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Chapter 17

  • "My dear Lizzy, where can you have been walking to?" was a question whic_lizabeth received from Jane as soon as she entered their room, and from al_he others when they sat down to table. She had only to say in reply, tha_hey had wandered about, till she was beyond her own knowledge. She coloure_s she spoke; but neither that, nor anything else, awakened a suspicion of th_ruth.
  • The evening passed quietly, unmarked by anything extraordinary. Th_cknowledged lovers talked and laughed, the unacknowledged were silent. Darc_as not of a disposition in which happiness overflows in mirth; and Elizabeth, agitated and confused, rather  _knew_  that she was happy than  _felt_erself to be so; for, besides the immediate embarrassment, there were othe_vils before her. She anticipated what would be felt in the family when he_ituation became known; she was aware that no one liked him but Jane; and eve_eared that with the others it was a dislike which not all his fortune an_onsequence might do away.
  • At night she opened her heart to Jane. Though suspicion was very far from Mis_ennet's general habits, she was absolutely incredulous here.
  • "You are joking, Lizzy. This cannot be!—engaged to Mr. Darcy! No, no, yo_hall not deceive me. I know it to be impossible."
  • "This is a wretched beginning indeed! My sole dependence was on you; and I a_ure nobody else will believe me, if you do not. Yet, indeed, I am in earnest.
  • I speak nothing but the truth. He still loves me, and we are engaged."
  • Jane looked at her doubtingly. "Oh, Lizzy! it cannot be. I know how much yo_islike him."
  • "You know nothing of the matter.  _That_  is all to be forgot. Perhaps I di_ot always love him so well as I do now. But in such cases as these, a goo_emory is unpardonable. This is the last time I shall ever remember i_yself."
  • Miss Bennet still looked all amazement. Elizabeth again, and more seriousl_ssured her of its truth.
  • "Good Heaven! can it be really so! Yet now I must believe you," cried Jane.
  • "My dear, dear Lizzy, I would—I do congratulate you—but are you certain?
  • forgive the question—are you quite certain that you can be happy with him?"
  • "There can be no doubt of that. It is settled between us already, that we ar_o be the happiest couple in the world. But are you pleased, Jane? Shall yo_ike to have such a brother?"
  • "Very, very much. Nothing could give either Bingley or myself more delight.
  • But we considered it, we talked of it as impossible. And do you really lov_im quite well enough? Oh, Lizzy! do anything rather than marry withou_ffection. Are you quite sure that you feel what you ought to do?"
  • "Oh, yes! You will only think I feel  _more_  than I ought to do, when I tel_ou all."
  • "What do you mean?"
  • "Why, I must confess that I love him better than I do Bingley. I am afraid yo_ill be angry."
  • "My dearest sister, now  _be_  serious. I want to talk very seriously. Let m_now every thing that I am to know, without delay. Will you tell me how lon_ou have loved him?"
  • "It has been coming on so gradually, that I hardly know when it began. But _elieve I must date it from my first seeing his beautiful grounds a_emberley."
  • Another entreaty that she would be serious, however, produced the desire_ffect; and she soon satisfied Jane by her solemn assurances of attachment.
  • When convinced on that article, Miss Bennet had nothing further to wish.
  • "Now I am quite happy," said she, "for you will be as happy as myself. _lways had a value for him. Were it for nothing but his love of you, I mus_lways have esteemed him; but now, as Bingley's friend and your husband, ther_an be only Bingley and yourself more dear to me. But Lizzy, you have bee_ery sly, very reserved with me. How little did you tell me of what passed a_emberley and Lambton! I owe all that I know of it to another, not to you."
  • Elizabeth told her the motives of her secrecy. She had been unwilling t_ention Bingley; and the unsettled state of her own feelings had made he_qually avoid the name of his friend. But now she would no longer conceal fro_er his share in Lydia's marriage. All was acknowledged, and half the nigh_pent in conversation.
  • "Good gracious!" cried Mrs. Bennet, as she stood at a window the next morning,
  • "if that disagreeable Mr. Darcy is not coming here again with our dea_ingley! What can he mean by being so tiresome as to be always coming here? _ad no notion but he would go a-shooting, or something or other, and no_isturb us with his company. What shall we do with him? Lizzy, you must wal_ut with him again, that he may not be in Bingley's way."
  • Elizabeth could hardly help laughing at so convenient a proposal; yet wa_eally vexed that her mother should be always giving him such an epithet.
  • As soon as they entered, Bingley looked at her so expressively, and shoo_ands with such warmth, as left no doubt of his good information; and he soo_fterwards said aloud, "Mrs. Bennet, have you no more lanes hereabouts i_hich Lizzy may lose her way again to-day?"
  • "I advise Mr. Darcy, and Lizzy, and Kitty," said Mrs. Bennet, "to walk t_akham Mount this morning. It is a nice long walk, and Mr. Darcy has neve_een the view."
  • "It may do very well for the others," replied Mr. Bingley; "but I am sure i_ill be too much for Kitty. Won't it, Kitty?" Kitty owned that she had rathe_tay at home. Darcy professed a great curiosity to see the view from th_ount, and Elizabeth silently consented. As she went up stairs to get ready, Mrs. Bennet followed her, saying:
  • "I am quite sorry, Lizzy, that you should be forced to have that disagreeabl_an all to yourself. But I hope you will not mind it: it is all for Jane'_ake, you know; and there is no occasion for talking to him, except just no_nd then. So, do not put yourself to inconvenience."
  • During their walk, it was resolved that Mr. Bennet's consent should be aske_n the course of the evening. Elizabeth reserved to herself the applicatio_or her mother's. She could not determine how her mother would take it; sometimes doubting whether all his wealth and grandeur would be enough t_vercome her abhorrence of the man. But whether she were violently set agains_he match, or violently delighted with it, it was certain that her manne_ould be equally ill adapted to do credit to her sense; and she could no mor_ear that Mr. Darcy should hear the first raptures of her joy, than the firs_ehemence of her disapprobation.
  • In the evening, soon after Mr. Bennet withdrew to the library, she saw Mr.
  • Darcy rise also and follow him, and her agitation on seeing it was extreme.
  • She did not fear her father's opposition, but he was going to be made unhappy; and that it should be through her means—that  _she_ , his favourite child, should be distressing him by her choice, should be filling him with fears an_egrets in disposing of her—was a wretched reflection, and she sat in miser_ill Mr. Darcy appeared again, when, looking at him, she was a little relieve_y his smile. In a few minutes he approached the table where she was sittin_ith Kitty; and, while pretending to admire her work said in a whisper, "Go t_our father, he wants you in the library." She was gone directly.
  • Her father was walking about the room, looking grave and anxious. "Lizzy,"
  • said he, "what are you doing? Are you out of your senses, to be accepting thi_an? Have not you always hated him?"
  • How earnestly did she then wish that her former opinions had been mor_easonable, her expressions more moderate! It would have spared her fro_xplanations and professions which it was exceedingly awkward to give; bu_hey were now necessary, and she assured him, with some confusion, of he_ttachment to Mr. Darcy.
  • "Or, in other words, you are determined to have him. He is rich, to be sure, and you may have more fine clothes and fine carriages than Jane. But will the_ake you happy?"
  • "Have you any other objection," said Elizabeth, "than your belief of m_ndifference?"
  • "None at all. We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but thi_ould be nothing if you really liked him."
  • "I do, I do like him," she replied, with tears in her eyes, "I love him.
  • Indeed he has no improper pride. He is perfectly amiable. You do not know wha_e really is; then pray do not pain me by speaking of him in such terms."
  • "Lizzy," said her father, "I have given him my consent. He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I should never dare refuse anything, which he condescended t_sk. I now give it to  _you_ , if you are resolved on having him. But let m_dvise you to think better of it. I know your disposition, Lizzy. I know tha_ou could be neither happy nor respectable, unless you truly esteemed you_usband; unless you looked up to him as a superior. Your lively talents woul_lace you in the greatest danger in an unequal marriage. You could scarcel_scape discredit and misery. My child, let me not have the grief of seein_you_  unable to respect your partner in life. You know not what you ar_bout."
  • Elizabeth, still more affected, was earnest and solemn in her reply; and a_ength, by repeated assurances that Mr. Darcy was really the object of he_hoice, by explaining the gradual change which her estimation of him ha_ndergone, relating her absolute certainty that his affection was not the wor_f a day, but had stood the test of many months' suspense, and enumeratin_ith energy all his good qualities, she did conquer her father's incredulity, and reconcile him to the match.
  • "Well, my dear," said he, when she ceased speaking, "I have no more to say. I_his be the case, he deserves you. I could not have parted with you, my Lizzy, to anyone less worthy."
  • To complete the favourable impression, she then told him what Mr. Darcy ha_oluntarily done for Lydia. He heard her with astonishment.
  • "This is an evening of wonders, indeed! And so, Darcy did every thing; made u_he match, gave the money, paid the fellow's debts, and got him hi_ommission! So much the better. It will save me a world of trouble an_conomy. Had it been your uncle's doing, I must and  _would_  have paid him; but these violent young lovers carry every thing their own way. I shall offe_o pay him to-morrow; he will rant and storm about his love for you, and ther_ill be an end of the matter."
  • He then recollected her embarrassment a few days before, on his reading Mr.
  • Collins's letter; and after laughing at her some time, allowed her at last t_o—saying, as she quitted the room, "If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure."
  • Elizabeth's mind was now relieved from a very heavy weight; and, after half a_our's quiet reflection in her own room, she was able to join the others wit_olerable composure. Every thing was too recent for gaiety, but the evenin_assed tranquilly away; there was no longer anything material to be dreaded, and the comfort of ease and familiarity would come in time.
  • When her mother went up to her dressing-room at night, she followed her, an_ade the important communication. Its effect was most extraordinary; for o_irst hearing it, Mrs. Bennet sat quite still, and unable to utter a syllable.
  • Nor was it under many, many minutes that she could comprehend what she heard; though not in general backward to credit what was for the advantage of he_amily, or that came in the shape of a lover to any of them. She began a_ength to recover, to fidget about in her chair, get up, sit down again, wonder, and bless herself.
  • "Good gracious! Lord bless me! only think! dear me! Mr. Darcy! Who would hav_hought it! And is it really true? Oh! my sweetest Lizzy! how rich and ho_reat you will be! What pin-money, what jewels, what carriages you will have!
  • Jane's is nothing to it—nothing at all. I am so pleased—so happy. Such _harming man!—so handsome! so tall!—Oh, my dear Lizzy! pray apologise for m_aving disliked him so much before. I hope he will overlook it. Dear, dea_izzy. A house in town! Every thing that is charming! Three daughters married!
  • Ten thousand a year! Oh, Lord! What will become of me. I shall go distracted."
  • This was enough to prove that her approbation need not be doubted: an_lizabeth, rejoicing that such an effusion was heard only by herself, soo_ent away. But before she had been three minutes in her own room, her mothe_ollowed her.
  • "My dearest child," she cried, "I can think of nothing else! Ten thousand _ear, and very likely more! 'Tis as good as a Lord! And a special licence. Yo_ust and shall be married by a special licence. But my dearest love, tell m_hat dish Mr. Darcy is particularly fond of, that I may have it to-morrow."
  • This was a sad omen of what her mother's behaviour to the gentleman himsel_ight be; and Elizabeth found that, though in the certain possession of hi_armest affection, and secure of her relations' consent, there was stil_omething to be wished for. But the morrow passed off much better than sh_xpected; for Mrs. Bennet luckily stood in such awe of her intended son-in-la_hat she ventured not to speak to him, unless it was in her power to offer hi_ny attention, or mark her deference for his opinion.
  • Elizabeth had the satisfaction of seeing her father taking pains to ge_cquainted with him; and Mr. Bennet soon assured her that he was rising ever_our in his esteem.
  • "I admire all my three sons-in-law highly," said he. "Wickham, perhaps, is m_avourite; but I think I shall like  _your_  husband quite as well as Jane's."