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CHAPTER 61

HAPPY for all her maternal feelings was the day on which
Mrs. Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters.
With what delighted pride she afterwards visited Mrs. Bingley,
and talked of Mrs. Darcy, may be guessed. I wish I could say,
for the sake of her family, that the accomplishment of her
earnest desire in the establishment of so many of her children
produced so happy an effect as to make her a sensible, amiable,
well-informed woman for the rest of her life; though perhaps it
was lucky for her husband, who might not have relished domestic
felicity in so unusual a form, that she still was occasionally
nervous and invariably silly.

Mr. Bennet missed his second daughter exceedingly; his
affection for her drew him oftener from home than any thing
else could do. He delighted in going to Pemberley, especially
when he was least expected.

Mr. Bingley and Jane remained at Netherfield only a
twelvemonth. So near a vicinity to her mother and Meryton
relations was not desirable even to his easy temper, or her
affectionate heart. The darling wish of his sisters was then
gratified; he bought an estate in a neighbouring county to
Derbyshire, and Jane and Elizabeth, in addition to every other
source of happiness, were within thirty miles of each other.

Kitty, to her very material advantage, spent the chief of her
time with her two elder sisters. In society so superior to
what she had generally known, her improvement was great. She
was not of so ungovernable a temper as Lydia; and, removed from
the influence of Lydia's example, she became, by proper
attention and management, less irritable, less ignorant, and
less insipid. From the farther disadvantage of Lydia's society
she was of course carefully kept, and though Mrs. Wickham
frequently invited her to come and stay with her, with the
promise of balls and young men, her father would never consent
to her going.

Mary was the only daughter who remained at home; and she was
necessarily drawn from the pursuit of accomplishments by
Mrs. Bennet's being quite unable to sit alone. Mary was
obliged to mix more with the world, but she could still
moralize over every morning visit; and as she was no longer
mortified by comparisons between her sisters' beauty and her
own, it was suspected by her father that she submitted to
the change without much reluctance.

As for Wickham and Lydia, their characters suffered no
revolution from the marriage of her sisters. He bore with
philosophy the conviction that Elizabeth must now become
acquainted with whatever of his ingratitude and falsehood
had before been unknown to her; and in spite of every thing,
was not wholly without hope that Darcy might yet be prevailed
on to make his fortune. The congratulatory letter which
Elizabeth received from Lydia on her marriage, explained to
her that, by his wife at least, if not by himself, such a
hope was cherished. The letter was to this effect:

"MY DEAR LIZZY,

I wish you joy. If you love Mr. Darcy half as well as I do my
dear Wickham, you must be very happy. It is a great comfort to
have you so rich, and when you have nothing else to do, I hope
you will think of us. I am sure Wickham would like a place at
court very much, and I do not think we shall have quite money
enough to live upon without some help. Any place would do, of
about three or four hundred a year; but however, do not speak
to Mr. Darcy about it, if you had rather not.

Your's, &c."

As it happened that Elizabeth had much rather not, she
endeavoured in her answer to put an end to every intreaty
and expectation of the kind. Such relief, however, as it
was in her power to afford, by the practice of what might be
called economy in her own private expences, she frequently
sent them. It had always been evident to her that such an
income as theirs, under the direction of two persons so
extravagant in their wants, and heedless of the future, must
be very insufficient to their support; and whenever they
changed their quarters, either Jane or herself were sure of
being applied to for some little assistance towards discharging
their bills. Their manner of living, even when the restoration
of peace dismissed them to a home, was unsettled in the
extreme. They were always moving from place to place in quest
of a cheap situation, and always spending more than they ought.
His affection for her soon sunk into indifference; her's lasted
a little longer; and in spite of her youth and her manners, she
retained all the claims to reputation which her marriage had
given her.

Though Darcy could never receive him at Pemberley, yet, for
Elizabeth's sake, he assisted him farther in his profession.
Lydia was occasionally a visitor there, when her husband was
gone to enjoy himself in London or Bath; and with the Bingleys
they both of them frequently staid so long, that even Bingley's
good humour was overcome, and he proceeded so far as to talk
of giving them a hint to be gone.

Miss Bingley was very deeply mortified by Darcy's marriage; but
as she thought it advisable to retain the right of visiting at
Pemberley, she dropt all her resentment; was fonder than ever
of Georgiana, almost as attentive to Darcy as heretofore, and
paid off every arrear of civility to Elizabeth.

Pemberley was now Georgiana's home; and the attachment of the
sisters was exactly what Darcy had hoped to see. They were
able to love each other even as well as they intended.
Georgiana had the highest opinion in the world of Elizabeth;
though at first she often listened with an astonishment
bordering on alarm at her lively, sportive, manner of talking
to her brother. He, who had always inspired in herself a
respect which almost overcame her affection, she now saw the
object of open pleasantry. Her mind received knowledge which
had never before fallen in her way. By Elizabeth's
instructions, she began to comprehend that a woman may take
liberties with her husband which a brother will not always
allow in a sister more than ten years younger than himself.

Lady Catherine was extremely indignant on the marriage of her
nephew; and as she gave way to all the genuine frankness of her
character in her reply to the letter which announced its
arrangement, she sent him language so very abusive, especially
of Elizabeth, that for some time all intercourse was at an end.
But at length, by Elizabeth's persuasion, he was prevailed on
to overlook the offence, and seek a reconciliation; and, after
a little farther resistance on the part of his aunt, her
resentment gave way, either to her affection for him, or her
curiosity to see how his wife conducted herself; and she
condescended to wait on them at Pemberley, in spite of that
pollution which its woods had received, not merely from the
presence of such a mistress, but the visits of her uncle and
aunt from the city.

With the Gardiners, they were always on the most intimate
terms. Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and
they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards
the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the
means of uniting them.


THE END






Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Category:
General Fiction

Social life and customs - 19th century
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