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Chapter 4

  • With no greater events than these in the Longbourn family, and otherwis_iversified by little beyond the walks to Meryton, sometimes dirty an_ometimes cold, did January and February pass away. March was to tak_lizabeth to Hunsford. She had not at first thought very seriously of goin_hither; but Charlotte, she soon found, was depending on the plan and sh_radually learned to consider it herself with greater pleasure as well a_reater certainty. Absence had increased her desire of seeing Charlotte again,
  • and weakened her disgust of Mr. Collins. There was novelty in the scheme, an_s, with such a mother and such uncompanionable sisters, home could not b_aultless, a little change was not unwelcome for its own sake. The journe_ould moreover give her a peep at Jane; and, in short, as the time drew near,
  • she would have been very sorry for any delay. Everything, however, went o_moothly, and was finally settled according to Charlotte's first sketch. Sh_as to accompany Sir William and his second daughter. The improvement o_pending a night in London was added in time, and the plan became perfect a_lan could be.
  • The only pain was in leaving her father, who would certainly miss her, an_ho, when it came to the point, so little liked her going, that he told her t_rite to him, and almost promised to answer her letter.
  • The farewell between herself and Mr. Wickham was perfectly friendly; on hi_ide even more. His present pursuit could not make him forget that Elizabet_ad been the first to excite and to deserve his attention, the first to liste_nd to pity, the first to be admired; and in his manner of bidding her adieu,
  • wishing her every enjoyment, reminding her of what she was to expect in Lad_atherine de Bourgh, and trusting their opinion of her—their opinion o_verybody—would always coincide, there was a solicitude, an interest which sh_elt must ever attach her to him with a most sincere regard; and she parte_rom him convinced that, whether married or single, he must always be he_odel of the amiable and pleasing.
  • Her fellow-travellers the next day were not of a kind to make her think hi_ess agreeable. Sir William Lucas, and his daughter Maria, a good-humoure_irl, but as empty-headed as himself, had nothing to say that could be wort_earing, and were listened to with about as much delight as the rattle of th_haise. Elizabeth loved absurdities, but she had known Sir William's too long.
  • He could tell her nothing new of the wonders of his presentation an_nighthood; and his civilities were worn out, like his information.
  • It was a journey of only twenty-four miles, and they began it so early as t_e in Gracechurch Street by noon. As they drove to Mr. Gardiner's door, Jan_as at a drawing-room window watching their arrival; when they entered th_assage she was there to welcome them, and Elizabeth, looking earnestly in he_ace, was pleased to see it healthful and lovely as ever. On the stairs were _roop of little boys and girls, whose eagerness for their cousin's appearanc_ould not allow them to wait in the drawing-room, and whose shyness, as the_ad not seen her for a twelvemonth, prevented their coming lower. All was jo_nd kindness. The day passed most pleasantly away; the morning in bustle an_hopping, and the evening at one of the theatres.
  • Elizabeth then contrived to sit by her aunt. Their first object was he_ister; and she was more grieved than astonished to hear, in reply to he_inute inquiries, that though Jane always struggled to support her spirits,
  • there were periods of dejection. It was reasonable, however, to hope that the_ould not continue long. Mrs. Gardiner gave her the particulars also of Mis_ingley's visit in Gracechurch Street, and repeated conversations occurring a_ifferent times between Jane and herself, which proved that the former had,
  • from her heart, given up the acquaintance.
  • Mrs. Gardiner then rallied her niece on Wickham's desertion, and complimente_er on bearing it so well.
  • "But my dear Elizabeth," she added, "what sort of girl is Miss King? I shoul_e sorry to think our friend mercenary."
  • "Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matrimonial affairs, betwee_he mercenary and the prudent motive? Where does discretion end, and avaric_egin? Last Christmas you were afraid of his marrying me, because it would b_mprudent; and now, because he is trying to get a girl with only ten thousan_ounds, you want to find out that he is mercenary."
  • "If you will only tell me what sort of girl Miss King is, I shall know what t_hink."
  • "She is a very good kind of girl, I believe. I know no harm of her."
  • "But he paid her not the smallest attention till her grandfather's death mad_er mistress of this fortune."
  • "No—what should he? If it were not allowable for him to gain  _my_  affection_ecause I had no money, what occasion could there be for making love to a gir_hom he did not care about, and who was equally poor?"
  • "But there seems an indelicacy in directing his attentions towards her so soo_fter this event."
  • "A man in distressed circumstances has not time for all those elegant decorum_hich other people may observe. If  _she_  does not object to it, why shoul_we_?"
  • " _Her_  not objecting does not justify  _him_. It only shows her bein_eficient in something herself—sense or feeling."
  • "Well," cried Elizabeth, "have it as you choose.  _He_  shall be mercenary,
  • and  _she_  shall be foolish."
  • "No, Lizzy, that is what I do  _not_  choose. I should be sorry, you know, t_hink ill of a young man who has lived so long in Derbyshire."
  • "Oh! if that is all, I have a very poor opinion of young men who live i_erbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not muc_etter. I am sick of them all. Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where _hall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner no_ense to recommend him. Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, afte_ll."
  • "Take care, Lizzy; that speech savours strongly of disappointment."
  • Before they were separated by the conclusion of the play, she had th_nexpected happiness of an invitation to accompany her uncle and aunt in _our of pleasure which they proposed taking in the summer.
  • "We have not determined how far it shall carry us," said Mrs. Gardiner, "but,
  • perhaps, to the Lakes."
  • No scheme could have been more agreeable to Elizabeth, and her acceptance o_he invitation was most ready and grateful. "Oh, my dear, dear aunt," sh_apturously cried, "what delight! what felicity! You give me fresh life an_igour. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are young men to rocks an_ountains? Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we  _do_eturn, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give on_ccurate idea of anything. We  _will_  know where we have gone—we _will_ecollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers shall not be jumble_ogether in our imaginations; nor when we attempt to describe any particula_cene, will we begin quarreling about its relative situation. Let  _our_irst effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality o_ravellers."