小說:《傲慢與偏見》 第53章 (中英對照)

簡.奧斯汀
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              第 53 章

韋翰先生對於這場談話完全感到滿意,從此他便不再提起這件事,免得自尋苦惱,也免得惹他親愛的大姨伊莉莎白生氣;伊莉莎白見他居然給說得不再開口,也覺得很高興。

  轉眼之間,他和麗迪雅的行期來到了,班納特太太不得不和他們分離,而且至少要分別一年,因為班納特先生堅決不贊同她的計畫,不肯讓全家都搬到紐卡斯去。

  她哭了:”哦,我的麗迪雅寶貝,我們到哪一天才能見面呢?”

  ”天哪!我也不知道。也可能兩年三年見不著面。”

  ”常常寫信給我吧,好孩子。”

  ”我一定常常寫信來。可是你知道,結了婚的女人是沒有什麼工夫寫信的。姐妹們倒可以常常寫信給我,反正她們無事可做。”

  韋翰先生一聲聲的再見比他太太叫得親切得多。他笑容滿面,儀態萬方,又說了多少漂亮話。

  他們一走出門,班納特先生就說:”他是我生平所看到的最漂亮的一個人。他既會假笑,又會癡笑,又會跟大家調笑。我真為他感到莫大的驕傲。我敢說,連盧卡斯爵士也未必拿得出一個更名貴的女婿。”

  女兒走了以後,班納特太太鬱悶了好多天。

  她說:”我常常想,同自己的親人離別,真是再難受不過的事;他們走了,我好象失去了歸宿。”

  伊莉莎白說:”媽媽,你要明白,這就是嫁女兒的下場,好在你另外四個女兒還沒有人要,一定會叫你好受些。”

  ”完全不是那麼回事。麗迪雅並不是因為結了婚而要離開我,而是因為她丈夫的部隊湊巧駐紮提那麼遠。要是近一點,她就用不到走得這樣快了。”

  且說這事雖然使班納特太太精神頹喪,不過沒有過多久也就好了,因為這時候外界正流傳著一件新聞,使她的精神又振作起來。原來風聞尼日斐花園的主人一兩天內就要回到鄉下來,打幾個星期的獵,他的管家奶奶正在奉命收拾一切。班納特太太聽到這消息,簡直坐立不安。她一會兒望望吉英,一會兒笑笑,一會兒搖搖頭。

  ”好極了,彬格萊先生居然要來了,妹妹”(因為第一個告訴她這消息的正是腓力普太太。)”好極了,實在太好了。不過我倒並不在乎。你知道,我們一點也不把他放在心上,我的確再也不想見到他了。不過,他既然願意回到尼日斐花園來,我們自然還是歡迎他。誰知道會怎麼樣呢?反正與我們無關。你知道,妹妹,我們早就講好,再也不提這件事。他真的會來嗎?”

  她的妹妹說:”你放心好了,尼可斯奶奶昨兒晚上去過麥裏屯。我親眼看見她走過,便特地跑出去向她打聽,是不是真有這回事;她告訴我說,的確真有這回事。他最遲星期四就會來,很可能星期三就來。她又說,她正要上肉鋪子去定點兒肉,準備星期三做菜,她還有六隻鴨子,已經可以宰了吃。”

  班納特小姐聽到他要來,不禁變了臉色。她已經有好幾個月沒有在伊莉莎白面前提起過他的名字;可是這一次等到只有她們姐妹兩人在一起的時候,她就說道:

  ”麗萃,今天姨母告訴我這個消息的時候,我看到你直望著我,我知道我當時神色很難看;可是人千萬別以為是為了這一類的傻事,只不過當時我覺得大家都在盯著我看所以一時之間有些心亂。老實告訴你,這個消息既不使我感到愉快,也不使我感到痛苦。只有一點使我感到高興……這次他是一個人來的,因此我們看到他的機會就會比較少。我本身並沒有什麼顧慮,而是怕別人閒言閒語。”

  伊莉莎白對這件事不知道怎麼想才好。如果她上次沒有在德比郡見到他,她也許會以為他此來並非別有用心。可是她依舊認為他對吉英未能忘情。這次他究竟是得到了他朋友的允許才來的呢,還是他自己大膽跑來的?這實在叫她無從斷定。

  她有時候不由得這麼想:”這可憐的人,回到自己租定的房子裏來,卻引起人家這樣的紛紛猜測,想起來著實令人難受。我也別去管他吧。”

  不管她姐姐嘴上怎麼說,心裏怎麼想,是否盼望他來,伊莉莎白卻很容易看出了她姐姐精神上受到了影響,比從前更加心魂不定,神色不安。

  大約在一年以前,父母曾經熱烈地爭論過這個問題,如今又要舊事重提了。

  班納特太太又對她丈夫說:”我的好老爺,彬格萊先生一一,你一定要去拜訪他呀。”

  ”不去,不去,去年你硬逼著我去看他,說什麼只要我去看了他,他就會挑中我們的某一個女兒做太太,可是結果只落得一場空,我再也不幹這種傻事了。”

  他太太又說,那位貴人一回到尼日斐花園,鄰居們都少不了要去拜候他。

  他說:”我恨透了這一類的禮節,要是他想跟我們來往,讓他自己找上門來好了。他又不是不知道我們的住址。鄰居們每次來來去去,都得要我來迎送,我可沒有這種功夫。”

  ”唔,你不去拜訪他,那就是太不知禮。不過,我還是可以請他到這兒來吃飯,我已經決定要請他來。我們本當早些請郎格太太和戈丁一家人來,加上我們自己家裏的人,一共是十三個,所以正好留個位子給他。”

  她決定了這麼做,心裏就覺得快慰了些,因此丈夫的無理也就叫她好受了些;然而,這樣一來,結果就會使鄰居們比他們先看到彬格萊先生。他來的日子迫近了。

  吉英對她妹妹說:”我現在反而覺得他還是不要來的好,其實也無所謂;我見到他也可以裝得若無其事;只是聽到人家老是談起這件事,我實在有些受不了。媽媽是一片好心,可是她不知道(誰也不知道)她那些話使我多麼難受。但願他不要在尼日斐花園再住下去,我就滿意了!”

  伊莉莎白說:”我真想說幾句話安慰安慰你,可惜一句也說不出。你一定明白我的意思。我不願意象一般人那樣,看到人家難受,偏偏勸人家有耐性……─因為你一向就有極大的耐性。”

  彬格萊先生終於來了。班納特太太多虧了傭人們加以協助,獲得消息最早,因此煩神也煩得最久。既然及早去拜望他的計畫已告失望,她便屈指計算著日子,看看還得再隔多少天才能送請貼。幸虧他來到哈福德郡的第三天,班納特太太便從化粧室的視窗看見他騎著馬走進圍場,朝她家裏走來。

  她喜出望外,急急忙忙喚女兒們來分享她這種愉快。吉英毅然決然地坐在桌位上不動。伊莉莎白為了叫她母親滿意,便走到視窗望了一望,只見達西先生跟他一同來了,於是她便走回去坐在姐姐身旁。

  吉蒂說:”媽媽,另外還有位先生跟他一起來了呢,那是誰呀?”

  ”我想總不外乎是他朋友什麼的,寶貝,我的確不知道。”

  ”瞧!”吉蒂又說。”活像以前跟他在一起的那個人。記不起他的名字了,就是那個非常傲慢的高個兒呀。”

  ”天哪,原來是達西先生!准定是的。老實說,只要是彬格萊先生的朋友,這兒總是歡迎的;要不然,我一見到這個人就討厭。”

  吉英極其驚奇、極其關心地望著伊莉莎白。她完全不知道妹妹在德比郡跟達西會面的事,因此覺得妹妹自從收到他那封解釋的信以後,這回第一次跟他見面,一定會覺得很窘。姐妹倆都不十分好受。她們彼此體貼,各有隱衷。母親依舊在嘮叨不休,說她頗不喜歡達西先生,只因為看他究竟還是彬格萊先生的朋友,所以才客客氣氣地接待他一番。這些話姐妹倆都沒有聽見。其實伊莉莎白心神不安,的確還另有原因,這是吉英所不知道的。伊莉莎白始終沒有勇氣把嘉丁納太太那封信拿給吉英看,也沒有勇氣向吉英敍述她對他感情變化的經過。吉英只知道他向她求婚,被她拒絕過,她還低估過他的長處,殊不知伊莉莎白的隱衷絕不僅如此而已,她認為他對她們全家都有莫大的恩典,她因此對他另眼看待。她對他的情意即使抵不上吉英對彬格萊那樣深切,至少也像吉英對待彬格萊一樣地合情合理,恰到好處。達西這次回到尼日斐花園,並且自動到浪搏恩來重新找她,確實使她感到驚奇,幾乎像她上次在德比郡見他作風大變時一樣地感到驚奇。

  時間已經隔了這麼久,而他的情意,他的心願,竟始終不渝;一想到這裏,她那蒼白的臉便重新恢復了血色,而且顯得更加鮮豔,她不禁喜歡得笑顏逐開,雙目放光。可是她畢竟還是放心不下。

  她想:”讓我先看看他的舉止行動如何,然後再存指望還不遲。”

  她坐在那兒專心做針線,竭力裝得鎮靜,連眼睛也不抬起來一下,等到傭人走近房門,她才性急起來,抬起頭來望望姐姐的臉色,見吉英比平常稍微蒼白了一些,可是她的端莊持重,頗出伊莉莎白的意料。兩位貴客到來的時候,她的臉漲紅了;不過她還是從容不迫、落落大方地接待他們,既沒有顯露一絲半點怨恨的形跡,也並不做得過分殷勤。

  伊莉莎白沒有跟他們兩人攀談什麼,只不過為了顧全禮貌,照例敷衍了幾句,便重新坐下來做針線,而且做得特別起勁。她只是大膽地瞟了達西一眼,只見他神色象往常一樣嚴肅,不象在彭伯裏時的那副神氣,而是象他在哈福德郡時的那副神氣。這也許是因為他在她母親面前,不能像在她舅父母面前那樣不拘禮節。她這種揣測固然是煞費苦心,但也未必不近情理。

  她也望了彬格萊一眼,立即就看出他又是高興,又是忸怩不安。班納特太太待他那樣禮貌周到,而對他那位朋友,卻是勉強敷衍,十分冷淡,相比之下,使他兩個女兒覺得很是過意不去。

  其實她母親對待這兩位貴客完全是輕重倒置,因為她心愛的一個女兒多虧了達西先生的搭救,才能免於身敗名裂,伊莉莎白對這事的經過知道得極其詳細,所以特別覺得難受。

  達西向伊莉莎白問起了嘉丁納夫婦,伊莉莎白回答起來不免有些慌張。以後達西便沒有再說什麼。他所以沉默寡言,也許是因為他沒有坐在她身邊的緣故,不過上次在德比郡,他卻不是這樣。記得上次他每逢不便跟她自己說話的時候,就跟她細父母說話,可是這一次,卻接連好幾分鐘不聽見他開口。她再也抑制不住好奇心了,便抬起頭來望望他的臉,只見他不時地看著吉英和她自己,大部分時間又總是對著地面發呆。可見得這一次比起他們倆上次見面的時候,他心思比較重,卻不象上次那樣急於搏得人家的好感。她感到失望,同時又怪自己不應該失望。

  她想:”怎麼料得到他竟是這樣?那他何必要來?”

  除了他以外,她沒有興致跟別人談話,可是她又沒有勇氣向他開口。

  她向他問候他的妹妹,問過以後,又是無話可說。

  只聽得班納特太太說:”彬格萊先生,你走了好久啦。”

  彬格萊先生連忙說,的確有好久了。

  ”我開頭還擔心你一去不回。人們都說,你打算一到米迦勒節,就把房子退租,我但願不會如此。自從你走了以後,這帶發生了好多事情。盧卡斯小姐結婚了,有了歸宿了,我自己一個女兒也出了嫁。我想你已經聽到過這件事,你一定在報紙上看到了吧。我知道《泰晤士報》和《快報》上都有消息,不過寫得不成體統。那上面只說:’喬治韋翰先生將于最近與班納特小姐結婚,’關於她的父親,她住的地方,以及諸如此類的事,一個也沒有提到。這是我弟弟嘉丁納擬的稿,我不懂他怎麼會做得這樣糟糕。你看到了嗎?”

  彬格萊說他看到了,又向她道賀。伊莉莎白連眼睛也不敢抬起來,因此也不知道達西先生此刻的表情如何。

  班納特太太接下去說:”的確,順利地嫁出了一個女兒,真是樁開心的事,可是,彬格萊先生,她離開了我身邊,我又覺得難受。他們到紐卡斯爾去了,在很遠的北方,他們去了以後也不知道多晚才能回來。他的部隊在那兒。他已經脫離了某某民兵團,加入了正規軍,你大概也知道吧。謝天謝地!他總算也有幾個朋友,不過他還得再多幾個才好呢。”

  伊莉莎白知道她這話是有意說給達西先生聽的,真是難為情要命,幾乎坐也坐不住了。不過這番話倒是比什麼都有效用,使她能夠勉為其難地跟客人攀談起來。她開始向彬格萊是否打算暫時在鄉下小住,他說,要住幾個星期。

  她母親說:”彬格萊先生,等你把你自己莊園裏的鳥兒打完以後,請到班納特先生的莊園裏來,你愛打多少就打多少。我相信他一定非常樂意讓你來,而且會把最好的鷓鴣都留給你。”

  伊莉莎白聽她母親這樣廢話連篇,討好賣乖,越發覺得難受。想起了一年以前,她們曾經滿懷希望,沾沾自喜,如今雖然眼見得又是好事在即,然而只消一轉眼的工夫,便會萬事落空,徒感懊喪。她只覺得無論是吉英也好,她自己也好,即使今後能夠終身幸福,也補償不了這幾分鐘的苦痛難堪。

  她心裏想:”我只希望今後永遠不要跟他們來往。跟他們做朋友雖然能夠獲得愉快,可是實在抵償不了這種難堪的局面。但願再也不要見到他們!”

  不過話說回來,雖然終身幸福也抵償不了眼前的痛苦,可是不到幾分鐘工夫,她看到姐姐的美貌又打動了她先前那位情人的心,於是她的痛苦便大大減輕了。彬格萊剛進來的時候,簡直不大跟吉英說話,可是不久便越來越殷勤。他發覺吉英還是像去年一樣漂亮,性格溫順,態度自然,只是不像去年那麼愛說話。吉英一心只希望人家看不出她跟從前有什麼兩樣,她自以為她依舊像從前一樣健談。其實她是心事太重,因此有時候沉默起來,連她自己也沒有覺察到。

  班納特太太早就打算向貴客稍獻殷勤,當他們告辭的時候,她記起了這件事,便立刻邀請他們過幾天到浪搏恩來吃飯。

  於是她便說道:”彬格萊先生,你還欠我一次回拜呢,你去年冬天上城裏去的時候,答應一回來就上我們這兒來吃頓便飯。你要知道,我一直把這事擺在心上,你卻一直沒有回來赴約,真使我大失所望。”

  提起這件事來,彬格萊不禁呆了半天,後來才說,因為有事情耽擱了,極為抱歉。然後兩人便告辭而去。

  班納特太太本來一心一意打算當天就請他們吃飯,然而她又想到,家像平常的飯菜雖然也很不錯,可是人家是個有身份的人,每年的收入在一萬鎊之多,她既然對人家寄存著那麼深切的希望,那麼,不添兩道正菜,怎麼好意思呢?

Chapter 53

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 find that she had said enough to keep him quiet.
The day of his and Lydia’s departure soon came, and Mrs. Bennet was forced to submit to a separation, which, as her husband by no means entered into her scheme of their all going to Newcastle, was likely to continue at least a twelvemonth.
“Oh! my dear Lydia,” she cried, “when shall we meet again?”
“Oh, lord! I don’t know. Not these two or three years, perhaps.”
“Write to me very often, my dear.”
“As often as I can. But you know married women have never much time for writing. My sisters may write to me. They will have nothing else to do.”
Mr. Wickham’s adieus were much more affectionate than his wife’s. He smiled, looked handsome, and said many pretty things.
“He is as fine a fellow,” said Mr. Bennet, as soon as they were out of the house, “as ever I saw. He simpers, and smirks, and makes love to us all. I am prodigiously proud of him. I defy even Sir William Lucas himself to produce a more valuable son-in-law.”
The loss of her daughter made Mrs. Bennet very dull for several days.
“I often think,” said she, “that there is nothing so bad as parting with one’s friends. One seems so forlorn without them.”
“This is the consequence, you see, Madam, of marrying a daughter,” said Elizabeth. “It must make you better satisfied that your other four are single.”
“It is no such thing. Lydia does not leave me because she is married, but only because her husband’s regiment happens to be so far off. If that had been nearer, she would not have gone so soon.”
But the spiritless condition which this event threw her into was shortly relieved, and her mind opened again to the agitation of hope, by an article of news which then began to be in circulation. The housekeeper at Netherfield had received orders to prepare for the arrival of her master, who was coming down in a day or two, to shoot there for several weeks. Mrs. Bennet was quite in the fidgets. She looked at Jane, and smiled and shook her head by turns.
“Well, well, and so Mr. Bingley is coming down, sister,” (for Mrs. Phillips first brought her the news). “Well, so much the better. Not that I care about it, though. He is nothing to us, you know, and I am sure I never want to see him again. But, however, he is very welcome to come to Netherfield, if he likes it. And who knows what may happen? But that is nothing to us. You know, sister, we agreed long ago never to mention a word about it. And so, is it quite certain he is coming?”
“You may depend on it,” replied the other, “for Mrs. Nicholls was in Meryton last night; I saw her passing by, and went out myself on purpose to know the truth of it; and she told me that it was certain true. He comes down on Thursday at the latest, very likely on Wednesday. She was going to the butcher’s, she told me, on purpose to order in some meat on Wednesday, and she has got three couple of ducks just fit to be killed.”
Miss Bennet had not been able to hear of his coming without changing colour. It was many months since she had mentioned his name to Elizabeth; but now, as soon as they were alone together, she said,
“I saw you look at me to-day, Lizzy, when my aunt told us of the present report; and I know I appeared distressed. But don’t imagine it was from any silly cause. I was only confused for the moment, because I felt that I should be looked at. I do assure you that the news does not affect me either with pleasure or pain. I am glad of one thing, that he comes alone; because we shall see the less of him. Not that I am afraid of myself, but I dread other people’s remarks.”
Elizabeth did not know what to make of it. Had she not seen him in Derbyshire, she might have supposed him capable of coming there with no other view than what was acknowledged; but she still thought him partial to Jane, and she wavered as to the greater probability of his coming there with his friend’s permission, or being bold enough to come without it.
“Yet it is hard,” she sometimes thought, “that this poor man cannot come to a house which he has legally hired, without raising all this speculation! I will leave him to himself.”
In spite of what her sister declared, and really believed to be her feelings in the expectation of his arrival, Elizabeth could easily perceive that her spirits were affected by it. They were more disturbed, more unequal, than she had often seen them.
The subject which had been so warmly canvassed between their parents, about a twelvemonth ago, was now brought forward again.
“As soon as ever Mr. Bingley comes, my dear,” said Mrs. Bennet, “you will wait on him of course.”
“No, no. You forced me into visiting him last year, and promised, if I went to see him, he should marry one of my daughters. But it ended in nothing, and I will not be sent on a fool’s errand again.”
His wife represented to him how absolutely necessary such an attention would be from all the neighbouring gentlemen, on his returning to Netherfield.
“‘Tis an etiquette I despise,” said he. “If he wants our society, let him seek it. He knows where we live. I will not spend my hours in running after my neighbours every time they go away and come back again.”
“Well, all I know is, that it will be abominably rude if you do not wait on him. But, however, that shan’t prevent my asking him to dine here, I am determined. We must have Mrs. Long and the Gouldings soon. That will make thirteen with ourselves, so there will be just room at table for him.”
Consoled by this resolution, she was the better able to bear her husband’s incivility; though it was very mortifying to know that her neighbours might all see Mr. Bingley, in consequence of it, before they did. As the day of his arrival drew near,
“I begin to be sorry that he comes at all,” said Jane to her sister. “It would be nothing; I could see him with perfect indifference, but I can hardly bear to hear it thus perpetually talked of. My mother means well; but she does not know, no one can know, how much I suffer from what she says. Happy shall I be, when his stay at Netherfield is over!”
“I wish I could say any thing to comfort you,” replied Elizabeth; “but it is wholly out of my power. You must feel it; and the usual satisfaction of preaching patience to a sufferer is denied me, because you have always so much.”
Mr. Bingley arrived. Mrs. Bennet, through the assistance of servants, contrived to have the earliest tidings of it, that the period of anxiety and fretfulness on her side might be as long as it could. She counted the days that must intervene before their invitation could be sent; hopeless of seeing him before. But on the third morning after his arrival in Hertfordshire, she saw him, from her dressing-room window, enter the paddock and ride towards the house.
Her daughters were eagerly called to partake of her joy. Jane resolutely kept her place at the table; but Elizabeth, to satisfy her mother, went to the window — she looked, — she saw Mr. Darcy with him, and sat down again by her sister.
“There is a gentleman with him, mamma,” said Kitty; “who can it be?”
“Some acquaintance or other, my dear, I suppose; I am sure I do not know.”
“La!” replied Kitty, “it looks just like that man that used to be with him before. Mr. what’s-his-name. That tall, proud man.”
“Good gracious! Mr. Darcy! — and so it does, I vow. Well, any friend of Mr. Bingley’s will always be welcome here, to be sure; but else I must say that I hate the very sight of him.”
Jane looked at Elizabeth with surprise and concern. She knew but little of their meeting in Derbyshire, and therefore felt for the awkwardness which must attend her sister, in seeing him almost for the first time after receiving his explanatory letter. Both sisters were uncomfortable enough. Each felt for the other, and of course for themselves; and their mother talked on, of her dislike of Mr. Darcy, and her resolution to be civil to him only as Mr. Bingley’s friend, without being heard by either of them. But Elizabeth had sources of uneasiness which could not be suspected by Jane, to whom she had never yet had courage to shew Mrs. Gardiner’s letter, or to relate her own change of sentiment towards him. To Jane, he could be only a man whose proposals she had refused, and whose merit she had undervalued; but to her own more extensive information, he was the person to whom the whole family were indebted for the first of benefits, and whom she regarded herself with an interest, if not quite so tender, at least as reasonable and just as what Jane felt for Bingley. Her astonishment at his coming — at his coming to Netherfield, to Longbourn, and voluntarily seeking her again, was almost equal to what she had known on first witnessing his altered behaviour in Derbyshire.
The colour which had been driven from her face, returned for half a minute with an additional glow, and a smile of delight added lustre to her eyes, as she thought for that space of time that his affection and wishes must still be unshaken. But she would not be secure.
“Let me first see how he behaves,” said she; “it will then be early enough for expectation.”
She sat intently at work, striving to be composed, and without daring to lift up her eyes, till anxious curiosity carried them to the face of her sister as the servant was approaching the door. Jane looked a little paler than usual, but more sedate than Elizabeth had expected. On the gentlemen’s appearing, her colour increased; yet she received them with tolerable ease, and with a propriety of behaviour equally free from any symptom of resentment or any unnecessary complaisance.
Elizabeth said as little to either as civility would allow, and sat down again to her work, with an eagerness which it did not often command. She had ventured only one glance at Darcy. He looked serious, as usual; and, she thought, more as he had been used to look in Hertfordshire, than as she had seen him at Pemberley. But, perhaps he could not in her mother’s presence be what he was before her uncle and aunt. It was a painful, but not an improbable, conjecture.
Bingley, she had likewise seen for an instant, and in that short period saw him looking both pleased and embarrassed. He was received by Mrs. Bennet with a degree of civility which made her two daughters ashamed, especially when contrasted with the cold and ceremonious politeness of her curtsey and address to his friend.
Elizabeth, particularly, who knew that her mother owed to the latter the preservation of her favourite daughter from irremediable infamy, was hurt and distressed to a most painful degree by a distinction so ill applied.
Darcy, after enquiring of her how Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner did, a question which she could not answer without confusion, said scarcely any thing. He was not seated by her; perhaps that was the reason of his silence; but it had not been so in Derbyshire. There he had talked to her friends, when he could not to herself. But now several minutes elapsed without bringing the sound of his voice; and when occasionally, unable to resist the impulse of curiosity, she raised he eyes to his face, she as often found him looking at Jane as at herself, and frequently on no object but the ground. More thoughtfulness and less anxiety to please, than when they last met, were plainly expressed. She was disappointed, and angry with herself for being so.
“Could I expect it to be otherwise!” said she. “Yet why did he come?”
She was in no humour for conversation with any one but himself; and to him she had hardly courage to speak.
She enquired after his sister, but could do no more.
“It is a long time, Mr. Bingley, since you went away,” said Mrs. Bennet.
He readily agreed to it.
“I began to be afraid you would never come back again. People did say you meant to quit the place entirely at Michaelmas; but, however, I hope it is not true. A great many changes have happened in the neighbourhood, since you went away. Miss Lucas is married and settled. And one of my own daughters. I suppose you have heard of it; indeed, you must have seen it in the papers. It was in the Times and the Courier, I know; though it was not put in as it ought to be. It was only said, “Lately, George Wickham, Esq. to Miss Lydia Bennet,” without there being a syllable said of her father, or the place where she lived, or any thing. It was my brother Gardiner’s drawing up too, and I wonder how he came to make such an awkward business of it. Did you see it?”
Bingley replied that he did, and made his congratulations. Elizabeth dared not lift up her eyes. How Mr. Darcy looked, therefore, she could not tell.
“It is a delightful thing, to be sure, to have a daughter well married,” continued her mother, “but at the same time, Mr. Bingley, it is very hard to have her taken such a way from me. They are gone down to Newcastle, a place quite northward, it seems, and there they are to stay I do not know how long. His regiment is there; for I suppose you have heard of his leaving the —-shire, and of his being gone into the regulars. Thank Heaven! he has some friends, though perhaps not so many as he deserves.”
Elizabeth, who knew this to be levelled at Mr. Darcy, was in such misery of shame, that she could hardly keep her seat. It drew from her, however, the exertion of speaking, which nothing else had so effectually done before; and she asked Bingley whether he meant to make any stay in the country at present. A few weeks, he believed.
“When you have killed all your own birds, Mr. Bingley,” said her mother, “I beg you will come here, and shoot as many as you please on Mr. Bennet’s manor. I am sure he will be vastly happy to oblige you, and will save all the best of the covies for you.”
Elizabeth’s misery increased, at such unnecessary, such officious attention! Were the same fair prospect to arise at present as had flattered them a year ago, every thing, she was persuaded, would be hastening to the same vexatious conclusion. At that instant, she felt that years of happiness could not make Jane or herself amends for moments of such painful confusion.
“The first wish of my heart,” said she to herself, “is never more to be in company with either of them. Their society can afford no pleasure that will atone for such wretchedness as this! Let me never see either one or the other again!”
Yet the misery, for which years of happiness were to offer no compensation, received soon afterwards material relief, from observing how much the beauty of her sister re-kindled the admiration of her former lover. When first he came in, he had spoken to her but little; but every five minutes seemed to be giving her more of his attention. He found her as handsome as she had been last year; as good natured, and as unaffected, though not quite so chatty. Jane was anxious that no difference should be perceived in her at all, and was really persuaded that she talked as much as ever. But her mind was so busily engaged, that she did not always know when she was silent.
When the gentlemen rose to go away, Mrs. Bennet was mindful of her intended civility, and they were invited and engaged to dine at Longbourn in a few days time.
“You are quite a visit in my debt, Mr. Bingley,” she added, “for when you went to town last winter, you promised to take a family dinner with us, as soon as you returned. I have not forgot, you see; and I assure you, I was very much disappointed that you did not come back and keep your engagement.”
Bingley looked a little silly at this reflection, and said something of his concern at having been prevented by business. They then went away.
Mrs. Bennet had been strongly inclined to ask them to stay and dine there that day; but, though she always kept a very good table, she did not think any thing less than two courses could be good enough for a man on whom she had such anxious designs, or satisfy the appetite and pride of one who had ten thousand a year.
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  • 第 52 章

    伊莉莎白果然如願以償,很快就接到了回信。她一接到信,就跑到那清靜的小樹林裏去,在一張長凳上坐下來,準備讀個痛快,因為她看到信寫得那麼長,便斷定舅母沒有拒絕她的要求。

  • 第 50 章

    班納特先生遠在好久以前,就希望每年的進款不要全部花光,能夠積蓄一部分,讓兒女往後不至於衣食匱乏;如果太太比他命長,衣食便也有了著落。拿目前來說,他這個希望比以往來得更迫切。要是他在這方面早就安排好了,那麼這次麗迪雅挽回面子名譽的事,自然就不必要她舅舅為她花錢;也不必讓舅舅去說服全英國最下流的一個青年給她確定夫婦的名份。


  • 班納特先生回來兩天了。那天吉英和伊莉莎白正在屋後的矮樹林裏散步,只見管家奶奶朝她倆走來,她們以為是母親打發她來叫她們回去的,於是迎面走上前去。到了那個管家奶奶跟前,才發覺事出意外,原來她並不是來叫她們的。她對吉英說:"小姐,請原諒我打斷了你們的談話,不過,我料想你們一定獲得了從城裏來的好消息,所以我來大膽地問一問。"
  • 第 48 章

    第二天早上,大家都指望班納特先生會寄信來,可是等到郵差來了,卻沒有帶來他的片紙隻字。家裏人本來知道他一向懶得寫信,能夠拖延總是拖延;但是在這樣的時候,她們都希望他能夠勉為其難一些。既是沒有信來,她們只得認為他沒有什麼愉快的消息可以報導,即使如此,她們也希望把事情弄個清楚明白。嘉丁納先生也希望在動身以前能夠看到幾封信。

  •   第 47 章

    他們離開那個城鎮的時候,舅父跟伊莉莎白說:"我又把這件事想了一遍,認真地考慮了一番,越發覺得你姐姐的看法很對。我認為無論是哪個青年,決不會對這樣一位姑娘存著這樣的壞心眼,她又不是無親無靠,何況她就住在他自己的上校家裏,因此我要從最好的方面去著想。難道他以為她的親友們不會挺身而出嗎?難道他還以為這一次冒犯弗斯脫上校以後,還好意思回到民兵團裏去嗎?我看他不見得會癡情到冒險的地步。"

  • 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。

  •     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。

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