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CHAPTER 10
The day passed much as the day before had done.
Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley had spent some hours of the morning with the invalid, who
continued, though slowly, to mend; and in the evening Elizabeth joined their party in
the drawing-room.
The loo-table, however, did not appear. Mr. Darcy was writing, and Miss Bingley,
seated near him, was watching the progress of his letter and repeatedly calling off
his attention by messages to his sister.
Mr. Hurst and Mr. Bingley were at piquet, and Mrs. Hurst was observing their game.
Elizabeth took up some needlework, and was sufficiently amused in attending to what
passed between Darcy and his companion.
The perpetual commendations of the lady, either on his handwriting, or on the
evenness of his lines, or on the length of his letter, with the perfect unconcern with
which her praises were received, formed a
curious dialogue, and was exactly in union with her opinion of each.
"How delighted Miss Darcy will be to receive such a letter!"
He made no answer.
"You write uncommonly fast." "You are mistaken.
I write rather slowly." "How many letters you must have occasion to
write in the course of a year!
Letters of business, too! How odious I should think them!"
"It is fortunate, then, that they fall to my lot instead of yours."
"Pray tell your sister that I long to see her."
"I have already told her so once, by your desire."
"I am afraid you do not like your pen.
Let me mend it for you. I mend pens remarkably well."
"Thank you--but I always mend my own." "How can you contrive to write so even?"
He was silent.
"Tell your sister I am delighted to hear of her improvement on the harp; and pray let
her know that I am quite in raptures with her beautiful little design for a table,
and I think it infinitely superior to Miss Grantley's."
"Will you give me leave to defer your raptures till I write again?
At present I have not room to do them justice."
"Oh! it is of no consequence. I shall see her in January.
But do you always write such charming long letters to her, Mr. Darcy?"
"They are generally long; but whether always charming it is not for me to
determine."
"It is a rule with me, that a person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot
write ill."
"That will not do for a compliment to Darcy, Caroline," cried her brother,
"because he does not write with ease. He studies too much for words of four
syllables.
Do not you, Darcy?" "My style of writing is very different from
yours." "Oh!" cried Miss Bingley, "Charles writes
in the most careless way imaginable.
He leaves out half his words, and blots the rest."
"My ideas flow so rapidly that I have not time to express them--by which means my
letters sometimes convey no ideas at all to my correspondents."
"Your humility, Mr. Bingley," said Elizabeth, "must disarm reproof."
"Nothing is more deceitful," said Darcy, "than the appearance of humility.
It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast."
"And which of the two do you call my little recent piece of modesty?"
"The indirect boast; for you are really proud of your defects in writing, because
you consider them as proceeding from a rapidity of thought and carelessness of
execution, which, if not estimable, you think at least highly interesting.
The power of doing anything with quickness is always prized much by the possessor, and
often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance.
When you told Mrs. Bennet this morning that if you ever resolved upon quitting
Netherfield you should be gone in five minutes, you meant it to be a sort of
panegyric, of compliment to yourself--and
yet what is there so very laudable in a precipitance which must leave very
necessary business undone, and can be of no real advantage to yourself or anyone else?"
"Nay," cried Bingley, "this is too much, to remember at night all the foolish things
that were said in the morning.
And yet, upon my honour, I believe what I said of myself to be true, and I believe it
at this moment.
At least, therefore, I did not assume the character of needless precipitance merely
to show off before the ladies."
"I dare say you believed it; but I am by no means convinced that you would be gone with
such celerity.
Your conduct would be quite as dependent on chance as that of any man I know; and if,
as you were mounting your horse, a friend were to say, 'Bingley, you had better stay
till next week,' you would probably do it,
you would probably not go--and at another word, might stay a month."
"You have only proved by this," cried Elizabeth, "that Mr. Bingley did not do
justice to his own disposition.
You have shown him off now much more than he did himself."
"I am exceedingly gratified," said Bingley, "by your converting what my friend says
into a compliment on the sweetness of my temper.
But I am afraid you are giving it a turn which that gentleman did by no means
intend; for he would certainly think better of me, if under such a circumstance I were
to give a flat denial, and ride off as fast as I could."
"Would Mr. Darcy then consider the rashness of your original intentions as atoned for
by your obstinacy in adhering to it?"
"Upon my word, I cannot exactly explain the matter; Darcy must speak for himself."
"You expect me to account for opinions which you choose to call mine, but which I
have never acknowledged.
Allowing the case, however, to stand according to your representation, you must
remember, Miss Bennet, that the friend who is supposed to desire his return to the
house, and the delay of his plan, has
merely desired it, asked it without offering one argument in favour of its
propriety."
"To yield readily--easily--to the persuasion of a friend is no merit with
you." "To yield without conviction is no
compliment to the understanding of either."
"You appear to me, Mr. Darcy, to allow nothing for the influence of friendship and
affection.
A regard for the requester would often make one readily yield to a request, without
waiting for arguments to reason one into it.
I am not particularly speaking of such a case as you have supposed about Mr.
Bingley.
We may as well wait, perhaps, till the circumstance occurs before we discuss the
discretion of his behaviour thereupon.
But in general and ordinary cases between friend and friend, where one of them is
desired by the other to change a resolution of no very great moment, should you think
ill of that person for complying with the
desire, without waiting to be argued into it?"
"Will it not be advisable, before we proceed on this subject, to arrange with
rather more precision the degree of importance which is to appertain to this
request, as well as the degree of intimacy subsisting between the parties?"
"By all means," cried Bingley; "let us hear all the particulars, not forgetting their
comparative height and size; for that will have more weight in the argument, Miss
Bennet, than you may be aware of.
I assure you, that if Darcy were not such a great tall fellow, in comparison with
myself, I should not pay him half so much deference.
I declare I do not know a more awful object than Darcy, on particular occasions, and in
particular places; at his own house especially, and of a Sunday evening, when
he has nothing to do."
Mr. Darcy smiled; but Elizabeth thought she could perceive that he was rather offended,
and therefore checked her laugh.
Miss Bingley warmly resented the indignity he had received, in an expostulation with
her brother for talking such nonsense. "I see your design, Bingley," said his
friend.
"You dislike an argument, and want to silence this."
"Perhaps I do. Arguments are too much like disputes.
If you and Miss Bennet will defer yours till I am out of the room, I shall be very
thankful; and then you may say whatever you like of me."
"What you ask," said Elizabeth, "is no sacrifice on my side; and Mr. Darcy had
much better finish his letter." Mr. Darcy took her advice, and did finish
his letter.
When that business was over, he applied to Miss Bingley and Elizabeth for an
indulgence of some music.
Miss Bingley moved with some alacrity to the pianoforte; and, after a polite request
that Elizabeth would lead the way which the other as politely and more earnestly
negatived, she seated herself.
Mrs. Hurst sang with her sister, and while they were thus employed, Elizabeth could
not help observing, as she turned over some music-books that lay on the instrument, how
frequently Mr. Darcy's eyes were fixed on her.
She hardly knew how to suppose that she could be an object of admiration to so
great a man; and yet that he should look at her because he disliked her, was still more
strange.
She could only imagine, however, at last that she drew his notice because there was
something more wrong and reprehensible, according to his ideas of right, than in
any other person present.
The supposition did not pain her. She liked him too little to care for his
approbation.
After playing some Italian songs, Miss Bingley varied the charm by a lively Scotch
air; and soon afterwards Mr. Darcy, drawing near Elizabeth, said to her:
"Do not you feel a great inclination, Miss Bennet, to seize such an opportunity of
dancing a reel?" She smiled, but made no answer.
He repeated the question, with some surprise at her silence.
"Oh!" said she, "I heard you before, but I could not immediately determine what to say
in reply.
You wanted me, I know, to say 'Yes,' that you might have the pleasure of despising my
taste; but I always delight in overthrowing those kind of schemes, and cheating a
person of their premeditated contempt.
I have, therefore, made up my mind to tell you, that I do not want to dance a reel at
all--and now despise me if you dare." "Indeed I do not dare."
Elizabeth, having rather expected to affront him, was amazed at his gallantry;
but there was a mixture of sweetness and archness in her manner which made it
difficult for her to affront anybody; and
Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her.
He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he
should be in some danger.
Miss Bingley saw, or suspected enough to be jealous; and her great anxiety for the
recovery of her dear friend Jane received some assistance from her desire of getting
rid of Elizabeth.
She often tried to provoke Darcy into disliking her guest, by talking of their
supposed marriage, and planning his happiness in such an alliance.
"I hope," said she, as they were walking together in the shrubbery the next day,
"you will give your mother-in-law a few hints, when this desirable event takes
place, as to the advantage of holding her
tongue; and if you can compass it, do cure the younger girls of running after
officers.
And, if I may mention so delicate a subject, endeavour to check that little
something, bordering on conceit and impertinence, which your lady possesses."
"Have you anything else to propose for my domestic felicity?"
"Oh! yes.
Do let the portraits of your uncle and aunt Phillips be placed in the gallery at
Pemberley. Put them next to your great-uncle the
judge.
They are in the same profession, you know, only in different lines.
As for your Elizabeth's picture, you must not have it taken, for what painter could
do justice to those beautiful eyes?"
"It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour and
shape, and the eyelashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied."
At that moment they were met from another walk by Mrs. Hurst and Elizabeth herself.
"I did not know that you intended to walk," said Miss Bingley, in some confusion, lest
they had been overheard.
"You used us abominably ill," answered Mrs. Hurst, "running away without telling us
that you were coming out."
Then taking the disengaged arm of Mr. Darcy, she left Elizabeth to walk by
herself. The path just admitted three.
Mr. Darcy felt their rudeness, and immediately said:
"This walk is not wide enough for our party.
We had better go into the avenue."
But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to remain with them, laughingly
answered: "No, no; stay where you are.
You are charmingly grouped, and appear to uncommon advantage.
The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth.
Good-bye."
She then ran gaily off, rejoicing as she rambled about, in the hope of being at home
again in a day or two.
Jane was already so much recovered as to intend leaving her room for a couple of
hours that evening.
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傲慢與偏見 Chapter 10 (Chapter 10 - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

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羅致 發佈於 2014 年 6 月 3 日
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