43 章 (上)

    他們坐著車子一直向前去。彭伯裏的樹林一出現在眼前,伊莉莎白就有些心慌;等到走進了莊園,她更加心神不定。

  •   第 42 章

    倘若叫伊莉莎白根據她自己家庭的情形,來說一說什麼叫做婚姻的幸福,什麼叫做家庭的樂趣,那她一定說不出好話來。她父親當年就因為貪戀青春美貌,為的是青春美貌往往會給人帶來很大的情趣,因此娶了這樣一個智力貧乏而又小心眼兒的女人,結婚不久,他對太太的深摯的情意便完結了。夫婦之間的互敬互愛和推心置腹,都永遠消失得無影無蹤;他對於家庭幸福的理想也完全給推翻了。換了別的人,凡是因為自己的冒失而招來了不幸,往往會用荒唐或是不正當的佚樂來安慰自己,可是班納特先生卻不喜歡這一套。他喜愛鄉村景色,喜愛讀書自娛,這就是他最大的樂趣。說到他的太太,除了她的無知和愚蠢倒可以供他開心作樂之外,他對她就再沒有別的恩情了。一般男人照理總不希望在妻子身上找這一種樂趣,可是大智大慧的人既然沒有本領去找別的玩藝兒,當然只好聽天由命。

  •    第 41 章

    她們回得家來,眨下眼睛就過了一個星期,現在已經開始過第二個星期。過了這個星期,駐紮在麥裏屯的那個民兵團就要開拔了,附近的年輕小姐們立刻一個個垂頭喪氣起來。幾乎處處都是心灰意冷的氣象。只有班納特家的兩位大小姐照常飲食起居,照常各幹各的事。可是吉蒂和麗迪雅已經傷心到極點,便不由得常常責備兩位姐姐冷淡無情。她們真不明白,家裏怎麼竟會有這樣沒有心肝的人!

  • 第 40 章

    伊莉莎白非把那樁事告訴吉英不可了,再也忍耐不住了。於是她決定把牽涉到姐姐的地方,都一概不提,第二天上午就把達西先生跟她求婚的那一幕,揀主要情節說了出來,她料定吉英聽了以後,一定會感到詫異。

  •  第 39 章

    五月已經到了第二個星期,三位年輕小姐一塊兒從天恩寺街出發,到哈德福郡的某某鎮去,班納特先生事先就跟她們約定了一個小客店,打發了馬車在那兒接她們,剛一到那兒,她們就看到吉蒂和麗迪雅從樓上的餐室裏望著她們,這表明車夫已經準時到了。這兩位姑娘已經在那兒待了一個多鐘頭,高高興興地光顧過對面的一家帽子店,看了看站崗的哨兵,又調製了一些胡瓜沙拉。

  • 【大紀元3月6日報導】(中央社記者顏伶如舊金山五日專電)奧斯卡最佳電影配樂今晚由「斷背山」贏得,擊敗了「傲慢與偏見」、「藝伎回憶錄」等片。「斷背山」這次入圍奧斯卡八個獎項。
  •   第 38 章

    星期六吃過早飯時,伊莉莎白和柯林斯先生在飯廳裏相遇,原來他們比別人早來了幾分鐘。柯林斯先生連忙利用這個機會向她鄭重話別,他認為這是決不可少的禮貌。

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