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傲慢与偏见(英中中)
2010年11月22日  作者:  成都译网-成都翻译网-成都翻译公司  浏览选项:    本文已被浏览 3196 次

Chapter 20


MR. COLLINS was not left long to the silent contemplation of his successful love; for Mrs. Bennet, having dawdled about in the vestibule to watch for the end of the conference, no sooner saw Elizabeth open the door and with quick step pass her towards the staircase, than she entered the breakfast room, and congratulated both him and herself in warm terms on the happy prospect of their nearer connection. Mr. Collins received and returned these felicitations with equal pleasure, and then proceeded to relate the particulars of their interview, with the result of which he trusted he had every reason to be satisfied, since the refusal which his cousin had stedfastly given him would naturally flow from her bashful modesty and the genuine delicacy of her character.
This information, however, startled Mrs. Bennet; -- she would have been glad to be equally satisfied that her daughter had meant to encourage him by protesting against his proposals, but she dared not to believe it, and could not help saying so.
"But depend upon it, Mr. Collins," she added, "that Lizzy shall be brought to reason. I will speak to her about it myself directly. She is a very headstrong foolish girl, and does not know her own interest; but I will make her know it."
"Pardon me for interrupting you, Madam," cried Mr. Collins; "but if she is really headstrong and foolish, I know not whether she would altogether be a very desirable wife to a man in my situation, who naturally looks for happiness in the marriage state. If therefore she actually persists in rejecting my suit, perhaps it were better not to force her into accepting me, because if liable to such defects of temper, she could not contribute much to my felicity."
"Sir, you quite misunderstand me," said Mrs. Bennet, alarmed. "Lizzy is only headstrong in such matters as these. In every thing else she is as good natured a girl as ever lived. I will go directly to Mr. Bennet, and we shall very soon settle it with her, I am sure."
She would not give him time to reply, but hurrying instantly to her husband, called out as she entered the library,
"Oh! Mr. Bennet, you are wanted immediately; we are all in an uproar. You must come and make Lizzy marry Mr. Collins, for she vows she will not have him, and if you do not make haste he will change his mind and not have her."
Mr. Bennet raised his eyes from his book as she entered, and fixed them on her face with a calm unconcern which was not in the least altered by her communication.
"I have not the pleasure of understanding you," said he, when she had finished her speech. "Of what are you talking?"
"Of Mr. Collins and Lizzy. Lizzy declares she will not have Mr. Collins, and Mr. Collins begins to say that he will not have Lizzy."
"And what am I to do on the occasion? -- It seems an hopeless business."
"Speak to Lizzy about it yourself. Tell her that you insist upon her marrying him."
"Let her be called down. She shall hear my opinion."
Mrs. Bennet rang the bell, and Miss Elizabeth was summoned to the library.
"Come here, child," cried her father as she appeared. "I have sent for you on an affair of importance. I understand that Mr. Collins has made you an offer of marriage. Is it true?" Elizabeth replied that it was. "Very well -- and this offer of marriage you have refused?"
"I have, Sir."
"Very well. We now come to the point. Your mother insists upon your accepting it. Is not it so, Mrs. Bennet?"
"Yes, or I will never see her again."
"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. -- Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do."
Elizabeth could not but smile at such a conclusion of such a beginning; but Mrs. Bennet, who had persuaded herself that her husband regarded the affair as she wished, was excessively disappointed.
"What do you mean, Mr. Bennet, by talking in this way? You promised me to insist upon her marrying him."
"My dear," replied her husband, "I have two small favours to request. First, that you will allow me the free use of my understanding on the present occasion; and secondly, of my room. I shall be glad to have the library to myself as soon as may be."
Not yet, however, in spite of her disappointment in her husband, did Mrs. Bennet give up the point. She talked to Elizabeth again and again; coaxed and threatened her by turns. She endeavoured to secure Jane in her interest but Jane with all possible mildness declined interfering; -- and Elizabeth, sometimes with real earnestness and sometimes with playful gaiety, replied to her attacks. Though her manner varied, however, her determination never did.
Mr. Collins, meanwhile, was meditating in solitude on what had passed. He thought too well of himself to comprehend on what motive his cousin could refuse him; and though his pride was hurt, he suffered in no other way. His regard for her was quite imaginary; and the possibility of her deserving her mother's reproach prevented his feeling any regret.
While the family were in this confusion, Charlotte Lucas came to spend the day with them. She was met in the vestibule by Lydia, who, flying to her, cried in a half whisper, "I am glad you are come, for there is such fun here! -- What do you think has happened this morning? -- Mr. Collins has made an offer to Lizzy, and she will not have him."
Charlotte had hardly time to answer, before they were joined by Kitty, who came to tell the same news, and no sooner had they entered the breakfast-room, where Mrs. Bennet was alone, than she likewise began on the subject, calling on Miss Lucas for her compassion, and entreating her to persuade her friend Lizzy to comply with the wishes of all her family. "Pray do, my dear Miss Lucas," she added in a melancholy tone, "for nobody is on my side, nobody takes part with me, I am cruelly used, nobody feels for my poor nerves."
Charlotte's reply was spared by the entrance of Jane and Elizabeth.
"Aye, there she comes," continued Mrs. Bennet, "looking as unconcerned as may be, and caring no more for us than if we were at York, provided she can have her own way. -- But I tell you what, Miss Lizzy, if you take it into your head to go on refusing every offer of marriage in this way, you will never get a husband at all -- and I am sure I do not know who is to maintain you when your father is dead. -- I shall not be able to keep you -- and so I warn you. -- I have done with you from this very day. -- I told you in the library, you know, that I should never speak to you again, and you will find me as good as my word. I have no pleasure in talking to undutiful children, -- Not that I have much pleasure indeed in talking to any body. People who suffer as I do from nervous complaints can have no great inclination for talking. Nobody can tell what I suffer! -- But it is always so. Those who do not complain are never pitied."
Her daughters listened in silence to this effusion, sensible that any attempt to reason with or sooth her would only increase the irritation. She talked on, therefore, without interruption from any of them till they were joined by Mr. Collins, who entered with an air more stately than usual, and on perceiving whom, she said to the girls,
"Now, I do insist upon it, that you, all of you, hold your tongues, and let Mr. Collins and me have a little conversation together."
Elizabeth passed quietly out of the room, Jane and Kitty followed, but Lydia stood her ground, determined to hear all she could; and Charlotte, detained first by the civility of Mr. Collins, whose inquiries after herself and all her family were very minute, and then by a little curiosity, satisfied herself with walking to the window and pretending not to hear. In a doleful voice Mrs. Bennet thus began the projected conversation. -- "Oh! Mr. Collins!" --
"My dear Madam," replied he, "let us be for ever silent on this point. Far be it from me," he presently continued, in a voice that marked his displeasure, "to resent the behaviour of your daughter. Resignation to inevitable evils is the duty of us all; the peculiar duty of a young man who has been so fortunate as I have been in early preferment; and I trust I am resigned. Perhaps not the less so from feeling a doubt of my positive happiness had my fair cousin honoured me with her hand; for I have often observed that resignation is never so perfect as when the blessing denied begins to lose somewhat of its value in our estimation. You will not, I hope, consider me as shewing any disrespect to your family, my dear Madam, by thus withdrawing my pretensions to your daughter's favour, without having paid yourself and Mr. Bennet the compliment of requesting you to interpose your authority in my behalf. My conduct may, I fear, be objectionable in having accepted my dismission from your daughter's lips instead of your own. But we are all liable to error. I have certainly meant well through the whole affair. My object has been to secure an amiable companion for myself, with due consideration for the advantage of all your family, and if my manner has been at all reprehensible, I here beg leave to apologise."


 

 

第二十章
 

柯林斯先生独自一个人默默地幻想着美满的姻缘,可是并没有想上多久,因为班纳特太太一直待在走廊里混时间,等着听他们俩商谈的结果,现在看见伊丽莎白开了门,匆匆忙忙走上楼去,她便马上走进饭厅,热烈地祝贺柯林斯先生,祝贺她自己,说是他们今后大有亲上加亲的希望了。柯林斯先生同样快乐地接受了她的祝贺,同时又祝贺了她一番,接着就把他跟伊丽莎白刚才的那场谈话,一五一十地讲了出来,说他有充分的理由相信,谈话的结果很令人满意,因为他的表妹虽然再三拒绝,可是那种拒绝,自然是她那羞怯淑静和娇柔细致的天性的流露。
这一消息可叫班纳特太太吓了一跳。当然,要是她的女儿果真是口头上拒绝他的求婚,骨子里却在鼓励他,那她也会同样觉得高兴的,可是她不敢这么想,而且不得不照直说了出来。
她说:“柯林斯先生,你放心吧,我会叫丽萃懂事一些的。我马上就要亲自跟她谈谈。她是个固执的傻姑娘,不明白好歹;可是我会叫她明白的。”
“对不起,让我插句嘴,太太,”柯林斯先生叫道:“要是她果真又固执又傻,那我就不知道她是否配做我理想的妻子了,因为象我这样地位的人,结婚自然是为了要幸福。这么说,如果她真拒绝我的求婚,那倒是不要勉强她好,否则,她脾气方面有了这些缺点,她对于我的幸福决不会不什么好处。”
班纳特太太吃惊地说:“先生,你完全误会了我的意思,丽萃不过在这类事情上固执些,可是遇到别的事情,她的性子再好也没有了。我马上去找班纳特先生,我们一下子就会把她这个问题谈妥的,我有把握。”
她不等他回答,便急忙跑到丈夫那儿去,一走进他的书房就嚷道:
“噢,我的好老爷,你得马上出来一下;我们闹得天翻地覆了呢。你得来劝劝丽萃跟柯林斯先生结婚,因为她赌咒发誓不要他;假如你不赶快来打个圆场,他就要改变主意,反过来不要她了。”
班纳特先生见她走进来,便从书本上抬起眼睛,安然自得、漠不关心地望着她脸上。他听了她的话,完全不动声色。
她说完以后,他便说道:“抱歉,我没有听懂你究竟说些什么。”
“我说的是柯林斯先生和丽萃的事,丽萃表示不要柯林斯先生,柯林斯先生也开始说他不要丽萃了。”
“这种事叫我有什么办法?看来是件没有指望的事。”
“你去同丽萃说说看吧。就跟她说,你非要她跟他结婚不可。”
“叫她下来吧。让我来跟她说。”
班纳特太太拉下了铃,伊丽莎白小姐给叫到书房里来了。
爸爸一见她来,便大声说:“上这儿来,孩子,我叫你来谈一件要紧的事。我听说柯林斯先生向你求婚,真有这回事吗?”伊丽莎白说,真有这回事。“很好。你把这桩婚事回绝了吗?”
“我回绝了,爸爸。”
“很好,我们现在就来谈到本题。你的妈非要你答应不可。我的好太太,可不是吗?”
“是的,否则我看也不要看到她了。”
“摆在你面前的是个很不幸的难题,你得自己去抉择,伊丽莎白。从今天起,你不和父亲成为陌路人,就要和母亲成为陌路人。要是你不嫁给柯林斯先生,你的妈就不要再见你,要是你嫁给他,我就不要再见你了。”
伊丽莎白听到了那样的开头和这样的结论,不得不笑了一笑;不过,这可苦了班纳特太太,她本以为丈夫一定会照着她的意思来对待这件事的,哪里料到反而叫她大失所望。“你这话是什么意思,我的好老爷?你事先不是答应了我,非叫她嫁给他不可吗?”
“好太太,”丈夫回答道,“我有两件事要求你帮帮忙。第一,请你允许我自由运用我自己的书房。我真巴不得早日在自己书房里图个清闲自在。”
班纳特太太虽然碰了一鼻子灰,可是并不甘心罢休。她一遍又一遍地说服伊丽莎白,一忽儿哄骗,一忽儿威胁。她想尽办法拉着吉英帮忙,可是吉英偏不愿意多管闲事,极其委婉地谢绝了。伊丽莎白应付得很好,一忽儿情意恳切,一忽儿又是嘻皮笑脸,方式尽管变来变换去,决心却始终如一。
这当儿,柯林斯先生独自把刚才的那一幕深思默想了一番。他的把自己估价太高了,因此弄不明白表妹所以拒绝他,原因究竟何在。虽说他的自尊心受到了伤害,可是他别的方面丝毫也不觉得难过。他对他的好感完全是凭空想象的,他又以为她的母亲一定会责骂她,因此心里便也不觉得有什么难受了,因为她挨她母亲的骂是活该,不必为她过意不去。
正当这一家子闹得乱纷纷的时候,夏绿蒂·卢卡斯上她们这儿来玩了。丽迪雅在大门品碰到她,立刻奔上前去凑近她跟前说道:“你来了我真高兴,这儿正闹得有趣呢!你知道今天上午发生了什么事?柯林斯先生向丽萃求婚,丽萃偏偏不肯要他。”
夏绿蒂还没来得及回答,吉蒂就走到她们跟前来了,把同样的消息报道了一遍。她们走进起坐间,只见班纳特太太正独自待在那儿,马上又和她们谈到这话题上来,要求卢卡斯小姐怜恤怜恤她老人家,劝劝她的朋友丽萃顺从全家人的意思。“求求你吧,卢卡斯小姐,”她又用苦痛的声调说道:“谁也不站在我一边,大家都故意作践我,一个个都对我狠心透顶,谁也不能体谅我的神经。”
夏绿蒂正要回答,恰巧吉英和伊丽莎白走进来了,因此没有开口。
“嘿,她来啦,”班纳特太太接下去说。“看她一脸满不在乎的神气,一些不把我们放在心上,好象是冤家对头,一任她自己独断独行。──丽萃小姐,让我老实告诉你吧;如果你一碰到人家求婚,就象这样拒绝,那你一生一世都休想弄到一个丈夫。瞧你爸爸去世以后,还有谁来养你。我是养不活你的,事先得跟你声明。从今天起,我跟你一刀两断。你知道,刚刚在书房里,我就跟你说过,我再也不要跟你说话了,瞧我说得到就做得到。我不高兴跟忤逆的女儿说话。老实说,跟谁说话都不大乐意。象我这样一个神经上有病痛的人,就没有多大的兴致说话。谁也不知道我的苦楚!不过天下事总是这样的,你嘴上不诉苦,就没有人可怜你。”
女儿们一声不响,只是听着她发牢骚。她们都明白,要是你想跟她评评理,安慰安慰她,那就等于火上加油。她唠唠叨叨往下说,女儿们没有一个来岔断她的话。最后,柯林斯先生进来了,脸上的神气比平常显得益发庄严,她一见到他,便对女儿们这样说:
“现在我要你们一个个都住嘴,让柯林斯先生跟我谈一会儿。”
伊丽莎白静悄悄地走出去了,吉英和吉蒂跟着也走了出去,只有丽迪雅站在那儿不动,正要听听他们谈些什么。夏绿蒂也没有走,先是因为柯林斯先生仔仔细细问候她和她的家庭,所以不便即走,随后又为了满足她自己的好奇心,便走到窗口,去偷听他们谈话。只听得班纳特太太开始怨声怨气地把预先准备好的一番话谈出来:“哦,柯林斯先生。”
“亲爱的太太,”柯林斯先生说,“这件事让我们再也别提了吧。我决不会怨恨令嫒这种行为。”他说到这里,声调中立刻流露出极其不愉快的意味:“我们大家都得逆来顺受,象我这样年少得志,小小年纪就得到了人家的器重,特别应该如此,我相信我一切都听天由命。即使蒙我那位美丽的表妹不弃,答应了我的求婚,或许我仍然免不了要怀疑,是否就此会获得真正的幸福,因为我一向认为,幸福一经拒绝,就不值得我们再加重视。遇到这种场合,听天由命是再好不过的办法。亲爱的太太,我这样收回了对令嫒的求婚,希望你别以为这是对您老人家和班纳特先生不恭敬的表示,别怪我没要求你们出面代我调停一下。只不过我并不是受到您拒绝,而是受到令嫒的拒绝,这一点也许值得遗憾。可是人人都难免有个阴错阳差的时候。我对于这件事始终是一片好心好意。我的目的就是要找一个可爱的伴侣,并且适当地考虑到府上的利益;假使我的态度方面有什么地方应该受到责备的话,就让我当面道个谦吧。”

 

 


Chapter 21


THE discussion of Mr. Collins's offer was now nearly at an end, and Elizabeth had only to suffer from the uncomfortable feelings necessarily attending it, and occasionally from some peevish allusion of her mother. As for the gentleman himself, his feelings were chiefly expressed, not by embarrassment or dejection, or by trying to avoid her, but by stiffness of manner and resentful silence. He scarcely ever spoke to her, and the assiduous attentions which he had been so sensible of himself, were transferred for the rest of the day to Miss Lucas, whose civility in listening to him, was a seasonable relief to them all, and especially to her friend.
The morrow produced no abatement of Mrs. Bennet's ill humour or ill health. Mr. Collins was also in the same state of angry pride. Elizabeth had hoped that his resentment might shorten his visit, but his plan did not appear in the least affected by it. He was always to have gone on Saturday, and to Saturday he still meant to stay.
After breakfast, the girls walked to Meryton, to inquire if Mr. Wickham were returned, and to lament over his absence from the Netherfield ball. He joined them on their entering the town and attended them to their aunt's, where his regret and vexation, and the concern of every body was well talked over. -- To Elizabeth, however, he voluntarily acknowledged that the necessity of his absence had been self imposed.
"I found," said he, "as the time drew near, that I had better not meet Mr. Darcy; -- that to be in the same room, the same party with him for so many hours together, might be more than I could bear, and that scenes might arise unpleasant to more than myself."
She highly approved his forbearance, and they had leisure for a full discussion of it, and for all the commendation which they civilly bestowed on each other, as Wickham and another officer walked back with them to Longbourn, and during the walk he particularly attended to her. His accompanying them was a double advantage; she felt all the compliment it offered to herself, and it was most acceptable as an occasion of introducing him to her father and mother.
Soon after their return, a letter was delivered to Miss Bennet; it came from Netherfield, and was opened immediately. The envelope contained a sheet of elegant, little, hot-pressed paper, well covered with a lady's fair, flowing hand; and Elizabeth saw her sister's countenance change as she read it, and saw her dwelling intently on some particular passages. Jane recollected herself soon, and putting the letter away, tried to join with her usual cheerfulness in the general conversation; but Elizabeth felt an anxiety on the subject which drew off her attention even from Wickham; and no sooner had he and his companion taken leave, than a glance from Jane invited her to follow her up stairs. When they had gained their own room, Jane taking out the letter, said,
"This is from Caroline Bingley; what it contains, has surprised me a good deal. The whole party have left Netherfield by this time, and are on their way to town; and without any intention of coming back again. You shall hear what she says."
She then read the first sentence aloud, which comprised the information of their having just resolved to follow their brother to town directly, and of their meaning to dine that day in Grosvenor street, where Mr. Hurst had a house. The next was in these words. "I do not pretend to regret any thing I shall leave in Hertfordshire, except your society, my dearest friend; but we will hope at some future period, to enjoy many returns of the delightful intercourse we have known, and in the mean while may lessen the pain of separation by a very frequent and most unreserved correspondence. I depend on you for that." To these high flown expressions, Elizabeth listened with all the insensibility of distrust; and though the suddenness of their removal surprised her, she saw nothing in it really to lament; it was not to be supposed that their absence from Netherfield would prevent Mr. Bingley's being there; and as to the loss of their society, she was persuaded that Jane must soon cease to regard it, in the enjoyment of his.
"It is unlucky," said she, after a short pause, "that you should not be able to see your friends before they leave the country. But may we not hope that the period of future happiness to which Miss Bingley looks forward, may arrive earlier than she is aware, and that the delightful intercourse you have known as friends, will be renewed with yet greater satisfaction as sisters? -- Mr. Bingley will not be detained in London by them."
"Caroline decidedly says that none of the party will return into Hertfordshire this winter. I will read it to you --"
"When my brother left us yesterday, he imagined that the business which took him to London, might be concluded in three or four days, but as we are certain it cannot be so, and at the same time convinced that when Charles gets to town he will be in no hurry to leave it again, we have determined on following him thither, that he may not be obliged to spend his vacant hours in a comfortless hotel. Many of my acquaintance are already there for the winter; I wish I could hear that you, my dearest friend, had any intention of making one in the croud, but of that I despair. I sincerely hope your Christmas in Hertfordshire may abound in the gaieties which that season generally brings, and that your beaux will be so numerous as to prevent your feeling the loss of the three of whom we shall deprive you."
"It is evident by this," added Jane, "that he comes back no more this winter."
"It is only evident that Miss Bingley does not mean he should."
"Why will you think so? It must be his own doing. -- He is his own master. But you do not know all. I will read you the passage which particularly hurts me. I will have no reserves from you." "Mr. Darcy is impatient to see his sister, and to confess the truth, we are scarcely less eager to meet her again. I really do not think Georgiana Darcy has her equal for beauty, elegance, and accomplishments; and the affection she inspires in Louisa and myself is heightened into something still more interesting, from the hope we dare to entertain of her being hereafter our sister. I do not know whether I ever before mentioned to you my feelings on this subject, but I will not leave the country without confiding them, and I trust you will not esteem them unreasonable. My brother admires her greatly already, he will have frequent opportunity now of seeing her on the most intimate footing, her relations all wish the connection as much as his own, and a sister's partiality is not misleading me, I think, when I call Charles most capable of engaging any woman's heart. With all these circumstances to favour an attachment and nothing to prevent it, am I wrong, my dearest Jane, in indulging the hope of an event which will secure the happiness of so many?"
"What think you of this sentence, my dear Lizzy?" -- said Jane as she finished it. "Is it not clear enough? -- Does it not expressly declare that Caroline neither expects nor wishes me to be her sister; that she is perfectly convinced of her brother's indifference, and that if she suspects the nature of my feelings for him, she means (most kindly!) to put me on my guard? Can there be any other opinion on the subject?"
"Yes, there can; for mine is totally different. -- Will you hear it?"
"Most willingly."
"You shall have it in few words. Miss Bingley sees that her brother is in love with you, and wants him to marry Miss Darcy. She follows him to town in the hope of keeping him there, and tries to persuade you that he does not care about you."
Jane shook her head.
"Indeed, Jane, you ought to believe me. -- No one who has ever seen you together, can doubt his affection. Miss Bingley I am sure cannot. She is not such a simpleton. Could she have seen half as much love in Mr. Darcy for herself, she would have ordered her wedding clothes. But the case is this. We are not rich enough, or grand enough for them; and she is the more anxious to get Miss Darcy for her brother, from the notion that when there has been one intermarriage, she may have less trouble in achieving a second; in which there is certainly some ingenuity, and I dare say it would succeed, if Miss de Bourgh were out of the way. But, my dearest Jane, you cannot seriously imagine that because Miss Bingley tells you her brother greatly admires Miss Darcy, he is in the smallest degree less sensible of your merit than when he took leave of you on Tuesday, or that it will be in her power to persuade him that instead of being in love with you, he is very much in love with her friend."
"If we thought alike of Miss Bingley," replied Jane, "your representation of all this, might make me quite easy. But I know the foundation is unjust. Caroline is incapable of wilfully deceiving any one; and all that I can hope in this case is, that she is deceived herself."
"That is right. -- You could not have started a more happy idea, since you will not take comfort in mine. Believe her to be deceived by all means. You have now done your duty by her, and must fret no longer."
"But, my dear sister, can I be happy, even supposing the best, in accepting a man whose sisters and friends are all wishing him to marry elsewhere?"
"You must decide for yourself," said Elizabeth, "and if, upon mature deliberation, you find that the misery of disobliging his two sisters is more than equivalent to the happiness of being his wife, I advise you by all means to refuse him."
"How can you talk so?" -- said Jane faintly smiling, -- "You must know that though I should be exceedingly grieved at their disapprobation, I could not hesitate."
"I did not think you would; -- and that being the case, I cannot consider your situation with much compassion."
"But if he returns no more this winter, my choice will never be required. A thousand things may arise in six months!"
The idea of his returning no more Elizabeth treated with the utmost contempt. It appeared to her merely the suggestion of Caroline's interested wishes, and she could not for a moment suppose that those wishes, however openly or artfully spoken, could influence a young man so totally independent of every one.
She represented to her sister as forcibly as possible what she felt on the subject, and had soon the pleasure of seeing its happy effect. Jane's temper was not desponding, and she was gradually led to hope, though the diffidence of affection sometimes overcame the hope, that Bingley would return to Netherfield and answer every wish of her heart.
They agreed that Mrs. Bennet should only hear of the departure of the family, without being alarmed on the score of the gentleman's conduct; but even this partial communication gave her a great deal of concern, and she bewailed it as exceedingly unlucky that the ladies should happen to go away, just as they were all getting so intimate together. After lamenting it however at some length, she had the consolation of thinking that Mr. Bingley would be soon down again and soon dining at Longbourn, and the conclusion of all was the comfortable declaration that, though he had been invited only to a family dinner, she would take care to have two full courses.


 

 

第二十一章
 

关于柯林斯先生求婚问题的,讨论差不多就要结束了,现在伊丽莎白只感到一种照例难免的的不愉快,有时候还要听她母亲埋怨一两声。说到那位先生本人,他可并不显得意气沮丧,也没有表现出要回避她的样子,只是气愤愤地板着脸,默然无声。他简直不跟她说话,他本来的那一股热情,到下半天都转移到卢卡斯小姐身上去了。卢小姐满有礼貌地听着他说话,这叫大家都松了口气,特别是她的朋友。
班纳特太太直到第二天还是同样不高兴,身体也没有复元。柯林斯先生也还是那样又气愤又傲慢的样子。伊丽莎白原以为他这样一气,就会早日离开此地,谁知道他决不因此而改变原来的计划,他讲她要到星期六才走,便决定要待到星期六。
吃过早饭,小姐们上麦里屯去打听韦翰先生回来了没有,同时为了他没有参加尼日斐花园的舞会而去向他表示惋惜。她们一走到镇上就遇见了他,于是他陪着小姐们上她们姨妈家里去,他在那儿把他的歉意,他的烦恼,以及他对于每个人的关注,谈了个畅快。不过他却在伊丽莎白面前自动说明,那次舞会是他自己不愿意去参加。
他说:“当时日期一天天迫近,我心里想,还是不要碰见达西先生的好;我觉得要同他在同一间屋子里,在同一个舞会上,待上好几个钟头,那会叫我受不了,而且可能会闹出些笑话来,弄得彼此都不开心。”
她非常赞美他的涵养功夫。当韦翰和另一位军官跟她们一块儿回浪博恩来的时候,一路上他特别照顾她,因此他们有充分的空暇来讨论这个问题,而且还客客气气地彼此恭维了一阵。他所以要伴送她们,是为了两大利益;一来可以让她高兴高兴,二来可以利用这个大好机会,去认识认识她的双亲。
她们刚回到家里,班纳特小姐就接到一封从尼日斐花园寄来的信。信立刻拆开了,里面装着一张小巧、精致、熨烫得很平滑的信笺,字迹是出自一位小姐的娟秀流利的手笔。伊丽莎白看到姐姐读信时变了脸色,又看到她全神贯注在某几段上面。顷该之间,吉英又镇静了下来,把信放在一旁,象平常一样,高高兴兴地跟大家一起聊天;可是伊丽莎白仍然为这件事焦急,因此对韦翰也分心了。韦翰和他的同伴一走,吉英便对她做了个眼色,叫她跟上楼去。一到了她们自己房里,吉英就拿出信来,说道:“这是另罗琳·彬格莱写来的,信上的话真叫我大吃一惊。她们一家人现在已经离开尼日斐花园上城里去了,再也不打算回来了。你看看她怎么说的吧。”
于是她先把第一句念出来,那句话是说,她们已经决定,立刻追随她们的弟兄上城里去,而且要在当天赶到格鲁斯汶纳街吃饭,原来赫斯脱先生就住在那条街上。接下去是这样写的:──“亲爱的朋友,离开哈福德郡,除了你的友谊以外,我真是一无留恋,不过,我希望将来有一天,还是可以象过去那样愉快地来往,并希望目前能经常通信,无话不谈,以抒离悃。临笔不胜企盼。”伊丽莎白对这些浮话奢词,亦只是姑妄听之;虽说她们这一次突然的迁走叫她感到惊奇,可是她并不觉得真有什么可以惋惜的地方。她们离开了尼日斐花园,未必彬格莱先生便不会再在那儿住下去;至于说到跟她们没有了来往,她相信吉英只要跟彬格莱先生时常见面,也就无所谓了。
歇了片刻,伊丽莎白说道:“不幸得很,你朋友们临走以前,你没有来得及去看她们一次。可是,彬格莱小姐既然认为将来还有重聚的欢乐,难道我们不能希望这一天比她意料中来得早一些吗?将来做了姑嫂,不是比今天做朋友更满意吗?彬格莱先生不会被她们久留在伦敦的。”
“咖罗琳肯定地说,她们一家人,今年冬天谁也不会回到哈福郡来了。让我念给你听吧:
‘我哥哥昨天和我们告别的时候,还以为他这次上伦敦去,只要三四天就可以把事情办好;可是我们认为办不到,同时我们相信,查尔斯一进了城,决不肯马上就走,因此我们决计追踪前去,免得他冷冷清清住在旅馆里受罪。我很多朋友都上伦敦去过冬了;亲爱的朋友,我本来还希望听到你进城去的消息,结果我失望了。我真挚地希望你在哈福德郡照常能够极其愉快地度过圣诞节。希望你有很多漂亮的男朋友,免得我们一走,你便会因为少了三个朋友而感到难受。’
“这明明是说,”吉英补充道,“他今年冬天不会回来啦。”
“这不过说明彬格莱小姐不要他回来罢了。”
“你为什么这样想法?那一定是他自己的意思。他自己可以作主。可是你还没有全部知道呢。我一定要把那特别叫我伤心的一段读给你听。我对你完全不必忌讳。‘达西先生急着要去看看他妹妹;说老实话,我们也差不多同样热切地希望和她重逢。我以为乔治安娜·达西无论在容貌方面,举止方面,才艺方面,的确再也没有人能够比得上。露薏莎和我都大胆地希望她以后会做我们的嫂嫂,因此我们对她便越发关切了。我不知道以前有没有跟你提起过我对这件事的感觉,可是当此离开乡村之际,我不愿意不把这些感觉说出来,我相信你不会觉得这是不合理的吧。我的哥哥已经深深地受上了她,他现在可以时常去看她,他们自会更加亲密起来;双方的家庭方面都同样盼望这门亲事能够成功。我想,如果我说,查尔斯最善于博取任何女人的欢心,这可不能是出于做姐妹的偏心,瞎说一阵吧。既是各方面都赞成这段姻缘,而且事情毫无阻碍,那么,最亲爱的吉英,我衷心希望着这件人人乐意的事能够实现,你能说我错吗?’你觉得这一句怎么样,亲爱的丽萃?”吉英读完了以后说。“说得还不够清楚吗?这不是明明白白地表明她们不希望、也不愿意我做她们的嫂嫂吗?不是说明了她完全相信他的哥哥对我无所谓吗?而且不也是说明了:假如她怀疑到我对他有感情,她就要劝我(多亏她这样好心肠!)当心些吗?这些话还能有别的解释吗?”
“当然可以有别的解释;我的解释就和你的解释完全两样。你愿意听一听吗?”
“非常愿意。”
“这只消三言两语就可以说明白。彬格莱小姐看出他哥哥爱上了你,可是她却希望他和达西小姐结婚。她跟着他到城里去,就为的是要把他绊住在那儿,而且竭力想来说服你,叫你相信他对你没有好感。”
吉英摇摇头。
“吉英,你的确应该相信我。凡是看见过你们俩在一起的人,都不会怀疑到他的感情。我相信彬格莱小姐也不会怀疑,她不是那么一个傻瓜。要是她看到达西先生对她的爱有这样的一半,她就要办嫁妆了。可是问题是这样的:在她们家里看来,我们还不够有钱,也不够有势,她所以急于想把达西小姐配给她哥哥,原来还有一个打算,那就是说,亲上加亲以后,亲上再加亲就更省事了。这件事当然很费了一些心机,我敢说,要不是德·包尔小姐从中作梗,事情是会成功的。可是最亲爱的吉英,你千万不要因为彬格莱小姐告诉你说,她哥哥已经深深地爱上了达西小姐,你就以为彬格莱先生自从星期二和你分别以来,对你的倾心有丝毫变卦,也别以为她真有本事叫她哥哥不爱你,而去爱上她那位女朋友。”
“假如我对彬格莱小姐看法是一致的,”吉英回答道,“那么,你的一切想法就会大大地让我安心了。可是我知道你这种说法很偏心。珈罗琳不会故意欺骗任何人,我对这件事只能存一个希望,那就是说,一定是她自己想错了。”
“这话说得对。我的想法既然不能安慰你,你自己居然转得出这样的好念头来,那是再好也没有了,你就相信是她自己想错了吧。现在你算是对她尽了责任,再也用不着烦恼。”
“可是,亲爱的妹妹,即使从最好的方面去着想,我能够给这个人的,而他的姐妹和朋友们都希望他跟别人结婚,这样我会幸福吗?”
“那就得看你自己的主张如何,”伊丽莎白说。“如果你考虑成熟以后,认为得罪了他的姐妹们所招来的痛苦,比起做他的太太所得来的幸福还要大,那么,我劝你决计拒绝了他算数。”
“你怎么说得出这种话?”吉英微微一笑。“你要知道,即使她们的反对使我万分难受,我还是不会犹豫的。”
“我并没有说你会犹豫;既然如此,我就可以不必再为你担心了。”
“倘若他今年冬天不回来,我就用不着左思右想了。六个月里会有多少变动啊。”
所谓他不会回来,这种想法伊丽莎白大不以为然。她觉得那不过是咖罗琳一厢情愿。她认为珈罗琳这种愿望无论是露骨地说出来也罢,委婉地说出来也罢,对于一个完全无求于人的青年来说,决不会发生丝毫影响。
她把自己对这个问题的感想,解释给她姐姐听,果然一下子就收到了很好的效果,她觉得非常高兴。吉英这样的性子,本来不会轻易意志消沉,从此便渐渐产生了希望认为彬格莱先生准定会回到尼日斐花园一,使她万事如意,尽管有时候她还是怀疑多于希望。
最后姐妹俩一致主张,这事在班纳特太太面前不宜多说,只要告诉她一声,这一家人家已经离开此地,不必向她说明他走原因;可是班纳特太太光是听到这片段的消息,已经大感不安,甚至还哭了起来,埋怨自己运气太坏,两位贵妇人刚刚跟她处熟就走了。不过伤心了一阵以后,她又用这样的想法来安慰自己;彬格莱先生不久就会回来,到浪博恩来吃饭;最后她心安理得地说,虽然只不过邀他来便饭,她一定要费些心思,请他吃两道大菜。

 

 


Chapter 22


THE Bennets were engaged to dine with the Lucases, and again during the chief of the day, was Miss Lucas so kind as to listen to Mr. Collins. Elizabeth took an opportunity of thanking her. "It keeps him in good humour," said she, "and I am more obliged to you than I can express." Charlotte assured her friend of her satisfaction in being useful, and that it amply repaid her for the little sacrifice of her time. This was very amiable, but Charlotte's kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any conception of; -- its object was nothing less than to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins's addresses, by engaging them towards herself. Such was Miss Lucas's scheme; and appearances were so favourable that when they parted at night, she would have felt almost sure of success if he had not been to leave Hertfordshire so very soon. But here, she did injustice to the fire and independence of his character, for it led him to escape out of Longbourn House the next morning with admirable slyness, and hasten to Lucas Lodge to throw himself at her feet. He was anxious to avoid the notice of his cousins, from a conviction that if they saw him depart, they could not fail to conjecture his design, and he was not willing to have the attempt known till its success could be known likewise; for though feeling almost secure, and with reason, for Charlotte had been tolerably encouraging, he was comparatively diffident since the adventure of Wednesday. His reception however was of the most flattering kind. Miss Lucas perceived him from an upper window as he walked towards the house, and instantly set out to meet him accidentally in the lane. But little had she dared to hope that so much love and eloquence awaited her there.
In as short a time as Mr. Collins's long speeches would allow, every thing was settled between them to the satisfaction of both; and as they entered the house, he earnestly entreated her to name the day that was to make him the happiest of men; and though such a solicitation must be waved for the present, the lady felt no inclination to trifle with his happiness. The stupidity with which he was favoured by nature must guard his courtship from any charm that could make a woman wish for its continuance; and Miss Lucas, who accepted him solely from the pure and disinterested desire of an establishment, cared not how soon that establishment were gained.
Sir William and Lady Lucas were speedily applied to for their consent; and it was bestowed with a most joyful alacrity. Mr. Collins's present circumstances made it a most eligible match for their daughter, to whom they could give little fortune; and his prospects of future wealth were exceedingly fair. Lady Lucas began directly to calculate with more interest than the matter had ever excited before, how many years longer Mr. Bennet was likely to live; and Sir William gave it as his decided opinion that whenever Mr. Collins should be in possession of the Longbourn estate, it would be highly expedient that both he and his wife should make their appearance at St. James's. The whole family, in short, were properly overjoyed on the occasion. The younger girls formed hopes of coming out a year or two sooner than they might otherwise have done; and the boys were relieved from their apprehension of Charlotte's dying an old maid. Charlotte herself was tolerably composed. She had gained her point, and had time to consider of it. Her reflections were in general satisfactory. Mr. Collins to be sure was neither sensible nor agreeable; his society was irksome, and his attachment to her must be imaginary. But still, he would be her husband. -- Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and however uncertain of giving happiness, must be their pleasantest preservative from want. This preservative she had now obtained; and at the age of twenty-seven, without having ever been handsome, she felt all the good luck of it. The least agreeable circumstance in the business was the surprise it must occasion to Elizabeth Bennet, whose friendship she valued beyond that of any other person. Elizabeth would wonder, and probably would blame her; and though her resolution was not to be shaken, her feelings must be hurt by such disapprobation. She resolved to give her the information herself, and therefore charged Mr. Collins, when he returned to Longbourn to dinner, to drop no hint of what had passed before any of the family. A promise of secrecy was of course very dutifully given, but it could not be kept without difficulty; for the curiosity excited by his long absence burst forth in such very direct questions on his return, as required some ingenuity to evade, and he was at the same time exercising great self-denial, for he was longing to publish his prosperous love.
As he was to begin his journey too early on the morrow to see any of the family, the ceremony of leave-taking was performed when the ladies moved for the night; and Mrs. Bennet, with great politeness and cordiality, said how happy they should be to see him at Longbourn again, whenever his other engagements might allow him to visit them.
"My dear Madam," he replied, "this invitation is particularly gratifying, because it is what I have been hoping to receive; and you may be very certain that I shall avail myself of it as soon as possible."
They were all astonished; and Mr. Bennet, who could by no means wish for so speedy a return, immediately said,
"But is there not danger of Lady Catherine's disapprobation here, my good sir? -- You had better neglect your relations, than run the risk of offending your patroness."
"My dear sir," replied Mr. Collins, "I am particularly obliged to you for this friendly caution, and you may depend upon my not taking so material a step without her ladyship's concurrence."
"You cannot be too much on your guard. Risk any thing rather than her displeasure; and if you find it likely to be raised by your coming to us again, which I should think exceedingly probable, stay quietly at home, and be satisfied that we shall take no offence."
"Believe me, my dear sir, my gratitude is warmly excited by such affectionate attention; and depend upon it, you will speedily receive from me a letter of thanks for this, as well as for every other mark of your regard during my stay in Hertfordshire. As for my fair cousins, though my absence may not be long enough to render it necessary, I shall now take the liberty of wishing them health and happiness, not excepting my cousin Elizabeth."
With proper civilities the ladies then withdrew; all of them equally surprised to find that he meditated a quick return. Mrs. Bennet wished to understand by it that he thought of paying his addresses to one of her younger girls, and Mary might have been prevailed on to accept him. She rated his abilities much higher than any of the others; there was a solidity in his reflections which often struck her, and though by no means so clever as herself, she thought that if encouraged to read and improve himself by such an example as her's, he might become a very agreeable companion. But on the following morning, every hope of this kind was done away. Miss Lucas called soon after breakfast, and in a private conference with Elizabeth related the event of the day before.
The possibility of Mr. Collins's fancying himself in love with her friend had once occurred to Elizabeth within the last day or two; but that Charlotte could encourage him, seemed almost as far from possibility as that she could encourage him herself, and her astonishment was consequently so great as to overcome at first the bounds of decorum, and she could not help crying out,
"Engaged to Mr. Collins! my dear Charlotte, -- impossible!"
The steady countenance which Miss Lucas had commanded in telling her story, gave way to a momentary confusion here on receiving so direct a reproach; though, as it was no more than she expected, she soon regained her composure, and calmly replied,
"Why should you be surprised, my dear Eliza? -- Do you think it incredible that Mr. Collins should be able to procure any woman's good opinion, because he was not so happy as to succeed with you?"
But Elizabeth had now recollected herself, and making a strong effort for it, was able to assure her with tolerable firmness that the prospect of their relationship was highly grateful to her, and that she wished her all imaginable happiness.
"I see what you are feeling," replied Charlotte, -- "you must be surprised, very much surprised, -- so lately as Mr. Collins was wishing to marry you. But when you have had time to think it all over, I hope you will be satisfied with what I have done. I am not romantic, you know. I never was. I ask only a comfortable home; and considering Mr. Collins's character, connections, and situation in life, I am convinced that my chance of happiness with him is as fair as most people can boast on entering the marriage state."
Elizabeth quietly answered "Undoubtedly;" -- and after an awkward pause, they returned to the rest of the family. Charlotte did not stay much longer, and Elizabeth was then left to reflect on what she had heard. It was a long time before she became at all reconciled to the idea of so unsuitable a match. The strangeness of Mr. Collins's making two offers of marriage within three days, was nothing in comparison of his being now accepted. She had always felt that Charlotte's opinion of matrimony was not exactly like her own, but she could not have supposed it possible that, when called into action, she would have sacrificed every better feeling to worldly advantage. Charlotte the wife of Mr. Collins, was a most humiliating picture! -- And to the pang of a friend disgracing herself and sunk in her esteem, was added the distressing conviction that it was impossible for that friend to be tolerably happy in the lot she had chosen.


 

 

第二十二章
 

这一天班纳特全家都被卢卡斯府上请去吃饭,又多蒙卢卡斯小姐一片好意,整日陪着柯林斯先生谈话。伊丽莎白利用了一个机会向她道谢。她说:“这样可以叫他精神痛快些,我对你真是说不尽的感激。”夏绿蒂说,能够替朋友效劳,非常乐意,虽然花了一点时间,却得到了很大的快慰。这真是太好了;可是夏绿蒂的好意,远非伊丽莎白所能意料;原来夏绿蒂是有意要尽量逗引柯林斯先生跟她自己谈话,免得他再去向伊丽莎白献殷勤。她这个计谋看来进行得十分顺利。晚上大家分手的时候,夏绿蒂几乎满有把握地感觉到,要不是柯林斯先生这么快就要离开哈福德郡,事情一定能成功。但是她这样的想法,未免太不了解他那如火如荼、独断独行的性格。且说第二天一大早,柯林斯就采用了相当狡猾的办法,溜出了浪博恩,赶到卢家庄来向她屈身求爱。他唯恐给表妹们碰到了,他认为,假若让她们看见他走开,那就必定会让她们猜中他的打算,而他不等到事情有了成功的把握,决不愿意让人家知道。虽说他当场看到夏绿蒂对他颇有情意,因此觉得这事十拿九稳可以成功,可是从星期三那场冒险以来,他究竟不敢太鲁莽了。不过人家倒很巴结地接待了他。卢卡斯小姐从楼上窗口看见他向她家里走来,便连忙到那条小道上去接他,又装出是偶然相逢的样子。她万万想不到,柯林斯这一次竟然给她带来了说不尽的千情万爱。
在短短的一段时间里,柯林斯先生说了多多少少的话,于是两人之间便一切都讲妥了,而且双方都很满意。一走进屋子,他就诚恳地要求她择定吉日,使他成为世界上最幸福的人,虽说这种请求,暂应该置之不理,可是这位小姐并不想要拿他的幸福当儿戏。他天生一副蠢相,求起爱来总是打动不了女人的心,女人一碰到他求爱,总是请他碰壁。卢卡斯小姐所以愿意答应他,完全是为了财产打算,至于那笔财产何年何月可以拿到手,她倒不在乎。
他们俩立刻就去请求威廉爵士夫妇加以允许,老夫妇连忙高高兴兴地答应了。他们本来没有什么嫁妆给女儿,论柯林斯先生目前的境况,真是再适合不过的一个女婿,何况他将来一定会发一笔大财。卢卡斯太太立刻带着空前未有过的兴趣,开始盘算着班纳特先生还有多少年可活;威廉爵士一口断定说,只要林斯先生一旦得到了浪博恩的财产,他夫妇俩就大有觐见皇上的希望了。总而言之,这件大事叫全家人都快活透顶。几位小女儿都满怀希望,认为这一来可以早一两年出去交际了,男孩子们再也不担心夏绿蒂会当老处女了。只有夏绿蒂本人倒相当镇定。她现在初步已经成功,还有时间去仔细考虑一番。她想了一下,大致满意。柯林斯先生固然既不通情达理,又不讨人喜爱,同他相处实在是件讨厌的事,他对她的爱也一定是空中楼阁,不过她还是要他做丈夫。虽然她对于婚姻和夫妇生活,估价都不甚高,可是,结婚到底是她一贯的目标,大凡家境不好而又受过相当教育的青年女子,总是把结婚当作仅有的一条体面的退路。尽管结婚并不一定会叫人幸福,但总算约她自己安排了一个最可靠的储藏室日后可以不致挨冻受饥。她现在就获得这样一个储藏室了。她今年二十七岁,人长得又不标致,这个储藏室当然会使她觉得无限幸运。只有一件事令人不快──那就是说,伊丽莎白·班纳特准会对这门亲事感到惊奇,而她又是一向把伊丽莎白的交情看得比什么人的交情都重要。伊丽莎白一定会诧异,说不定还要埋怨她。虽说她一经下定决心便不会动摇,然而人家非难起来一定会使她难受。于是她决定亲自把这件事告诉她,嘱咐柯林斯先生回到浪博恩吃饭的时候,不要在班纳特家里任何人面前透露一点风声。对方当然唯命是从,答应保守秘密,其实秘密是很难保守,因为他出去得太久了,一定会引起人家的好奇心,因此他一回去,大家立刻向他问长问短,他得要有几分能耐才能够遮掩过去,加上他又巴不得把此番情场得意的情况宣扬出去,因此他好容易才克制住了。
他明天一大早就要启程,来不及向大家辞行,所以当夜太太小姐们就寝的时候,大家便相互话别;班纳特太太极其诚恳、极有礼貌地说,以后他要是有便再来浪博恩,上她们那儿去玩玩,那真叫她们太高兴了。
他回答道:“亲爱的太太,承蒙邀约,不胜感激,我也正希望能领受这份盛意;请你放心,我一有空就来看你们。”
大家都吃了一惊,尤其是班纳特先生,根本不希望他马上回来,便连忙说道:
“贤侄,你不怕珈苔琳夫人不赞成吗?你最好把亲戚关系看得淡一些,免得担那么大的风险,得罪了你的女施主。”
柯林斯先生回答道:“老长辈,我非常感激你这样好心地提醒我,请你放心,这样重大的事,不得到她老人家的同意,我决不会冒昧从事。”
“多小心一些只会有益处。什么事都不要紧,可千万不能叫她老人家不高兴。要是你想到我们这儿来,而她却不高兴让你来(我觉得这是非常可能的),那么就请你安分一些,待在家里,你放心,我们决不会因此而见怪的。”
“老长辈,请相信我,蒙你这样好心地关注,真叫我感激不尽。你放心好了,你马上就会收到我一封谢函,感谢这一点,感谢我在哈福郡蒙你们对我的种种照拂。至于诸位表妹,虽然我去不了多少日子,且请恕我冒昧,就趁着现在祝她们健康幸福,连伊丽莎白表妹也不例外。”
太太小姐们便行礼如仪,辞别回房;大家听说他竟打算很快就回来,都感到惊讶。班纳特太太满以为他是打算向她的哪一个小女儿求婚,也许能劝劝曼丽去应承他。曼丽比任何姐妹都看重他的能力。他思想方面的坚定很叫她倾心;他虽然比不上她自己那样聪明,可是只要有一个象她这样的人作为榜样,鼓励他读书上进,那他一定会成为一个称心如意的伴侣。只可惜一到第二天早上,这种希望就完全破灭了。卢卡斯小姐刚一吃过早饭,就来访问,私下跟伊丽莎白把前一天的事说了出来。
早在前一两天,伊丽莎白就一度想到,柯林斯先生可能一厢情愿,自以为爱上了她这位朋友,可是,要说夏绿蒂会怂恿他,那未免太不可能,正如她自己不可能怂恿他一样,因此她现在听到这件事,不禁大为惊讶,连礼貌也不顾了,竟大声叫了起来:
“跟柯林斯先生订婚!亲爱的夏绿蒂,那怎么行!”
卢卡斯小姐乍听得这一声心直口快的责备,镇静的脸色不禁变得慌张起来,好在这也是她意料中事,因此她立刻就恢复了常态,从容不迫地说:
“你为什么这样惊奇,亲爱的伊丽莎?柯林斯先生不幸没有得到你的赏识,难道就不作兴他得到别的女人的赏识吗?”
伊丽莎白这时候已经镇定下来,便竭力克制着自己,用相当肯定的语气预祝他们俩将来良缘美满,幸福无疆。
夏绿蒂回答道:“我明白你的心思,你一定会感到奇怪,而且感到非常奇怪,因为在不久以前,柯林斯先生还在想跟你结婚。可是,只要你空下来把这事情细细地想一下,你就会赞成我的做法。你知道我不是个罗曼谛克的人,我决不是那样的人。我只希望有一个舒舒服服的家。论柯林斯先生的性格、社会关系和身份地位,我觉得跟他结了婚,也能够获得幸福,并不下于一般人结婚时所夸耀的那种幸福。”
伊丽莎白心平气和地回答道:“毫无问题。”她们俩别别扭扭地在一起待了一会儿,便和家人一块坐下。夏绿蒂没有过多久就走了;伊丽莎白独自把刚才听到的那些话仔细想了一下。这样不合适的一门亲事,真使她难受了好久。说起柯林斯先生三天之内求了两次婚,本就够稀奇了,如今竟会有人应承他,实在是更稀奇。她一向觉得,夏绿蒂关于婚姻问题方面的见解,跟她颇不一致,却不曾料想到一旦事到临头,她竟会完全不顾高尚的情操,来屈就一些世俗的利益。夏绿蒂做了柯林斯的妻子,这真是天下最丢人的事!她不仅为这样一个朋友的自取其辱、自贬身份而感到难受,而且她还十分痛心地断定,她朋友拈的这一个阄儿,决不会给她自己带来多大的幸福。

 

 


Chapter 23


ELIZABETH was sitting with her mother and sisters, reflecting on what she had heard, and doubting whether she were authorised to mention it, when Sir William Lucas himself appeared, sent by his daughter to announce her engagement to the family. With many compliments to them, and much self-gratulation on the prospect of a connection between the houses, he unfolded the matter, -- to an audience not merely wondering, but incredulous; for Mrs. Bennet, with more perseverance than politeness, protested he must be entirely mistaken, and Lydia, always unguarded and often uncivil, boisterously exclaimed,
"Good Lord! Sir William, how can you tell such a story? -- Do not you know that Mr. Collins wants to marry Lizzy?"
Nothing less than the complaisance of a courtier could have borne without anger such treatment; but Sir William's good breeding carried him through it all; and though he begged leave to be positive as to the truth of his information, he listened to all their impertinence with the most forbearing courtesy.
Elizabeth, feeling it incumbent on her to relieve him from so unpleasant a situation, now put herself forward to confirm his account, by mentioning her prior knowledge of it from Charlotte herself; and endeavoured to put a stop to the exclamations of her mother and sisters, by the earnestness of her congratulations to Sir William, in which she was readily joined by Jane, and by making a variety of remarks on the happiness that might be expected from the match, the excellent character of Mr. Collins, and the convenient distance of Hunsford from London.
Mrs. Bennet was in fact too much overpowered to say a great deal while Sir William remained; but no sooner had he left them than her feelings found a rapid vent. In the first place, she persisted in disbelieving the whole of the matter; secondly, she was very sure that Mr. Collins had been taken in; thirdly, she trusted that they would never be happy together; and fourthly, that the match might be broken off. Two inferences, however, were plainly deduced from the whole; one, that Elizabeth was the real cause of all the mischief; and the other, that she herself had been barbarously used by them all; and on these two points she principally dwelt during the rest of the day. Nothing could console and nothing appease her. -- Nor did that day wear out her resentment. A week elapsed before she could see Elizabeth without scolding her, a month passed away before she could speak to Sir William or Lady Lucas without being rude, and many months were gone before she could at all forgive their daughter.
Mr. Bennet's emotions were much more tranquil on the occasion, and such as he did experience he pronounced to be of a most agreeable sort; for it gratified him, he said, to discover that Charlotte Lucas, whom he had been used to think tolerably sensible, was as foolish as his wife, and more foolish than his daughter!
Jane confessed herself a little surprised at the match; but she said less of her astonishment than of her earnest desire for their happiness; nor could Elizabeth persuade her to consider it as improbable. Kitty and Lydia were far from envying Miss Lucas, for Mr. Collins was only a clergyman; and it affected them in no other way than as a piece of news to spread at Meryton.
Lady Lucas could not be insensible of triumph on being able to retort on Mrs. Bennet the comfort of having a daughter well married; and she called at Longbourn rather oftener than usual to say how happy she was, though Mrs. Bennet's sour looks and ill-natured remarks might have been enough to drive happiness away.
Between Elizabeth and Charlotte there was a restraint which kept them mutually silent on the subject; and Elizabeth felt persuaded that no real confidence could ever subsist between them again. Her disappointment in Charlotte made her turn with fonder regard to her sister, of whose rectitude and delicacy she was sure her opinion could never be shaken, and for whose happiness she grew daily more anxious, as Bingley had now been gone a week, and nothing was heard of his return.
Jane had sent Caroline an early answer to her letter, and was counting the days till she might reasonably hope to hear again. The promised letter of thanks from Mr. Collins arrived on Tuesday, addressed to their father, and written with all the solemnity of gratitude which a twelvemonth's abode in the family might have prompted. After discharging his conscience on that head, he proceeded to inform them, with many rapturous expressions, of his happiness in having obtained the affection of their amiable neighbour, Miss Lucas, and then explained that it was merely with the view of enjoying her society that he had been so ready to close with their kind wish of seeing him again at Longbourn, whither he hoped to be able to return on Monday fortnight; for Lady Catherine, he added, so heartily approved his marriage, that she wished it to take place as soon as possible, which he trusted would be an unanswerable argument with his amiable Charlotte to name an early day for making him the happiest of men.
Mr. Collins's return into Hertfordshire was no longer a matter of pleasure to Mrs. Bennet. On the contrary, she was as much disposed to complain of it as her husband. -- It was very strange that he should come to Longbourn instead of to Lucas Lodge; it was also very inconvenient and exceedingly troublesome. -- She hated having visitors in the house while her health was so indifferent, and lovers were of all people the most disagreeable. Such were the gentle murmurs of Mrs. Bennet, and they gave way only to the greater distress of Mr. Bingley's continued absence.
Neither Jane nor Elizabeth were comfortable on this subject. Day after day passed away without bringing any other tidings of him than the report which shortly prevailed in Meryton of his coming no more to Netherfield the whole winter; a report which highly incensed Mrs. Bennet, and which she never failed to contradict as a most scandalous falsehood.
Even Elizabeth began to fear -- not that Bingley was indifferent -- but that his sisters would be successful in keeping him away. Unwilling as she was to admit an idea so destructive of Jane's happiness, and so dishonourable to the stability of her lover, she could not prevent its frequently recurring. The united efforts of his two unfeeling sisters and of his overpowering friend, assisted by the attractions of Miss Darcy and the amusements of London, might be too much, she feared, for the strength of his attachment.
As for Jane, her anxiety under this suspence was, of course, more painful than Elizabeth's; but whatever she felt she was desirous of concealing, and between herself and Elizabeth, therefore, the subject was never alluded to. But as no such delicacy restrained her mother, an hour seldom passed in which she did not talk of Bingley, express her impatience for his arrival, or even require Jane to confess that if he did not come back, she should think herself very ill used. It needed all Jane's steady mildness to bear these attacks with tolerable tranquillity.
Mr. Collins returned most punctually on the Monday fortnight, but his reception at Longbourn was not quite so gracious as it had been on his first introduction. He was too happy, however, to need much attention; and luckily for the others, the business of love-making relieved them from a great deal of his company. The chief of every day was spent by him at Lucas Lodge, and he sometimes returned to Longbourn only in time to make an apology for his absence before the family went to bed.
Mrs. Bennet was really in a most pitiable state. The very mention of any thing concerning the match threw her into an agony of ill humour, and wherever she went she was sure of hearing it talked of. The sight of Miss Lucas was odious to her. As her successor in that house, she regarded her with jealous abhorrence. Whenever Charlotte came to see them she concluded her to be anticipating the hour of possession; and whenever she spoke in a low voice to Mr. Collins, was convinced that they were talking of the Longbourn estate, and resolving to turn herself and her daughters out of the house as soon as Mr. Bennet were dead. She complained bitterly of all this to her husband.
"Indeed, Mr. Bennet," said she, "it is very hard to think that Charlotte Lucas should ever be mistress of this house, that I should be forced to make way for her, and live to see her take my place in it!"
"My dear, do not give way to such gloomy thoughts. Let us hope for better things. Let us flatter ourselves that I may be the survivor."
This was not very consoling to Mrs. Bennet, and, therefore, instead of making any answer, she went on as before,
"I cannot bear to think that they should have all this estate, If it was not for the entail I should not mind it."
"What should not you mind?"
"I should not mind any thing at all."
"Let us be thankful that you are preserved from a state of such insensibility."
"I never can be thankful, Mr. Bennet, for any thing about the entail. How any one could have the conscience to entail away an estate from one's own daughters I cannot understand; and all for the sake of Mr. Collins too! -- Why should he have it more than anybody else?"
"I leave it to yourself to determine," said Mr. Bennet.


 

 

第二十三章
 

伊丽莎白正跟母亲和姐妹坐在一起,回想刚才所听到的那件事,决不定是否可以把它告诉大家,就在这时候,威廉·卢卡斯爵士来了。他是受了女儿的拜托,前来班府上宣布她订婚的消息。他一面叙述这件事,一面又大大地恭维了太太小姐们一阵,说是两家能结上亲,他真感到荣幸。班府上的人听了,不仅感到惊异,而且不相信真有这回事。班纳特太太再也顾不得礼貌,竟一口咬定他弄错了。丽迪雅一向又任性又撒野,不由得叫道:
“天哪!威廉爵士,你怎么会说出这番话来?你不知道柯林斯先生要娶丽萃吗?”
遇到这种情形,只有象朝廷大臣那样能够逆来顺受的人,才不会生气,好在威廉爵士颇有素养,竟没有把它当一回事,虽然他要求她们相信他说的是实话,可是他却使出了极大的忍耐功夫,满有礼貌地听着她们无理的谈吐。
伊丽莎白觉得自己有责任帮助他来打开这种僵局,于是挺身而出,证明他说的实话,说是刚刚已经听到夏绿蒂本人谈起过了。为了尽力使母亲和妹妹们不再大惊小怪,她便诚恳地向威廉爵士道喜,吉英马上也替她帮腔,又用种种话来说明这门婚姻是何等幸福,柯林斯先生品格又非常好,汉斯福和伦敦相隔不远往返方便。
班纳特太太在威廉爵士面前,实在气得说不出话;可是他一走,她那一肚子牢骚便马上发泄出来。第一,她坚决不相信这回事;第二,她断定柯林斯先生受了骗;第三,她相信这一对夫妇决不会幸福;第四,这门亲事可能会破裂。不过她却从整个事件上简单地得出了两个结论──一个是:这场笑话全都是伊丽莎白一手造成的;另一个是,她自己受尽了大家的欺负虐待;在那一整天里,她所谈的大都是这两点。随便怎么也安慰不了她,随便怎么也平不了她的气。直到晚上,怨愤依然没有消散。她见到伊丽莎白就骂,一直骂了一个星期之久。她同威廉爵士或卢卡斯太太说起话来,总是粗声粗气,一直过了一个月才好起来;至于夏绿蒂,她竟过了好几个月才宽恕了她。
对班纳特先生说来,这件事反而使他心情上益发洒脱,据他说,这次所经过的一切,真使他精神上舒服到极点。他说,他本以为夏绿蒂·卢卡斯相当懂事,哪知道她简直跟他太太一样蠢,比起他的女儿来就更要蠢了,他实在觉得高兴!
吉英也承认这门婚姻有些奇怪,可是她嘴上并没说什么,反而诚恳地祝他们俩幸福。虽然伊丽莎白再三剖白给她听,她却始终以为这门婚姻未必一定不会幸福。吉蒂和丽迪雅根本不羡慕卢卡斯小姐,因为柯林斯先生不过是个传教士而已;这件事根本影响不了她们,除非把它当作一件新闻,带到麦里屯去传播一下。
再说到卢卡斯太太,她既然也有一个女儿获得了美满的姻缘,自然衷心快慰,因而也不会不想到趁此去向班纳特太太反唇相讥一下。于是她拜望浪博恩的次数比往常更加频繁,说是她如今多么高兴,不过班纳特太太满脸恶相,满口的毒话,也足够叫她扫兴的了。
伊丽莎白和夏绿蒂之间从此竟有了一层隔膜,彼此不便提到这桩事。伊丽莎白断定她们俩再也不会象从前那样推心置腹。她既然在夏绿蒂身上失望,便越发亲切地关注到自己姐姐身上来。她深信姐姐为人正直,作风优雅,她这种看法决不会动摇。她关心姐姐的幸福一天比一天来得迫切,因为彬格莱先生已经走了一个星期,却没有听到一点儿她要回来的消息。
吉英很早就给珈罗琳写了回信,现在正在数着日子,看看还得过多少天才可以又接到她的信。柯林斯先生事先答应写来的那封谢函星期二就收到了,信是写给她们父亲的,信上说了多少感激的话,看他那种过甚其辞的语气,就好象在他们府上叨光了一年似的。他在这方面表示了歉意以后,便用了多少欢天喜地的措辞,告诉他们说,他已经有幸获得他们的芳邻卢卡斯小姐的欢心了,他接着又说,为了要去看看他的心上人,他可以趁便来看看他们,免得辜负他们善意的期望,希望能在两个礼拜以后的星期一到达浪博恩;他又说,珈苔琳夫人衷心地赞成他赶快结婚,并且希望愈早愈好,他相信他那位心上人夏绿蒂决不会反对及早定出佳期,使他成为天下最幸福的人。对班纳特太太说来,柯林斯先生的重返浪博恩,如今并不是什么叫人快意的事了。她反而跟她丈夫一样地大为抱怨。说也奇怪,柯林斯不去卢家庄,却要来到浪搏恩,这真是既不方便,又太麻烦。她现在正当健康失调,因此非常讨厌客人上门,何况这些痴情种子都是很讨厌的人。班纳特太太成天嘀咕着这些事,除非想到彬格莱一直不回来而使她感到更大的痛苦时,她方才住口。
吉英跟伊丽莎白都为这个问题大感不安。一天又一天,听不到一点关于他的消息,只听得麦里屯纷纷传言,说他今冬再也不会上尼日斐花园来了,班纳特太太听得非常生气,总是加以驳斥,说那是诬蔑性的谣言。
连伊丽莎白也开始恐惧起来了,她并不是怕彬格莱薄情,而是怕他的姐妹们真的绊住了他。尽管她不愿意有这种想法,因为这种想法对于吉英的幸福既有不利,对于吉英心上人的忠贞,也未免是一种侮辱,可是她还是往往禁不住要这样想。他那两位无情无义的姐妹,和那位足以制服他的朋友同心协力,再加上达西小姐的窈窕妩媚,以及伦敦的声色娱乐,纵使他果真对她念念不忘,恐怕也挣脱不了那个圈套。
至于吉英,她在这种动荡不安的情况下,自然比伊丽莎白更加感到焦虑,可是她总不愿意把自己的心事暴露出来,所以她和伊丽莎白一直没有提到这件事。偏偏她母亲不能体贴她的苦衷,过不了一个钟头就要提到彬格莱,说是等待他回来实在等待心焦,甚至硬要吉英承认──要是彬格莱果真不回来,那她一定会觉得自己受了薄情的亏待。幸亏吉英临事从容不迫,柔和镇定,好容易才忍受了她这些谗言诽语。
柯林斯先生在两个礼拜以后的星期一准时到达,可是浪搏恩却不象他初来时那样热烈地欢迎他了。他实在高兴不过也用不着别人献殷勤。这真是主人家走运,多亏他恋爱成了功,这才使别人能够清闲下来,不必再去跟他周旋。他每天把大部分时间消磨在卢家庄,一直挨到卢府上快要睡觉的时候,才回到浪搏恩来,向大家道歉一声,请大家原谅他终日未归。
班纳特太太着实可怜。只要一提到那门亲事,她就会不高兴,而且随便她走到那儿,她总会听到人们谈起这件事。她一看到卢卡斯小姐就觉得讨厌。一想到卢卡斯小姐将来有一天会接替她做这幢屋子里的主妇,她就益发嫉妒和厌恶。每逢夏绿蒂来看她们,她总以为人家是来考察情况,看看还要过多少时候就可以搬进来住;每逢夏绿蒂跟柯林斯先生低声说话的时候,她就以为他们是在谈论浪搏恩的家产,是在计议一俟班纳特先生去世以后,就要把她和她的几个女儿撵出去。她把这些伤心事都说给她丈夫听。
她说:“我的好老爷,夏绿蒂·卢卡斯迟早要做这屋子里的主妇,我却非得让她不可,眼睁睁看着她来接替我的位置,这可叫我受不了!”
“我的好太太,别去想这些伤心事吧。我们不妨从好的方面去想。说不定我比你的寿命还要长,我们姑且就这样来安慰自己吧。”
可是这些话安慰不了班纳特太太,因此她非但没有回答,反而象刚才一样地诉苦下去。
“我一想到所有的产业都得落到他们手里,就受不了。要不是为了继承权的问题,我才不在乎呢。”
“你不在乎什么?”
“什么我都不在乎。”
“让我们谢天谢地,你头脑还没有不清楚到这种地步。”
“我的好老爷,凡是有关继承权的事,我决不会谢天谢地的。随便哪个人,怎么肯昧着良心,不把财产遗传给自己的女儿们?我真弄不懂,何况一切都是为了柯林斯先生的缘故!为什么偏偏要他享有这份遗产?”
“我让你自己去想吧。”班纳特先生说。

 

 


Chapter 24


MISS Bingley's letter arrived, and put an end to doubt. The very first sentence conveyed the assurance of their being all settled in London for the winter, and concluded with her brother's regret at not having had time to pay his respects to his friends in Hertfordshire before he left the country.
Hope was over, entirely over; and when Jane could attend to the rest of the letter, she found little, except the professed affection of the writer, that could give her any comfort. Miss Darcy's praise occupied the chief of it. Her many attractions were again dwelt on, and Caroline boasted joyfully of their increasing intimacy, and ventured to predict the accomplishment of the wishes which had been unfolded in her former letter. She wrote also with great pleasure of her brother's being an inmate of Mr. Darcy's house, and mentioned with raptures some plans of the latter with regard to new furniture. Elizabeth, to whom Jane very soon communicated the chief of all this, heard it in silent indignation. Her heart was divided between concern for her sister, and resentment against all the others. To Caroline's assertion of her brother's being partial to Miss Darcy she paid no credit. That he was really fond of Jane, she doubted no more than she had ever done; and much as she had always been disposed to like him, she could not think without anger, hardly without contempt, on that easiness of temper, that want of proper resolution which now made him the slave of his designing friends, and led him to sacrifice his own happiness to the caprice of their inclinations. Had his own happiness, however, been the only sacrifice, he might have been allowed to sport with it in what ever manner he thought best; but her sister's was involved in it, as, she thought, he must be sensible himself. It was a subject, in short, on which reflection would be long indulged, and must be unavailing. She could think of nothing else, and yet whether Bingley's regard had really died away, or were suppressed by his friends' interference; whether he had been aware of Jane's attachment, or whether it had escaped his observation; whichever were the case, though her opinion of him must be materially affected by the difference, her sister's situation remained the same, her peace equally wounded.
A day or two passed before Jane had courage to speak of her feelings to Elizabeth; but at last on Mrs. Bennet's leaving them together, after a longer irritation than usual about Netherfield and its master, she could not help saying,
"Oh! that my dear mother had more command over herself; she can have no idea of the pain she gives me by her continual reflections on him. But I will not repine. It cannot last long. He will be forgot, and we shall all be as we were before."
Elizabeth looked at her sister with incredulous solicitude, but said nothing.
"You doubt me," cried Jane, slightly colouring; "indeed you have no reason. He may live in my memory as the most amiable man of my acquaintance, but that is all. I have nothing either to hope or fear, and nothing to reproach him with. Thank God! I have not that pain. A little time therefore. -- I shall certainly try to get the better."
With a stronger voice she soon added, "I have this comfort immediately, that it has not been more than an error of fancy on my side, and that it has done no harm to any one but myself."
"My dear Jane!" exclaimed Elizabeth, "you are too good. Your sweetness and disinterestedness are really angelic; I do not know what to say to you. I feel as if I had never done you justice, or loved you as you deserve."
Miss Bennet eagerly disclaimed all extraordinary merit, and threw back the praise on her sister's warm affection.
"Nay," said Elizabeth, "this is not fair. You wish to think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak ill of any body. I only want to think you perfect, and you set yourself against it. Do not be afraid of my running into any excess, of my encroaching on your privilege of universal good will. You need not. There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense. I have met with two instances lately; one I will not mention; the other is Charlotte's marriage. It is unaccountable! in every view it is unaccountable!"
"My dear Lizzy, do not give way to such feelings as these. They will ruin your happiness. You do not make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper. Consider Mr. Collins's respectability, and Charlotte's prudent, steady character. Remember that she is one of a large family; that as to fortune, it is a most eligible match; and be ready to believe, for every body's sake, that she may feel something like regard and esteem for our cousin."
"To oblige you, I would try to believe almost any thing, but no one else could be benefited by such a belief as this; for were I persuaded that Charlotte had any regard for him, I should only think worse of her understanding, than I now do of her heart. My dear Jane, Mr. Collins is a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man; you know he is, as well as I do; and you must feel, as well as I do, that the woman who marries him, cannot have a proper way of thinking. You shall not defend her, though it is Charlotte Lucas. You shall not, for the sake of one individual, change the meaning of principle and integrity, nor endeavour to persuade yourself or me that selfishness is prudence, and insensibility of danger, security for happiness."
"I must think your language too strong in speaking of both," replied Jane, "and I hope you will be convinced of it, by seeing them happy together. But enough of this. You alluded to something else. You mentioned two instances. I cannot misunderstand you, but I intreat you, dear Lizzy, not to pain me by thinking that person to blame, and saying your opinion of him is sunk. We must not be so ready to fancy ourselves intentionally injured. We must not expect a lively young man to be always so guarded and circumspect. It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us. Women fancy admiration means more than it does."
"And men take care that they should."
"If it is designedly done, they cannot be justified; but I have no idea of there being so much design in the world as some persons imagine."
"I am far from attributing any part of Mr. Bingley's conduct to design," said Elizabeth; "but without scheming to do wrong, or to make others unhappy, there may be error, and there may be misery. Thoughtlessness, want of attention to other people's feelings, and want of resolution, will do the business,"
"And do you impute it to either of those?"
"Yes; to the last. But if I go on, I shall displease you by saying what I think of persons you esteem. Stop me whilst you can."
"You persist, then, in supposing his sisters influence him."
"Yes, in conjunction with his friend."
"I cannot believe it. Why should they try to influence him? They can only wish his happiness, and if he is attached to me, no other woman can secure it."
"Your first position is false. They may wish many things besides his happiness; they may wish his increase of wealth and consequence; they may wish him to marry a girl who has all the importance of money, great connections, and pride."
"Beyond a doubt, they do wish him to chuse Miss Darcy," replied Jane; "but this may be from better feelings than you are supposing. They have known her much longer than they have known me; no wonder if they love her better. But, whatever may be their own wishes, it is very unlikely they should have opposed their brother's. What sister would think herself at liberty to do it, unless there were something very objectionable? If they believed him attached to me, they would not try to part us; if he were so, they could not succeed. By supposing such an affection, you make every body acting unnaturally and wrong, and me most unhappy. Do not distress me by the idea. I am not ashamed of having been mistaken -- or, at least, it is slight, it is nothing in comparison of what I should feel in thinking ill of him or his sisters. Let me take it in the best light, in the light in which it may be understood."
Elizabeth could not oppose such a wish; and from this time Mr. Bingley's name was scarcely ever mentioned between them.
Mrs. Bennet still continued to wonder and repine at his returning no more, and though a day seldom passed in which Elizabeth did not account for it clearly, there seemed little chance of her ever considering it with less perplexity. Her daughter endeavoured to convince her of what she did not believe herself, that his attentions to Jane had been merely the effect of a common and transient liking, which ceased when he saw her no more; but though the probability of the statement was admitted at the time, she had the same story to repeat every day. Mrs. Bennet's best comfort was that Mr. Bingley must be down again in the summer.
Mr. Bennet treated the matter differently. "So, Lizzy," said he one day, "your sister is crossed in love I find. I congratulate her. Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then. It is something to think of, and gives her a sort of distinction among her companions. When is your turn to come? You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now is your time. Here are officers enough at Meryton to disappoint all the young ladies in the country. Let Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably."
"Thank you, Sir, but a less agreeable man would satisfy me. We must not all expect Jane's good fortune."
"True," said Mr. Bennet, "but it is a comfort to think that, whatever of that kind may befall you, you have an affectionate mother who will always make the most of it."
Mr. Wickham's society was of material service in dispelling the gloom, which the late perverse occurrences had thrown on many of the Longbourn family. They saw him often, and to his other recommendations was now added that of general unreserve. The whole of what Elizabeth had already heard, his claims on Mr. Darcy, and all that he had suffered from him, was now openly acknowledged and publicly canvassed; and every body was pleased to think how much they had always disliked Mr. Darcy before they had known any thing of the matter.
Miss Bennet was the only creature who could suppose there might be any extenuating circumstances in the case, unknown to the society of Hertfordshire; her mild and steady candour always pleaded for allowances, and urged the possibility of mistakes -- but by everybody else Mr. Darcy was condemned as the worst of men.


 

 

第二十四章
 

彬格莱小姐的信来了,疑虑消除了。信上第一句话就说,她们决定在伦敦过冬,结尾是替他哥哥道歉,说他在临走以前,没有来得及向哈福郡的朋友们辞行,很觉遗憾。
希望破灭了,彻底破灭了。吉英继续把信读下去,只觉得除了写信人那种装腔作势的亲切之外,就根本找不出可以自慰的地方。满篇都是赞美达西小姐的话,絮絮叨叨地谈到她的千娇百媚。珈罗琳又高高兴兴地说,她们俩之间已经一天比一天来得亲热,而且竟大胆地作出预言,说是她上封信里面提到的那些愿望,一定可以实现。她还得意非凡地写道,她哥哥已经住到达西先生家里去,又欢天喜地地提到达西打算添置新家具。
吉英立刻把这些事大都告诉了伊丽莎白,伊丽莎白听了,怒而不言。她真伤心透了,一方面是关怀自己的姐姐,另方面是怨恨那帮人。珈罗琳信上说她哥哥钟情于达西小姐,伊丽莎白无论如何也不相信。她仍旧象以往一样,相信彬格莱先生真正喜欢吉英。伊丽莎白一向很看重他,现在才知道他原来是这样一个容易说话而没有主意的人,以致被他那批诡计多端的朋友们牵制住了,听凭他们反复无常地作弄他,拿他的幸福作牺牲品──想到这些,她就不能不气愤,甚至不免有些看不起他。要是只有他个人的幸福遭到牺牲,那他爱怎么胡搞都可以,可是这里面毕竟还牵涉着她姐姐的幸福,她相信他自己也应该明白。简单说来,这问题当然反复考虑过,到头来一定是没有办法。她想不起什么别的了。究竟是彬格莱先生真的变了心呢,还是根本不知道?虽然对她说来,她应该辨明其中的是非曲直,然后才能断定他是好是坏,可是对她姐姐说来,反正都是一样地伤心难受。
隔了一两天,吉英才鼓起勇气,把自己的心事说给伊丽莎白听。且说那天班纳特太太象往常一样说起尼日斐花园和它的主人,唠叨了老半天,后来总算走开了,只剩下她们姐妹俩,吉英这才禁不往说道:
“噢,但愿妈妈多控制她自己一些吧!她没晓得她这样时时刻刻提起他,叫我多么痛苦。不过我决不怨谁。这局面不会长久的。他马上就会给我们忘掉,我们还是会和往常一样。”
伊丽莎白半信半疑而又极其关切地望着姐姐,一声不响。
“你不相信我的话吗?”吉英微微红着脸嚷道。“那你真是毫无理由。他在我的记忆里可能是个最可爱的朋友,但也不过如此而已。我既没有什么奢望,也没有什么担心,更没有什么要责备他的地方。多谢上帝,我还没有那种苦恼。因此稍微过一些时候,我一定会就慢慢克服过来的。”
她立刻又用更坚强的声调说道:“我立刻就可以安慰自己说:这只怪我自己瞎想,好在并没有损害别人,只损害了我自己。”
伊丽莎白连忙叫起来了:“亲爱的吉英,你太善良了。你那样好心,那样处处为别人着想,真象天使一般;我不知道应该怎么同你说才好。我觉得我从前待你还不够好,爱你还不够深。”
吉英竭力否认这一切言过其实的夸奖,反而用这些赞美的话来赞扬妹妹的热情。
“别那么说,”伊丽莎白说,“这样说不公平的,你总以为天下都是好人。我只要说了谁一句坏话,你就难受。我要把你看作一个完美无瑕的人,你就来驳斥。请你放心,我决不会说得过分,你有权利把四海之内的人一视同仁,我也不会干涉你。你用不着担心。至于我,我真正喜欢的人没有几个,我心目中的好人就更少了。世事经历得愈多,我就愈对世事不满;我一天比一天相信,人性都是见异思迁,我们不能凭着某人表面上一点点长处或见解,就去相信他。最近我碰到了两件事:其中一件我不愿意说出来,另一件就是夏绿蒂的婚姻问题。这简直是莫明其妙!任你怎样看法,都是莫明其妙!”
“亲爱的丽萃,不要这样胡思乱想吧。那会毁了你的幸福的。你对于各人处境的不同和脾气的不同,体谅得不够。你且想一想柯林斯先生的身份地位和夏绿蒂的谨慎稳重吧。你得记住,她也算一个大家闺秀,说起财产方面,倒是一门挺适当的亲事。你且顾全大家的面子,只当她对我们那位表兄确实有几分敬爱和器重吧。”
“要是看你的面子,我几乎随便对什么事都愿意以为真,可是这对于任何人都没有益处;我现在只觉得夏绿蒂根本不懂得爱情,要是再叫我去相信她是当真爱上了柯林斯,那我又要觉得她简直毫无见识。亲爱的吉英,柯林斯先生是个自高自大、喜爱炫耀、心胸狭窄的蠢汉,这一点你和我懂得一样清楚,你也会同我一样地感觉到,只有头脑不健全的女人才肯嫁给他。虽说这个女人就是夏绿蒂·卢卡斯,你也不必为她辩护。你千万不能为了某一个人而改变原则,破格迁就,也不要千方百计地说服我,或是说服你自己去相信,自私自利就是谨慎,糊涂胆大就等于幸福有了保障。”
“讲到这两个人,我以为你的话说得太过火,”吉英说。“但愿你日后看到他们俩幸福相处的时候,就会相信我的话不假。这件事可也谈够了,你且谈另外一件吧。你不是举出了两件事吗?我不会误解你,可是,亲爱的丽萃,我求求你千万不要以为错是错在那个人身上,千万不要说你瞧不起他,免得我感到痛苦。我们决不能随随便便就以为人家在有意伤害我们。我们决不可能指望一个生龙活虎的青年会始终小心周到。我们往往会因为我们自己的虚荣心,而给弄迷了心窍。女人们往往会把爱情这种东西幻想得太不切合实际。”
“因此男人们就故意逗她们那么幻想。”
“如果这桩事当真是存心安排好了的,那实在是他们不应该;可是世界上是否真如某些人所想象的那样,到处都是计谋,我可不知道。”
“我决不是说彬格莱先生的行为是事先有了计谋的,”伊丽莎白说。“可是,即使没有存心做坏事,或者说,没有存心叫别人伤心,事实上仍然会做错事情,引起不幸的后果。凡是粗心大意、看不出别人的好心好意,而且缺乏果断,都一样能害人。”
“你看这桩事也得归到这类原因吗?”
“当然───应该归于最后一种原因。可是,如果叫我再说下去,说出我对于你所器重的那些人是怎么看法,那也会叫你不高兴的。趁着现在我能够住嘴的时候,且让我住嘴吧。”
“那么说,你断定是他的姐妹们操纵了他啦。”
“我不相信。她们为什么要操纵他?她们只有希望他幸福;要是他果真爱我,别的女人便无从使他幸福。”
“你头一个想法就错了。她们除了希望他幸福以外,还有许多别的打算;她们会希望他更有钱有势;她们会希望他跟一个出身高贵、亲朋显赫的阔女人结婚。”
“毫无问题,她们希望他选中达西小姐,”吉英说:“不过,说到这一点,她们也许是出于一片好心,并不如你所想象的那么恶劣。她们认识她比认识我早得多,难怪她们更喜欢她。可是不管她们自己愿望如何,她们总不至于违背她们兄弟的愿望吧。除非有了什么太看不顺眼的地方,哪个做姐妹的会这样冒味?要是她们相信他爱上了我,她们决不会想要拆散我们;要是他果真爱我,她们要拆散也拆散不成。如果你一定要以为他对我真有感情,那么,她们这样做法,便是既不近人情,又荒谬绝伦,我也就更伤心了。不要用这种想法来使我痛苦吧。我决不会因为一念之差而感到羞耻──即使感到羞耻也极其轻微,倒是一想起他或他的姐妹们无情无义,我真不知道要难受多少倍呢。让我从最好的方面去想吧,从合乎人情事理的方面去想吧。”
伊丽莎白无法反对她这种愿望,从此以后,她们就不大提起彬格莱先生的名字。
班纳特太太见他一去不回,仍然不断地纳闷,不断地抱怨,尽管伊丽莎白几乎没有哪一天不给她解释个清楚明白,然而始终无法使她减少些忧烦。女儿尽力说她,尽说一些连她自己也不相信的话给母亲听,说是彬格莱先生对于吉英的钟情,只不过是出于一时高兴,根本算不上什么,一旦她不在他眼前,也就置诸度外了。虽然班纳特太太当时也相信这些话不假,可是事后她又每天旧事重提,最后只有想出了一个聊以自慰的办法,指望彬格莱先生来年夏天一定会回到这儿来。
班纳特先生对这件事可就抱着两样的态度。有一天他对伊丽莎白说:“嘿,丽萃,我发觉你的姐姐失恋了。我倒要祝贺她。一个姑娘除了结婚以外,总喜欢不时地尝点儿失恋的滋味。那可以使她们有点儿东西去想想,又可以在朋友们面前露露头角。几时轮到你头上来呢?你也不愿意让吉英超前太久吧。现在你的机会来啦。麦里屯的军官们很多,足够使这个村子里的每一个年轻的姑娘失意。让韦翰做你的对象吧。他是个有趣的家伙,他会用很体面的办法把你遗弃。”
“多谢您,爸爸,差一些的人也能使我满意了。我们可不能个个都指望上吉英那样的好运气。”
“不错,”班纳特先生说;“不管你交上了哪一种运气,你那位好心的妈妈反正会尽心竭力来成全你的,你只要想到这一点,就会感到安慰了。”
浪搏恩府上因为近来出了几件不顺利的事,好些人都闷闷不乐,多亏有韦翰先生跟他们来来往往,把这阵闷气消除了不少。她们常常看到他,对他赞不绝口,又说他坦白爽直。伊丽莎白所听到的那一套话───说什么达西先生有多少地方对他不起,他为达西先生吃了多少苦头───大家都公认了,而且公开加以谈论。每个人一想到自己远在完全不知道这件事情时,早就十分讨厌达西先生,便不禁非常得意。
只有班纳特小姐以为这件事里面一定有些蹊跷,还不曾为哈福郡的人们弄清楚。她是个性子柔和、稳重公正的人,总是要求人家多多体察实情,以为事情往往可能给弄错,可惜别人全把达西先生看作天下再混账不过的人。

 

 


Chapter 25


AFTER a week spent in professions of love and schemes of felicity, Mr. Collins was called from his amiable Charlotte by the arrival of Saturday. The pain of separation, however, might be alleviated on his side, by preparations for the reception of his bride, as he had reason to hope that shortly after his next return into Hertfordshire, the day would be fixed that was to make him the happiest of men. He took leave of his relations at Longbourn with as much solemnity as before; wished his fair cousins health and happiness again, and promised their father another letter of thanks.
On the following Monday, Mrs. Bennet had the pleasure of receiving her brother and his wife, who came as usual to spend the Christmas at Longbourn. Mr. Gardiner was a sensible, gentlemanlike man, greatly superior to his sister, as well by nature as education. The Netherfield ladies would have had difficulty in believing that a man who lived by trade, and within view of his own warehouses, could have been so well bred and agreeable. Mrs. Gardiner, who was several years younger than Mrs. Bennet and Mrs. Philips, was an amiable, intelligent, elegant woman, and a great favourite with all her Longbourn nieces. Between the two eldest and herself especially, there subsisted a very particular regard. They had frequently been staying with her in town.
The first part of Mrs. Gardiner's business on her arrival, was to distribute her presents and describe the newest fashions. When this was done, she had a less active part to play. It became her turn to listen. Mrs. Bennet had many grievances to relate, and much to complain of. They had all been very ill-used since she last saw her sister. Two of her girls had been on the point of marriage, and after all there was nothing in it.
"I do not blame Jane," she continued, "for Jane would have got Mr. Bingley, if she could. But, Lizzy! Oh, sister! it is very hard to think that she might have been Mr. Collins's wife by this time, had not it been for her own perverseness. He made her an offer in this very room, and she refused him. The consequence of it is, that Lady Lucas will have a daughter married before I have, and that Longbourn estate is just as much entailed as ever. The Lucases are very artful people indeed, sister. They are all for what they can get. I am sorry to say it of them, but so it is. It makes me very nervous and poorly, to be thwarted so in my own family, and to have neighbours who think of themselves before anybody else. However, your coming just at this time is the greatest of comforts, and I am very glad to hear what you tell us, of long sleeves."
Mrs. Gardiner, to whom the chief of this news had been given before, in the course of Jane and Elizabeth's correspondence with her, made her sister a slight answer, and, in compassion to her nieces, turned the conversation.
When alone with Elizabeth afterwards, she spoke more on the subject. "It seems likely to have been a desirable match for Jane," said she. "I am sorry it went off. But these things happen so often! A young man, such as you describe Mr. Bingley, so easily falls in love with a pretty girl for a few weeks, and when accident separates them, so easily forgets her, that these sort of inconstancies are very frequent."
"An excellent consolation in its way," said Elizabeth, "but it will not do for us. We do not suffer by accident. It does not often happen that the interference of friends will persuade a young man of independent fortune to think no more of a girl, whom he was violently in love with only a few days before."
"But that expression of "violently in love" is so hackneyed, so doubtful, so indefinite, that it gives me very little idea. It is as often applied to feelings which arise from an half-hour's acquaintance, as to a real, strong attachment. Pray, how violent was Mr. Bingley's love?"
"I never saw a more promising inclination. He was growing quite inattentive to other people, and wholly engrossed by her. Every time they met, it was more decided and remarkable. At his own ball he offended two or three young ladies by not asking them to dance, and I spoke to him twice myself without receiving an answer. Could there be finer symptoms? Is not general incivility the very essence of love?"
"Oh, yes! -- of that kind of love which I suppose him to have felt. Poor Jane! I am sorry for her, because, with her disposition, she may not get over it immediately. It had better have happened to you, Lizzy; you would have laughed yourself out of it sooner. But do you think she would be prevailed on to go back with us? Change of scene might be of service -- and perhaps a little relief from home, may be as useful as anything."
Elizabeth was exceedingly pleased with this proposal, and felt persuaded of her sister's ready acquiescence.
"I hope," added Mrs. Gardiner, "that no consideration with regard to this young man will influence her. We live in so different a part of town, all our connections are so different, and, as you well know, we go out so little, that it is very improbable they should meet at all, unless he really comes to see her."
"And that is quite impossible; for he is now in the custody of his friend, and Mr. Darcy would no more suffer him to call on Jane in such a part of London -- ! My dear aunt, how could you think of it? Mr. Darcy may perhaps have heard of such a place as Gracechurch Street, but he would hardly think a month's ablution enough to cleanse him from its impurities, were he once to enter it; and depend upon it, Mr. Bingley never stirs without him."
"So much the better. I hope they will not meet at all. But does not Jane correspond with the sister? She will not be able to help calling."
"She will drop the acquaintance entirely."
But in spite of the certainty in which Elizabeth affected to place this point, as well as the still more interesting one of Bingley's being withheld from seeing Jane, she felt a solicitude on the subject which convinced her, on examination, that she did not consider it entirely hopeless. It was possible, and sometimes she thought it probable, that his affection might be re-animated, and the influence of his friends successfully combated by the more natural influence of Jane's attractions.
Miss Bennet accepted her aunt's invitation with pleasure; and the Bingleys were no otherwise in her thoughts at the time, than as she hoped that, by Caroline's not living in the same house with her brother, she might occasionally spend a morning with her, without any danger of seeing him.
The Gardiners staid a week at Longbourn; and what with the Philipses, the Lucases, and the officers, there was not a day without its engagement. Mrs. Bennet had so carefully provided for the entertainment of her brother and sister, that they did not once sit down to a family dinner. When the engagement was for home, some of the officers always made part of it, of which officers Mr. Wickham was sure to be one; and on these occasions, Mrs. Gardiner, rendered suspicious by Elizabeth's warm commendation of him, narrowly observed them both. Without supposing them, from what she saw, to be very seriously in love, their preference of each other was plain enough to make her a little uneasy; and she resolved to speak to Elizabeth on the subject before she left Hertfordshire, and represent to her the imprudence of encouraging such an attachment.
To Mrs. Gardiner, Wickham had one means of affording pleasure, unconnected with his general powers. About ten or a dozen years ago, before her marriage, she had spent a considerable time in that very part of Derbyshire to which he belonged. They had, therefore, many acquaintance in common; and, though Wickham had been little there since the death of Darcy's father, five years before, it was yet in his power to give her fresher intelligence of her former friends, than she had been in the way of procuring.
Mrs. Gardiner had seen Pemberley, and known the late Mr. Darcy by character perfectly well. Here, consequently, was an inexhaustible subject of discourse. In comparing her recollection of Pemberley with the minute description which Wickham could give, and in bestowing her tribute of praise on the character of its late possessor, she was delighting both him and herself. On being made acquainted with the present Mr. Darcy's treatment of him, she tried to remember something of that gentleman's reputed disposition, when quite a lad, which might agree with it, and was confident at last that she recollected having heard Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy formerly spoken of as a very proud, ill-natured boy.
MISS Bingley's letter arrived, and put an end to doubt. The very first sentence conveyed the assurance of their being all settled in London for the winter, and concluded with her brother's regret at not having had time to pay his respects to his friends in Hertfordshire before he left the country.
Hope was over, entirely over; and when Jane could attend to the rest of the letter, she found little, except the professed affection of the writer, that could give her any comfort. Miss Darcy's praise occupied the chief of it. Her many attractions were again dwelt on, and Caroline boasted joyfully of their increasing intimacy, and ventured to predict the accomplishment of the wishes which had been unfolded in her former letter. She wrote also with great pleasure of her brother's being an inmate of Mr. Darcy's house, and mentioned with raptures some plans of the latter with regard to new furniture. Elizabeth, to whom Jane very soon communicated the chief of all this, heard it in silent indignation. Her heart was divided between concern for her sister, and resentment against all the others. To Caroline's assertion of her brother's being partial to Miss Darcy she paid no credit. That he was really fond of Jane, she doubted no more than she had ever done; and much as she had always been disposed to like him, she could not think without anger, hardly without contempt, on that easiness of temper, that want of proper resolution which now made him the slave of his designing friends, and led him to sacrifice his own happiness to the caprice of their inclinations. Had his own happiness, however, been the only sacrifice, he might have been allowed to sport with it in what ever manner he thought best; but her sister's was involved in it, as, she thought, he must be sensible himself. It was a subject, in short, on which reflection would be long indulged, and must be unavailing. She could think of nothing else, and yet whether Bingley's regard had really died away, or were suppressed by his friends' interference; whether he had been aware of Jane's attachment, or whether it had escaped his observation; whichever were the case, though her opinion of him must be materially affected by the difference, her sister's situation remained the same, her peace equally wounded.
A day or two passed before Jane had courage to speak of her feelings to Elizabeth; but at last on Mrs. Bennet's leaving them together, after a longer irritation than usual about Netherfield and its master, she could not help saying,
"Oh! that my dear mother had more command over herself; she can have no idea of the pain she gives me by her continual reflections on him. But I will not repine. It cannot last long. He will be forgot, and we shall all be as we were before."
Elizabeth looked at her sister with incredulous solicitude, but said nothing.
"You doubt me," cried Jane, slightly colouring; "indeed you have no reason. He may live in my memory as the most amiable man of my acquaintance, but that is all. I have nothing either to hope or fear, and nothing to reproach him with. Thank God! I have not that pain. A little time therefore. -- I shall certainly try to get the better."
With a stronger voice she soon added, "I have this comfort immediately, that it has not been more than an error of fancy on my side, and that it has done no harm to any one but myself."
"My dear Jane!" exclaimed Elizabeth, "you are too good. Your sweetness and disinterestedness are really angelic; I do not know what to say to you. I feel as if I had never done you justice, or loved you as you deserve."
Miss Bennet eagerly disclaimed all extraordinary merit, and threw back the praise on her sister's warm affection.
"Nay," said Elizabeth, "this is not fair. You wish to think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak ill of any body. I only want to think you perfect, and you set yourself against it. Do not be afraid of my running into any excess, of my encroaching on your privilege of universal good will. You need not. There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of either merit or sense. I have met with two instances lately; one I will not mention; the other is Charlotte's marriage. It is unaccountable! in every view it is unaccountable!"
"My dear Lizzy, do not give way to such feelings as these. They will ruin your happiness. You do not make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper. Consider Mr. Collins's respectability, and Charlotte's prudent, steady character. Remember that she is one of a large family; that as to fortune, it is a most eligible match; and be ready to believe, for every body's sake, that she may feel something like regard and esteem for our cousin."
"To oblige you, I would try to believe almost any thing, but no one else could be benefited by such a belief as this; for were I persuaded that Charlotte had any regard for him, I should only think worse of her understanding, than I now do of her heart. My dear Jane, Mr. Collins is a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man; you know he is, as well as I do; and you must feel, as well as I do, that the woman who marries him, cannot have a proper way of thinking. You shall not defend her, though it is Charlotte Lucas. You shall not, for the sake of one individual, change the meaning of principle and integrity, nor endeavour to persuade yourself or me that selfishness is prudence, and insensibility of danger, security for happiness."
"I must think your language too strong in speaking of both," replied Jane, "and I hope you will be convinced of it, by seeing them happy together. But enough of this. You alluded to something else. You mentioned two instances. I cannot misunderstand you, but I intreat you, dear Lizzy, not to pain me by thinking that person to blame, and saying your opinion of him is sunk. We must not be so ready to fancy ourselves intentionally injured. We must not expect a lively young man to be always so guarded and circumspect. It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us. Women fancy admiration means more than it does."
"And men take care that they should."
"If it is designedly done, they cannot be justified; but I have no idea of there being so much design in the world as some persons imagine."
"I am far from attributing any part of Mr. Bingley's conduct to design," said Elizabeth; "but without scheming to do wrong, or to make others unhappy, there may be error, and there may be misery. Thoughtlessness, want of attention to other people's feelings, and want of resolution, will do the business,"
"And do you impute it to either of those?"
"Yes; to the last. But if I go on, I shall displease you by saying what I think of persons you esteem. Stop me whilst you can."
"You persist, then, in supposing his sisters influence him."
"Yes, in conjunction with his friend."
"I cannot believe it. Why should they try to influence him? They can only wish his happiness, and if he is attached to me, no other woman can secure it."
"Your first position is false. They may wish many things besides his happiness; they may wish his increase of wealth and consequence; they may wish him to marry a girl who has all the importance of money, great connections, and pride."
"Beyond a doubt, they do wish him to chuse Miss Darcy," replied Jane; "but this may be from better feelings than you are supposing. They have known her much longer than they have known me; no wonder if they love her better. But, whatever may be their own wishes, it is very unlikely they should have opposed their brother's. What sister would think herself at liberty to do it, unless there were something very objectionable? If they believed him attached to me, they would not try to part us; if he were so, they could not succeed. By supposing such an affection, you make every body acting unnaturally and wrong, and me most unhappy. Do not distress me by the idea. I am not ashamed of having been mistaken -- or, at least, it is slight, it is nothing in comparison of what I should feel in thinking ill of him or his sisters. Let me take it in the best light, in the light in which it may be understood."
Elizabeth could not oppose such a wish; and from this time Mr. Bingley's name was scarcely ever mentioned between them.
Mrs. Bennet still continued to wonder and repine at his returning no more, and though a day seldom passed in which Elizabeth did not account for it clearly, there seemed little chance of her ever considering it with less perplexity. Her daughter endeavoured to convince her of what she did not believe herself, that his attentions to Jane had been merely the effect of a common and transient liking, which ceased when he saw her no more; but though the probability of the statement was admitted at the time, she had the same story to repeat every day. Mrs. Bennet's best comfort was that Mr. Bingley must be down again in the summer.
Mr. Bennet treated the matter differently. "So, Lizzy," said he one day, "your sister is crossed in love I find. I congratulate her. Next to being married, a girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then. It is something to think of, and gives her a sort of distinction among her companions. When is your turn to come? You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now is your time. Here are officers enough at Meryton to disappoint all the young ladies in the country. Let Wickham be your man. He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably."
"Thank you, Sir, but a less agreeable man would satisfy me. We must not all expect Jane's good fortune."
"True," said Mr. Bennet, "but it is a comfort to think that, whatever of that kind may befall you, you have an affectionate mother who will always make the most of it."
Mr. Wickham's society was of material service in dispelling the gloom, which the late perverse occurrences had thrown on many of the Longbourn family. They saw him often, and to his other recommendations was now added that of general unreserve. The whole of what Elizabeth had already heard, his claims on Mr. Darcy, and all that he had suffered from him, was now openly acknowledged and publicly canvassed; and every body was pleased to think how much they had always disliked Mr. Darcy before they had known any thing of the matter.
Miss Bennet was the only creature who could suppose there might be any extenuating circumstances in the case, unknown to the society of Hertfordshire; her mild and steady candour always pleaded for allowances, and urged the possibility of mistakes -- but by everybody else Mr. Darcy was condemned as the worst of men.


 

 

第二十五章
 

谈情说爱,筹划好事,就这样度过了一星期,终于到了星期六,柯林斯先生不得不和心爱的夏绿蒂告别。不过,他既已作好接新娘的准备,离别的愁苦也就因此减轻了,他只等下次再来哈福郡,订出佳期,使他成为天下最幸福的男子。他象上次一样隆重其事地告别了浪搏恩的亲戚们,祝贺姐妹们健康幸福,又答应给他们的父亲再来一封谢函。
下星期一,班纳特太太的弟弟和弟妇照例到浪搏恩来过圣诞节,班纳特太太很是欣喜。嘉丁纳先生是个通情达理、颇有绅士风度的人物,无论在个性方面,在所受的教育方面,都高出他姐姐很多。他原是出身商界,见闻不出货房堆栈之外,竟会这般有教养,这般讨人喜爱,要是叫尼日斐花园的太太小姐们看见了,实在难以相信。嘉丁纳太太比班纳特太太以及腓力普太太,都要小好几岁年纪,也是个和蔼聪慧、而又很文雅的女人,浪搏恩的外甥女儿跟她特别亲切。她们常常进城去在她那儿待一阵子。
嘉丁纳太太刚到这里,第一件事就是分发礼物,讲述最时新的服装式样。这件事做过以后,她便坐在一旁,静听班纳特太太跟她说话。班纳特太太有多少牢骚要发,又有多少苦要诉。自从上年她弟妇走了以后,她家里受了人家欺负。两个女儿本来快要出嫁了,到头来只落得一场空。
“我并不怪吉英,”她接下去说,“因为吉英要是能够嫁给彬格莱先生,她早就嫁了。可是丽萃──唉,弟妇呀!要不是她自己那么拗性子,说不定她已做了柯林斯先生的夫人了。他就在这间房子里向她求婚的,她却把他拒绝了。结果倒让卢卡斯太太有个女儿比我的女儿先嫁出去,浪搏恩的财产从此就得让人家来继承。的确,卢卡斯一家手腕才高明呢,弟妇。他们都是为了要捞进这一笔财产。我本来也不忍心就这样编派他们,不过事实的确如此。我在家里既然过得这样不称心,又偏偏碰到这些只顾自己不顾别人的邻舍,真弄得我神经也坏了,人也病了。你可来得正是时候,给了我极大的安慰,我非常喜欢听你讲的那些……长袖子的事情。”
嘉丁纳太太远在跟吉英以及伊丽莎白通信的时候,大体上就已经知道了她们家里最近发生的这些事情,又为了体贴外甥女儿们起见,只稍微敷衍了班纳特太太几句,便把这个话题岔开了。
后来伊丽莎白跟她两人在一起的时候,又谈到了这件事。她说:“这倒也许是吉英的一门美满亲事,只可惜吹了。可是这种情形往往是难免!象你所说的彬格莱先生这样的青年,往往不消几个星期的工夫,就会爱上一位美丽的姑娘,等到有一件偶然的事故把他们分开了,他也就很容易把她忘了,这种见异思迁的事情多的是。”
“你这样的安慰完全是出于一片好心,”伊丽莎白说。“可惜安慰不了我们。我们吃亏并不是吃在偶然的事情上面。一个独立自主的青年,几天以前刚刚跟一位姑娘打得火热,现在遭到了他自己朋友们的干涉,就把她丢了,这事情倒不多见。”
“不过,所谓‘打得火热’这种话未免太陈腐,太笼统,太不切合实际,我简直抓不住一点儿概念。这种话通常总是用来形容男女一见钟情的场面,也用来形容一种真正的热烈感情。请问,彬格莱先生的爱情火热到什么程度?”
“我从来没有看见过象他那样的一往情深;他越来越不去理会别人,把整个的心都放在她身上。他们俩每见一次面,事情就愈显得明朗,愈显得露骨。在他自己所开的一次跳舞会上,他得罪了两三位年轻的小姐,没有邀请她们跳舞;我找他说过两次话,他也没有理我。这还不能算是尽心尽意吗?宁可为了一个人而得罪大家,这难道不是恋爱场上最可贵的地方?”
“噢,原来如此!这样看来,他的确对她情深意切。可怜的吉英!我真替她难受,照她的性子看来,决不会一下子就把这件事情淡忘。丽萃,要是换了你,倒要好些,你自会一笑置之,要不了多少时候就会淡忘。不过,你看我们能不能劝她到我们那里去稍往一阵?换换环境也许会有好处;再说,离开了家,松口气,也许比什么都好。”
伊丽莎白非常赞成这个建议,而且相信姐姐也会赞成。
嘉丁纳太太又说:“我希望她不要因为怕见到这位青年小伙子而拿不定主意。我们虽然和彬格莱先生同住在一个城里,可不住在同一个地区,来往的亲友也不一样,而且,你知道得很清楚,我们很少外出,因此,除非他上门来看她,他们俩就不大可能见到面。”
“那是绝对不可能的,因为他现在被朋友们软禁着,达西先生也不能容忍他到伦敦的这样一个地区去看吉英!亲爱的舅母,你怎么会想到这上面去了?达西先生也许听到过天恩寺街这样一个地方,可是,如果他当真到那儿去一次,他会觉得花上一个月的工夫也洗不净他身上所染来的污垢;请你放心好了,他绝不会让彬格莱先生单独行动。”
“那就更好。我希望他们俩再也不要见面。可是吉英不还在跟他妹妹通信吗?彬格莱小姐也许难免要来拜望呢。”
“她绝不会跟她再来往了。”
伊丽莎白虽然嘴上说得这么果断,认为彬格莱先生一定被他的姐妹朋友挟住了,不会让他见到吉英,这事情实在可笑,可是她心里想来想去,还是觉得事情未必已经完全绝望。她有时候甚至认为彬格莱先生非常可能对吉英旧情重燃,他朋友们的影响也许敌不过吉英的感情所加给他身上的天然影响。
班纳特小姐乐意地接受了舅母的邀请,她心里并没有怎么想到彬格莱一家人,只希望珈罗琳不和他哥哥同住一宅,那么她就可以偶而到珈罗琳那儿去玩上一个上午,而不至于撞见他哥哥。
嘉丁纳夫妇在浪搏恩待了一个星期,没有哪一天不赴宴会,有时候在腓力普府上,有时候在卢卡斯府上,有时候又在军官那儿。班纳特太太小心周到地为她的弟弟和弟妇安排得十分热闹,以致他们夫妇不曾在她家里吃过一顿便饭。家里有宴会的日子,必定就有几位军官到场,每次总是少不了韦翰。在这种场合下,伊丽莎白总是热烈地赞扬韦翰先生,使利嘉丁纳太太起了疑心,仔细注意起他们两人来,从她亲眼看到的情形来说,她并不以为他们俩真正地爱上了,不过相互之间显然已经发生了好感,这叫她很是不安,她决定在离开哈福郡以前,要把这件事和伊丽莎白谈个明白,并且要解释给她听,让这样的关系发展下去,实在太莽撞。
可是韦翰讨好起嘉丁纳太太来,另有一套办法,这和他吸引别人的本领完全不同。远在十多年以前嘉丁纳太太还没有结婚的时候,曾在德比郡他所出生的那个地区住过好些时候,因此她跟他有许多共同的朋友,虽说自从五年前达西先生的父亲去世以后,韦翰就不大到那地方去,可是他却能报道给嘉丁纳太太一些有关她从前的朋友们的消息,比她自己打听得来的还要新鲜。
嘉丁纳太太曾经亲眼看到过彭伯里,对于老达西先生也是久闻大名,光是这件事,就是个谈不完的话题。她把韦翰先生所详尽描写的彭伯里和她自己记忆中的彭伯里比较了一下,又把彭伯里主人的德行称赞了一番,谈的人和听的人都各得其乐。她听到他谈起现在这位达西先生对他的亏待,便竭力去回想那位先生小时候的个性如何,是否和现在相符,她终于有自信地记起了从前确实听人说过,费茨威廉·达西先生是个脾气很坏又很高傲的孩子。

 

 


Chapter 26


MRS. Gardiner's caution to Elizabeth was punctually and kindly given on the first favourable opportunity of speaking to her alone; after honestly telling her what she thought, she thus went on:
"You are too sensible a girl, Lizzy, to fall in love merely because you are warned against it; and, therefore, I am not afraid of speaking openly. Seriously, I would have you be on your guard. Do not involve yourself, or endeavour to involve him in an affection which the want of fortune would make so very imprudent. I have nothing to say against him; he is a most interesting young man; and if he had the fortune he ought to have, I should think you could not do better. But as it is -- you must not let your fancy run away with you. You have sense, and we all expect you to use it. Your father would depend on your resolution and good conduct, I am sure. You must not disappoint your father."
"My dear aunt, this is being serious indeed."
"Yes, and I hope to engage you to be serious likewise."
"Well, then, you need not be under any alarm. I will take care of myself, and of Mr. Wickham too. He shall not be in love with me, if I can prevent it."
"Elizabeth, you are not serious now."
"I beg your pardon. I will try again. At present I am not in love with Mr. Wickham; no, I certainly am not. But he is, beyond all comparison, the most agreeable man I ever saw -- and if he becomes really attached to me -- I believe it will be better that he should not. I see the imprudence of it. -- Oh! that abominable Mr. Darcy! -- My father's opinion of me does me the greatest honor; and I should be miserable to forfeit it. My father, however, is partial to Mr. Wickham. In short, my dear aunt, I should be very sorry to be the means of making any of you unhappy; but since we see every day that where there is affection, young people are seldom withheld by immediate want of fortune from entering into engagements with each other, how can I promise to be wiser than so many of my fellow creatures if I am tempted, or how am I even to know that it would be wisdom to resist? All that I can promise you, therefore, is not to be in a hurry. I will not be in a hurry to believe myself his first object. When I am in company with him, I will not be wishing. In short, I will do my best."
"Perhaps it will be as well, if you discourage his coming here so very often. At least, you should not remind your mother of inviting him."
"As I did the other day," said Elizabeth, with a conscious smile; "very true, it will be wise in me to refrain from that. But do not imagine that he is always here so often. It is on your account that he has been so frequently invited this week. You know my mother's ideas as to the necessity of constant company for her friends. But really, and upon my honour, I will try to do what I think to be wisest; and now, I hope you are satisfied."
Her aunt assured her that she was; and Elizabeth having thanked her for the kindness of her hints, they parted; a wonderful instance of advice being given on such a point without being resented.
Mr. Collins returned into Hertfordshire soon after it had been quitted by the Gardiners and Jane; but as he took up his abode with the Lucases, his arrival was no great inconvenience to Mrs. Bennet. His marriage was now fast approaching, and she was at length so far resigned as to think it inevitable, and even repeatedly to say in an ill-natured tone that she "wished they might be happy." Thursday was to be the wedding day, and on Wednesday Miss Lucas paid her farewell visit; and when she rose to take leave, Elizabeth, ashamed of her mother's ungracious and reluctant good wishes, and sincerely affected herself, accompanied her out of the room. As they went down stairs together, Charlotte said,
"I shall depend on hearing from you very often, Eliza."
"That you certainly shall."
"And I have another favour to ask. Will you come and see me?"
"We shall often meet, I hope, in Hertfordshire."
"I am not likely to leave Kent for some time. Promise me, therefore, to come to Hunsford."
Elizabeth could not refuse, though she foresaw little pleasure in the visit.
"My father and Maria are to come to me in March," added Charlotte, "and I hope you will consent to be of the party. Indeed, Eliza, you will be as welcome to me as either of them."
The wedding took place; the bride and bridegroom set off for Kent from the church door, and every body had as much to say or to hear on the subject as usual. Elizabeth soon heard from her friend; and their correspondence was as regular and frequent as it had ever been; that it should be equally unreserved was impossible. Elizabeth could never address her without feeling that all the comfort of intimacy was over, and, though determined not to slacken as a correspondent, it was for the sake of what had been, rather than what was. Charlotte's first letters were received with a good deal of eagerness; there could not but be curiosity to know how she would speak of her new home, how she would like Lady Catherine, and how happy she would dare pronounce herself to be; though, when the letters were read, Elizabeth felt that Charlotte expressed herself on every point exactly as she might have foreseen. She wrote cheerfully, seemed surrounded with comforts, and mentioned nothing which she could not praise. The house, furniture, neighbourhood, and roads, were all to her taste, and Lady Catherine's behaviour was most friendly and obliging. It was Mr. Collins's picture of Hunsford and Rosings rationally softened; and Elizabeth perceived that she must wait for her own visit there, to know the rest.
Jane had already written a few lines to her sister to announce their safe arrival in London; and when she wrote again, Elizabeth hoped it would be in her power to say something of the Bingleys.
Her impatience for this second letter was as well rewarded as impatience generally is. Jane had been a week in town, without either seeing or hearing from Caroline. She accounted for it, however, by supposing that her last letter to her friend from Longbourn had by some accident been lost.
"My aunt," she continued, "is going to-morrow into that part of the town, and I shall take the opportunity of calling in Grosvenor-street."
She wrote again when the visit was paid, and she had seen Miss Bingley. "I did not think Caroline in spirits," were her words, "but she was very glad to see me, and reproached me for giving her no notice of my coming to London. I was right, therefore; my last letter had never reached her. I enquired after their brother, of course. He was well, but so much engaged with Mr. Darcy, that they scarcely ever saw him. I found that Miss Darcy was expected to dinner. I wish I could see her. My visit was not long, as Caroline and Mrs. Hurst were going out. I dare say I shall soon see them here."
Elizabeth shook her head over this letter. It convinced her that accident only could discover to Mr. Bingley her sister's being in town.
Four weeks passed away, and Jane saw nothing of him. She endeavoured to persuade herself that she did not regret it; but she could no longer be blind to Miss Bingley's inattention. After waiting at home every morning for a fortnight, and inventing every evening a fresh excuse for her, the visitor did at last appear; but the shortness of her stay, and yet more, the alteration of her manner, would allow Jane to deceive herself no longer. The letter which she wrote on this occasion to her sister, will prove what she felt.
"My dearest Lizzy will, I am sure, be incapable of triumphing in her better judgment, at my expence, when I confess myself to have been entirely deceived in Miss Bingley's regard for me. But, my dear sister, though the event has proved you right, do not think me obstinate if I still assert that, considering what her behaviour was, my confidence was as natural as your suspicion. I do not at all comprehend her reason for wishing to be intimate with me, but if the same circumstances were to happen again, I am sure I should be deceived again. Caroline did not return my visit till yesterday; and not a note, not a line, did I receive in the mean time. When she did come, it was very evident that she had no pleasure in it; she made a slight, formal, apology for not calling before, said not a word of wishing to see me again, and was in every respect so altered a creature, that when she went away I was perfectly resolved to continue the acquaintance no longer. I pity, though I cannot help blaming her. She was very wrong in singling me out as she did; I can safely say, that every advance to intimacy began on her side. But I pity her, because she must feel that she has been acting wrong, and because I am very sure that anxiety for her brother is the cause of it, I need not explain myself farther; and though we know this anxiety to be quite needless, yet if she feels it, it will easily account for her behaviour to me; and so deservedly dear as he is to his sister, whatever anxiety she may feel on his behalf is natural and amiable. I cannot but wonder, however, at her having any such fears now, because, if he had at all cared about me, we must have met long, long ago. He knows of my being in town, I am certain, from something she said herself; and yet it should seem by her manner of talking, as if she wanted to persuade herself that he is really partial to Miss Darcy. I cannot understand it. If I were not afraid of judging harshly, I should be almost tempted to say that there is a strong appearance of duplicity in all this. But I will endeavour to banish every painful thought, and think only of what will make me happy: your affection, and the invariable kindness of my dear uncle and aunt. Let me hear from you very soon. Miss Bingley said something of his never returning to Netherfield again, of giving up the house, but not with any certainty. We had better not mention it. I am extremely glad that you have such pleasant accounts from our friends at Hunsford. Pray go to see them, with Sir William and Maria. I am sure you will be very comfortable there.
Your's, &c."
This letter gave Elizabeth some pain; but her spirits returned as she considered that Jane would no longer be duped, by the sister at least. All expectation from the brother was now absolutely over. She would not even wish for any renewal of his attentions. His character sunk on every review of it; and as a punishment for him, as well as a possible advantage to Jane, she seriously hoped he might really soon marry Mr. Darcy's sister, as, by Wickham's account, she would make him abundantly regret what he had thrown away.
Mrs. Gardiner about this time reminded Elizabeth of her promise concerning that gentleman, and required information; and Elizabeth had such to send as might rather give contentment to her aunt than to herself. His apparent partiality had subsided, his attentions were over, he was the admirer of some one else. Elizabeth was watchful enough to see it all, but she could see it and write of it without material pain. Her heart had been but slightly touched, and her vanity was satisfied with believing that she would have been his only choice, had fortune permitted it. The sudden acquisition of ten thousand pounds was the most remarkable charm of the young lady to whom he was now rendering himself agreeable; but Elizabeth, less clear-sighted perhaps in his case than in Charlotte's, did not quarrel with him for his wish of independence. Nothing, on the contrary, could be more natural; and while able to suppose that it cost him a few struggles to relinquish her, she was ready to allow it a wise and desirable measure for both, and could very sincerely wish him happy.
All this was acknowledged to Mrs. Gardiner; and after relating the circumstances, she thus went on: -- "I am now convinced, my dear aunt, that I have never been much in love; for had I really experienced that pure and elevating passion, I should at present detest his very name, and wish him all manner of evil. But my feelings are not only cordial towards him; they are even impartial towards Miss King. I cannot find out that I hate her at all, or that I am in the least unwilling to think her a very good sort of girl. There can be no love in all this. My watchfulness has been effectual; and though I should certainly be a more interesting object to all my acquaintance, were I distractedly in love with him, I cannot say that I regret my comparative insignificance. Importance may sometimes be purchased too dearly. Kitty and Lydia take his defection much more to heart than I do. They are young in the ways of the world, and not yet open to the mortifying conviction that handsome young men must have something to live on, as well as the plain."


 

 

第二十六章
 

嘉丁纳太太一碰到有适当的机会和伊丽莎白单独谈话,总是善意地对外甥女进行忠告,把心里的话老老实实讲了出来,然后又接下去说:
“你是个非常懂事的孩子,丽萃,你不至于因为人家劝你谈恋爱要当心,你就偏偏要谈;因此我才敢向你说个明白。说正经话,你千万要小心。跟这种没有财产作为基础的人谈恋爱,实在非常莽撞,你千万别让自己堕上情网,也不要费尽心机使他堕入情网。我并不是说他的坏话──他倒是个再有趣不过的青年;要是他得到了他应当得到的那份财产,那我就会觉得你这门亲事再好也没有了。事实既是如此,你大可不必再对他想入非非。你很聪明,我们都希望你不要辜负了自己的聪明。我知道你父亲信任你品行好,又有决断,你切不可叫他失望。”
“亲爱的舅母,你真是郑重其事。”
“是呀,我希望你也能够郑重其事。”
“唔,你用不着急。我自己会当心,也会当心韦翰先生。只要我避免得了,我决不会叫他跟我恋爱。”
“伊丽莎白,你这话可就不郑重其事啦。”
“请原谅。让我重新讲讲看。目前我可并没有爱上韦翰先生;我的确没有。不过在我所看见的人当中,他的确是最可爱的一个,任谁也比不上他;如果他真会爱上我──我相信他还是不要爱上我的好。我看出了这件事很莽撞。噢!达西先生那么可恶!父亲这样器重我,真是我最大的荣幸,我要是辜负了他,一定会觉得遗憾。可是我父亲对韦翰也有成见。亲爱的舅母,总而言之,我决不愿意叫你们任何人为了我而不快活;不过,青年人一旦爱上了什么人,决不会因为暂时没有钱就肯撒手。要是我也给人家打动了心,我又怎能免俗?甚至我又怎么知道拒绝他是不是上策?因此,我只能答应你不仓忙从事就是了。我决不会一下子就认为我自己是他最中意的人。我虽然和他来往,可是决不会存这种心思。总而言之,我一定尽力而为。”
“假如你不让他来得这么勤,也许会好些;至少你不必提醒你母亲邀他来。”
伊丽莎白羞怯地笑笑说:“就象我那天做法一样,的确,最好是不要那样。可是你也不要以为他是一直来得这么勤。这个星期倒是为了你才常常请他来的。你知道妈的主意,她总以为想出最聪明的办法去应付的;我希望这一下你总该满意了吧。”
舅母告诉她说,这一下满意了;伊丽莎白谢谢她好心的指示,于是二人就分别了──在这种问题上给人家出主意而没受抱怨,这次倒可算一个稀罕的例子。嘉丁纳夫妇和吉英刚刚离开了哈德福郡,柯林斯先生就回到哈福德郡去。他住在卢卡斯府上,因此班纳特太太不但终于死了心,认为这门亲事是免不了的,甚至还几次三番恶意地说:“但愿他们会幸福吧。”星期四就是佳期,卢卡斯小姐星期三到班府上来辞行。当夏绿蒂起身告别的时候,伊丽莎白一方面由于母亲那些死样怪气的吉利话,使她听得不好意思,另一方面自己也委实有动无衷,便不由得送她走出房门。下楼梯的时候,夏绿蒂说:
“我相信你一定会常常给我写信的,伊丽莎。”
“这你放心好啦。”
“我还要你赏个脸。你愿意来看看我吗?”
“我希望我们能够常常在哈福德郡见面。”
“我可能暂时不会离开肯特郡。还是答应我上汉斯福来吧。”
伊丽莎白虽然预料到这种拜望不会有什么乐趣,可又没法推辞。
夏绿蒂又说:“我的父母三月里要到我那儿去,我希望你跟他们一块儿来。真的,伊丽莎,我一定象欢迎他们一样地欢迎你。”
结好了婚,新郎新娘从教堂门口直接动身往肯特郡去,大家总是照例你一句我一句的要说上多少话。伊丽莎白不久就收到了她朋友的来信,从此她们俩的通信便极其正常,极其频繁!不过,要象从前一样地畅所欲言,毫无顾忌,那可办不到了。伊丽莎白每逢写信给她,都免不了感觉到过去那种推心置腹的快慰已经成为陈迹;虽说她也下定决心,不要把通信疏懒下来,不过,那与其说是为了目前的友谊,倒不如说是为了过去的交情。她对于夏绿蒂开头的几封信都盼望得很迫切,那完全是出于一种好奇心,想要知道夏绿蒂所说的话,处处都和她自己所预料的完全一样。她的信写得充满了愉快的情调,讲到一件事总要赞美一句,好象她真有说不尽的快慰。凡是住宅、家具、邻居、道路,样样都叫她称心,咖苔琳夫人待人接物又是那么友善,那么亲切。她只不过把柯林斯先生所夸耀的汉斯福和罗新斯的面貌,稍许说得委婉一些罢了;伊丽莎白觉得,一定要等到亲自去那儿拜访,才能了解底蕴。
吉英早已来了一封短简给伊丽莎白,信上说,她已经平安抵达伦敦;伊丽莎白希望她下次来信能够讲一些有关彬格莱家的事。
第二封信真等得她焦急,可是总算没有白等。信上说,她已经进城一个星期,既没有看见珈罗琳,也没有收到珈罗琳的信。她只得认为她上次从浪搏恩给珈罗琳的那封信,一定是在路上失落了。
她接下去写:“明天舅母要上那个地区去,我想趁这个机会到格鲁斯汶纳街去登门拜访一下。”
吉英拜访过彬格莱小姐并且和她见过面以后,又写了一封信来。她写道:“我觉得珈罗琳精神不大好,可是她见到我却很高兴,而且怪我这次到伦敦来为什么事先不通知她一下。我果然没有猜错,我上次给她那封信,她真的没有收到。我当然问起她们的兄弟。据说他近况很好,不过同达西先生过从太密,以致姐妹兄弟很少机会见面。我这一次拜望的时间并不太久,因为珈罗琳和赫斯脱太太都要出去。也许她们马上就会上我这儿来看我。”
伊丽莎白读着这封信,不由得摇头。她相信除非有什么偶然的机会,彬格莱先生决不会知道吉英来到了伦敦。
四个星期过去了,吉英还没有见到彬格莱先生的影子。她竭力宽慰自己说,她并没有因此而觉得难受;可是彬格莱小姐的冷淡无情,她到底看明白了。她每天上午都在家里等彬格莱小姐,一直白等了两个星期,每天晚上都替彬格莱小姐编造一个借口,最后那位贵客才算上门来了,可是只待了片刻工夫便告辞而去,而且她的态度也前后判若两人,吉英觉得再不能自己骗自己了。她把这一次的情形写了封信告诉她妹妹,从这封信里可以看出她当时的心情:──
我最最亲爱的丽萃妹妹:现在我不得不承认,彬格莱小姐对我的关注完全是骗我的。我相信你的见解比我高明,而且你看到我伤心,还会引为得意。亲爱的妹妹,虽然如今事实已经证明你的看法是对的,可是,我如果从她过去的态度来看,我依旧认为,我对她的信任以及你对她的怀疑,同样都是合情合理,请你不要以为我固执。我到现在还不明白她从前为什么要跟我要好;如果再有同样的情况发生,我相信我还会受到欺骗。珈罗琳一直到昨天才来看我,她未来以前不曾给我片纸只字的讯息,既来之后又显出十分不乐意的样子。她只是照例敷衍了我一句,说是没有早日来看我,很是抱歉,此外根本就没有提起她想要再见见我的话。她在种种方面都前后判若两人,因此,当她临走的时候,我就下定决心和她断绝来往,虽说我禁不住要怪她,可是我又可怜她。只怪她当初不该对我另眼看待;我可以问心无愧地说,我和她交情都是由她主动一步一步进展起来的。可是我可怜她,因为她一定会感觉到自己做错了,我断定她所以采取这种态度,完全是由于为她哥哥担心的缘故。我用不着为自己再解释下去了。虽然我们知道这种担心完全不必要,不过,倘若她当真这样担心,那就足以说明她为什么要这样对待我了。既然他确实值得他妹妹珍惜,那么,不管她替他担的是什么忧,那也是合情合理,亲切可喜。不过,我简直不懂她现在还要有什么顾虑,要是他当真有心于我,我们早就会见面了。听她口气,我肯定他是知道我在伦敦的;然而从她谈话的态度看来,就好象她拿稳他是真的倾心于达西小姐似的。这真使我弄不明白。要是我大胆地下一句刻薄的断语,我真忍不住要说,其中一定大有蹊跷。可是我一定会竭力打消一切苦痛的念头,只去想一些能使我高兴的事───譬如想想你的亲切以及亲爱的舅父母对我始终如一的关切。希望很快就收到你的信。彬格莱小姐说起他再也不会回到尼日斐花园来,说他打算放弃那幢房子,可是说得并不怎么肯定。我们最好不必再提起这件事。你从汉斯福我们那些朋友那儿听到了许多令人愉快的事,这使我很高兴。请你跟威廉爵士和玛丽亚一块儿去看看他们吧。我相信你在那里一定会过得很舒适的。──你的……
这封信使伊丽莎白感到有些难受;不过,一想到吉英从此不会再受到他们的欺蒙,至少不会再受到那个妹妹的欺蒙,她又高兴起来了。她现在已经放弃了对那位兄弟的一切期望。她甚至根本不希望他再来重修旧好。她越想越看不起他;她倒真的希望他早日跟达西先生的妹妹结婚,因为照韦翰说来,那位小姐往后一定会叫他后悔,悔当初不该把本来的意中人丢了,这一方面算是给他一种惩罚,另方面也可能有利于吉英。
大约就在这时候,嘉丁纳太太把上次伊丽莎白答应过怎样对待韦翰的事,又向伊丽莎白提醒了一下,并且问起最近的情况如何;伊丽莎白回信上所说的话,虽然自己颇不满意,可是舅母听了却很满意。原来他对她显著的好感已经消失,他对她的殷勤也已经过去──他爱上了别人了。伊丽莎白很留心地看出了这一切,可是她虽然看出了这一切,在信上也写到这一切,却并没有感到什么痛苦,她只不过稍许有些感触。她想,如果她有些财产,早就成为他唯一的意中人了──想到这里,她的虚荣心也就得到了满足。拿他现在所倾倒的那位姑娘来说,她的最显著的魅力就是使他可以获得一万金镑的意外巨款;可是伊丽莎白对自己这件事,也许不如上次对夏绿蒂的事那么看得清楚,因此并没有因为他追求物质享受而怨怪他。她反而以为这是再自然不过的事;她也想象到他遗弃她一定颇费踌躇,可又觉得这对于双方都是一种既聪明而又理想的办法,并且诚心诚意地祝他幸福。她把这一切都对嘉丁纳太太说了。叙述了这些事以后,她接下去这样写道:“亲爱的舅母,我现在深深相信,我根本没有怎样爱他,假如我当真有了这种纯洁而崇高的感情,那我现在一听到他的名字都会觉得讨厌,而且巴不得他倒尽了霉。可是我情绪上不仅对他没有一些芥蒂,甚至对金小姐也毫无成见。我根本不觉得恨她,并且极其愿意把她看作一个很好的姑娘。这桩事完全算不上恋爱。我的小心提防并不是枉然的;要是我狂恋着他,亲友们就一定会把我看作一个更有趣的话柄了,我决不因为人家不十分器重我而竟会感到遗憾。太受人器重有时候需要付出很大的代价。吉蒂和丽迪雅对他的缺点计较得比我厉害。她们在人情世故方面还幼稚得很,还不懂得这样一个有失体统的信条:美少年和凡夫俗子一样,也得不饭吃,有衣穿。”

 

 


Chapter 27


WITH no greater events than these in the Longbourn family, and otherwise diversified by little beyond the walks to Meryton, sometimes dirty and sometimes cold, did January and February pass away. March was to take Elizabeth to Hunsford. She had not at first thought very seriously of going thither; but Charlotte, she soon found, was depending on the plan, and she gradually learned to consider it herself with greater pleasure as well as greater certainty. Absence had increased her desire of seeing Charlotte again, and weakened her disgust of Mr. Collins. There was novelty in the scheme; and as, with such a mother and such uncompanionable sisters, home could not be faultless, a little change was not unwelcome for its own sake. The journey would moreover give her a peep at Jane; and, in short, as the time drew near, she would have been very sorry for any delay. Every thing, however, went on smoothly, and was finally settled according to Charlotte's first sketch. She was to accompany Sir William and his second daughter. The improvement of spending a night in London was added in time, and the plan became perfect as plan could be.
The only pain was in leaving her father, who would certainly miss her, and who, when it came to the point, so little liked her going that he told her to write to him, and almost promised to answer her letter.
The farewell between herself and Mr. Wickham was perfectly friendly; on his side even more. His present pursuit could not make him forget that Elizabeth had been the first to excite and to deserve his attention, the first to listen and 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 Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and trusting their opinion of her -- their opinion of every body -- would always coincide, there was a solicitude, an interest which she felt must ever attach her to him with a most sincere regard; and she parted from him convinced that, whether married or single, he must always be her model of the amiable and pleasing.
Her fellow-travellers the next day were not of a kind to make her think him less agreeable. Sir William Lucas and his daughter Maria, a good humoured girl, but as empty-headed as himself, had nothing to say that could be worth hearing, and were listened to with about as much delight as the rattle of the chaise. Elizabeth loved absurdities, but she had known Sir William's too long. He could tell her nothing new of the wonders of his presentation and knighthood; 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 to be in Gracechurch-street by noon. As they drove to Mr. Gardiner's door, Jane was at a drawing-room window watching their arrival; when they entered the passage she was there to welcome them, and Elizabeth, looking earnestly in her face, was pleased to see it healthful and lovely as ever. On the stairs were a troop of little boys and girls, whose eagerness for their cousin's appearance would not allow them to wait in the drawing-room, and whose shyness, as they had not seen her for a twelvemonth, prevented their coming lower. All was joy and kindness. The day passed most pleasantly away; the morning in bustle and shopping, and the evening at one of the theatres.
Elizabeth then contrived to sit by her aunt. Their first subject was her sister; and she was more grieved than astonished to hear, in reply to her minute enquiries, that though Jane always struggled to support her spirits, there were periods of dejection. It was reasonable, however, to hope that they would not continue long. Mrs. Gardiner gave her the particulars also of Miss Bingley's visit in Gracechurch-street, and repeated conversations occurring at different 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 complimented her on bearing it so well.
"But, my dear Elizabeth," she added, "what sort of girl is Miss King? I should be sorry to think our friend mercenary."
"Pray, my dear aunt, what is the difference in matrimonial affairs, between the mercenary and the prudent motive? Where does discretion end, and avarice begin? Last Christmas you were afraid of his marrying me, because it would be imprudent; and now, because he is trying to get a girl with only ten thousand pounds, 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 to think."
"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 made her mistress of this fortune."
"No -- why should he? If it was not allowable for him to gain my affections, because I had no money, what occasion could there be for making love to a girl whom he did not care about, and who was equally poor?"
"But there seems indelicacy in directing his attentions towards her, so soon after this event."
"A man in distressed circumstances has not time for all those elegant decorums which other people may observe. If she does not object to it, why should we?"
"Her not objecting, does not justify him. It only shews her being deficient 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, to think 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 in Derbyshire; and their intimate friends who live in Hertfordshire are not much better. I am sick of them all. Thank Heaven! I am going to-morrow where I shall find a man who has not one agreeable quality, who has neither manner nor sense to recommend him. Stupid men are the only ones worth knowing, after all."
"Take care, Lizzy; that speech savours strongly of disappointment."
Before they were separated by the conclusion of the play, she had the unexpected happiness of an invitation to accompany her uncle and aunt in a tour of pleasure which they proposed taking in the summer.
"We have not quite 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 of the invitation was most ready and grateful. "My dear, dear aunt," she rapturously cried, "what delight! what felicity! You give me fresh life and vigour. Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains? Oh! what hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of any thing. We will know where we have gone -- we will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor, when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarrelling about its relative situation. Let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers."


 

 

第二十七章
 

浪搏恩这家人家除了这些事以外,再没有别的大事;除了到麦里屯去散散步以外,再没有别的消遣。时而雨水泞途、时而风寒刺骨的正月和二月,就这样过去了。三月里伊丽莎白要上汉斯福去。开头她并不是真想去;可是她立刻想到夏绿蒂对于原来的约定寄予了很大的期望,于是她也就带着比较乐意和比较肯定的心情来考虑这个问题了。离别促进了她想夏绿蒂重逢的愿望,也消除了她对柯林斯先生的厌恶。这个计划多少总有它新奇的地方;再说,家里有了这样的母亲和这样几位不能融洽的妹妹,自难完美无缺,换换环境也好。趁着旅行的机会也可去看看吉英;总之,时日迫近了,她反而有些等不及了。她在一切都进行得很顺利,最后依旧照了夏绿蒂原先的意思,跟威廉爵士和他的第二个女儿一块儿去作一次客。以后这计划又补充了一下,决定在伦敦住一夜,这一来可真是个十全十美的计划了。
只有和父亲离别使她感到痛苦,父亲一定会记挂她。说起来,他根本就不愿意让她去,既是事情已经决定,只得叫她常常写信给他,而且几乎答应亲自给她回信。
她跟韦翰先生告别时,双方都十分客气,韦翰比她还要客气。他目前虽然在追求别人,却并没有因此就忘了伊丽莎白是第一个引起他注目的人,第一个值得他注目的人,第一个听他倾诉衷情,第一个可怜他,第一个搏得了他爱慕的人;他向她告别,祝她万事如意,又对她说了一遍德·包尔夫人是很好的一个人,他相信他们俩对那位老夫人的评价,对每一个人的评价,一定完全吻合。他说这话的时候,显得很是热诚,很是关切,这种盛情一定会使她对他永远怀着极其深挚的好感。他们分手以后,她更相信不管他结婚也罢,单身也罢,他在她的心目中将会始终是一个极其和蔼可亲而又讨人喜欢的人。
第二天和她同路的那些人,也并没有使韦翰在她心目中相形见绌。威廉爵士简直说不出一句中听的话,他那位女儿玛丽亚虽然脾气很好,脑子却象她父亲一样空洞,也说不出一句中听的话。听他们父女俩说话,就好象听到车辆的辘辘声一样无聊。伊丽莎白本来爱听无稽之谈,不过威廉爵士那一套她实在听得腻了。他谈来谈去总不外乎觐见皇上以及荣膺爵士头衔之类的奇闻,翻不出什么新花样来;他那一套礼貌举止,也象他的出言吐语一样,已经陈腐不堪。
这段旅程不过二十四英里路,他们启程很早,为的是要在正午赶到天恩寺街。他们走近嘉丁纳先生的大门时,吉英正在会客室的窗口望着他们。他们走近过道时,吉英正等在那儿接他们,伊丽莎白真挚地仔细望了望吉英的脸,只见那张脸蛋儿还是象往常一样地健康美丽,她觉得很高兴。男男女女的孩子们为了急于要见到表奶,在客厅里等不及,又因为一年没见面,不好意思下楼去,便都待在楼梯口。到处是一片欢乐与和善的气氛。这一天真过得极其愉快;上午乱哄哄地忙做一团,又要出去买东西;晚上上戏院去看戏。
伊丽莎白在舅母身旁坐下来。她们俩首先就谈到她姐姐。她仔仔细细问了许多话,舅母回答她说,吉英虽然竭力提着精神,还免不了有意气消沉的时候,她听了并不十分诧异,却很忧郁。她在这种意气消沉的现象还会继续多久。嘉丁纳太太也跟伊丽莎白谈起彬格莱小姐过访天恩寺街的一切情形,又把吉英跟她好几次的谈话重述了一遍给她听,这些话足以说明吉英的确打算再不和彬格莱小姐来往了。
嘉丁纳太太然后又谈起韦翰遗弃伊丽莎白的话,把她外甥女笑话了一番,同时又赞美她的忍耐功夫。
她接着又说:“可是,亲爱的伊丽莎白,金小姐是怎么样的一个姑娘?我可不愿意把我们的朋友看作是一个见不得钱的人啊。”
“请问你,亲爱的舅母,拿婚姻问题来讲,见钱眼红与动机正当究竟有什么不同?做到什么地步为止就算知礼,打哪儿起就要算是贪心?去年圣诞节你还生怕我跟他结婚,怕的是不郑重其事,而现在呢,他要去跟一个只不过有一万镑财产的姑娘结婚,你就要说他见不得钱啦。”
“只要你告诉我,金小姐是怎么样一个姑娘,我就知道该怎么说话了。”
“我相信她是个好姑娘。我说不出她有什么坏处。”
“可是韦翰本来完全不把她放在眼睛里,为什么她祖父一去世,她做了这笔家产的主人,他就会看上了她呢?:”
“没有的事,他为什么要那样?要是说,他不愿意跟我相爱,就是因为我没有钱,那么,他一向不关心的一个姑娘,一个同样穷的姑娘,他又有什么理由要去跟她谈恋爱呢?”
“不过,她家里一发生这件变故,他就去向她献殷勤,这未免不象话吧。”
“一个处境困难的人,不会象一般人那样有闲,去注意这些繁文缛节。只要她不反对,我们为什么要反对?”
“她不反对,并不说明他就做得对。那只不过说明了她本身有什么缺陷,不是见识方面有缺陷,就是感觉方面有缺陷。”
“哦,”伊丽莎白叫道:“你爱怎么说就怎么说吧,说他贪财也好,说她傻也好。”
“不丽萃,我才不这么说呢。你知道,在德比郡住了这么久的一个青年,我是不忍心说他坏话的。”
“噢,要是光光就凭这点理由,我才看不起那些住在德比郡的青年人呢,他们住在哈福德郡的那批知已朋友们,也好不了多少。他们全都叫我讨厌。谢谢老天爷!明天我就要到一个地方去,我将要在那儿见到一个一无可取的人,他无论在风度方面,在见解方面,都不见长。说到头来,只有那些傻瓜值得你去跟他们来来往往。”
“当心些,丽萃;这种话未免说得太消沉了些。”
她们看完了戏,刚要分手的时候,舅父母又邀请她参加他们的夏季旅行,这真是一种意外的快乐。
嘉丁纳太太说:“至于究竟到什么地方去,我们还没有十分决定,也许到湖区去。”
对伊丽莎白说来,随便什么计划也不会比这个计划更中她的意了,她毫不犹豫地接受了这个邀请,而且非常感激。“我的好舅母,亲舅母,”她欢天喜地叫了起来,“多高兴,多幸福!你给了我新的生命和活力。我再也不沮丧和忧郁了。人比起高山大石来,算得了什么?我们将要度过一些多么快乐的时日啊!等到我们回来的时候,一定不会象一般游人那样,什么都是浮光惊影。我们一定会知道到过什么地方───我们看见过的东西一定会记得住。湖泊山川决不会在我们脑子里乱七八糟地混做一团;我们要谈到某一处风景的时候,决不会连位置也弄不明白,彼此争论不休。但愿我们一回来叙述起游踪浪迹的时候,不要象一般旅客那样陈腔滥调,叫人听不入耳。”

 

 


Chapter 28


EVERY object in the next day's journey was new and interesting to Elizabeth; and her spirits were in a state for enjoyment; for she had seen her sister looking so well as to banish all fear for her health, and the prospect of her northern tour was a constant source of delight.
When they left the high-road for the lane to Hunsford, every eye was in search of the Parsonage, and every turning expected to bring it in view. The palings of Rosings Park was their boundary on one side. Elizabeth smiled at the recollection of all that she had heard of its inhabitants.
At length the Parsonage was discernable. The garden sloping to the road, the house standing in it, the green pales and the laurel hedge, everything declared that they were arriving. Mr. Collins and Charlotte appeared at the door, and the carriage stopped at a small gate, which led by a short gravel walk to the house, amidst the nods and smiles of the whole party. In a moment they were all out of the chaise, rejoicing at the sight of each other. Mrs. Collins welcomed her friend with the liveliest pleasure, and Elizabeth was more and more satisfied with coming, when she found herself so affectionately received. She saw instantly that her cousin's manners were not altered by his marriage; his formal civility was just what it had been, and he detained her some minutes at the gate to hear and satisfy his enquiries after all her family. They were then, with no other delay than his pointing out the neatness of the entrance, taken into the house; and as soon as they were in the parlour, he welcomed them a second time with ostentatious formality to his humble abode, and punctually repeated all his wife's offers of refreshment.
Elizabeth was prepared to see him in his glory; and she could not help fancying that in displaying the good proportion of the room, its aspect and its furniture, he addressed himself particularly to her, as if wishing to make her feel what she had lost in refusing him. But though every thing seemed neat and comfortable, she was not able to gratify him by any sigh of repentance; and rather looked with wonder at her friend that she could have so cheerful an air, with such a companion. When Mr. Collins said any thing of which his wife might reasonably be ashamed, which certainly was not unseldom, she involuntarily turned her eye on Charlotte. Once or twice she could discern a faint blush; but in general Charlotte wisely did not hear. After sitting long enough to admire every article of furniture in the room, from the sideboard to the fender, to give an account of their journey, and of all that had happened in London, Mr. Collins invited them to take a stroll in the garden, which was large and well laid out, and to the cultivation of which he attended himself. To work in his garden was one of his most respectable pleasures; and Elizabeth admired the command of countenance with which Charlotte talked of the healthfulness of the excercise, and owned she encouraged it as much as possible. Here, leading the way through every walk and cross walk, and scarcely allowing them an interval to utter the praises he asked for, every view was pointed out with a minuteness which left beauty entirely behind. He could number the fields in every direction, and could tell how many trees there were in the most distant clump. But of all the views which his garden, or which the country, or the kingdom could boast, none were to be compared with the prospect of Rosings, afforded by an opening in the trees that bordered the park nearly opposite the front of his house. It was a handsome modern building, well situated on rising ground.
From his garden, Mr. Collins would have led them round his two meadows, but the ladies, not having shoes to encounter the remains of a white frost, turned back; and while Sir William accompanied him, Charlotte took her sister and friend over the house, extremely well pleased, probably, to have the opportunity of shewing it without her husband's help. It was rather small, but well built and convenient; and everything was fitted up and arranged with a neatness and consistency of which Elizabeth gave Charlotte all the credit. When Mr. Collins could be forgotten, there was really a great air of comfort throughout, and by Charlotte's evident enjoyment of it, Elizabeth supposed he must be often forgotten. She had already learnt that Lady Catherine was still in the country. It was spoken of again while they were at dinner, when Mr. Collins joining in, observed,
"Yes, Miss Elizabeth, you will have the honour of seeing Lady Catherine de Bourgh on the ensuing Sunday at church, and I need not say you will be delighted with her. She is all affability and condescension, and I doubt not but you will be honoured with some portion of her notice when service is over. I have scarcely any hesitation in saying that she will include you and my sister Maria in every invitation with which she honours us during your stay here. Her behaviour to my dear Charlotte is charming. We dine at Rosings twice every week, and are never allowed to walk home. Her ladyship's carriage is regularly ordered for us. I should say, one of her ladyship's carriages, for she has several."
"Lady Catherine is a very respectable, sensible woman indeed," added Charlotte, "and a most attentive neighbour."
"Very true, my dear, that is exactly what I say. She is the sort of woman whom one cannot regard with too much deference."
The evening was spent chiefly in talking over Hertfordshire news, and telling again what had been already written; and when it closed, Elizabeth, in the solitude of her chamber, had to meditate upon Charlotte's degree of contentment, to understand her address in guiding, and composure in bearing with her husband, and to acknowledge that it was all done very well. She had also to anticipate how her visit would pass, the quiet tenor of their usual employments, the vexatious interruptions of Mr. Collins, and the gaieties of their intercourse with Rosings. A lively imagination soon settled it all. About the middle of the next day, as she was in her room getting ready for a walk, a sudden noise below seemed to speak the whole house in confusion; and after listening a moment, she heard somebody running up stairs in a violent hurry, and calling loudly after her. She opened the door, and met Maria in the landing place, who, breathless with agitation, cried out,
"Oh, my dear Eliza! pray make haste and come into the dining-room, for there is such a sight to be seen! I will not tell you what it is. Make haste, and come down this moment."
Elizabeth asked questions in vain; Maria would tell her nothing more, and down they ran into the dining-room, which fronted the lane, in quest of this wonder; it was two ladies stopping in a low phaeton at the garden gate.
"And is this all?" cried Elizabeth. "I expected at least that the pigs were got into the garden, and here is nothing but Lady Catherine and her daughter!"
"La! my dear," said Maria quite shocked at the mistake, "it is not Lady Catherine. The old lady is Mrs. Jenkinson, who lives with them. The other is Miss De Bourgh. Only look at her. She is quite a little creature. Who would have thought she could be so thin and small!"
"She is abominably rude to keep Charlotte out of doors in all this wind. Why does she not come in?"
"Oh! Charlotte says, she hardly ever does. It is the greatest of favours when Miss De Bourgh comes in."
"I like her appearance," said Elizabeth, struck with other ideas. "She looks sickly and cross. -- Yes, she will do for him very well. She will make him a very proper wife."
Mr. Collins and Charlotte were both standing at the gate in conversation with the ladies; and Sir William, to Elizabeth's high diversion, was stationed in the doorway, in earnest contemplation of the greatness before him, and constantly bowing whenever Miss De Bourgh looked that way.
At length there was nothing more to be said; the ladies drove on, and the others returned into the house. Mr. Collins no sooner saw the two girls than he began to congratulate them on their good fortune, which Charlotte explained by letting them know that the whole party was asked to dine at Rosings the next day.


 

 

第二十八章
 

第二天旅途上的每一样事物,伊丽莎白都感到新鲜有趣;她精神很愉快,因为看到姐姐气色那么好,可以不用再为她的健康担心,加上一想到去北方的旅行,她就越发高兴。当他们离开了大路,走上一条通往汉斯福的小径时,每一只眼睛都在寻找着那幢牧师住宅;每拐一个弯,都以为就要看到那幢房子。他们沿着罗新斯花园的栅栏往前走。伊丽莎白一想到外界所传闻的那家人家和种种情形,不禁好笑。
终于看到那幢牧师住宅了。大路斜对面的花园、花园里的房子、绿的栅栏、以及桂树围篱───每一样东西好象都在宣布他们的来到。柯林斯先生和夏绿蒂走到门口来了。在宾主频频点头脉脉微笑中,客人们在一道小门跟前停下了车,从这里穿过一条短短的鹅卵石铺道,便能直达正屋。一刹眼工夫,他们都下了车,宾主相见,无限欢欣。柯林斯简直手舞足蹈地欢迎自己的朋友,伊丽莎白受到这么亲切的欢迎,就越发满意于这次的作客了。她立刻看到她表兄并没有因为结了婚而改变态度,他还是完全和以往一样地拘泥礼节,在门口耽搁了她好几分钟,问候她全家大小的起居安好。听到她一一回答了之后,他才满意。于是他就没有再耽搁他们,只指给他们看看门口是多么整洁,便把客人们带进了屋子;等到客人一走进客厅,他又对他们作了第二次的欢迎,极其客气地说,这次承蒙诸位光临寒舍,真是不胜荣幸,并且刻不容缓地把他太太送上来的点心重新奉献了一次。
伊丽莎白早就料到他会那样得意非凡,因此当他夸耀那屋子的优美结构、式样、以及一切陈设的时候,她禁不住想到他是特地讲给她听的,好象要叫她明白,她当初拒绝了他,是多么大的一个损失。虽说样样东西的确都那么整洁和舒适,她可千万不能流露出一点点后悔的痕迹来叫他得意;她甚至带着诧异的目光看看夏绿蒂,她弄不明白夏绿蒂和这样的一位伴侣相处,为什么还会那么高兴。柯林斯先生有时竟会说些很不得体的话,叫他自己的太太听了也不免难为情,而且这类话又说得并不太少,每逢这种场合,伊丽莎白就不由自主地要向夏绿蒂望一眼。夏绿蒂有一两次被她看得微微脸红了,不过一般总是很聪明地装作没有听见。大家在屋里坐了好一会儿,欣赏着每一件家具,从食器橱一直欣赏到壁炉架,又谈了谈一路上的情况以及伦敦的一切情形,然后柯林斯先生就请他们到花园里去散散步。花园很大,布置得也很好,一切都是由他亲手料理的。他的最高尚的娱乐就是收拾花园。夏绿蒂说,这种操作有益于健康,她尽可能鼓励他这样做;她讲起这件事的时候,非常镇定自若,真叫伊丽莎白佩服。他领着他们走遍了花园里的曲径小道,看遍了每一处景物,每看一处都得琐琐碎碎地讲一阵,美不美倒完全不在他心上,看的人即使想要赞美几句也插不上嘴。他数得出每一个方向有多少田园,连最远的树丛里有多少棵树他也讲得出来,可是,不论是他自己花园里的景物也好,或者是这整个乡村甚至全国的名胜古迹也好,都万万比不上罗新斯花园的景色。罗新斯花园差不多就在他住宅的正对面,四面是树,从树林的空隙处可以望见里面。那是一幢漂亮的控建筑,耸立在一片高地上。
柯林斯先生本来想把他们从花园里带去看看两块草地,但是太太小姐们的鞋子抵挡不住那残余的白霜,于是全都走回去了,只剩下威廉爵士陪伴着他。夏绿蒂陪着自己的妹妹和朋友参观住宅,这一下她能够撇开丈夫的帮忙,有机会让她自己显显身手,真是高兴极了。房子很小,但是建筑结实,使用也很方便;一切都布置得很精巧,安排得很调和,伊丽莎白对夏绿蒂夸奖备至。只要不想起柯林斯先生,便真正有了一种非常美好的气氛。伊丽莎白看见夏绿蒂那样得意,便不由得想到她平常一定不把柯林斯先生放在心上。
伊丽莎白已经打听到咖苔琳夫人还在乡下。吃饭的时候又谈起了这桩事,当时柯林斯先生立即插嘴说:
“正是,伊丽莎白小姐,星期日晚上你就可以有荣幸在教学里见到咖苔琳·德·包尔夫人,你一定会喜欢她的。她为人极其谦和,丝毫没有架子,我相信那天做完礼拜之后,你就会很荣幸地受到她的注目。我可以毫无犹豫地说,只要你待在这儿,每逢她赏脸请我们作客的时候,总少不了要请你和我的小姨子玛丽亚。她对待我亲爱的夏绿蒂真是好极了。我们每星期去罗新斯吃两次饭,她老人家从来没有哪一次让我们步行回家,总是打发自己的马车送我们──我应该说,是打发她老人家的某一部马车,因为她有好几部车子呢。”
夏绿蒂又说:“咖苔琳夫人的确是个道貌岸然、通达情理的女人,而且是位极其殷勤的邻居。”
“说得很对,亲爱的,你真说到我心上去了。象她这样一位夫人,你无论对她怎样尊敬,依旧会感到有些欠缺。”
这一晚主要就谈论哈福德郡的新闻,又把以前信上所说的话重新再提一遍。大家散了以后,伊丽莎白孤单单地在房间里,不由得默默想起了夏绿蒂对于现状究竟满意到什么程度,驾御丈夫的手腕巧妙到什么程度,容忍丈夫的肚量又大到什么程度。她不由得承认,一切都安排得非常好。她又去想象着这次作客的时间将如何度过,无非是:平淡安静的日常起居,柯林斯先生那种惹人讨厌的插嘴打贫,再加上跟罗新斯的应酬来往等。她那丰富的想象力马上解决了整个问题。
大约在第二天响午的时候,她正在房间里准备出去散散步,忽听得楼下一阵喧哗,马上这整个住宅里的人好象都慌乱了起来;一会儿工夫,只听得有人急急忙忙奔上楼来,大声叫她。她开了门,在楼梯口遇见了玛丽亚,只见她激动得气都喘不过来,嚷道:
“噢,亲爱的伊丽莎呀,请你赶快到餐室里去,那儿有了不起的场面值得看呢!我可不告诉你是怎么回事。赶快呀,马上下楼来。”
伊丽莎白一遍遍问,也问不出一个究竟来;玛丽亚多一句也不肯跟她说;于是她们俩便奔进那间面临着大路的餐室,去探奇寻胜。原来来了两位女客,乘着一辆低低的四轮马车,停在花园门口。
伊丽莎白连忙嚷道:“就是这么回事吗?我还以为是猪猡闯进了花园呢,原来只不过是咖苔琳夫人母女俩。”
玛丽亚听她说错了,不禁大吃一惊:“噍你,亲爱的,那不是咖苔琳夫人。那位老夫人是姜金生太太,她跟她们住在一起的;另外一位是德·包尔小姐。你且瞧瞧她那副模样儿吧。她真是个非常纤小的人儿。谁会想到她会这么单薄,这么小!”
“她真是太没有礼貌,风这样大,却让夏绿蒂待在门外。她为什么不进来?”
“噢,夏绿蒂说,她真难得进来。德·包尔小姐要是进来一次,那可真是天大的面子。”
“她那副模样儿真够人瞧的,”伊丽莎白一面说,一面又突然起了别的种种念头。
“她看上去身体不好,脾气又坏。她配他真是再好不过呢。她做他的太太极其相称。”
柯林斯先生和夏绿蒂都站在门口跟那位女客谈话。伊丽莎白觉得最好笑的是,威廉爵士正必恭必敬地站在门口,虔诚地瞻仰着面前的蔚然大观,每当德·包尔小姐朝着他这边望的时候,他总是一鞠躬。
后来他们的话全说完了,两位女客驱车而去,别人都回到屋里。柯林斯一看到两位小姐,就恭贺她们走了鸿运;夏绿蒂把他的意思解释给她们听,原来罗新斯明天又要请他们全体去吃饭了。

 

 


Chapter 29


MR. Collins's triumph in consequence of this invitation was complete. The power of displaying the grandeur of his patroness to his wondering visitors, and of letting them see her civility towards himself and his wife, was exactly what he had wished for; and that an opportunity of doing it should be given so soon was such an instance of Lady Catherine's condescension as he knew not how to admire enough.
"I confess," said he, "that I should not have been at all surprised by her Ladyship's asking us on Sunday to drink tea and spend the evening at Rosings. I rather expected, from my knowledge of her affability, that it would happen. But who could have foreseen such an attention as this? Who could have imagined that we should receive an invitation to dine there (an invitation moreover including the whole party) so immediately after your arrival!"
"I am the less surprised at what has happened," replied Sir William, "from that knowledge of what the manners of the great really are, which my situation in life has allowed me to acquire. About the Court, such instances of elegant breeding are not uncommon."
Scarcely any thing was talked of the whole day, or next morning, but their visit to Rosings. Mr. Collins was carefully instructing them in what they were to expect, that the sight of such rooms, so many servants, and so splendid a dinner might not wholly overpower them.
When the ladies were separating for the toilette, he said to Elizabeth,
"Do not make yourself uneasy, my dear cousin, about your apparel. Lady Catherine is far from requiring that elegance of dress in us, which becomes herself and daughter. I would advise you merely to put on whatever of your clothes is superior to the rest, there is no occasion for any thing more. Lady Catherine will not think the worse of you for being simply dressed. She likes to have the distinction of rank preserved."
While they were dressing, he came two or three times to their different doors, to recommend their being quick, as Lady Catherine very much objected to be kept waiting for her dinner. -- Such formidable accounts of her ladyship, and her manner of living, quite frightened Maria Lucas, who had been little used to company, and she looked forward to her introduction at Rosings with as much apprehension, as her father had done to his presentation at St. James's.
As the weather was fine, they had a pleasant walk of about half a mile across the park. -- Every park has its beauty and its prospects; and Elizabeth saw much to be pleased with, though she could not be in such raptures as Mr. Collins expected the scene to inspire, and was but slightly affected by his enumeration of the windows in front of the house, and his relation of what the glazing altogether had originally cost Sir Lewis De Bourgh.
When they ascended the steps to the hall, Maria's alarm was every moment increasing, and even Sir William did not look perfectly calm. -- Elizabeth's courage did not fail her. She had heard nothing of Lady Catherine that spoke her awful from any extraordinary talents or miraculous virtue, and the mere stateliness of money and rank she thought she could witness without trepidation.
From the entrance hall, of which Mr. Collins pointed out, with a rapturous air, the fine proportion and finished ornaments, they followed the servants through an ante-chamber, to the room where Lady Catherine, her daughter, and Mrs. Jenkinson were sitting. -- Her ladyship, with great condescension, arose to receive them; and as Mrs. Collins had settled it with her husband that the office of introduction should be her's, it was performed in a proper manner, without any of those apologies and thanks which he would have thought necessary.
In spite of having been at St. James's, Sir William was so completely awed by the grandeur surrounding him, that he had but just courage enough to make a very low bow, and take his seat without saying a word; and his daughter, frightened almost out of her senses, sat on the edge of her chair, not knowing which way to look. Elizabeth found herself quite equal to the scene, and could observe the three ladies before her composedly. -- Lady Catherine was a tall, large woman, with strongly-marked features, which might once have been handsome. Her air was not conciliating, nor was her manner of receiving them such as to make her visitors forget their inferior rank. She was not rendered formidable by silence; but whatever she said was spoken in so authoritative a tone as marked her self-importance, and brought Mr. Wickham immediately to Elizabeth's mind; and from the observation of the day altogether, she believed Lady Catherine to be exactly what he had represented.
When, after examining the mother, in whose countenance and deportment she soon found some resemblance of Mr. Darcy, she turned her eyes on the daughter, she could almost have joined in Maria's astonishment at her being so thin, and so small. There was neither in figure nor face any likeness between the ladies. Miss De Bourgh was pale and sickly; her features, though not plain, were insignificant; and she spoke very little, except in a low voice to Mrs. Jenkinson, in whose appearance there was nothing remarkable, and who was entirely engaged in listening to what she said, and placing a screen in the proper direction before her eyes.
After sitting a few minutes, they were all sent to one of the windows to admire the view, Mr. Collins attending them to point out its beauties, and Lady Catherine kindly informing them that it was much better worth looking at in the summer.
The dinner was exceedingly handsome, and there were all the servants, and all the articles of plate which Mr. Collins had promised; and, as he had likewise foretold, he took his seat at the bottom of the table, by her ladyship's desire, and looked as if he felt that life could furnish nothing greater. -- He carved, and ate, and praised with delighted alacrity; and every dish was commended, first by him, and then by Sir William, who was now enough recovered to echo whatever his son in law said, in a manner which Elizabeth wondered Lady Catherine could bear. But Lady Catherine seemed gratified by their excessive admiration, and gave most gracious smiles, especially when any dish on the table proved a novelty to them. The party did not supply much conversation. Elizabeth was ready to speak whenever there was an opening, but she was seated between Charlotte and Miss De Bourgh -- the former of whom was engaged in listening to Lady Catherine, and the latter said not a word to her all dinner time. Mrs. Jenkinson was chiefly employed in watching how little Miss De Bourgh ate, pressing her to try some other dish, and fearing she were indisposed. Maria thought speaking out of the question, and the gentlemen did nothing but eat and admire.
When the ladies returned to the drawing room, there was little to be done but to hear Lady Catherine talk, which she did without any intermission till coffee came in, delivering her opinion on every subject in so decisive a manner as proved that she was not used to have her judgment controverted. She enquired into Charlotte's domestic concerns familiarly and minutely, and gave her a great deal of advice as to the management of them all; told her how every thing ought to be regulated in so small a family as her's, and instructed her as to the care of her cows and her poultry. Elizabeth found that nothing was beneath this great lady's attention, which could furnish her with an occasion of dictating to others. In the intervals of her discourse with Mrs. Collins, she addressed a variety of questions to Maria and Elizabeth, but especially to the latter, of whose connections she knew the least, and who, she observed to Mrs. Collins, was a very genteel, pretty kind of girl. She asked her at different times, how many sisters she had, whether they were older or younger than herself, whether any of them were likely to be married, whether they were handsome, where they had been educated, what carriage her father kept, and what had been her mother's maiden name? -- Elizabeth felt all the impertinence of her questions, but answered them very composedly. -- Lady Catherine then observed,
"Your father's estate is entailed on Mr. Collins, I think. For your sake," turning to Charlotte, "I am glad of it; but otherwise I see no occasion for entailing estates from the female line. -- It was not thought necessary in Sir Lewis de Bourgh's family. -- Do you play and sing, Miss Bennet?"
"A little."
"Oh! then -- some time or other we shall be happy to hear you. Our instrument is a capital one, probably superior to -- You shall try it some day. -- Do your sisters play and sing?"
"One of them does."
"Why did not you all learn? -- You ought all to have learned. The Miss Webbs all play, and their father has not so good an income as your's. -- Do you draw?"
"No, not at all."
"What, none of you?"
"Not one."
"That is very strange. But I suppose you had no opportunity. Your mother should have taken you to town every spring for the benefit of masters."
"My mother would have had no objection, but my father hates London."
"Has your governess left you?"
"We never had any governess."
"No governess! How was that possible? Five daughters brought up at home without a governess! -- I never heard of such a thing. Your mother must have been quite a slave to your education."
Elizabeth could hardly help smiling, as she assured her that had not been the case.
"Then, who taught you? who attended to you? Without a governess you must have been neglected."
"Compared with some families, I believe we were; but such of us as wished to learn, never wanted the means. We were always encouraged to read, and had all the masters that were necessary. Those who chose to be idle, certainly might."
"Aye, no doubt; but that is what a governess will prevent, and if I had known your mother, I should have advised her most strenuously to engage one. I always say that nothing is to be done in education without steady and regular instruction, and nobody but a governess can give it. It is wonderful how many families I have been the means of supplying in that way. I am always glad to get a young person well placed out. Four nieces of Mrs. Jenkinson are most delightfully situated through my means; and it was but the other day that I recommended another young person, who was merely accidentally mentioned to me, and the family are quite delighted with her. Mrs. Collins, did I tell you of Lady Metcalfe's calling yesterday to thank me? She finds Miss Pope a treasure. "Lady Catherine," said she, "you have given me a treasure." Are any of your younger sisters out, Miss Bennet?"
"Yes, Ma'am, all."
"All! -- What, all five out at once? Very odd! -- And you only the second. -- The younger ones out before the elder are married! -- Your younger sisters must be very young?"
"Yes, my youngest is not sixteen. Perhaps she is full young to be much in company. But really, Ma'am, I think it would be very hard upon younger sisters, that they should not have their share of society and amusement because the elder may not have the means or inclination to marry early. -- The last born has as good a right to the pleasures of youth, as the first. And to be kept back on such a motive! -- I think it would not be very likely to promote sisterly affection or delicacy of mind."
"Upon my word," said her ladyship, "you give your opinion very decidedly for so young a person. -- Pray, what is your age?"
"With three younger sisters grown up," replied Elizabeth smiling, "your Ladyship can hardly expect me to own it."
Lady Catherine seemed quite astonished at not receiving a direct answer; and Elizabeth suspected herself to be the first creature who had ever dared to trifle with so much dignified impertinence!
"You cannot be more than twenty, I am sure, -- therefore you need not conceal your age."
"I am not one and twenty."
When the gentlemen had joined them, and tea was over, the card tables were placed. Lady Catherine, Sir William, and Mr. and Mrs. Collins sat down to quadrille; and as Miss De Bourgh chose to play at cassino, the two girls had the honour of assisting Mrs. Jenkinson to make up her party. Their table was superlatively stupid. Scarcely a syllable was uttered that did not relate to the game, except when Mrs. Jenkinson expressed her fears of Miss De Bourgh's being too hot or too cold, or having too much or too little light. A great deal more passed at the other table, Lady Catherine was generally speaking -- stating the mistakes of the three others, or relating some anecdote of herself. Mr. Collins was employed in agreeing to every thing her Ladyship said, thanking her for every fish he won, and apologising if he thought he won too many. Sir William did not say much. He was storing his memory with anecdotes and noble names.
When Lady Catherine and her daughter had played as long as they chose, the tables were broke up, the carriage was offered to Mrs. Collins, gratefully accepted, and immediately ordered. The party then gathered round the fire to hear Lady Catherine determine what weather they were to have on the morrow. From these instructions they were summoned by the arrival of the coach, and with many speeches of thankfulness on Mr. Collins's side, and as many bows on Sir William's, they departed. As soon as they had driven from the door, Elizabeth was called on by her cousin to give her opinion of all that she had seen at Rosings, which, for Charlotte's sake, she made more favourable than it really was. But her commendation, though costing her some trouble, could by no means satisfy Mr. Collins, and he was very soon obliged to take her ladyship's praise into his own hands.


 

 

第二十九章
 

罗新斯这一次请客,真使得柯林斯先生感到百分之百地得意。他本来一心要让这些好奇的宾客们去风光一下他那女施主的堂皇气派,看看老夫人对待他们夫妇俩多么礼貌周全。他竟会这么快就得到了如愿以偿的机会,这件事大足以说明咖苔琳夫人的礼贤下士,使得他不知如何景仰是好。
“说老实话,”他说,“她老人家邀请我们星期日去吃茶点,在罗新斯消磨一个下午,我一点儿也不觉得意外。她一贯为人殷勤,我倒以为她真要这样招待一番的,可是谁料想到会象这次这样情意隆重?谁会想到你们刚刚到这里在,就被请到那边去吃饭(而且全体都请到了)?”
威廉爵士说:“刚才的事我倒不怎么觉得稀奇,大人物的为人处世实在都是如此,象我这样有身份的人,就见识得很多。在显宦贵族们当中,这类风雅好客的事不足为奇。”
这一整天和第二天上午,简直只谈到去罗新斯的事。柯林斯先生预先仔仔细细地一样样告诉他们,到那边去将要看到什么东西,免得他们看到了那样宏伟的屋子,那样众多的仆从,那样丰盛的菜肴,会造成临时慌乱,手足失措。
当娘儿们正要各自去打扮的时候,他又对伊丽莎白说:
“不要为衣装担心思,亲爱的表妹。咖苔琳夫人才不会要我们穿得华丽呢,这只有她自己和她的女儿才配。我劝你只要在你自己的衣服里面,拣一件出色的穿上就行,不必过于讲究。珈苔琳夫人决不会因为你衣装朴素就瞧你不起。她喜欢各人守着自己的本份,分得出一个高低。”
娘儿们整装的时候,他又到各个人的房门口去了两三次,劝她们快一点,因为咖苔琳夫人请人吃饭最恨客人迟到。玛丽亚·卢卡斯听说她老人家的为人处事这样可怕,不由得吓了一跳,因为她一向不大会应酬。她一想起要到罗新斯去拜望,就诚惶诚恐,正如她父亲当年进宫觐见一样。
天朗气清,他们穿过花园,作了一次差不多半英里的愉快的散步。一家家的花园都各有美妙,伊丽莎白纵目观赏,心旷神怡,可是并不如柯林斯先生所预期的那样,会被眼前的景色陶醉得乐而忘形。尽管他数着屋前一扇扇窗户说,光是这些玻璃,当初曾一共花了刘威斯·德·包尔爵士多大一笔钱,她可并不为这些话动心。
他们踏上台阶走进穿堂的时候,玛丽亚一分钟比一分钟来得惶恐,连威廉爵士也不能完全保持镇定。倒是伊丽莎白不畏缩。无论是论才论德,她都没有听到咖苔琳夫人有什么了不起的地方足以引起她敬畏,光凭着有钱有势,还不会叫她见到了就胆战心惊。
进了穿堂,柯林斯先生就带着一副喜极欲狂的神气,指出这屋子的堂皇富丽,然后由佣人们带着客人走过前厅,来到咖苔琳夫人母女和姜金生太太的起坐间。夫人极其谦和地站起身来迎接他们。根据柯林斯太太事先跟她丈夫商量好的办法,当场由太太出面替宾主介绍,因此介绍得很得体,凡是柯林斯先生认为必不可少的那些道歉和感激的话,都一概免了。
威廉爵士虽说当年也曾进宫觐见过皇上,可是看到四周围这般的富贵气派,也不禁完全给吓住了,只得弯腰一躬,一声不响,坐了下来;再说他的女儿,简直吓得丧魂失魄一般,兀自坐在椅子边上,眼睛也不知道往哪里看才好。伊丽莎白倒是完全安然自若,而且从容不迫地细细瞧着那三位女主人。咖苔琳夫人是位高大的妇人,五官清楚,也许年轻时很好看。她的样子并不十分客气,接待宾客的态度也不能使宾客忘却自己身份的低微。她吓人的地方倒不是默不作声,而是她出言吐语时声调总是那么高高在上,自命不凡,这叫伊丽莎白立刻想起了韦翰先生的话。经过这一整天的察言观色之后,她觉得咖苔琳夫人的为人,果然和韦翰所形容的完全一样。
她仔细打量了她一眼,立刻就发觉她的容貌有些象达西先生,然后她就把目光转到她的女儿身上,见她女儿长得那么单薄,那么瘦小,这使她几乎和玛丽亚一样感到惊奇。母女二人无论体态面貌,都没有相似之处。德·包尔小姐脸色苍白、满面病容,五官虽然长得不算难看,可是并不起眼;她不大说话,除非是低声跟姜金生太太嘀咕几句。姜金生太太的相貌没有一点特出的地方,她只是全神贯注地听着小姐说话,并且挡在她面前,不让人家把她看得太清楚。
坐了几分钟以后,客人们都被打发到窗口去欣赏外面的风景。柯林斯先生陪着他们,一处处指给他们看,咖苔琳夫人和善地告诉他们说,到了夏天还要好看。酒席果然特别体面,待候的仆从以及盛酒菜的器皿,也跟柯林斯先生所形容过的一模一样,而且正如他事先所料到的那样,夫人果然吩咐他坐在末席,看他那副神气,好象人生没有比这更得意的事了。他边切边吃,又兴致淋漓地赞不绝口;每一道菜都由他先来夸奖,然后由威廉爵士加以吹嘘,原来威廉爵士现在已经完全消除了惊恐,可以做他女婿的应声虫了。伊丽莎白看到那种样子,不禁担心咖苔琳夫人怎么受得了。可是咖苔琳夫人对这些过分的赞扬好象倒非常满意,总是显露出仁慈的微笑,尤其是端上一道客人们没见过的菜到桌上来的时候,她便格外得意。宾主们都没有什么可谈的,伊丽莎白却只要别人开个头,总还有话可说,可惜她坐的地方不对头,一边是夏绿蒂,她正在用心听咖苔琳夫人谈话;另一边是德·包尔小姐,整个吃饭时间不跟她说一句话。姜金生太太主要在注意德·包尔小姐,她看到小姐东西吃得太少,便逼着她吃了这样再吃那样,又怕她不受用。玛丽亚根本不想讲话,男客们只顾一边吃一边赞美。
女客们回到会客室以后,只是听咖苔琳夫人谈话。夫人滔滔不绝地一直谈到咖啡端上来为止,随便谈到哪一桩事,她总是那么斩钉截铁、不许别人反对的样子。她毫不客气地仔细问着夏绿蒂的家常,又给她提供了一大堆关于料理家务的意见。她告诉夏绿蒂说,象她这样的一个小家庭,一切事情都应该精密安排,又指教她如何照料母牛和家禽。伊丽莎白发觉这位贵妇人只要有机会支配别人,随便怎么小的事情也决不肯轻易放过。夫人同柯林斯太太谈话的时候,也间或向玛丽亚和伊丽莎白问几句话,特别向伊丽莎白问得多。她不大清楚伊丽莎白和她们是什么关系,不过她对柯林斯太太说,她是个很斯文、很标致的姑娘。她好几次问伊丽莎白有几个姐妹,她们比她大还是比她小,她们中间有没有哪一个已经结婚,她们长得好看不好看,在哪里读书,她们的父亲有什么样的马车,她母亲的娘家姓什么。伊丽莎白觉得她这些话问得唐突,不过还是心平气和地回答了她。于是咖苔琳夫人说:
“你父亲的财产得由柯林斯先生继承吧,我想?”──说到这里,她又掉过头来对夏绿蒂说:“为你着想,我倒觉得高兴;否则我实在看不出有什么理由不让自己的女儿们来继承财产,却要给别人。刘威斯·德·包尔家里就觉得没有这样做的必要。──你会弹琴唱歌吗,班纳特小姐?”
“略知一二。”
“噢,几时我们倒想要听一听。我们的琴非常好,说不定比──你哪一天来试一试看吧。你的姐妹们会弹琴唱歌吗?”
“有一个会。”
“为什么不大家都学呢?你们应该个个都学。魏伯家的小姐们就个个都会,她们父亲的收入还比不上你们父亲呢。你们会画吗?”
“不,一点儿不会。”
“怎么说,一个也不会吗?”
“没有一个会。”
“这倒很稀奇。我猜想你们是没有机会学吧。你们的母亲应该每年春天带你们上城里来投投名师才对。”
“我妈是不会反对的,可是我父亲厌恶伦敦。”
“你们的女家庭教师走了吗?”
“我们从来就没有请过女家庭教师。”
“没有女家庭教师!那怎么行?家里教养着五个姑娘,却不请个女家庭教师!我从来没听到过这样的事!你妈简直是做奴隶似的教育你们啦。”
伊丽莎白禁不住笑起来了,一面告诉她说,事实并不是那样。
“那么谁教导你们呢?谁服待你们呢?没有一个女家庭老师,你们不就是没人照管了吗?”
“同别的一些人家比较起来,我们家里待我们算是比较懈怠;可是姐妹们中间,凡是好学的,决不会没有办法。家里经常鼓励我们好好读书,必要的教师我们都有。谁要是存心偷懒,当然也可以。”
“那是毫无疑问的;不过,女家庭教师的任务也就是为了防止这种事情;要是我认识你们的母亲,我一定要竭力劝她请一位。我总以为缺少了按部就班的指导,教育就不会有任何成绩,而按部就班的指导就只有女家庭教师办得到。说起来也怪有意思,多少人家都是由我介绍女家庭教师的。我一贯喜欢让一个年轻人得到很好的安插。姜金生太太的四个侄女儿都由我给她们介绍了称心如意的位置;就在前几天,我又推荐了一个姑娘,她不过是人家偶然在我面前提起的,那家人家对她非常满意。──柯林斯太太,我有没有告诉过你,麦特卡尔夫人昨天来谢我?她觉得蒲白小姐真是件珍宝呢。她跟我说:‘咖苔琳夫人,你给了我一件珍宝。’──你的妹妹们有没有哪一个已经出来交际了,班纳特小姐?”
“有,太太,全都出来交际了。”
“全都出来交际了!什么,五个姐妹同时出来交际?真奇怪!你不过是第二个!姐姐还没有嫁人,妹妹就出来交际了!你的妹妹们一定还很小吧?”
“是的;最小的一个才十六岁。或许她还太小,不适宜多交朋友。不过,太太,要是因为姐姐们无法早嫁,或是不想早嫁,做妹妹的就不能有社交和娱乐,那实在太苦了她们。最小的和最大的同样有消受青春的权利。怎么能为了这样的原由,就叫她们死守在家里!我以为那样做就不可能促进姐妹之间的情感,也不可能养成温柔的性格。”
“真想不到,”夫人说,“你这么小的一个人,倒这样有主见。请问你几岁啦?”
“我已经有了三个成人的妹妹,”伊丽莎白笑着说。“你老人家总不会再要我招出年纪来了吧。”
咖苔琳夫人没有得到直截了当的回答,显得很惊奇;伊丽莎白觉得敢于和这种没有礼貌的富贵太太开玩笑,恐怕要推她自己为第一个人。
“你不会超过二十岁,所以你也不必瞒年纪。”
“我不到二十一岁。”
等到喝过茶,男客们都到她们这边来了,便摆起牌桌来。咖苔琳夫人、威廉爵士和柯林斯夫妇坐下来打“夸锥”;德·包尔小姐要玩“卡西诺”,因此两位姑娘就很荣幸地帮着姜金生太太给她凑足了人数。她们这一桌真是枯燥无味,除了姜金生太太问问德·包尔小姐是否觉得太冷或太热,是否感到灯光太强或太弱以外,就没有一句话不是说到打牌方面的。另外一桌可就有声有色得多了。咖苔琳夫人差不多一直都在讲话,不是指出另外三个人的错处,就是讲些自己的趣闻轶事。她老人家说一句,柯林斯先生就附和一句,他赢一次要谢她一次,如果赢得太多,还得向她道歉。威廉爵士不大说话,只顾把一桩桩轶事和一个个高贵的名字装进脑子里去。
等到咖苔琳夫人母女俩玩得不想再玩的时候,两桌牌桌就散场了,打发马车送柯林斯太太回去,柯林斯太太很感激地接受了,于是马上叫人去套车。大家又围着火炉,听咖苔琳夫人断定明天的天气怎么样。等到马车来了,叫他们上车,他们方始停止受训。柯林斯先生说了多少感激的话,威廉爵士鞠了多少躬,大家方才告别。马车一走出门口,柯林斯就要求伊丽莎白发表她对于罗新斯的感想,她看在夏绿蒂面上,便勉强敷衍了他几句。她虽然勉为其难地说出了一大篇好话,却完全不能叫柯林斯先生满意,柯林斯没有办法,只得立刻亲自开口,把老夫人大大重新赞扬了一番。

 

 


Chapter 30


SIR WILLIAM staid only a week at Hunsford; but his visit was long enough to convince him of his daughter's being most comfortably settled, and of her possessing such a husband and such a neighbour as were not often met with. While Sir William was with them, Mr. Collins devoted his mornings to driving him out in his gig and shewing him the country; but when he went away, the whole family returned to their usual employments, and Elizabeth was thankful to find that they did not see more of her cousin by the alteration, for the chief of the time between breakfast and dinner was now passed by him either at work in the garden, or in reading and writing, and looking out of window in his own book room, which fronted the road. The room in which the ladies sat was backwards. Elizabeth at first had rather wondered that Charlotte should not prefer the dining parlour for common use; it was a better sized room, and had a pleasanter aspect; but she soon saw that her friend had an excellent reason for what she did, for Mr. Collins would undoubtedly have been much less in his own apartment, had they sat in one equally lively; and she gave Charlotte credit for the arrangement.
From the drawing room they could distinguish nothing in the lane, and were indebted to Mr. Collins for the knowledge of what carriages went along, and how often especially Miss De Bourgh drove by in her phaeton, which he never failed coming to inform them of, though it happened almost every day. She not unfrequently stopped at the Parsonage, and had a few minutes' conversation with Charlotte, but was scarcely ever prevailed on to get out.
Very few days passed in which Mr. Collins did not walk to Rosings, and not many in which his wife did not think it necessary to go likewise; and till Elizabeth recollected that there might be other family livings to be disposed of, she could not understand the sacrifice of so many hours. Now and then, they were honoured with a call from her ladyship, and nothing escaped her observation that was passing in the room during these visits. She examined into their employments, looked at their work, and advised them to do it differently; found fault with the arrangement of the furniture, or detected the housemaid in negligence; and if she accepted any refreshment, seemed to do it only for the sake of finding out that Mrs. Collins's joints of meat were too large for her family.
Elizabeth soon perceived that though this great lady was not in the commission of the peace for the county, she was a most active magistrate in her own parish, the minutest concerns of which were carried to her by Mr. Collins; and whenever any of the cottagers were disposed to be quarrelsome, discontented or too poor, she sallied forth into the village to settle their differences, silence their complaints, and scold them into harmony and plenty.
The entertainment of dining at Rosings was repeated about twice a week; and, allowing for the loss of Sir William, and there being only one card table in the evening, every such entertainment was the counterpart of the first. Their other engagements were few; as the style of living of the neighbourhood in general was beyond the Collinses' reach. This, however, was no evil to Elizabeth, and upon the whole she spent her time comfortably enough; there were half hours of pleasant conversation with Charlotte, and the weather was so fine for the time of year, that she had often great enjoyment out of doors. Her favourite walk, and where she frequently went while the others were calling on Lady Catherine, was along the open grove which edged that side of the park, where there was a nice sheltered path, which no one seemed to value but herself, and where she felt beyond the reach of Lady Catherine's curiosity.
In this quiet way, the first fortnight of her visit soon passed away. Easter was approaching, and the week preceding it was to bring an addition to the family at Rosings, which in so small a circle must be important. Elizabeth had heard, soon after her arrival, that Mr. Darcy was expected there in the course of a few weeks, and though there were not many of her acquaintance whom she did not prefer, his coming would furnish one comparatively new to look at in their Rosings parties, and she might be amused in seeing how hopeless Miss Bingley's designs on him were, by his behaviour to his cousin, for whom he was evidently destined by Lady Catherine; who talked of his coming with the greatest satisfaction, spoke of him in terms of the highest admiration, and seemed almost angry to find that he had already been frequently seen by Miss Lucas and herself.
His arrival was soon known at the Parsonage, for Mr. Collins was walking the whole morning within view of the lodges opening into Hunsford Lane, in order to have the earliest assurance of it; and after making his bow as the carriage turned into the park, hurried home with the great intelligence. On the following morning he hastened to Rosings to pay his respects. There were two nephews of Lady Catherine to require them, for Mr. Darcy had brought with him a Colonel Fitzwilliam, the younger son of his uncle, Lord ----; and to the great surprise of all the party, when Mr. Collins returned, the gentlemen accompanied him. Charlotte had seen them, from her husband's room, crossing the road, and immediately running into the other, told the girls what an honour they might expect, adding,
"I may thank you, Eliza, for this piece of civility. Mr. Darcy would never have come so soon to wait upon me."
Elizabeth had scarcely time to disclaim all right to the compliment, before their approach was announced by the door-bell, and shortly afterwards the three gentlemen entered the room. Colonel Fitzwilliam, who led the way, was about thirty, not handsome, but in person and address most truly the gentleman. Mr. Darcy looked just as he had been used to look in Hertfordshire, paid his compliments, with his usual reserve, to Mrs. Collins; and whatever might be his feelings towards her friend, met her with every appearance of composure. Elizabeth merely curtseyed to him, without saying a word.
Colonel Fitzwilliam entered into conversation directly with the readiness and ease of a well-bred man, and talked very pleasantly; but his cousin, after having addressed a slight observation on the house and garden to Mrs. Collins, sat for some time without speaking to any body. At length, however, his civility was so far awakened as to enquire of Elizabeth after the health of her family. She answered him in the usual way, and after a moment's pause, added,
"My eldest sister has been in town these three months. Have you never happened to see her there?"
She was perfectly sensible that he never had; but she wished to see whether he would betray any consciousness of what had passed between the Bingleys and Jane; and she thought he looked a little confused as he answered that he had never been so fortunate as to meet Miss Bennet. The subject was pursued no farther, and the gentlemen soon afterwards went away.


 

 

第三十章
 

威廉爵士在汉斯福只待了一个星期,可是经过了这一次短短的拜访,他大可以为了:女儿嫁得极其称心如意,而且有了这样不可多得的丈夫和难能可贵的邻居。威谦爵士在这儿作客的时候,柯林斯先生总是每天上午同他乘着双轮马车,带他到郊野去漫游;他走了以后,家里又恢复了日常生活。伊丽莎白真要谢天谢地。因为这一次作客,跟她表兄柯林斯朝夕相见的次数并不多。原来他从吃早饭到吃午饭那一段时间里,不是在收拾花园,就是在自己那间面临着大路的书房里看书写字,凭窗远眺,而女客的起坐间又在后面那一间。伊丽莎白开头很奇怪:这里的餐厅比较大,地位光线也比较好,为什么夏绿蒂不愿意把餐厅兼作起居室?可是她立刻看出了她朋友所以要这样做,的确非常有理由,因为:假如女客也在一间同样舒适的起坐间里,那么柯林斯先生待在自己房间里的时间就要比较少了;她很赞赏夏绿蒂这样的按排。
她们从会客室里根本看不见外面大路的情形,幸亏每逢有什么车辆驶过,柯林斯先生总是要告诉她们;特别是德·包尔小姐常常乘着小马车驶过,差不多天天驶过,他没有哪一次不告诉她们的。小姐常在牧师的门前停下车来,跟夏绿蒂闲谈几分钟,可是主人从来不请她下车。
柯林斯先生差不多每天要到罗新斯去一趟,他的太太也是隔不了几天就要去一次。伊丽莎白总以为他们还有些别的应得的俸禄要去处理一下,否则她就不懂得为什么要牺牲那么多的时间。有时候夫人也会光临他们的住宅,来了以后就把屋子里无论什么事都看在眼里。她查问他们的日常生活,察看他们的家务,劝他们换个方式处置;又吹毛求疵地说,他们的家具摆得不对,或者是他们的佣人在偷懒;要是她肯在这里吃点东西,那好象只是为了要看看柯林斯太太是否持家节俭,不滥吃滥用。
伊丽莎白立刻就发觉,这位贵妇人虽然没有担任郡里的司法职使,可是事实上她等于是她自己这个教区里最积极的法官,一点点芝麻大的事都由柯林斯先生报告给她;只要哪一个穷苦人在吵架,闹意气,或是穷得活不下去,她问题亲自到村里去调解处理,镇压制服,又骂得他们一个个相安无事,不再叫苦叹穷。
罗新斯大约每星期要请她们吃一两次饭;尽管缺少了威廉爵士,而且只有一桌牌,不过每有一次这样的宴会,都依照第一次如法炮制。他们简直没有别的宴会,因为附近一般人家的那种生活派头,柯林斯还高攀不上。不过伊丽莎白并不觉得遗憾,因为她在这里大体上是过得够舒服了:经常和夏绿蒂作半个钟点的交谈,加上这个季节里又是天气睛朗,可以常常到户外去舒畅一下。别人去拜访咖苔琳夫人的时候,她总是爱到花园旁边那座小林子里去散散步,那儿有一条很美的绿荫小径,她觉得那地方只有她一人懂得欣赏,而且到了那儿,也就可以免得惹起咖苔琳夫人的好奇心。
她开头两个星期的作客生涯,就这样安静地过去了。复活节快到了,节前一星期,罗新斯府上要添一个客人。在这么一个小圈子里,这当然是件大事。伊丽莎白一到那儿,便听说达西先生最近几个星期里就要到来,虽然她觉得在她所认识的人里面,差不多没有一个象达西这样讨厌,不过他来了却能给罗新斯的宴会上添一个面貌比较新鲜的人,同时可以从他对他表妹的态度看出彬格莱小姐在他身上的打算要完全落空,那更有趣极了。咖苔琳夫人显然已经把他安排给他的表妹,一谈到他要来,就得意非凡,对他赞美备至,可是一听说卢卡斯小姐和伊丽莎白早就跟他认识,又时常见面,就几乎好象生起气来。
不久,柯林斯家里就知道达西来了;因为牧师先生那天整个上午都在汉斯福旁的门房附近走动,以便尽早获得确凿的消息;等到马车驶进花园,他就一鞠躬,连忙跑进屋去报告这重大的新闻。第二天上午,他赶快到罗新斯去拜会。他一共要拜会咖苔琳夫人的两位姨侄,因为达西先生还带来了一位费茨威廉上校,是达西舅父(某某爵士)的小儿子。柯林斯先生回家来的时候,把那两位贵宾也带来了,大家很是吃惊。夏绿蒂从她丈夫的房间里看到他们一行三人从大路那边走过来,便立刻奔进另外一个房间,告诉小姐们说,她们马上就会有贵客降临,接着又说:
“伊丽莎,这次贵客光临,我得感谢你呀。否则达西先生才不会一下子就来拜访我呢。”
伊丽莎白听到这番恭维话,还没有来得及申辩,门铃就响了,宣布贵宾光临。不大一会儿工夫,宾主三人一同走进屋来。带头的是费茨威廉上校,大约三十岁左右,人长得不漂亮,可是从仪表和谈吐看来,倒是个地道的绅士。达西先生完全是当初在哈福德郡的那副老样子,用他往常一贯的矜持态度,向柯林斯太太问好。尽管他对她的朋友伊丽莎白可能另有一种感情,然而见到她的时候,神色却极其镇定。伊丽莎白只对他行了个屈膝礼,一句话也没说。
费茨威廉上校立刻就跟大家攀谈起来,口齿伶俐,象个有教养的人,并且谈得颇有风趣;可是他那位表兄,却只跟柯林斯太太把房子和花园稍许评赏了几句,就坐那儿没有跟任何人说话。过了一会儿,他重新想到了礼貌问题,便向伊丽莎白问候她和她全家人的安好。伊丽莎白照例敷衍了他几句,停了片刻,她又说:
“我姐姐最近三个月来一直在城里。你从来没有碰到过她吗?”
其实她明明知道他从来没有碰到过吉英,只不过为了想要探探他的口气,看看他是否知道彬格莱一家人和吉英之间的关系。他回答说,不幸从来未曾碰到过班纳特小姐,她觉得他回答这话时神色有点慌张。这件事没有再谈下去,两位贵宾立刻就告辞了。


 

 
 
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