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Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen

Update: 2020-04-22

Chapter 1

  • It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of _ood fortune, must be in want of a wife.
  • However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his firs_ntering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of th_urrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some on_r other of their daughters.
  • "My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard tha_etherfield 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 m_ll about it."
  • Mr. Bennet made no answer.
  • "Do you not 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 _oung man of large fortune from the north of England; that he came down o_onday in a chaise and four to see the place, and was so much delighted wit_t, that he agreed with Mr. Morris immediately; that he is to take possessio_efore Michaelmas, and some of his servants are to be in the house by the en_f 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 fiv_housand 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 mus_now 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_all in love with one of them, and therefore you must visit him as soon as h_omes."
  • "I see no occasion for that. You and the girls may go, or you may send them b_hemselves, which perhaps will be still better, for as you are as handsome a_ny of them, Mr. Bingley may like you the best of the party."
  • "My dear, you flatter me. I certainly  _have_  had my share of beauty, but _o not pretend to be anything 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 th_eighbourhood."
  • "It is more than I engage for, I assure you."
  • "But consider your daughters. Only think what an establishment it would be fo_ne of them. Sir William and Lady Lucas are determined to go, merely on tha_ccount, for in general, you know, they visit no newcomers. Indeed you mus_o, 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 t_ee you; and I will send a few lines by you to assure him of my hearty consen_o his marrying whichever he chooses of the girls; though I must throw in _ood word for my little Lizzy."
  • "I desire you will do no such thing. Lizzy is not a bit better than th_thers; and I am sure she is not half so 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 al_illy and ignorant like other girls; but Lizzy has something more of quicknes_han her sisters."
  • "Mr. Bennet, how  _can_  you abuse your own children in such a way? You tak_elight in vexing me. You have no compassion for my poor nerves."
  • "You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are m_ld friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these las_wenty 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 fou_housand a year come into the neighbourhood."
  • "It will be no use to us, if twenty such should come, since you will not visi_hem."
  • "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, an_aprice, that the experience of three-and-twenty years had been insufficien_o make his wife understand his character.  _Her_  mind was less difficult t_evelop. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, an_ncertain temper. When she was discontented, she fancied herself nervous. Th_usiness of her life was to get her daughters married; its solace was visitin_nd news.