FictionForest

Chapter 61

Jane AustenAug 15, 2016'Command+D' Bookmark this page

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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 anything 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 further 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.

“Yours, etc.”

As it happened that Elizabeth had
much rather not, she endeavoured in her answer
to put an end to every entreaty 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; hers
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 further 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 further
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.

 

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