Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 1

  • Elizabeth, as they drove along, watched for the first appearance of Pemberle_oods with some perturbation; and when at length they turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter.
  • The park was very large, and contained great variety of ground. They entere_t in one of its lowest points, and drove for some time through a beautifu_ood stretching over a wide extent.
  • Elizabeth's mind was too full for conversation, but she saw and admired ever_emarkable spot and point of view. They gradually ascended for half-a-mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where th_ood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated o_he opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound.
  • It was a large, handsome stone building, standing well on rising ground, an_acked by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natura_mportance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance.
  • Its banks were neither formal nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted.
  • She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natura_eauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste. They were all o_hem warm in their admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistres_f Pemberley might be something!
  • They descended the hill, crossed the bridge, and drove to the door; and, whil_xamining the nearer aspect of the house, all her apprehension of meeting it_wner returned. She dreaded lest the chambermaid had been mistaken. O_pplying to see the place, they were admitted into the hall; and Elizabeth, a_hey waited for the housekeeper, had leisure to wonder at her being where sh_as.
  • The housekeeper came; a respectable-looking elderly woman, much less fine, an_ore civil, than she had any notion of finding her. They followed her into th_ining-parlour. It was a large, well proportioned room, handsomely fitted up.
  • Elizabeth, after slightly surveying it, went to a window to enjoy it_rospect. The hill, crowned with wood, which they had descended, receivin_ncreased abruptness from the distance, was a beautiful object. Ever_isposition of the ground was good; and she looked on the whole scene, th_iver, the trees scattered on its banks and the winding of the valley, as fa_s she could trace it, with delight. As they passed into other rooms thes_bjects were taking different positions; but from every window there wer_eauties to be seen. The rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furnitur_uitable to the fortune of its proprietor; but Elizabeth saw, with admiratio_f his taste, that it was neither gaudy nor uselessly fine; with less o_plendour, and more real elegance, than the furniture of Rosings.
  • "And of this place," thought she, "I might have been mistress! With thes_ooms I might now have been familiarly acquainted! Instead of viewing them a_ stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own, and welcomed to them a_isitors my uncle and aunt. But no,"—recollecting herself—"that could neve_e; my uncle and aunt would have been lost to me; I should not have bee_llowed to invite them."
  • This was a lucky recollection—it saved her from something very like regret.
  • She longed to inquire of the housekeeper whether her master was really absent, but had not the courage for it. At length however, the question was asked b_er uncle; and she turned away with alarm, while Mrs. Reynolds replied that h_as, adding, "But we expect him to-morrow, with a large party of friends." Ho_ejoiced was Elizabeth that their own journey had not by any circumstance bee_elayed a day!
  • Her aunt now called her to look at a picture. She approached and saw th_ikeness of Mr. Wickham, suspended, amongst several other miniatures, over th_antelpiece. Her aunt asked her, smilingly, how she liked it. The housekeepe_ame forward, and told them it was a picture of a young gentleman, the son o_er late master's steward, who had been brought up by him at his own expense.
  • "He is now gone into the army," she added; "but I am afraid he has turned ou_ery wild."
  • Mrs. Gardiner looked at her niece with a smile, but Elizabeth could not retur_t.
  • "And that," said Mrs. Reynolds, pointing to another of the miniatures, "is m_aster—and very like him. It was drawn at the same time as the other—abou_ight years ago."
  • "I have heard much of your master's fine person," said Mrs. Gardiner, lookin_t the picture; "it is a handsome face. But, Lizzy, you can tell us whether i_s like or not."
  • Mrs. Reynolds respect for Elizabeth seemed to increase on this intimation o_er knowing her master.
  • "Does that young lady know Mr. Darcy?"
  • Elizabeth coloured, and said: "A little."
  • "And do not you think him a very handsome gentleman, ma'am?"
  • "Yes, very handsome."
  • "I am sure I know none so handsome; but in the gallery upstairs you will see _iner, larger picture of him than this. This room was my late master'_avourite room, and these miniatures are just as they used to be then. He wa_ery fond of them."
  • This accounted to Elizabeth for Mr. Wickham's being among them.
  • Mrs. Reynolds then directed their attention to one of Miss Darcy, drawn whe_he was only eight years old.
  • "And is Miss Darcy as handsome as her brother?" said Mrs. Gardiner.
  • "Oh! yes—the handsomest young lady that ever was seen; and s_ccomplished!—She plays and sings all day long. In the next room is a ne_nstrument just come down for her—a present from my master; she comes here to- morrow with him."
  • Mr. Gardiner, whose manners were very easy and pleasant, encouraged he_ommunicativeness by his questions and remarks; Mrs. Reynolds, either by prid_r attachment, had evidently great pleasure in talking of her master and hi_ister.
  • "Is your master much at Pemberley in the course of the year?"
  • "Not so much as I could wish, sir; but I dare say he may spend half his tim_ere; and Miss Darcy is always down for the summer months."
  • "Except," thought Elizabeth, "when she goes to Ramsgate."
  • "If your master would marry, you might see more of him."
  • "Yes, sir; but I do not know when  _that_  will be. I do not know who is goo_nough for him."
  • Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner smiled. Elizabeth could not help saying, "It is ver_uch to his credit, I am sure, that you should think so."
  • "I say no more than the truth, and everybody will say that knows him," replie_he other. Elizabeth thought this was going pretty far; and she listened wit_ncreasing astonishment as the housekeeper added, "I have never known a cros_ord from him in my life, and I have known him ever since he was four year_ld."
  • This was praise, of all others most extraordinary, most opposite to her ideas.
  • That he was not a good-tempered man had been her firmest opinion. Her keenes_ttention was awakened; she longed to hear more, and was grateful to her uncl_or saying:
  • "There are very few people of whom so much can be said. You are lucky i_aving such a master."
  • "Yes, sir, I know I am. If I were to go through the world, I could not mee_ith a better. But I have always observed, that they who are good-natured whe_hildren, are good-natured when they grow up; and he was always the sweetest- tempered, most generous-hearted boy in the world."
  • Elizabeth almost stared at her. "Can this be Mr. Darcy?" thought she.
  • "His father was an excellent man," said Mrs. Gardiner.
  • "Yes, ma'am, that he was indeed; and his son will be just like him—just a_ffable to the poor."
  • Elizabeth listened, wondered, doubted, and was impatient for more. Mrs.
  • Reynolds could interest her on no other point. She related the subjects of th_ictures, the dimensions of the rooms, and the price of the furniture, i_ain. Mr. Gardiner, highly amused by the kind of family prejudice to which h_ttributed her excessive commendation of her master, soon led again to th_ubject; and she dwelt with energy on his many merits as they proceede_ogether up the great staircase.
  • "He is the best landlord, and the best master," said she, "that ever lived; not like the wild young men nowadays, who think of nothing but themselves.
  • There is not one of his tenants or servants but will give him a good name.
  • Some people call him proud; but I am sure I never saw anything of it. To m_ancy, it is only because he does not rattle away like other young men."
  • "In what an amiable light does this place him!" thought Elizabeth.
  • "This fine account of him," whispered her aunt as they walked, "is not quit_onsistent with his behaviour to our poor friend."
  • "Perhaps we might be deceived."
  • "That is not very likely; our authority was too good."
  • On reaching the spacious lobby above they were shown into a very prett_itting-room, lately fitted up with greater elegance and lightness than th_partments below; and were informed that it was but just done to give pleasur_o Miss Darcy, who had taken a liking to the room when last at Pemberley.
  • "He is certainly a good brother," said Elizabeth, as she walked towards one o_he windows.
  • Mrs. Reynolds anticipated Miss Darcy's delight, when she should enter th_oom. "And this is always the way with him," she added. "Whatever can give hi_ister any pleasure is sure to be done in a moment. There is nothing he woul_ot do for her."
  • The picture-gallery, and two or three of the principal bedrooms, were all tha_emained to be shown. In the former were many good paintings; but Elizabet_new nothing of the art; and from such as had been already visible below, sh_ad willingly turned to look at some drawings of Miss Darcy's, in crayons, whose subjects were usually more interesting, and also more intelligible.
  • In the gallery there were many family portraits, but they could have little t_ix the attention of a stranger. Elizabeth walked in quest of the only fac_hose features would be known to her. At last it arrested her—and she beheld _triking resemblance to Mr. Darcy, with such a smile over the face as sh_emembered to have sometimes seen when he looked at her. She stood severa_inutes before the picture, in earnest contemplation, and returned to it agai_efore they quitted the gallery. Mrs. Reynolds informed them that it had bee_aken in his father's lifetime.
  • There was certainly at this moment, in Elizabeth's mind, a more gentl_ensation towards the original than she had ever felt at the height of thei_cquaintance. The commendation bestowed on him by Mrs. Reynolds was of n_rifling nature. What praise is more valuable than the praise of a_ntelligent servant? As a brother, a landlord, a master, she considered ho_any people's happiness were in his guardianship!—how much of pleasure or pai_as it in his power to bestow!—how much of good or evil must be done by him!
  • Every idea that had been brought forward by the housekeeper was favourable t_is character, and as she stood before the canvas on which he was represented, and fixed his eyes upon herself, she thought of his regard with a deepe_entiment of gratitude than it had ever raised before; she remembered it_armth, and softened its impropriety of expression.
  • When all of the house that was open to general inspection had been seen, the_eturned downstairs, and, taking leave of the housekeeper, were consigned ove_o the gardener, who met them at the hall-door.
  • As they walked across the hall towards the river, Elizabeth turned back t_ook again; her uncle and aunt stopped also, and while the former wa_onjecturing as to the date of the building, the owner of it himself suddenl_ame forward from the road, which led behind it to the stables.
  • They were within twenty yards of each other, and so abrupt was his appearance, that it was impossible to avoid his sight. Their eyes instantly met, and th_heeks of both were overspread with the deepest blush. He absolutely started, and for a moment seemed immovable from surprise; but shortly recoverin_imself, advanced towards the party, and spoke to Elizabeth, if not in term_f perfect composure, at least of perfect civility.
  • She had instinctively turned away; but stopping on his approach, received hi_ompliments with an embarrassment impossible to be overcome. Had his firs_ppearance, or his resemblance to the picture they had just been examining, been insufficient to assure the other two that they now saw Mr. Darcy, th_ardener's expression of surprise, on beholding his master, must immediatel_ave told it. They stood a little aloof while he was talking to their niece, who, astonished and confused, scarcely dared lift her eyes to his face, an_new not what answer she returned to his civil inquiries after her family.
  • Amazed at the alteration of his manner since they last parted, every sentenc_hat he uttered was increasing her embarrassment; and every idea of th_mpropriety of her being found there recurring to her mind, the few minutes i_hich they continued were some of the most uncomfortable in her life. Nor di_e seem much more at ease; when he spoke, his accent had none of its usua_edateness; and he repeated his inquiries as to the time of her having lef_ongbourn, and of her having stayed in Derbyshire, so often, and in so hurrie_ way, as plainly spoke the distraction of his thoughts.
  • At length every idea seemed to fail him; and, after standing a few moment_ithout saying a word, he suddenly recollected himself, and took leave.
  • The others then joined her, and expressed admiration of his figure; bu_lizabeth heard not a word, and wholly engrossed by her own feelings, followe_hem in silence. She was overpowered by shame and vexation. Her coming ther_as the most unfortunate, the most ill-judged thing in the world! How strang_t must appear to him! In what a disgraceful light might it not strike so vai_ man! It might seem as if she had purposely thrown herself in his way again!
  • Oh! why did she come? Or, why did he thus come a day before he was expected?
  • Had they been only ten minutes sooner, they should have been beyond the reac_f his discrimination; for it was plain that he was that moment arrived—tha_oment alighted from his horse or his carriage. She blushed again and agai_ver the perverseness of the meeting. And his behaviour, so strikingl_ltered—what could it mean? That he should even speak to her was amazing!—bu_o speak with such civility, to inquire after her family! Never in her lif_ad she seen his manners so little dignified, never had he spoken with suc_entleness as on this unexpected meeting. What a contrast did it offer to hi_ast address in Rosings Park, when he put his letter into her hand! She kne_ot what to think, or how to account for it.
  • They had now entered a beautiful walk by the side of the water, and every ste_as bringing forward a nobler fall of ground, or a finer reach of the woods t_hich they were approaching; but it was some time before Elizabeth wa_ensible of any of it; and, though she answered mechanically to the repeate_ppeals of her uncle and aunt, and seemed to direct her eyes to such object_s they pointed out, she distinguished no part of the scene. Her thoughts wer_ll fixed on that one spot of Pemberley House, whichever it might be, wher_r. Darcy then was. She longed to know what at the moment was passing in hi_ind—in what manner he thought of her, and whether, in defiance of everything, she was still dear to him. Perhaps he had been civil only because he fel_imself at ease; yet there had been  _that_  in his voice which was not lik_ase. Whether he had felt more of pain or of pleasure in seeing her she coul_ot tell, but he certainly had not seen her with composure.
  • At length, however, the remarks of her companions on her absence of min_roused her, and she felt the necessity of appearing more like herself.
  • They entered the woods, and bidding adieu to the river for a while, ascende_ome of the higher grounds; when, in spots where the opening of the trees gav_he eye power to wander, were many charming views of the valley, the opposit_ills, with the long range of woods overspreading many, and occasionally par_f the stream. Mr. Gardiner expressed a wish of going round the whole park, but feared it might be beyond a walk. With a triumphant smile they were tol_hat it was ten miles round. It settled the matter; and they pursued th_ccustomed circuit; which brought them again, after some time, in a descen_mong hanging woods, to the edge of the water, and one of its narrowest parts.
  • They crossed it by a simple bridge, in character with the general air of th_cene; it was a spot less adorned than any they had yet visited; and th_alley, here contracted into a glen, allowed room only for the stream, and _arrow walk amidst the rough coppice-wood which bordered it. Elizabeth longe_o explore its windings; but when they had crossed the bridge, and perceive_heir distance from the house, Mrs. Gardiner, who was not a great walker, could go no farther, and thought only of returning to the carriage as quickl_s possible. Her niece was, therefore, obliged to submit, and they took thei_ay towards the house on the opposite side of the river, in the neares_irection; but their progress was slow, for Mr. Gardiner, though seldom abl_o indulge the taste, was very fond of fishing, and was so much engaged i_atching the occasional appearance of some trout in the water, and talking t_he man about them, that he advanced but little. Whilst wandering on in thi_low manner, they were again surprised, and Elizabeth's astonishment was quit_qual to what it had been at first, by the sight of Mr. Darcy approachin_hem, and at no great distance. The walk here being here less sheltered tha_n the other side, allowed them to see him before they met. Elizabeth, howeve_stonished, was at least more prepared for an interview than before, an_esolved to appear and to speak with calmness, if he really intended to mee_hem. For a few moments, indeed, she felt that he would probably strike int_ome other path. The idea lasted while a turning in the walk concealed hi_rom their view; the turning past, he was immediately before them. With _lance, she saw that he had lost none of his recent civility; and, to imitat_is politeness, she began, as they met, to admire the beauty of the place; bu_he had not got beyond the words "delightful," and "charming," when som_nlucky recollections obtruded, and she fancied that praise of Pemberley fro_er might be mischievously construed. Her colour changed, and she said n_ore.
  • Mrs. Gardiner was standing a little behind; and on her pausing, he asked he_f she would do him the honour of introducing him to her friends. This was _troke of civility for which she was quite unprepared; and she could hardl_uppress a smile at his being now seeking the acquaintance of some of thos_ery people against whom his pride had revolted in his offer to herself. "Wha_ill be his surprise," thought she, "when he knows who they are? He takes the_ow for people of fashion."
  • The introduction, however, was immediately made; and as she named thei_elationship to herself, she stole a sly look at him, to see how he bore it, and was not without the expectation of his decamping as fast as he could fro_uch disgraceful companions. That he was  _surprised_  by the connection wa_vident; he sustained it, however, with fortitude, and so far from going away, turned his back with them, and entered into conversation with Mr. Gardiner.
  • Elizabeth could not but be pleased, could not but triumph. It was consolin_hat he should know she had some relations for whom there was no need t_lush. She listened most attentively to all that passed between them, an_loried in every expression, every sentence of her uncle, which marked hi_ntelligence, his taste, or his good manners.
  • The conversation soon turned upon fishing; and she heard Mr. Darcy invite him, with the greatest civility, to fish there as often as he chose while h_ontinued in the neighbourhood, offering at the same time to supply him wit_ishing tackle, and pointing out those parts of the stream where there wa_sually most sport. Mrs. Gardiner, who was walking arm-in-arm with Elizabeth, gave her a look expressive of wonder. Elizabeth said nothing, but it gratifie_er exceedingly; the compliment must be all for herself. Her astonishment, however, was extreme, and continually was she repeating, "Why is he s_ltered? From what can it proceed? It cannot be for  _me_ —it cannot be fo_my_  sake that his manners are thus softened. My reproofs at Hunsford coul_ot work such a change as this. It is impossible that he should still lov_e."
  • After walking some time in this way, the two ladies in front, the tw_entlemen behind, on resuming their places, after descending to the brink o_he river for the better inspection of some curious water-plant, there chance_o be a little alteration. It originated in Mrs. Gardiner, who, fatigued b_he exercise of the morning, found Elizabeth's arm inadequate to her support, and consequently preferred her husband's. Mr. Darcy took her place by he_iece, and they walked on together. After a short silence, the lady firs_poke. She wished him to know that she had been assured of his absence befor_he came to the place, and accordingly began by observing, that his arriva_ad been very unexpected—"for your housekeeper," she added, "informed us tha_ou would certainly not be here till to-morrow; and indeed, before we lef_akewell, we understood that you were not immediately expected in th_ountry." He acknowledged the truth of it all, and said that business with hi_teward had occasioned his coming forward a few hours before the rest of th_arty with whom he had been travelling. "They will join me early to-morrow,"
  • he continued, "and among them are some who will claim an acquaintance wit_ou—Mr. Bingley and his sisters."
  • Elizabeth answered only by a slight bow. Her thoughts were instantly drive_ack to the time when Mr. Bingley's name had been the last mentioned betwee_hem; and, if she might judge by his complexion,  _his_  mind was not ver_ifferently engaged.
  • "There is also one other person in the party," he continued after a pause,
  • "who more particularly wishes to be known to you. Will you allow me, or do _sk too much, to introduce my sister to your acquaintance during your stay a_ambton?"
  • The surprise of such an application was great indeed; it was too great for he_o know in what manner she acceded to it. She immediately felt that whateve_esire Miss Darcy might have of being acquainted with her must be the work o_er brother, and, without looking farther, it was satisfactory; it wa_ratifying to know that his resentment had not made him think really ill o_er.
  • They now walked on in silence, each of them deep in thought. Elizabeth was no_omfortable; that was impossible; but she was flattered and pleased. His wis_f introducing his sister to her was a compliment of the highest kind. The_oon outstripped the others, and when they had reached the carriage, Mr. an_rs. Gardiner were half a quarter of a mile behind.
  • He then asked her to walk into the house—but she declared herself not tired, and they stood together on the lawn. At such a time much might have been said, and silence was very awkward. She wanted to talk, but there seemed to be a_mbargo on every subject. At last she recollected that she had bee_ravelling, and they talked of Matlock and Dove Dale with great perseverance.
  • Yet time and her aunt moved slowly—and her patience and her ideas were nearl_orn our before the tete-a-tete was over. On Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner's coming u_hey were all pressed to go into the house and take some refreshment; but thi_as declined, and they parted on each side with utmost politeness. Mr. Darc_anded the ladies into the carriage; and when it drove off, Elizabeth saw hi_alking slowly towards the house.
  • The observations of her uncle and aunt now began; and each of them pronounce_im to be infinitely superior to anything they had expected. "He is perfectl_ell behaved, polite, and unassuming," said her uncle.
  • "There  _is_  something a little stately in him, to be sure," replied he_unt, "but it is confined to his air, and is not unbecoming. I can now sa_ith the housekeeper, that though some people may call him proud, I have see_othing of it."
  • "I was never more surprised than by his behaviour to us. It was more tha_ivil; it was really attentive; and there was no necessity for such attention.
  • His acquaintance with Elizabeth was very trifling."
  • "To be sure, Lizzy," said her aunt, "he is not so handsome as Wickham; or, rather, he has not Wickham's countenance, for his features are perfectly good.
  • But how came you to tell me that he was so disagreeable?"
  • Elizabeth excused herself as well as she could; said that she had liked hi_etter when they had met in Kent than before, and that she had never seen hi_o pleasant as this morning.
  • "But perhaps he may be a little whimsical in his civilities," replied he_ncle. "Your great men often are; and therefore I shall not take him at hi_ord, as he might change his mind another day, and warn me off his grounds."
  • Elizabeth felt that they had entirely misunderstood his character, but sai_othing.
  • "From what we have seen of him," continued Mrs. Gardiner, "I really should no_ave thought that he could have behaved in so cruel a way by anybody as he ha_one by poor Wickham. He has not an ill-natured look. On the contrary, ther_s something pleasing about his mouth when he speaks. And there is somethin_f dignity in his countenance that would not give one an unfavourable idea o_is heart. But, to be sure, the good lady who showed us his house did give hi_ most flaming character! I could hardly help laughing aloud sometimes. But h_s a liberal master, I suppose, and  _that_  in the eye of a servan_omprehends every virtue."
  • Elizabeth here felt herself called on to say something in vindication of hi_ehaviour to Wickham; and therefore gave them to understand, in as guarded _anner as she could, that by what she had heard from his relations in Kent, his actions were capable of a very different construction; and that hi_haracter was by no means so faulty, nor Wickham's so amiable, as they ha_een considered in Hertfordshire. In confirmation of this, she related th_articulars of all the pecuniary transactions in which they had bee_onnected, without actually naming her authority, but stating it to be such a_ight be relied on.
  • Mrs. Gardiner was surprised and concerned; but as they were now approachin_he scene of her former pleasures, every idea gave way to the charm o_ecollection; and she was too much engaged in pointing out to her husband al_he interesting spots in its environs to think of anything else. Fatigued a_he had been by the morning's walk they had no sooner dined than she set of_gain in quest of her former acquaintance, and the evening was spent in th_atisfactions of a intercourse renewed after many years' discontinuance.
  • The occurrences of the day were too full of interest to leave Elizabeth muc_ttention for any of these new friends; and she could do nothing but think, and think with wonder, of Mr. Darcy's civility, and, above all, of his wishin_er to be acquainted with his sister.