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Chapter 10

  • More than once did Elizabeth, in her ramble within the park, unexpectedly mee_r. Darcy. She felt all the perverseness of the mischance that should brin_im where no one else was brought, and, to prevent its ever happening again, took care to inform him at first that it was a favourite haunt of hers. How i_ould occur a second time, therefore, was very odd! Yet it did, and even _hird. It seemed like wilful ill-nature, or a voluntary penance, for on thes_ccasions it was not merely a few formal inquiries and an awkward pause an_hen away, but he actually thought it necessary to turn back and walk wit_er. He never said a great deal, nor did she give herself the trouble o_alking or of listening much; but it struck her in the course of their thir_encontre that he was asking some odd unconnected questions—about her pleasur_n being at Hunsford, her love of solitary walks, and her opinion of Mr. an_rs. Collins's happiness; and that in speaking of Rosings and her no_erfectly understanding the house, he seemed to expect that whenever she cam_nto Kent again she would be staying  _there_  too. His words seemed to impl_t. Could he have Colonel Fitzwilliam in his thoughts? She supposed, if h_eant anything, he must mean an allusion to what might arise in that quarter.
  • It distressed her a little, and she was quite glad to find herself at the gat_n the pales opposite the Parsonage.
  • She was engaged one day as she walked, in perusing Jane's last letter, an_welling on some passages which proved that Jane had not written in spirits, when, instead of being again surprised by Mr. Darcy, she saw on looking u_hat Colonel Fitzwilliam was meeting her. Putting away the letter immediatel_nd forcing a smile, she said:
  • "I did not know before that you ever walked this way."
  • "I have been making the tour of the park," he replied, "as I generally d_very year, and intend to close it with a call at the Parsonage. Are you goin_uch farther?"
  • "No, I should have turned in a moment."
  • And accordingly she did turn, and they walked towards the Parsonage together.
  • "Do you certainly leave Kent on Saturday?" said she.
  • "Yes—if Darcy does not put it off again. But I am at his disposal. He arrange_he business just as he pleases."
  • "And if not able to please himself in the arrangement, he has at leas_leasure in the great power of choice. I do not know anybody who seems more t_njoy the power of doing what he likes than Mr. Darcy."
  • "He likes to have his own way very well," replied Colonel Fitzwilliam. "But s_e all do. It is only that he has better means of having it than many others, because he is rich, and many others are poor. I speak feelingly. A younge_on, you know, must be inured to self-denial and dependence."
  • "In my opinion, the younger son of an earl can know very little of either. No_eriously, what have you ever known of self-denial and dependence? When hav_ou been prevented by want of money from going wherever you chose, o_rocuring anything you had a fancy for?"
  • "These are home questions—and perhaps I cannot say that I have experience_any hardships of that nature. But in matters of greater weight, I may suffe_rom want of money. Younger sons cannot marry where they like."
  • "Unless where they like women of fortune, which I think they very often do."
  • "Our habits of expense make us too dependent, and there are not many in m_ank of life who can afford to marry without some attention to money."
  • "Is this," thought Elizabeth, "meant for me?" and she coloured at the idea; but, recovering herself, said in a lively tone, "And pray, what is the usua_rice of an earl's younger son? Unless the elder brother is very sickly, _uppose you would not ask above fifty thousand pounds."
  • He answered her in the same style, and the subject dropped. To interrupt _ilence which might make him fancy her affected with what had passed, she soo_fterwards said:
  • "I imagine your cousin brought you down with him chiefly for the sake o_aving someone at his disposal. I wonder he does not marry, to secure _asting convenience of that kind. But, perhaps, his sister does as well fo_he present, and, as she is under his sole care, he may do what he likes wit_er."
  • "No," said Colonel Fitzwilliam, "that is an advantage which he must divid_ith me. I am joined with him in the guardianship of Miss Darcy."
  • "Are you indeed? And pray what sort of guardians do you make? Does your charg_ive you much trouble? Young ladies of her age are sometimes a littl_ifficult to manage, and if she has the true Darcy spirit, she may like t_ave her own way."
  • As she spoke she observed him looking at her earnestly; and the manner i_hich he immediately asked her why she supposed Miss Darcy likely to give the_ny uneasiness, convinced her that she had somehow or other got pretty nea_he truth. She directly replied:
  • "You need not be frightened. I never heard any harm of her; and I dare say sh_s one of the most tractable creatures in the world. She is a very grea_avourite with some ladies of my acquaintance, Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley. _hink I have heard you say that you know them."
  • "I know them a little. Their brother is a pleasant gentlemanlike man—he is _reat friend of Darcy's."
  • "Oh! yes," said Elizabeth drily; "Mr. Darcy is uncommonly kind to Mr. Bingley, and takes a prodigious deal of care of him."
  • "Care of him! Yes, I really believe Darcy  _does_  take care of him in thos_oints where he most wants care. From something that he told me in our journe_ither, I have reason to think Bingley very much indebted to him. But I ough_o beg his pardon, for I have no right to suppose that Bingley was the perso_eant. It was all conjecture."
  • "What is it you mean?"
  • "It is a circumstance which Darcy could not wish to be generally known, because if it were to get round to the lady's family, it would be a_npleasant thing."
  • "You may depend upon my not mentioning it."
  • "And remember that I have not much reason for supposing it to be Bingley. Wha_e told me was merely this: that he congratulated himself on having latel_aved a friend from the inconveniences of a most imprudent marriage, bu_ithout mentioning names or any other particulars, and I only suspected it t_e Bingley from believing him the kind of young man to get into a scrape o_hat sort, and from knowing them to have been together the whole of las_ummer."
  • "Did Mr. Darcy give you reasons for this interference?"
  • "I understood that there were some very strong objections against the lady."
  • "And what arts did he use to separate them?"
  • "He did not talk to me of his own arts," said Fitzwilliam, smiling. "He onl_old me what I have now told you."
  • Elizabeth made no answer, and walked on, her heart swelling with indignation.
  • After watching her a little, Fitzwilliam asked her why she was so thoughtful.
  • "I am thinking of what you have been telling me," said she. "Your cousin'_onduct does not suit my feelings. Why was he to be the judge?"
  • "You are rather disposed to call his interference officious?"
  • "I do not see what right Mr. Darcy had to decide on the propriety of hi_riend's inclination, or why, upon his own judgement alone, he was t_etermine and direct in what manner his friend was to be happy. But," sh_ontinued, recollecting herself, "as we know none of the particulars, it i_ot fair to condemn him. It is not to be supposed that there was muc_ffection in the case."
  • "That is not an unnatural surmise," said Fitzwilliam, "but it is a lessenin_f the honour of my cousin's triumph very sadly."
  • This was spoken jestingly; but it appeared to her so just a picture of Mr.
  • Darcy, that she would not trust herself with an answer, and therefore, abruptly changing the conversation talked on indifferent matters until the_eached the Parsonage. There, shut into her own room, as soon as their visito_eft them, she could think without interruption of all that she had heard. I_as not to be supposed that any other people could be meant than those wit_hom she was connected. There could not exist in the world  _two_  men ove_hom Mr. Darcy could have such boundless influence. That he had been concerne_n the measures taken to separate Bingley and Jane she had never doubted; bu_he had always attributed to Miss Bingley the principal design and arrangemen_f them. If his own vanity, however, did not mislead him,  _he_  was th_ause, his pride and caprice were the cause, of all that Jane had suffered, and still continued to suffer. He had ruined for a while every hope o_appiness for the most affectionate, generous heart in the world; and no on_ould say how lasting an evil he might have inflicted.
  • "There were some very strong objections against the lady," were Colone_itzwilliam's words; and those strong objections probably were, her having on_ncle who was a country attorney, and another who was in business in London.
  • "To Jane herself," she exclaimed, "there could be no possibility of objection; all loveliness and goodness as she is!—her understanding excellent, her min_mproved, and her manners captivating. Neither could anything be urged agains_y father, who, though with some peculiarities, has abilities Mr. Darc_imself need not disdain, and respectability which he will probably neve_each." When she thought of her mother, her confidence gave way a little; bu_he would not allow that any objections  _there_  had material weight with Mr.
  • Darcy, whose pride, she was convinced, would receive a deeper wound from th_ant of importance in his friend's connections, than from their want of sense; and she was quite decided, at last, that he had been partly governed by thi_orst kind of pride, and partly by the wish of retaining Mr. Bingley for hi_ister.
  • The agitation and tears which the subject occasioned, brought on a headache; and it grew so much worse towards the evening, that, added to he_nwillingness to see Mr. Darcy, it determined her not to attend her cousins t_osings, where they were engaged to drink tea. Mrs. Collins, seeing that sh_as really unwell, did not press her to go and as much as possible prevente_er husband from pressing her; but Mr. Collins could not conceal hi_pprehension of Lady Catherine's being rather displeased by her staying a_ome.